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SKEPTOID BLOG:

Bigfoot in My Backyard

by Alison Hudson

October 1, 2014

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Donate I have known for awhile that Bigfoot is reportedly stalking the shadows of my home state of Michigan. Our fair state has even been graced with televised visits by both Finding Bigfoot and Bigfoot Bounty. But until recently I never knew that that Bigfoot was in my own backyard!

Well, okay, not literally. But apparently there's a recent tradition of reported Bigfoot sightings in Isabella County, MI, home to Central Michigan University. I earned my degrees from CMU and then lived for several years after that. And in all that time, I never saw Bigfoot! So disappointing.

I never heard one, either. I was not as fortunate as Squatcher Jim Sherman, who has recently released what he thinks may be a "double howl" vocalization. Check out this video he posted of supposed Sasquatch vocalizations in the woods of Isabella County.


Honestly, I wonder how much Sherman believes himself in this video. He's definitely unsure about the sound's origin, and the commentary seems to be a bit snarky ("It could be the Michigan Dogman ... or Poodleman"). The Cryptozoology website presents it as a serious report, however, and Sherman is identified as someone who has been researching this for years. As such, we can assume he's legitimately considering this a possible Sasquatch call.

Sherman claims in the video that the wail was accompanied by "wood knocks and crazy howls," but all he gives us in the recording is a snipped of a wailing call. Why not provide this call in context along with the other alleged sounds? Did he only record for 10 seconds? Did his iPhone run out of battery at that point? Without audio in context, it's impossible to tell. We also can't tell if this clip has been audio filtered, something that happens frequently in Bigfoot audio study to "bring out" vague noises in night recordings.

Now, whenever I hear one of these Sasquatch "vocalizations," I usually think "that sounds like a loon" or some siilar familiar animal. And this vocalization is no different. Listen to some of the vocalizations in the video below:



Note that the researcher in the Cornell video mentions that one loon call will be answered by another. Sherman himself thought that there might be two vocalizations layered on there, and loons can certainly call and respond quickly to one another. Short version: There's absolutely no reason to assume that the presented sound byte represents anything other than the vocalization of a common Michigan bird, unless strong evidence is presented to make that leap.

Luckily, there's an international coalition of Squatchers out there ready to take these vocalizations more seriously than I. The Western Bigfoot Society recently spoke to Agencia EFE, the Spanish news service, and translations were carried out on Latin News sites like Latin Post and Fox News Latino. How ready is this crack team of Squachers to listen to vocalizations like those Sherman collected? Super-ready. Check out this actual quote from Rhettman Mullis, WBS founder:
We are different from other Bigfoot researchers in the sense that we start with the certainty that Bigfoot exists, so we focus our studies on its behavior and classification within the animal kingdom.
Drink that one in, folks, because it speaks volumes about the believer mentality. Assume Bigfoot is out there, and then look for evidence accordingly. How are these researchers any different from an organization like the Discovery Institute, who begins with the assumption that the Bible is true and then twist every fact to fit their theory? Not very. If everything defaults to "Bigfoot exists" before that fact has even been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then the "research" amounts to little more than speculation.

Sherman, to his credit, is connected with the BFRO, the more reasonable of the Bigfoot research groups. I still think he's too quick to leap from "unidentified" to "probably a Bigfoot (or two!)". Whatever the case, I will have to be on the lookout the next time I visit my alma mater and the friends I still have there. Who knows? Maybe I'll hear the call of the Loony Bigfoot in the night.

by Alison Hudson

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