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Friday, 5 December 2014

Bigfoot The Definitive Guide Full Documentary

This is an interesting documentary but obviously tailored so that those who do not want to believe in an American Great Ape do not have to.  But it also plays into the hands of those who do believe.

When you have two experts who have worked in the field and studied primates -and Great Apes in particular- K. Anna I. Nekaris or Ian Redmond who command the greatest respect- and they see all the correlations between those and Sasquatch you need to pay attention.

I will not be too rude about the man from the University of Manchester, Dr Bill Sellers, when he says nothing about the Patterson film says anything other than "man in a costume".  Firstly, we have to remember that one curator of Natural History Museum, London, was "asked to leave" when he discussed the Loch Ness Monster.  And British Universities are mainly about PR and bringing in the cash these days -we no longer have Natural History departments because they do not bring funding to universities.  So, there is that.  It might also be that Dr Sellers is afraid of professional embarassment.

You see, from 1977-2005 I was an exotic fauna consultant for UK police forces from the Scottish Highlands to the Isele of Wight and I used to be called upon if there were sightings of large cats -and I mean pumas or lynx and even panthers (black leopards)- and live stock kills.  I dealt with university DNA departments as well as other professional experts.

I once spoke to a very senior naturalist who, under very good viewing conditions saw a puma move across a road and momentarily stop by a barrier (so the height could be gauged) before continuing on.  The naturalist who had worked with police as an "expert witness" and had studied wildlife in Canada and particularly puma. He told me by phone and in writing that "from tip of ears, facial markings and all the other diagnostic features there can be absolutely no doubt that it was a puma. A black puma." 

Now, having read and checked the credentials of this man and his work I knew that no one could really challenge him.  But they did. A man far less qualified who had never studied puma in Canada and did not have an international  reputation responded: "No. He's mistaken. It was NOT a black puma. There are no black pumas." In fact, there is no reason why it could not be a melanistic puma -they were supposedly common around Los Angeles in the 18th century and were reported in South America.  But the "it cannot be black" is the get-out excuse -if it was black then perhaps it was not as big as claimed? A domestic cat?

So, what did my expert (remember: "X= The Unknown and "spurt" is a drip under pressure") have to counter this senior naturalist's contention that he had seen a melanistic puma?

A black leopard. 

To say that the senior naturalist was livid is an understatement.  "I would NEVER have gotten out of the car and gone to take meaurements of the area and barrier had it been a leopard!"  He re-iterated that he KNEW the difference between a puma and a leopard and that if someone claimed they could be mistaken by him...well, he remained angry but polite. 

So, I got back to my "expert" and offered him the telephone number to contact and discuss the matter with the witness -he very -very- adamantly refused to do so!  So a very low ranking professional called into question a very senior professionals abilities.  The senior naturalist refused any further discussion.  His report is on record.

Then there was a Canadian naturalist who had been to Vancouver Island and other areas of Scotland to carry out field studies of puma.  He "might" have heard a call once and found a partial track but had not seen one "in the flesh" yet he knew the area he and his colleagues were working in had large populations.  So, he's in the Scottish Highlands on a warm, sunny, clear day.  Driving to meet colleagues.  As he drove along he looked into a field and some 50 feet away stood a puma. He thought a female puma.  He continued driving and thinking that the cat would show itself now and then....he braked!

He had only flown in from Canada the day before but suddenly realised he was in Scotland and there are no pumas in Scotland! Yet he had just seen one clear as day.  So he told his colleagues who after jokes about Scottish whisky and so on told him they did not doubt him but there were "no pumas in Scotland". He told me a few days later after getting my number from the police and we talked a good while on the subject.

So, he was a known expert on puma but he was not taken seriously by people he had known "for decades". But I can top even this account.  This witness was a professor from an American university and police checked on him for me and told me that he had worked with US Fish & Game and taken part in various puma trapping and tagging study projects.  In short he KNEW what a puma looked like.  He was in Scotland taking advantage of salmon fishing and had caught "a beauty" of a size he could boast about but had seen bigger close-by so waited it out to try to catch bigger. 

As he sat, watching the river he heard a slight noise break the silence and his first thought was that a rabbit or fox had broken cover not realising he was there.  He wasn't bothered but his catch was on a ground sheet some 10 feet from him and he thought a fox might try to grab it.  So he turned "there was a full-sized male puma, greyish in colour looking at me."  To say he was shocked would be another understatement so he got ready to stand and "make a lot of noise" to scare it off but then thought it probably wanted his fish "I just weren't dumb enough to want to fight for it!" And the puma moved in, took the fish and was off.  

Expert breathed a sigh of relief.  Not only did he have a tall tale about a big catch that "got away" but he had a funny cat story to tell, too!  Then he told me he almost fell back down onto the fishing stool he had been on.  In fact he sat there "a good half hour" after realising that he was in Scotland and not California. What did he get for mentioning this to his peers?  Jokes.

So, Dr Sellers may well have been happy to take the TV pay-cheque and maintain "the equilibrium" though in experience Redmond and Nakaris totally outranked him.  But here is my point, and I have been very long winded about this I know, but why were the gathered experts not shown all the enhanced Patterson footage or given the technical data pulled together by Meldrum, Krantz and others?   This documentary was made a long time after the Monster Quest episode - Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science (also the title of the book by Dr Meldrum based on all that gathered data) so no excuse.    

And before you think "Why didn't Meldrum point this out and insist on using some of this evidence?" It needs to be pointed out TV just does not work like that.  One TV company makes a Sasquatch documentary that seems pro-existence another cannot really call the experts involved liars so it just makes an "on-the-fence" counter documentary where those who just "do not want to believe" can go with the expert "weighted" in their favour. 

There are agendas behind most documentaries and they are either entertainment, trying to prove a point or mocking. Bigfoot the Definitive Guide was obviously entertainment (through re-enactments) but also trying to prove a point but if it was to prove non-existence then it failed.  Redmond, Nakaris and Meldrum won things over because all Sellers had to really say was "it's a man in a suit" and "no evidence" which works if you are dumb.  And as for evidence Meldrum has -specifically the collection of footcasts which include dermal ridging and so forth- well, he is a "consultant" and does not outrank the producer or director....nor the "cutting room floor"! 

I've done TV work and radio work and hours of talking, evidence pointing can be cut to "not real evidence" from my mouth when in fact what I said was: "To those who have never investigated or looked into the spoor, casts and live stock kills and just depend on the odd news funny item we are dealing with not-too-bright observers and that is not real evidence."  In 2000, following yet another such broadcast on BBC radio I sent a letter of complaint and pointed out that from that point on the BBC were on a "black list" when it came to future dealings. 

BBC TV had been similarly black listed by me after another "silly cat story" where observers were openly mocked by the reporter and studio presenters -one of whom told me later, while trying to convince me to appear in another "mystery cat" item, "well, we're sorry about that but that was down to the editor of the programme.  A lie since the reporter mocking the witnesses and studio reaction were all live and not pre-arranged items. 

The latest "real life" celebrity has more pull on TV news reports than an expert of forty years on a subject. "What do you think of this Bigfoot report, Kim?"  "Well, John, he wasn't as big as my butt!"  Cue laughter. But I would have loved to have seen Sellers review all the data and the Patterson movie enhancements and respond with "It's a man in a suit" because, as Bill Munn pointed out, you cannot fit a man into such a suit especially at a time when the techniques to build such a costume did not exist.

"It's a man in a costume"   Cue laughter.

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