Bally…who? Anonymous sighting reports

This is the last blog post I plan on this topic. I generally prefer to talk about bigfoot rather than bigfootery. But there are some things I’d like to share with you which may offer a bit of perspective.

Soon after I began the Oregon Bigfoot blog, Linda Newton-Perry offered to guest blog here. I politely declined. Shortly after, she began her own blog: Bigfoot Ballyhoo.

I checked it from time to time. I do that. I read stuff online, when I have time. Which isn’t often, but this was a local blog so I was interested. My problem with the blog didn’t begin with the Bill Emery photo fiasco. It started when I saw how angry people were getting. At bigfoot. And at the Forest Service. Because, as her blog readers mentioned, bigfoot might “hurt” someone, or… and I had to laugh when I read this… “cause a wreck”. Then, guess what…? Sure enough, Linda reported that someone had heard over the police scanner that there had been a… drum roll please… car accident, possibly involving a bigfoot. That’s right! Just near the Loon Lake turnoff.

Well, heck. Why don’t we just napalm the entire Pacific Northwest? I mean, deer don’t deserve to live if they’re going to step into the road and cause car accidents that kill innocent humans, right? Kill ’em all! Let God sort it out. (I apologize for the sarcasm. Wait. No, I don’t. It’s funny, in a sick sort of way.)

These are the woods where I take my daughter to play, to teach her the names of indigenous plant species and the habits of fuzzy little forest creatures, and to hopefully interact peacefully and mutually with some bigger fuzzy forest dwellers. But now I faced some potentially pissed-off bigfoots sitting in the forest thinking, “Gee, the humans around Elkton sure are a lot more irritating than the ones in other places. Let’s get even. Or better yet, let’s go somewhere else.” Not to mention dangerous, self-righteous, angry people being sent into the woods. These woods.

Yes, I say “being sent”. Why? Because Linda kept publishing the exact location of each and every “sighting”. People bent on taking down a bigfoot now knew exactly where to go to harass the locals in the woods. It was a recipe for disaster, right in my backyard.

So I called her last summer. I explained my dilemma. Explained that Oregon Bigfoot had long maintained a policy of not publishing the exact location of a sighting, because these creatures deserved to live in peace and not be harassed by those seeking fame, fortune or cheap thrills. The response? “Is there a purpose for this call?” I was speechless. “I believe,” she continued, “that we have¬† RIGHT to know what is in our forests.”

Cougars, Linda. And bears. Pot growers and meth freaks. Lots of them. Which are a hell of a lot more dangerous than a retiring creature who obviously just wants you to LEAVE IT THE HELL ALONE.

What about their “rights”? In my mind, there is absolutely nothing wrong with mutual interaction with a Sasquatch. The key word is MUTUAL.

Just because I’m not “researching” anymore doesn’t mean I’m not doing field work. Lots of it. I hang out where I hope they do. I hope to run into one. Or two. Or a whole gaggle of ’em. But when I do, what happens next is up to them. Because they’re bigger than me. Because I don’t think I have a right to expose them. If they wanted exposing, they’d be running down Main Street and not avoiding us at every turn. And I sure hope a bunch of idiots haven’t been running around in the woods pissing them off or I’m in serious trouble.

There was another thing about that blog that irked me. No, I’m not done yet.

I don’t know how much gas money I spent early on following up on “anonymous reports” from that blog that never, not ONCE, amounted to anything, but I went simply because they were local Elkton and Scottsburg bigfoot reports. Because, you see, I actually follow up on local reports. Immediately. And I interview the witnesses, too. But that’s rather hard to do when NO ONE KNOWS WHO THEY ARE… including the blogger who’s taking and publishing the reports and then reiterating the sightings as news.

One time, we couldn’t find the road mentioned, despite the fact that I asked two local Forest Service offices, the BLM, a logging company, the locals, EVERYONE. And still, to this day, I cannot locate “Coffee Creek Road” near Loon Lake, no matter how many of Linda’s readers claimed sightings there. Not even a man that lived at the end of Loon Lake Road for 30 years could tell me where Coffee Creek Road was. He looked at me like I was nuts, got out three or four maps, and scoured them with me. Nice old guy… to whom I apologized profusely for wasting his time. So if anyone knows where this purported road is, I’d appreciate a detailed map in the mail. Because I know these woods, I know these roads, and, as far as I can tell, there AIN’T no Coffee Creek Rd.

The reports by loggers? I stopped log trucks from several logging companies and asked if they’d heard about their co-workers having a recent sighting. Not ONE had and they all looked at me like I was nuts, too. (That’s okay though… I’m used to that by now.)

One report submitted to Ballyhoo mentioned people camping on top of a mountain near Scottsburg and driving to the campsite and seeing a bigfoot in the road 75 yards ahead. When we got there, there was not a SINGLE straightaway where you could see that far ahead on the road. It was switchback after switchback. Nor was there any sign of a recent camp on the mountain.

Another report mentioned a bigfoot up to its waist in water in Mill Creek, on the way to Loon Lake. We drove to the spot shortly after the sighting supposedly occurred. There was no spot anywhere NEAR the 3 mile marker in Mill Creek deep enough for ME to be up to my waist in water, much less an 8’+ bigfoot, as the report claimed.

These were but a few of the purported sightings which netted nothing but suspicious circumstances and zero sign of a Sasquatch in the area.

And perhaps most telling of all… During this entire rash of sightings, not ONE PERSON submitted a report of a “limping, elderly” creature to the Oregon Bigfoot database, despite the fact that if you type in Oregon and Bigfoot, this site comes up #1 in every search engine and I’m a well-known local investigator who lives a mere 10-20 MILES FROM EVERY ONE OF THESE SUPPOSED SIGHTING LOCATIONS!

Fishy?

Reeked of it.

It’s one thing to keep an eyewitness’ identifying information confidential, which I always have. It’s another thing entirely to allow – and to encourage – anonymous reporting… and then publish it. What’s the point? Anyone or their dog could submit a fictional account and there is no way to confirm it. It creates an atmosphere ripe for hoaxing and frivolous reporting. However, as of this morning, Linda proudly states, when asked who to report a sighting to:

“We do nothing with the sightings. There are several fine sites for submitting a sighting if you wish a followup. We simply give you a place to talk about it. You need not give a name.”

Ballyhoo has a long way to go before it establishes credibility. And if Linda continues to encourage anonymous reporting and hype up every bit of hearsay and conjecture that comes her way, it never will.

Linda’s recent post says it all: “This blog is for fun and entertainment.” Entertainment is a far cry from education, which is what most of us hope to offer. The last thing this subject needs is someone else sensationalizing it. Unless you plan to give Tom Biscardi, everyone’s favorite used bigfoot salesman, a run for his… er… money?

Reading through the comments on Linda’s blog, many readers were angry with her about the hoax and it appears that the comments section blew up over the last few days. One comment posted this morning by an anonymous reader regarding the hoaxed photos Linda posted said it beautifully and I’ll include it here as food for thought. I think it should be taken to heart by all those who run blog sites.

It wasn’t “news” and should not have been represented as such unless it was confirmed.

You got hoaxed because your enthusiasm and lack of critical thinking in the face of being “chosen” (ego)left you open to getting hoaxed and you took your audience along for the ride since they assumed you knew what you were talking about. More than likely it will happen again because you obviously have not learned a thing from this. Your readers are smart enough to know that. They’ve been trying to tell you and you’re not listening. Being proud of that just makes you look silly.

Your detractors (the “meanies” who were trying to help you, if your ego would have let you listen) will fade away because you can’t fix stupid and they’re getting tired of trying to point out the obvious. That’s why they started poking fun. They were irritated that you weren’t listening after they had given you their attention for so long. But you still don’t get it.

So you’ll sit there receiving the accolades that come your way from the few equally obtuse holdouts who read this rag, believing you’re doing a good “job”, not realizing that you just put the final nail in the coffin of your credibility with the majority of your once loyal readers. The smart ones.

Haven’t you figured out yet that it doesn’t matter what you think? It’s what your blog readers think. You can post all day long, but if you’ve got no readers, you may as well be talking to a fencepost. The majority of your readers were angry, and all you did is tell them they were wrong to feel the way they did.

So much for listening to audience feedback.

You can’t fix stupid.

Linda’s response to this? “I appreciate your opinion. It just simply is not mine!”

Wow.

As for the Emery photos, here’s the final word on that – at least for now.¬† Linda says he claims that the “son” of the tech who was to open the camera in the chain of custody decided to fake the photos. None of that makes sense (funny… that’s what usually happens when someone lies about something). Bill Emery, on August 2, supposedly wrote in from the field that there were “12 photos on one camera and 3 on the other”. How did 12 photos of still frames from an old 1970’s docu-drama end up on a camera IN THE WOODS when the “tech’s son” was not in the field with the men and didn’t have access to the camera until Hank supposedly delivered it to him? Are the other 12 actual photos out there somewhere and were they “replaced” with the hoaxed photos? Will the “son” sign a sworn affidavit admitting to the hoax and get Bill Emery off the hook? Are those three “crisp and clear” photos that supposedly exist ever going to surface or has being busted caused Bill to take his bat and ball and go home? Who IS Bill Emery, anyway? In 20 years in this field, living in Oregon, I’ve never heard of him before now.

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop or the Bill Emery/Sru Lake photo fiasco? The world may never know.

Finally, if you have had a bigfoot sighting in Douglas county, especially Elkton or Scottburg, I would appreciate you reporting it here. I will investigate it personally and thoroughly and share the results of the investigation with you, the witness. I give witnesses as much information as possible to help answer the questions they may have and, if needed, provide a forum full of wonderful people who act as a support group. While I do not accept anonymous reports, your name AND THE LOCATION will be kept confidential. I care about helping witnesses deal with the personal impact of their sightings.

The difference is, I care about the Big Guys, too.

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