Monday, May 3, 2010

Bigoot Bloggers: An Endangered Species?

Recently, several bigfoot related blogs have disappeared. Some of the writers of these now defunct blogs gave reasons for their shutting down their sites while others did not. The Blogsquatcher, Skookum Quest, and The Search for Big Red Eye sites, to name a few, have all gone the way of the dinosaurs (The Search for Big Red Eye site remains up but dormant) over the last year or so. These were three quality sites with different viewpoints and thoughts on the subject of the sasquatch, as well as other subjects from time to time, that I miss. I could name others but you get the point. It seems there have been a lot of sites that are shuttering their doors all at approximately the same time. The question is why? What is going on?

The reasons for getting out of this field are likely as varied and unique as are the researchers/bloggers themselves. I do think the one common theme is one of frustration. In my opinion, there are basically three areas of frustration that those who invest themselves in searching for and writing about this creature have to endure. These frustrations would be the lack of, and the inability to obtain, hard physical evidence, the lack of respect for the subject from mainstream media and scientific establishment, and last, but definitely not the least, the lack of civility shown between groups and individuals who, supposedly, have the same ultimate goal of discovering this animal in mind.

The inability to bring in a body or obtain solid physical or photographic evidence year after year has discouraged many who have sought the sasquatch. It is especially hard for those who have seen one of these creatures and know they exist. This frustration is compounded nearly exponentially if the person has told others of his/her sighting. This factor also weighs heavily on any scientist or academic that puts himself "out there" by even entertaining the possibility that the sasquatch is a real animal. It seems things go one of two ways for these folks most of the time. Some, Rene Dahinden comes to mind, become obsessed with finding the creature. This obsession can, and has, led to divorces, broken families, lost reputations, and financial ruin. Obsession, in general, is an unhealthy thing and leads to an unbalanced life where everything besides the subject of said obsession suffers. The end is generally sad and lonely for these folks. Often it works out a little differently. Sometimes the person in question eventually just burns out and hangs it up. Their best efforts have failed to turn up the evidence they desired, they are chided and derided about their interest in the subject, and just get tired of, seemingly, banging their head against a wall. These folks decide their pursuit is fruitless and, in some cases, unhealthy so they just turn their back on the whole subject and walk away. This seems to be the type of frustration, in my opinion, that led D.B. Donlon, the Blogsquatcher, to hang it up. I don't for one minute think Mr. Donlon no longer finds the subject interesting. I do think he has come to the conclusion that, for him, the pursuit of answers to the sasquatch enigma is an unhealthy pursuit.

The second sort of frustration felt by many who show an interest in the subject of sasquatch is the lack of respect for the subject shown by the mainstream media and scientific establishment. The subject is, more often than not, treated with disdain by "real" scientists. To show interest in the bigfoot phenomenon is often akin to committing career suicide. Dr. Grover Krantz was denied tenure for years because of his insistence on pursuing his interest in the sasquatch. It is my understanding that several years ago a faction of the Idaho State University faculty wrote a letter to the University president and/or Board of Regents demanding that Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum cease his very public pursuit of the facts behind the sasquatch mystery. This faction stated that Dr. Meldrum was, and I paraphrase here, embarrassing the university. Nothing came of the campaign and Dr. Meldrum remains at Idaho State University. However, I have to believe that there is a palpable tension on that campus between Dr. Meldrum, his supporters, and at least some of his fellow faculty members. The mainstream media is a horse of a different color. The print media, at its worst, treats reports about the sasquatch as a complete joke. Witnesses are portrayed as buffoons and uneducated bumpkins. Stories are often reserved for "special" occasions like April Fool's Day and Halloween. At their best, the print media plants tongue firmly in cheek when dealing with a bigfoot related story. Often, most of an article is fine until the last few lines are read. It seems most reporters can't just report the story. They just have to interject a little jab of some kind as if to show their readers that they are not being taken in by such foolishness. The type of treatment the subject receives from the electronic media varies wildly. Some programs have actually been quite good. National Geographic's recent special "Bigfoot" was probably the best program on the subject I have seen. However, not too long ago, National Geographic produced one of the most laughable hack jobs on the subject I've ever seen on their Is It Real? program. The Discovery Channel's "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science" was good as was the History Channel's "Giganto: The Real King Kong". It seems, however, for each decent program on the subject there is a terrible one that seems to have set out to discredit the entire subject. I've seen programs where serious scientists were interviewed only to be followed by the "I was a bigfoot love slave" claimants. To be lumped in with these people is infuriating, demeans serious scientific analyses, and leads to distrust of the media as a whole by witnesses and researchers who never really know how they will be portrayed on a given program. To be assured that you will be treated respectfully only to be portrayed as a simpleton once the editing is complete is disheartening and, if it happens often enough, can lead to people just throwing up their hands and walking away.

Lately, it seems, that one of the biggest reasons people abandon the subject is due to the fact individual researchers and groups just can't seem to get along. The sniping, backbiting, and pettiness that goes on between those looking into this subject is truly staggering and something that I've never completely understood. I suppose some of it is due to a feeling of being in competition with one another but I think it goes beyond that. We, as a society, seem to have lost the ability to disagree with one another without getting overly emotional and irrational. You see it in the political realm every single day. If someone doesn't agree with you, they are obviously an idiot and possibly dangerous. Civil debate and discourse is dead. Much of this, no doubt, comes from insecurity. Many of the so-called "experts" in sasquatch research are anything but in reality. When called out on half-baked theories that have no basis in fact or for reaching conclusions based on shoddy science they lash out with personal attacks against anyone who would dare question them. Another source of hostility between researchers stems from different philosophies when it comes to evaluating witness testimony. I, for one, just don't automatically believe everything I am told when someone claims to have seen a sasquatch. I probe a bit. I look for inconsistencies. I investigate to see if it is possible they are mistaking a known animal for a sasquatch. I try to discern if they are telling me the truth. Some think that to question a witness is akin to badgering them. To not take their claims at face value is disrespectful. This leads to some pretty serious disagreements at times. I, myself, was criticized in some circles for some of my thoughts in regard to my investigation on the San Antonio sasquatch sighting several months back because I did not find the witnesses to be credible. I have seen some amazing claims made on some forums that are simply beyond belief. I saw a string where one person claimed to have a pack of these animals living on their land. This person's children, it was claimed, played with bigfoot juveniles daily in their back yard and were taught to catch fish with their bare hands and to swim by the sasquatch parents. When I asked this person why they had not taken a photograph of these incredible events they replied cryptically that they wanted to protect the bigfoot family from outsiders. When I commented that broadcasting to the world about these events seemed to be inconsistent with the stated goal of protecting the animals I was dressed down by dozens of other forum participants. I stated that I didn't understand why, if you really wanted the animals to remain unmolested and all of these events to remain a secret, you would say anything at all. To tell these sorts of tales is to invite questions and attention. It didn't jibe with me then and it still doesn't now. If it were possible to be tarred and feathered via the world-wide-web it would have happened to me that day. To question, to probe, to investigate is simply not welcome behavior in some circles. These differences in philosophy are incompatible. When disagreements arise, comments bordering on slander are often thrown around for months on various sites. After a while some simply no longer have the energy to fight the good fight and defend themselves. They get sick of childish name-calling and arguments. Soon, if bloggers are not careful, all that is being written are rebuttals to the theories of others or posts defending themselves from some attack by another researcher or group. It is something one can get a belly full of in a fairly short amount of time. Some choose to just walk away for good instead of engaging in such nonsense.

I don't know exactly how much these three types of frustrations are playing into these bloggers decisions to walk away. I truly believe that to some degree these factors have affected them all. It is just my opinion. Looking back on this post, which is much longer than I intended, I see that I have possibly projected my own frustrations onto these writers and thinkers who have chosen to discontinue their work in this subject area. However, I think, given the subject matter, that is unavoidable to some degree.

Please feel free to comment below. I am curious to hear what people think about my thoughts on this. I am not threatened if someone disagrees with me. I ask only that you keep it civil. I will look forward to hearing from some of you. This could get interesting.

8 comments:

  1. I pretty much think you nailed it as far as why these folks are vanishing. However,in regards to the Blogsquatcher, you might want to look at Mike Rugg's latest video posting.

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  2. I would be glad to check it out. Where would be the best place to view it?

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  3. Mike,

    Here you go.
    The Bigfoot Discovery Museum Show: Episode 147
    http://www.bigfootdiscoveryproject.com/media.php

    Chris
    Dallas, TX

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  4. Episode 147.
    http://www.bigfootdiscoveryproject.com/media.php

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  5. I watched Mike Rugg's video posting. I'm not sure I agree that D.B. Donlon quit writing on the subject because the, to quote Mike, "paranormal stuff was piling up." Donlon always seemed more than open to the possibility that bigfoot could be something more than just another flesh and blood creature. I do think many just don't know what to make of the reports that include "high strangeness", however.

    Thanks for the heads up on the video.

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  6. Good post. The negative comments can get one down. You know, always wondering if it (whatever is being talked about) is a hoax or not and just plain calling people liars. I've had good results by allowing ones to comment anonymously. This of course can lead to ...well, lead to all kinds of untruths. But, I feel it works at Bigfoot Ballyhoo. www.bigfootballyhoo.blogspot.com

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  7. It's just bizarre, people.

    We have plenty of credible witness accounts that cover the paranormal flavor of the BF phenomenon, and still some researchers cannot get past the flesh and blood explanation.

    If we can embrace the idea that these huge cryptids could be extradimensional, or working at the behest of some higher intelligence, ie., Alien technology) then we can begin to explain more of the stranger parts of this mystery.

    There is still the difficulty of misinformation, however. The Military/Government contingent would gain nothing by announcing the existence story, and would only bring down the house in terms of public scrutinies. So we need to be on guard as to the potential use of 'disclosure', the same way that the disclosure of Aliens among us would really toss the scat into the fan.

    I predict that we will never truly know Bigfoot as an living breathing entity, nor as a dimension-crossing spectre, but only as a scary beast, designed to keep humans in wonderment, and to haunt our imaginations.

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  8. I got led here from the Texas Bigfoot site. I'm impressed.

    You'll see me as DWA on Cryptomundo (and I may actually have met you at TX Bigfoot 2009, and if I did and forgot well my bad).

    Good piece. Great points. I'm amazed you're still at it. But the evidence says stay at it; and scientists should only listen to two things: themselves and the evidence.

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