(Editor’s note: This review contains major spoilers.)
The fifth and final episode of Chasing Bigfoot: The Quest for Truth is titled “Bigfoot Research and Evidence” and focuses on what investigators claim as proof of Bigfoot’s existence. The episode tries to answer two questions: What does science have to say about Bigfoot and why are many so sure they exist?
Once again, interviews are conducted with the same players from previous episodes, so the finale seems a bit repetitive if you’re binge-watching the series. Overall, Chasing Bigfoot: The Quest for Truth is a solid primer for people newly initiated to the Bigfoot phenomenon. However, without introducing any compelling new evidence, the series lacks the revealing content likely to interest a seasoned Sasquatch enthusiast. Here are the links to my reviews of the first four episodes: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, and Episode 4.
One takeaway from Episode 5 is Bigfoot investigators are optimistic that advancing technology will improve evidence collection in the future. Another bonus: the episode shares examples of possible evidence.
A couple of impressive footprint casts are shown as well as an unusual handprint on a truck.
“Evidence comes in many forms,” said Cliff Barackman, a Bigfoot field researcher. “Footprint casts are some of the most compelling types of evidence.”
Recorded vocals of possible Bigfoot are also presented.
“We have a lot of audio that just you just can’t identify,” said Robert Swain, co-founder of the Arkansas Primate Evidence Society. “It’s not coyotes. It’s not fox. It’s not barred owls, It’s not deer blowing. Animals in the woods make some really weird noises and if you’re not careful, you’ll say this is bigfoot. Recordings by far are probably the most evidence we have.”
Investigators play a few recordings of vocalizations heard in the wild. It’s exciting to think the sounds could be Bigfoot, but it’s far from proof of existence.
Hair samples are a third form of evidence. Wildlife researcher Doug Hajicek analyzes the morphological characteristics of hair samples.
“One of the first things that I look for is a tapered end,” Hajicek said. “The other thing about Sasquatch hairs is the fact that they have very little or no medulla.”
Scat, or droppings, is another example of Bigfoot evidence.
“There have been strange piles of scat found in the wilderness that do not correspond to any known animal,” said John Kirk, president of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club.
Finally, the photographic and video evidence is examined.
“When it comes to photographic evidence of Sasquatches, you need some scale items,” Barackman said. “You need to know a little bit about the background and credibility of the witness.”
Of course, the most famous and controversial image of Bigfoot is found in the Patterson-Gimlin film from the late 1960s.
“You can see the muscles moving,” Hajicek said. “There are breasts on the creature. The hairline makes perfect sense. You can tell the muscles in the back, the legs, the calf, the tendons are all moving. There was no technology back in 1967 to do that kind of thing.”
Derek Randles, a co-founder of the Olympic Project, is dedicated to documenting Bigfoot evidence.
“When it started, it started out as a comprehensive and aggressive camera-trap program,” Randles said of the Olympic Project. “It’s morphed into this study project now.”
Randles shared a thermal imaging video he thinks could possibly depict two Bigfoots.
“I think as we move forward into the future, Sasquatch research is definitely going to get more technical,” Randles said. “Just in the last 10 to 15 years, it’s taken a huge leap with thermal imagery especially and the quality of the recording devices.”
The footprints, the recorded vocalizations, hair samples, scat, and photos and videos presented as evidence do not equal proof for most in the scientific community.
“The physical reality of Bigfoot has never really turned out,” said primatologist Esteban Sarmiento. “There’s no body, no hair, no feces.”
Kirk thinks the scientific community should take the subject more seriously.
“Ever found a bear skeleton out there? No,” Kirk said. “Ever found a wolf skeleton out there? No. Ever found a cougar skeleton? No. People don’t find the skeletons and bones very often of animals that we do know about.
“One of the great difficulties in the life of Sasquatch has been the negative attitudes of scientists toward this,” Kirk said. “The scientific community has to realize that there is an enigma out there that requires resolution. You can’t hide your head in the sand. You can’t shrink away from it because it seems so preposterous. It’s not at all preposterous.”
The episode ends with the Chasing Bigfoot team following three separate investigations, two in Colorado and one in Missouri. The results included tree knocks, footprints, and a vanishing bowl of strawberries. Perhaps the most interesting find was strands of hair among the branches of a possible Bigfoot nest in the Colorado Rockies. Naturally, the analysis of the hair was inconclusive.
“Eventually, since they are real, one will be killed undoubtedly,” Barackman said. “Some logger will roll one over on the way to work one morning in his truck, or some testosterone-starved hunter will take one down and think he’s the man or some scientist will say okay here’s the bullet … this is going to do it. They are real and eventually, one will be brought in on a slab. Unfortunately, that’s what it’s going to take for academia or the public at large to accept the reality of a Sasquatch.”
NEXT UP: Chapter Fifteen: Night of the Sasquatch. I review the 2019 book by Keith Luethke.
Lionel Ray Green is a horror and fantasy writer, an award-winning newspaper journalist, and a U.S. Army gulf war veteran living in Alabama. Lionel writes a column for HorrorAddicts.net titled The Bigfoot Files. His fiction has appeared in more than two dozen anthologies, magazines, and ezines, and his short story “Scarecrow Road” won the WriterWriter 2018 International Halloween Themed Writing Competition All Hallows’ Prose. Visit his website at lionelraygreen.com and say hello.