Last night, I was able to watch this season’s opening episode of Finding Bigfoot (filmed last June 2015) in which I was personally involved behind the scenes. I was contacted weeks before by the producers of the program and agreed, somewhat reluctantly as I am not a great fan of the show, to provide names from my own files on recent cases which I had investigated; quite a bit of e-mail back and forth then went on. This was the second time the program had contacted myself for assistance, as they had planned to come to Canada a year before but for reasons I am not at liberty to disclose, the earlier planned episode for British Columbia had to be cancelled.
The premise for this episode was a silly affair based on a bet between Cliff Barrackman and Bo Bo, (James Fay) which area was, as they put it: Squatchier, British Columbia or Washington State. Entertaining for the television audience no doubt, but just silly useless nonsense for those who take this subject seriously and have devoted our lives to finding an answer as to whether a large primate does in fact exist in the forests of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
I have long been critical of the show as I have always felt that it made serious research into this ongoing mystery look foolish in the eye of the public, as well as portray researchers as nothing but a collection of oddballs who only like to go out at night and howl at the moon like idiots. But, I also realized that the show is exactly that – a television show. Despite the motives of the cast members, three of which I have known since long before the program first aired. The main purpose of the programs’ producers is not really to find an answer to the Sasquatch question, but to entertain their viewing audience, achieve the goal of maintaining a loyal following to the point of justifying continuing seasons, and to keep people working. These goals seem to have succeeded beyond the shows wildest dreams, as I cannot remember any other program of this nature lasting so long.
Also, I know through personal communication with some of the cast members that, even though they do and act out scenarios they normally would not do by themselves, they have had to put their foot down a couple of times in years past as activities from behind the cameras by the staff were out right hoaxing attempts to make a particular episode more interesting than things were turning out to be. To their credit, the cast has made it clear they are not interested in hoaxing and some people have been let go as a result. With this in mind, one has to wonder, when the editing process is done, what is the purpose of saying things happen in a certain way when they didn’t? Example: Matt and Cliff go and interview two witnesses, Maria Muller and Robert Baily, concerning their sighting at Weaver Lake, which occurred at 10:30 am, August 21, 2014 (Steenburg File #10191).
They interview the witnesses at the location and do an on-site investigation, just as myself and Brad Trent did 24 hours after this alleged encounter occurred. Both Matt and Cliff concluded it was probably a Sasquatch, unlike myself. I still think it may be a man in a dark hoody that Robert photographed, but I certainly do not rule out the possibility that it could be a Sasquatch. Matt pointed out that the trail head was there where the figure was seen but for some reason didn’t mention the bear-proof trash containers at the trail head as well. It is possible that the trash bins have been moved since the day of the sighting, but they were there when it happened. But what struck me, was the show gave the impression that Matt and Cliff took a scenic route to get there and you see them in a nice speed boat on Harrison Lake, and the viewer is given the impression that they took this boat to the dock at Weaver Lake to meet the two witnesses? I don’t think so. Weaver Lake and Harrison Lake have about five kilometers of mountain forest between them, so unless Matt and Cliff portaged that speed boat, there is no way they got to the location that way. So why do they edit the program like this? Who knows…just a way to get footage of the two men in the speed boat into the program, I guess?
A number of times both Matt and Cliff made the statement that this was the first time any researcher had done any investigation on the Chehalis Reserve? Well I, personally have been there doing research over the last three decades more times than I can remember. Rene Dahinden had also been there many, many times, as well as John Green, not to mention J.W. Burns, who coined the the name Sasquatch to begin with? They must have known this, so why they state that this is the first time researchers have been on the reserve? I have no answer. I could pick at little details like this for hours but I will just finish up by saying that I had a long meeting with both Matt and Cliff at the Sasquatch Inn after hours were spent at the town hall meeting (a lot of filming for a few minutes of show). But that is how these programs are made, so I expected it.
And I expressed my opinions about how certain things were done and of course I realize that, which they both concurred, the main purpose of the show is to entertain, and to perhaps generate some thinking to the general public, most of whom don’t give the Sasquatch mystery 15 minutes of thought a year. If they did things my way the show most likely wouldn’t last one season for the general public would find it boring. So, I will end this with this statement: Finding Bigfoot is entertainment. It is not a serious study of the Sasquatch question. Also, If I was in charge Bo Bo would have lost three points for dressing up in drag – I laughed for five solid minutes watching that bit.