Bigfoot alive and living in Minnesota


Bigfoot alive and living in northern Minnesota?  The co-founders of the Northern Minnesota Bigfoot Society say, “100 percent yes.”

They said they  have received more than 75 reports of sightings, captured images, and Bigfoot footprints in just three years. They’re sharing their insight while sorting fact from fiction as they take KSAX on the hunt for Bigfoot.

“I’m a skeptic of Bigfoot because I’ve trapped this whole area and never, ever did we see any Bigfoot tracks or see Bigfoot anywhere,” William Tucker of Bena said.

Long time trapper William Tucker is anything but a believer, but just miles away from Bena, mind boggling footprints were found.

Each track was a bit different, different pressures, different depths, eliminating the possibility of some sort of footprint stamp.

This is just one of the things the co-founders of the Northern Minnesota Bigfoot Society say confirms the fact, Bigfoot is out there.

“I’m 110% convinced that it exists. There’s just too much evidence, too many people’s emotions showing when they recount their stories,” Bob Olson, a co-founder of the Northern Minnesota Bigfoot Society said.  “One lady cries when she recounts her story of how this thing stood up and looked at her. She felt it looked into her soul.”

Since 2006, Olson and Don Sherman have received about 75 reports of similar Bigfoot sightings in Northern Minnesota, some of which have been captured on camera.

The most recent was captured in Remer. Though to some, the image may look like a man in a suit, a comparison with 6 foot 5 inch Bob Olson showed this man would have had to have been at least 7 feet tall.

Sherman and Olson say “wood knocking” is just one more way Bigfoot makes his presence known. Olson said Bigfoot responded to him at Carey Lake when he knocked on a tree five times.

What about bones? One KSAX reader says,  “I believe Bigfoot is 100% real, as are a lot of the other creatures of Cryptozoology. But i believe in their true form, they are spiritual creatures, that manifest in flesh as they so desire. That is why we will never find bones, or other such evidence of them.”

On the other side of the coin, Olson says giant bones belonging to Humanoid creatures were found in the late 1800’s, stretching 10 to 12 feet.

While there haven’t been any Bigfoot skeletons found, many trappers say they’ve never come across any bear, wolf, or other large animal skeleton either.

Other signs Bigfoot exists include branches plucked straight out of trees, strange looking shelters, and stick men to warn other Bigfoot of humans in the area.

“When there’s stuff that doesn’t go away, there’s gotta be something to it and the evidence just keeps mounting up,” Olson said.

For some Bena residents, the legend of Bigfoot is far from a tall tale.

“I never seen it, but like I says I believe in it,” New Prague resident Leo Hinderscheid said.

“I don’t know what to say Megan but I believe in it and that’s the way it will be,” Helen Tibbetts of Bena said.

So, the hunt for Bigfoot continues.


A scientific look at sea serpents

sea monsters

Last November, the Centre For Inquiry (CFI) hosted Monsters of the Deep! at Conway Hall in London’s Red Lion Square. Meetings devoted to marine cryptozoology are few and far between, but then the same might be said about crypto­zoology meetings in general. Meetings about academic crypto­zoology are rarer than sightings of crypt­ids themselves. Organised by Stephen Law, the meeting featured talks by Dr Charles Paxton, a fisheries ecologist at the University of St Andrews, and yours truly, a vertebrate palæontologist who works on dinosaurs and other Mesozoic reptiles at the University of Portsmouth and dabbles in academic cryptozoology. In addition to the talks, we held two workshops. As Charles stated early on in his talk, academic funding for cryptozoological research is essentially non-existent, so the audience could rest assured that their valuable tax pennies were not being frittered away on any of the research they were going to hear about.

Sea monsters inspire wonder, and that can’t be bad. But Charles explained that they also raise the very important question of how science deals with anomalous data. Forteans (indeed, Fort himself) have asserted that science ignores what it cannot explain. In fact, scientists have a tendency to ignore anomalous data only so long as they’re poorly recorded (in other words, are known only from anecdotes); irrefut­able records of such things as St Elmo’s fire, rogue waves and sprites – all origin­ally known entirely from anecdotes – show that science is ‘happy’ to accept the validity of low-frequency anomalies once the data are good enough. Furthermore, while there’s a widespread belief (particularly prevalent among scient­ists) that anecdotal data are worthless, anecdotes are important at several levels of the scientific process, including in hypothesis formation. Indeed, once a hypothesis (random example: that hippos might practise cannibalism) becomes accepted by a given research community, the chiming in from others in that community is often taken as verification, even though these addit­ional records are typically anecdotal (“I want to report that I’ve also seen hippos practising cannibalism”).

As was noted by both speakers, the possibility that unknown animals might really be at the bottom of sea monster reports should at least be considered as a possibility, and indeed it is already widely thought among biologists that large marine animals (large = more than 2m long) remain to be found. Animals of exactly this sort have been found in recent years and include several new cetaceans, an oarfish species and some deep-water rays. Furthermore, cumulative discovery curves for large marine animals suggest that – while discovery rates have slowed – there are almost certainly a few such species yet to find (between 10 and 50, depending on the study).

There’s no denying that many people (scientists included) have gotten involved in sea monster research because they really do like the idea that big, monstrous vertebrates might await discovery. But it’s evident that we should consider as many other options as possible before approaching this conclusion, and it can be argued that this hasn’t been the case so far. Hoaxing remains a problem. Sea turtles, leopard seals and other known species may account for some sea monster accounts, and Charles and colleagues achieved global notoriety in 2004 by proposing that the serpentine genitals of male whales might explain some sea-serpent accounts.

Whether sea monsters are real or not, the large number of catalogued sightings (over 1,000) means that a substantial amount of data is available for statistical analysis. Charles recently published the results of one such study in Journal of Zoology (a significant accomplishment) and some of the conclusions are surprising, especially to those who might assume that sea monster sightings all represent misid­entifications or hoaxes.
For one thing, most recorded monster sightings don’t normally occur at great distance, but at relatively close range. So the ideas that sea monsters (whatever they are) might be timid, or that people are seeing known species at great range and misidentifying them, are not supported by the reported data. A number of possibilities might explain the counter-intuitive closeness of the reported creatures. Maybe sea monsters are attracted to boats, maybe boats approach sea monsters in order to get a better look at them, maybe sightings are embellished in order to sound more impressive, and so on. Perhaps the most likely explanation is that the reporting of anomalous marine phenomena is biased, and that people only tend to report observations made at relatively close range. More distant objects, whether they’re anomalous or not, are less likely to be reported. This implies, suggested Charles, a strong reporting bias that might swamp any original biological signal.

Moreover, Charles discussed the results of experiments which show that people consistently underestimate the distances involved when viewing objects on the water. And while descriptions of an object are generally good, size estimates are not so hot, with women generally underestimating sizes while men generally overestimate them (insert hilarious wisecrack). One nice point Charles made is that what is reported is not the same as what is remembered; what is remembered is not the same as what is perceived; and what is perceived is not the same as what is seen.

The second talk of the day (my own ‘Sea monsters and the prehistoric survivor paradigm’) was more concerned with the various sea monster identities that have been proposed over the years, particularly those invoking the alleged survival to the present of large tetra­pods known only from the fossil record, specifically plesiosaurs, mosasaurs and basilosaurid whales (zeuglodonts). The idea that such creatures might have survived to the present day without leaving any fossil record really is untenable based on what we know, and the annoyingly persistent suggestion that cœlacanths demonstrate how a group of Mesozoic marine animals might persist without leaving any fossil record is a red herring. [1]

In any case, the prehist­oric survivor paradigm (or PSP) really isn’t the best explanation for the crypto­zoological data. Modern sea monster reports really don’t describe creatures that sound at all like the fossil animals they’re sometimes likened to. Long-necked sea monsters sound only very superficially like plesiosaurs; the modern creatures are reportedly hairy, have whiskers or external ears, can hold their heads and necks well out of the water in an erect pose, and are sometimes noted as lacking tails. If such creatures are real, it seems reasonable to interpret them as weird marine mammals (perhaps as large peculiar seals), not as strongly modified post-Cretaceous plesiosaurs.

Long-bodied sea monsters – apparently able to form hoops, loops and a series of waves along the body – cannot be basilosaurid whales, which were incapable of oscillating in this way and are absent from the fossil record for the last 30 million years at least. The fact that basilosaurids were conventionally (but very incorrectly) reconstructed as serpentine creatures capable of furious vertical wriggling has helped fuel the notion that they might have been the ancestors of modern sea serpents.

Bernard Heuvelmans regarded two of his nine sea monster kinds as basilosaurids. However, rather than regarding the long-bodied, serpentine types as modern representatives of this group, he proposed that the armour-plated ‘many-finned’ and bumpy-backed ‘many-humped’ were both basilosaur­ids. His logic was somewhat obtuse: absolutely integral to his identification of the ‘many-finned’ was his interpret­ation of the 1883 Vietnamese con rit account conveyed by Dr A Krempf in 1921. Yet this account described a gigantic segmented creature, covered in plate-like armour sheets that “rang like sheet metal” when struck. This fantastic description remains an enigma, but Heuvelmans’s conclusion that the creature was an armour-plated whale is peculiar and rests on the idea that basilosaurids were armoured, a proposal that had been disproved decades earlier.

While it might seem like an unfair criticism, a major theme that emerges from these considerations of the PSP is that those who have endorsed it are often behind the times as regards the state of palæontological knowledge, or have indulged in a remarkable amount of special pleading and speculation. Ideas about plesiosaur and basilosaurid survival seem to have been influenced by popular artwork more than by technical data. Sea monsters might be real, but we’re really not at the stage where we can say what they are. Interesting things can be done with the data we have (whether or not it represents sightings of unknown giant creatures), but the main problem afflicting the cryptozoological literature concerns interpretation. It’s evident that more intellectual rigour is often needed within the field.

In the first workshop session that followed the talks, Charles – working with a bold volunteer from the audience – used ‘fishes’ (marked straws) in a bucket to show how biologists can generate hypotheses about species divers­ity in the deep sea. With every handful, a different combination of ‘spec­ies’ is trawled up, and by counting the new ones Charles was able to generate a discovery curve. As is the case in the real world, the curve of the discovery graph rose to a plateau, but problems in distinguishing the new ‘species’ from those encountered earlier on in the experiment echoed a huge, genuine problem that plagues diversity studies.

In another workshop event, we used a computer program to show how extinct­ion dates can be estimated for extinct (or supposedly extinct) organisms. When good ‘proof of life’ data (that is, dates) are available, the computed extinction results look robust. However, a spotty or gappy pre-extinction record results in uncertainty over the extinction date – and here’s the fun part – because the creatures affected by such results are sometimes those hypothesised to have survived later than ‘officially’ thought. Cœlacanths, Steller’s sea cows, thylacines, megatooth sharks and many others were all subjected to the treatment. This technique has great promise and enables hypotheses about ‘prehistoric survivorship’ to be properly tested.

Overall, the meeting was a great success, and our interested audience made wholly positive noises about the event. Frankly, it was good to be at a crypto­zoology-themed event where scientific approaches were very much to the fore. Indeed, what might be the take-home message from the day was that crypto­zoological data and hypotheses are very much amenable to scientific testing. It goes without saying that there remains an enormous role for amateurs within the field of mystery animal research.

In a 2004 Nature article (yes, Nature: one of the most august scientific journals in the world), Henry Gee – inspired by the then-new discovery of the small, recently extinct hominids of Flores – wondered whether it really is time for crypto­zoology to “come in from the cold” and be recognised as a valid scientific endeavour. Some might say this already happened back in the 1980s when the International Society of Crypto­zoology published its technical journal Crypto­zoology, but such efforts seem all but forgotten nowadays and the death of the ISC arguably created the impression that crypto­zoology is a fringe discipline best avoided by anyone serious about doing science. The fact is, we seem to be at the start of what is (I hope) a modest renaissance in ‘scient­ific crypto­zoology’. Charles and I – and others – have published several crypto­zoological analyses within the pages of technical journals, such as the august Journal of Zoology and Historical Biology, and we have other technical studies in preparation. How far can we go with this, and can cryptozoology really ‘come in from the cold’?


Skunk Ape sightings in Georgia

The Times received calls from readers who believe they have seen what may be a Skunk Ape in South Georgia. One reader account came from Brooks County, the other from Berrien County.

A Skunk Ape is reportedly a hairy humanoid creature that walks on two legs. It is described as being similar to the legendary Bigfoot, but of slighter build. Skunk Apes grow about seven-feet tall and weigh 200 to 300 pounds, according to witness accounts.

The creature is called a Skunk Ape because of the foul odor accompanying most sightings. The smell is described as being similar to rotten eggs. Skunk Apes reportedly love wooded, swampy areas, and the Skunk Ape legend comes primarily from the Florida Everglades.

While the Skunk Ape ranks among legendary creatures such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, the Mothman, and others, numerous Internet sites report witness accounts. Several sites mentioned recent Skunk Ape sightings along the Withlacoochee River between Quitman and Valdosta in Brooks County. This repeated Internet mention to South Georgia led to The Times story last week.

The article led to these subsequent reader accounts. Both sightings occurred prior to the article’s publication, according to these readers. Both readers gave The Valdosta Daily Times their full names. One asked that we not publish his name. We use the first name of the other caller.

Did these folks see a Skunk Ape? We’ll share their stories and you decide.

• Between 10-10:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, Joy was driving along Highway 37 in Berrien County. She had a friend on her cell phone.

Outside of Ray City, she had her car’s bright lights on and she saw something hairy, walking away from the road, into the woods.

“I saw the back of something,” Joy says. “It was tall. … I thought it was a bear but a bear don’t walk on its back legs. … Honestly, it looked like an ape.”

Joy said her husband’s about six feet tall and she gauged what she saw to be about the same height as her husband. She didn’t smell anything driving by the creature.

She told her friend on the phone that she thought she saw something like a hairy man walking into the woods. Her friend laughed and asked if Joy had been drinking. “I told her I hadn’t been drinking and, sir, I don’t drink,” Joy told The Times.

Joy continued driving that night. She mentioned what she saw to a few people, but didn’t give it much more thought until her mother told her about the article in The Valdosta Daily Times.

During daylight, Thursday, April 29, the day after The Times story, Joy and her mother traveled to the same part of the road where she claimed to witness a creature. She said the area has numerous trees and is swampy.

Joy believes she saw a Skunk Ape or a creature like it.

— Last Friday, The Times received the phone message from the man in Brooks County who claimed “… I saw it.”

Calling him back, he said earlier this spring, before the leaves returned to the trees, he was smoking a cigar on the back porch of his Brooks County home, three miles outside of Quitman. It was  between 10-11 a.m., when he “saw something walk out of the woods.”

He first thought it a deer but saw that it had no hind quarters. He then thought it “an idiot in a ghillie suit,” a type of camouflage clothing covered in loose strips of cloth or twine designed to look like foliage.

But even then he thought something wasn’t right.

He went inside his house and got a pair of binoculars. He saw a hairy humanoid, with the hair being red, fading to brown and grey. The creature was lean and at least over six-feet tall. The creature was probably about 500 yards away, too far away to smell, he said.

He watched the creature for about eight minutes through the binoculars. During that time, the creature leaned on one arm against a tree, looking around. It scratched its left calf with its right foot. Then it ran away.

“It didn’t walk like a human,” he said. “It’s joints don’t quite move like a human.”

He said if you throw a sheet over a man or a woman, you can tell the gender by the way the person walks despite the sheet. This creature had a strange walk that did not match the movements of a human, he said.

The man thinks the creature is an omnivore, an eater of meats and plants, rather than a vegetarian. A vegetarian has a bigger belly, like a cow, he said.

He believes this creature stays lean from eating meat. What kind of meat? The man says he’s taking no chances.

“If I go out in the woods now,” he says, “I make sure to carry something with me that goes bang.”

He believes he probably isn’t the only person to see the creature.

“If I’m calling, there’s probably nine other people who’ve seen it who haven’t said a word to anyone,” he says, “because they don’t want people thinking they’re crazy.”

Source: valdostadailytimes

Searching for Sasquatch in Texas


Last fall, after several people called police saying they saw something that looked like Bigfoot on the Northwest side of San Antonio, we were contacted by a group of men who call themselves Bigfoot investigators. They said they’re convinced that Sasquatch is here and probably always has been. So, our Delaine Mathieu said — prove it!

Last December, a homeless couple in San Antonio called 911 saying they saw something in the woods off Highway 151 and Culebra. “I would be a liar if I said I thought I knew what it was, but I don’t know. I know it picked up that deer and walked,” reported the caller. Police checked it out, but nothing was ever found.

Troy Hudson believes Bigfoot is here. He used to work for the Department of Homeland Security and now runs TBIG — The Bigfoot Investigation group in Dallas. “I’ve been in the woods a lot as a child and I’ve seen things I can’t explain to you,” Hudson told us.

We set up camp with him and his colleague, Chase Robinson at Garner State Park in Uvalde County near Leakey — where a man in a truck reportedly saw a Bigfoot on Highway 83 in 2006. “It was in December, early December around 10:30pm,” Hudson said. “He was messing with something and he happens to look up and notices movement.” He says the creature ran across the highway and disappeared.

“But that sounds crazy!” Delaine told Hudson. “That sounds almost ridiculous, right?” Hudson told her there are too many witnesses, too many reports across the country, too much documentation, too much data that suggests what are these people seeing?

Crazy is a word Troy and Chase say they hear a lot in their line of work, but there are several Bigfoot investigative groups in Texas like TBIG — determined to find Bigfoot. “If people in Vermont are reporting a tree knock and a whoop as well as someone in California, Florida, Utah, Oklahoma, Texas — it only leads you to believe that there’s something out there.”

And to the unbelievers out there who call these guys nuts? They say, just go on an expedition. “Try it. Before you condemn us, go out and try it,” Chase told us. “See what they see and listen to the sounds of the night.”