I have a confession to make. I watch Finding Bigfoot, and I enjoy it. Though when I say I enjoy it, I mean it makes me laugh and I find it amusing, as any actual investigation and research is as absent as the hairy hominid itself.
Picture the scene if you will. Sir David Attenborough quietly and stealthily approaches a large male silverback gorilla in the forests of Rwanda. The entire crew and the game rangers accompanying them hold their breath at this cautious and historic attempt at first contact. Fingers reach out, an unsure grunt and warning is issued. Everyone freezes, and relaxes as the alpha bruises over and gently begins to groom Sir David’s flaxen hair. Suddenly, the gorillas look up collectively, startled by the arrival of a drum line trooping through their feeding ground to a particularly good rendition of the Radetzky March. Dave has his arms ripped off in the ensuing panic and the gorillas charge, using the pulped bodies of the little drummer boys to beat the now silent percussion skins. The game rangers look to the crew in horror, who shrug and explain they had it on good authority this was a standard way to look for big monkeys.
And that good authority comes in the form of the presenters of Finding Bigfoot, Matt Moneymaker (clue in the name folks), James ‘Bobo’ Fay, Cliff Barackman and Ranae Holland. Other ways of stealthily approaching primates include organising fireworks displays, performing rock concerts, shouting as loud as you can into the woods, and if you’re Bobo, falling down a lot and generally crashing through the timber like a wrecking ball. It will come to you as no surprise, that despite the show’s title, Bigfoot is yet to be found.
That said, what really draws me in to the show are the witness encounters. These often come across as very genuine, although the dodgy reconstructions less so it has to be said. Cliff and Ranae are definitely my preferred half of the team, Cliff being an experienced field researcher who seems to put up with the shenanigans because he gets to do his thing on TV, and Ranae being a research biologist who thinks they’re all nuts, but amusing.
Matt in particular makes some amazing claims biologically for an animal yet to actually be discovered, and its behaviour observed officially. I have growled at the TV more than once as he has casually explained Sasquatch’s ability to make its eyes glow red – something not just biologically unheard of, but frankly impossible. We’re not talking about eye-shine or reflection here; he means the full on, self-igniting superman-style laser vision, apparently available at will and not catalogued in any other primate, scratch vertebrate, ever discovered. They should use the bats they keep handy for tree knocking on him every time he says something unquantified, but that would mean he’d get hit in the head a lot, which some suspect may already be the case anyway.
Bigfoot is one of my favourite cryptid creatures, and I think of all the things that might be out there, it’s one of the more likely. Even famed primate expert Jane Goodall has gone on record to say she is fascinated by the accounts and won’t deny they exist and hopes very much they do. There are good examples of evidence and some very good research being done, but you won’t find it on Finding Bigfoot most of the time.
A great source for material on all things Bigfoot can be found at the relatively new Sasquatch Chronicles website, where you can also listen to their podcasts and read their blogs. Be warned though, just like me, they don’t think the big fella is all that cute and cuddly!