An open mind is a terrible thing to waste

Brenda Harris photo

Image shown to listeners of the MN.B.R.T. podcast, aired July 29, 2013

Yesterday, a woman named Brenda Harris was on the MN.B.R.T. Radio podcast. Brenda, according to the show’s notes, is a bigfoot researcher living on a reservation in New Mexico. While on the show, she discussed an interesting image of what appears to be figure dragging a log across a hill. It was shown on-screen to those listening to the show live (of which I was not one — I received this from a friend).

Simultaneous to my finding out about this image, a video surfaced on YouTube purportedly showing a bigfoot-like figure walking around on a hilltop at some distance near Mission, British Columbia. The video was from the same source as the “Chinese tourist” video that came to my attention about about a week ago and is from a company who sells an app for mobile phones that “augments reality” by placing a cryptid in otherwise mundane nature footage.

I’m not saying one way or another that either of these is legitimate. Obviously, the connection of the video to a product that essentially makes hoaxes is pretty damning, but let’s pretend for a moment that we didn’t know that bit. The reason I bring this up is because we, as a community, are either too prone to accepting new evidence at face value or immediately dismissing it as bullshit. There just aren’t that many people in between, based on my experience.

My personal brush with this phenomenon was when the North American Wood Ape Conservancy published the “Oklahoma Prairie” photos of a purported wood ape captured in central Oklahoma. The images were originally taken in 2000 by a Native American who had been working with the BFRO and were pretty thoroughly investigated at the time. You can learn more about them on the NAWAC website. As soon as the article about the images was posted to Facebook (literally, a minute or two later), the first comment (removed since the commentor became belligerent) suggested they were fake. This person couldn’t possibly have read the accompanying article and formulated an informed opinion on the matter in that time. He just looked and judged, investigation of the claim be damned.

Way back in 2004, Alton Higgins wrote an article for my Bigfoot Information Project website in which he laid out several criteria to use when evaluating purported images of bigfoot. One of the points he made (and I’m paraphrasing) is that no image can stand alone. All an image is is a moment in time. Without context (like the story behind the image, access to the photographer by third-party investigators, and an evaluation and investigation of the scene in order to establish scale, etc.) all a picture of bigfoot without context can be is a curiosity. Thin evidence, at best.

Detail from the "Mission video"

Detail from the “Mission video”

Getting back to the Mission video, we know nothing about it except where it was supposedly shot and that it’s claimed to be from a hiking couple who submitted it following the company’s solicitation of “bigfoot videos” and that it was posted by a company that sells a product that makes hoaxed videos. It’s true that pretty much all the stuff posted to YouTube is crap. But how do we know that everything posted there is or forever will be? Even this? Personally, no, I’d never introduce my awesome and authentic bigfoot video to people that way, but it’s totally plausible that someone will someday shoot something (with their phone or camera, that is) and it will be real and the first thing they’ll do is put it on YouTube because that’s what a whole generation of people have grown up to do. And if that time ever comes, I know that 90% of the bigfoot enthusiasts out there will either eat it up like they always do or shoot it down like they always do.

And yeah, I know, the Mission video is probably just a dude on a hill.

At the end of the day, every piece of evidence needs to be judged on its merits. Nothing should be accepted at face value. And, if that’s true, it’s entirely acceptable for us to either not have an immediate opinion regarding a newly presented piece of evidence and, in an effort to properly evaluate its veracity, continue to leave the book open until such time that determination can be made (if ever). The same goes for the inverse. Rumor has it that the Oklahoma Prairie photos are thought to be a hoax by some investigators. If and when their reason to think this is ever made public, it should be weighed just as thoroughly as the original claim was.

Of course, even the best image will never be more than evidence, not proof (but that’s a topic we’ve already covered quite extensively). Moral of this story is, don’t let your fear of giving something that’s a hoax or misidentification the time of day (i.e., appearing to be wrong) override the need to give new evidence the attention it deserves.

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Posted in Miscellaneous sasquatchery
4 comments on “An open mind is a terrible thing to waste
  1. Billy D Williams says:

    I tried to listen to the MNBRT podcast but got about 5 min into it and had to shut it off. There should be official podcast etiquette rules. Rule number one, don’t laugh at a conversation happening on the ‘board’ when everyone isn’t in on the joke. Most of these podcasts do this and it’s rude to the guest and the listeners. Still not as bad as the one Henry May puts out.
    That is a good video. Probably a guy setting up camp, but it’s still good.

  2. The main problems with purported photos of a Bigfoot have always been the same. The photos are either obviously hoaxed (guys in ape suits in the woods, Photoshopped images, photos of gorillas, or photos of museum models) or they are blurry and distant. Until someone can get a very clear picture at close range, photos will always be specious examples of “evidence”.

  3. Jon says:

    the first picture looks like a woodchuck standing on its back legs behind a log or branch on the ground closer in the foreground.

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