How NOT to Find Bigfoot

bobo bigfoot yell with caption





Finding Bigfoot has failed to live up to its name, despite filming 91 episodes over six years for Animal Planet.

If you’re trying to get a good look at an elusive creature, one that apparently wants nothing to do with humans, what are, like, the DUMBEST things to do?

  1. Make a lot of noise.
  2. Use four searchers to cover an enormous forest.
  3. Search in the dark.
  4. Pack up after a few days.

Yet these are mainstays of Finding Bigfoot‘s investigations.

Episode after episode, viewers have witnessed whacking trees with sticks (“knocks”), loud Sasquatch mimicry (“howls”), and traipsing around at night (whisper, whisper, snap, crunch) hoping to film thermal images. It’s all followed by exaggerated interpretations and assurances that Bigfoot just has to be nearby.

Once, searcher/comic relief James “Bobo” Fay (pictured above) set up a “rave.” Not with drinking, drugs or dancing. A projector made colored lights swirl around the trees. Bobo’s even tried peeing in the woods to mark his territory and pretending to be sexy bait by donning lipstick and a long blond wig.

Evidence analyst Cliff Barackman tried to lure Bigfoot by playing bass guitar.

Frankly, the best bits of evidence are interviews with eyewitnesses, sometimes at town-hall meetings (like this one from Pennsylvania), sometimes at the site of an encounter. Lots of people clearly believe. “Skunk ape” left a handprint on a door. Georgia’s cop’s dashcam captured fuzzy image of a biped running across a road.

Oops, that biped might have been a prankster in a gorilla suit.

The lack of successful followup makes you wonder: Is the Finding Bigfoot team really trying? Or is each technique picked for how cool or spooky it looks or sounds on TV?

Silently waiting is kind of boring.

But if Bigfoot exists, it ought to be possible to gather better evidence. Clear photos of a full creature. Or unmistakable video. A body. Or bones. Not recordings of sounds. Not glowy thermal images. Not indeterminate hair samples. Not even casts of feet.

Here’s a plan. Next season, pick whatever small isolated forest is supposedly the most Bigfoot-infested. Stay the entire season. Set up a perimeter of cameras, to film any attempted escape. Set up bait in other places, under the eyes of surveillance cameras. Maybe set up trip wires that trigger other cameras. Most of all, line up a whole posse of volunteers, and comb the woods, grid by grid, cave by cave, tree by tree, with everybody ready with a cellphone to shoot video. Station a second line of watchers who’d film if any creature flees. Bring in an expert with tracking dogs, to encourage such fleeing.  Check everywhere for possible lairs, Bigfoot graveyards, gnawed bones, scat, footprints. Heck, the whole time keep flying over and filming with drones.

In short, be extremely thorough. Odds of working might beat Bobo in a dress. If Bigfoot exists.

Let’s settle this.

What there’s to lose? Well, for Matt Moneymaker and his Finding Bigfoot team, a total failure could mean bye-bye show.

Or … wait … how about … promos for “New Season, New Theories!” Could Sasquatch be supernatural beings capable of invisibility? Are they time travelers from the future who come and go? How about aliens here on secret scouting mission using advanced technology to defy detection?”

Beam me up, Squatchy.

Peter Mucha

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