Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Elbe, WA Trackway

Derek Randles, Cliff Barackman, and Guy Edwards at the
site of the Elbe, WA trackway

When I first received word of the Elbe, WA trackway, it was Monday afternoon, September 17th.  News came from my friends at the BFRO that a significant line of possible bigfoot tracks was reported to them, and was just a couple hours north of where I live in Portland, OR.  Ironically, the witness had originally reported the find to me via my address the day before.  However, I had just gotten back home for a brief break after filming a grueling month-long shoot for Finding Bigfoot.  Frankly, I needed a break, so I wasn't checking my bigfoot emails during this time.  

Looking at the initially-submitted photographs that came with the report, I had some deep reservations about the footprints' authenticity.  Many red flags were raised, but I decided to make the two-hour drive to look at the prints in the ground anyway.  After all, I am well aware of how poorly footprint photographs often turn out, and by looking at the impressions in the mud I thought much more could be learned.

Because I had a friend in town, I was unable to make it to the site until Wednesday afternoon.  Upon arrival, I found both Derek Randles and Paul Graves from the Olympic Project at the location busying themselves with documenting the site.  After greeting my friends, I set to work casting a number of the messier prints at the site.  A number of the clearest foot impressions had already been cast, but I was more interested in the messier ones.  It is these that often yield much more information than the clean ones.  After casting eight or nine footprints, I returned to Portland for a previously scheduled engagement that night.  

One of the messy footprints that I later cast.  These footprints gave
some of the evidence I needed to really solidify my conclusion of hoax.

Visiting the site didn't clarify my position very much as to the authenticity of these prints.  In some ways, I liked what I saw, but a few more red flags were raised.  Some of the prints looked very spontaneous, while others showed signature characteristics of a fake prosthetic.  I was more inclined to think that these were real, but I had several nagging doubts that I just couldn't let go of.  I decided to revisit the location the next day as well to gather even more information.  

On my second trip, I was accompanied by Guy Edwards of Bigfoot Lunch Club.  I again found Derek Randles and a couple of other Olympic Project members at the site tying up a few loose ends in their thorough documentation of the site.  We both cast a few more footprints and left the scene well after dark.

Now that I've had a chance to closely look at the photographs, emails, footprints in the ground, and casts from this site, I have to come to the conclusion that the situation is an elaborate hoax.  I will not divulge all of the details of how I came to this conclusion because I do not want to help any future hoaxer fool the bigfoot community in an even more elaborate hoax.  However, I will say that this is the best hoax that I have yet witnessed, and certainly a lot of time, research, and effort went into it.  The person or people responsible for this knows a thing or two about bigfoot footprints, and did an excellent job.  However, my admiration for their psychopathic expertise in lying does little to refund my money for gas and casting material.  Neither does it return the more than nine hours I spent driving, or the more than eight hours spent at the site over two days during my precious one week off from shooting the show.  (This is the real damage done...  Money is one thing, but when I only get one week off from shooting every four to five weeks, and I spend a good deal of it dealing with lies...  well, that doesn't make for a happy Cliff.  Time is the most precious thing that I don't have enough of at this point in my life.)

What appears to be a pretty good looking
track cast collected at the Elbe, WA site.  The devil is
in the details...

The hoaxing of this data is troubling, but for me that's not the worst of it.  The most disturbing thing personally is that, since I was the very first person to receive this report, and it was only sent to the BFRO after my lack of response, I can draw no other conclusion except that I was the target of this whole ordeal.  I forget sometimes that despite my attempts at being a good person, trying to be respectful to everyone in the bigfoot community and beyond, and keeping professional integrity, crazy people will start gunning for me simply because I'm on TV and/or am interested in bigfoot tracks.

No matter if I was the intended target of this hoax or not, the real victims here are the investigators, the bigfoot community, and sasquatches themselves.  Hoaxers do damage to all parties involved, including themselves.  If and when the identity of the hoaxer is discovered and/or revealed, the reputation of being a liar will not easily be shaken off.  

Scott Taylor, the BFRO investigator for this case, has issued a formal statement.  Below is that statement in its entirety:  

"The Elbe Track Line Public Update. September 29, 2012

The Elbe Track Line (ETL), is a very exciting find for all those involved. During the initial on-site investigation of the tracks, which occurred the day the original report was filed with the BFRO and Cliff Barackman, the ETL looked quite real. From looking at the tracks, and estimating them to be only a day or two old, they looked real and present some unique observations that could be applied to other finds in the future. It generated a great deal of excitement and everyone who heard about it could not wait for more information and confirmation that the investigation proved them real. Social networks became quite active discussing the find, in particular where exactly the track line was. Anybody who had a chance to see the track line first hand quickly leaned towards them as being genuine.

Over the next five days, a team of researchers came together to document the ETL in
more detail than any other purported sasquatch track line in history. Each track was photographed. Video of the entire ETL was taken in HD. The ETL was surveyed and laid out on a base line with the position and elevation of every track recorded. Over a 5 day period, every castable track was cast, and are now in the process of being cleaned, stabilized, and examined.

The team has been in regular communication and discussion about what we have
observed. We are seeing things about the ETL itself, as well as the individual track casts, that are causing some of us to have some questions and doubts. At this time we are not saying that the ETL is a hoax, nor can we conclude that it is genuine due to these questions. The casts need more examination by experts like Dr. Jeff Meldrum.

One the policies of the BFRO to validate that any report is genuine is that investigators are required to talk with the reporting witness(es). A witness who will not talk with an investigator, in person or over the phone, is immediately under suspicion, and as such, the report itself falls under suspicion. In this case, the witness has not provided investigators with a phone number. The only communication thus far has been via e-mail. This is a problem. We have asked the witness to meet us, and have offered to give him one of the casts in thanks. As of this writing, we have not received any e-mail response, or phone calls. This leads us to question the reliability of the reporting witness, and also casts a cloud over determining the validity of the ETL.

I am inviting the witness to help us clear up the questions that we have by talking with us face to face. If the witness wishes to be anonymous to the public, then we will respect that and not reveal in any way who that person is. However, we still need to talk to him.

Until then, we can not complete our investigation nor come to any formal conclusions.

Scott Taylor, Rick Noll, David Ellis, Cliff Barackman, Derek Randles, Paul Graves, and Thom Powell"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The London Trackway - Track #45

Track #45
The 45th track left in the mud was the 11th cast to be taken from the site. Even though the print was left in a fairly mossy substrate, it shows great depth in both the toes and the heel. The heel impressed a full 17 mm into the ground on its medial edge.

Three of the toes are plainly visible, with only a faint impression left by the fourth digit. No trace of the fifth digit is discernable. The first digit seems to have left two marks in what Dr. Grover Krantz has referred to as a "double strike."

A large overflow of plaster occurred when casting this print. The overflow is what accounts for the portion of the cast in front of the toes.

Click here to see more photos of the London Track #45.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The London Trackway - Track #4

This right footprint shows a very nicely rounded heel that is very natural looking. It is smooth around the edges which is indicative of the soft, smooth edge of a living foot rather than the sharply defined outline of a wooden prosthetic. The heel seemed to impress at a very low angle as would be expected from a foot moving forward, giving a shallow slope to the proximal side of the heel impression.

All five digits can be discerned in the nighttime photograph, with the first three digits impressing more deeply in a grasping action than the fourth and fifth digits. Also of note is a slight bulging on the lateral edge of the foot about half way up. Though not certain, this corresponds nicely to the location where the inferred location of where fifth metatarsal meets the cuboid based on the bone reconstructions done by both Dr. Krantz and Dr. Meldrum.

Click this link to see more photos of London Track #4.

Click this link to go to the London Trackway Homepage

Monday, September 10, 2012

The London Trackway - Track #53

The cast of Track #53

Track number 53 was the 18th print to be cast. Being so shallow, this footprint presented a bit of a problem when I was casting it. I had to pour the casting material over and around the impression rather than into it since there was so little depth the print itself. The resulting cast captured some of the cracks that can be seen in the surrounding substrate. This cracking was a result of the contraction of the mud as it dried.

Click the following link to see more photographs of this cast, and to read more of my commentary about Track #53 of the London Trackway.

The medial, or inside, view of  the cast.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Looking for Bigfoot with FLIR

I recently had the opportunity to take some good folks from FLIR Systems, Inc. into the woods for an overnight adventure.  Most bigfooters know FLIR as the infrared and thermal imaging company that makes those nifty devices that most of us salivate over.  Knowing that the FLIR folks would be taking an arsenal of their products out with us, I was quite excited about the trip.

While out in the woods, we shot the following short promotional video for my upcoming speaking engagement at Inframation, the largest infrared camera-user's conference in the world.  I will be speaking on November 6th on how I utilize FLIR thermal imagers in bigfooting.

Over the course of the evening, we had some interesting yet ambiguous things happen.  We did not capture images of bigfoots on camera, but at dusk we heard three possible power knocks from northwest of our location, and Jen and Haley heard what they described as deliberate branch breaking on their night walk around 11 pm.  Having to work the next day, they left the location sometime after midnight, but I stayed there alone listening for the next couple hours.  During the first hour after they left, I heard two knocks, the source of which seemed to be moving away from camp and back to the northwest.  

Ambiguous, I admit.  Very cool, though.  I love bigfooting.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The London Trackway - Track #46

Track #46
Another track (number 46 out of 122) has been added to the London Trackway Index.  This footprint was not only photographed in the ground during the day and night, it was also later cast.  

The cast is very well defined.  It clearly shows all five toes, a well-defined ball, and the lateral side of the elongated heel has a very nicely rounded contour that seems very natural.  Much of this detail is visible in photographs on the track's page, though some is hard to see.  (Photographs are pretty lousy at showing such detail.)

The toes show striations that suggest a ragged edge to possible toenails.  In this cast, the striations are at slightly different angles with different curvatures suggesting individual toe movement.  

My commentary on this track, more photographs of the print in the ground before casting, as well as close-ups of interesting parts of the cast can be viewed by clicking this link.  

The London Trackway - Track #1

Track #1 of the London Trackway.  While just
a half-print, this is an interesting find.  Click for
a larger view.

I will be publishing stuff from the London Trackway in a somewhat random order.  I tend to do things as I please, in the order that I prefer.  Like a bigfoot, I am somewhat radical and anarchistic.  However, I thought that by starting out with a brief summary of track #1, I would be giving information in an order that would be expected.  Please don't expect the expected from me in the future.  I probably won't deliver.

Still, here is track #1 from the London Trackway.  The creature certainly stepped somewhere on the earth before this, but I was unable to figure out where.  It walked out of the dense forest, crossed a road, and traversed a grassy area where footprints were pretty much invisible.  Eventually, it pushed its foot into substrate that took an impression of just the forefoot.  That is where I picked up the trail, and where I was able to start documenting this track find.  This is where we begin our story with what I call "Track #1."

Please click this link for more information.  Also, realize that this track offers the least amount of information. The best is yet to come.  Check back here soon for more info...