Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and others the evidence considered

Throughout this book, I have tried to present the evidence for the existence of man-like apes around the world in as impartial a manner as possible. I have sought to give the interpretations put on the evidence both by those who believe in the existence of these creatures, and of those who are more sceptical.

None of the creatures featured has been accepted by the wider scientific community, though some individual scientists have stated their conviction that one or more of these beasts is real - or at least that they are willing to look at the evidence, which is a start. Perhaps the most important of the many problems in proving that any cryptid exists is the quality of the evidence. Quantity is sometimes a problems as well, but not with the creatures looked at here. There are quite literally thousands of reports of cryptid apes from around the world. It is the credibility of those reports that is in question.

Footprints can be faked, films can be hoaxed and nests built by human hands. Not only can these things happen, we know that they have taken place. Frauds and hoaxes of many different types have been exposed over the years. For sceptics this is all that is needed to cast doubt on all “evidence”.

The most controversial and at the same time most numerous type of evidence is sightings of the cryptid animals by humans. For some of the cryptids, such as the Almas or Maricoxi, eyewitness accounts is pretty much the only evidence available. Again frauds and hoaxes are not only possible but are known to have occurred. But even when a person reports in all honesty having seen a cryptid, it does not necessarily mean that they have seen an unknown animal. People can easily be mistaken in what they see, especially if lighting conditions are poor and the creature is seen only fleetingly.

There comes a time, however, when the author of a book such as this has to nail his colours to the mast and give his opinion of the evidence, and suggest what should be done about it. It is no good simply reporting evidence, then avoiding making any firm judgements on the subject. So here, for what it is worth, is what I think.

I believe that there is a Sasquatch living in the forested mountains of northwestern North America. And I believe that it corresponds to the figure seen in the Patterson movie. The evidence for its existence falls short of proof, but the balance of probabilities would suggest that there is such a creature. I think that it is probably confined to that area of the continent, though it was probably distributed much more widely until the arrival of the Europeans with their more intensive farming techniques.

I do not think that the evidence supports the survival of the Sasquatch outside of the western forests. Nor do I believe that the Skunk Ape is a real, living animal. The evidence for its existence is weak and largely circumstantial. I do not, however, rule it out completely and would be pleased to be proved wrong should more evidence turn up.

Moving to South America,

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