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Bigfoot Fundamentalists

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.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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LittleNell1824 4/25/2009 7:38:10 AM

You made me laugh, Nick. We become so invested in ideas that can't be proven - like what happens after we die. I do believe that it's possible that Bigfoot is an intelligent, nocturnal and migrating primate. It's hard to find evidence of something that moves at night, covers up the evidence of its passing and doesn't stay long in any one place. It's not like it's building houses of brick and smelting tools out of metal.

But, there are a lot of paranormal stories involving Bigfoot: Bigfoot the demon. Bigfoot the alien. Bigfoot the master hypnotist. There were also a lot of paranormal stories involving the Mountain Gorilla before it was "discovered."I don't know. I'm open either way. Personally, I'd rather people believed in the paranormal Bigfoot if it means they'll keep their rifles at home.

snallygaster 4/25/2009 2:09:46 PM

When I was a youn'un back in the 70s, there was an endless stream of paperbacks on the Bigfoot phenomemon, and I would read through them almost as fast as they could be cranked out.

One of the books dedicated at least one chapter to the connection between Bigfoot and UFO sightings. It focused particularly on the spike of unusual sightings in western Pennsylvania during the early 1970s, The most obvious peculiarity is that footprints obtained had three toes rather than the usual five. There were also sightings that were among the most odd I had ever read about - people seeing Bigfoot legs walking through the forest, as if the rest of the creature were invisible. Another saw a hairy torso apparently floating through the air, again as if the creature were partially invisible. These sightings coincided with a rash of UFO sightings in the region as well, so naturally speculation arose that the two phenomenon were linked. So there you have it, yet another possible explanation: Bigfoot is an ET!

Personally, I tend to side with the more mundane "unknown primate" theory, but I'm certainly open to theories regarding more esoteric origins (you'll receive no hate mail from me).

 

zaldar 4/26/2009 5:26:49 PM

So wait you believe bigfoot may be some sort of demon or ghost like entity but you are not open to any type of religous truth?  That seems contradictory to me.  Now I am not at all a fundamentalist but I do think something has to be out there, I can't see the universe being pointless and I do hope there is something after death.

What you don't comment on that I find also hilarious is that the people upset with you because they believe it is a great ape (more rational people who don't want to believe in the paranormal) are consigning you to a place that would be considered by many to BE paranormal.  A little odd.

 

Anyway I am pretty much a skeptic on these things, unless it is paranormal in some way I can't see why we haven't found it but honestly I am more skeptical about paranormal investigations.  (somewhat contridictory to what I professed above I know)

LittleNell1824 4/27/2009 5:33:39 AM

Zaldar, when people who don't believe in the paranormal claim that something is paranormal, they really mean "it's all in your head." As in a waking dream, a misidentified object, drugs, seizure, hallucination, lie, hoax, fantasy, and on and on. He doesn't actually believe the girls saw a demon. He's simply relating their story. Of course, since most people have witnessed some type of paranormal event, to disbelieve in the paranormal is to believe that we're all a little insane. Which could be true.

"As I was going up the stair, I saw a man who wasn't there. He wasn't there again today, oh, how I wished he'd go away."

monkeyfoot 4/27/2009 7:54:13 AM

If you want to get all "paranormal" on the subject you can also throw out the idea that Bigfoot is a thoughtform or more specifically an egregore. In Magickal traditions, a thoughtform is a concentrated thought energy that someone through intense concentration or excess psychic energy can cause to have some kind of physical manifestation. This could be as a ghost like figure, or knocking over objects and such. An egregore is is a thoughtform that alot of people have put great mental effort in imagining it to be real. For instance in magickal circles, alot of the ancient gods like Apollo or Horus have alot of energy put into them from worshippers and Magickians will call on them for diffferent spells. Perhaps Bigfoot is like that from all the belief in him for hundreds of years and manifest as an apparation that is not quite real but with more substance than a dream.

I have no idea whether stuff like this could actually happen. I've never experienced it but it sounds cool. Sounds likea great movie idea, hmmm.

Chuck711 4/27/2009 10:24:12 AM

Nick, this article is hilarious!  If there is one thing I've learned in my few years on this planet, it's that people are f'ing crazy as hell.  It's funny what people will develop hardcore beliefs about (including religion).  You can't understand them, Nick.  Just accept the fact that they are mentally unstable and move on.  Keeping an open mind on things like Bigfoot and UFO's is one thing, but for those who believe we actually have evidence of their existence (blurry photos, etc.) are just plain nuts.  Avoid them at all costs.

LittleNell1824 4/28/2009 10:03:07 AM

Monkeyfoot, I've always like the idea of the Tulpa or thoughtform creation. From doppelgangers to gods, it's a very interesting subject.

monkeyfoot 4/30/2009 8:22:04 AM

LittleNell, yeah I've always thought it was a great concept too. Like I said I've never experienced anything like it but I've read about it. Like the case of Daniel. A group of people as an experiment created a ficticious ghost called Daniel and invented a whole backstory for him and pretended that he was real. Then, when they did seances for him they got all sorts of phenomenon happening as if he was actually a real ghost  (if ghosts ARE real). 

NickRedfern 5/1/2009 11:22:18 AM

Guys:

Many thanks for the comments! The comments here and at some other sites that picked up on the story are interesting, because as has been rightly noted: some of those saying I am going to "burn" for saying Bigfoot is paranormal are indeed condemning me to a realm that - by definition - IS paranormal!! So, that is indeed odd and a bit of a paradox, to say the least.

I'd say that, more than anything, this demonstrates (more thany anything else) the fact that (despite what people may say otherwise) a lot of Bigfoot theorizing is based around belief and (strong!) emotion; and that a lot of people in the US hold very "Old Testament"-style beliefs re religion.

I say "in the US" because - as a Brit - i see the difference in my country where religion is no big deal, and the majority never go to church or give the subject much of a thought.  So, it's interesting that there is a cultural/regional  thing too re the belief that I'll "burn" - all those comments were from US-based people (or at least using US-based Net servers).

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