I love the idea of Bigfoot. Who doesn’t wish that a huge, mostly-human monster lived at the edges of our civilization, only occasionally glimpsed and even less often photographed? I’ve read tons of books on the subject, and even wrote a draft of a novel about them back in the 90s. But my interest in them goes back even further, to a movie, and a sound.
Back in the early 70s, when I was about nine or ten, I talked my dad into taking me to a movie, although I’ve since forgotten which one. Unlike now, when all you get are commercials, back then you would occasionally get an actual short film before the main feature, and on this night, that short film was about Bigfoot. And it included what the film claimed was an actual Bigfoot cry.
(This might be a sound byte from the actual film; I don’t know. But that is definitely the same Bigfoot call.)
This was, and remains, the scariest sound I’ve ever heard, and even sitting there in that crowded theater, I was terrified. I was so scared, in fact, that I reached over and grabbed my dad’s hand, which probably freaked him out as much as the scream did me.
From then on, I was hooked.
Since then, what was once my niche interest has become unavoidably mainstream. Since the Discovery network and its associated channels (History, Animal Planet, Destination America, et. al.) have essentially abandoned actual science, we now have shows like Finding Bigfoot (which really should be called Never Finding Bigfoot, because these idiots are never going to find anything but their own asses), Mountain Monsters, Killing Bigfoot and even Spike TV’s Ten Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty. Everyone knows, or thinks they know, all about Bigfoot.
But what do we actually know? Remember, to refute the statement, “All crows are black,” you only need one white crow; similarly, to prove Bigfoot exists, you only need one piece of evidence that can’t be explained in any other way. Unfortunately, we don’t have that Bigfoot-related white crow. We have footprints (that could be faked), photos and video (that, especially now, could be faked) and anecdotal evidence of encounters (notoriously unreliable, if not outright fakes).
So I don’t “believe” in Bigfoot; as I said, I believe in the idea of Bigfoot, the possibility. There’s enough uncharted wilderness that a creature who is rare, shy, and smart might exist and only rarely interact with people. But the longer we go without a clear picture or video, especially now that everyone has access to the technology, the less likely it seems. And even then, until we have a carcass, or at least DNA, there are people who (rightly) won’t be convinced. And I’m one of them.
But damn, that Bigfoot call still gives me the willies.