SQUATCH AND LEARN
I am slightly obsessed by Bigfoot. I love Sasquatch. I think Yeti’s are amazing. Anyone who knows me will probably tell you that there are few things in life I find more intriguing than the big hairy dude in the woods. I don’t know when all this started. I remember really liking Harry and the Hendersons, and the TV show follow up. I also remember a board game where a Bigfoot on top of a mountain would roll boulders down on to players game pieces. I remember loving this game. It’s easy to understand why I love the subject. I like Cryptozoology as a whole, the study and hunt for hidden animals, The Loch Ness Monster, Mongolian Death Worms, the Chupacabra, all these mysterious creatures are fascinating to me, but Bigfoot stands head and shoulders above all others, as the king of the Cryptids.
It’s about the mysteriousness of the woods. A deep seated wonder about what lurks in the ferny darkness. It is a very human need, to solve mysteries and perhaps find our more animalistic past. I do not know what Bigfoot is. An undiscovered great ape, a surviving offshoot of Gigantopithicus or something different. I don’t even know if they exist, but if I try really hard, I can just about rationalise to myself that they could exist, it is not beyond the realms of possibility.
I can still remember the first time I saw the famous Patterson Gimlin Film. What a moment. I have watched countless documentaries on this film alone. All with different views on the subject, some claiming that the footage is proof, others that the footage shows nothing more than a man in a suit. I would love the footage to be real.
As I got older I started to read articles and books on the subject. I am still an avid reader of Fortean Times, the journal of strange phenomena, and have a few books on the subject written by Loren Coleman. I literally, can not get enough of Sasquatch. I then became aware of the many awful and terribly acted Bigfoot movies, and although they are in the main low budget and absolute B Movie crap, I kind of love them anyway. I will sit through the worst film as long as it has Bigfoot or his snowy cousin the Yeti, in it. Have a large collection of very bad Bigfoot films, that I am quite proud of.
Recently however, my obsession has gone into a slightly different direction, all thanks to a TV show on Animal Planet. Finding Bigfoot has become the one show that I absolutely can not miss every week, and it is now coming to an end, for this season at least. I am at a loss on what to watch Monday nights. Sure I love The Walking Dead, Eastbound & Down, The Office, Parks and Recreation, and the simply brilliant Community, but something about Finding Bigfoot keeps me more interested and entertained than almost anything else. Saying that, I don’t think I could recommend this show to most people. Even fans of Bigfoot are divided in their opinions of the show. For me though, this show is gold.
As any typical ‘reality show’ on the Discovery type channels, Finding Bigfoot relies on its human cast far more than any creatures that may, or may not exist, and what a great bunch they are. Lead by the founder of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organisation (BFRO), Matt Moneymaker, Cliff Barackman, team sceptic Ranae Holland, and my personal favourite, James ‘Bobo’ Fay, are our team of squattchers who take us into the woods on our quest to find Bigfoot. The episodes could be described as formulaic, but I would choose to call them comfortably familiar. Basically most episodes conform to a similar set up. The team go and visit an area that has been the sight of a sighting, and video evidence was filmed. They talk to the relevant person involved and perform a recreation. They then spend the night at the sight Squattchin. One member usually stays at the site for a few days, whilst the others hold a town meeting to collect any other stories and sightings, they then visit the most promising people, and finally meet back up for one final squatch session in a place that they feel most likely to be the territory of a Bigfoot.
Now whether or not you believe in Sasquatch, well that’s kind of irrelevant, as the show is entertaining on a whole different level In fact, it may be more entertaining if you choose to believe that 4 insane people are wandering around the woods making squatch calls and finding ‘evidence’ around every corner. I love this show. I can’t get enough, it is 45 mins of pure entertainment and joy, about a team of people who may not always agree, but clearly have a great passion for the subject, and at the end of the day, what is more interesting, Bigfoot? Or Deadliest Catch, and Ice Road Truckers? I know what I would choose.
You may have seen the recent South Park episode, Jewbacabra, in which the Finding Bigfoot team were, not so affectionately mocked. I’m of the opinion however that you haven’t truly made it, until Matt Stone and Trey Parker have taken the piss out of you, so well done Finding Bigfoot team. It just goes to show what an impact Finding Bigfoot has made in such a short time. If you get the chance, and have even a passing interest in these kind of shows, or indeed the big hairy guy himself, check it out, it might just become your new obsession.