Are Bigfoot Believers The New UFO Crazies?

If you were to have a Bigfoot sighting, would you tell people about the encounter or would you just keep your mouth shut? That is the question my boyfriend and I were asking each other the last time we went out into the wilds of Montana looking to have our own Bigfoot sighting. It’s not that we believe or don’t believe in their existence, but we do think that people who have had sightings honestly believe they saw something that they couldn’t explain. They may not know what they saw, but they certainly know what they did not see. It was not a bear standing on two legs and it was not a man in a costume. They are adamant and they are not alone. There have been thousands of sightings across the United States since those first appearances of a “Wild Man” started making headlines back in the 1840’s and 1850’s. What was it all about? Was it all just a giant hoax? It seems most people today are not believers and they are amazed that anybody could be. Even though there are a plethora of reports coming from credible people in all walks of life, telling someone that you think you saw a Bigfoot today is like telling someone back-in-the-day that you saw a UFO.

Interestingly, much of the taboo of talking about the existence of UFO’s has gone by the wayside as more and more people realize that we simply cannot be alone in the universe. The stigma attached to talking about seeing a UFO, thank goodness, is gradually fading away. The Grudge Report, or Project Grudge, was a 600-page formal report from the military and was released in August 1949. In it, they declared UFO’s were hogwash and all reports could be reasonably explained:

“. . . All evidence and analyses indicate that reports of unidentified flying objects are the result of:

1. Misinterpretation of various conventional objects.

2. A mild form of mass-hysteria and war nerves.

3. Individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetrate a hoax or to seek publicity.

4. Psychopathological persons. . . “

In other words, if you perpetuate the idea that you’ve had an encounter, then you must be a “psychopathological person.” In other words — you be crazy. Along with the Media, it was not unusual to lump UFO sightings to those who may not be the most sophisticated of peoples. If your name is Billy Ray or Bonnie Sue, and if you like to fish and drink beer, and if you live out past where Jesus lost his sandals, then chances are that you’ve had an encounter with a UFO.

Enter Bigfoot. Rumors of encounters with a sasquatch, yeti, wild man, skunk ape, or forest devils (just to name a few) have been circulating in United States folklore for an exceptionally long time. The creature was called by a different name, depending upon where he was spotted, but the name “Bigfoot” finally took hold in 1958 when a man named, Jerry Crew, cast a footprint of a creature with an excessively big foot around Bluff Creek, California. That “big foot” name stuck, and he’s been “Bigfoot” ever since.

But it really wasn’t until the Patterson-Gimlin Film of “Patty” from 1967 that really started the modern-day controversy as to whether or not Bigfoot exists. ( More than 50 years have passed since the public had access to those few seconds of Patty walking through the woods, and the “experts” still haven’t been able to debunk it. There are experts on both sides of the fight, each showing evidence as to her existence or non-existence, and still no one’s been able to wrap it all up with a pretty bow and tell us exactly if Bigfoot is real or a figment of our collective imaginations. So, we have two sides, and those on the side that Bigfoot lives are viewed as being rather ignorant, crazy, or both. The naysayers scream, “evidence . . . where’s the evidence?” And they may have a point. To turn the non-believers into believers, scientific evidence needs to be collected and a consensus gathered. But when will we start seeing this evidence?

I have a friend who tells me that in this current age when every person and his mother have a cell phone with them 24/7, someone should have gotten a decent picture of Bigfoot by now. And, that is another good point, and I have a few theories as to why no one seems to be able to get off a good shot. For one thing, if you are out and about in the woods and a Bigfoot suddenly jumps out in front of you, the last thing you are going to worry about is fumbling for your phone. Also, I have been in the mountains on numerous occasions when I have no cell service and my phone app suddenly starts acting wonky. Perhaps these people tried to get a shot and their cell simply would not work. I have also had many occasions in the mountains when I would just turn my cell off to try and conserve the battery. If the cell is off when Bigfoot makes an appearance, then that shot is never going to happen.

There are websites and documentaries galore that explore the myths and try to sort out fact from fiction. There is even the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization that has all things Bigfoot and boasts of a database that includes more than 5,000 encounters with the beast. If there is scientific evidence to be found, then somebody, someday is going to find it. It seems inevitable.

But those who study the beastie say that the Bigfoot are incredibly aware of people because they don’t like us, and they are excellent at keeping themselves hidden. They do not want to be spotted. They see you, but you can’t see them and that makes sense. Some of those areas where they are said to live are so remote and so densely covered with trees that it’s not hard to believe they could stay hidden and out of the way for such a long time. Like people say, they are the best hide-and-seek players of all time. My own opinion, for what it’s worth, is if they do exist, I hope they are never exposed. They don’t need our help as they seem to be managing just fine without us. And that is why I’ve decided that I would keep any sighting that I had to myself. They’ve got a good thing going. Why ruin it for them?

Robin is a writer/photographer who lives in Montana and happily gets to travel the state to photograph the beauty and document the stories.

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