Call off the hunt: Bigfoot’s dead, and it’s time to move on and settle other mysteries.
So declares a magazine in its January/February 2024 issue.
What’s more, Skeptical Inquirer, which touts itself as “dedicated to science and reason,” goes full bah-humbug in stating that “it’s clear there’s no evidence the creature ever existed in the first place.”
Their article claims that most sightings of the legendary biped that has haunted more than a few Northwest campfires over the decades are actually just regular critters that have been misidentified and others were flat-out hoaxes.
They say that while there’s a “small portion of reports” that can’t easily be written off, given all the ways errors can be made in collecting purported evidence – “bad data, flawed methodological assumptions, mistaken identifications, poor recall, hoaxing, etc.” – there neither has to be nor is it likely that the GOAT World Hide and Seek Champion is yet to be found “lurking amid the unsubstantiated and ambiguous cases.”
“Instead, the most likely reason for the failure (to find Bigfoot) is that the creatures simply do not exist and that the apparent evidence for them rests mostly on mistakes, hoaxes, and wishful thinking,” concludes article author Benjamin Bradford.
Bigfoot is beloved regional lore and his obituary may not sit well with Northwesterners or the cottage industry – stickers, magnets, T-shirts, the Nativity scene cutouts (!!!) I saw in my neighborhood yesterday – built around him as the unique cultural phenomenon matures.
To be clear, I do not believe whatsoever, but take me back to Sultan Elementary and boy howdy, I was damn sure the big fella and his kith and kin were wandering the nearby Cascades.
One time when Dad, Uncle Terry, cousin Tony and Terry’s brother-in-law and I backpacked up the Rapid River to try and fish Fortune Ponds, Dad didn’t get as much sleep at night as he would have liked because of how I went on and on and on and on and on about Bigfoot (and no doubt the Bermuda Triangle, UFOs, etc., etc., etc.).
Higher education ruined me and years later, after writing a pretty skeptical article in my hometown’s weekly newspaper about a Bigfoot buff who on the one hand was hellbent on debunking the Patterson film of the large hairy figure galumphing along a Northern California creek while on the other hand professed his own evidence was legit, I heard about it from another uncle and cousin who were pretty positive Bigfoot roamed the hinterlands and that science doesn’t know every damn thing there is to know.
That I think is a strong part of the allure, that in fact new things do pop up from time to time. In its upcoming issue, Skeptical Inquirer notes (and probably with no small amount of self-satisfaction) that the fabled hoop snake – or at least the unusual defensive behavior of the dwarf red snake revealed this year for the first time – is in fact a real thing and declared it the Best Animal Discovery of 2023.
Compared to all of the utter bullsh*t out there these days that people bizarrely buy into, believing in Bigfoot is pretty benign. And I don’t think the magazine’s proclamation will slow the search of an old college friend who has gone high tech with audio recorders, fancy cameras and trail cam traps to analyze what goes bump in the backcountry of Southwest Washington.
Indeed, Skeptical Inquirer actually appears to hedge its bets somewhat. While flatly declaring “Bigfoot Is Dead” on the cover and exclaiming “Bigfoot is dead!” in the editor’s note, the magazine headlines its article “Is Bigfoot Dead?”
It’s probably bad for business to write off too many of your mysteries of the world.
Ahem, it’ll probably also be bad for business if I continue on this tangent for much longer when there’s actual work to be one on my own first-of-2024 issue, so that is going to have to be all I say about that.