If I have learned anything in the past twelve years, it is that, for every tiny bit of information you learn about Bigfoot, there are hundreds of new questions to keep you busy searching.  If a person thinks they know everything there is to know about Bigfoot, they are a diluted fool who, in truth, has not learned a thing.  A person could live among a Bigfoot family unit for a decade and still would learn only a tiny fraction of the full story.

While certain activities, habits, vocalizations, etc, may happen with regularity around the globe, it still can only be deduced that these things are not performed by one hundred percent of all Bigfoot, one hundred percent of the time.  Bigfoot, like humans, apes, canines, felines, and all other manner of life form on this planet, are, while similar, different, one from another.  Each family, pack, tribe, pride, flock, herd, etc, reacts differently and each individual has its own personality, preferences, peeves, habits, compulsions, etc, and no two can be expected to react to the same stimuli in identical ways.  Each individual operates on its own internal instinct and experiences.

When a person has observed a particular activity or vocalization being performed by bigfoot, it is vital, first, to note the circumstances that led up to the observed activity, and then to remember when relaying that information to others, that, even if that activity was observed on multiple occasions, with multiple Bigfoot, it should be said, “SOME Bigfoot MAY react in this manner to this stimuli.”  If a person tells you that, “Bigfoot ALWAYS does this,” or “Bigfoot NEVER does that,” you should reserve yourself to the fact that this person is either speaking out of assumption or does not know what they are talking about.

Generalizations and assumptions based on the experience of ourselves or others do not aid us in our search.  Rather, they inhibit our ability to continue learning, causing us to neglect, dismiss, or overlook things that do not fit within the confines of what we THINK we know.

Chad Scott

Published in: on May 14, 2010 at 2:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Degrees of Separation

All too often I come across reports about Bigfoot where they are linked with supernatural phenomena.  I find myself, time and again, asking myself why this is.  Truth be told, I think there are a few simple explanations for this.  While sometimes it is malice that motivates these connections, there are times when it is simply misunderstanding, zeal, or, and forgive the term, ignorance that causes the link.

Whether it is UFOs, ghosts, faeries, demons, ghost lights, or any other of a dozen outdoor phenomena, in eleven years of research, I have yet to find any evidence that would lead me to connect them in any way with Bigfoot.  I do understand, however, that it is the same root curiosity that makes people want to investigate, learn about, and try to explain all of these things.

When it comes to UFOs, could it be simply that Bigfoot, like us, just wonders what the strange light in the sky is?  The reports of Bigfoot being seen in the same area as ghost lights and spirits is pretty easy to get around as well.  Bigfoot can’t control, any more than we can, where these lights appear or where specters choose to manifest.  Just because you live in a haunted house does not mean that you are connected with ghosts, that you brought them there, or that they brought you there.

While I am far from a closed minded individual, I do believe that there need to be degrees of separation between our mysteries.  After all, if you want to use the logic that is being used in connecting the different things, couldn’t it be said that since Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster are never seen in the same place at the same time then they are one in the same.  Sounds pretty foolish.  So do the other connections.

Why does it have to be the least logical connection that we make?  Why can’t we keep our phenomena separate?  The simplest explanation is most often the right explanation.

Many times such claims are made by people who are fairly new to the field of Bigfoot research.  Once they have had their first encounter or sighting of Bigfoot and now believe, they often want to attribute every strange thing they see or hear to Bigfoot.  If you were standing in the woods and you heard an owl hoot, chances are, nine times out of ten, it was an owl.  While it is commonly believed in the field that Bigfoot mimics other animals, if it can be explained as another animal, then it should be left at that.

Claims have been made that people feel as if bigfoot has “zapped” them with some sort of ultrasound or infrasound; I’m not really sure which one or why.  I have to pass this one off as something a little simpler to explain.  It is most likely that you did not in fact get “zapped” by the Bigfoot tazer of fear and nausea.  You got “zapped” by your own fear of not knowing what you are dealing with and your feelings of being outmatched or overwhelmed by the encounter.  Fear is a powerful thing and can certainly cause feelings of nausea and shaking hands.

Most often, I think these connections are made out of a person’s lack of other explanations due to ignorance of the subject matter.  A person sees a UFO in the wilderness and ten minutes later sees Bigfoot.  That does not mean that Bigfoot came out of the UFO.  All it means is that the UFO was spotted in the woods, which is Bigfoot’s home.  Would they have made the same connection if they spotted a UFO and then a deer ran past them?  If a UFO is spotted in downtown Miami and ten minutes later you see a drag queen round the corner from the direction the UFO went, it does not mean that the drag queen is from Meklar 12.  It just means that the UFO was spotted on the same block as the drag queen’s apartment.

Another motivation that has shown itself over the years is a person’s need to be the center of attention, whether it be because they want people to come research their area more often so they can have the company, or because they want to attain a certain amount of notoriety.  Sometimes, when activity hits a low or has slowed down to the point that interest is lost the person feels the need add onto what is already an amazing story.  What they do not realize is that most of the time this will end interest in the investigation all together.  In my eyes, as in the eyes of most in this field, this is a hoax, plain and simple and we will do everything in our power to distance ourselves from the person(s) involved.

The other motivation is the classic liar and hoaxer.  This person wants nothing more than to be in the media spotlight and to have the biggest, wildest story out there.  You see them every day in this line of research and those of us that have been doing this for any amount of time can’t stand them.  We would rather watch a dung beetle special on one of the nature channels than to watch a documentary that has them as a guest.  These people are the snake oil doctors who push their poison on people who don’t know any better and it gives the rest of us, those who actually take our research seriously, a bad name.

Whatever the motivation, the end result is the same.  In a field where a person’s reputation is everything and their word is their bond, you cannot lump them together and expect to be taken seriously by anyone.  In eleven years of research I have seen a lot of unexplained things in the woods, but my first explanation for everything is not and cannot be Bigfoot.  You have to look for the simplest answer in all cases.  Coyote yips are coyotes.  Owl hoots are owls.  Dog barks are dogs.  Unless you see a Bigfoot barking, hooting, or yipping, or you see it climb onto a UFO and shake hands with the ghost of Elvis, it probably is not Bigfoot.

When you are left unable to answer the question of the source or reason for an encounter, sighting, noise, track, or anything else, don’t give it an answer.  Some questions need to linger.  It is not so much our jobs to come up with answer as it is to gather the evidence and present it in an unbiased manner.  As with most things, it all comes down to motivation.  What motivates your research?  What motivates your conclusions?  Was your mind made up before you began the research?

Chad Scott

Published in: on May 14, 2010 at 2:02 am  Leave a Comment  

Cry Wolf

I have never been a fan of people who cry wolf (or Bigfoot in this case), and this field is certainly full of those people.  But I find myself wondering which is worse; a person who cries Bigfoot, or a person so entrenched in their self-imposed limitations of what this creature is and is capable of?  Considering that the subject matter is a completely unrecognized species with unknown diet, genetic makeup, and origin, can we really afford to say that someone has made up their account of what they experienced, or outright reject a person’s theories simply because it doesn’t match our own theory?

In the years since I first began researching I have, time and again, witnessed the members of this community go at each others’ necks like starving dogs, and then as soon as the argument dies down a little the same people want to know why we aren’t taken seriously by science.  Well, think about it, brain-child.  We weep over those people who have had sightings but won’t tell anyone for fear of ridicule by their friends and neighbors and then we turn right around and rip our own people apart.  Hypocritical much?

There are internet forums that exist for just this activity.  Grow up people.  This isn’t junior high anymore.  Do they really have to make someone else feel or look bad to make themselves feel better about the image they see in the mirror?  Is it really necessary for them to run down those who have actually had an exciting encounter just to mask their disappointment for not having had one themselves?  Maybe if some of these people spent less time having their bigfoot “expeditions” at Cheddar’s or at a conference where the same old people shoot the same old information at them that they’ve heard a thousand times in documentaries and at other conferences, and spent a little time in the woods looking for themselves, they might not feel so bad about their empty photo album of evidence.  Drop the chili cheese fries and take a hike.

I might be a little more willing to listen to their arguments about how insane a person’s theories or statements are if they were a little more willing to make their own findings known.  In general, the people slinging the accusations are people who are unwilling to put their own findings out there for the public to look at.  Most probably out of fear of their own little click that they have sitting in front of their computers waiting to see what super witty, clever, and snarky comment they’ve got for the next person who took a chance and opened up about what has happened to them.

Having been on the receiving end of this ridicule, I have come to realize that it is not myself, or those like me, that suffer most due to this; it is those individuals who do their best to put us down who truly suffer.  Those individuals have closed themselves off to the possibilities and thus closed themselves off to the truth.  If I have learned anything over the years it is this; when you think you have it all figured out you have fallen prey to the most dangerous type of delusion.  There is always going to be something more to learn, something more to experience, something more to be revealed.

I implore all researchers out there, new and old, not to let these people stop you from sharing your findings, but more importantly that you not become one of these people.  Do not allow yourself to become so entrenched in your own theories or beliefs that you are willing to dismiss evidence out of hand that does not support these preconceived notions.  Build your evidence, compile your findings, but do not just ignore the findings of others.  One of the things that I think is amazing about this research and its ever-growing ranks is that new eyes bring new perspectives.  This allows us to see things from a new point of view and to reexamine the things that we thought we had figured out.

Chad Scott

Published in: on May 14, 2010 at 1:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Legend of Squatch Rock

In the Bigfoot wonderland of Oklahoma’s Arbuckle Mountains, there is a place the locals call Squatch Rock.  Squatch Rock is a large mass of travertine rock located near Travertine Island in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur, Oklahoma.  But the rock gets its name from a face that appears on it.  Carved into the rock is the face of a Bigfoot.  The following is just the story as it has been relayed to me and, by no means, the last word on the subject.

Legend goes that the area around Squatch Rock, which forms a natural corral, was a place where a certain band of Indians kept their horses.   The Bigfoot did not appreciate them keeping the horses there as it was a sacred place to the Bigfoot.  The Indians continued to keep their horses there despite attempts by the Bigfoot to drive them out.  Unable to find any other way to get rid of the unwelcomed guests, the Bigfoot began killing the horses one at a time.

The Indians, not understanding the original warnings, could not comprehend why the Bigfoot had started attacking and killing the horses.  So they went to the Medicine Man to find out what they could do to make it stop.

The Medicine Man had an idea of how to end the attacks.  He went out to the site where they kept the horses.  That night, when the Bigfoot arrived to kill a horse, he began to chant and pray.  Using his Medicine, he cast the soul of the leader of the Bigfoot into the rock, killing him instantly.  The other Bigfoot fled in fear.  Then, the Medicine Man carved the face of the Bigfoot on the rock as a warning to the other Bigfoot to keep them from coming back.

According to the legend it still works today and the Bigfoot in the Arbuckles will still not come into the area around Squatch Rock.  However, if the story behind the face is true, the warning no longer stands.  The reason I say this is that there have been some interesting encounters for people in the Squatch Rock area.

For example, two fellow researchers and I went down to Squatch Rock one night to do some research.  We set up some camping chairs and started a fire.  On a nearby picnic table, we set up our recording equipment.  Later in the evening my ex-wife showed up, so we turned off the recording equipment so that we could all talk.  While she was there she took a few photographs of the three of us.  In some of the photos you can clearly see eye shine in the background, some of which is quite high off of the ground.

On another occasion, a fellow researcher and I set up our recording equipment at Squatch Rock.  We placed a parabolic dish with a microphone stand and a tape recorder on the picnic table.  The top of the picnic table was about three feet off the ground.  The microphone stand was set to about four feet in height.  Then the parabolic dish atop the microphone stand was about another foot in length.  Put that all together and the total height of the equipment was approximately eight feet.

My friend and I would go down every forty-five minutes and turn the tape over, or remove the tape and bring it up to the car to listen to it in the stereo.  On our third trip, which would be to remove tape number one and insert tape number two, we started listening to the tape.  On side two, about ten minutes into the recording, there was breathing on the tape.  It was loud and it was close.  Whatever had done the breathing, had leaned over the microphone, and breathed directly down into it.  I have to say, that recording is one of the few that has ever made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

Chad Scott

Published in: on May 14, 2010 at 1:48 am  Leave a Comment  

First Sighting

On October 31, 1996, my brother, a high school senior at the time, asked me to take him out to Veteran’s Lake inside the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur, Oklahoma.  Some of his friends from the high school band were going to meet at the lake that night to try and see the “Lady of the Lake.”

The Lady of the Lake is a legend in Sulphur—a ghost story about a young woman who was supposed to have died in the lake and now, every Halloween night, at midnight, comes up out of the water.  I personally have never seen anything that would lead me to believe that it is true, but I do know some people who swear that they have seen her.  My brother, by the way, sat out there all night for nothing.

I dropped my brother off at about eleven thirty and sat and talked with him and some of his friends for a few minutes.  I left the lake at about eleven forty-five and headed back toward the house.  I exited the Veteran’s Lake area, onto Perimeter Road, which runs through the center of the park.

As I headed south on Perimeter Road I crossed a low-water crossing bridge.  I do not know about everyone else, but when I drive a particular route regularly, there are certain things I look at every time.  Well, when I drove Perimeter Road one of the things I looked at was the creek.  Heading north I would look up the creek as I crossed the bridge, and heading south, I would look down the creek.  This time was no different.  As I crossed the Rock Creek low-water bridge I looked down the creek.

The light was good that night.  The moon was visible and was giving off a good amount of light (as I remember it), and there were some street lights at the Rock Creek campgrounds entrance just about fifty yards from the creek.

As I crossed the creek, and looked west, down the creek, I saw a large, hairy “thing” crouched on the south bank of the creek.  The first thought that went through my head was, “There’s no f*#!ing way I just saw that.”  Up ahead was an area where the camper trailers could empty their refuse tanks.  It was also an entrance to the trail that leads up to Bromide Hill.

I pulled into the parking lot there and turned around.  I drove back to the bridge and, as I drove onto the bridge, pulled my car to where my headlights shone down the creek.  The “thing” was still there.  Now that I could see it better, and had a better view of it, I could tell what I was looking at.  There, crouched on the balls of his feet, with his hands cupped in the water, was a large, chocolate brown, male Bigfoot.  He was approximately seven and a half to eight feet tall, and was very broad in the shoulders and narrow in the hip. I would guess the weight to be within the 500 to 600 pound range. It was covered in hair. Long on the head and shorter as it went down. Since I only saw it from a profile angle I couldn’t tell much about its facial features. The head had a large crest on it similar to that of a gorilla.

I looked at him for what seemed like a minute, but it was actually more like a second and a half, before he stood.  Without so much as a sideways glance at me, he crossed the creek, which is about three feet deep in places and forty-two degrees year round, up a very steep embankment on the north side of the creek, and disappeared into the narrow strip of trees.

On the north side of the creek there was, as I stated, a narrow strip of trees, and on the other side of those trees is a nursing home and a residential area.  However, on the south side of the creek were the campgrounds, which, at that time of year, would have been empty, and woods for miles.  For years I could not figure out why he chose the route he did.  Finally I came to the conclusion that, chances were, his family was in the woods to the south and if I was going to follow him, he wanted me to follow him away from his family.  Kind of like a mother bird will flop around on the ground, pretending to have a broken wing, to lead predators away from her chicks.

It was five years before I told another soul what I had seen that night.  It was not that I worried about my reputation.  I am just not real big on being ridiculed.

Chad Scott

Published in: on May 14, 2010 at 1:43 am  Leave a Comment  

The Burden of Proof

Beast of Burden

By Matt Knapp

People are strange…

In the world of Bigfoot researchers and enthusiasts, people like to throw around various catch phrases and pseudo-professional terms. One of my personal favorites that have come to fruition over the past few years is “burden of proof.” Every time I hear it, the image of that old woman in the hamburger commercials from the 80’s comes to mind, demanding to know “Where’s the beef?!”

There are many explanations as to the importance and definition of “burden of proof” in the legal and scientific fields. I would assume in such a field as Bigfoot, the closest one to having any merit would be the scientific meaning, although with people throwing around threats of lawsuits based on differing opinions, I could be wrong. For my purposes however I will stick with the science based train of thought.

If I say something exists, the burden of proof lies on me to prove this thing’s existence. There seems to be some grey area here, depending on how far you go with your claim that goes against other accepted “truths.” Regardless, it is up to me to prove my claim. To support my claim with evidence that others may review. Many great scientists have faced this burden of proof, with “outlandish” claims, and little to no evidence to support such claims. Sometimes the proof was not revealed until after the person had passed on. Other times technology had to advance before the proof could be had. And at times the proof was discovered by someone who wasn’t even involved with the claim. The question here is did those circumstances make the original claim untrue? I’ll give you some examples of things that were met with fierce objections, claims that went against what the scientific world considered to be true. The Earth being round. The solar system revolving around the sun. The human circulatory system and the heart being the main pump. Black holes. The Doppler Effect. Ohms. TV. FM Radio. Liquid fueled rockets that could be used as weapons. Gorillas, Pandas, Giant Squid, Komodo Dragons, etc. The list goes on and on. In fact one could wager on the scientific community being wrong the majority of the time until the truth is proven to them in one form or another.

So once again, is the claim wrong, untrue, or “outlandish” because of the lack of evidence to support it at any given moment? Anyone using simple elementary school logic knows the answer is a simple “no.” Lack of evidence does not mean a claim is untrue, it just means it has yet to be proven. With that being said, if we do not know if a claim is untrue or not, why do certain individuals feel the need to either dismiss it immediately, or attack it? If science has proven over hundreds of years that it can and will be wrong, and that many of our commonly known facts started out being treated as outlandish claims, then why do we feel the need to repeat this process over and over? Not only that, but the majority of the time it is done by individuals who project themselves as having higher levels of education and intelligence. Yet when it comes to simple logic they think and act in archaic and rudimentary ways, all the while projecting this often times false image on the individual or claim they are attacking. A claim that they have no way of knowing if it is true or not, based on their own scientific reasoning. Kind of like a dog that growls and snaps at anything that comes near its food, to the point it ends up chasing its own tail and looking foolish. Only in the Bigfoot world, these foolish mutts strut around as if they had actually accomplished something.

…When You’re A Stranger

Now that we’ve worked past the idiocracy of attacking a claim as a falsehood based on the lack of evidence at a given moment by bringing it back down into the realm of logic and common sense, let’s look at why this happens in the first place. There is indeed a common denominator. Prejudice. One of the definitions of prejudice is:

(1): preconceived judgment or opinion (2): an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.

I assure you, many of the people in this endeavor, whether it be a self-righteous expert, a skeptic, or a newbie just getting their feet wet, are severely lacking in “sufficient knowledge.” There are entire books written on the subject which contain nothing more than “preconceived judgments or opinions.” Many of the research groups are based off of these very things. The various cliques and social groups within the community are grounded in these type belief systems. When someone of a differing group or someone who is unknown to the majority at hand makes a claim that either the group or certain individuals are unaware of or have a preconceived opinion on, that person is met with hostility. That person is immediately put on the defensive. Then the attacking party uses this defensive posture in the individual that they themselves provoked as an argument against that person’s claim.

“See there! Look how defensive they got when all I did was ask a simple question!”

Which is normally followed by “That a boy” and pats on the back. Do people really not realize how ignorant this makes one look? Sure, all they did was ask a simple question, normally “Where’s your proof?” which is basically the same thing as calling a complete stranger a liar. It means “I don’t believe you. Prove it to me or else you’re a liar.” Where I come from this type of behavior would not only put someone on the defensive, but would also anger them to the point of not being willing to share any “proof” that they might have to support their claim. Now did you do the world a favor by trying to belittle some stranger in front of your friends, or did you set the mystery back 10 years by cutting off the potential solving puzzle piece due to your ignorant approach? That a boy!

There’s a second side to this prejudicial monster though. The hypocrisy. If these people were to just attack claims due to lack of knowledge, I would find it ignorant, but at least then it would have some other reasoning behind it that would make my claim of prejudice moot. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. See, when claims are made from within these cliques and circles, and then the claims are accepted as true. A simple explanation to their peers as to why they do not have any evidence supporting their claim is all that’s needed. I mean that’s okay right? I mean after all they know this person. They do not know that other individual. The person they know has never been caught lying to them before. They have spent time socializing in the past. Their overall opinions coincide with one another so it’s okay to not only give them the benefit of the doubt, but to flat out take what they say as fact without any of the challenges and demanding of proof that was put on the individual they do not know as well. This is called a double standard. Some other double standards are white people can use this restroom, but black people cannot. Europeans can speak English, their native language, but Native Americans must learn a new language. Men can vote, but women can’t. These double standards were all based on prejudice. I’m at a loss to think of a double standard that isn’t based on prejudice. Yet we can discuss the double standards in the Bigfoot community, but we do not dare put its true name to it. We have seen the error of our ways in the above mentioned prejudices, yet here we are repeating them on a daily basis in a field that contains no experts. No facts. Just opinions and theories. Wasn’t opinion and theory the basis for the other prejudices as well?

Where’s The Beef?

So what are we supposed to do, take everyone’s word that their claims are genuine? Not ask for any evidence or proof of so said claims? That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m not suggesting anyone to walk around like mindless sheep. I encourage individual thought. This is my point entirely. The problem is that there is too little individual thought, and too much gang mentality. Too much ego. It’s a hard thing to swallow. There are highly respected people in this field. People whose opinions hold instant merit within the community. People who have never laid eyes on a Bigfoot in their many years of research. People who have found maybe one or two possible tracks, maybe none at all. When someone comes along making claims that they have not only seen a Bigfoot, but have seen several, or talk about the large amount of tracks they have found of all shapes and sizes, it invokes two emotions; disbelief and inadequacy. Neither of which are positive emotions. So at that point their questioning becomes that of emotional based. It’s human nature to try and get rid of negative emotions, to try and “fix” the problem, and that’s what they do. They offer the challenge. “Where is your proof?”

First we have to look at how the claim is being perceived. The most common reasoning behind a claim attack is the old standby “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” A phrase which was popularized by Carl Sagan. Often times in the Bigfoot community the word “extraordinary” is replaced by “outlandish.” Just so we can be on the same page, I will go ahead and offer up these definitions as they apply to this particular subject:

Extraordinary: 1 a: going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary <extraordinary powers> b: exceptional to a very marked extent <extraordinary beauty>

Outlandish: 2 a: strikingly out of the ordinary : bizarre<an outlandish costume> b: exceeding proper or reasonable limits or standards

Now here you have a situation where an individual is making a claim that is supposed to be based on their own experience and knowledge. Then an individual challenges their claim on the basis of it being extraordinary or outlandish. Knowing what these words mean, they are either saying the claim is going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary for Bigfoot; or they feel the claim is strikingly out of the ordinary, or exceeds reasonable limits and standards of Bigfoot behavior. So for that person to challenge those claims on the basis of the claims being extraordinary or outlandish, they must possess the knowledge of what usual or ordinary behavior of a Bigfoot is, which could only be had through close observation. Therefore they would in fact be subject to their own line of questioning based on their initial questioning of the claim. So now, who does the burden of proof fall upon? The person making the claim, or the person who apparently already knows so much about Bigfoot behavior that they can determine when something is extraordinary or outlandish? Where is their evidence and proof to support that they can make the judgmental call if a claim has gone beyond the limitations of acceptable Bigfoot behavior? So was their basis for challenging the claim grounded in truth and science, or was it motivated by other means? Chew on that for a moment, I’ll wait.

The problem with evidence and proof of Bigfoot’s existence and behavior is this; not all evidence or proof, even in the scientific sense, can be subjected to the scientific method, nor determined in a laboratory setting. A Bigfoot sighting is not a repeatable occurrence. It is an event in time. You could also say it is an experience, but we’re going to use an event in time to make it something solid. Events in time can’t be reproduced. No matter how hard you try. Short of a time machine they can’t be subjected to peer scrutiny. All that you have is the testimony of the witnesses involved, and/or the evidence left behind from the event. The mistake people are making is treating Bigfoot as something that should be approached with the scientific method, when in fact it should be approached the same way other events in time are, such as historical events and phenomena. Skeptics realize this, which is why they demand this rock solid proof. They know that the scientific method cannot be applied to a historical event. Just ask anyone what extraordinary proof or evidence would they in fact require, and the answers will all be the same. A body. The only way to accomplish that is for it to either be a stroke of dumb luck, or for you to be able to predict where a Bigfoot sighting will occur.

Now we apply it to our burden of proof. If a person is making a claim based on an event in time they experienced, what would be an acceptable piece of evidence to provide proof of their claim? Now keep in mind, it is an event in time that occurred. So what extraordinary evidence would be sufficient for their extraordinary claim? We cannot observe nor repeat an event in time that has already taken place. Both of which are required for the use of scientific methodology. Are we going to hold everyone to the standards of video or photographic proof? Meaning everyone must at all times have a visual recording device at the ready while in the field, and without producing this visual evidence we don’t believe anything they say? But wait, we have now reached a time where both video and photographs can easily be manipulated; therefore even a clear picture would be left up to opinion. So if “extraordinary evidence” is not logically feasible for this application, what is left?

Here’s The Beef!

The reality of it all is that there is no precise scientific method to determine the validity of an event in time. Different individuals will claim different requirements for validation, dependent on their own presuppositions and types of evidence involved. Since a Bigfoot sighting, encounter, or experience is an event in time, which cannot be “re-observed” or repeated, we must look at the evidence differently. This is why the application of “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is somewhat subjective and invalid for determining event in time phenomena.

The requirement of “proof” which in our case is a body is an impossibility. This form of proof cannot be obtained through scientific methodology. Observation, experimentation, and repetition cannot be applied to an event that has already occurred. Nor can video or photographic evidence be produced based on the whim of an individual requiring such as proof. Which we also know would not be considered “absolute proof” based on the abilities of today’s technology. So why demand it in the first place? Unless you are making the demand based on the knowledge that it can’t be produced to begin with, allowing yourself some sort of pseudo-victory on behalf of your own motivations when the witness fails to do so. Another “That a boy!” for you.

The requirement for absolute proof however, ignores the fact that there is a category of “sufficient evidence.” In logic, (keyword logic) there is deduction and induction. Deduction, my dear Watson, is reasoning from the general to the specific. Drawing a conclusion based on fact. Induction is the reverse; drawing general principles from specific facts. It is reasoning from the specific to the general. Often times, deductive and inductive reasoning is used to reach conclusions about events that have taken place. In doing so, there is no requirement of “extraordinary evidence.” The evidence is simply examined contextually in the genre in which it fits. An example of what I mean is this:

We do not apply observation, experimentation, and repetition to the subject of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The genre, which is history, (an event in time) does not fit that methodology. The scientific method. Yet skeptics, as well as certain Bigfoot researchers, will require that methodology be applied to Bigfoot, and claims of Bigfoot encounters and experiences, thereby, misapplying evidential and logical analysis.

Furthermore, we cannot ascertain all things with absolute certainty. For example, we cannot prove that the Battle of the Little Bighorn ever happened by observing it. We do have however, written documentation from eyewitnesses who observed it taking place. I do not know anyone who does not believe that the Battle of the Little Bighorn took place, without involving the scientific method and with no requirements of “extraordinary evidence.” Yet they will make those demands of a Bigfoot encounter or sighting.

Yes there are differences between a documented battle observed by many eyewitnesses, and a Bigfoot sighting observed by one or a few individuals. However, in terms of logic the same rules should apply based on the fact that they both fit within the same genre. Encounters with Bigfoot type creatures have been documented for hundreds of years by eyewitnesses spanning the entire globe. Why are the standards different for those encounters, than they are for other event in time phenomena? Not only are the standards different, but they are standards that should not even apply to those given situations. Standards, demands, and requests that are both illogical and impossible to provide based on the simple fact that sightings and encounters are being treated by skeptics as falling into a certain category in which they do not belong in the first place.

The Conclusion…

Whether or not the Battle of the Little Bighorn took place and the events happened as they are recorded, will not change anything nor will it have an effect on anyone. But, if it is true that Bigfoot, Sasquatch, The Yeti, The Yowie, whatever name your region chooses, do in fact exist, that would have a profound effect on people, what we think we know about science, possibly even our own history and what we know about our own world. This makes people uncomfortable. Even those who believe they can or possibly do exist. To find out they were wrong in their own beliefs and opinions, or that they were unable to accomplish something within the field that others could do, that too has a direct effect on a person. Therefore, they will not want some of those claims to be true. Some may not want Bigfoot to exist at all, and will sometimes desperately try to hold onto their presuppositions; hence the claim that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

The burden of proof lies with the individual making the claim. True enough. The fallacy is found within the proof that is demanded of the one making the claim. The burden of proof may only be fulfilled by evidence. The types of evidence are testimony, documentary, physical or real, digital, exculpatory, scientific, demonstrative, eyewitness identification, genetic, and lies. The classification or genre of the claim itself determines which of these could be used to fulfill the burden of proof. Not all apply in any given situation, given that different situations allow for only certain types of evidence to even be possible.

When defending a claim and dealing with the notion that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” address the following issues:

Will their presuppositions allow unbiased examination of the evidence?

In the specific situation, what would qualify as “extraordinary evidence?”

What is the criteria being used to determine what “extraordinary evidence” is?

Is the criteria being used for “extraordinary evidence” reasonable for that situation?

Published in: on February 15, 2010 at 1:51 pm  Leave a Comment