I have a confession to make - I am a fan of those TV survival reality shows. I love the "man against nature" aspect of people who are taken to a wilderness area and dropped off with limited equipment or supplies. They are given a set amount of time they must keep themselves alive and/or find rescue.
One of my favorite survival shows was, "Survivorman" starring Les Stroud. Les calls himself a wilderness adventurer. In the show, he would take a little survival equipment and all his own camera equipment and go to a wilderness area where he demonstrated survival techniques, depending solely on his ability to keep himself alive.
Well, Les's original show may have run its course but he has a new one on now. In part, because of some unexplainable experiences he had filming the old series, he has started, "Survivorman: Bigfoot". Stroud travels to areas where people have reported plausible encounters with the mythical beast, and he gathers evidence that either supports the existence of Sasquatch, or not.
Some of you may know that I've long been intrigued by the possibility of bigfoot, although my doubts about its actual existence have grown rather than abated.
The thing I like most about Stroud's new series is that he doesn't fall into some of the traps that others have.
For one, he doesn't hesitate to point out when he finds evidence that proves to be negative, or inconsequential. In a recent episode, he showed a cast he'd made of a footprint that looked remarkably like a giant human print. The claws gave it away to many viewers for what it actually was, the superimposed double impression of grizzly bear tracks but, if someone had seen it without those claws...wow!
Too many of the people who supposedly investigate the possibility of bigfoot, ghosts, space aliens, or other myths get so invested in what they want to be true that they start accepting things as fact that are actually only evidence. For instance, there are some audio recordings that different people have made and claim are of bigfoot. Some people don't even assert that they are of bigfoot, just that they are unexplained sounds. Well, there are bigfoot investigators who do what they call "sound-blasting". They set up huge speakers and "blast" some of those questionable sounds out over the countryside. Then they claim that any sound they hear in response MUST be of bigfoot because it is responding to sounds that some people think MIGHT be bigfoot. Huh?
People, LOTS of animals will respond to noises. My dogs bark all night long at the sounds of coyotes howling, bobcats screaming, raccoons squalling, or even me opening the door to see what they are barking at! Anybody who hunts turkeys knows that one of the best ways to locate a tom is to blow a crow call or owl hooter. I've even heard them respond to a car horn honk or somebody calling their dogs. So those sounds the investigators get in response might just be somebody's coon hound with a sore throat...or a turkey.
Another thing some bigfoot investigators have fallen in love with is pheromones. Most of you know that many animals will respond to certain scents at certain times of the year. Those scents contain pheromones. One definition of pheromones is - a chemical secreted by an animal that influences the behavior or physiology of others of the same species, as by attracting members of the opposite sex or marking the route to a food source. Deer hunters use urine produced by a doe in heat to attract bucks. That's logical, but how do you get female bigfoot in heat urine? Wal Mart doesn't carry it. I've checked. Investigators somehow come up with gorilla urine or even human urine that they then spread around, hoping some lovelorn bigfoot will come running. Folks, spread a little human urine around your deer stand and see how many deer you attract. Have you ever been to the zoo and been attracted by the scent of the primate house? Me either. Chances are, even IF bigfoot is real, you'll run him off by spreading that stuff around.
Well, good old Les Stroud doesn't fall for any of those traps. He goes to an area and usually doesn't do anything too unusual in his investigations, and he's had some pretty interesting results. My note to Les: keep up the good work. Even if I don't believe in bigfoot, I can relate to your interest and I approve of most of your methods.
In an upcoming column I will share with my readers an experience a friend and I had that made me understand why some people really believe they have seen bigfoot.