And despite living for ten years in Seattle, I'd never heard of him. So, dear readers, meet...
The first thing I notice, being a biologist, is that Batsquatch seems to have no... equipment. If you get my drift. Above the waist, he's built like a bodybuilder, and below the waist he's built like a Ken doll. So you have to wonder how there'd be more than one of them. Maybe they reproduce from spores, or something, I dunno.
The other thing is that he's got kind of a small head in comparison to his body, and a rather derpish expression. Low cranial capacity, you know? A knuckle-dragger type. The overall impression is of a demon from the redneck part of hell, where instead of stealing your soul, they just down a six-pack of Miller Lite and then take a baseball bat to your mailbox.
Beelzebubba, is kind of how I think of him.
Be that as it may, Batsquatch has apparently been seen a number of times, starting back in 1980, and has generated reports with some regularity since then. Here's one from 2009:
Me and my friend were hiking around Mt. Shasta and out of one of the crevices, flew out this big creature. I mean this thing was huge. It was as tall as a man, as stocky as Hulk Hogan and had leathery wings. I believe the wing span was at least 50 feet from one end to the other. I was holding up my camera, but was paralyzed with fear as this thing flew by. I didn’t get a picture, sorry. What do you think this might be? Could it have been a pterodactyl? It was flying or gliding fast, it seemed to have a head of a bat. Thinking about it, it doesn’t have the head of a pterodactyl, I just saw a picture of a pterodactyl and the heads are not similar. I would think it had the head of a bat or maybe more like a fox. The damn thing finally flew into a clump of trees and vanished. I heard you guys might be going back to Mt. Shasta, if you do, please look out for this thing. If you see it, you will piss all over yourself, I kid you not.Well, yeah, I guess that'd be a natural enough reaction to seeing Hulk Hogan with fifty-foot wings.
Then, we're told of several "fake" reports of Batsquatch. I'm not entirely sure how one vague story with no proof differs from another vague story with no proof, but the author of the website says that some of the accounts are real and some are not, so there you are.
Because the fact remains that there isn't a scrap of hard evidence that Batsquatch exists, just a lot of anecdotal reports and a sketch of a sketch. That didn't stop the folks over at Pararational from coming up with what may be the all-time silliest explanation for a cryptid sighting that I've ever read:
(Perhaps) Batsquatch is an extra-dimensional creature that dropped through a rift and got stuck here. If the first sighting really was in close proximity to the Mt. St. Helens eruption, it seems probably that the force of the blast may have ruptured time/space allowing something to get sucked through. In that case, it may have flown around for a while and died in some remote location, or else found a way home.Because, of course, "rupturing space-time" is what happens when a volcano erupts. Probably also happens during earthquakes, thunderstorms, and early cold snaps. You know how fragile space-time is, at least if Star Trek: The Next Generation is to be believed.
So anyway. If you're in the Northwest, look out for Batsquatch. Given how big he supposedly is, I don't see how you could miss him, frankly. If you see him, maybe he won't hurt you if you offer him a Miller Lite.
This week's Skeptophilia book recommendation of the week is a fun one: acclaimed science writer Jennifer Ackerman's The Bird Way: A New Look at how Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think.
It's been known for some years that a lot of birds are a great deal more intelligent than we'd thought. Crows and other corvids are capable of reasoning and problem-solving, and actually play, seemingly for no reason other than "it's fun." Parrots are capable of learning language and simple categorization. A group of birds called babblers understand reciprocity -- and females are attracted to males who share their food the most ostentatiously.
So "bird brain" should actually be a compliment.
Here, Ackerman looks at the hugely diverse world of birds and gives us fascinating information about all facets of their behavior -- not only the "positive" ones (to put an human-based judgment on it) but "negative" ones like deception, manipulating, and cheating. The result is one of the best science books I've read in recent years, written in Ackerman's signature sparkling prose. Birder or not, this is a must-read for anyone with more than a passing interest in biology or animal behavior.
[Note: if you purchase this book using the image/link below, part of the proceeds goes to support Skeptophilia!]