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Burn, Nick, Burn!
By Nick Redfern
April 25, 2009
Hortus Deliciarum - 12th century by Herrad von Landsberg (about 1180)
© Herrad von Landsberg
Well, last week’s Lair of the Beasts column provoked a response quite unlike any other thus far. If you are a regular reader of my posts, you’ll know that my most recent contribution to the mania.com website was on the subject of links between Bigfoot and the world of the paranormal.
Specifically, the article focused upon the case of a woman who, back in 1985, and with several friends, had been dabbling with a Ouija Board, and who, allegedly, succeeded in invoking (albeit unintentionally) a Bigfoot-like beast of distinctly supernatural qualities.
Now, normally, my Lair of the Beasts columns result in a couple of comments posted to the mania.com website, and – just maybe - one or two emails sent to my In-Box. But, this week was significantly different.
Perhaps in part due to the fact that my “Paranormal Bigfoot” story was picked up by such highly-popular online websites as The Anomalist and The Daily Grail, I received no less than 48 emails from people wanting to comment on the nature and content of my post.
Granted, most people were happy to simply offer opinions and thoughts, and ask questions in a down-to-earth, level-headed, coherent fashion. Certainly, not everyone agreed with my stance that Bigfoot is a wholly paranormal entity, rather than one of flesh-and-blood origins, but 15 or 20 most assuredly did.
And, for the most part, the bulk of those who emailed me and that were of the specific stance that Bigfoot is merely an unclassified form of ape, ape-man, or proto-human, simply offered their views and opinions as to why they disagreed with me on my paranormal stance.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that at all: this is precisely how things should be. Regardless of my - or indeed anyone else’s - views on the nature and origin of Bigfoot, critical debate, study, and an exchange of views are all vital and welcome components of the field of Bigfoot research and investigation.
But what angers me more than anything else, are those who champion the “Bigfoot is just a giant ape” scenario with a definitively rabid (and, at time, vaguely threatening) zeal of a type that would make any, and all, religious fundamentalists (whether from the Deep South or the Middle East) glowingly proud.
Yep: they are out there alright, and their emails veritably poured into my In-Box this past week.
Frankly, being on the receiving end of emails from people (or to use the more technical and respectable terms of (a) “certifiable loons” and (b) “nut-jobs”) who earnestly believe that I am going to forever burn in Hell because I promote the idea that Bigfoot has paranormal origins, simply amazes me.
As someone who does not believe in the existence of a God (or gods), a Devil, a Heaven, or a Hell – and as someone who is firmly of the opinion that death is literally a “Game-Over”-style ending for each and every one of us – such proclamations that I will “forever burn” for even daring to assert that Bigfoot may be more (or perhaps less) than a flesh-and-blood entity matters not in the slightest.
But, what interests me most of all is the rabid (and, indeed, almost psychotic) approach that such commentators occasionally display in their emails.
So what if I proclaim that Bigfoot may be paranormal? So what if I don’t accept the notion that Bigfoot is just an ape of unknown origins and/or type?
Should that result in vitriolic emails to me from a variety of Bigfoot researchers displaying a self-righteous zeal that any stance beyond that of “Bigfoot is an ape,” is somehow dangerous and wrong?
Regardless of your personal view on the answer to the above-question, that is precisely the response that my post did provoke – in certain Bigfoot research-quarters, at least. And I find that extremely interesting.
When Bigfoot enthusiasts tell me that I am going to burn in (a non-existent) Hell for promoting the world of the paranormal (actually, I was not promoting it at all – rather, I was merely relating what the witness told me), frankly it washes right over me. I learned many years ago that to survive in the field of the unexplained, one needs a distinctly thick skin.
But, such over-the-top comments and claims say very much about the percentage (and, granted, it’s a small percentage) of those who adhere to the “Bigfoot is an ape” theory, and for who common-sense and rationality have been replaced by Old Testament-style kooky warnings of impending, Hell-bound doom.
And here’s the thing I find most baffling of all: why should it even matter if Bigfoot is flesh-and-blood or paranormal? The answer is: it shouldn’t. Only the facts and a determination to get to the truth – whatever that may be - should ultimately matter. But, it does apparently matter – to some, at least.
I have come to learn that there are whole swathes of the Bigfoot community that do not (and, indeed, will not) tolerate anything other than the notion that Bigfoot is a mere unknown animal.
Personally, I only want the truth. Yes, I think Bigfoot is far stranger than many researchers believe. But, if I’m proven wrong one day, will I then be flooding the Internet with dire tales of impending disaster for those that champion the idea that Bigfoot is a physical animal?
Of course I won’t. I have far better things to do with my time: like having a life.
I don’t need to believe that Bigfoot is paranormal: I just think that the accumulation of data, coupled with Bigfoot’s uncanny ability to forever remain outside of our collective grasp, points in that direction.
And whether people agree or disagree with me is fine. But if you disagree with me, then let’s debate the matter rationally. Don’t bother bombarding me with kookiness about some fork-tailed, horned demon prodding me into the fiery furnace for not believing that Bigfoot is just an ape.
The Bigfoot research field is fair-game for the skeptics and the debunkers at the best of times. Bringing Heaven and Hell into the equation only makes matters worse – and laughable.
One final thing: have you noticed how the final six letters of “Fundamental” spell out the word “mental”? Just an observation on my part…
Nick Redfern is a full-time monster-hunter and the author of four books on the subject: Three Men Seeking Monsters; Memoirs of a Monster Hunter; Man-Monkey; and his latest book: There’s something in the Woods.