An exploration of our Earth's ever-captivating fauna through musings on the bizarre side of Zoology, Cryptozoology, Paleontology, and Paleoanthropology

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Erickson Project Claims and Dubious Bigfoot Evidence

Painting portraying a sasquatch by Thomas Finley, titled "Night Giant."
Last Tuesday (October 1st), the Sasquatch Genome Project group held a press conference in Dallas Texas to screen alleged DNA results and never before seen footage as evidence for the existence of relict hominids in North America.1 Although you'd think that this should be good news for those interested in the question of mystery primates, I felt much uneasiness when I read about this. This was due to the fact that the claims being made seem to quite possibly be fraudulent, and I will briefly discuss why I feel this way in my writing here. Due to my feelings on this recent event, I have decided to write this article to try to debunk both the claim that this is strong evidence for the existence of bipedal primates in America and the claim that the whole of the "bigfoot community" feels that this is legitimate evidence. Several members of the Sasquatch Genome Project group were in attendance at the conference this Tuesday, most notably Adrian Erickson and Dr. Melba Ketchum. Melba Ketchum's claims have been discussed on this blog in the past, and I have already stated that many cryptozoological researchers including myself find her claims of DNA results quite dubious. Adrian Erickson was the founder of the Erickson Project, which had the objective of conducting the first long term study that would prove the existence of sasquatch.2 The project was started in 2005, and allegedly collected extensive video and physical evidence at various North American sites with a team consisting of Dennis Pfohl, Dr. Leila Hadj-Chikh, Randy Brisson, and Zoltan Bartha.2 Some of the alleged evidence collected by this team was exhibited at the Dallas news conference, and it is this that has caused raised eyebrows of suspicion among cryptozoological researchers, bigfoot skeptics, and laymen alike.


Video from original news report on the conference. (Source: Bigfoot is real, research teams claim)

The many problems of Melba Ketchum's claims of DNA evidence aside, the "never before seen HD video" shown at the news conference has also raised many questions regarding the authenticity of the Erickson Project and Sasquatch Genome Project as a whole. Prior to stills and clips from Erickson Project videos being released, the most commonly rumored footage was that of an alleged female sasquatch in Crittenden, Kentucky nicknamed "Matilda." Matilda was allegedly filmed twice, sleeping in the first video and walking towards the camera in the second, and was said to have reddish hair on a wookie-like face with pointy teeth.3 However, the footage of this alleged female hominid shown at the news conference paints a much different picture. The footage of the "animal" sleeping shows what looks like a rug or costume with fake fur, and the facial footage of "Matilda" shows what looks remarkably like a Chewbacca mask. In fact, special effects expert Bill Munns had received still images from the facial footage earlier this year and had concluded that they showed a Chewbacca mask with the hair reworked to be a different color and texture.4 With the "Matilda" footage being most probable fakes (in the opinion of this author), the rest of the footage exhibited at the news conference look like they could be bulky suits but are too inconclusive for proper judgment to be made. As pointed out by John Kirk, several features of alleged sasquatch from the footage shown at the press conference do not coincide with the features reported by eyewitnesses or exhibited in the Patterson Film such as lengthy arms, broad shoulders with no apparent neck, and a knee-bent gait unlike that of modern humans.5 As should be evident (and is pointed out by Tyler Stone), the Erickson and Sasquatch Genome Projects' supposed proof of a hominin hybrid species inhabiting North America is quite poor, as DNA results which have been shown to consist of a mixture of known animal samples contaminated by humans and hoaxes made with Chewbacca costumes are not going to convince any critically minded zoologist.
Comparisons between stills of the "Matilda" facial footage and Chewbacca masks by special effects expert Bill Munns.
(Image Source: Bill Munns: Is This Matilda?)
A still from the sleeping "Matilda" footage which shows the alleged animal's hair. The "hair" looks remarkably like a fiber type material rather than the hair which would be expected on a nonhuman or human great ape species.
(Image Source: Steven Streufert)
Even though the evidence presented at the aforementioned Dallas news conference can be extensively argued against, it will likely still have a negative effect on members of the "bigfoot community." Although many researchers in the "bigfoot community" do not support the claims made by the Sasquatch Genome Project and Erickson Project, the fraudulent claims involved will likely taint the reputations of those who are interested in reports of these alleged animals. Resulting in even more damage, these claims may also have a negative effect on any future acceptance of evidence in the form of footage and DNA results. I do wish to note that I am not directly calling anyone a hoaxer as I do not know the circumstances involved, and I am not trying to discredit anyone who was in attendance at the press conference due to my respect for cryptozoological researcher Jc Johnson who was present. Regardless, ludicrous claims such as those made by the so-called Erickson Project do nothing to bring claims of mystery primates into a legitimate zoological light.



References:
  1. "Bigfoot Is Real, Research Teams Claim." Wfaa.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2013. http://www.wfaa.com/news/entertainment/pets/Bigfoot-is-real-research-teams-claim-226033481.html?fb_action_ids=164204273776691.
  2. "The Erickson Project." Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2013. http://www.sasquatchthequest.com/home.html.
  3. "Bigfoot Evidence: The Erickson Project considering Pulling out of Race? And Who Is Matilda? [BIGFOOT RUMOR] (Updated: Website Now Redirects to Godaddy.com)." Bigfoot Evidence: The Erickson Project considering Pulling out of Race? And Who Is Matilda? [BIGFOOT RUMOR] (Updated: Website Now Redirects to Godaddy.com). N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2013. http://bigfootevidence.blogspot.com/2011/11/erickson-project-considering-pulling.html.
  4. "Bigfoot Evidence: Bill Munns: Is This Matilda?" Bigfoot Evidence: Bill Munns: Is This Matilda? N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2013. http://bigfootevidence.blogspot.com/2013/02/bill-munns-is-this-matilda.html
  5. "Cryptomundo for Bigfoot, Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents and More." Default Cryptomundo RSS 20. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Oct. 2013. http://www.cryptomundo.com/evidence/john-kirk-sasquatch-dna/.

40 comments:

  1. Actually, I believe the biggest problem most skeptics have with the idea of a hitherto unknown population of great apes living in the U.S. is that (according to them) there aren't enough good hiding places and such a population would number in the thousands; surely we would have found a body (or at least some other physical traces such as feces, hair, teeth, or the large nests they would need to build to sleep in.) It is also often said by the skeptics that there isn't enough food to sustain such a population and that sasquatches are supposed to be nocturnal, unlike all known primates.

    But that is there opinion; I don't necessarily share that opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joe! While these are commonly raised questions, they do fall away once research is done. There certainly is enough space for them to survive undiscovered, in fact, there are 65,000,000 acres of forestland in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Louisiana alone. There have been possible feces (http://www.bigfootencounters.com/images/scat.htm), hair (http://www.sasquatchcanada.com/uploads/9/4/5/1/945132/kts_p_176-177.pdf), teeth (http://bigfootdiscoveryproject.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-mystery-tooth-at-museum.html) (http://frontiersofzoology.blogspot.com/2012/03/local-bigfoots.html), and nests (http://www.sasquatchcanada.com/uploads/9/4/5/1/945132/__kts_p178-180.pdf) found, so those points can also be argued against. Furthermore, the "lack of food" argument has been repeatedly disproven by scientists such as Kathy Strain, Jeffrey Meldrum, and John Mionczynski. Lastly, although sasquatches are most likely not strictly nocturnal, chimpanzee groups have adapted to nocturnal life in order to avoid poachers.

      Delete
  2. That's because they're NOT PRIMATES.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. they are NOT primates, they are FICTICIOUS mates :)

      Delete
    2. Many would disagree with you on that, with good evidence to support their view.

      Delete
    3. Apes can show facial expressions this "Bigfoot" cant even close it's mouth. Not to mention the photographer was right on top of thing and it just laid there.

      Delete
    4. Exactly :). The few who are actually defending the footage are saying "look, it has a black tongue" but the thing doesn't move its face at all. It remains stiff throughout the footage.

      Delete
  3. http://www.bf-field-journal.blogspot.com/2013/10/matilda-not-all-bigfoot-look-alike.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joe! I still disagree, due to the fact that "Matilda" remains the same stiff facial features throughout the whole of the footage and is identical to wookie masks. It's a definite case of Occam's Razor ruling the legitimacy out.

      Delete
  4. http://sasquatchgenomeproject.org/view-dna-study/

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow...what an entertaining article. It is just amazing how people believe this stuff. Chewy mask it is...and so blatantly so...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Not only have I seen a Sasquatch, we became friends and I got him a gig on star wars :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That awesome comic with Han Solo crashing on Earth and Chewbacca becoming the source of sasquatch sightings must be true ;)!

      Delete
  8. Happy birthday for yesterday Jay.
    Michael in the U.K.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think that the main reason we haven't found any solid confirmatory sasquatch specimens is because the creation "scientists" are trying to keep people from finding out about them; if a sasquatch were found, it would be (another obvious example of) a transitional form of animal, thus (once again) providing excellent support for evolutionary theory and strong proof against the creationist fairy tale.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I also hypothesize that the so-called creation "museums" across the country (such as the famous one in Kentucky, which I once visited) are actually entrances to secret underground chambers where sasquatch specimens (living and dead) are hidden from the public.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The possibility that many people who have seen sasquatches (or wood apes) have had their memory erased by creationist conspirators should also be taken into account. Besides, if my hypothesis is correct, living sasquatches would probably escape from the underground chambers from time to time and wreaking hovac in the creation "museums" so that the creationists have to erase the memory of the people who have seen the sasquatch (right after they recapture it, of course).

    ReplyDelete
  13. What do you think of my hypothesis, Jay?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it does take quite a stretch to agree with, and although I wouldn't doubt people trying to cover up reports/evidence for any number of reasons, I am highly skeptical that creation museums could perform such operations without them being revealed.

      Delete
  14. Here is a question. If Bigfoot was to say proven to exist would the world see it as an new species of animals discovered or something more human like?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, what Joe said. Although, I'm sure they'll be seen as remarkable in that it'll certainly be a close relative of us, if they exist.

      Delete
  15. That may depend on whether saquatches actually DO turn out to be something more humanlike (such as a relict neanderthal) or something more resembling non-human apes (such as a relict gigantopithecus).

    ReplyDelete
  16. "...I am highly skeptical that creation (sic) museums could perform such operations (sasquatch coverups) without them being revealed."
    I disagree. Creation museums (and creationists in general) are well known for their ability to perform elaborate coverups and schemes to stop people from finding out about the true validity of evolutionary theory; why would they be unable to perform sasquatch coverups (especially when considering the strong motives they would have for doing so that I mentioned above)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Could you let me know what alleged coverups you're referencing?

      Delete
    2. Maybe some creationists have been trying to keep information on sasquatches on the down-low, but I highly doubt that they're performing such complicated operations as holding living sasquatches in captivity and erasing the memories of witnesses!

      Delete
  17. As a person that has literally studied everything available on this phenomena for over 30 years.
    They are not wholly physical. Sorry. The evidence suggest a semi paranormal entity not a fully physical one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect that some of the alleged paranormal attributes may be due to uncanny stealth and intelligence of these animals, but who knows, maybe they do have some abilities which are currently not known by science.

      Delete
  18. I recently revised my theory to say that creationists are covering up bigfoot evidence because bigfoot is actually part of a secret plan they're carrying out to resurrect australopithecines and neanderthals.

    ReplyDelete
  19. By the way, didn't Nick Redfern mention some possible accounts of sasquatch coverups occurring in Washington state near Mt. Saint Helens after the 1980's eruption?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am sure that the Ericson project is a load of crap. There is no possible way to have that many footage in a short amount of time. I guess it just for the money and attention. All i ask for is the real stuff, but since I can't get it, I do it my self.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Bluehost is one of the best hosting provider for any hosting plans you require.

    ReplyDelete

Feel free to comment with your thoughts regarding this post! Please refrain from crude behavior such as name calling, making false claims, or using inappropiate language.