Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 22nd, 2006
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My friend and Cryptomundo colleague, British Columbian John Kirk writes on this blog today, “Bracing For Disappointment” that was itself a disappointment to read. I think it speaks to the erosion of natural history adventure and the rise of cynicism that has begun to infect our field. Speaking specifically about the potential and possibilities of the Vincent Chow revelations in the as-yet-to-be-released Malaysian photos of Mawas, Kirk writes that “given the flops as far as earthshaking cryptid footage and photos of the past are concerned, I do not have much faith that they will be as revealing as one would hope.”
Cryptozoology is not about faith; it is about openly gathering, collecting, investigating, and analyzing.
Frankly, I experience enough wet blankets being thrown on cryptozoological research and interests everyday without having to read about it on Cryptomundo. Of course, skeptical cryptozoology has its place. I am scientifically skeptical of much of what I investigate. Of course, we all have to be careful. I am cautious about all that I research. Of course, any and all media anticipations of photographs and films are going to be presented as the “best ever.” I understand the media does this for a variety of “pay attention to me” reasons. So what?
John’s message is logical but dismissal in a way that I never wish to be. I want to have an open-mind and an open-door policy so people will understand they can be treated with respect, passion, patience, and non-judgmental scrutiny by me, representing cryptozoology. Why in the world would I want to tell someone that I am going to be disappointed before I’ve seen their evidence? Why would I want to convey the message that “I think you will show me something that probably will remind me of past disappointments, so, I guess, I will begrudgingly waste my time on you”?
Sorry, I sense that John Kirk’s is the wrong message for cryptozoology to broadcast, if you ask me. And I know no one did, but here I am to say it anyway. Bring on your disenfranchised, bring me your photos, your footage, your stories that no one, not even you feel, may be real or worthy. Life is too short to have people dismissing your materials before you bring them to the table.
My mentor Ivan T. Sanderson was thoughtful, considered, and open to having people contact him with many stories, photos, and footage. He screened it all. Most of it turned out to be worthless in advancing toward a discovery. Did he then put out a message, therefore, that he thought the next piece of film was going to be nothing worthwhile? Ask yourself, would some of the great pieces of evidence, such as the Patterson-Gimlin film, a one in a million bit of footage, exist if his open-door, non-judgement initial policy not been in place? Revisionists have criticized Sanderson for some of his work, but he was able to open many doors that had been closed for decades before he came along. Sanderson’s form of open-door cryptozoology is why we are here today, not because of episodes of Edmund Hillary’s or more recent examples of character-assassination-based “skepticals,” that’s for sure.
I’ll review 5 million snapshots of a blogsasquatch to wait for that one or two photos that add to and enhance cryptozoological and zoological knowledge. I will wait for what Vincent Chow wants to show me, in his own timeframes, without pre-judgement. And I will certainly do this in a different spirit of openness than what I am understanding from those who wish to dismiss evidence before it is even seen.