From Abracadabra to Zombies
reader comments: Bigfoot
04 Dec 2015
OK, you want detail?
The talk [sic] hairy, upright, bipedal thing looking me in the eye from several meters away had white sclera like a human. It was waiting to cross the road.
reply: You know this how? Telepathically?
As for Bobbie short [sic] her convincing experience was at a campout in NorCal in 1985. The aged female who walked past her, looked her in the eye from a distance even closer than mine, and dismissed her with a very human disgusted expression also had white sclera.
reply: Even a Bigfoot has a bad day occasionally, white sclera notwithstanding.
I look forward to the eventual definitive event that will suffice for you, and I expect it to appear on your website.
reply: I take it you are referring to the eventual discovery of a large ape-like creature whose habitat in northern California has heretofore remained cryptically concealed. You can definitely expect me to post the news, when it arrives, on my website.
Feel free to publish this, unedited. I will suffer what I consider your inane, twisted comments.
I do cover the problems of human perception in my classes, specifically objects on Mars.
reply: Mars? You must teach astronomy, then. Great subject.
I do not expect to convince you of anything. My motivation in incurring your scorn is to point out that more than two credentialed scientists believe they exist.
reply: Credentialed scientists believe many false things. One of the greatest minds of the 20th century believed vitamin C could cure the common cold and cancer. Blondot believed in N-rays. Pierre Curie believed in the psychic abilities of Eusapia Palladino. Several credentialed scientists do not believe that HIV causes AIDS or that humans are contributing significantly to global warming. Appeals to authority shouldn't convince you or your students that your interpretation of your perception is correct. It may be inane in your eyes, but beliefs based on personal experience regarding such things as Bigfoot, the chupacabra, aliens kidnapping people for reproductive experimentation, and the like are both highly unreliable and almost impossible to weaken with evidence or argument. Best of luck in your teaching career and keep on encouraging your students to be skeptical.
The curious reader will note that the following letter, written five years ago, is also from Wayne McKinney and goes into a bit more detail about his "sighting."
14 Nov 2010
Love your site.
Use it a lot for my Astronomy class.
Clearly no aliens since it is too far.
I have a weekly "pseudoscience minute."
Would be on your side on the Bigfoot also,
save for the thing staring back at me from the
woods on a bus trip a few years ago in Alberta.
Yeah, there is a ton of hoaxing.
Yeah, the thing exits, sorry.
You do not do Bobbie Short justice in your piece either.
PhD. who does hard science for a living.
reply: I don't know if Dr. McKinney intends it, but he seems to be saying I saw Bigfoot, therefore Bigfoot exists. He says he saw "the thing staring back a me from the woods on a bus trip a few years ago in Alberta." He also says he does "hard science" for a living. Hmm. I don't know what to say, except that a perception from a bus seat into the woods isn't exactly my idea of "hard science."
As for Bobbie Short.....Maybe I do or maybe I don't do her justice. Dr. McKinney didn't give any details. He just says it, like he says "the thing exists." He says it, so it must be so. Not my idea of hard science, either. I suggest Dr. McKinney give his students a lesson on the deception of perception and the importance of providing specific details when offering evidence for or against a claim.
18 Sep 2000
Hello..my name is Rick. In the early 70s my sister and I saw 2 Bigfoot. We were about 15 yrs. old and were not Bigfoot enthusiasts. We saw them up close. Being skeptical doesn't mean you're looking for the truth..it usually just means your coming up with alternative explanations..Bigfoot has been reported for hundreds of years.. it must be some hoax! What galls me the most is your hiding behind pseudo science to "prove" what you don't believe anyway..don't make science the universal pill for your ignorance and beliefs. You can sit in an office all day and "think" of very plausible explanations for anything. This doesn't make them true or untrue. Now tell me this..If sometime in the near future it becomes fact that Bigfoot is real, what will all your explanations amount to? I've never heard of a Bigfoot being reported in or near the city. Why? Why do people see these things only where they would really be? If someone tells me they saw a Bigfoot downtown, even I would be skeptical. And why, for example, do Bigfoot sightings all come from the southeastern part of Ohio? No sightings in western Ohio. Does that mean easterners are prone to hallucinations? What a theory you'd have there. Now suppose someone from western Ohio driving through eastern Ohio sees a Bigfoot...They've never seen one at home, but they see one now...???? open up your mind..it's a wonderful thing.
reply: You must be from the southeastern part of Ohio?
18 Sep 2000
I almost fell off my chair when I read the Bigfoot believer's comment:
"... there are never any bear corpses or bones found either, but we know they exist. Nothing goes to waste in the wild…it's all eaten."
Apparently this person has never been to a museum of natural history
or even for a walk in the woods. There are two bear skulls in a very small
museum in my area, along with skeletons of a mastodon and several dinosaurs
that obviously did go to waste.
Karl Black Belleville, MI
10 Jan 1999
You wrote that a Hollywood director [John Landis] claimed that the Patterson film was of an actor wearing a costume designed by John Chambers. Just recently I read an interview with Mr. Chambers where he was incredulous that anyone would believe this claim. He said that the technology that would be needed to even attempt this kind of "suit" certainly was not available in 1967, and that the Planet of the Apes costumes look pathetic if compared to what is on the Patterson film. That is certainly true.
reply: From what I understand, Chambers is not well and is living in a nursing home. I don't know what interview you are referring to, but he is being unnecessarily modest or disingenuous if he claimed that the costumes for Planet of the Apes "look pathetic if compared to what is on the Patterson film." Those costumes are fantastic and very realistic, even when viewed in close, as is often the case in the movie.
I'm always surprised [though I shouldn't be by this time] that people still continue to doubt what their eyes clearly see. That is not a costume. And, since thousands of people have already seen this creature and continue to see it, and have seen it for many years past, how can anyone claim this to be a hoax? That's some hoax . . .
reply: There is an old saying: She who thinks the camera doesn't lie, doesn't think. I don't doubt that the people who make sightings of Bigfoot, Nessie, Elvis, etc., are, for the most part, genuinely convinced they saw the real thing. However, if one understands the nature of perception, one should realize that what these viewers are absolutely certain of is a subjective construction built up out of the interpretation of their observations. Many sightings are due to pareidolia.
The fact that many people share the same delusion does not make the delusion any less of a delusion (witness the millions of children who see Santa Claus each year). Also, no one claims that every sighting is due to a hoax. Some are misinterpretations of visible perceptions, such as large animals or footprints enlarged due to snow melting, etc.
Another thing that makes me laugh is the question about why there are never any Bigfoot bones or dead bodies found. The response to this is always the same, and that is to point out that there are never any bear corpses or bones found either [not true; see reply below], but we know they exist. Nothing goes to waste in the wild it's all eaten.
reply: I don't frequent the habitats of bears, so I'll have to take your word for it that no one has ever found a bear corpse or bear bones (though I must admit that I doubt that this is true). [I received the following e-mail from Ian Poirier on 16 July 2009: This is in regards to your Bigfoot entry and the common myth of not finding bear carcasses in the wild. I was a porter and avid climber in the Sierras for three years when I lived in California from 1999 to 2001. I would spend weeks in the back country at a time. In those years of hiking I encountered bones and carcasses of every sizable native mammal of the Sierras. This includes quite rare animals such as the Pine Martin much further south than their usual habitat. Deer were by far the most common with bear being second. In those three years I encountered four black bear skeletons and actually still have a bear skull from one them which I packed out and kept. I have no idea where these myths get started but besides defying all logic (no predator or scavenger in the US eats bone) I can guarantee from firsthand experience that anyone who spends sufficient time in bear country will find a bear carcass. This can quite easily be verified by any guide.]
I have seen grizzly bear scat, however. It was pointed out to me by a Yellowstone ranger. Why is there no Bigfoot scat? And why has no one ever spotted a baby or adolescent Bigfoot, or a female with infant Bigfoot?
I just wanted to pass this info on to you. I believe that if you print something,
you should make sure that it's the truth. I find it odd that you would not have taken the
logical [and obvious] next step and searched for Mr. Chambers' reply to this statement.
Or, perhaps you already knew about Mr. Chambers' response but didn't want to add it to
your article for obvious reasons.
reply: Given your deep desire to help others such as myself find the truth, I am surprised that you did not mention who did this interview and where our readers can find it. The truth is often elusive, but my guess is that Patterson hoaxed us or was hoaxed by someone himself.