The Three Different Areas of Bigfoot Research.

This article was first published in the May, 2011 issue of the Bigfoot Discovery Museum Newsletter, Vol 6, Number 1. 

All bigfoot reports break down into three distinct research arenas (referring back to the origin of all reports—alleged eyewitnesses):

1. The Mythical Bigfoot–– includes legends, traveler’s tales, Jungian archetypes, imagination, Munchausenism (tall tales to gain attention), hoaxes, misidentification, psychoses and mass hysteria.

This is the type of bigfoot we can all agree on, scientists and nonscientists alike; these are the type of reports the skeptics concentrate on to show bigfoot is not real.

2. The Biological Bigfoot (Flesh & Blood) -– includes stories of close encounters, anomalous calls in the night, and habituation backed by evidentiary materials such as footprints, hairs, scat plus corollary evidence such as alleged shelters and trail markers.

This is the one the majority of researchers are interested in, as it can be proven with scientific methodology, if it is indeed real, through diligent research.

3. The Paranormal Bigfoot –– incorporates telepathy, invisibility, shape-shifting, channeling, interdimensional travel, and can involve being seen in and about UFOs.

This type of bigfoot report has inspired many science-fiction characters such as Ewoks and Wookies, but has been traditionally ignored by most researchers due to the difficulty involved in gathering proof.

Mike and AlAmong the “pro”(its real) bigfoot crowd, researchers have traditionally stayed with the bipedal hominoid theory, and tend to argue whether or not its specifically an ape or some sort of aboriginal human. The “con” (bigfoot is not real) side of the argument has tended to suggest all bigfoot evidence is fake, and all eye witnesses are either mistaken or lying.

The paranormalists are largely ignored by both sides: scientists in general will not accept anything as real until it can be replicated under controlled laboratory conditions, the bigfooters tend to put down the paranormal because they don’t want to “explain one mystery with another.” They suggest other bigfooters who fall into this line of thinking are giving up too soon by invoking the paranormal as a last resort because they already are convinced that bigfoot does exist and since the proof still eludes us, they MUST BE PARANORMAL. So there are all these various hypotheses floating around out there, with each proponent decrying the other guy’s theory is wrong. What if in actuality they are all correct, in one instance or another? WHAT IF nobody is totally correct, but everybody has some of the truth, and ALL THE ABOVE TYPES OF BIGFOOT DO EXIST IN REALITY? They all most certainly do exist in the minds of certain witnesses.

Anthropologists have maintained a dogma for quite some time that there have never been any apes in the Western Hemisphere other than Homo sapiens. Yet when you enter into cryptoprimatology, the first thing you notice is that these unknown apes are ubiquitous. They’re everywhere there is ample undeveloped forest, water and food, including North, Central and South America. Indigenous peoples from these areas have described apelike beings living in the jungles and forests of the Western Hemisphere for thousands of years, yet our scientists stick by the dogma mentioned above. We know there are and have been a multitude of apes all over the Eastern Hemisphere since the Miocene, and before that there were the precursors to the monkeys- –prosimians— all over the planet in both hemispheres. So why didn’t any wood apes or jungle apes evolve from monkeys here in the West? Well maybe they did and “science” is just in denial of their existence just as they were once in denial of the existence of the modern Gorilla, Giant Panda and Duck-billed Platypus.

EnochWe are now in the midst of what is purported to be a “breakthrough” in the ongoing discovery of bigfoot. Melba Ketchum and Adrian Erickson say they have proof of a flesh and blood bigfoot. Ketchum has been working with various tissues and body parts that were supplied to her by a number of bigfoot researchers in her forensics lab (DNA Diagnostics, Inc.) and is preparing a paper which we hope will prove that some bigfoot do exist, based on DNA sequencing. This is the first time in the history of bigfoot awareness that so many researchers have come together to pool their findings in a single lab. Erickson has assembled a research team including an Ivy league evolutionary biologist, to attempt documentation of several bigfoot habituations brought to their attention by experiencers in several parts of North America. Erickson has supplied some of the biological specimens being studied by Ketchum, and claims to have upwards of forty video clips depicting these beings in the wild. Incidentally, there have been a number of recently published books on bigfoot habituation, that further backs up these studies. So we appear to be on the edge of officially discovering some flesh & blood bigfoot. What’s ironic about this is the fact that a number of authors have recently come out with books that espouse the paranormal bigfoot, and a number of on-the-fence researchers now seem to be moving in that direction as well.

So what else is going on? Conspiracy theories. MK Davis and some others, encouraged by some purported film evidence combined with some extreme historical theories, has suggested that there was a mass murder of Sasquatches perpetrated in Bluff Creek in 1967 by a number of Canadian researchers in cahoots with a couple of the early California researchers, and that this has been kept secret now for over 40 years. So why did these men—who spent the greater part of their adult lives proclaiming the reality of bigfoot and attempting to convince others of its reality—hide the ultimate evidence? Because after killing several in self-defense they discovered they were human, and opted to hide the evidence for fear of prosecution. So they have continued their research, insisting that bigfoot is an ape, all the while keeping this “dark secret.” One of these men was just honored with an event celebrating his lifetime achievement as a bigfoot research pioneer! Remember what I said about the bickering and name calling? Some researchers are accusing others of murder and suggesting they must be liars if they won’t submit to lie detector tests. Does it get any more extreme than this? 

I want to make some predictions as to where this is all headed, at least in the near future, but first I want to point out a few scientific discoveries that have occurred in the last decade which lend credence to the subject at hand.

1.) On a small island in Indonesia called Flores some paleoanthropologists have excavated the skeletal remains of a dozen Hobbit-like individuals who were all diminutive in size (a little over three feet in height). They have named them Homo floresiensis, and consider them to be another species of human.

2.) Recently the entire genome of Neandertal was sequenced, and comparison with various haplogroups of living humans indicates that a great many of us share up to 4% of our DNA with Neandertal. In other words, our Homo sapiens ancestors sometimes mated with these “cave men.” (See illustration below about Homo neandertalis)

Homo neandertalis

3.) For decades people indigenous to certain parts of the Congo region in Central Africa have spoken of apes they refer to as “lion killers.” Said to be chimpanzees the size of gorillas, these apes were the subject of a Michael Crichton book Congo which was considered to be fiction when it was made into a film. Now, and for over two years a team of scientists have been studying these chimps. They are named for the territory, “Bili apes.

4.) Recently paleoanthropologists discovered a finger bone and a tooth in a cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia which belong to a previously unknown human type dubbed the “Denisovans,” (the name of the cave in which the bones were found). The end result of all this is that most scientists, who once agreed that by 40,000 y.a. there were ony two human species still alive on the planet (Homo sapiens & Homo neandertalis), now think there were as many as five humans co-existing as recently as 30,000 y.a. (The first two plus Homo erectus, Homo floresiensis and the Denisovans). I would point out that at least one scientist has admitted these discoveries do seem to add a whole lot more plausibility to the bigfoot phenomenon being grounded in reality.

Early Human Migration

My prediction is that there are a number of hominoids that account for mystery primate sightings in the biological arena. Bear in mind this is a global phenomenon that has been going on since the beginning of history. Some are gracile and some are robust, they come in a wide variety of human hair colors, some have language and some don’t, and some propogate via inbreeding at least part of the time. In my opinion they are as follows: 

A. Relict Humans (an ancestral species of human that did not become extinct) This would be a full blooded Homo ancestor such as Meganthropus or Heidelbergensis, for example or another unknown human species

B. Throwback Human Hybrids (x chromosomes= Homo sapiens; Y chromosome= Relict human)

C. Feral Humans (x = Homo sapiens; Y = Homo sapiens) totally off the grid

D. Known Apes seen out of place geographically (chimp, orang, etc.)

E. Cryptid Apes (Contemporary descendent of Gigantopithecus or other unknown bipedal ape)

I’m guessing the current DNA sequencing being undertaken in Texas and elsewhere will lend support to several parts of the above theory once all the samples are tested. I suspect that there will be a knee-jerk negative reaction from many researchers, especially those whose pet theory may not have been proven yet in the DNA samples tested at the point Ketchum’s paper and Erickson’s project are released to the public. Skeptics will be looking for signs of hoax or error and latching on to the most surprising aspects of the DNA results and blowing them out of proportion as ad hominem attacks. For example, if some of the “proof” indicates feral humans are involved, scoftics will say things like “We told you so, Bigfoot is just an inbred hillbilly, not a bipedal giant ape.” Bigfoot, as I have suggested, could be both; proof of one hypothesis does not automatically rule out all others, including hypotheses made by skeptics.

Many individuals and groups of researchers have contributed biological specimens for testing, which means many of the most active researchers will be part of the proof of discovery. I hope so, as this will help even out the playing field so we can all help solve the mystery through increased cooperation. Once we’ve proven even one type of mystery primate exists, academia and the media will hopefully take the phenomenon more seriously and funding will be made available to qualified research groups. Then we can move on to solving many more such mysteries of nature and preternature.

–Michael Rugg

Sighting along Hwy 1, just outside of Santa Cruz

(Reprinted from Volume 5, #10 of our newsletter)

hwy1-sighting1Santa Cruz, Highway 1 at the southern border of Wilder Ranch

A few years back Ric posted a sighting report on the BFRO web site about a sighting he had in April 2002 near Santa Cruz. I contacted him by emails, to follow up on his report with a personal interview. Because Ric is a vagabond and on the road quite a bit, the best I could do was to get a message phone number belonging to a friend of his. A a result, I was eventually able to speak to him by phone and get additional details on him and his sighting, which compelled me to go to the outskirts of Santa Cruz to the area he described to see if the story made sense. In other words, could I find a location right on the edge of town where he could have had the experience he described in his report? Sure enough, there is an area where a creek comes from out of the coastal mountains and passes under Highway 1, only to meander right down to the coast where it hwy1-sighting2empties into the ocean at Natural Bridges State Park. According to Ric, this is one of only two spots where the forest coming out of the mountains actually continues all the way to the ocean along the coast between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay. At least that was his impression based on the many times he’s bicycled along that stretch of the California coastline. What’s more he said that the particular area, right on the edge of town, is in sight of a blinking yellow light that hangs over the highway (at Western Drive) next to the beginning of Wilder Ranch. According to his post he pulled off the highway after midnight and started to set up camp in this cozy spot that is just spittin’ distance from the highway. As he was preparing to bed down, he became aware of something approaching, coming through the tall brush in a gully that empties out of the foothills. He heard it initially and thought perhaps it was deer until he heard a sound like something bulky breaking a limb, which made him think perhaps it was a cow approaching. Further movement of the brush and sounds of footfalls made him reconsider the source of the sounds as possibly a person attempting to sneak up on him. hwy1-sighting3That idea startled him into action, so he scooped up his sleeping bag and jumped on his bike and started peddling up the highway to put some distance between himself and the approaching subject. As he wheeled past and looked down into the gully he saw what he first thought was a person dressed in white rags, cutting a swath through the brush with his arms swinging scythe-like in front of him to clear a path. Then as he watched incredulously, he saw the figure appear to just step over a fence without breaking stride, and at that point he decided he was looking at a heavily built being that seemed to be about 8’ tall and covered in white or grey hair (rather than rags as he first thought.) At this point he decided to peddle on out of there as fast as possible, not knowing the intentions of the creature, which was almost to the spot where he had been just moments before. Ric points to the spot where he saw the bigfoot step over a four foot high fence. – Here is the view of the gully and the fence as it appeared from the “camp site.”

On Oct. 31, 2009, at 11:42 AM, Ric wrote:

Mike I’ve been to the place where I saw the giant “white” (maybe silver, maybe gray) Bigfoot by the blinking yellow light north of town,… Well it used to be north of town. Now it’s within’ the Santa Cruz city limits. I say living in Santa Cruz. I should say bicycle camping in Santa Cruz. However, I can take you to the exact spot and point out where everything happened where I was, where he (she?) was, etc., because though the spot is changed some over time, everything is still easily recognizable, and basically in the same place. I would be glad to point everything out on the exact spot if you’d like. I’m getting dental work done here in Santa Cruz so I’ll be here for a while, and at your service. It seems we also have some friends in common Jan Burke, and her husband Richard from Ben Lomond who have attended your lectures. Sincerely, Ricardo

hwy1-sighting5A few days later I went to the location and did the interview right where the event took place. It turned out to be the spot I had first discovered after his initial contact, based on his description. He seemed very sincere and demonstrated the movements of the creature as it swung its arms in a very particular pattern while pushing aside the brush. What’s even more intriguing about this story is the fact that it has been somewhat corroborated by another report I received in the museum a couple of years ago from a man who at the time was working at Lick Observatory. He told me that twenty some years ago he and several of his buddies were travelling near the Portola Redwoods up in San Mateo County. It was after dark when they pulled into the state park seeking a place to spend the night. They went to Ranger Station to get a camp site, but were told that the park was closed for winter, that no one was in the park. The men were insistent hwy1-sighting6about getting a camp site and pleaded with the ranger, stating they were extremely tired, far from home, but had little money for a motel room. The ranger took pity on them and rented them a camping space. Well, since they were the only humans in the park that night they were amusing themselves by observing the antics of several raccoons who had come by hoping for a handout. Then they decided a campfire was in order and the man making the report (call him “Jim”) and another man set off together in search of firewood. There was enough of a moon present that night so they could make their way up the trail without a flashlight. As the story goes, they were a ways into the forest when they both stopped dead in their tracks, turned and headed back to camp in a hurry. According to Jim’s recollection, neither of the two men spoke to each other about what had prompted them to stop suddenly and rush back to camp. As a matter of fact he said it wasn’t until many years later when he ran into the friend again and while reminiscing over some of their youthful exploits together, that night at the park came up and for the first time they admitted to each other they had both seen what appeared to be an 8’ tall white bigfoot! Now this not the first time I’ve heard a story like this where multiple witnesses are reticent to admit what they saw for fear of ridicule. But I think the description is even more telling, as I don’t think it silly to suggest that one particular bigfoot might be seen in the coastal foothills between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay more than once over a stretch of twenty years or more. I would guess that a bigfoot could easily range 50 or more miles through an undeveloped forest area like that, probably traveling north and south in search of food and so forth. –Michael Rugg