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.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


I got an email from a friend and long-time loyal reader of Skeptophilia last week, to the effect that I'd picked a hell of a time to take a vacation.  Along with the note, there was a link to a story about how Bigfoot erotica was projected to play a decisive role in a congressional race in Virginia.

Poor timing indeed.  If you didn't hear about this, the concise version is that Democrat Leslie Cockburn took a shot at Republican Denver Riggleman on (what else?) Twitter, to wit: "My opponent Denver Riggleman, running mate of Corey Stewart, was caught on camera campaigning with a white supremacist.  Now he has been exposed as a devotee of Bigfoot erotica.  This is not what we need on Capitol Hill."

The claim is debatable.  Riggleman did co-author books called Bigfoot Exterminators Inc.: The Partially Cautionary, Mostly True Tale of Monster Hunt 2006 and The Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him.  The latter certainly sounds a little suspect, but Riggleman said it was intended for the humor value only.

"I didn’t know there was Bigfoot erotica, even with all my Bigfoot studies," Riggleman said.  "I thought this was such a joke that nobody would ever be dumb enough to think that this was real, but I guess her campaign did."

[Image licensed under the Creative Commons Gnashes30, Pikes peak highway big foot, CC BY-SA 3.0]

The relevance to the race is also dubious; even if Riggleman is turned on by Bigfoot (or writes stories for people who are), it really has no impact on his ability to craft law.  My own contention is that the vast majority of us have odd proclivities in the sex department that we'd much prefer the public didn't find out about, and despite that, most of us are pretty nice, responsible people.

So why Cockburn is harping on this, and not on the fact that Riggleman allegedly has ties to white supremacists, I have no idea.  That is important.  Any shaggy shagging is inconsequential by comparison.

This is all background, however, because yesterday my friend emailed me with a second link and the message, "It's not too late!!!"  The gist of this story, which hit the Los Angeles Times a couple of days ago, is that the sniping between Riggleman and Cockburn has led to a spike of sales of Bigfoot erotica on Amazon.

I'm not making this up.  According to the story on the phenomenon:
The interest in Bigfoot erotica has boosted the genre on Amazon.  Carrie High's "Bigfoot Knocked Me Up: The Complete 10 Book Set" — one of the very few erotic Sasquatch books with a title that can be printed here — was ranked No. 175 in the horror erotica subcategory early Tuesday, soon climbing to No. 83 in erotica/science fiction, No. 86 in erotica/interracial and No. 51 in the Kindle store subcategory of erotica/transgender.
Okay, I'm not going to judge; cf. my previous comment about everyone having kinks.  But the fact that there are enough people who have Bigfoot erotica kinks that it affects Amazon rankings is a little surprising.  I mean, did people hear about the Riggleman/Cockburn kerfuffle and said, "Hey, I didn't know anyone else got hot for Sasquatch!  Lemme check into that Bigfoot porn stuff!"  Or are people just curious?

No way to tell, I guess.  I was assured by an author friend, however, that cryptid porn is a big thing, and that there's even a book with the title Wet for Nessie.

And no, I didn't make that up, either.

What does worry me, however, is the effect the research for this post is having on my Google search history.  It's already bad enough; being a writer of paranormal fiction (including a line of murder mysteries), I've probably already got a file three inches thick with the FBI.  (Recent searches: "How long after a body is buried can you tell if the person was poisoned by an opiate?" and "If someone is shot with a compound bow, would the arrow embed or go right through their body?")  So now the FBI will have a whole new angle to investigate, namely, if my fixation on cryptozoology has a decidedly more (shall we say) intimate motivation.

About which, allow me to assure you, it does not.  Eight-foot-tall hairy proto-hominids are not my thing.

Nor is the Loch Ness Monster.  Just to clear that up as well.  Although in the interest of honesty, one of my books does have a scene with a guy having sex with a Japanese fox spirit, resulting in unfortunate consequences for all concerned.  But I didn't write it because it turned me on, it's because it was critical to the plot.

Really it was.

Anyhow, that'll teach me to take two weeks off.  I'm just glad that the story progressed in such a fashion that I could write about it without being hopelessly behind the times.  And now, I'm heading off to do some writing.  Today's search: "How low does a person's blood pressure have to drop before they lose consciousness?"  Hope the FBI agent assigned to me isn't disappointed at the fact that this one is only about killing people, not about kinky sex.


This week's book recommendation is especially for people who are fond of historical whodunnits; The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson.  It chronicles the attempts by Dr. John Snow to find the cause of, and stop, the horrifying cholera epidemic in London in 1854.

London of the mid-nineteenth century was an awful place.  It was filled with crashing poverty, and the lack of any kind of sanitation made it reeking, filthy, and disease-ridden.  Then, in the summer of 1854, people in the Broad Street area started coming down with the horrible intestinal disease cholera (if you don't know what cholera does to you, think of a bout of stomach flu bad enough to dehydrate you to death in 24 hours).  And one man thought he knew what was causing it -- and how to put an end to it.

How he did this is nothing short of fascinating, and the way he worked through to a solution a triumph of logic and rationality.  It's a brilliant read for anyone interested in history, medicine, or epidemiology -- or who just want to learn a little bit more about how people lived back in the day.

[If you purchase the book from Amazon using the image/link below, part of the proceeds goes to supporting Skeptophilia!]

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