The case of the acrobatic bear (or juvenile Sasquatch)

Monster Talk

The podcast Monster Talk – the science show about monsters – has a very interesting episode up that features an exclusive analysis of the Jacobs photos speculated by some to be a juvenile Bigfoot but to most others, show bear cubs and a mangy mother bear.

Skeptic » Podcasts » MonsterTalk » Episode Notes for What the Bigfoot market will bear.

IN THE FORESTS OF PENNSYLVANIA, on a dark September night, a trail-cam took a series of controversial pictures. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) still claims they show a juvenile Bigfoot. Skeptics claim the photos show a bear. Join the hosts of MonsterTalk as they discuss Bigfoot photos, fair-use and the economics of unusual photos.

At 20:32:41 we have the second photo of the “Jacobs Creature.” In the image below I’ve outlined what I think the photo really shows: an adult bear with a cub attempting to nurse underneath it. Note that if this pose is correct, it corresponds to the adult bear in size and orientation from the 20:02:16 photo almost exactly.

Also touched on in this episode:

  • The Bigfoot Field Research Org being the main source of the theory that these photos show a juvenile Sasquatch, not a bear. And, their investment in the idea that Bigfoot is real.
  • Photographs which are more valuable when they purport to show a Bigfoot than just normal animals
  • Copyright and fair use issues when such property is being used for analysis
  • The importance of context in evaluating claims
  • The camera always lies

Source: Skeptic.com and Blake Smith

I first saw Blake’s analysis of these photographs on his “Doctor Atlantis” website and was impressed at his level of inquiry into the case. I was sufficiently confident that ‘bear’ is the answer here. After revisiting this by viewing the show notes and listening to the podcast, I can’t NOT see the mother bear in the photograph timestamped 20:32:41. The context, the situation and the evidence all point to “bear”. NOTHING points to Sasquatch. To make that leap seems ludicrous.

I asked Blake to elaborate on a few items from the case.

In the show notes, we actually do see video stills taken by Rick Jacobs. After all the hubbub about taking these photos down, how did they now appear on the site?

Blake: “I had to pull down my personal website’s photographic analysis.  The new photos, which are posted at Skeptic.com‘s website, are cropped and size-reduced and rely on digital sketches to provide the analysis rather than just drawing on the original photos.  This is much closer to what Jacobs was asking for in our email exchanges.”

Blake notes some listeners have suggested that the “bear face” in the 20:32:41 is in fact a simulacrum produced by pareidolia (“beareidolia”, if you will). But no one is suggesting that it actually isn’t a bear, facing left and posed in something like the “downward dog” type yoga position. The bulge beneath the figure would be a cub.

“Could be,” Blake replies, “I only know that despite the oddity of the pose in the photo, there is much more reason to suspect it is a bear than any other animal.”

It seems odd that there were no clear face shots of the questionable animal captured in the trailcam sequence. Since the camera takes a photo every 30 seconds when triggered by motion, Blake finds that suspicious.

“Between 20:04 and 20:32 – a period of nearly 30 minutes – there are no photos. Yet during that time something knocked over the salt-lick pan. Why wouldn’t that have triggered a photo?”

This is another example of skeptical analysis going far beyond that of paranormal proponents. When asked if those that subscribe to Bigfoot reality can fairly assess such evidence, Blake gives them props.

“In my experience some of the best analysis of Bigfoot photos can come from the Bigfoot community. But like any community its membership represents a spectrum of expertise and beliefs. Some people, tired of hoaxes, are very skeptical and use very good critical analysis to figure out what photos show. It’s a question of whether you let your biases unduly influence your interpretation.”

While he strongly suspects he is right in the bear interpretation, the Monster Talk team is willing to admit they might be wrong.

“It’s rare that I get to say with a high degree of certainty that my investigation gave me a definitive answer,” Blake remarks, “but it sure is fun when that’s the case.”

Visit the Monster Talk Facebook page for some cryptozoological discussion.

 

  1 comment for “The case of the acrobatic bear (or juvenile Sasquatch)

  1. Greg Aten
    March 31, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Although bigfoot is real.This photo is not. It is a bear. Matt at BFRO thinks that everything is a squatch.Every tree break,every scream in the night. Any thing that can not be explained is done by bigfoot. His brain is now clouded over with bigfoot,no matter what.

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