The Uncovering of Hoaxes Does Not Invalidate the Evidence
By Stephen Wagner, About.com Guide
IT'S DIFFICULT TO understand why the mainstream media, when a hoax is uncovered regarding a phenomenon, declares the entire phenomenon to be bogus. It's happened again with with creature known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch. Recently, a retired Pepsi bottler named Bob Heironimus has come forward to declare that he was the man in the "gorilla suit" in the famous Patterson film. And true to form, newspaper columnists picking up the story grin idiotically and shout, "Bigfoot isn't real!" It's a mindless knee-jerk reaction. They did the same when Ray Wallace's family announced after his death that he had perpetrated a few Bigfoot hoaxes.
The Patterson film has always been in dispute; in fact, this is not even the first time someone has come forward to say he was part of the Patterson hoax. But even if we are to take Heironimus at his word, no fair-minded or open-minded person could say that Bigfoot cannot possibly be out there.
Can the mainstream media apply the same logic to itself? Let's see... New York Times reporter Jayson Blair was discovered to have falsified many of his articles for the esteemed newspaper. Therefore, all articles in the New York Times are hoaxes. It's ridiculous logic, of course. We would have reason to doubt any articles Blair had written (although we could not even declare definitively that all of his writing was phony), but no fair-minded person would conclude that nothing in the New York Times could be believed.
The same reason has to be applied here.
When a hoax is revealed or suspected for a paranormal event (and there are plenty of hoaxes), it has to be considered in the context of all the evidence. When it comes to Bigfoot, there is quite a bit of evidence worthy of consideration:
- There are hundreds upon hundreds of sightings reported over hundreds of years (not just since hoaxers were inclined to manufacture ape suits).
- There are numerous castings of footprints, some showing dermal ridges that experts determined could not have been faked.
- There are hair samples, the DNA of which has been analyzed and shown to be from an unknown primate.
(See "Sasquatch: Best Evidence")
It's true that the Patterson film was often referred to as one of the best pieces of evidence for the existence of Bigfoot, and if it is proved without doubt to be a hoax, many will be disappointed. But hoaxes do not invalidate the rest of the genuine evidence. To do so is not smart, is not fair and is not scientific.
Even famed primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall has stated that she thinks it is likely that the Sasquatch is real. Any rational person who has examined the available evidence, read the testimony of reliable witnesses, and recalls that large groups of intelligent primates have in the past eluded discovery, must conclude that the Bigfoot creature is quite possible.