Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 7th, 2007
As you may recall, British newspaperwoman Jan McGirk has shared exclusives with us before, from the jungles of Johor. Here’s her latest on the new questions about the Johor cast and thoughts on the recent Yeti finds.
McGirk’s email is followed, for visual context, by a video from September 5, 2006, of Jonathan Kent’s BBC report on the “Johor Bigfoot” reports.
The Seekers are posing with the Johor cast in February 2006.
Australian tracker Tony Burke stands behind a group of Seekers, from left to right, Sis, Adeek, and Illa, in the Johor bush.
I’m Jan McGirk (a journo writing you from Jerusalem, where there are large forces of another kind at work..a colleague pointed out [the recent blogs at Cryptomundo]).
Anyhow, I was reporting the activities of the SPI in Johor back in Feb 2006, and encountered the Destination Truth gang.
What you must remember is that Josh Gates hires people on site to make things happen, and whatever makes good tv is his primary concern.
Doubtless it is true that we botched casting the print in the jungle.
The Singapore Paranormal Investigators had brought along several evidence packs obtained from the police…so there was limited casting material available. It was dusk when we noticed the big footprint. I hollered for the others from the party– the Singapore Paranormal Investigators and the Uncle Seekers of Kuala Lumpur to come see.
The SPI team at least had some gear at hand. Half of Gates’s team was back at the hotel already. It was Gates who insisted on going on camera to pour the cast, once the others brought out the packets, but clearly he did not know what he was doing at the time. This did result in an aha moment for television, and Josh milked it for the international publicity to promote the series. I thought the guy would never put down the cast. (His group had earlier staged chopping their way through jungle foliage..just for typical Reality Show testosterone shots…but I have no reason to believe he faked the print. I was with him –immediately in front of him–when we spotted it. He was following me up the most direct path up a wooded slope to the road.
As a cynical observer, I do not think the Johor footprint was a deliberate fraud…and can attest that no wooden mold was used. This one was encumbered by a huge heel spur; it would not have been the form someone would have faked.
However the new yeti footprint is quite a handy find. Intriguing and as plausible as yeti prints go. (I have seen photos of alleged prints in snow taken by a French heli-skier in the 90s; they looked similar.)
In Nepal, the determining factor should be the stride, which might be measurable from three prints. It would be interesting to get some local primatologists to look at the measurements. Destination Truth doubtlessly can hire the appropriate experts, but the timing will be belated. This is not an academic research team. Josh is clever, has a bachelor’s degree, but his arrogance and enthusiasm carries him away.
There have been tales of the Yeti for many years in the Himalaya…even auburn scalps in high monasteries and celebrity dabblings in trading the bones (Jimmy Stewart & wife had a Himalayan Yeti episode in the 50s*). I have been fascinated by the legends, as have most visitors to these startlingly beautiful mountains.Jan McGirk, December 6, 2007
*For more on this episode, see Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology (Fresno, CA: Craven Street-Linden Press, 2002).