Mangani's Bigfoot Maps

Thoughts Concerning Bigfoot

Why dedicate so much effort to mapping reports of a creature that remains unrecognized by mainstream science?

Initially I had planned to include only maps and mapping information on this web page. After all there are many other comprehensive web sites devoted to the study of the bigfoot phenomenon. Those sites already provide arguments supporting (and contesting) the likelihood these creatures exist - arguments that are often more complete than the one I am about to make. But since those arguments are elsewhere, my point here is to encourage anyone who happens upon this project to not dismiss out of hand the possibility these creatures exist, but rather to keep an open mind and to learn more about this subject before forming an opinion.

Let me also say that the response to this effort has been overwhelmingly positive. However, after the Google Earth version became more widely available, I also received a few disdainful, and frankly ignorant, comments along the lines of, “You’ve got to be kidding! Is there something wrong with you?” It appears that the authors of these clever jibes owe the entirety of their "knowledge” of the bigfoot phenomenon to supermarket tabloid headlines. Google didn’t help in this regard, having moved my GE Community topic from the Nature and Geography category to Huge and Unique, and then, after inviting me to submit the project to the Google Earth Gallery, choosing to ignore the factual description I submitted and instead referring to the bigfoot question as a “conspiracy theory”.

So I believe it is worthwhile explaining why I feel this topic deserves more respect.

First, there is the long history of reports going back to pre-colonial times, including the tradition among Native American / First Nations peoples that such creatures exist. There are thousands of reports over hundreds of years describing large hair-covered bipedal creatures roaming North America. A significant portion of these reports are from responsible, credible individuals - including trained observers such as law enforcement and military personnel. Testimony from witnesses of this character is typically sufficient to convict criminals in a court of law. So, one would think, it should also be sufficient to at least suggest that we need to treat these reports seriously. Obviously the possibility exists for mistaken observation, hallucination, or fabrication, so some reports should be discounted, but by no means, I believe, all of them. 

At the root of the question there are only two possibilities. The first is that all of the thousands of reports are mistaken or fabricated. The second is that some of the reports are indeed accurate. My assessment is that the second possibility is the more likely.

I believe this not simply due to the credibility of many witnesses alleging sightings, but also because of the associated track (foot and hand print) evidence. While there are some acknowledged hoaxes in this area, there are also many documented cases that would appear to defy the possibility of hoaxing.

There is also the famous 1967 bigfoot film taken by Roger Patterson. With shaky camera work, and the technical limitations of its 16mm format, this film may never convince a dedicated skeptic, i.e., someone unwilling to look at it with an open mind. But after many attempts to analyze it by qualified individuals, no one has been able to prove the film to be a hoax. On the contrary, more details have been uncovered that support the conclusion that it is authentic.

Finally there is the history of scientific discovery. Time after time new species have been “discovered” only after previously having been dismissed as legendary or imaginary. New species are still being identified by scientists nearly every month. For some reason this history of discovery is ignored by skeptics. Instead there is a rather arrogant presumption that we already know nearly everything there is to know about nature.  The corollary of this presumption being that there is no possibility that one or more large unrecognized species exist in North America. 

I believe there is still a great deal more to be learned about nearly everything, including unrecognized animals.

After all the creatures we are familiar with are those whose behavior lends itself to being observable by human beings. But that certainly is no reason to ignore the possibility that there are also creatures who behave in a manner that makes them extremely difficult for us to observe. These would be rare elusive animals that frequent places people do not, at times we do not. 

In the case of bigfoot the history of reported sightings suggests that there is just enough overlap between our behavior and bigfoot behavior for a few fortunate people to encounter them, but not enough for us to definitively “discover” them, so far.

Revised 12 December 2012