Sunday, January 15, 2012

FINDING BIGFOOT: Peeping Bigfoot

Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 1/15/11

The group goes to Minnesota to check out a recording of a supposed bigfoot howl and daylight sightings of a 10-foot-tall monster.  They meet with the audio recordist, who claims he's got more than wolves on his recordings.  (Ranae hears only wolves; I'm with her.)  Matt suggests that sasquatch disguise their calls to fit in with the local fauna.  (Really? I suppose they shape-change to fit in, too. Is there any evidence to the contrary believers can't explain away?)  Cliff has fun driving the crew to the recording site in a (tracked) amphibious vehicle, capable of mowing down small poplar trees.  They find broken trees (too tall for Cliff to have broken) which Matt thinks is some kind of territorial marking by sasquatch.  A night investigation leads to the usual strange sounds, and this time Bobo stays behind to investigate while the rest head off to do the usual town hall meeting.

In the packed meeting hall, nearly the whole audience raises their hands when Matt asks if anyone has ever seen a bigfoot. (Even I am impressed by the number of hands that go up.)  The usual compelling stories of sightings follow, which the group then maps.  The locations seem to cluster around the west fork of the Kettle River, so the BFRO team investigates.  They estimate the nurse-jogger witness' creature as 11' tall, which makes Ranae think it's misidentification of some kind.  Another witness claims a bigfoot, estimated at 9 feet tall, was peeking into the windows of a trailer.  Rejoining with Bobo (who's almost been eaten alive by mosquitoes), the group interviews a family who saw a 9-foot-tall bigfoot while riding their four-wheelers. Even Ranae is impressed ... but not convinced.  So, it's time for a second nighttime investigation along the aforementioned river gorge, featuring a car with a PA system call-blasting, in hopes of getting a response.  The team also makes knocks, and Matt thinks he hears something following them but -- Surprise! -- nothing shows up.  Nothing.  For all the witnesses, no evidence.  Again.

And and at this point, I feel it should be pointed out that stories are not proof.  People have been telling stories (and seeing strange things) since the beginnings of human history, and much of what our ancestors took to be "real," we find absurd today.  For instance, few people today believe in fairies, dragons, mermaids, or witches flying on brooms (Harry Potter notwithstanding).  Yet, just a short while back, otherwise sensible people believed in all of those things -- and they had the eyewitness stories to "prove" it.  This is why science doesn't take stories as fact.  It's fun to believe in such things, but liking a story doesn't make it real.  Happily, on this show, we have Ranae insisting on scientific proof, even if the rest of the crew wants to believe in fairy stories.

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