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.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true...

The cryptozoological world has been buzzing the last few days over the alleged capture of a Bigfoot by a Sasquatch research group called "Quantra."

The whole thing started with a press release from Ed Smith, Quantra's spokesperson, who had remarkably sketchy information on the whole thing.  Here's a part of Smith's press release (you can read the whole thing here):
It appears that an unprecedented event is in motion, having been on the inside of this operation and now observing from the outside is a defiant [sic] change.

So here is what I know: "Daisy" has been moved to a examination area about 12 miles from the capture site at 3:17 this morning after being properly sedated. The capture site and examination area are on private property leased and or owned in order to conduct research and operations of this type.

This was confirmed by a source in the Quantra Group.

Here is what I don't know: The weight height hair color gender or location of capture. Or the health of the specimen.

Nor the actions leading up to the capture of the specimen.

Here is what I'm speculating: the examination team is continuing to assemble, examination should take 72 hours.
So, just about every woo-woo blog, website, Facebook group, and Twitter feed was hopping.  Would this be what everyone's been waiting for... a real, live Bigfoot, available for scientists and interested laypeople to study?  Would the world finally have an answer regarding the existence of sub-human proto-hominids on the North American continent, other than the members of the Westboro Baptist Church?

Then came the announcement yesterday that "Daisy" had been released.  [Source]

Tim Fasano, whose specialty within cryptozoology is the Florida Skunk Ape (yes, of course they have specialties.  With so many different kinds of creatures that don't exist, you can't study them all), made the following bizarre, rambling announcement, that he released on YouTube:
My phone has been ringing a lot.  One of the unique positions I've been in, being a cab driver in Tampa, Florida, is that I go onto MacDill Air Force Base to pick up people at Central Command Headquarters.  There's some high ranking officers that call me on my cell phone to pick them up when they need to go to the airport.  I've got a close buddy who is a retired lieutenant general.  That's three stars.  This guy was up there.  When I first met him, I asked him two questions: did we really land on the moon in 1969, and are there UFOs?  And he laughed, and come to find out, he had more than a passing interest in paranormal activities, and this type of stuff.  Anyway, let me cut to the chase.  My contacts know at least two operators in Quantra, and here's what's happened within the last hour.  Daisy has been released.  Understand that.  Daisy has been released.  Upon conferring, they released that based upon the tenets of the Geneva Convention, a prisoner of war cannot be held when there is no war.  This is akin to kidnapping.  And based upon the specifics of how they understand the nature of the creature they had in their possession, not to face criminal charges, Daisy as we speak right now is being released at the point of capture.  This was all a mistake...  Most of the information that revolves around this, that they have gathered, will be destroyed.  And like they say in Mission Impossible, "the secretary will disavow all knowledge."
After cleaning up the coffee that I spit all over my computer when he mentioned the "Geneva Convention," I sat back, and thought, "Well, how else did you expect this to end?"  Of course the Bigfoot had to disappear -- whether it was that it overpowered its guards and got away; somehow unlocked its cage; was rescued by its parents, Mr. and Mrs. Squatch; or... was released by the people who captured it.

Because of the Geneva Convention.

I have to admit that, much though I would love it if Bigfoot turned out to be real (if for no other reason, for the jolt it would give to the anti-evolutionists), I was suspicious of this one right from the get-go.  Why, if you were a Bigfoot researcher, wouldn't you get the media and reputable scientists in there immediately?  It would, I would think, be a case for verifying the veracity of the claim right out of the starting gate, rather than pussyfooting around with "Daisy is being taken to an undisclosed location for examination."

At least, that's how I would handle it.  I would be on the horn to vertebrate zoologists, primatologists, and the press before you could say "Return to Boggy Creek."

So, now, we are once again left with just a bunch of random claims from random people, with no hard evidence to back it up.  As usual.  And the cryptid hunters wonder why we skeptics scoff whenever they trot out new "evidence."

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