Obit for Bigfoot enthusiast Bobbie Short

I was waiting for a decent link to an obituary for Bigfoot researcher Bobbie Short who died last week. Finally found this one and it has more in it than I bargained for.

Bobbie Short Has Died.

Loren Coleman has gathered up bits and pieces of Bobbie’s history on the bigfoot scene including the info that SHE was the one who interviewed John Chambers, renowned Hollywood specially effects guy, who denied he played any part in the infamous Patterson-Gimlin bigfoot film. It had been rumored the that creature was his handiwork.

She had run the website Bigfoot Encounters which has existed since 1995.

This was the part I found curious:

Short’s legacy will always be her extensive collection of materials she posted to her website, a popular source of finding historical resources on Bigfoot/Sasquatch. Some questions, in recent years, have been raised about her extreme editing of articles and incorrect information she was adding to the website. Some had grown to believe her website was no longer a valid resource due to her changing previously published articles to fit her beliefs.

I have long been a critic of Bigfoot sites online. It’s hard to point to ANY that are good. And I was not well-acquainted with Bigfoot Encounters to know that this was going on. It’s very disturbing and taints Short’s entire collection.

  28 comments for “Obit for Bigfoot enthusiast Bobbie Short

  1. May 27, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    More on the downfall of the Bigfoot Encounters site. http://bigfootbooksblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/b-s-of-bigfoot-encounters.html

  2. Jerry Borchardt
    May 27, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Short had posted at least one article that was critical of Coleman. Wonder if this tainted his appreciation of Bigfoot Encounters. And unfortunately, Short did fall for the “Bluff Creek Massacre” nonsense. Otherwise, she was the one Bigfoot enthusiast that even the skeptics at JREFF liked.

    • May 27, 2013 at 8:36 PM

      See the other link that suggests she was not someone that skeptics, who value evidence, would have liked.

  3. PeachyDharma
    May 27, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    I had a brief correspondance with Bobbie about five years ago. She was generous with her time and not at all bothered by some of my more pointed questions. It is worth noting that unlike many other BF sites, Ms.Short’s has long featured a category for hoaxes, including skeptical views on many believer’s most cherished articles of faith.

  4. May 28, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    I never knew what to think about Bobbie; she would kiss me on the cheek and stab me in the back at the same time.

    Oh well.

  5. Michael
    May 28, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Whatever her shortcomings (and it seems she had some, from your linked site) she had one brief encounter, with a creature unknown to science and then devoted a major part of her life, to gathering data relating to it! Does that sound like her experience was a doubtful one? This is the kind of impact an actual physical experience can have on a person. Easy to doubt, if its not experienced personally, but once it is, how can you deny it to yourself? Those who actually encounter Bigfoot, can rarely doubt its reality! While those who have not, can easily do so!

    • May 28, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      I said nothing about her personally other than that she died. The point of the post was about her data collection and the shadow thrown upon it now.

  6. Michael
    May 28, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    I didn’t say you did. I was making the point, about the impact her personal encounter had upon her. And how powerful that can be for anyone who has it! Many doubt the existence of such an animal, A personal experience convinced her of its reality, as it does others who have an undeniable encounter.

  7. May 28, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    Undeniable? Yea right. Throw in a complete lack of corroborative support, add human error, and a large variety of psychological, natural, emotional and optical factors, as well as wishful thinking and a host of self-deceptive factors and those “encounters” become as undeniable as fairies, unicorns and dragons.

    Sorry Sharon. I realize this isn’t a forum. If you remove this, I understand. I just thought it should be stated.

  8. ralphie boy
    May 29, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    ,..Short also called out Coleman on her “hoaxes” page, for his laughable “nape” footprint, as well as posting the Byrne comments re Coleman’s theft and sale of his (Byrne’s) slides on her ‘sightings” page.

    Coleman discredited Short after her death for personal reasons. He is not the person who should be writing her obit. And you should not be looking for a credible obit on Short from him, of all people. Your article raises questions about Short and the validity of her website. Why are you afraid to post my response from yesterday and allow your readers to consider it? Do you feel comfortable following the “party line’” and allowing Coleman’s grudge to go down on the internet as the “truth” about Short and bigfootencounters?

    • May 29, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      I didn’t publish your comment yesterday because they were, in my opinion, unsupported allegations. I have no reason to think that anything I quoted from Coleman was untrue and as I posted another link, the information about the quality of the website was widely known.

      I suppose the bottom line of printing news of her obit, sadly, was that another repository of Bigfoot “data” is questionable. I don’t see how this field can ever gain any credibility at the rate it’s gone down the toilet with manipulation, hoaxes and dubious characters. That should upset a lot of people who are trying to just find answers to the question “What are people experiencing when they say they have seen Bigfoot”. If ethics and decent research methods fall by the wayside entirely, why bother even listening to these “researchers”?

  9. Michael
    May 29, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    If you want to take the skeptical stance, that’s fine, But, in terms of an actual physical experience, one that changes a person’s attitude and lasts a lifetime, It’s obviously something more significant to them than self-deception. Doubt and skepticism and wishful thinking are not much of an option, if the experience overwhelms your doubt. Bobbie Short devoted her life to collecting data on Bigfoot, on the basis of her personal encounter!. And, anyone who claims to have witnessed something unrecognized by science has to face an awful lot of criticism. So they don’t get away with wishful thinking as an explanation. Of course, a lot depends on the level of physical sensory detail involved. With something as big and having as big a physical presence as this animal is reputed to have, its far less easy to dismiss an encounter..

    I’m an armchair enthusiast. I live in the U.K. so have no personal experience to base my belief on, yet I’m comfortable with believing that Bigfoot is real – after researching it on the web consistently for about 12+ years. But, give skepticism its due, without counter arguments, those of us who believe, would likely fall for any old rubbish claim, so contrary opinion is valuable!

    Regards

    • May 29, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Skepticism is a process, a stance, that looks to the evidence, not personal experience or being “comfortable” with a belief. Please check out the Media Guide to skepticism in the menu bar above. Frankly, this is not the place to be discussing personal experiences and their life-changing abilities when a scientific claim requires far more than that.

      And yes. I’m going to take a skeptical stance. THAT’S WHAT WE DO!

  10. May 29, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Giving due respect to Sharon and her point that this is not the place to discuss personal experiences, let me break that rule just a bit and simply state that my skepticism is based on years of extensive field research and my knowledge of Bobbie Short is from many forum discussions and email exchanges. People can wine about what Sharon posted here, but she is not out of line, and has stated nothing that isn’t true.

  11. May 29, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    That should say “People can whine…”
    And oh how they can whine.

  12. Michael
    May 29, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Well my point is simply that ‘personal experiences’ that have such strong impacts on an individuals viewpoint, do have a certain amount of validity and significance. To simply deny ‘any’ validity to ‘personal experience’ is unrealistic. I’ll give you an example from my own life experience today

    For many months I’ve had a problem with my right shoulder. My doctor didn’t think it significant, when I asked him 9 months ago. Since then I’ve suffered various levels of pain and discomfort. A week or so ago I awoke with pains up my neck from the left shoulder AND pain in the middle of my chest, when breathing in. This cleared up (Mostly) but later returned. I had only been able to shallow breathe, for a week.

    Last night I did exercise (Stretching and deep breathing which seemed to work, but I quickly got even sharper pains when trying to breathe normally. This morning it was excruciating. I called the ambulance and was examined by them. I told them my ‘personal experiences’ and said that I didn’t think it was heart related. (I do have occasional Atril-fib) I said that it seemed to me to be skeletal related.

    After examination in the A&E with an x-ray and ECG finding nothing, they told me it was skeletal, or muscular related and gave me pain-killers, which thankfully eased the pain to bearable.

    Very often, doctors (G.P.’s and hospital) will place very little reliance on one’s verbal witness, or personal explanation. (For obvious reasons) But, to dismiss the personal explanations of a patient completely, is obviously not a good idea. Most of us, want a doctor to at least consider the answers we give when they ask us to explain what our symptoms are. So yes, to some real degree, personal experience is pertinant to understanding, as it is in medical cases.

    The phrase comfortable with my belief that Bigfoot is real, was probably not the best way to put it.
    I’m convinced by my assessment and interpretation of what I’ve read, that it adds up to a reality.

    Personally, I don’t think an attitude of skepticism and doubt, ever leads to new discovery or understandings. I prefer to follow curiosity and consider ‘what if it’s true’? In Bigfoot’s case – as skeptics demonstrate – there is room for doubt, But the fact that I’m convinced it’s real, is enough for me!

  13. May 29, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    I think you’re misinterpreting skepticism and doubt. Skepticism is about taking a premise and seeking to find evidence to support it. It’s not about looking at things and going ‘pff, yeah, right.’ That’s cynicism. Skepticism is most definitely not the opposite of curiosity, either. Ben Radford and Joe Nickell and the like don’t conduct lengthy and thorough investigations because they lack curiosity.

    I think the two cases, Bigfoot and your shoulder pain, are very different. You’re quite right that doctors should listen to patients’ experiences, but you were also able to take along a (thankfully) living specimen of your shoulder to have it examined. Imagine you were claiming to have a ‘personal experience’ of pain in a part of your body unknown to science and exceedingly improbable, say your wing socket. You cannot provide a biological example of your wing socket. No-one has such a specimen. People claim to have seen a wing socket, and there have been occasional very poor quality pictures of a wing socket, only most of the ‘actual’ wing sockets have turned out to be fake wing sockets. I think in this case the doctors would, quite reasonably, not listen to your ‘personal experience’ of a painful wing socket on the grounds that you probably don’t have one.

    Being ‘convinced’ that Bigfoot exists does not alter it’s material existence or non-existence in any way. We need evidence. We need a Bigfoot, dead or alive. Anything else just doesn’t cut the mustard.

  14. May 29, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    True, it’s cynicism, and an unnecessary aggression, but after reading that hearsay is sufficient to establish fact for the umpteenth time, it’s difficult not to employ. My apologies.

  15. May 29, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    @Karl

    Sorry, I was replying to Michael, the ‘cynicism’ comment wasn’t directed at you. If you want to get angry that ‘I believe’ is a substitute for actual evidence, please feel free. : )

  16. May 29, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    Very well. You were nevertheless correct.
    This site works much better with courtesy.

  17. Michael
    May 30, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    Thanks for your post Rich!

    I take your point about my shoulder/chest (Which has calmed down with painkillers and was probably muscle related) being part of our known physical make-up.

    But, to counter your ‘wing socket’ argument, in relation to the Bigfoot claim. It’s not as if, claiming to encounter an unknown living animal, is like claiming something that is not part of our known world, is it? Yes, its an unlikely claim! And given that it is claimed to inhabit the environment of a well populated country it may seem even more unlikely – but its not a claim beyond nature as we know it. So, for me, the animal being claimed, is within the astounding range of living creatures found on this planet.

    You also say…

    “Skepticism is about taking a premise and seeking to find evidence to support it.”

    I’m very surprised by that description of Skepticism!!! I would think such an attitude is ‘ideal’! It’s how any investigation that science does, should be done! Which is the opposite of what I think skeptics actually do! What I see skeptics do, is to ridicule and negate possibilities- because they fall outside of ‘known’ scientific parameters. Which I feel is a counter-productive attitude. This applies to ‘personal testimony’ because, according to Skeptics, this is not how science proceeds. I have long felt and said – that it is poor science to (completely) disregard personal experience and testimony!

    Take the recent case of the three girls imprisoned in a house for a decade. Neighbors had reported incidents, which if followed up on ‘properly’, might well have found them earlier. But, these neighbor testimonies, were not given enough credence. (I think the police did call at the building in response – but got no answer and didn’t follow up) I think that too much skepticism with regard to witness claims about Bigfoot, are contributing to a lack of engagement by reputable science.

    Because of this high level of skepticism, the claim of Bigfoot is mostly left to people who are not acceptable to science or the Skeptics. The amateurs etc (Though many are very reputable in ordinary terms) So there is this constant question, as to – where is the evidence?
    There is a vast amount – of what I would term ‘evidence’- that this is a real animal. It’s mainly physical evidence. I view a lot of it as, ‘credible’ ‘evidence’ Skeptics and Science do not it seems. So when your post ends with…

    “We need a Bigfoot, dead or alive. Anything else just doesn’t cut the mustard.”

    I feel that that, directly contradicts with your statement that; “Skepticism is about taking a premise and seeking to find evidence to support it.”. Asking for a body is like saying; “Prove to me that this creature exists and then I will take it seriously and investigate it?

    Is there ‘any’ premise for investigation (besides a body) that you would you suggest is credible enough?

    I personally think that it is precisely because of the level of skepticism aimed at the Bigfoot claim, that has lead to the view that shooting one is the only way to validate its existence. I also think, that it is the nature of the animal itself (Its capacity to elude humans) and the difficulty researchers face because of it capacity to elude us, that also means the ‘shoot to kill’ policy is adopted by some researchers.

    You may not understand this, but when you look at as much Bigfoot related stuff as I have done and do, then you get a feel for (some) of its characteristics. In other words, it became a ‘real’ animal to me. Obviously that could be criticized from a skeptical point of view. But for me, as a lifelong lover of wildlife (In person in the UK and through TV and so on) over a lifetime (I’m 76) my judgement of its reality emerges from that study.

    Regards

    Michael

    • May 30, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      Skepticism is NOT “ridicule and negate possibilities- because they fall outside of ‘known’ scientific parameters.”

      PLEASE see the Media Guide in the menu bar above (Am I repeating myself?) This is the skepticism we subscribe to here.

      Maybe I will just put it here to click on instead. For directness.

      http://doubtfulnews.com/media-guide-to-skepticism/

  18. May 30, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    @mIchael

    I would respectfully but strongly disagree with your contention that there is a “vast amount” of “mostly physical” evidence. If it is poor science to disregard personal testimony then it is equally poor science to come to a conclusion about the existence of an animal based *solely* on personal testimony – which, I’m afraid, is all that there is. As of now, nothing has been conclusively identified as a physical remnant of a Bigfoot. It’s equally dubious to draw conclusions about the behaviour of an animal that might not exist, particularly if that behaviour is its ability to elude being seen. You can see that that’s something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I have also read the apparently serious contention that ‘tree imitation’ is also now considered a known sasquatch trait. It’s getting to be too much like the Loch Ness Monster, or the dragon in Carl Sagan’s garage.

    As regards my “show me the body” comment, it’s not as if we’re starting completely from scratch with Bigfoot. People are *still* referencing the Patterson-Gimlin film as the best evidence for the creature, even after all these decades. Technology in front of and inside the camera, and on the computer, has developed to such an extent we just can’t be convinced by even the clearest photograph of Bigfoot. If the premise is Bigfoot, then a body is evidence and if it’s a real Bigfoot then it supports the premise. That’s not defeating investigation, that is an investigation.

  19. May 30, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Also, if you want to read a really thorough investigation from a skeptical standpoint, I’d recommend Ben Radford’s ‘Tracking the Chupacabra.’ It even looks at bodies.

  20. Michael
    May 30, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Sorry Sharon, I’m guilty of not responding to your first pointer to the Media Guide. I had previously assumed it was for any media organizations contacting you.

    Having read through it, I find myself questioning statements I read there.

    I had read your Comments Policy, where you say:

    “Questions are very welcome. We learn a lot from others who question our pre-established assumptions. FEEL FREE TO DO THAT!”

    I view myself as a Free-thinker. Which is not the same as I would think you interpret Critical Thinking.
    I like to FEEL FREE TO DO THAT. I hope that’s acceptable to you? People and organizations and blogs can make their rules, I understand it’s a privilige to be allowed to post here. But I have to be true to my own view of reality. Hopefully, the discussion offers benefit both ways?

  21. Michael
    May 30, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    Rich,

    As to the physical evidence I refer to, one’s reaction to it depends on one’s mindset I guess. I take an interest in ‘whatever’ is being offered as evidence of the possible existence of this animal. But, I would think (I may be wrong) that much of it would not ‘interest’ you enough to look at it. Because of your mindset perhaps?
    I mean, it’s understandable that if we don’t think something is real, why look for evidence.

    I realize that my openness to ‘any’ source, or kind of evidence, may seem unscientific and uncritical – and to an extent I acept that may be true. But I would rather be open enough to consider what is being presented rather than classify it before looking. I don’t actually know you well enough to accuse you of not looking at evidence, because maybe you have. A lot of it – blurry dark shapes in videos and photos etc – is useless.
    If you don’t consider personal testimony to have any value, you ‘will’ find it ‘dubious’ to draw conclusions from it!. I don’t view all personal testimony as dubious, as I have said. I feel that taking that attitude is like flushing away the baby with the bathwater. We have faculties of discrimination. Even shopping demonstrates that. Science demonstrates that. It’s obvious we have different views on it.

    You say: “As of now, nothing has been conclusively identified as a physical remnant of a Bigfoot.”
    No, and I can’t see how it can be! If scat, or hair is analyzed, for its DNA, for example, it can only be classified as ‘unknown’. So even if Bigfoot’s hair or scat, has been analyzed, we still don’t know.
    Maybe there is more science here that I’m not aware of. I hope that giving this link is acceptable. It’s relevant.

    http://genetics.thetech.org/original_news/news30

    I hadn’t heard the ‘Tree imitation’ thing, but many of the video’s include that behaviour! Personally, I think it would be a natural thing for a bipedal creature to do. We do it, as children at least. What else does a creature do to observe us, yet hide? :-)

    I don’t think I’m (entirely) drawing conclusions about the animal. It’s more to do with how we come to know or understand anything – a subject, another country etc. At first we know little or nothing, but the more we know the better we can assess it. You can’t assess something without first looking at it. If you require a body first, you’ll have to await its arrival. Which seems to be taking my lifetime!

    Thanks for the discussion!

  22. May 31, 2013 at 5:14 AM

    Many of the videos are *of* trees…

    I think too that a geneticist’s definition of ‘unknown’ is different to the layman’s (me being definitely the latter.) The Bigfoot DNA was extensively and very interestingly discussed on the MonsterTalk podcast.

    December 5th 2012 talked about the Ketchum DNA analysis: http://www.skeptic.com/podcasts/monstertalk/episodes2012.html

    July 2nd 2009 featured a lengthy interview with Prof. Todd Disotell about DNA analysis, specifically of sasquatch.

    December 21st 2011 was a discussion with someone with the personal experience you talk about. http://www.skeptic.com/podcasts/monstertalk/episodes2011.html

    There have been five or six programmes in the series about Bigfoot (including the unreliability of photographs, and a detauled discussion of the Patterson-Gimlin film.) It is delivered from a skeptical point of view, but all programmes discuss what evidence there is. (Also pretty much every episode, whatever it’s about, is fascinating. Have a rummage and a listen!)

    • May 31, 2013 at 9:13 AM

      Monster Talk is a BFF of Doubtful News. I’ve been on the show twice. I HIGHLY recommend it and link to it as often as I can.

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