Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 2/24/2013

Matt, Cliff, Bobo, and Ranae go to the Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee to investigate fuzzy game-cam photos by a veteran bigfoot hunter.  "Trail cam blob-squatch," Ranae says "A text book case of pareidolia."  (Like seeing Jesus in a toasted cheese sandwich.)  After a recreation with Bobo, even Matt agrees with Ranae (And I do, too; better chance of Russian car-cams catching bigfoot than Bigfoot Believers.)  Night investigation, town hall, camp out (Matt), and second night investigations follow -- as usual.

On both nights, they think they hear trees being pushed down (by a squatch) in response to a call by Ranae and a pig caller, but I'm starting to think this is all like the Ghost Hunter shtick: just noises in the dark -- like audio pareidolia.  I like witness stories as much as anyone (well, maybe not as much as Believers), but at some point, you have to get some concrete proof.  So far, this show has come up empty.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

FINDING BIGFOOT: More Untold Stories

Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 2/17/2013

Another behind-the-scenes show with Matt, Cliff, Ranae, and Bobo, in which their producer, Keith Hoffman, talks with them about making the series.  They spend quite a bit of time talking about this season's overseas adventures (Indonesia, Australia) and various mishaps.  Ranae reveals that the "solo" camp-outs are actually two people -- a host and a camera person --which we probably all figured (though it could have been more crew), and that all of the team forced the show to include the camp outs: to have fewer people tromping around the wilderness (trying to attract shy animals).  The team all express their dislike of hoaxers. ("Death sentence" declares Bobo.)  They also talk about firing a producer who tried to lure Bobo into the woods by knocking on a tree (which resulted in Bobo hurting his knee, falling down steps in the dark).  They also talk about all of them being skeptical (though obviously Ranae moreso).  Matt talks quite a bit about how to tell fake videos from real -- though, personally, I think they could do a whole show on this.  Cliff talks about his bigfoot print collection.  They also talk with Professor of Folklore Dr. Lynne S. McNeill from Utah State University, who gives some historical context of the sasquatch legends and stories.  (The stories are old and cross cultural.)  Overall, this is an interesting outing, and it's nice to see the group talk candidly about their adventures.  In fact, I wish the series had more of this kind of candor, and less formula bigfoot hunting.

FINDING BIGFOOT: Indonesia's Little Bigfoot

Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 2/17/2013

Matt, Cliff, Bobo, and Ranae head to Indonesia to track down the "orang pendek" -- a shorter (4' tall) version of sasquatch.  Ranae, the scientist, says that the existence of a four-foot-tall primate in food-filled rainforests seems much more likely than finding a giant ape in the Pacific Northwest.  They meet Adam Davies, a world-traveling cryptozoologist to help them look for the creature.  All of them then go to meet a local potato farmer who had an encounter with the creature two months ago.  They then proceed with their first night investigation (the whole jungle is hot on the thermal cam), and from there to the usual town (village) hall meeting, camp out (Cliff), witness interviews, and end with a second night investigation.  Despite Cliff finding some hairs (never explained), and the team hanging fruit as bait (literally low-hanging fruit), no orang pendek venture out of the forest to see us.  Again, lots of stories -- many credible-seeming -- but no real evidence or proof.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

FINDING BIGFOOT: Badlands Bigfoot

Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 2/10/2013

Matt, Cliff, Bobo, and Ranae head into the badlands of South Dakota (near Mt. Rushmore) to check out local Sioux sasquatch legends and the Pine Ridge Indian reservation.  (This is a lovely and otherworldly area that my family went to two summers ago, but we saw no bigfoots.)  Ranae is from SD, but the eastern, rolling country, not the west where the badlands are.  They talk to a police chief who saw a figure on his thermal imager that he believes was larger than Bobo -- which everyone but Ranae thinks was probably bigfoot.  (Again, we don't have an actual image they're investigating -- though a witness turns up with footprint photos later.)  The team breaks into two groups (Ranae-Bobo & Matt-Cliff) and does their first night investigation.  (They find only local animals.)  The show then proceeds as usual, with town-hall meeting (with local Sioux), witness interviews/recreations, camp out (Cliff), and a second night investigation.  But, aside from the traditional night noises and false alarms, they come back with the usual: good-sounding stories, and no real proof.