Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bobo And The Bigfoot!

Mike Zeck

I'm a big fan of Bigfoot shows and movies. The attempts by modern men and some few women armed with some bits and some few pieces of modern technology attempting to grapple with the vast and abiding myth of the deep woods is fascinating to watch. Legends of these creatures called many things, but often "Sasquatch" are scrutinized, sometimes too-vivid eyewitness testimony evaluated and evidence, such as it is when it's found, is gathered and examined.

The search for Bigfoot has provided focus and entertainment for many over the last several decades, essentially since the first public showings of the Patterson-Gimlin film featuring a walking disinterested Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest. One interesting study I've seen demonstrated that Bigfoot sightings did indeed exist before this famous, some would say infamous, film became part of the public consciousness, but since that time sightings have skyrocketed and have occurred all over the North American continent, not just in the Pacific Northwest.

Cliff, Bobo, Ranae, and Matt

That is the premise of Animal Planet's hit show Finding Bigfoot, which just wrapped its third season. On this most entertaining TV show, four researchers gambol across the continental U.S. looking for Bigfoot, talking to witnesses, examining evidence, and explaining the ways of this mysterious creature. Three of the four are Bigfoot believers, Matt, Cliff, and Bobo all have seen a Bigfoot they believe and are ardent followers of the Bigfoot path. The sole woman and scientist on the team, Ranae is a skeptic.

The show has become a bit of fad, as the team has looked for Bigfoot in the usual places like Oregon and Washington state, but they have also inexplicably spent time looking for the critter in Connecticut, Ohio, and New Mexico, not locales traditionally famed for Bigfoot. They inevitably wander around the woods using all manner of equipment and techniques to lure out unsuspecting Bigfoots and they inevitably fail or discover only tantalizing and at best ambiguous circumstances which might perhaps constitute evidence. Rarely alas is Occam's Razor applied to most of the "evidence" they encounter. This show is about true believers reinforcing what they believe and having a good time doing it.

Robert Crumb

I've learned a lot about Bigfoot ways watching the show. Bigfoot habitat is pretty widespread, essentially any copse of woods will be sufficient regardless of the relative presence of people, no place is safe from or for the Bigfoot, all places seem more or less "Squatchy". The shy yet curious creature which comes in all sorts of colors, at once is able to hide and pretend to be other creatures but inexplicably is drawn to play peeping tom on unsuspecting women in isolated trailers. Bigfoots (not "Bigfeet" mind you) use high-tension electric lines as paths to migrate across the continent. The Bigfoot might keep and train coyotes, which they can imitate along with owls, the Bigfoot might from time to time stay in abandoned human dwellings, the Bigfoot eat deer, squirrels, and such but Payday candy bars and donuts are their catnip (mine too). It's this never-ending lore which can be oddly fascinating, and never a word to explain how so much trivia can be known about a creature not yet formally recognized as even truly extant.


The unofficial star of Finding Bigfoot is James "Bobo" Fay, a California Bigfooter and surfer who until his current TV status was working quite contentedly on a crab boat. Bobo who often pretends to be Bigfoot in recreations of eye-witness testimony is like most of the team an affable chap who finds kindred spirits all over the U.S. and elsewhere.

It is the charm of these true believers which in spite of my own skepticism forces me to treat each show with some measure of respect. I don't believe in Bigfoot. The actual evidence, discounting the difficult-to-disprove Patterson-Gimlin film is thin. There's never quite a clear photo, nor is there ever quite sufficient DNA. That there might be a lost  creature hidden in the deep woods of the Pacific Northwest, you might just convince me is barely possible. But that the Bigfoot is, not unllike alien abduction, ubiquitous across the breadth of the nation is patently absurd. It's nonsense, pure poppycock. But it sure is fun to watch.

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