Saturday, March 31, 2012

What is It? - Appearances can be Deceiving

Recently, a witness named Carl (last name withheld) came forth to share a photograph of what he thinks might be a bigfoot. The picture was obtained using a game camera which was deployed in the general vicinity of the Kettle River in Minnesota. This area is largely farmland surrounded by thickly wooded swamps. The farmlands not only produce food themselves, but attract a wide variety of herbivores on which large predators can feed. The surrounding swamps are nearly impenetrable, and even if you did get in them, you'd be eaten alive by mosquitoes and other bitey things. The area in question has produced a number of bigfoot encounters for a long time, and is excellent sasquatch habitat.

The picture, seen below, shows a black figure on the right hand side of the frame that seemingly has an ape-like face. The witness pointed out the two eyes, nose, and mouth, as well as what appears to be hair cascading downwards from the hair. It was assumed that the figure was leaning into the frame of the photograph, possibly to get a better view of the camera.

The original, uncropped photograph

After obtaining permission from Carl to study his photograph and share it on my website, he emailed me the picture, as well as several others that were taken with the same camera shortly before and after the picture in question. The first of these photos was taken a couple hours before the last three, which were apparently taken in sequence as this camera was set to take three pictures each time it was triggered.  The others are not included in this blog because of the time elapsed between the shots.

 How the witness interpreted the photograph

Clearly, this was not a typical amorphous blobsquatch photograph showing a bigfoot (or something vaguely bigfoot-shaped) standing in the woods, so I looked at the picture with an eye to see what other kind of animal it could show.  After determining witness credibility, the first lines of questioning should be directed towards exploring the possibility of a misidentification when dealing with photos. 

I needed to explore some other explanation besides the bigfoot hypothesis. I first thought it might be the rear end of a moose or other large ungulate, but I soon abandoned this line of thought.  I then considered the other animals visible in the photograph: crows.  I had to wonder if crows would be that comfortable in such close proximity to a sasquatch. It seemed unlikely.

What I believe this photograph shows is a crow in flight, facing to the right, and partially out of frame. Feathers can be clearly seen under its outstretched right wing. The color of the figure exactly matches the colors of the other crows in the photos. I believe I see the tail feathers of the flying crow extending downwards towards the ground, behind the wings, right where I would expect them to be. I might even speculate from the position of the wings, tail feathers, and head that the crow might have been flying slightly backwards or directly vertically, as if in reaction to something out of frame, perhaps another crow competing for a food item left as bait for the game camera.  The reason the crow seems so much larger than the others is that it is closer to the camera.

How I interpret the photograph

As ridiculous as it might sound, this isn't the first time a crow has been misidentified as a bigfoot. There was a widely circulated game camera photograph of a crow near a game feeder from Kentucky that made the rounds in the bigfoot community a few years back. That photograph, like this one, had a crow in the foreground that appeared to be a larger dark figure in the background. The crow had its wings outstretched in flight and gave the appearance of a large, dark, shouldered bigfoot in the background largely obscured by the tall grass in which it appeared to be sitting. Indeed, appearances can be deceiving.

The Kentucky bigfoot/crow photo

Carl still isn't sure what the picture shows. It should be noted that no matter what the picture depicts, Carl did the right thing by sharing his photograph with others. This type of peer review is absolutely necessary to find the truth behind any kind of evidence that comes in. Over the years, I have heard of countless supposedly great photographs of sasquatches that the owners have never thought to share with the public for a wide variety of reasons. However, having a photograph and not sharing it is functionally identical to not having that photograph at all (which might be just fine, depending on your goals). I want to thank and congratulate Carl for sharing his picture with the rest of us.

If you have a photograph of what you think might be a bigfoot, please share it with me. I realize that many people do not want their name associated with bigfoots in any way, and I also realize that there are people out there who do not want their local bigfoots bothered by researchers. I will always respect your anonymity, and will never publish your photograph without your permission.  


  1. That's somethin to crow about!

  2. wasnt this the one they ruled out and said it was a bird? Or is this a different one...they were trying to say it was a bird with its wings open...I dont think so! Its a BF! Look at the face...if thats not obvious enough?? :) Thanks for all you do, Cliff and your team...

  3. Very well done. That was my very first impression. I've seen a bird get caught in flight in a shot like this. Pretty classic. I love to know you are out there debunking. You make the world of all things BF more legit.

  4. When you claim "The original, uncropped photograph" then it should show the camera information or it is not "the original."

    1. John- I read camera information. 'Clearly states that photo was made with a game camera. I also see the camera's date and time in red letters. Or, is this not what you are referring to?

  5. the main pic looks to me like it may be a bird cause there are 2 black birds in the pic could have been a bird flying in or out out of view and the cam caught the last bit of it, and i see the face but your eyes see what you wanna see and i dont think its anything but maybe a bear or bird, and i dont think its leaning in to see the camera how would it know where the line of sight of the cam would be to know your just in the frame, im leaning more towards BS

  6. To me it looks like a moose that is turned to look at whats behind him so your seeing under his head I done really think this is a big foot but how tall is a moose,well that's how I see it.if it was a crow the feathers at that range you would see the feathers, then you would know for sure.

  7. Cliff,

    I agree with your analysis. It looks like a crow.

    What game cameras have you used, liked and/or recommend? And don't say Reconyx, because we ALL want some of those! :)

    I keep waiting for Moore's Law to start edging into the game camera market. There is no reason for cameras to be so expensive.



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  8. I would love to think this is bigfoot, but I think it may be a bird in flight. Would still like to think it is bigfoot. Still hopeful.

  9. Like you as soon as I saw the crows in the picture I began to suspect this was another crow in flight photo and not a bigfoot. I don't think two crows would be standing still that close to any bipedal creature and I think you nailed it. It is a crow in flight. Good job.

  10. Like you, I think that all the pics in this topic are crows, Cliff. Very good observational skills and more people in this community need to take the time to study images intensely before making claims that Sasquatch is in it. Even though this is clearly not a Sasquatch, its still cool to discuss anomalies like these.

  11. Cliff in the first few moments that I saw the pic it did not look like in any way to be the big guy the shape was off as well as the so called face but the color was right. I can see how this photo could be misidentified. It just never looked right to me but good work on all the details photos like these all ways make you a better investigator.