Monday, November 26, 2012


Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 11/25/12

The team goes to Oklahoma to investigate bigfoot reports and a possible hair sample.  Despite the huge farms and flat areas of the state, the monster sightings center around wooded riverlands.  Roger Roberts, the guy with the hair sample, also has footprint casts (which don't look like much to me or team scientist Ranae) with a 57" stride.  Ranae manages to re-create the stride (at a jog and run), but notes that the straight line of the prints felt awkward to recreate; she also likes the hair samples -- hoping for real proof at last.  Naturally, night investigations and town-hall meetings follow, but only after they take the hair to a DNA lab (where Bobo accidentally knocks things over).  We'll see what the tests turn up later.

I won't remark much on the interviews or searches, as they follow the standard format, as does Ranae's solo camp out.  One witness, a wildlife officer, does have some blurry camera pictures, though -- which Bobo & Matt think look staged.  Until the witness explains the circumstances, then (being believers), Matt, Bobo, and Cliff change their minds.  Too bad no Ranae point-of-view on this, though she does hear a howl she can't identify on her camp out (and too bad no audio on that).  So, more hearsay evidence, this time from the team itself.  Later tromping around in the wilds turns up nothing solid, either.  Nor does the lab report, which is so anticlimactic that they put it in mid-episode.  The hairs aren't human, but no conclusions on what they might be are drawn.  Despite this, the group makes much out of the fact that these hairs have never been cut (but rather were worn and torn naturally).  But that's it.  Really?  Not much payoff for a big build up.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 11/18/12

Matt, Cliff, Bobo, and (most importantly for me) Ranae head to Vermont to check out a controversial picture and look for sasquatch.  The photo from a trail camera shows some kind of hairy beast amid fallen apples.  The three male team members think it's a bigfoot and child reaching down to get apples.  Ranae wonders if it is someone in a costume (but I wonder about mistaken identity, and remember the famous "bigfoot" game camera photo that turned out to be a bird).  They decide to do a night hunt in the area where the picture was taken.  They hear "knocks" and noises, but nothing more.

Then we do the standard town-hall meeting and talking to witnesses, with Cliff camping out alone to see what he can find.  After the usual compelling stories (with Ranae being skeptical), the whole team ATVs into the back country for more tromping around in the dark.  They howl and knock (and only hear one possible knock back).  So, again, the usual evidence -- or lack thereof -- and a fuzzy photo.  I believe that, if there are such creatures, game cameras (and phone cameras) may be the best chance of finding them, but this photo didn't convince me (or Ranae).

Sunday, November 11, 2012

FINDING BIGFOOT: Ripped from the Headlines

Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 11/11/12

The team heads to Pocatello, Idaho, to check out a video shot by teenagers last winter (2011) that seems to show a bigfoot-like-creature atop a snowy, forested ridge.  The footage has been nicely stabilized by local news, but the footprint they show looks like a fake to me (and Cliff) -- too regular in its features.  Ranae thinks the whole thing is too good to be true, noting that teens are "the perfect candidates to pull off a prank or hoax."  And it only takes her 15 minutes to hike up to the place the teens said it took them an hour to get to.  She suggests the video shows another hiker in heavy winter gear, though Matt believes it's a bigfoot.  They then do a night hunt, and after that a town-hall meeting and witness interviews.

Ranae is this week's solo camper, and she does that while the rest talk to witnesses.  As usual, the stories are compelling (I had a friend tell me of her encounter 2 weeks ago), but where's the physical proof?  They then go to the lab of Dr. Jeff Meldrum (famous bigfoot researcher) and show him the video.  He compares it favorably to the Patterson Gimlin film (which you probably know I believe to be a hoax - see Is it Real review).  When the group reunites, Ranae shows them pictures of footprints she found in the dust, which don't seem to have been from a bear.  But is it bigfoot?  They decide to throw a Rave in the woods to see if the sights and sounds will attract the animal.  They get a thermal hit in a tree down the valley, which the guys think was a small bigfoot, but Ranae (sensibly) thinks was a racoon or small bear.  Again, nothing concrete, and I wish they could spend more time in one area concentrating on a search, rather than flitting around from week to week.

FINDING BIGFOOT: Untold Stories: Meet the Squatchers

Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 11/11/2012

This episode looks behind the scenes on the making of the show and includes a Q&A with the team - Matt, Cliff, Ranae & Bobo - and the Executive Producer, Keith Hoffman, and show runner, Chad Hammel.  They talk about the difficulty of working with a 7-8 person crew in the wild in the dark.  They mention one of the segments that pissed me off, where a "mysterious" animal was shown in a segment and then never explained.  (Turned out it wasn't a deer, as I had thought, but a horse.)  And apparently leaving it a mystery was the producer's idea, and 3 team members nearly quit because of it.  I don't blame them; it made them look like idiots.

They talk about the hazards of the show, including poison oak and a balloon crash, and demonstrate the hunter-cam rig they wear when tromping around in the dark.  They interview Ranae on what it's like to be the skeptic among believers, and the experiences that shake her skepticism.  They also talk to a 14-year-old witness from an upcoming show.  Then they show off their bigfoot calls, and teach the producer to try one.

All in all, an interesting behind-the-scenes glimpse of the show that gives an appreciation on what goes into making the series.