“Nothing happens, until something moves.”
In one of the many memorable scenes in the movie, The Right Stuff, two of the test pilots who would later become Mercury Seven astronauts are in a bar conversing about joining NASA’s manned space program. Gordon Cooper plants the suggestion in Gus Grissom’s head that he could be the next Buck Rogers. Grissom takes a liking to the idea. But Cooper adds that it will take a lot of money to put a man in outer space. “No big bucks- no Buck Rogers.”
After over four years of fieldwork pursuing the creatures commonly called Bigfoot, the line from that movie resonates in my head oftentimes. However, I’ve altered the words to reflect the current status of Bigfoot research in general: No big bucks- no Bigfoot.
Even though I’ve seen a Bigfoot twice, people always want proof from me of their existence. I show them the evidence I have uncovered, but they always want more solid, unequivocal proof. Despite all the time and effort I’ve put into my research, the biggest obstacle to overcome has been the question of money. Of having enough money to properly conduct an ongoing research program. And I think I don’t speak for only myself, but for other researchers spread across North America who are also caught in this quandary.
All of the money I have put into the Argosy Project has come out of my pocket. I often describe my budget for the project as being like a rubber band- it stretches and contracts depending on my income. I’m not ashamed to admit that it has been for the most part in the shrink mode. So it is very frustrating to realize a lot of field research is being hampered bythe lack of funds. Especially since I’m very aware I’m on the cusp of discovering something very extraordinary. If you ask many other Bigfoot researchers why these living bipeds still elude realization as being accepted as fact by our mainstream media, they will often point out the lack of any type of funding from any group, association, organization, or governmental agency. Without the inertia of money supporting field research, these large, hairy primates will probably remain in the gray shadows of being improbable at best, to most folks. It’s a Catch-22. No big bucks- no Bigfoot.
We’ve all heard stories of how hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on wasteful research inquiries. Some very recent items come to mind, such as a study on why that big cat bit Roy, and dragged him off that Las Vegas stage. Or how a lot of money went into researching the different dialects of cow moos. Yet to get anyone to release funds for Bigfoot research is not even a near possibility, as of today.
Perhaps no one is willing to shake up the latest model of the primate tree? Too afraid of what will fall out of it?
Maybe to some it sounds like I’m harping a bitterness against the inaction of modern-day science. I’m more perplexed by how primatologists remain idle on the subject. And there is a tone of frustration I’m revealing here. Yes, there are some academics who take a negative reactive role when the topic of Bigfoot is breached, but there are very few in the academic wilderness who are willingly on the active trail of Bigfoot.
Everyone wants a Patterson film, part two. But the1967 film footage shot by Roger Patterson has been like an albatross hanging around the neck of Bigfoot research for the past four decades. The film has fueled many amateurs to venture out into the field. Yet at the same time, the film has also impeded any serious research into the study of of these large primates. That short clip has been a focal point of an ongoing debate. It has been a major distraction as people argue over- for and against- its authenticity. Meanwhile the fieldwork of small groups of serious-minded folks, and individuals like myself, goes mostly unnoticed.
Researchers face the hammer of ridicule from the general public, and the “tee-hee” factor from the media. Most scientists dismiss and scoff at the repeated eyewitness sightings of these shy bipeds from the tenured safety of their armchairs. To most anthropologists the mere suggestion of a great ape inhabiting North America rues the indoctrination they’ve invested in. Only a handful of scientists (Most notably Dr. Jeffery Meldrum and Dr.John Bindernagel.) have defied the gauntlet of peer pressure from their academic brethren, and bothered to follow-up reports from laymen. The few who have gone out in the field and taken a look, tend to come back and admit there is enough evidence to suggest the phenomenon generally called Bigfoot is a very real possibility.
However even with their academic credentials, these scientists are met with scorn from their colleagues across the hallway. And their hands are tied because no institution is willing to support a request for grant funds from any government branch to do serious research. Instead, they depend almost solely on evidence from a handful of selected amateur researchers, or people who have encountered Bigfoot accidentally.
As I’ve already stated: No big bucks- no Bigfoot.
The academic science world was a little slow in reacting back in 1938 when Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer discovered a living fossil. It took about two months of constant urging until the scientist JLB Smith finally arrived on the scene. The South African woman presented Smith the remains of a coelacanth, a fish that was supposed to have been extinct for 65 million years. Back in 1960, humans were thought to be the only species capable of making tools, until an Englishwoman studying chimpanzees in East Africa killed that theory. Jane Goodall is now revered without question today for her commitment to wildlife research. Several years later an American woman began her fieldwork studying the behavior of mountain gorillas in Central Africa. Dian Fossey’s research ended at the ultimate price two decades later when she was murdered by her own species in the field.
Perhaps it is not a coincidence all three of these women made big contributions in the their dedicated fields of study. Being women, they were kind of shunned aside by many of the gents of the day, and had to take a more challenging road where no men were willing to go.
To any scientist who might stumble upon this article, and belittle the suggestion that Bigfoot research is something a credible scientist should contemplate, you should be informed that a precedent was set a long time ago by one of your former colleagues. Over thirty years ago Dr. John Russell Napier did journey into the Bigfoot phenomena, crisscrossing the country following up reports of Bigfoot activity. Napier was busy as the Director of the Primate Biology Program at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC at the time, yet went out into the field on the possibility the reports of pongids in our midst were true. He later authored a book on the subject, “Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality.” Napier’s conclusions are open to interpretation, but his superb credentials shouldn’t be shunt aside.
In this piece I’m not attempting to attack the scientific community, in as much as I’m challenging it. Isn’t one of the tenets of science the attempt at discovering the truth?
Unfortunately, no amount of photographic or field evidence will ever convince scientific skeptics of the existence of the elusive Bigfoot. And despite the thousands of reported sightings- not to mention the thousands of sightings that remain unreported- the profound truth of this species will stay hidden in the parallel shadows of our contemporary world, unless a more disciplined effort is applied to the field.
Sadly, I fear, it will not be until the day a hunter pulls into town with the carcass of a Bigfoot sprawled out in the back of his Chevy pickup truck, will our smug society accept the species as a larger reality to life.