Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 13th, 2011
What does an “Alien Timeline” have to do with a “Bigfoot Timeline”? Apparently a lot if your research analysis works the same way with both databases.
Look, I personally have nothing against Joe Nickell. We have both gone out-of-our-ways to say nice things about each other (see here, for example). Still, I have to feel that sometimes he is out-of-his-depth when he wades into cryptozoology. Take this latest manufactured interview that he did to promote his new book.
In a new io9 article, Joe Nickell covers the same old tired ground in arguing the debunkers’ reality regarding the Patterson-Gimlin footage:
When it came time to talk cryptids, we started with the most famous, the “Bigfoot” depicted in the infamous Patterson film. Nickell has researched the issue and even befriended costume maker Phillip Morris, who claims he made a gorilla suit for Patterson shortly before the film was made. Corroborating this testimony is Bob Heironimus, who says he was the man wearing the suit in the footage. Finally, analysis reveals that the creature in the image looks like a man in a fake fur suit in many ways. “There’s an odd double-standard in that people subject the hoax claims to a high degree of skepticism without being as skeptical of some of the outlandish theories about the creature,” Nickell said.
“Corroborating this testimony is Bob Heironimus”? Okay, those in the field know Joe Nickell is in deep crap right here. Bob Heironimus’s $1000 Fox-TV driven story fell apart years ago. Phillip Morris has never been able to produce a suit that can match the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot. And to say that “analysis reveals that the creature in the image looks like a man in a fake suit in many ways” is a joke.
While researching his 2011 book Tracking the Man-beasts, he found a previously published catalogue of North American Sasquatch sightings. By organizing the sightings and their major characteristics into a continuum arranged by date and location, he was able to see patterns, and a fascinating theory emerged. At first, the creatures showed enormous variation in color, height, behavior, foot size and even number of toes. To suggest a single undiscovered hominid living in the North American wilderness was one thing. To suppose that dozens of different species existed, many of them in relatively populated places like Illinois and New jersey, “strains credulity,” as Nickell put it.
Then the Patterson film was made in 1967. It attracted widespread publicity and was shown on popular national talk shows. From that point forward, variations in Sasquatch sightings began to dwindle. Creatures sighted after the release of the Patterson film exhibited a great tendency to resemble the creature depicted in the film.
Okay, I thought all Lake Monsters were multiple otters, and all West Virginia Monsters (Mothman and Flatwoods Monster) were normal-sized owls, according to Joe Nickell. Now we are to view all Bigfoot as mere temporal manifestations of popular cultural imagery?
Of course, Nickell has tried to do the same thing with his “Alien Timeline,” in which anyone aware of both fields will see that he liberally adds and subtracts types and kinds to make the visuals more intriguing. Purists know that there are no direct UFO reports associated with some of the “entities” he includes on his “Alien Timeline” chart. He even throws in some non-UFO cryptids, now and then. The Lizardman, Trolls, and Mothman were never directly seen with UFOs. What has Nickell done with the sorting of data with the Bigfoot cases to complete his hypothesis assumed above? One can only imagine.
We all know that data can be viewed from different angles, just like photos of humans make be, in which heights vary due to camera position and what one stands upon: