Searching for ‘Squatch’ and finding ‘squat’
- Pamplin Media
- Central Oregonian - Features
Since when did “finding” translate to “searching”?
After watching just a few minutes of Finding Bigfoot, I’ve learned one thing — this show is definitely on the wrong channel. Instead of Animal Planet, it should be on Comedy Central.
Notice the title is Finding Bigfoot, not Searching for Bigfoot. Anyone can search for anything, but finding it is something entirely different. On that note, instead of Finding Bigfoot (BF), perhaps the show should be titled Finding BS.
The show is definitely light on the science and heavy on the entertainment. It must have some followers though since the show is in its third season and filming is underway for Season 4.
So the question is — Does Bigfoot exist? So far, this show is batting zero.
You would think if this elusive creature exists that one would have shown up by now, dead or alive. After all, people have covered just about every square inch of land in the Pacific Northwest, let alone the rest of the country, whether hunting, trapping, hiking, camping, logging, mining, exploring, or moonshining (which, by the way, is another show on Discovery Channel — Moonshiners).
However, there are many believers out there, including at least three of the four stars of the series Finding Bigfoot.
Matt Moneymaker is the president and founder of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO). His first close encounter with a Bigfoot occurred during an overnight stakeout in a swampy wildlife refuge in Ohio in 1994. And, by the way, that’s his real last name. His father is the prominent Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney Richard Moneymaker. Who wouldn’t want to be represented by Rich Moneymaker?
Cliff Barackman, a former member of BFRO (did he get kicked out?), is known for his data collection and interest in physical evidence. On his first expedition to Bluff Creek, Calif., in 1994, he said he found possible Bigfoot footprints, as well as “tree damage evidence and a possible hair sample.” So what were the DNA results for this hair? He also claims to have one of the largest footprint cast collections in the country.
And then there’s James “Bobo” Fay. He claims to have seen his first Sasquatch, or Squatch as he likes to call it (or Bobo, as I like to call it), in 2001 and has since “glimpsed Bigfoots on a few other occasions.” I’m not sure what the difference is between seeing and glimpsing when it comes to Bigfoots. And shouldn’t it be Bigfeet? Bigfoots just doesn’t sound right for some reason.
Bobo often poses as Bigfoot for re-creations of photos, due to his height and size. He’s also known for his loud Bigfoot calls, even when he’s not trying to imitate the creature.
The final member of the team is Ranae Holland, the “skeptical scientist” who questions every potential sighting and piece of evidence. Of course, she’s always overruled by her three male co-hosts and the team concludes that every noise in the night is a real Bigfoot answering their calls.
These shows are boiler plate — conduct a town meeting and get half the community to admit on national TV that they’ve seen or heard a Bigfoot, interview these people, go out on the ground in the daylight and look for evidence (which doesn’t exist), go out on the ground at night and howl, scream, yodel, sing, snort, grunt, or make any other loud bodily function in order to get a Squatch to reply.
Sometimes, they believe they hear a response and one will say, “That was a Squatch.” And since Squatches communicate with each other by beating on trees with wood, the team also carries big sticks at night to hammer away on trees like oversized pileated woodpeckers. Sometimes, they believe they hear a response and one will say, “That was a Squatch.”
I watched a few minutes of a recent episode where Ms. Ranae attempted her first Bigfoot call. “Yooohooo!” she yelled. “Oh, wait a minute, what was that? Did you hear that?” She thought she heard a response, plus she thought she saw some glowing eyes at the other end of her flashlight beam. Now, she said she’s not so sure there isn’t something out there. Yeah, no kidding — one of the producers.
I read about one scene where the team spotted a Bigfoot-like creature on a hillside (the camera showing its typical grainy footage) and Moneymaker ran up the hill after it. He even admitted it was someone sneaking around trying to watch the production in progress.
“I said so repeatedly and vehemently at the time, for the cameras, but they edited out all of that in order to make it seem unclear what I was chasing after,” he said.
Since the team can’t produce a real live Bigfoot in the good ‘ole US of A, they’re expanding their investigations to Canada, Australia, and Indonesia. Australia has its “yowies” and Indonesia has its “orang-pendeks.”
Sasquatch sightings have been reported in every state of the union except Hawaii. What’s the matter, don’t Hawaiians have any imagination, or at least sense of humor?
In one episode the team travels to Rhode Island where they determine there are lots of unexplored areas with a wealth of Squatch activity. Come on now, really? Have they never taken a geography class? Do they understand the size of Rhode Island? The four of them can hold hands and touch its borders. If they can’t corner an elusive Bigfoot in Rhode Island, there’s something wrong.
I’m sure there are lots of people out there having some fun with gorilla suits. And where are all those Planet of the Apes outfits? I always thought about getting hold of one of those suits and going to an isolated forest road where log trucks are going by and run across in front of one. Then I reconsidered, thinking that there may also be a rifle or pistol aboard.
The Bigfoot phenomenon isn’t just a recent thing. Pacific Coast tribes speak of the Wild Man of the Woods, Bukwas, Sasquatch, and Windigo. Every culture or society needs a boogeyman. Even the hairy, big-footed Neanderthals had theirs.
“Now if you don’t eat your mammoth liver, the hairless white guy (or what they referred to it as Littlefoot) will come and snatch you from the cave in the night.” Many adults spoke of seeing Littlefoot. About 40,000 years ago, there was some overlap between the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, so maybe the former did spot the latter, and vice versa.
Some of the funniest things related to the show are comments on the website. Here are a few:
“They need to get bloodhounds and get rid of Renee and get an unbiased research biologist.”
“If a Bigfoot does exist, these four idiots are the last individuals that are going to find one.”
“The team is constantly making random statements about the behavior of Sasquatches as though they are well established facts: ‘Squatches are attracted to women,’ ‘Squatches are attracted to bacon,’ ‘Squatches are attracted to music’. If Bigfoot is attracted to women and bacon and music, how come they aren’t showing up at NFL tailgate parties?”
“The cast members claim to have found Bigfoot scat multiple times, yet they have never collected samples to submit for DNA testing. That tells me right there that they are full of scat themselves.”
I’ve spent a lot of time in the outdoors in my life and have seen some scary things such as bears, cougars, angry hunters, a few Neanderthals and a few Cro-Magnons, but nary a Bigfoot. My search continues.