Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 24th, 2009
I get all kinds of emails.
The messages received are usually reasonable. Once in a blue moon, I get one that makes no sense or is downright scary.
The following email arrived yesterday. It was horrible to read, as it was sent in all seriousness, with an invitation to receive other supporting “documents.” The basic nature of the communication shows an underside of our culture that many of us hoped was long gone.
Such thoughts still live in our midst, and do exist in the research on hidden animals.
Here is the email:
The film that Roger Patterson made in 1967 in California of Bigfoot is real. Here is what Bigfoot is. Long before Jesus was born there were thousands of slaves who ran off around the world and started their own countries. When they left there was a large group of men and boys who took off and ended up in Africa. When they got to Africa some of these men and boys caught female Orangutans and took them over to South America and had sex with them and created the American Indian. The men and boys who stayed in Africa caught female Gorillas and had sex with them and created the Black man. When scientists found the bones they thought we evolved from a female Chimpanzee. But it wasn’t a natural evolution it was a man made evolution. That’s where Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, Orangutan man and the Skunk Ape comes from. They are half man and half Gorilla and half man and half Orangutan. They use to call the American Indian the red man. The Orangutan has redish or orange hair. When those men bred out the hair the Indian’s skin remained red. The Gorilla has black hair and skin. When those men bred out the hair the Black man’s skin remained black. They are not prehistoric creatures from millions of years ago but they are man made creatures from several thousand years ago. The creature that Roger Patterson filmed in 1967 was half man and half Gorilla. There is no such thing as a natural evolution.
Yes, there are people out there that believe this.
There’s no place in cryptozoology, hominology, and Bigfoot studies for racism, the same kind of scientifically-enveloped racism that jumped from eugenics in the general society to racial hygiene in Nazi concentration camps.
The email above is a form of racism that was used in early California to call First Nations people there by the demeaning label of “digger Indians.” We have seen in recent years how this has been carried forth in “massacre theories” about the Patterson-Gimlin footage.
It is the same kind of dehumanizing racism that equated apes with African slaves in the American South. And, yes, it allows a climate of rationalization to exist in modern times about cartoons in newspapers involving chimps and African-Americans.
Early ologenetic theory lead to eugenics, which was used to justify a lot of ugly things in the first half of the 20th century.
Unfortunately, eugenic thinking slipped into the popular discourse regarding the discovery of new animals, in the early 1900s. French cryptozoologist Michel Raynal and I discussed this in The Anomalist 4, Autumn 1996 article, “De Loys’s Photograph: A Short Tale of Apes in Green Hell, Spider Monkeys, and Ameranthropoides loysi as Tools of Racism” and in a followup article.
I’m shocked that anyone would write me this kind of email.
The photograph (above) of an alleged “Ameranthropoid ape” supposedly was taken in South America by François de Loys. It was used for proto-Nazi racist promotion in the late 1920s and early 1930s, despite the fact it is most certainly a white-bellied or long-haired spider monkey, Ateles belzebuth. George Montandon’s promotion and François de Loys’s interest in supporting a racist theory for the origins of the Indians of the Americans is today more deeply understood.
George Montandon, who was the first initial force behind de Loys’ ape, was actually a racist and anti-semetic, who also thought that “Whites” derived from Cro-Magnon man, “Blacks” from gorillas, and “Orientals” from orangs and gibbons. Sound familiar? This week’s email tells me, in this first term of President Barack Obama, we live in a time when racism based on ignorance and intolerance of the worst kind is still considered to have intellectual merit by a few.
Montandon’s hatred of Jewish people, by the way, was graphically shown during the 1930s-1940s when he tried to devise ways to stop the Jewish population from reproducing (one “solution” of his was to cut off the noses of Jewish women). The de Loys “ape” was the final piece in the Montandon-de Loys racist theory that their proposed new Ameranthropoid was the ancestor of the American Indians (or in one version, “the Jews”).
What is difficult to realize is that Montandon-type theories can still exist, as shown in the email that I shared with you above.
After the Nazi killings of Jews and other “racial” abuses, eugenics seemingly disappeared. After WWII, however, a new movement began, so-called “crypto-eugenics,” in which eugenic beliefs were taken “underground” by respected anthropologists, biologists and geneticists in the postwar world (including Robert Yerkes in the U.S. and Otmar von Verschuer in Germany). Julian Huxley, the first Director-General of UNESCO and a founder of the World Wildlife Fund was also a Eugenics Society president and a strong supporter of eugenics.
Let us look closely at what we do in cryptozoology, and be careful, whether it develops in the talk of Bigfoot being “primitive Indians” or the supposed origin theories regarding Yetis. Let us look deeply at the biases influencing such thoughts and conjectures.
Eugenics chart, early 20th century, USA.
CENLIVRES, Pierre, and Isabelle GIROD
1998 George Montandon and the large American monkey. The invention of Ameranthropoides loysi. Gradhiva, n° 24: 33-43.
COLEMAN, Loren, and Michel RAYNAL
1996 De Loys’ photograph: shorts have bruises of apes in Green Hell, spider monkeys, and Ameranthropoides loysi have the tools of racism. The Anomalist 4, n° 4: 84-93 (Autumn).
1997 One of Loys’s photograph. The Anomalist, n° 5: 143-153 (Summer).
1929 Discovered of a monkey of appearance anthropoïde in South America. Newspaper of the Company of the Americanists of Paris, 21 [n° 6]: 183-195.
1999 the mysterious monkey of Of Vaud of Loys. 24 Hours (October 15).
VILORIA, Angel L., Free URBANI, y Bernardo URBANI
1998 François de Loys (1892-1935) there a hallazgo desdeñado: the historia of una controversia antropológica. Interciencia, 23 [n° 2]: 94-100 (marzo-abril).
VILORIA, Angel L., Free URBANI, Stuart McCOOK and Bernardo URBANI
1999 Of Lausanne to the forests vénézuéliennes. Geological mission of François de Loys (1892-1935) and origins of an anthropological controversy. Bulletin of the Company Of Vaud of the Natural Science, 86 [n° 3]: 157-174 (September).
Eugenics poster, c. 1935, from Germany: “The relationship between the Jews and Freemasonry.”