As promised, I am going to attempt to breathe some new life into the blog in 2021 so here we go. I receive a LOT of correspondence and get many questions about a variety of topics. I enjoy getting those emails and messages but I do end up answering a lot of the same questions over and over. That being the case, I thought I would make my first post of the year one in which I addressed the most frequently asked questions I get. Some of the questions are personal in nature while others are more cryptid specific.
Question: How did you become interested in cryptozoology?
Answer: I have been interested since I was a young boy. In the early 1970s, my grandmother took my brothers and me to a movie. I do not recall what the movie was that day, but I do vividly remember seeing the Patterson-Gimlin footage in a short feature before it started. I was mesmerized. It just looked real to me. I was hooked from that point forward. Television shows like In Search of… and The Six-Million Dollar Man along with movies like The Legend of Boggy Creek only solidified my interests.
Question: How many people are part of your organization?
Answer: If referring to the Texas Cryptid Hunter site, it is just me. I have had some great folks volunteer to visit sighting locations and send me photos from time to time, but there is no membership or staff.
Question: How long have you been investigating bigfoot and other cryptids?
Answer: I have been actively engaged in field work since 2005.
Question: Are you the same Mike Mayes who is Chairman of the NAWAC?
Question: Have you ever seen a sasquatch or another type of cryptid?
Answer: Yes. I had a sighting of what I believe was a sasquatch in the Sam Houston National Forest in May of 2005. Since, I have three times caught glimpses of animals I strongly believe were wood apes in the Ouachita Mountains of southeast Oklahoma, including one just weeks ago. I have also seen one of the hairless canines news outlets have taken to calling “chupacabras” and many Texans refer to as “blue dogs.”
Question: What do you say to skeptics who deny the existence of the sasquatch or wood ape?
Answer: I find I do not worry too much about what skeptics think. I believe anyone who takes the time to seriously – and that is the key word – look into the bigfoot phenomenon with an open mind will, at the very least, come away feeling that a closer look at the topic is warranted. I fully admit that the evidence is not yet strong enough to conclusively prove these creatures exist (more on that later), but believe a properly funded entity (National Geographic Society, major university, etc.) could obtain concrete evidence if willing to commit the proper resources and time.
Question: Many scientists deny the existence of bigfoot because they have spent many years in the field and have never seen one. How is it that they have never had a sighting?
Answer: How did the okapi stay hidden so long? The truth is that practically no one is looking for the sasquatch. Even field biologists spend most of their time in labs or at universities. The actual amount of time in the field for most is usually pretty limited and they tend to be funded by grants that dictate the specific research they are to be conducting. There is no time or money for “bigfoot hunting.” I would add the majority of witnesses state something along the lines of "I've hunted for X years and never seen anything like that" or "I've lived here my whole life and have never seen anything unusual." These animals are extremely furtive and these sorts of statements are the norm rather than the exception. Most people who spend time in the woods won't see them.
Question: With all the trail and surveillance cameras out there, why are there no photos of wood apes?
Answer: Most trail cameras are placed by hunters watching feeders and/or food plots. Even these cameras are rarely left up year round. There are often regulations that limit how long cameras are allowed to be left up on public land. Too, these cameras are rarely deep into the wilderness where I believe these animals spend most of their time. A hunter typically places his cameras no more than 100-300 yards off a road or an ATV trail. As for surveillance cameras, there are not many of them out in the middle of the forest. Having said that, there are at least a few extremely compelling images and videos that have been captured. The fact that they have garnered so little attention from the scientific community proves that no photo or video will ever be enough to get this species officially documented.
Question: Why have we not found the body/bones of a sasquatch?
Answer: Nature simply does not allow a body to last very long. In a true wilderness, environmental factors like temperature, humidity, insects, scavengers, and acidic soils work to “clean up” a body very quickly. Think about how often the body of a bear or mountain lion – two species that are almost certainly more prolific than wood apes – that died of natural causes are found in the woods. The answer, of course, is almost never. Consider, too, that many animals often seek the most remote and inaccessible location possible when they are sick or injured (think about a sick dog that hides under the porch of a house). Should an animal die in one of these locations, the chances of a human hiker or hunter finding it are pretty small. I do feel it is possible bones have been found and were misidentified and left behind due to their not being thought of as anything special. Outside of a skull or pelvis, most bones are not easily identifiable to laymen.
Question: Do you believe it is necessary to collect a specimen in order to prove the species exists?
Answer: Yes, I do. It may be unsavory to many – and I understand that – but science requires a body. It really is that simple. A compelling photograph or an anomalous DNA sample might get the attention of some in the scientific community, but for the species to be officially recognized, it will take a specimen. That is just the way science works.
Question: If bigfoot is an endangered species, won’t collecting a specimen increase the odds of of it going extinct?
Answer: No, I do not believe that. The collection of one individual should have no effect on the entire population of animals. The key here is to think in terms of a population as opposed to thinking of an individual. Collecting one – and one is all I would approve of - in order to save the population is worthwhile. The government will never set aside preserves or sanctuaries or legally protect the wood ape until it moves from the realm of myth and cable television into the pantheon of known and documented creatures. If the collection of one specimen is enough to send the species spiraling into the abyss of extinction, the animal is functionally extinct already.
Question: Why don’t you just try to tranquilize a specimen and capture it instead?
Answer: The short answer is that such an undertaking is immensely complicated, expensive, and dangerous. Tranquilizing an animal – especially one as large as most wood apes are reputed to be – is an extremely dicey undertaking. I think it would be all but impossible. For more on this topic, listen to the latest episode of the NAWAC’s official podcast, The Apes Among Us, titled “Exploring Alternative Paths to Discovery.”
As you can see, most of the questions I get are in regard to the bigfoot phenomenon. The sasquatch remains the undisputed “king of the cryptids” when it comes to public interest. For more answers to the most commonly asked wood ape questions, see my Sasquatch FAQ Series.
Check back soon as I have several other posts in the works including new black panther reports, historical bigfoot sightings, and an update on the NAWAC’s “Hadrian’s Wall” camera project.