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David George Gordon Talks Sasquatch - Can Citizen Science Really Prove Anything?

A new article is up on Key Peninsular News on a recent talk David George Gordon, author of The Sasquatch Seeker's Field Manual, gave on the existence of Bigfoot. It reads:

"A standing-room-only crowd spilled out of the Brones Room and into the lobby of the Key Center Library on Jan. 20 for a presentation on Sasquatch, aka Bigfoot, given by author David George Gordon. The talk was part of the Humanities Washington's Speakers Bureau program.
"Gordon is the author of 'Sasquatch Seeker's Field Manual: Using Citizen Science to Uncover North America's Most Elusive Creature,' as well as nearly two dozen more books about the outdoors and its denizens.
"The word 'Sasquatch' comes from the Salishan, a native language of the Pacific Northwest, and first appeared in print in a Canadian magazine in 1929, Gordon said. The article described Native American stories from the Fraser River Valley of a race of huge, hairy man-monsters who inhabited remote forests at high altitude.
"'There are lots of different ideas about what the Sasquatch looks like,' Gordon said. 'It also turns out it's not just Northwest tribes; you get stories from the Seminole Indians in Florida about these kinds of creatures. And, it's not just North America. There are similar stories from indigenous cultures in Africa, Australia and Asia.'
"'But the actual amount of evidence gathered has not been that impressive,' Gordon said. 'What I'm really here to talk about is citizen science. It means getting people like you trained to collect accurate information about nature and the environment. With more eyes and ears out there to gather clues, we'd probably be getting somewhere.'
"Gordon described the technology brought to bear on finding Sasquatch in recent decades and its shortcomings. 'They've used everything from infrared scopes, aerial surveillance, satellite imagery, game cameras hidden in trees. They've captured amazing images, but so far we're not getting much information on Sasquatch,' he said.
"But all that technology isn't necessary, Gordon said. The average smartphone has a camera and can record audio and provide GPS coordinates.
"One audieece member then played an audio recording he had made near Randle, Washington. 'It was the middle of the night, 1 or 2 in the morning, so we went out of our tents and I just got my phone and pressed record,' he said. The recording included voices of the campers and the sound of them moving through the brush, interrupted by unusual, somewhat distant animal-like screams spaced a few seconds apart and coming from different directions.
"'I reported it to BFRO and they said there'd been another sighting near Yellowjacket Creek,' he said. The Bigfoot Field Research Organization collects and analyzes data on possible Sasquatch encounters across North America.
"Evidence can also be as simple as photographs of footprints.
"'It's not necessary to make plaster casts of footprints anymore,' Gordon said. 'If you take photographs from lots of different directions, you can make a composite and, if you have enough data, you can print them on a 3-D printer.' Just as important, he said, is to record the series of steps, 'so we can tell how fast it was moving, how large it might have been.'
"There's also the importance of collecting physical evidence and maintaining a chain of custody to protect its integrity.
"'A lot of times I talk to people who say they've found Sasquatch hair,' Gordon said. 'And then they say they sent it to a lab and that they never heard from the lab and they've squandered their entire sample.'
"Members of the audience countered that there is a large financial incentive to not allowing such evidence to be made public. 'Follow the money,' said one man. 'Billions of dollars could be lost if this thing is real. It would lock up all kinds of land.'
"Gordon said he had heard similar sentiments before. 'I talked to loggers in Clarkson in Idaho who said on lots of occasions, they'd encounter Sasquatch beings but they didn't say anything because they didn't want to get work halted,' he said.
"Other audience members described their own experiences, from calls and 'wood knocks' in the night, to one man's recent experience tracking three Sasquatch near Lake Cushman. 'People say they're dangerous, they're not,' he said.
"'People ask me all the time, 'Do you believe in the Sasquatch?' and I have to say I'm kind of a fence-sitter,' Gordon said. 'Part of the reason I wrote my book was for people to get a sense of whether this was a real thing, but mostly it's about how to gather evidence. If you go out with the right focus and training and equipment, you're going to get more out of your trip to the great outdoors and maybe shed some light on this centuries-old mystery.'"

Would Gordon's "evidence gathering" techniques really work though?  I think not, and have a couple reasons why.

But, before we get to that, Gordon said the word "sasquatch" is a Native American word, when really it is nothing of the sort. It was coined by J.W. Burns in the 1920s, as an anglicized version of several native names combined. For more on that, check out this article.

First of all, Gordon says that we should not have to make plaster casts of possible Bigfoot footprints anymore because photos from your iPhone should be enough. I don't really feel like that would work, especially since most footprints can easily be faked, and 'dermal ridges' on the footprints can be caused by the drying plaster.

Secondly, he says that if you have what you think could be Bigfoot hair, to keep hold of it and not send it for examination, because labs have "squandered the sample." Labs probably examined it and found it to be bear hair if they did get it, and there isn't really that much you can get from hair anyway. It is hard to get DNA from hair except where it attaches to the skin. And, DNA testing can cost thousands of dollars, so it isn't always easy to do.

Gordon also says that game cameras, infrared imagery, satellites and other technology aren't necessary because people have iPhones! If our most advanced satellites, night vision technology, etc. can't find anything, what makes him think someones smartphone can?

Lastly, Gordon thinks 'citizen science' is going to be the way Sasquatch is found. He thinks people going out there with their phones trying to collect 'evidence' to prove Sasquatch is real will find it. Does he not realize that is what people have been trying to do since the '50s, and they still haven't found anything? Also, they should not go out looking for Sasquatch; if you go out expecting to find one or trying to prove that they are real, you are more likely to think a twig snap or anything else is sign of a Bigfoot. Examine the evidence (which there is not a lot of) and see if it points to Sasquatch or something else.

Overall, the things that Gordon says to keep doing (and which people have been doing for years) won't help find a possible unknown creature.


Comments

  1. I would like to say that purported dermal ridges can be from the settling plaster or ripples in the dirt/sand/whatever the print is in. That fact is something that is largely overlooked by cryptozoologists and "squatchers" extremely often.

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