Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Abominable Science

Frame #352 from the Patterson-Gimlin Footage, taken in N. Cal. in 1967
    Is this a picture of a real Bigfoot? Did Yakima, WA rodeo cowboy Roger Patterson, with the help of fellow cowboy Bob Gimlin, film a bigfoot in the ironic locality of Bluff Creek, CA some fifty years ago? I would offer a definite yes, but given the media mistreatment of this celebrated event, I blame nobody for doubting that this is so.  Heck, arguing about the validity of the famed Patterson-Gimlin Footage is a favorite pass-time of bigfoot devotees and skeptics alike.
     Confusingly, numerous gadflies have come forward over the years claiming that they were the person who staged the hoax, or at least, they knew who did
One of the many charlatans who falsely claimed to have engineered the hoax. This begs two questions: "Why would anyone would lie about being a faker?" and, "Why would the media giveany credibility to such ridiculous claims?"

Indeed, the problem has always been that there was a virtual cottage industry of hoaxers (all hawking books, of course) that claimed they were the person in the gorilla suit. An unscrutinizing media invariably accepts these  claims at face value and then declares the case closed. (As Donald Trump would say,  "Fake news!")
     Or, rarely, the liar/faker actually dons the gorilla costume for the camera.  To a critical eye, the lame-ass costume in no way resembles the image seen on the Patterson-Gimlin footage, yet the unscrutinizing media again declares the case closed, even though these new claims are at odds with the last set of bogus claims that surfaced only a few years prior. Geez, can you blame anyone for thinking that, "The fix is in"?
      Meanwhile, the film clip itself remains out there for inspection.  Since its acquisition in October of 1967, it has been digitized, stablilized, and sharpened by capable amateurs and even a few professionals like astronomer M.K.Davis.
     Personally, I never understood why the film clip was seen as spurious in the first place.  If one actually sits down and studies the clip, and it is easier to do that than ever,  there just isn't a lot to debate. Hair bounces, muscles ripple beneath hair covered skin, fingers and toes flex, and unlikely features (like breasts and buttocks) belie an anatomical accuracy that was well outside the capability of two cowboys in 1967.  Then there's the simple and obvious fact that the suit fits like, well, skin. All costumes of the 1960's had blousey, loose fitting legs that enable the wearer to slide their feet through to the ankle openings.  This resulted in loose-fitting "stove-piping" in the legs of the costume. Look at the legs of subject in the PGF: skin-tight all the way to the feet.  No stove-piping whatsoever.  I hesitate to even get into other lines of evidence like the inter-membral index, but suffice to say those arms are too long to belong to any known human being. Also. they don't match the proportionate leg length or inter-membral index of Homo sapiens. For this and many other reasons, the PGF is exactly what it purveyors claimed it to be at the time: a 45 second film clip of a female bigfoot striding across a creek bottom in northern California.
     Arriving at this bold conclusion is something that most scientists are not inclined to do for two reasons:
         1. Science  tends to be an echo chamber of conservative ideas driven by the highest echelon of scientists who are heavily invested in maintaining the dominant paradigm.
         2. If you do succeed in getting critics and skeptics to shut up and examine the film clip in all its detail, they just don't seem to understand enough about how movie film differs from video tape and how difficult it would have been for two cowboys from Yakima, Washington to fake this famous footage.
     Heck, most folks in and out of the scientific community are so ignorant to the details of this famous footage  that they call it a video tape!  Dammit, it is a piece of movie film! There was no home video equipment in 1967.  Not only that, but the PGF isn't really a home movie, either! Home movies back in the day were done on 8mm film or 'super 8' in later years. The PGF, on the other hand, was shot with a rented, professional quality 16mm movie camera that yields MUCH better image resolution than was possible with home equipment. The film clip is not a 'movie', nor is out-of-focus, or of poor quality.  It is shakey owing to the motions of the photographer but recent technical advances have made it possible to stabilize the film to a considerable degree. 
     SO, an examination of this cinematic evidence of sasquatch existence is far better today, far more detailed, and far clearer than most scientists or lay persons even realize. Check out this link to a stabilized version of the original PGF and decide for yourself.  
     Enter, Bill Munns; long time professional special effects and costuming expert.  Bill has been sticking his neck out for years, advocating the position that the PGF holds a lot more water than most people realize. Bill argues that the film is clearer and more detailed than scientists and the public realize, and that it accurately depicts numerous details of bio-mechanics and anatomy that would be impossible to convincingly fake.  Bill Munns has just published another compelling article on the subject, this time in an on-line journal of anthropology and archeology, Ancient Origins.
     Bill Munns does a wonderful job of laying out the reasons for and against the acceptance of the Patterson-Gimlin Footage as evidence of a real creature and probable human relative. So, without further discussion, I will refer the good reader of this blog to the full article by Bill Munns which can and should be accessed by way of this link to the Munns article.  Great stuff, Bill! Thanks also to Cliff Barackman for steering me toward Bill's most recent article.
Bill Munns, seen here working on one of his cinematic special effects, ought to know a thing or two about the limits of  primate costuming.
And if you are too lazy to click on a link but you want to see the cinematic evidence in all it's glory, here is the stabilized, sharpened, cropped, and reversed image produced by astronomer M.K. Davis.  Fair use rules allow it to be shown here at no cost, but commercial use of the PGF must be cleared by Roger Patterson's widow, Patricia Patterson. One should still read the article by Bill Munns in Ancient Origins.  It is excellent.

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