It seems to me that over the last 15 years or so a plague of sorts has been gaining continuous ground in the field of Sasquatch research. A problem, only magnified by the wide spread use of the internet (great tool though it is). One large, unfortunate side effect is it has become an easy to use soap box for every snake oil salesman out there.
Hoaxing, as far as this researcher is concerned, has reached epidemic proportions. It seems to me that people, for whatever motive they may have in private, have no reluctance at all to state publicly that they have had, or continue to have, one or numerous Sasquatch encounters. Too incredible to believe? Most often the case comes down to, “Take my word for it”, as no supporting evidence is forthcoming. Or said evidence is there but, for one reason or another, it can not be revealed at this time?
Media programs like ‘Finding Bigfoot’, are often targets to those looking for their 15 minutes of fame. Young guys submitting all kinds of bogus evidence with outrageous stories hoping just to see themselves on the tube, while having a laugh with their friends. The general public has lost the usual shyness, and reluctance, of making bogus claims as there really is no consequences for what is, to their minds, nothing more than a good joke; spinning a yarn; or no worse than faking a haunted house for Halloween.
This is a growing problem and getting worse but it pales in comparison to something much worse: The Hoaxing Researcher. There has always really been one golden rule in the world of Sasquatch research, right from the beginning: “THOU SHALT NOT HOAX’. Unfortunately, from the beginning there always have been researchers in this field faking evidence. However, back then, we all basically knew who they were and their motives for their actions. The late Ivan Marks was the first example of this behavior that I personally ever knew. His motive pure and simple: Attention-seeking fame. In fact, I have seen this motive in others so often now, I have given it a name in honor of the original model: ‘IVAN MARKS SYNDROME’.
Quite often the scenario is the same, the person has become involved in a event which at first might be legit. The person finds him or herself the center of attention for a period of time but as interest dies down, their own interest does not. They then undertake their own research and become engrossed in the whole question, as so many of us have. Sometimes, it is the rush of being the center of attention which some find irresistible; so they start making things happen to keep the media, as well as others, interested in their activities. The attention becomes the main focus of their activities rather than the question of the existence of the Sasquatch.
This is excluding, of course, the people who are just absorbed in some spaced-out faith which they are convinced must be reality: for lack of a better term, the paranormalists. All of these individuals, of course, only serve to make the subject as a whole appear foolish in the eyes of science and academia. Is it any wonder the majority won’t touch this mystery with a ten foot pole? I don’t blame them. We, as researchers, may have to endure the college hoaxer/ huckster when they come out of the woodwork, but there is no way we have to tolerate them. If I come across a case of ongoing hoaxing (which I have on a number of occasions), I will expose it for what it is. Let the chips fall where they may.
And I will close this post with a piece of advice: Anytime someone comes out of the woodwork with incredible claims of evidence for the existence of the Sasquatch, but for some reason the evidence can not be revealed at the present time, it’s BULL SHIT!