Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Memorial Day Bigfoot report

New from the "34,208th Time's The Charm" department; a group of hikers claim that they've found conclusive evidence of Bigfoot in the Sierra National Forest.

Now, you should know from the outset that this group (1) were up there looking for evidence of Bigfoot, and (2) was being led by the founder of the Sanger Paranormal Society.  But still, before we start to scoff, let's hear the story.

Jeffrey Gonzalez and several friends were camping in the Sierras over Memorial Day weekend, and had been poking about looking for evidence of the hairy hominid.  To their dismay, it began to snow, and remembering what happened to the Donner Party, they decided to bag the trip.  So they returned to their vehicles, packed up, and drove off -- mysteriously leaving two of the vehicles behind.  (Both of the sources I read state that the group was "forced" to leave behind the vehicles, but neither explains why.)

Be that as it may, they came back two days later to retrieve the vehicles, and found that beside one of them was a "twelve-inch footprint," and there was a "face print" on the driver's side window.  (You should look at a photograph of the face print here.)  A similar, but smaller, face imprint was on the passenger side, indicating "two unexplained visitors to the campsite."

"Apparently," Gonzalez said, "the creature was looking in the window and left behind dirt and oil on it, leaving such an awesome picture, you can see the nose, the eye, the hair all over the face and the shoulders -- it's creepy, and it's not a bear.  An impression was left of a nose, eyes and lips, but they were extremely large.  The lips measured about six inches long. You can see that the whole face was full of hair, so when it leaned up against the window, you can see the depth of the eye socket in the glass. "I've shown people -- non-believers -- this photograph and this totally freaked them out."

Hair left at the site is being subjected to DNA analysis, but we are advised not to get too excited about it all, says Loren Coleman, director of the International Cryptozoology Museum of Portland, Maine, the man who but for financial concerns could have been my boss.

"One of the cautions I have about finding a nose print or anything on the side of a car is that it could be a homeless person, resulting in people letting their imaginations go wild" Coleman said.  "Of course, if you take a DNA sample and it comes back near-human or primate, then it would match both Bigfoot and a homeless person.  A twelve-inch footprint is not too exciting, because it could be a human or bears imprinting on top of each other.  In this case, it might not have been a homeless person, but in wilderness areas, there are other hikers and somebody would've naturally put their nose up to the window to look inside the car."

So, if you're up in the Sierras, you should be on the lookout for hairy hikers and homeless people with six-inch lips.

My own guess is that Gonzalez faked the lot.  It'd have to be a mighty greasy-faced Bigfoot to leave a complete facial imprint against a car window.  (Try smooshing your own face against a window and see how good an impression you leave.)  Besides, the whole "we had to leave behind two of the cars" thing sounds mighty convenient to me.  I wonder if we'll ever hear anything from the "forensics expert" who is testing the hair -- despite Coleman's caveat that a DNA test wouldn't be conclusive, I would think that the DNA of a hominid whose lineage has been separate from humans for perhaps five million years would be sufficiently different to be discernible with a sensitive enough analysis.  And given that the Bigfoots in question apparently shed fur all over the site, it's not like they're lacking for material.

So, I'm skeptical.  Predictably.  But we can always hope.  I still would love to see proof of Sasquatches in my lifetime (not to mention proof of life on other planets).  So perhaps one of these reports, one day, will turn out to have some weight of evidence behind it.  As for this one -- we'll wait to hear what the forensics experts say.  And if it turns out to be true, I'd be happy to chip in for a bottle of greasy-hair-formula shampoo for those Sierra Bigfoots.  Sounds like they could use it.

No comments:

Post a Comment