Monday, February 10, 2014

Chasing Bigfoot‘s ghost

Bigfoot is a good example of a creature that some people swear exists, even without the kind of evidence that is produced when a species shows up in the flesh (think cœlacanth, the prehistoric fish caught in the Amazon, thought extinct since the Cretaceous). My thinking about Bigfoot is when someone catches one show me and then I’ll believe it.

When it comes to animals that may or may not exist in nature hiding in our forests or lakes, we also must consider how many species of critters live on this planet. After googling a question on the number I found this surprising answer from Nature, according to Lee Sweetlove:  
        “There are 8.7 million eukaryotic species on our planet — give or take 1.3 million. The latest biodiversity estimate, based on a new method of prediction, dramatically narrows the range of best guesses which was previously between 3 million and 100 million. It means that a staggering 86% of land species and 91% of marine species remain undiscovered.”
If we accept those numbers that is one helluva lot of species that have not been identified.*

But we were speaking of Bigfoot, weren‘t we? So is it possible for a Bigfoot to be hiding from us in the woods or not? Based on the sheer weight of numbers of so-far unidentified species you could safely say yes. But not so fast. In the 2013 book, Nick Redfern‘s Monster Files, from Chapter 21, “Specters and phantimals” author Redfern writes:
    “Despite the fact that there have been literally thousands of sightings of Bigfoot within the forests of North American, spanning a period of at least several centuries, each and every attempt to identify, trap or kill even one such animal has ended in complete and utter failure. Unlike just about every other animal in the United States, no Bigfoot has ever had the misfortune of being hit by a car or truck and killed, nor has anyone ever stumbled across the corpse of one of these elusive animals.”
Redfern then goes on to explain what it would take to feed a Bigfoot, based on what is known of an observable creature in the wild:
    “Given its immense size and build, Bigfoot, for example, would likely require a massive intake of food on a daily basis After all, a fully grown silverback gorilla requires an average of 45 pounds of food per day — and that's just for one animal! Indeed, one of the reasons why it is so easy to track the movements and activities of gorillas is the clear and undeniable evidence of their constant, massive foraging for food. Bigfoot rarely, if ever, demonstrates such evidence of its culinary delights.  . . . For the most part the hard evidence of its eating habits — which would have to be absolutely tremendous, considering the eyewitness reports describing creatures reaching heights of 8 feet and weights of an estimated 300 to 600 pounds — is inexplicably lacking.”
But at least one person has an answer why there are Bigfoot sightings, and yet no actual Bigfoots to be caught. They're ghosts! Redfern quotes paranormal expert Joshua P. Warren, who Redfern says told him of “the possiblity that the ghostly presence of certain extinct animals may very well explain at least some sightings of monstrous beasts, particularly those that seemingly appear and vanish in the blink of an eye. Joshua calls these phantimals.”
    “‘Maybe Bigfoot is a phantimal,’ said Josh, ‘perhaps even the ghost of a prehistoric creature, similar to the enormous extinct possible ape, Gigantopithecus, or maybe even the spirits of primitive humans.’”
Warren also shares that he thinks this explains Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, who would need a lot more food than is available locally in order to live in the Loch. To Warren Nessie may be a ghost of a dinosaur.

So that answer may satisfy some, but all it does for me is open up more questions, such as do animals have souls? If so, is there an afterlife for every animal who ever lived on this planet? Or do only animals that vex us because they are so hard to pin down have souls, and other animals do not? What about when my wife says she feels something on the bed, like a cat? Our cat died in 2000 — does that mean our cat’s spirit is paying us a visit?**

Like other things that require explanations, when the supernatural is thrown into the mix it becomes impossible for me to take it seriously. Tales of ghosts are entertaining, but when someone uses a ghost to possibly explain a creature like Bigfoot then it just shows me that there are no satisfactory explanations at this time, and because of that the fantasists have gone to work to provide answers from their imaginations. You can say Bigfoot was dropped from a flying saucer, or lives in caves hidden to humans, another dimension, or is a deceased animal or proto-human from hundreds of thousands of years ago, but those aren’t explanations. They are just speculation taken so far past the point of credibility that the whole subject becomes laughable.


*I read about one species I was not aware of, in the Sunday funnies no less!

Barney & Clyde, January 12, 2014.

**I wrote once before on whether animals have souls, Do animals have souls?.

No comments: