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SKEPTOID BLOG:

Kickstarting a Bigfoot Blimp

by Alison Hudson

December 13, 2012

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Donate A couple of days ago, we told you about a new Kickstarter project for ghost hunting. Today we look at another wacky crowdfunding project: the Bigfoot Blimp.

Called The Falcon Project, the Kickstarter promises "The most penetrating search for Sasquatch/North American Ape ever conducted in North America." The project's goal is to mount a high-tech blimp [pictured] with a thermal camera and then float that blimp across the Northwestern forests in an attempt to capture Bigfoot on camera.

Why a blimp? "[It] has the ability to hover," says Dr. Jeff Meldrum, the project's principle investigator, in a video interview, "[By]hovering and looking vertically [through the forest canopy] there will be much less canopy to have to penetrate." In theory, he explains, a blimp shooting straight down and moving slowly will have a better chance at capturing a Bigfoot on camera than a plane flying fast and with a camera mounted at an angle.

And what is it about Bigfoot that's so special that it needs a specially designed blimp to catch it on a high-tech thermal imaging camera? I suppose it's the elusiveness of the creature. After all, it's eluded every sane and sensible way of detecting it -- all those trail cameras, all those hikers with cameras, all those television crews with cameras, every smartphone that's made its way into the forest in the last five years. It can't mean Bigfoot isn't there, right? It just means he's hard to catch. When the sensible ideas fail you, reach for the next level.

It's a strange mentality that Bigfoot hunters have: that if we only watch enough of the forest for enough time, eventually we're bound to see something. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, right? Except that so many people have been looking for so long, and in so many ways, that it really is becoming evidence of absence. Yet the faithful persevere, and projects like this are a result.

I liken a project like this to the old sonar sweeps of Loch Ness. Completely unnecessary, considering the paltry evidence that preceded them, and yet massive financial and technological undertakings that someone felt obligated to complete. Those sonar sweeps yielded nothing, but that evidence of absence has never dissuaded true believers in Nessie from explaining away the mission failures.

Will The Falcon Project achieve what those sonar sweeps did not? Hard to say -- it needs to get funded first. And with a stated goal of $355,500, I think it's a big reach. It's only a couple of day old, but the project's initial burst of funding has received a paltry $646 as of this writing. Barring some sort of unexpected pickup in interest, Kicktraq has it on track to fail.

Perhaps it's for the best. It saves true believers the hassle of explaining away the evidence of absence.

by Alison Hudson

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