Monday, January 17, 2011

The Skookum Synchronicity

The Skookum impression, shown here before it was a cast in Sept., 2000, is beneath the board (right of center) that is shielding it from the sun as expedition members await the return of the rest of the group to make the cast. From left to right: Leroy Fish, Alan Terry and Derek Randles talk with Thom Powell (in truck). Note the damp area indicative of the fast-drying puddle around the cast beside the road.
       When bigfoot researchers have no bigfoots to research, they research the researchers.  Just ask Bob Gimlin.  His life has been more scrutinized by investigators and authors than any other bigfoot reseacher alive today. And he  considers himself to be a cowboy, not a bigfoot researcher.     He may be 'just a cowboy', but he still gathered what may be the most important piece of bigfoot evidence so far.  Another important item of evidence, the Skookum cast, was obtained in September of 2000.  This has not been as analyzed and questioned as thoroughly as the Patterson-Gimlin footage, but it has received a good bit of attention by a researchers who are looking for something, or someone to investigate. Bear in mind that these after-the-fact 'investigations' are all about debunking. It's never interesting to investigate something only to conclude it is legitimate.
     Several researchers over the years, and most recently Daniel Perez, have maintained that the Skookum cast is an impression of an elk, not a sasquatch, and that the place where the impression was obtained was an 'elk wallow'. Another recent investigation by Dianne Stocking questions the motives of the people who produced the cast. Specifically, she suggests that the expeditioners may have faked the cast, or at least misrepresented it, in their desire to satisfy a documentary film crew that accompanied the expedition.
     I was on this expedition, if that's what you want to call it. To me, it felt more like a camping trip with TV cameramen along. In any case, I was the de facto logistical coordinator, which is to say I got the group food and cooking gear together. I also made the recommendation to camp out in the Skookum Meadow area.
     Here is what I know:  The day before the cast was obtained, the 'elk wallow' was a shallow puddle beside a forest service road. The puddle was in a large turnaround presumably used by log trucks and flat-bed 'lowboy' trucks that transport heavy equipment (see photo above).
     A day of cold rain ended on Thursday afternoon and the big puddle began to dry up and disappear, leaving a big patch of damp earth and untracked mud beside a road. When Derek Randles put the fruit in the mud flat, it still had a bit of standing water in it, but it was track-free mud at that point. That's why he chose the spot.  Derek placed the 'bait' at around 3 .a.m., while on a errand to assist Rick Noll, whose truck alternator had malfunctions and was broken down.  He probably would not have been there to place the fruit if Rick had not broken down.What ever left the impression in the mud did so between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Friday morning.
     The interesting events of that night began around 3 a.m. I was sitting with the group around the dying embers of our campfire, trying to stay warm.  Noll was driving the roads with one of the film crew, trying to get usable footage with their thermal camera. The rest of the group was in camp.  Moneymaker was sound asleep in his tent. I was pretty bleary-eyed, myself when I heard a faint sqwaking noise coming from my pocket. I ignored it at first.  Then it dawned on me  that it was coming from the two-way radio in the pocket of my down parka. I pulled the radio out and held it to my ear. Someone was saying something (OK, I'm not real bright, nor is my hearing very good). It was Noll. His truck had quit running.  He and one of the Aussies were stranded about ten miles away. They needed assistance. We talked it over. Derek offered to go get them.  As almost an afterthought, he agreed to leave some of the fruit out on his way to the scene of Rick's breakdown.  We loaded him up with a sack of fresh fruit fresh from our home orchards. As he drove by the low-boy turnaround, Derek spied the un-tracked mud flat in his headlights. It looked like a perfect place to get tracks. Bear in mind, everything was about tracks, as in footprint tracks. Everyone was looking for footprints in those days.  Well, almost everyone.
     Earlier in the evening we were having a spirited discussion around the campfire.  I suggested  that, since it was late in the expedition and we hadn't gotten anything in the last three nights, we needed to consider some changes in our approach.  Up to that point, we had gotten some promising vocalizations in response to our high-volume call playing but that was about it.  Rick may have found a track in some moss.  We hadn't gotten anything at all with the thermal camera.  It is true that the film crew wanted some good shots and they weren't getting them.  That is true for every documentary film crew that goes out on a 'bigfoot expedition.'. It would not, however, be fair to say that the film crew was putting any pressure on us, the expeditioners, to give them  better material.
     As I recall, the film crew was more concerned with surviving. They were very cold.  Despite their reputation as rugged Aussies ("too tough for you, just right for us") they did not arrive well prepared for the high-elevation, late season conditions.  Their clothes and their sleeping bags were too light. Fortunately for them, Joe Beelart sent along a couple spare sleeping bags and I had one more. By doubling up their sleeping bags, they were able to better endure the bitterly cold nights. They brought no food with them. They thought they would be able to go to nearby restaurants to eat. They were coming from another film shoot and the casual attitude of a production assistant over the phone had me worried.  So I made up a menu and handed it to Matt, our presumed leader.  He didn't want to spend the money. I insisted and he agreed.   At least everyone stayed well fed and the Aussies in particular were very grateful. They acknowledged that they did not realize they would be in such remote, high elevation surroundings.   
      The point here, is that there was never pressure on us from the film crew to deliver compelling footage.  They felt bad because their thermal camera didn't work well.  They were counting on it to generate some great material.  It seemed Matt had assured them that, if they could provide it, this miraculously high tech device, the thermal camera, that would fool the bigfoots and we would be the owners of fantastic bigfoot footage. Yeah, right.  After the second night, it was clear that the thermal camera was a bust. By Thursday night, we were almost out of food. Fortunately, the cold rains had quit and the sky was crystal clear. Since we were high in the Washington Cascades, it was also friggin' COLD. Everyone was huddled around the fire and lacking in ideas for what else to try on the up-coming last day of the outing. The film crew was beginning to talk about some shots they needed.  they wanted people to speak into walkie-talkies about bigfoots that weren't really there.
     As I said in The Locals, when film crews start to talk about staging shots, it's time to get busy and do something else, quick. So, I went to the campfire and suggested to anyone that would listen that we ought to try a new approach based on the experiences I had gained at the Hoyt's place working the camera traps.
     I explained that the residents, Allen and April Hoyt had been reporting a lot of success with leaving things out for their mysterious nocturnal operators. They also said something else that was even more thought provoking:  Allen and April insisted that the bigfoot creatures that presumably occupied their woods knew a 'set-up' when they saw one and were smart enough to outmaneuver it.  One tactic that they were also claiming to have witnessed personally was that the sasquatch would belly-crawl in close to the house to get a closer view, as opposed to just walking on on two feet.  I explained these claims to the assembled group.  They politely listened but they did not take the claims too seriously.   I even went so far as to suggest that it was possible, based on my experience at the Hoyts', that the sasquatch could be spying on us in our camp. "Heck, they could be listening to us right now," I shrugged.  That comment probably didn't help.  People rolled their eyes. Rick was especially skeptical. he had visited the Hoyt's homestead and he was not at all convinced that their claims of habituated sasquatches were genuine.
     At least they listened, and for lack of any better ideas, the group reluctantly agreed to try to my suggestion that we spend our last night dispersing the fruit that we had brought along as bait, or, as some prefer to call it, "gifts". It was very late and very cold.
    The reader should, by now, understand, that the sequence of events that led to the formation of the Skookum impression was completely spontaneous, and heavily influences by a sequence of chance events: the weather, Rick's alternator, the walkie-talkie in my pocket, the dubious experiences of Allen and April, and the selection of this location in the first place were just some of the chance occurrences that converged.
     One thing that was not a chance occurrence was the actual discovery of the impression.  Rather, Rick, Derek, and Leroy were dispatched the next morning to check on the bait location Derek created the night before. I like to think that Rick might not have even noticed the unusual impression in the mud if I had not brought up the seemingly absurd idea that the sasquatch will belly-crawl into a suspicious situation.  I'm certain that LeRoy did not perceive the impression when they first happened upon it because LeRoy's footprint is forever preserved in the Skookum cast (see lower-center of photo, below).  I credit Rick with keen observation and the willingness to consider new information when analyzing the unfamiliar marks they found in the mud.  Only a day ago, Rick would have been predisposed to look only for footprints. I'm pretty sure of this because of what happened next: As, I was packing my camp gear into my truck, Rick came barreling back into camp in his pick-up (mysteriously, his alternator was now working again). He strode purposefully up to me. I Iknew something was up.
     "You were right," he said.  "They don't always leave tracks.  It sat down in the mud to reach the fruit. Come see what we found!"
Close up of the impression prior to casting, with outline added by Noll to highlight forearm just above thigh impression (center) and heel mark (lower right).  Note also finger marks and apple remains (upper right edge of photo).


     Off we went to inspect the impression in the mud.  I must emphasize mud here, because that speaks very directly to the view that the Skookum cast was taken from an elk wallow.  Elk wallows are ponds of water that elk get in to bathe, tear at the ground with their antlers, and bathe some more. An elk wallow is not a shallow puddle and it certainly isn't a mud flat.  It's a few feet or more of water that they can get into and partially submerge themselves. If one wants to see it. all one has to do is 'google' "elk wallow" on the internet.  Then look again at the YouTube film clips hunters have posted.  Compare what you see in these videos to the photo at the top of this blog post. One thing is clear to me: that mud patch behind my truck sure isn't an elk wallow.
     As the participants eagerly prepared the scene for casting, I did some videotaping of my own then headed back to town.  I must confess now that I was also a bit discouraged by what I saw.  Even in the first few hours after it's discovery, there was obvious posturing and positioning underway by some of the participants.  They were labeling themselves as discovers, and eagerly awaiting their turn in front of the Aussie's video camera.  My motto has always been, 'You can accomplish anything if you don't care who gets the credit for it.' I figured there were plenty of folks around to mug for the camera. My work was done.  I went home.
       In truth, I've always known that there was a lot more to the story than has been told to date, even though I wrote about it myself in a chapter of 'The Locals'.  Here's another amusing detail:  The cast was originally called "Skookie".  That's what LeRoy started calling it in the opportunities he had to speak about it to the media.  Moneymaker called me up one night and expressed concern about the somewhat silly name.  I suggested to Matt that they should just call it the 'Skookum Cast.'. The name stuck.
     Perhaps the most salient point I have to make about the whole Skookum cast deal is the one that has never been made up to this point: the coincidences and happenstances that led to its acquisition have always disturbed me.  Well, not really "disturbed' me as much as 'amused' me.  Even as I stood there taping the affair as they began the process of casting it, I was silently amused for reasons that I have never shared until now.
     That reason is the "p" word, as in 'paranormal.' i know the cast is an item of concrete physical evidence,   but there is also something decidedly paranormal about it; It's the way it all went down. Why did Rick's car die, then start working again?  Why was that walkie-talkie still 'on' in my pocket ( I thought I had turned it off)?  The formation of the puddle when it did, then its transformation into a mud flat was beyond fortuitous. It was remarkable.  We couldn't have asked for a better site for the cast.  The amount of hydrocal (plaster) we had on hand was fortuitous in the extreme, yet it was there only because it was being delivered to LeRoy from Rick's inexpensive source in the Seattle area. Then there was that most opportune conversation we had around the campfire about bigfoots reluctance to leave obvious tracks.  I have often wondered whether the cast would have even been recognized if that conversation had not happened. LeRoy's fooprint in the cast is a clear indication that it was almost overlooked by the 'discoverers'. But it wasn't.  Good going, Rick.
   That is why Rick deserves to be permanent custodian of the cast. Even when he didn't agree with my views, he listened and he remembered. And speaking of listening, my favorite image of all is the one I have in my mind of the sasquatches themselves, lying on their stomachs behind a bush, right outside our camp, as I explained the slightly paranormal matters that were being reported to me by Allen and April. I like to think that 'they' heard from behind the bushes what I was saying to the group, and they liked it so much that they decided they would endorse my position by 'throwing us a bone', that is, giving us something we wanted, but also something that would endorse my paranormal position that 'they,'  the sasquatches, were a heck of a lot smarter than we were giving them credit for.
   I have carried these ideas in my head for ten years.  I never dared to express them during the days when the cast was getting all the attention. I didn't want to say anything that would taint the 'physical evidence' value of the cast.  Now, I'm not so worried.  The cast has been thoroughly examined by experts.  It is accepted by many and questioned by a few for two reasons:
a.) it was taken in an elk wallow and
b.) the participants are suspect on the basis of hidden agendas.
     I can safely say both those suggestions are not true.   It wasn't an elk wallow, it was a mud puddle, and the expedition was too disorganized, the events were too unplanned, and the coincidences too numerous to allow for any kind conspiracy to manufacture the Skookum cast.
      Rather, the myriad coincidences that converged are so remarkable, at least to me, that the whole affair takes on the appearance of a synchronicity; that is, a remarkable combination of too many chance events to be dismissed as mere coincidence.  Now get this: Synchronicities ar not scientifically explainable. Therefore, synchronicities are, by definition, paranormal.  The Skookum cast was, in my view, the result of a synchronicity. Therefore, the Skookum cast, by the rules of syllogism, is paranormal.
     Great, so now, while trying to dispell a couple false assumptions about the Skookum cast,  I have also raised yet another reason to question the validity of the Skookum cast.  It's paranormal.
     Does that somehow invalidate the authenticity of the cast? I don't think so. The thing is still physical evidence. It can be examined by any scientist at any time.  The Skookum cast is real, and it's physical, so it is real physical evidence. If it is real physical evidence, it does not matter if it was gotten by way of a seance. It's not the cast itself isn't paranormal, it's the circumstances that led to its acquisition that are so strange.
     Now that a little time has gone by, here's what the Skookum cast represents to me:
a.) genuine physical evidence of the sasquatch's existence, and
b.) Equally strong evidence that  there is something slightly paranormal going on in the realm of the sasquatch.

     Even if it isn't paranormal, there sure were a lot of interesting coincidences surrounding the acquisition of the cast.  Here's one more. In June of 2008, Joe Beelart, Douglas Trapp, and I were camped right on the edge of Skookum Meadow when who should pull up to our camp but Rick Noll, and in the back of his pick up truck was the Skookum cast.  Rick was on his way home from a conference and was driving through the area. He heard we might be up there and decided to try and find us. Another odd coincidence that I shrugged off at the time, yet it was not lost on me: the Skookum Cast had returned to Skookum Meadow for the one and only time, and by some weird coincidence, I happened to be there. Lots of odd coincidences seem to surround the Skookum Cast. The synchronicity continues. Is all of this coincidence?
     I'm starting to doubt it.




Skookum expedition participants, from left to right, Rick Noll, Greg Bambanek, Ian (one of the Aussie film crew), Alan Terry (center) Erin (Jeff's girlfriend), and Jeff Lemley (holding board). Bottom center between the 2x4's, is the cast, partially completed, with first (splash) layer in place.

13 comments:

  1. If one pays attention, EVERYTHING is "paranormal." Also, what is paranormal or supernatural to one creature may not be so to another. If we humans were suddenly able to utilize the perceptual apparatus of, say, a bat, we would be utterly stunned by the influx of bizarre and incomprehensible stimuli. There are clearly levels of causation that we do not or cannot (yet) understand or perceive, but nonetheless exist; and these synchronicities are just the odd glimpses of this that we are able to, stumblingly, pick up.

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  2. Great article, Thom. I hope this will finally clear things up to the "It's an elk" proponents.

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  3. Hey Thom,

    I'm an avid elk hunter, enjoying my Winter's kill the last few months too. One of these days I'd like to have a good look at the cast or its copy. Don't know if that will ever happen tho? Maybe a few quality photos would do, probably not because photos can always be deceiving when interpreting depth. What is online that I've seen is pretty hard to work with too as they offer no depth or fine detail and they can't be blown up very much.

    I know that sasquatch does exist too and have seen more then my share of them, so as you know I'm not someone who denies their existence. I also realize there is a tendency to see evidence sometimes where there is none. Tree breaks are a good example of this, as much of that has a purely natural cause that most BF'ers are not even aware of.

    As for elk. Yeah forget wallow, this isn't a wallow! But I will say from personal knowledge and hunting experience, that elk will regularly lie in roadside locations like this at night. It's open, safe, and they will lay near the center so they have a buffer for viewing and escape in different directions. They also have no problem lying in a wet area. I'm not saying the impression is of an elk, but those are elk or deer tracks represented by the various divots in the photo correct? The ungulate track at the bottom left looks like deer but it could be a young elk, plus there are other somewhat larger divots that I can't quite make out from the photo above. The larger ones do appear to be divots from elk hooves however even when viewing at an angle and has been admitted in places. The one to the absolute farthest left second to bottom looks very much like elk to me as well. The scale is a little difficult to determine though. How large were Fish's feet?

    I'm curious if anyone thought of taking a photo of the location 'before' fruit was left there the night before? It would seem safe to say however that if there were no tracks in the mud beforehand, then the elk did come along the same night as the impression was made. So from a purely professional view, elk as a possible cause needs to be ruled out proactively. What we need to be after is truth right, whichever direction it takes. I realize that the cast has been scrutinized to no end, and that Fish was a biologist in the State where I live as well. I am curious what his specific area of interest was? The only thing I've found so far is a paper on birds, but his interests could have been varied. Anyway, if there are elk tracks in the photo when its stated that there were no tracks there the night before, then the presence of elk needs to be inspected just as freely and meticulously so as to positively rule it out as a possible cause.

    cont.

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  4. It would be fairly easy to formally rule out elk once and for all too if an analysis was undertaken by biologists whose specific field of study is 'elk behavior or their physical anatomy'. The task would be to specifically attempt to apply elk lay patterns to the impression in question. A very blunt task. This is just hard science and what needs to take place I believe. If other elk lay impressions match the Skookum Cast, well people would just have to deal. If not, well then you have further validation of Sasquatch being the ultimate Skookum culprit. Has such an exercise ever occurred by those without an interest in bigfoot? Yes I realize Dr's Krantz and Meldrum have reviewed the cast, but honestly some can claim bias on their part and that furthers nothing. I don't believe either have expertise in elk anatomy or their sleeping postures do they? The elk species on the Gifford Pinchot are predominantly Roosevelt Elk, which are larger then their Rocky Mtn counterparts. Both of which are common in Oregon and Washington. For those who truly believe the Skookum Cast to be of a Bigfoot, then there would be nothing at risk of conducting a thorough analysis in that direction.

    Thom, I'd be willing to work on pulling together a group of at least 3 biologists from Oregon and Washington who specifically study elk, to have a detailed look at the cast and to determine if the impression fits the pattern of an elk lay at all. They would also be asked to summarize in text and graphic form how the impression does or doesn't fit an elk lay. This would seem to me to be an important and long overdue exercise in order to rule out speculation and rumor once and for all. If something like this doesn't occur, well there will always be doubters and nay-sayers. I'd say its time to put the claims to the harshest test possible given the controversy seems to continue.

    What do you think?

    David Rodriguez

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  5. Dave,
    Noll has custody of the cast so some back and forth communication might produce a meeting place between 'experts' and the cast. I do know that the elk possibility has been pursed at length in the past. There was no clear consensus but the most favorable assesment was the view that the pattern of hair was definitely not elk. Naturally, others do not agree. I think the best possible work would involve not just the opinion of experts, but side-by-side comparison of impressions of elk hair impressions and the cast.
    Never mind the 'experts'. We've been down that road and no consensus wasachieved. Can you produce some plater casts of elk fur impressions, Dave? That would be more scientific and therefore, much more informative than more opinions. I am told that this too has been attempted and there was not a match. Even if this true, and I'm not sure it is, it is scientifically necessary to repeat the process so as to replicate the results.
    Thanks for the interest and the long message.
    -Thom P.

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  6. Hey Thom,
    I may post more later as I have to get going here. I can see what I can come up with but it will take time and probably much more casting material then I sure have. Maybe a few locations on the cast could be identified as being focused on? Would need to know certain details too.

    A few variables I see right off in what you propose would be the age of elk being casted. Just like you can probably no longer sit cross-legged like you used to as a kid, elk probably alter their posture as they age too. So an elk can lay in different positions when young that may be different from that of an adult. And they will lay in many different positions as well in one night just for the sake of circulation and warming if needed. How they lay or move around so as to change positions in any given bedding could therefore affect hair patterns and impression as well. One elk can make a few different impressions in the same bed. Time of year could also alter length of hair. See where I'm going?

    I guess an important question right off is, are those calf, yearling, or adult cow or bull elk prints seen around the cast?

    Gotta go...

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  7. I thought it highly suspicious that Ms. Stocking would even temporarily relocate to Oregon from the east coast. Who funded that 6000 mile/$5000 extended intelligence gathering trip, anyways? Oregon has few modern sightings and would be a poor choice to achieve her advertised objective. Furthermore, in hearing the recurring pattern of her speech methodology which inevitably seeks to sew seeds of doubt for all bigfoot evidence and completely discounts the locally accepted paranormal explanation, it would appear that she attended the same debunking school as known and presumed retired spooks like Irishtheruler, Karl Rose and Benjamin Radford. This "going postal" moment by an accepted researcher in regard to the skookum cast, brings back still sour memories of MK Davis, who also attempted to cast doubt on the reputation of a cluster of high profile researchers. Am I the only person to notice this pattern of yet another sleeper cell attempting to take out as many persons as possible? Consequently, there does appear to be something worth investigating here, just not the something that Stocking had intended. If any of you have ever been on a BFRO expedition, you will know that the only faking that goes on is admittedly of something that they are already familiar with, like return howls. I doubt that anybody anywhere, even imagined that a butt print of a bigfoot sitting in a roadside mud pit, could be discovered much less cast. Elk avoid roads because they avoid man that uses those roads. Consequently, the alleged hoaxing of a bigfoot butt print at that time in history, lacks precedence, logic and common sense. Hoaxing only occurs of something that has occurred before. Just look at youtube.

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  8. Dunno if this is helpful, but . . .
    The only, specific, part of the Skookum Cast that has been compared in any detail to an elk cast was (so far as I know) the heel, which was alleged represent not a heel and tendon, but the front knee and foreleg of an elk. The comparison ended up on MonsterQuest of all things, on one of the episodes Rick produced, if I remember right.

    The comparison showed the two to be very different in structure, but reproducing that comparison sure wouldn’t hurt.

    There actually happens to be the lower leg of an elk in my freezer at this very moment that was originally supposed to be cast for this sort of comparison. It’s the front knee, the cannon, and foot.

    A full replica of the Skookum Cast exists, although I do not know where it is. It was in Texas, I think. Getting a heel replica from Rick would probably be about the easiest thing to do.

    The cast is interesting in person, there’s certainly stuff that doesn’t show up in photos. The tracks I remember for sure as being present were elk, deer, and coyote. The sizes of all of which seemed pretty “average” to me. Hair from at the very least elk and I believe also bear were found, along with one or two primate hairs, for what it’s worth.


    Alicia Bateman
    (sorry if this posted twice)

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  9. "Never mind the 'experts'. We've been down that road and no consensus wasachieved. Can you produce some plater casts of elk fur impressions, Dave? That would be more scientific and therefore, much more informative than more opinions. I am told that this too has been attempted and there was not a match. Even if this true, and I'm not sure it is, it is scientifically necessary to repeat the process so as to replicate the results. "

    I've given this some more thought since yesterday Thom. One thing I know is that one couldn't just go out looking for beds of elk and making casts. They have more then one posture when lying down for one thing. A big bull can also lay differently from a cow and a cow different from a young one. So to even begin such an exercise, the individual would need to have an idea what size elk we are looking at as evidenced by their hoof prints and maybe even taking an estimate of what size elk would/could make the Skookum impression itself. Only then could you begin to know what to look for in an elk bed impression.

    From the photo I kinda see a large set of prints and then the smaller one, but I don't know if that's just a cow for the big one and a deer or calk from the small one. You just can't determine that level of information from photos. Having impressions from the elk hooves themselves would help to identify the target elk size to focus on. That's assuming one considers it was one of the print makers that laid down there in the first place.

    It would be interesting to read how any earlier process was undertaken to rule out elk and by whom. One would think there would be a full report on it so as to validate the omission. If such an analysis did take place, well I'd like to read the results. Otherwise I still see that an actual investigation by unbiased elk biologists would be the prudent method of ruling out elk as the cause. And yes that would involve comparing castings too, but only after that preliminary information was available to those undertaking the task of going out into the field to find the correct specimen.

    Dave

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  10. Thom the is Steve from WASRT and FB... First hey thanks for a great and well written explanation of what happened that fateful trip... I can not and will not confirm or deny if this is a true BF resting spot or Elk, and it seems neither can anyone else... I know BF eat fruit from orchards, I also know Elk love fruit also, BF may enjoy a mud wallow just like Elk and so on... My point is that all the evidence mounts up to a a good chance it could or could not be real depending on the extraneous evidence... This is where character comes in and knowledge of the person making the claim...

    Probably the best bet to lean favor to the BF side would be to say take a lie detector test or something to at least get the notion of a hoax cleared up. That would leave the cast in question and open to debate with scholars, trackers, hunters and zoologists.

    Me I sit on the fence with most things BF, If
    I didn't see it or one of my trusted team didn't see it, then I have no way to 100% backing the validity, so I wont...

    I wish ya luck Thom, and I am pulling for ya and will help via the back door...

    Steve TooRisky Schauer
    C0-Founder WASRT

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  11. Hey Dave/Osprey, have you ever observed Elk or heard of Elk eating in the manner/posture that would be suggested within the Cast ??

    & if so, any idea why Elk would attmeplt to eat in a position that would be somewhat unnatural for them & wasn't needed as, in this case, the bait ( food ) for them was left in an open area where they could have ate in a natural position ??

    Thanks for any reply..

    Rgds

    Wes

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  12. Wes, from the other photos I've seen, there may have been up to 6 apples remaining in the pile by morning that were not touched. So the apples were apparently not that appetizing to them for some reason.

    The alleged Achilles Heel impression REALLY is just that, the Achilles Heel that undermines the claim. It is actually that of an early to middle aged elk's front leg. Something not seen in the leg of what could be of a much more mature animal used in comparisons.

    As for the "elk fur impressions" request, I'n not sure which parts of the body you are referring to? As in the 'achilles heel' section? If so, and just so you know, the reason the hair is in a sideways direction there, is because elk hair when muddy, turns much like a wet paint brush does and leaves a resulting effect, only along the full length of the leg. Said leg has a mane of sorts along the back side consisting of longer hairs.

    As for the elk experts who have supposedly examined the cast, there have been none as far as I can tell. George Schaller was not an elk expert, he instead knew about ungulates in Africa. One can't make such a comparison of ungulates. In addition, no elk experts have ever viewed the track evidence at the scene in high resolution photos. The cast is merely a slice of what occurred at the scene. Elk has never been ruled out at any professional level.

    The biggest flaw of the Skookum Cast claim by proponents is that its not an elk because elk place their feet under them in order to stand, and there were none found in the impression. Well that is absolutely wrong with respect to the hind legs! When elk lay down, they lower themselves down and then roll off their hind legs. When they rise, they do pretty much the opposite with their rear, leaving that portion of their impression void of any tracks. The front legs however will be mostly center and one step of them likely lines up where the boot print was found.

    Video evidence of elk standing up will be forthcoming in time, just haven't found any of them rising so will probably attempt at getting my own. Here's a few vids of them lying down however so you can see how it works.

    http://www.naturefootage.com/video_clips/AG09_095

    http://www.naturefootage.com/video_clips/KW57_007

    There is now no doubt in my mind Thom, that the Skookum Cast is nothing but an elk.

    Dave

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  13. Oh and my lack of any further doubt isn't just based on the videos, I was aware of how elk lay down and stand up for a long time. After seeing more photos of the elk tracks at the scene, its clear that those tracks were never properly interpreted as they relate to the impression. Its also clear that no elk experts have 'ever' examined all the evidence, contrary to popular opinion. I also think you are someone who would want the truth no matter what it is Thom.

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