Bigfoot festival serious?

I’ve been accused in the past of being dismissive of cryptozoological “research” and not taking the topic seriously. Well, I’m not altogether unhappy that I missed this:

Bigfoot Festival

I’m glad that the Ned Smith center found an event that brought them some funds and attention because I’m all for supporting nature centers. But, it’s just more of the same Sasquatch myths and legends. I’m not sure the Bigfoot community understands that this kind of thing does not aid in their quest for legitimacy.

Here’s a quote:

Lightening the mood keeps non-believers and skeptics from dismissing the idea outright, said Scott Forker, a member of the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society and the host of a weekly radio show about Bigfoot.

“Most people we talk to think it’s nuts,” he said. “But as long as you have a sense of humor about it, you can show people you are serious.”

I don’t think Bigfoot believers are nuts. I think they are not considering the evidence in a scientific way. That’s OK. Most people don’t think critically in daily life. Bigfoot sounds like such a fantastic idea, many of us WANT it to be true. Wishing doesn’t make it so. Making light of it smooths over differences but does not gain you legitimacy.

I’m disappointed I missed an opportunity to meet Loren, hear what he and others had to say, and talk about differing opinions. It might have been fun. Note this from the article:

And then there was Quatchi, a stylized Sasquatch creature, who will serve as the mascot for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Bigfoot researcher and professional crytozoologist [sic] Loren Coleman, was selling small stuffed mockups of the mascot to help fund his Bigfoot museum in Maine.

“It’s kind of a cultural moment that it would come to the elevation of being a mascot,” he said.

OK. Consider that however you wish. My impressions are unchanged.

But, I’m thinking I might have been in the minority at this festival. I’m not a fan of Bigfoot films and plaster casts aren’t very impressive to me. I would have felt a bit out of place.

I’m unclear as to the purpose of this event and others like it around the country. Was it to talk about Bigfoot as real or as a cultural icon? I’m disappointed I could nab a seat and find out. (Apparently the place only accommodated 50 people.)

If the purpose is to try to establish Bigfoot as real, I’m confused. To be taken seriously, “professionals” perhaps need to publish papers on their alleged mystery hair samples. (Publishing in a closed journal does not count.) Is participating in a fun festival or appearing on documentaries is really a good way to convince people that you need to convince – those that will fund expensive expeditions that might provide some solid evidence? (The same can be said for creationist views.)  One has to be willing to run the gauntlet with a theory and possibly have it beaten down. If it’s worth something, you refine it and try again. Where is the progress or refinement here? There’s a guy in a Bigfoot suit walking around!

I disagree that you can circumvent the well-established scientific process and just appeal to the masses in order to achieve legitimacy.  I would like to see the data published and the theories tested.

About idoubtit

Fluent in science, animals, paranormal culture. Expert in weird news.

0 thoughts on “Bigfoot festival serious?

  1. Could this be analogous to efforts by the paranormal community to promote ‘unity’ within the subculture? Having events that ‘lighten the mood’ could provide a forum for social interaction that might not be possible at a serious event troubled by bickering over whose weak evidence is the strongest?

    1. They are drawing in people that favor the idea, I’m sure. But, is this a serious crowd or just some people that will buy your stuff? I get this impression that they want to please the faithful and do as Richard says, go through the motions. It does nothing to help them in their advancement towards scientific legitimacy. It hinders it.

  2. Folks who attend events like the one you profile seem similar to…oh, something like dressing as a Druid on the solstice and going to Stonehenge. Inwardly, you’re pretty sure nothing of importance will happen, but you go anyway. I lean toward this creature’s existence, but I won’t be attending events for it.

  3. People who base their critiques on a local newswoman’s five minute visit and her overview of a hallway should know they dwell in the darkness with the media. The article that is the basis of this blog posting and then the comments are shadows of the reality of this event. When people begin using a news article that is divorced from the reality of an event, which produced thoughtful sociological discussions of the place of “Bigfoot” in popular cultural cinema, as occurred during my and some other presentations, well, then this is what you get.

    1. Once again, you didn’t read carefully. I WANTED to go. It was sold out. The point also made was that I do not see how these type of events lend themselves to taking the field seriously. You need to decide what it is you wish to be – pop culture or scientific. This foot in both worlds just keeps you going sideways. Take the criticism and move forward or stop claiming to be science.

      1. I was talking about how you read an article and made global judgments about the content of the conference. I wasn’t talking about you being there. That seems to have been your choice. Those that tried a little harder made it into the event. Interestingly, there were people who were still buying “Standing Room Only” tickets the day of the screenings, and individuals such as author Larry Arnold and investigator William Dranigis who were there who both secured conference tickets two days and one day before it began.

        The point you seem to miss is that you fashioned your blog and then people commented on a screen darkly illuminated by one newswoman’s quick visit and strangely selected interviewees.

        For people to know that the conference took things seriously, people had to attend or you have to read more than the local reporter’s overview that hardly dealt with anything more than a brief visit. Yes, she had her photographer take pictures of the beginning of one early badly-made movie. There was a point in showing that movie, but the reporter wasn’t involved enough to stay around and listen for that lecture. By reflection, neither are you.

        This blog’s continued “black and white” thinking about cryptozoology, and then this example of your reading of one news article to paint your opinion, are both unfortunate. Sociological insights, cultural analysis, and biological reflections all can be useful tools and friendly partners in cryptozoology, versus the idea you appear to promote that “science” lives in a vacuum and occupies a “world” different than the one framed by things like cinema, footcasts, and even sporting event mascots. What a boring universe you live in if that’s your view of things.

        1. I attempted to get tix 3 weeks in advance for Saturday and bugged a member of the Ned Smith center repeatedly. I’m not going to beg.

          I believe it was an unfortunate choice that a person in a suit was part of the event. It also was not fortunate that the reporter or the newscaster on the local news treated it as a joke. I did not assume that was the intent of the center. I’m sure they wanted to focus on more of a “nature” theme. But the majority of the people who knew about the event – not those who were actually there – saw only what was shown in the paper and on the TV news. That’s the kicker.

          You are right, I don’t live in a world where I assume hidden meanings. All this “dark” and “twilight language” stuff sounds silly. The world is complicated beyond my comprehension but I do not believe it is supernatural. I am suggesting that organizers of such events, whether they be UFO, ghosts, cryptozoology or even skeptical-themed events, consider what image it is that they intend to project and plan accordingly. The media has a nasty tendency to find a seemingly unimportant point and exploit it.

    2. This is all about self-promotion for you isn’t it? Honestly, why else do you take this so seriously and why do bring up a talk you supposedly gave. Why do you take this so personal? Could it be because your livelihood is tied up in people believing this stuff?

    3. Loren Coleman,
      How many UNFAIR MEDIA COVERAGE incidents will it take before you realize that the media is not at fault here. If I was writing an article or a blog about a Bigfooter-gathering, I’m going to be looking for Bigfooters to give me a quote, a memorable quote, I’m not going to write in my article about some Kooky sounds, when I’ve got someone talking about BIGFOOT-GANG-BANGS, BIGFOOT-DODGING-BULLETS, BIGFOOT CHASING DOWN HOGS AND TOSSING THEM.

      Coincidently, I’m not going to talk to the boring ‘museum’ director, when I can get GOLD from someone like Sean Forker.

      Stop blaming the media. I can tell you first hand, that the guy/girl assigned to the BIGFOOT FILM FESTIVAL, is not happy to be there in the first place.

  4. The center did this as a fundraiser, you are correct. It was thoughtfully-, academically-, and pleasantly-oriented.

    One of the three vendors, Sasqwatch, a company run by sisters, and who are running a breast cancer promotional sales event with their watches, who regularly do literacy charity tie-ins, had a man wearing a costume with their watch name on the Bigfoot’s teeshirt. That’s called promotion, capitalism, and charity work.

    The Ned Center and the speakers did not know that a costumed Bigfoot was going to be there, with the watch salespeople.

    Don’t blame cryptozoology, the conference organizers, and the Ned Center for what the media always tends to put into their stories.

    A little more critical thinking on the part of this blog would be helpful in critiquing the media for their continued less than serious reporting. Why and how this becomes cryptozoology’s fault is only compounded when a blog like this jumps on board to assume this is some “projection” that is knowingly a presentation of the conference, when a little more fact-checking might reveal another side of the story.

    As far as everyone I talked to, the major purpose of the Bigfoot costume was to fight breast cancer during the weekend. Too bad the media or you couldn’t have mentioned that.

    1. Don’t blame cryptozoology, the conference organizers, and the Ned Center for what the media always tends to put into their stories.

      I didn’t mean to. The point was you are up against the media version of events. They paint an image that is not always a fair one.

      A little more critical thinking on the part of this blog would be helpful in critiquing the media for their continued less than serious reporting. Why and how this becomes cryptozoology’s fault is only compounded when a blog like this jumps on board to assume this is some “projection” that is knowingly a presentation of the conference, when a little more fact-checking might reveal another side of the story.

      I could say the same for Cryptomundo. I’m not blaming anyone except to say that anyone affiliated with the field gets associated with the image delivered by the media – where most people get their information. I don’t consider most newspapers or TV reporting very accurate. However, if you have a conference that promotes pop cultural aspects and sells merchandise (other than books), it will be construed as a less than serious undertaking regardless of best intentions.

      As far as everyone I talked to, the major purpose of the Bigfoot costume was to fight breast cancer during the weekend. Too bad the media or you couldn’t have mentioned that.

      I could not have mentioned it because I didn’t know. It is certainly a connection I would not have made. Letting the rest of that slide…

      Loren: We pretty much fail at communicate with each other. We come at this from such different directions. I’m probably not going to stop criticizing obvious issues I see with this subject. But I’m way more sympathetic than others of a skeptical viewpoint. I prefer discussion to argument.

      Everyday, someone corrects my work or disagrees with my decisions, etc. I do a lot of self-reflection to determine if I can improve upon my actions. That’s a productive use of criticism. I often see that those critics or questioners have valid points. From our exchanges, I’m thinking that perhaps being more gentle with my suggestions might spare me some adversarial commentary but will not generate such enlightening discussion. I will try a more positive approach if you agree to also try to constructively address the issues I raise. We can probably come up with some interesting insights into the stormy relationship between science/skepticism and cryptozoology.

  5. I find it hilarious that Loren Coleman isn’t talking about the paranormal abilities of bigfoot — like he used to in the past. Why is bigfoot now a strictly biological entity when, in the past, Coleman was more than willing to freely associate UFOs and other “Fortean” topics with Sasquatch? I figure it has to do with trying to get generalized acceptance of this pseudoscience. Coleman realizes that his original beliefs (true beliefs?) are bat sh** insane.

    Likewise, the bigfoot and cryptozoology communities need some means by which to legitimize their otherwise unfounded belief system. As we can see on Coleman’s blog and other locations, they are deliberately trying to blur the line between Zoology, Primatology, Biology, and other serious fields of research. It’s the old association lends credibility logical fallacy. At any rate, it doesn’t change the fact that there has been NO evidence collected that proves the existence of bigfoot. I wish there was but that is not the case — no matter how many plaster casts you collect.

  6. Howdy, Ms. Idoubtit. Please allow me to chime in here regarding this interesting conversation. “Darkness of the media.” “Shadows of the reality.” “Screen darkly illuminated.” These phrases are yours, Loren. Words articulate a person’s mental landscape, IMO. Your twilight world appears rather dark and gloomy.

  7. I do not understand the carping about the media coverage of this event. It appears that they wanted an easygoing, fluff oriented, tradeshow like gathering and that is exactly what I read in the coverage of it. It seems that when the media folks somehow don’t get it that these folks(bigfooters) absolutely believe in the existance of bigfoot/sasquatch they are thrown into the dark bin of all those who can’t see what is so obvious to the bigfooters. Bigfoot is anything but obvious and it seems all the shows,websites and books promoting bigfoot as a living creature all use the same tired “evidence”. I have read and seen on tv several instances of the alleged discovery of dna for bigfoot but it always turns out to be something else and we are again left with anecdotal sightings, blury photos and video and a whole bunch of fake footprints. Until there is some form of testable proof of bigfoot these bigfoot events are relegated once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all status.

  8. Almost reluctantly I add my name to the long list of people who are becoming disillusioned with Cryptomundo. I’ve been a loyal participant there for several years. I’ve actually posted in Loren’s defense several times, when he was accused of editing or censoring comments when people don’t agree with him.

    But I saw the Georgia Bigfoot posts too, and their subsequent whitewash. AND I have seen my own comments edited and censored recently, for instance when I submitted a comment critical of the ridiculous statement “John Keel was our Michael Jackson”. And more recently, I posted a comment, which was removed entirely, in the “Save Monsterquest” topic. The comment was “Good riddance to Monsterquest. It’s the stupidest show on TV.”

    I hate the idea of being disloyal, but as an avid, active participant in the blog discussion for years, I think I am owed some loyalty too. Censoring comments and editing to suit oneself amounts to being disloyal to one’s readers. I, too, was puzzled, then astonished, and then just plain disgusted to see topics edited or removed when Loren tried to avoid having egg on his face.

    I still visit Cryptomundo. Occasionally there are still topics there that interest me, and some of the regular readers’ comments are very interesting to read. But now I wonder just how much of their original comments I am really seeing. And I get so tired of the constant commercials for the International Cryptozoology Museum.

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. I certainly remember reading your comments at Cryptomundo. I’m astonished that this crypto community would chose to block out discussion and opposing viewpoints. It’s decidedly unscientific and, frankly, hypocritical. An insular community of yes men isn’t going to get you anyplace but walking around in circles.

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