Drumming for Bigfoot

Cliff Barackman drumming in the woods to find Bigfoot
I was napping in my comfy chair next to the fireplace, here in my secluded cabin somewhere in the dense wilderness of northwestern PA, and woke abruptly when my smartphone went “b-bloop” on the table beside me.

Glancing across the room I noted the time on my old wall clock, 10:45AM. It was the day after Christmas, and I had been sleeping in my chair all night. That Macallan 18 really worked a number on me. Querying my cell phone I saw that the actual time, according to my service provider, was 10:54AM. Need to correct the old clock, it has always run slow.

An informant had sent me a text message regarding a new Facebook post by Finding Bigfoot, and it was accompanied by the photo above, Cliff Barackman playing marching band concert toms in the woods. My contact works closely with high level officials in a clandestine government agency, and affords me much insight into top secret intel regarding our governments’ involvement with various paranormal and mysterious subject matter.

The message accompanying the photo read, “Get a load of this…”

Despite the multitude of questions and comments one might entertain regarding such an activity — performing drums in a remote wooded area in an effort to inspire communication with alleged, elusive, hairy, upright walking primates — the first one that popped into my head was, “why?”

Short answer? Who the fuck cares?!

Long answer? Dumb activities to increase TV show ratings because, let’s face it, everyone likes to watch a train wreck.

Fictional answer, devised by yours truly:
This is a good one, and I bet there are some people out there who will regard it as maybe not too far from plausible, even though I made it up.

Cliff’s drums are tuned to specific pitches and intervals in order to, when played in the right sequence, trigger the secret code on a hidden door to an underground base where robot Bigfeet are manufactured, stored and periodically released to walk around in the woods to scare people away from the clandestine government agency my covert contact is associated with.

Bigfoot Beast from Scooby DooThe agency expected that Scooby and the gang would inevitably show up at some point to uncover their mischievous deeds. Turned out to be Bobo and the boys of Finding Bigfoot.

Oh, and regardless of whether or not Bigfoot are real (and you’ll notice that I used the correct plural form), I’m sure the resounding concussion of concert toms through the woods scared the shit out of any creature, real or imagined, within range of the noise!

Mountain Monsters on Destination America

I don’t always get the greatest cell phone reception up here in the wilderness of northwestern Pennsylvania. The spooky mountains that surround my home may be high, but they are very remote too. Hard put tuning in any decent FM rock stations, the nearest station I get plays country music.

Three cheers for satellite TV and broadband internet! I can stream music from thousands of stations and choose from hundreds of channels on TV. Mostly crap these days with all the stupid reality shows, but there is some good stuff.

I remember the trip home from Walmart with my new TV just the other night. As I drove along the dark roads of this far-removed area I thought how fitting it would be for a Devil Dog or Dogman to leap out at me from the woods beside the road. Active imagination.

mountain_monsters_promoAfter returning home, unpacking and hooking up my new TV, I saw a preview for a new show. Another show about monsters in the woods has found it’s way to televisions across America: Mountain Monsters. I thought, how perfect a show for someone in so remote and woodsy a location. Bring it on!

Ghost and monster shows are a dime a dozen these days. After a lull in this sort of thing following In Search Of… and Arthur C. Clark’s Mysterious World back in the 70s and early 80s — except for one-off episodes on various TV shows throughout the 80s — an interest in the paranormal and mystery monsters has seen a huge resurgence since the mid 90s spurred on by growth of the World Wide Web and perpetuated by an eager audience.

The popularity of ghosts, monsters and mysteries across the web has translated to television. Success of shows like The X-Files has proven that there is a big market for the paranormal, monsters and mystery.

Investigation-style shows abound. Most of them are pretty lame, much the same half-baked treatment of paranormal and ghostly topics which began with Ghost Hunters. Since first airing on October 6 2004, Ghost Hunters has spawned Ghost Hunters International, and through the ensuing years we’ve seen more shows pop up, some short-lived, some achieving some success. You can find paranormal and cryptozoological themes on Animal Planet, A&E, SyFy, Destination America, the History Channel and more.

Shows include Destination Truth (SyFy), Paranormal State (A&E), Paranormal Cops (A&E), Ghost Adventures (Travel Ch.), Most Terrifying Places in America (Travel Ch.), MonsterQuest (History Ch.), Finding Bigfoot (Animal Planet). Matt, Bobo, Cliff and Ranae have had great success with Finding Bigfoot, now starting their fourth season.

At first glance Mountain Monsters may seem to be just another lame knock off with some different cryptids, and hokey personalities, but some viewers have responded favorably. A few posts I’ve read online indicate that in some ways Mountain Monsters is actually more entertaining and better produced than Finding Bigfoot.

My first impression, after seeing that preview, was “Oh boy, here we go again…” But I admit, I have yet to watch my first episode, so I’ll head over to Amazon to check out a few before I cast my vote, and before the next one airs on TV this Saturday. I may chime in again on this show at a later date when I have more information.

UPDATE: The show sucks. Same old nonsense with dudes roaming around in them thar woods looking for monsters. I did that shit when I was 10!

Ketchum Sasquatch DNA – Human Bigfoot Hybrid

Dr. Melba Ketchum. Bigfoot DNA SequencingIn November of 2012 a report was released by DNA Diagnostics, well, a press release really. The following claim was made:

Our study has sequenced 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and utilized next generation sequencing to obtain 3 whole nuclear genomes from purported Sasquatch samples. The genome sequencing shows that Sasquatch mtDNA is identical to modern Homo sapiens, but Sasquatch nuDNA is a novel, unknown hominin related to Homo sapiens and other primate species. Our data indicate that the North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens.

A few things smell funny about that claim from Dr. Melba Ketchum (pictured above). The first thing that wafts of a wet Sasquatch is that in her official statement about Bigfoot DNA sequencing she uses the exact phrase “…testing the DNA of purported Sasquatch hair samples…”

The study is flawed to begin with since the scientist — and I use the term loosely — refers to the material examined as purportedly belonging to the subject in question. You don’t run a DNA test of purported evidence for a creature we only have anecdotal and questionable evidence for in the first place, and then claim you’ve made some amazing scientific discovery. It’s bogus.

Could Bigfoot exist? Sure, why not. But we don’t do DNA testing on something to determine it’s origin, unless we know we have something. Get it?

The other issue is the credibility of this “scientific journal” Ketchum’s report was finally published on. I say “on” because it’s an online-only journal, and I quote “scientific journal” because the site in question came into existence very shortly after Ketchum’s study was turned down by mainstream science journals. How convenient.

Ketchum, unable to actually prove where the DNA came from — which negates the study from the start anyway — apparently referred to the DNA as “angel DNA.” Why? Does she actually think there are angels who’s DNA we can obtain and test? Does she think Bigfoot are angels, or somehow not of this world?

Scientific study is about developing plausible theories based on observation, then testing those theories with rigorous experiments to disprove the theory. That’s how science works. That’s why science works. But you need legitimate evidence to examine in the first place, not purported evidence.

In the case of Sasquatch mainstream science has generally been off the case because even a passing examination of the idea that these creatures exist clearly indicates that they probably do not. I’m sure there are many scientists who would love to look closer at the subject of Bigfoot if more compelling evidence were provided. That fact is, anything provided is the same old blurry crap. The field of Squatchdom is rife with hoaxes, people who want their 15 mintutes of fame, and people who just want to believe in something.

Montana Bigfoot Hoaxer Killed by Car

You’ve no doubt heard the story. Montana man Randy Lee Tenley, 44, was struck and killed while running across highway 93 near Kalispell. He was apparently dressed in a Ghillie suit — a camouflage outfit designed to resemble folliage, used by hunters and the military — authorities say that alcohol may have been a factor in the tragic event.

Tenley was not alone, and authorities learned the details of the prank from Tenley’s friend. Tenley was indeed attempting to make people driving on the highway think they were seeing a Bigfoot. The hoax tragically backfired when Tenley was struck by a car, and then run over by a second vehicle.

In the wake of this disaster I would like to offer a public service announcement…

Would-Be Bigfoot Hoaxers, do NOT attempt to perpetrate a Bigfoot hoax by running across any roadway, a wooded back road or a major highway! Planning such a crazy stunt is dangerous and potentially fatal, as we see from this sad story.

If you must perpetrate a hoax, walk across someone’s back yard or through a field somewhere, and I strongly suggest you know the target of your hoax so you don’t get shot at. And whatever you do, DO NOT attempt to pull-off a Sasquatch Hoax during hunting season! And watch out for Squatchers that are PRO-Shoot in the quest to find this incredibly elusive beast. They want a body, and you don’t want to be it!

Please be advised… Hoaxing Bigfoot is not a safe past time, especially if you’re under the influence of alcohol.

Now, just so there is no mistake, Strange Encounters is by no means belittling the fate of the man who was accidentally struck by two motor vehicles as he ran across highway 93 near Kalispell, Montana. Of course this is a tragedy. Anytime someone loses their life by any means is, in my book, a tragedy, but accidents like this can be avoided.

Be careful out there!

Did Minnesota Hunter’s Trail Cam Capture Bigfoot?

Did a Minnesota hunter's trail cam capture Bigfoot?
Did a Minnesota hunter’s trail cam capture bigfoot? Doubt it. The figure in this photo looks so much like a man in a costume that we really shouldn’t waste time drawing any other conclusions or speculating.

That’s what is called using “Occam’s razor,” which states, “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity,” or, the simplest explanation is often the most accurate, so we need not offer explanations that require additional assumption. Whether the hunter is part of the hoax, or is the victim of a hoax, is unclear. But what is abundantly clear is that it is either a hoax, or a coincidence.

What coincidence? Maybe a guy walked by the camera in his snow suit or something. As for a hoax, there are many things one could wear to perpetrate such a hoax. A ghillie suit, which hunters use as camouflage, could be used to make a bigfoot hoax, but often they aren’t quite this dark. And if this is a ghillie suit, it’s a cheap one.

I would lean toward a snow suit coincidence, or a gorilla suit. And here’s a gorilla suit that would work perfectly in the trail camera photo (see image at right). A post over at Cryptomundo.com seems to support the idea of a hoax.

If we want to know for sure that creatures like Bigfoot are real, and find evidence to support that claim, we need to be able to weed out the crap. This is crap.

Robert Rines: Much More than a Monster Hunter

The lore of the Loch Ness Monster has intrigued and entertained since the early 1930s, when a husband and wife allegedly watched a large, long-necked creature lumber across the road in front of their car, headed toward the deep dark waters of the loch it called home.

Surgeons Photo of Hoaxed Loch Ness Monster
Surgeon's Photo of Hoaxed Loch Ness Monster

The following year a surgeon brought forth a photograph he had taken of the alleged creature, which has become one of the most iconic images attached to the legend. That photo has been subsequently proven a hoax — nothing more than a sculpted neck and head attached to a small toy submarine, being towed, or tugged along the surface of the loch.

Anecdotal evidence, and interesting photographic evidence has piled up since then, but many are proven hoaxes, and others are not substantial enough to be considered difinitive proof of the existence of a mysterious loch-dwelling monster fondly referred to as Nessie.

Fin photo taken during Rines Loch Ness Expedition.
Enhanced 'Fin' photo taken during Rines' Loch Ness Expedition.

One image does stand out as at least more perplexing than others before, and it has become another of the most famous photos associated with the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster. It was captured during an investigation of the loch by Robert Rines.

A true renaissance man, Rines was founder of the Academy of Applied Science, and held a Bachelor in Sciences from M.I.T., as well as a Ph.D. He helped devlop the Microwave Early Warning System during his service in World War II, as a U.S. Army Signal Corps officer.

Rines was also an accomplished musician and composer, creating music for Broadway and off-Broadway plays. He held over 800 patents, and his inventions are at work behind technologies like high-resolution image-scanning radar and ultrasound scanning, the ladder of which has been used for both underwater searches for the wrecks of the Titanic and the Bismarck, even the Loch Ness Monster, as well as ultrasound imaging of the internal human body.

Rines passed away on November 1, 2009, at the age of 87.

The original version of Rines’ photo does not truly reveal much more than bubbles and underwater turbulence. Subsequent enhancements of this photo have produced an image that bears an incredible resemblance to a diamond shaped flipper. But it seems that these enhancements were made to bring out what people wanted to see.

Rines’ contributions to science, education, and his other areas of endeavor somewhat overshadow his investigative acheivements at Loch Ness, but he was part of the hunt as it were. And is heralded by many as someone who has brought great proof to light in support of the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. But when his findings are looked at for what they are, we see that he actually may have done more in proving there is really nothing there.

Click Here for more information on Robert Rine.