Bigfoot Is Racking Up Frequent Flier Miles

A statue of bigfoot at roadside attraction along State Highway 504, east of Silver Lake, Washington. Via Wikimedia.

Bigfoot is the mythological ape-like creature of modern pop culture and cryptozoology. It’s popular enough that there’s even a show, Finding Bigfoot, dedicated to finding it. (I’m still waiting after nine seasons for them to find it!) Bigfoot is low-hanging fruit for critical thinkers: if you believe that bigfoot is actually a creature living and hiding in the Pacific Northwest then you have zero critical thinking skills. If you at least question that possibility then we can work with you.

Although bigfoot has long been a pop culture icon, it seems to be becoming a world traveler. The evolution of bigfoot sightings is a study in human psychology, and I’m fascinated by the contagious nature of cryptozoology. There appears to have been been a recent uptick in sasquatch sightings worldwide. While this is not at all evidence of bigfoot’s existence, it does provide an interesting discussion surrounding the limitless reserves of credulity found in many cryptozoologists and bigfoot enthusiasts.

Reports of bigfoot abound, now that media has the ability to rapidly disseminate the legend throughout the world. Not surprisingly, bigfoot has migrated to English speaking countries first, then has trickled into other countries slowly. This is just how you would expect a narrative legend to propagate. Cryptozoology of course looks upon these sightings as more proof of the animal existence. Let’s take a look at how scientific that thought is.

The website Cryptozoology News offers many hours of reading if you wish to deep-dive delusional thinking. Bigfoot sightings reported there abound worldwide: Australia, Holland, Great Britain, France, Germany and even Ukraine. In the US, bigfoot appears to like the coast. One report there gives a titillating eyewitness account of a bigfoot sighting in Ireland. That’s right, Ireland!

This credulous reporting of nonsense is why cryptozoology has zero value and is considered a pseudoscience. Despite its science-y, academic-sounding name, cryptozoology functions more like a cult than a science. They begin with the assumption that bigfoot exists and move out from there. To overcome the obvious deficit of evidence, cryptozoology apologists make special pleas that bigfoot is an intelligent, reclusive primate that has avoided all detection. Even granting all of that nonsense, Irish bigfoot is still complete bunkum.

A map of American and Canadian bigfoot sightings, based on information from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization Geographical Database of Bigfoot/Sasquatch Sightings & Reports. Via Wikimedia.

The legends are varied but it seems that all human cultures have some variation on this theme: a giant, reclusive, man-like creature that doesn’t seem to fit in any discrete animal classification and has a remarkably supernatural ability to avoid being photographed in focus. There is no way that a large hominid can maintain a breeding population simultaneously all over the world and not have one bit of indisputable evidence.

For argument’s sake, let’s say it is possible. Let’s say bigfoot is successfully hiding from us, there is no way no how that this creature has ever been in Ireland. How can I be so sure?

A novelty bigfoot sign on Pikes Peak Highway. Via Wikimedia.

Simply put geography and history makes it completely impossible. Ireland is an island. In modern times there is just no way that a hominid is going to swim the English channel and establish a population on the island. Humans with wet suits and chase boats struggle to swim the channel. So unless it can build boats, a bipedal primate is not going to swim 21 miles in the North Atlantic with cross currents—never mind a whole breeding population.

I am sure that a cryptozoologist would point out that at one time the UK was a peninsula attached to Europe, until about 8,000 years ago. But so what? There is no chance that there has been a sustainably large but invisible hominids in the UK for the last 8,000 years. The lack of evidence is undeniable. In the medieval period, the formerly heavily forested UK and Ireland were almost completely clear cut. Ireland was shaved down to only 11% of its original forest. There is no old-growth left in the UK. Although 89% of Ireland’s forests were stripped away, not one bigfoot was ever caught or killed. Not one was skin taken, no skeletons, no fossils, zero historical references of the great hunts for the giant beast. No animal can hide when you strip away 90% of its natural habitat.

And we’re not talking about a rodent or a insect stowing away; bigfoot didn’t get there by human transport. The animal is described by cryptozoologists (with, again, no evidence for the claim) as a seven-foot-tall bipedal primate. You’re not going to miss that in your hold crossing the Atlantic, or overlook him in Coach on RyanAir. Large mammals—such as the aurochs, brown bear, wooly mammoth, cave lion, and others—have been extinct across the UK for a millennium or more, but we know that they existed there once because there’s a large amount of evidence for them.

Credulously reporting that a couple has seen bigfoot in Ireland is just a belief system trying to prop up its ridiculous ideas by grasping at the flimsiest straws at hand. The eyewitnesses might not be at fault. Humans make mistakes, have altered states of consciousness, and are prone to neurosensory failures. They may be hoaxers or might themselves be hoaxed.

And you can apply this same line of reasoning to every other worldwide bigfoot sighting. Living in such a variety of habitats would make bigfoot one of the best-evolved species on Earth, which should raise some flags on its own. It seems totally incomprehensible that we would have no evidence for an animal like that and it seems more likely that the animal simply doesn’t exist.

I will continue to use bigfoot as a litmus test for teaching critical thinking. If you are a die-hard bigfoot believer then you probably have a profound deficit in critical thinking skills. Scientific skepticism is just as great for people like you as it is for people like me! It will take a lot of work on your part. Skeptoid is a good place to start the journey. Welcome!

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About Stephen Propatier

Stephen Propatier is a board certified acute care nurse practitioner specializing in spine and sports medicine. He is a member of the Society for Science Based Medicine.
This entry was posted in Paranormal, Urban Legends and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Bigfoot Is Racking Up Frequent Flier Miles

  1. Paul Carter Block says:

    Oh Stephen!
    The English Channel lies between England and France. The stretch of water between the mainland of Britain and Ireland comprises St George’s Channel (between South Wales and the Irish Republic), the Irish Sea (England and Ireland – no one’s likely to swim that as it is up to 150 miles across) and the North Channel, just 12 miles from Scotland to Northern Ireland but some of the roughest seas anywhere – again not inviting a swim.
    Apart from that quibble, your article is spot-on; of course, separate beeding populations of a giant primate cannot survive undetected by science all over the world, in spite of the many claims.
    I will offer support to cryptozoologists, however, as they are not all monster-hunters, liars or lunatics, and do an excellent job of deflating the arrogance of mainstream scientists who seem to believe that they already know everything.

  2. Thanks Paul but to be clear my point stems from an argument of migration from the continent not getting from GB to Ireland. GB was similarly deforested to Ireland. The GB claims are just as ridiculous, just this one was Ireland. I did not really take a look at the separation of the islands from a historical standpoint.

  3. David says:

    Bigfoot is part of the alien agenda. There are no breeding populations on this planet. They are deposited in various parts of the world for the purposes of being seen, and then they are removed. There are many types of creature which appear and disappear in a similar fashion. I do not know what the purpose of this is, but the main feature seems that they will not ever leave any evidence for us to prove their existence.
    I know Skeptoid would express the opinion that this is a load of nonsense, but when they have been so many thousands of sightings, there are two possibilities: firstly these creatures become visible and are sighted, or the second possibility is that something is creating an hallucination in the minds of the witnesses. Incidentally creating very similar hallucinations. Psychiatrists will try and explain this away, but something is happening to cause this.
    By the way UFOs have the same annoying habit of being seen by millions of people, but again never leaving any conclusive evidence. That is part of the game.

    • Mudguts says:

      Hang on… dodgy sightings don’t count.. We have someone here who suffers from dodgy sighting syndrome. Thats maybe one in 30,000 (skeptoid staff can update our commenter population numbers).

      Lets say thats a fair average. Can we divide that into a world population of dodgy sighters who are willing to publicly declare their observational astigmatism?..

      Thats about 10 million..

      I’ll have a banana.. apparently they fit our hands

      • David says:

        Actually in reply to Mudguts. Your opinion: ‘dodgy sightings don’t count’, does not automatically wipe out witness accounts. You are dismissing sightings by Police and Military. Your statistics are irrelevant. People are seeing things.

        Freke: I agree with you. A lot of people say, if a photo is sharp, it is a fake, whereas if it is blurry, it is fake. They also say a witness to a UFO sighting is a liar. However, there is rarely a reason to lie. A majority of witnesses do not want to be named, so what is the motive?

        • mudguts says:

          David.. as bigfeet and UFO’s go.. you need some red hot evidence to prove these.

          For big feet we have been waiting since a fraud film. For UFO’s since they appeared in literature (for entertainment purposes) in the 30’s. To date, no good evidence has appeared but the two nonphenoms are becoming religions (in the case of UFO’s one deadly religion already).

          The harm is there…

          • David says:

            You are right in saying that I need some red hot evidence to prove the existence of Bigfoot and UFOs. I think I have mentioned elsewhere, that whatever is behind these strange phenomena is not going to allow us to have such irrefutable evidence: Lots of photographs; some questionable artefacts; debatable radar sightings; sightings by airline pilots; etc., but nothing conclusive. it remains a mystery. We are aware of it, but it is intangible.

            You could say it was HG Wells who popularised aliens with the War of the Worlds. Although if you examine historical documents, paintings, and sculptures you will find many instances of unusual objects being sighted.

            I would say to you that to your way of thinking, every sighting or witness statement is immediately “dodgy”. It does not matter whether you believe or disbelieve what people say or see. Just ask yourself why are people reporting seeing such things as Bigfoot and UFOs? As I replied to you earlier, the vast majority of witnesses do not want publicity, but just have to tell someone of their strange experience, because it is so strange.

            We have all seen the Paterson film. It is most likely to be fraudulent. However that does not mean that every other sighting is fraudulent. You cannot jump to that conclusion. That is not logical thinking.

    • Timothy Maskell says:

      ????&$:,)(???? WTF ? Any proof David? Millions of sightings is NOT proof. I read many years ago about a sceptic who attended a UFO sighting gathering in Great Britain. He erected a pole with a purple light about 3 or so miles away. It was on for a few minutes only. He then waited a few days for reports to be printed in the UFO publications. Tales went from: a hovering purple light, to travelling zig zag like at ‘speeds not attainable by any human flying craft of the day.
      I’m not sure where I read this, but it might have been in an old Sientific American from the 60’s.

    • Ray says:

      In your world, do you ever make a distinction between belief and evidence? Or are they pretty much the same thing? See, the problem here is that people don’t understand what constitutes evidence so they freely substitute belief in its place. That’s clearly what you have done here when you say that aliens are “depositing” Bigfoots here and then removing them. But in reality all this amounts to is that you’re stacking one belief on top of another and you’ve somehow convinced yourself that you have a valid chain of reasoning supporting the idea. Sorry, but belief is not evidence and stacking beliefs does not a logical argument make.

      But given your inability to reason, I doubt this will make any sense to you.

      • Freke1 says:

        At least there is a chance that Bigfoot can exist. Unlike with the god thingy. Wouldn’t You agree?

        • Mudguts says:

          Isn’t that called a pleading question with rhetoric Freke?

        • Mudguts says:

          Lets say we make it easy on those who wish to plead cases rather than show evidence.

          Get that collection of endless bits of ufofoot trivia and pare out all the garbage that are unconvincing to you.

          Never allow the rubbish data to be resubmitted into your thinking processes.

          Then all the stuff thats really good can now be compared to sightings of fairies, leprechauns, returning religious figures, sea monsters , demons, djinns and of course fashion delusions such as the moth man..

          Do any of these have a fall back position: Pranks or other natural events are being confused.

          Or is the testimony utterly falsifiable?

          Can you post those few events so we can read them?

          The rule being, no pleading, no rhetoric and no question begging. Thats a cryptozoologists job. Please excuse the deserved derision for the term.

          Until we see something like that, we have to continue thinking the whole phenom of big foot is white guys hijacking the lore of the indigenous. Dressing it up in a bear suit and privately playing out hotel new hampshire with their brethren

  4. Robert Haag says:

    You know I have lived in Washington State all of my life and currently live in the shadow of Mt. Rainier near the cascade mountains and even though I have been in the Cascades and Olympic Mountains many times and have seen all sorts of animals like bears and mountain lions I have never, EVER, seen a single sign of a Giant Ape.
    I must not be looking hard enough because those Finding Bigfoot fools seem to find signs of him as soon as they get out of their vehicles.

    • Alexandria Nick says:

      My mother loves the Bigfoot shows and she is pretty sure there is no Bigfeet walking around. I think she just likes to make fun of them, particularly how anywhere is “excellent Bigfoot territory.”

      Mountainside in Montana? Bigfoot territory.
      Swamp in Florida? Bigfoot territory.
      Field in Ohio? Bigfoot territory.
      Boston Common in Boston? Bigfoot territory.
      10 times or less line in Target? Bigfoot territory.

      • Gary Parker says:

        I hired Bigfoot to manage my herd of Unicorns!

        • mudguts says:

          I have been looking for a herd of unicorns once owned by more daughter

          Were these ones pink?

          The worry about bigfoot is that its smacks of another western theft of indigenous folklore. OK for us guys to nick each others folklore.. Its all pretty recent stuff. But when you are adopting cultures that may be 10’s of thousand of years old under.. “well they dont look like they are using it” principle, the wobbity promoters start looking like rank thieves as well as bullartists.

  5. Freke1 says:

    If bigfoot or dogman or mothman or ufo’s doesn’t exist then what the hell are people seeing? It’s ok to believe that some son of some god rose from the dead or was born by a virgin? No one on skeptoid evar debunks religion. Cryptozoology is “crazy” but it says “In God We Trust” on the money. No there is no old guy residing in the clouds but there is a lot of credible people who has seen bigfoot, dogmen, ufo’s howevar “crazy” that may sound. There are also a lot of stupid search tv series or fake photos or blurry photos. But look beyond those pls.

    • mudguts says:

      Freke.. how long is it now? They are suffering from the same things social hypochondriacs suffer from..

      They like to bs…

      • Freke1 says:

        I would like for You (and all skeptoids) to go watch the first 15min of “I Know What I Saw” and then tell me that these people are lying or telling bs or attention seekers. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/4I4tKI2Ea-U
        It’s just so rude. And You can do exactly the same with Bigfoot or Dogman or ghosts or poltergeists or alien abduction. Yes there are fakes and blurry photos and reality shows, but how You skeptics dismiss ex. navy recon guys, doctors, police men, hunters or just hardworking sane family guys/girls when they tell their encounter is beyond me. Do You think an ex. military 30 year hunter with a high power rifle is gonna tell he was chased out of the woods by 2 scary dogmen just to get some attention? Or a female doctor who witness a ufo together with the cars stopped behind her and wakes up 20 miles away. There are thousands of interviews like that. Unexplainable events. And having skeptics rise from their armchair claiming it’s bs is just rude. They don’t know their stuff. They google it, finds the fakes and the dodgy stuff and their mind is set. No interest. But I’ll admit this stuff is bizarre. It’s not part of my daily life.

        • David says:

          You and I are on the same page, and we both have an open mind, unlike Mudguts and Skeptoid, who are self-obligated to reject every single story of a strange encounter. There can be no weakening of their resoluteness in dismissing everybody out of hand regardless of what they say. They have an absolute belief in disbelief. Why this should be, I don’t know. Perhaps they can’t bear the thought that there is something that they cannot explain, and rather than look deeply into it, they reject it like they’ve picked up a red-hot poker by mistake.

          In the meantime Science is trying to do its very best to search for life somewhere in the cosmos (let’s ignore the gravy train SETI project). They are so busy looking through their telescopes, that they can’t see what is going on behind their backs. To quote Lord Nelson: Ships? I see no (Space)ships

          • Mudguts says:

            a) its obliged..
            b) this sounds like Mackytrolling
            c) fraud is a levely industry.

            Have you ever asked why people should call themselves cryptozoologists?

          • David says:

            Here is a definition of Obligated:This implies that you have no choice in the matter: Once obligated, you can’t back out without serious repercussions. To be obliged can mean required, but it can also mean to have an informal moral sense that you should do something. (The definition says “doing a favor.”) I have used the word correctly.
            Point b: I don’t know what you mean.
            Point c, I noticed you corrected your spelling error. Apart from that I don’t understand the point you are making.

            Last point: Cryptozoology involves the search for animals whose existence has not been proven due to lack of evidence. Cryptozoologists are searching for evidence.

            I wish you would be more coherent in your responses.

          • Mudguts says:

            a) its obliged..
            b) this sounds like Mackytrolling
            c) fraud is a lively industry.

            Have you ever asked why people should call themselves cryptozoologists?

          • Timothy Maskell says:

            I do not deny the truth about any strange sighting or phenomena. I just ask for proof or at least compelling evidence. Eye witness accounts are always suspect. Look to the large numbers of prisoners released after being found not guilty by DNA analysis after being convicted by eye witnesses.

  6. Hahaha for your peace of mind, we haven’t seen him yet in Spain.

    Regards.

  7. Timothy Maskell says:

    I have met people who take the merest possibility of something being true (and I do mean the MEREST possibility) as evidence that there is reason to believe in something. I get ” You must believe that is possible!” and ” you cannot prove that Sasquatch doesn’t exist!) I get the same about religion.
    I think that this attitude might be hard wired in the brain somehow. A kind of believers type brain construction. Doing an fMRI might be useful.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Nah, vision is often, probably almost always, a reliable source for what’s going on. It makes evolutionary sense to trust it, even in circumstances where it fails us. And rationalizing your way into belief of something can easily close any gaps in the visual record. No fMRI necessary. Just regular old human fallibility.

    • mudguts says:

      “He”? .. I doubt you’ll ever find something that fits the description of a sasquatch past folklore.

      The closest thing to a bigfoot in Spain would be a Wels catfish.. Except.. they are real.

      Maybe these will start walking around so the pleaders could say.. “i told you it was something!”

  8. Beth Guillory says:

    I can understand your skepticism as I was a total skeptic until I had one walk straight tiwards me at 3:30am on a farm. I couldn’t believe my eyes and questioned my own sanity for years afterwards but believe me sir, they do exist and they are as real as you and I and they are in states all over this country. You need to have a close sighting yourself. It will change everything that you ever thought about the great outdoors. Good luck if you do.

  9. CatLA says:

    I think the pro-Bigfoot posse here may be missing the point.

    If my best friend, whom I’ve known for years, and has never told me a lie about anything important, tells me she’s seen a Bigfoot, then I’ll believe her. But you, or anyone else reading this, will still have no good reason to believe her, because all you have to support your belief is her own report and my testimony as to her good character. However many times she insists that she saw it, and however many times I insist she’s a model citizen, no scientific evidence is going to emerge from this situation.

    If there is one Bigfoot living in a certain area, and if Bigfeet are normal terrestrial animals, then there can’t be just the one—there must be a sustainable population of Bigfeet in that location, and there will also be direct physical evidence of that population: scat, hair, pelts, bones (even, perhaps, though very occasionally, parts of carcasses). And presumably this direct evidence would be available in fairly large quantities, given how many Bigfeet there must be, and have been down the centuries or millenia or even longer, to keep the population going.

    Once the animals’ favourite hideouts or hunting-grounds, or whatever, have been roughly located by this evidence, then it would be possible for scientific researchers to set up cameras and sound recording equipment in known locations and at known times, to capture these animals on film close-up, and even moving; to do this not once, but repeatedly; and ultimately, maybe, to capture one alive and kicking.

    The cameras and films must be identifiable in the usual ways that zoologists use in these circumstances when trying to film wild animals, especially shy or nocturnal ones in remote locations (located by GPS, timed, etc.). Scientists investigating e.g. vervet monkey cries in the wild use such equipment because they know they need permanent, objective evidence of which monkey made which cry under which circumstances.

    The sort of physical evidence that would be left by a breeding population of Bigfeet is not the same as distant sightings by hunters or walkers, however experienced or familiar with their surroundings. It is not the same as recordings of distant cries. It is not the same, even, as films that can’t be known not to have been hoaxed because nothing is known for sure (i.e. independently of the testimony of the people who claim to have made it) of where they were taken and under what circumstances. It is not the same, even, as casts of footprints, although if these are fresh, in the right sort of medium, and there are enough of them, they would be a good lead (so to say).

    No, the sort of evidence that is required to make belief in Bigfeet rational for the wider community is permanent, testable, and comparable with similar physical evidence of other animals that we do know about. No-one doubts the sincerity of most reporters of encounters with Bigfeet. But those reports are just that: reports.

    • Mudguts says:

      Wow… I’ll be honest.. I doubt the sincerity of nearly ll big foot reporters. But if it sells tours and souvenirs like the loch ness non event.. Fine.

      I also am not a big foot doubter.. I certainly feel that its been hijacked from your indigenous cultures.. Every bigfoot sale should attract a tax towards services the local people need to fund.

      There is something fishy about stealing someone else’s religion to sell soap on TV..

      • CatLA says:

        Yes, I should probably have been more cautious. I’d certainly agree that some soi-disants Bigfoot-witnesses are simply selling something. Others want attention from the media and the cryptozoology crew: as they bask in Bigfoot’s reflected glory, they can see their own importance growing (or so they think).

        But wouldn’t you agree that there are some who don’t fall into either of these camps? While such people may exaggerate or embroider, misremember details, telescope two or more distinct events together, and so on, I would say that they do this unintentionally, and that they really do believe they are telling the truth—that is, they are sincere. They insist that they know what they saw or heard, and neither ecological-biological considerations (of the kind I set out) nor the limitations on and general fallibility of our sense-organs (for estimating sizes and distances, say) will make any dent in their conviction.

  10. William J Granger says:

    I had never thought of Bigfoot and UFO phenomena having any link until reading these comments. I don’t believe there is a link other than both are phenomena and we are all waiting for hard evidence of either. I would tend to believe in the UFO phenomenon more than the Bigfoot one just on the basis of many more sightings and mass sightings but again that is not hard evidence. A lot of thoughtful comments were presented on both sides of the issue, but until…

    • mudguts says:

      Er.. no.. as nice as it would be to have a case of “good reason to accept but waiting for hard evidence” (wrt UFO’s and Bigfoot), we are still at the stage of “everyone pile on after crank entries into adult magazines 30’s to 60’s”.

      Just note the comments of conspiracists on other topics here in skeptoid comments. There is never an evaluation of the source material.

      On that basis I know for sure that UN police are offshoots of international rescue. Just look at the pictures of Thunderbirds in the 60’s and photographs of the UN uniformed staff of today.

      Brian and Co.. I hope I haven’t inadvertently started a new conspiracy.. But Thunderbirds followed by Captain Scarlet.. followed by UFO.. Followed by Space 1999 surely gives us hard evidence that Gerry and Sylvia Anderson have called the shots from international policing to the return of Nibiru..

      Bugger.. Nibiru is cancelled this year.. again..

      Sorry I have used up all the available comment space for special pleading, question begging and spangled displays of faux offence and disparagement..

  11. Gary Parker says:

    I have hired Bigfoot to run my Unicorn Ranch! They are great together! lol

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