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Froma Harrop
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Saturday 24 November 2012
What a refreshing change from a campaign season heavy with creationists condemning subscribers to the theory of evolution for not accepting the strict Biblical interpretation of humanity’s origins.

Bobo and a Bigfoot Skeptic, Over Drinks

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Forgive me, Bobo, but I do not believe in Bigfoot. Nevertheless, it was a delight spending a Saturday afternoon with you — the sasquatch hunter from Animal Planet's "Finding Bigfoot" — in, of all places, a midtown Manhattan bar. Most pleasant was your welcoming embrace of one rejecting the existence of the apelike hominid you say inhabits the forests of North America.

What a refreshing change from a campaign season heavy with creationists condemning subscribers to the theory of evolution for not accepting the strict Biblical interpretation of humanity's origins. What relief from the pseudo-scientists denying the existence of global warming — or humankind's role in it — and accusing climatologists of making up stuff to get more funding for their labs.

In Bobo's good-natured world, Bigfoot skeptics are a necessary presence. An essential member of the "Finding Bigfoot" team is Ranae Holland, a field biologist and Bigfoot doubter. She adds gravitas by demanding evidence.

Bobo plays another role. A hulking 6 feet, 7 inches with long uncombed hair and a voice that could wake the Amazon, Bobo would seem the most — how shall we put this? — "simpatico" with Bigfoot, should the hominid stroll before the camera in broad daylight.

"Bigfoot," I ask Bobo over a bloody mary, "isn't he supposed to be somewhere in the Pacific Northwest?" Bobo immediately corrects me. It's not "he," it's "they."

"There are a lot of them there," he confirms.

"Manhattan?" I ask.

No, not in Manhattan. But he notes, "There are woods outside the city."

I first met James "Bobo" Fay about 10 years ago through his uncle, a friend. Bobo was living in a tiny cabin near Arcata, Calif., making some money as a commercial fisherman, paddling ocean canoes — he circled Maui — and "squatching," as aficionados of the activity like to call it.

Uncle Frank took both of us to dinner at a nice restaurant, where Bobo kept talking about Bigfoot. (Bobo's father in Manhattan Beach, Calif., was reportedly hoping that his boy would get off the Bigfoot thing.)

Bobo is now a star. He was in New York to make a commercial for Wendy's and "doing print media with MSNBC or CNBC."

Bobo said a group of Army guys had just stopped him on Lexington Avenue to have their pictures taken together. That sort of thing happens a lot.

"They want to put it on their Facebook page," he explained. (I promptly took a photo for my Facebook page.)

People keep asking Bobo the same questions: Have you found him yet? Do you really think they're real? Are they really from UFOs?

I order another bloody mary and again ask: Do you really, really believe in Bigfoot?

"Well, I saw one in 2002," Bobo patiently answers. "A buddy and I watched for 22 minutes."

He explains the biology: There's probably no human tree with straight descending evolutionary lines. "There are like five hominids that all overlapped and were breeding together."

Bigfoot hunters talk about DNA from hair samples found in the woods. They use fancy infrared cameras to "record" humanoid creatures moving at night. And they cite eyewitness reports: Their sources tend to be — not your average suburbanite on a hike — but "hillbillies," aborigines and serious believers.

I'm obviously not converted, but that's fine with Bobo. He doesn't accuse me of blasphemy, and I happily listen to his fabulous stories of primal nature and the beings who inhabit it.

I hadn't thought this much about Bigfoot since being scared out of my wits long ago by tales around the campfire. How good to recall a time when I imagined that he — I mean they — would emerge from the dark woods at any moment. I was imagining, right?


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ABOUT Froma Harrop
Froma Harrop’s nationally syndicated column appears in over 150 newspapers, including The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Seattle Times, Denver Post and Newsday. The twice-a-week column is distributed by Creators Syndicate, in Los Angeles. Harrop has written for numerous other publications, ranging from The New York Times and Institutional Investor, to Harper’s Bazaar and Metropolitan Home. Previously, she covered business for Reuters Ltd., in New York, and was a financial editor for The New York Times News Service. A Loeb Award finalist for economic commentary, Harrop was also honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Over the years, the New England Associated Press News Executives Association has named her for five awards.

The definition of knowledge

The definition of knowledge is "true, justified, belief."

In order to have knowledge, three criteria must be met:
(1) What ever "it" is must indeed be true (factual).
(2) "It" must be justified, that is, have valid evidence that supports "it."
(3) And one must actually believe "it."

All 3 are necessary conditions of knowledge.

The problem that many fall victim to is that they take the "belief" part as a sufficient condition of knowledge. Nothing else matters so much as that belief. This is the trap religion springs on its "believers." (There's that word again!)

Belief cannot and does not create Truth, which is a necessary condition of knowledge. If it did, Pluto might be made of green cheese, or gold--ahhhh belief!

Ang Gree's picture

the Bigfoot hunters are

the Bigfoot hunters are gentle dreamers who do no harm, and I wish them well. I'd love to believe... or rather, I'd love to have reason to believe in Bigfoot(s) but I'm skeptical by nature. DNA samples were mentioned, but are there any? if so, that should be the game-changer. I've heard that there would have to be several hundred squatches, at minimum, over an extended area of deep, unpeopled forest in order to maintain a breeding population and not go extinct. but the fact that there are no bones, fur, feces, or other physical evidence to examine makes it really hard to hold onto hope of their existence outside our imaginations.

I know nothing of Sasquatch

I know nothing of Sasquatch and have no opinion as to whether they exist. But your comment about a lack of "bones, fur, feces" makes me wonder if it would be possible for these hominids to exist and to eliminate all such evidence by virtue of burying their feces and their dead, much as we would do to discourage predators from following us.

I'm glad you put

I'm glad you put "hillbillies" in quotes, but it's still offense. If you came with me up to Ashe Co, NC, and met what you would call a "hillbilly" you wouldn't use that word to his face. Not because "Is it like Deliverance?" the stupid question city slickers use before they go there, but because you'd respect THOSE people.. They have and deserve as much dignity as you do. Same with rednecks. Did you read the Op Ed from a history prof at UNC Charlotte about the misconceptions people get about the south from "Reality" shows. The derivation of the word, redneck, is actually from coal miners trying to unionize wearing red kerchiefs around their necks as they marched towards National Guard troops that shot them dead. An ancestor of mine did the same in piedmont NC with textile workers trying to unionize, but my mother, from Concord NC, tried to join the communist party in Chapel Hill. We're supposed to stand with the working class, so why all these stupid and snobby prejudices of bourgeois bohemia? Big Foot? Never heard anyone mention seeing one anywhere. Wait a minute two days ago there was huge guy, in fact several, outside my apt on Central Park West!!! Where do I report them? Macy's?

Best resource on this

Best resource on this delightful topic: Halpin & Ames, 'Manlike Monsters on Trial: early records & modern evidence", Vancouver &London, UBC Press, 1980. A serious scholarly conference. Sasquatch (the correct term, Tsimshian for 'wild man') successfully maintains an ambiguous status in both Indigenous & Contemporary reports. 'Not proven', as the Scots say.

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