Monday, August 30, 2010

SP6 – Eric Ouellet adding on Lon Strickler - The Bigfoot Paradox

One of the most fascinating issues about Bigfoot related research is, in my opinion, the striking similarity with ufology. Like in ufology, the Bigfoot story has no physical evidence available to defend the most commonly held hypothesis, what I call the “Flesh and Blood Hypothesis” or FBH. The extra-terrestrial hypothesis in ufology (ETH) and the FBH are mirroring each other. In both cases, there are “stories” of hidden physical evidence, Roswell and the like for UFOs, and the ones described in Lon’s post for Bigfoot. In both cases, there are alternative hypotheses like the Paranormal Hypotheses (PNH) in ufology, where the phenomenon is attributed to non-human entities having the power to be in and out of our material world. As well, there are Psycho-social hypotheses (PSH), held by debunkers about both UFOs and Bigfoot. The supporters of the FBH, the most popular and yet less supported by evidence hypothesis, can be quite dogmatic about their views, very much like many ETH folks.

Like in the case of UFO, Bigfoot sightings have been recorded for a long time and pretty much all over the planet. Yet, the same critique has been laid to both UFO and Bigfoot buffs: if it is so common why don’t we have any physical evidence available to objective and transparent confirmation? Most of the sightings in Bigfoot are actually quite faint observations, often of very short duration, in sub-optimal conditions and quite open to misidentification. This description can be applied to the day disks and night lights of the Hynek UFO typology, the bulk of UFO sightings. The interesting material in both UFO and Bigfoot “stuff” is really in the quality close encounter reports. Although there are a number of reasons to take a parapsychological approach to study both UFOs and Bigfoot, parapsychology ignores both phenomena.

Given all these similarities, both in terms of the structural phenomenology of the empirical evidence and in terms of the social phenomenology of the research endeavour, Bigfoot research might benefit from looking into psi effects and establish a parapsychological hypothesis (PPH). As in the case of the ETH, with decades of failure at hand, maybe it is time to try something different. In this sense, I fully agree with Lon on the need to look more seriously into the thought-form approach to the phenomenon. I would also add that there might be a parasociological component, i.e., social conditions for both having “a loose ape” as a socially-shared interpretative framework and for producing large-scale psi effects, might be important pieces of the puzzle. But I must say that the last time I suggested this to a Bigfoot “expert” I met a lot cognitive dissonance. This may well be a long road, where one needs to avoid “apedom” as one should avoid the saucerdom in ufology.

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