Back in February of 2012, we reported on a finding of a long Bigfoot footprint trail found in Eugene, Oregon. Bigfoot researcher, Cliff Barackman, as soon as he could, rushed to the Cottage Grove Reservoir, as researchers used 300 pounds of plaster to cast 122 tracks. At the time, Cliff (of the show Finding Bigfoot) said this about the tracks:
I think it’s probably safe to say that the London Footprints are the most significant footprint find in the last 40 years. They certainly represent the largest collection of data ever retrieved from any single bigfoot site, ever.
This was an area of many reported sightings of Bigfoot. All those involved were excited about the find. It was even written up in The Relict Hominoid Inquiry journal [PDF] edited by Dr. Jeff Meldrum.
Well, now, Barackman and others, having looked more closely, have changed their minds and consider the trackways a hoax.
At first, I was convinced the tracks were real. Now, after more than two years of closely examining them, I have my doubts. I have since started experimenting with fake tracks to see if I can duplicate what I see in the London Trackway, and a research paper is in progress detailing my findings.
Here is a video documenting the trackway and the move to a new interpretation.
You’ll note the original argument from incredulity – they couldn’t figure out how it could be a hoax so, it wasn’t a hoax. Until they started actually making hoax tracks. This approach is a bit too late since it’s been clearly shown that prints made with “stompers” look just like this. Fake Bigfoot trackway expert Matt Crowley exhibited this back on 2009.
A hoax should have been the default conclusion. Instead, the public was told that this was probably important evidence. Will they hear that that evidence is now discarded? I’m not sure it would matter. It’s difficult to give up an invested belief.
It would save Bigfooters (and ghost hunters, too) a LOT of backpedaling and potential embarrassment if they would only become acquainted with the excellent skeptical literature on their topics of interest. They are making extraordinary claims; it behooves them to learn how easy we can all be fooled by wishful thinking. As with the Patterson-Gimlin film and the Skookum body cast, the evidence for Bigfoot continues to fall away with nothing at all impressive to support it anymore.
But kudos to Cliff for looking into fake tracks and making this new interpretation public. That’s huge.
Tip: Matt Crowley