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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Friday, September 20, 2013

CRYPTOLINK: Cryptozoology Gets Respect While Bigfooters Behave Badly

A word about cryptolinks: we are not responsible for the content of cryptolinks, which are merely links to outside articles that we think are interesting (sometimes for the wrong reasons), usually posted up without any comment whatsoever from me.
A new book is out about the study of legendary hidden animals -- Bigfoot, Yeti, Loch Ness Monster, Mokele Mbembe -- and it's getting positive attention from science outlets. Surprising? Not really. Cryptozoology is a fascinating topic that many of us can't help but enjoy. We love the ideas of monsters still out there in the shadows or deep under water. While the likelihood is that Bigfoot and his fellow cryptid creatures are not actually as they are portrayed in pop culture, cryptozoology is a social phenomenon worthy of attention.
The book, Abominable Science: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie and other Famous Cryptids by Daniel Loxton and Donald Prothero is very different than other monster books. You can get an idea about the quality of the volume from the reviews by Nature, theWall Street JournalThe Times of London, Discover magazine, etc. here. They liked the book. It's beautifully produced, level-headed, readable, and chock-full of fine scholarship with references to original sources.
Who didn't like the book? Bigfooters.
Why didn't they like it? Because it effectively poked holes in their beloved idea of Bigfoot reality. It clearly made the case that the current practice of popular cryptozoology is a cheap imitation of science. This book is a challenge to their structure. One reviewer evendemanded to the publisher that the book be withdrawnAnother panned the book based on a few chapters and a few possible errors without clear indication he read the rest. Comments berating him for that were met with the response from the peanut gallery: "Why should I read this book? I know what the nonbeliever skeptics say." Talk about closed-mindedness! (I have talked about that before, this was a blatant example.) They respond with condescension and name calling as well (referring to skeptics as "scoftics") instead of pointing out the disagreements and providing counter references in defense. Maybe it's because they don't have a defense. It's been over 50 years. We still have no proof of Bigfoot in the bag. That's got to be embarrassing. But, wow, did they throw a hissy fit about it. This book hit a nerve and Loxton and Prothero should be proud.
Bigfootery these days is extremely unscientific, resembling a religion in more ways than one. There are the priests and the saints (the TV Squatchers, the authors, and few scientists and advocates who promote the cause), there are relics (footprints, hair samples, etc), there is cryptozoological canon (the Patterson-Gimlin film, certain books by experts now deceased) but most of all there are followers with faith. Bigfooters have experiences that they attribute by default to their monster of choice - they hear tree knocking and vocalizations, they have stones thrown at them, they find tree structures and broken limbs that they interpret as a form of communication. Some say there are habituation sites where Bigfoots repeatedly visit and accept food from human neighbors.

1 comment:

norman said...

There is a hugh amount of evidence for bigfoot and a rational and reasonable person should be able to understand that. You dont need to be a scientist to understand that. So scientists who are also sceptics come up with same old stuff that denies all the evidence as having no value. This is surely a belief and not science.

In the light of the evidence how can Prothero reasonably state there is no such thing as bigfoot 99.999% ?. That is not a valid position !

It is no answer to smugly follow deep sceptics and sell out to there fallacies as they support each other in them.

Interesting how they from a position of dogma come up with the same old negatives. Even recommending 'monster talk' as somewhere you can get enlightenment on bigfoot in particular !