Sunday, January 29, 2012

FINDING BIGFOOT: Buckeye Bigfoot

Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 1/27/2012

Off to Ohio to hunt some squatch with Matt, Cliff, Bobo, and (the reason I watch) Ranae! The story starts, as often, with a pretty vague "bigfoot" video, where the beast seems to shake a tree.  The thing's bulky torso even impresses Ranea - though distance makes it little more than a dark blurry shape.  They talk to the father & son witnesses and find the fallen tree.  In a re-creation, the creature looks smaller than Bobo, which makes Ranae (and even Bobo) skeptical -- and the witness is no longer sure.  (Nice debunking job, guys!) Naturally, they do a night investigation, and for once hear a strange cry in return to one of their "squatch" calls.  Tonight's solo camp-out goes to Bobo (who says that cooking bacon attracts the beast), while the rest look for more witnesses at a town-hall meeting.  They get some interesting tales (and even a recording) and pick 3 to investigate.

The witness stories are intriguing, as always, but come without any actual proof. Plotting the sightings, the team decides to take their next hunt in the Salt Fork state park and do a "grid search" (with a line of people sweeping the area).  They find a strange stick structure, which Ranae suggests might be a flood remnant, but Bobo thinks is a squatch hunting blind.  Then they find a "heel" print -- according to Matt, though Ranae doubts it.  They do another night investigation, but turn up nothing substantial -- which, frankly, is the way a lot of these shows go.  If you're wanting to hear more "tales of bigfoot," tune in.  If you're looking for hard evidence, you, like Ranae, will have to keep looking.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

FINDING BIGFOOT: Canadian Bigfoot, eh?

Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 1/22/12

Into the Canadian Rockies for Matt, Cliff, Bobo, and Ranae, to hunt "the most territorial bigfoot of all."  They start with a controversial video, showing a "bigfoot" hunching down behind a rock.  Bobo points out that the video, at 5 seconds long, seems likely a hoax. Why didn't they film longer? Ranae wonders.  Todd, the videographer, is controversial in the bigfoot community, too (possible hoaxer), but they want to talk to him. Todd says the original location is too dangerous to go to.  (Ranae's not buying it, and I'm wishing for Fact or Fake's voice analysis)  So they go some place similar to re-create the video.  Bobo thinks the thing is bigger than him; Ranae & Matt think if you put Bobo in a furry costume, he'd be a match.  (Yay, team!)  Matt suggests they need to check hoaxes (like this) to tell them from the real thing.

They do a night investigation in the area; no luck, so they go to meet some local Native Americans (First Nations, in Canada, I think).  The natives believe that bigfoot is real, and they do a ceremony to help the team in their hunt.  Matt does the lone camp out, this week (every week this season, someone does).  The rest of the team hold the usual town meeting and canvas witnesses.  The first story they check out seems credible, and not explainable by people or bears -- but, as always, it's just a story.  (Science needs more.)  The other encounters involve rock throwing and pissing(!) on a tent.  Again, compelling stories, but....  For their second night investigation, they bring in a mechanical deer, to use as a lure.  The make howls and hear some strange sounds back, but apparently don't catch anything usable on the parabolic mics.  (Either that, or I couldn't pick it out from the usual annoying soundtrack/sfx.)

In all, this seemed to be a more scientifically balanced show than the norm.  A trend I hope will continue in the future.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

FINDING BIGFOOT: Peeping Bigfoot

Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 1/15/11

The group goes to Minnesota to check out a recording of a supposed bigfoot howl and daylight sightings of a 10-foot-tall monster.  They meet with the audio recordist, who claims he's got more than wolves on his recordings.  (Ranae hears only wolves; I'm with her.)  Matt suggests that sasquatch disguise their calls to fit in with the local fauna.  (Really? I suppose they shape-change to fit in, too. Is there any evidence to the contrary believers can't explain away?)  Cliff has fun driving the crew to the recording site in a (tracked) amphibious vehicle, capable of mowing down small poplar trees.  They find broken trees (too tall for Cliff to have broken) which Matt thinks is some kind of territorial marking by sasquatch.  A night investigation leads to the usual strange sounds, and this time Bobo stays behind to investigate while the rest head off to do the usual town hall meeting.

In the packed meeting hall, nearly the whole audience raises their hands when Matt asks if anyone has ever seen a bigfoot. (Even I am impressed by the number of hands that go up.)  The usual compelling stories of sightings follow, which the group then maps.  The locations seem to cluster around the west fork of the Kettle River, so the BFRO team investigates.  They estimate the nurse-jogger witness' creature as 11' tall, which makes Ranae think it's misidentification of some kind.  Another witness claims a bigfoot, estimated at 9 feet tall, was peeking into the windows of a trailer.  Rejoining with Bobo (who's almost been eaten alive by mosquitoes), the group interviews a family who saw a 9-foot-tall bigfoot while riding their four-wheelers. Even Ranae is impressed ... but not convinced.  So, it's time for a second nighttime investigation along the aforementioned river gorge, featuring a car with a PA system call-blasting, in hopes of getting a response.  The team also makes knocks, and Matt thinks he hears something following them but -- Surprise! -- nothing shows up.  Nothing.  For all the witnesses, no evidence.  Again.

And and at this point, I feel it should be pointed out that stories are not proof.  People have been telling stories (and seeing strange things) since the beginnings of human history, and much of what our ancestors took to be "real," we find absurd today.  For instance, few people today believe in fairies, dragons, mermaids, or witches flying on brooms (Harry Potter notwithstanding).  Yet, just a short while back, otherwise sensible people believed in all of those things -- and they had the eyewitness stories to "prove" it.  This is why science doesn't take stories as fact.  It's fun to believe in such things, but liking a story doesn't make it real.  Happily, on this show, we have Ranae insisting on scientific proof, even if the rest of the crew wants to believe in fairy stories.


Animal Planet -- Original Air Date: 1/8/11

The BFRO team goes to Rhode Island, to prove that while the state may be small, it can still have Bigfoot.  They're surprised that Rhode Island has so much trackless forest (Hint: All of New England does.), and they've come to check out some supposed footage.  Most of the team thinks the blurry object in the film could be sasquatch, but Ranae (wisely) points out that the story behind this (footage for documentary) is fishy.  Plus, the blurry image could be someone in a coat.  "Why do you have to think it's a bigfoot?" Ranae asks.  Why, indeed?  A recreation indicates the "figure" is smaller than Bobo, and to me it looks like it could even be a shadow of a tree, though a person in a hoodie seems more likely than Bobo's juvenile sasquatch suggestion.  They do a night hunt complete with calling; coyotes reply, and they hear mysterious squatchy "knocks."  This time, they leave Cliff behind in the woods to look around more while the rest go and hear the usual interesting stories from local folks.  (Though the team is surprised that Rhode Island has so many stories, I guess 'cause the state is so small.)

This time, one of the witnesses even has a actual track (cut from the dirt) and a cast of what he found, though he didn't actually see what made the prints.  Ranae recreates the print's stride, and suggests that the print may have been someone in those barefoot/glove jogging shoes. Naturally, Matt and Bobo still believe it was a squatch.  Cliff, meanwhile, finds animal tracks and hears barn owls (which he readily identifies; points for that). Joining back up, the group decides to do a night hunt trying to flush any animals toward Ranae, who's observing from a tree stand.  But aside from small fauna, they turn up nothing.  Bobo, of course, thinks he heard something and declares Rhode Island "Squatchy as hell."  Well, maybe if Hell has lots of stories by no actual sasquatch.  Sorry, guys, blurry footage, colorful stories, and no actual evidence do not a bigfoot make.


Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 1/1/12

Matt, Cliff, Bobo, and (most importantly) Ranae are back for another season of looking for (and probably not finding) bigfoot.  This show starts with a shadowy video (from New York state) of something apparently swinging in a tree, perhaps, they suppose, a baby bigfoot.  It looks like a jumping jack doll to me -- or maybe some kind of pet monkey, but when good video is thin, I guess you've gotta follow every lead you can.  Ranae (the skeptic) points out that with an image this small and grainy, it's hard to tease any reliable data from it.  Cliff believes that the "baby" figure jumps from the shoulder of a larger figure into the tree. This seems to say "handler" to me, though the group thinks it's a parent sasquatch.  So, they go talk to the witnesses, check the scene, and all the usual stuff.  Comparison on location shows the creature to be only 1/3 of Cliff's size.  Suggestion of a gibbon seems more sensible, but Bobo thinks it's a baby "squatch."  So they set up surveillance & do a night hunt, and hear "knocks" which to most of them is an indication that bigfoots are ... afoot.  Matt & Ranae find a deserted house, and Matt wants to see if there is a mattress a bigfoot might have lain on to get out of the cold.  (Really.)

This year, they're apparently leaving people in the field to do further investigations, so Ranae stays behind to see if she can find anything that will make her a believer.  The rest go talk to locals, to hear about experiences in the area.  A local zoologist points out that these woods are big and could contain unknown animals.  Ranae sees deer but no squatch. Cliff interviews someone whose tent was attacked by something large, possibly sasquatch, and Matt talks to a witness who saw one in the road -- maybe.  Matt theorizes that the bigfoot travel along the Appalachian Trail.  The group does a hunt along the Trail, this time with a borrowed baboon, hoping to use the animal to lure in the sasquatch.  As usual in night hunts, they hear strange sounds, but ... big surprise, find no actual bigfoot.  Which, I suspect will be a continuing trend this season.  (As it was last season.)