Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Finding Bigfoot's Ranae Holland Interviewed

Ranae Holland with Cliff Barackman at Ike's Pizza
 "Skepticism is not an ideology, it is a process." --Sharon Hill, Editor of Doubtful Newsblog
The quote above is from our favorite skeptic, Sharon Hill, and if you are interested in bigfoot research (or good logic), we encourage you to visit her Doubtful Newsblog. Why do we mention Sharon before a repost of an article about Ranae Holland? Because we have been disappointed with Ranae's role on Finding Bigfoot.

Having a skeptic on Finding Bigfoot is brilliant, unfortunately they have not found one. The "skeptic" on Finding Bigfoot has been reduced to a token role; a person that does not even seem to be a bigfoot skeptic, let alone a skeptic in general. Anybody can say, "I doubt it is Bigfoot."

Instead of feigning an ideology of anti-bigfoot, she should be anti-bad logic. I have not heard her mention some of the principles popular among skeptics, such as falsifiability, Occam's Razor, scientific method, or ability to reproduce predictions.

True. We can chalk it up to entertainment and television etc. However, we think someone with real skeptic credentials would be great for the show and even better for the Bigfoot community.

For what it is worth, here is an article that asserts Ranae Holland is a skeptic, although if you watched the Finding Bigfoot Halloween Special: Birth of a Legend you would never know it.

The Sasquatch skeptic
Biologist Ranae Holland, who grew up in Sioux Falls, helps investigate Bigfoot sightings and suspicions for Animal Planet
Ranae Holland doesn’t believe furry, humanlike animals are roaming mostly undetected across North America.
But the former Sioux Falls resident, billed as the “skeptical biologist” of TV’s Animal Planet team of researchers looking for a Bigfoot creature, says a lot of other people do.
Some of the people they meet have wild tales, and even blurry, shaky videos they show Holland and her research team on “Finding Bigfoot,” a TV show that started its second season Jan. 1 . Holland says she keeps an open mind, listens to people’s stories and researches clues.
The Seattle and New York City resident applies scientific methodology and protocol to the expedition’s investigations across the country and in Canada.
“Finding Bigfoot” is trying to verify the existence, or nonexistence, of the hulking creature also referred to as a sasquatch. One of the second season’s 10 episodes is shot in northern Minnesota, at Moose Lake.
So did they find Bigfoot?
“I can’t believe you’re asking me that!” Holland said last week by phone from Death Valley where she’s now doing some non-Bigfoot-related research. “You’ll just have to watch and see. We definitely had some very interesting experiences out there.”
At first, Holland, 41, was reluctant to be associated with the TV show.
She’s a professional field biologist with many research studies to her credit. Those include the Alaska Salmon Program, where she specialized in interactions between brown bears and salmon. Maybe that’s a way Bigfoot finds food, the show’s creators reasoned.
“They came to me and asked if I would do this, and I said, ‘Absolutely not!’ ” Holland said. “I was very hesitant to be a scientist affiliated with Bigfoot, let alone being edited any way they wanted.”
But she talked with professional colleagues and mentors, who all said she should go for it, especially considering she has a history with Bigfoot. As a youngster, she and her dad were interested in the possibility of the existence of such a creature.
The first season of “Finding Bigfoot” had six episodes. The show ranked among the network’s top three series, with 1.2 million viewers, said Brian Eley, spokesman for Animal Planet. Two special episodes, produced in a question-answer format, were broadcast as Halloween specials
Travels and shooting for the 10-episode second season ended Dec. 1.
Local roots
While she was growing up in Sioux Falls, Holland says her dad, John Holland, who died in 2003, was a fan of Bigfoot stories.
“That’s how it started for me, as a little kid with my dad at a Bigfoot movie there,” said Holland, a 1988 graduate of Lincoln High School. “We went to that movie together, but we also used to watch other Bigfoot movies and TV shows and collected news clippings on the subject.”
She hasn’t been back to Sioux Falls in years but still has relatives in South Dakota: a grandmother in Pierre and her mother in Glendale.
Jon Barnes, 47, of Brandon also remembers being fascinated by a Bigfoot movie that played in theaters formerly at The Empire Mall.
“A movie that showed maybe in the late 1970s in Sioux Falls got me thinking about the possibilities,” said Barnes, who works as a videographer and a sound and lighting technician.
He says he is skeptical but doesn’t rule out the possibility of undiscovered creatures. “Consider that just within the last six months they discovered all kinds of things below the surface of the ocean that have never been seen before,” Barnes said.
“There are a wide range of sightings reported of a Bigfoot-like creature,” he said. “Think of all places there are for something or somebody to hide. Past the highways, the paved parking lots and all that, if Bigfoot does exist, that’s their environment. They grew up in it and know where to hide in all kinds of places that we’d never even notice.”
Holland says that when she meets people on location for the TV-show shoots, it takes her back to her Sioux Falls days.
“When we go to a town hall meeting and they show up, and here stands up a dad and next to him is an 8-year-old, all wide-eyed, I’m with my dad all over again,” she said. “I’m that little kid with my dad, like we were at the Bigfoot movie.”
William Lechner, 20, of Aberdeen says he thinks there could be undiscovered creatures roaming remote areas of the country.
“I believe there are, in fact, some types of Bigfoot creatures out there we have yet to discover,” said Lechner, a rancher working in the Ellendale, N.D., area. “I watch every show about Bigfoot. Usually it is something that interests me. I’ll be watching for the new show.”
The team
Holland’s TV co-researchers include two members of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, founder Matt Moneymaker and James “Bobo” Fay. The group was founded in 1995 to record sightings and compare notes. Also on the four-person team is professional educator Cliff Barackman.
On some episodes, Holland clashes with the BFRO members when they don’t follow scientific research processes, giving them a hard time for sometimes charging off into the woods at night chasing a heat-sensor image of something lurking in the distance.
The show features some “re-creations” of people’s interviews that show an actor in a hairy suit romping through the forest. Holland chuckles when asks about the occasionally inserted footage, chalking it up to TV production artistic license.
But tracking down noises, and sightings of things moving in the dark, make for dramatic moments in the series.
Sometimes the crew splits into teams of two, using infrared technology during night missions. Other video taken while moving through the forest looks like cuts from the movie “The Blair Witch Project.” The team pokes around abandoned cabins and remote orchards to capture what might be sightings of Bigfoot.
“What I like most about the series is that we all have our differing opinions, and I love that we get to go in the field to re-create situations and determine if what we saw was real,” Holland said.
The team traveled from small towns in the southern United States to remote areas of the mountain in the west and dense forests of the Northeast and into Canada. The show uses clips from residents who are interviewed about what they saw.
Today’s season-premiere episode, titled “Baby Bigfoot,” includes 15-year-old videotape footage from residents in the Catskill Mountains, an area in New York state northwest of New York City. Area experts, including a zoologist, look at the clip and offer opinions on what it might be.
“Even though this area of the Hudson River Valley is fairly populated and not terribly far from the urban New York City, there is still a lot of forest here,” team member Moneymaker said in a news release regarding the episode. “There’s a lot of vegetation to support something like a sasquatch.”
The team comes up with descriptive variations on the creature’s name, sometimes saying an area is “squatchy,” or hearing noises they say could be “a squatch.”
Other episodes are shot at Salt Fork State Park in Ohio, Dunes State Park and Morgan Monroe State Park in Indiana, and in rural regions of Rhode Island, New Mexico, Kentucky, Virginia and Alberta, Canada.
Despite all the photos, videos, interviews and live-action investigations, Holland still doesn’t believe in the furry, bigger-than-human creatures. But even during her non-Bigfoot related research, she has heard the stories, especially from Native American tribes who have many names for such a creature.
“I cannot get my head around it. Primates running around North America undiscovered? It’s big. It’s huge, but I need to show respect to people who say they had encounters,” she said.
SRC: Argus Leader 


  1. It is my understanding that Ranae also attended a BFRO expedition in 2009 to the Olympic Peninsula. I would say she is more of an enthusiast than a skeptic.

    1. Based on what I've heard her say on air, she is completely a fan-girl. Skeptic is posturing the TV show does to pretend to be "balanced" and "scientific." This is an entertainment show like X Factor.

  2. Thanks for the extra info Sharon and thank you for commenting on my blog :) She definitely comes across as an enthusiast. I met her for the taping of season 1 finale of Finding Bigfoot, and tried to get her to acknowledge that she was at least a bigfoot "hopeful" but, unfortunately, she was still in character. I think the show could use a true skeptic.

  3. I would be interested in what she has to say about the Patterson-Gimlin film, as well as Jeff Meldrum's investigations.

    I tend towards some skepticism as well.

    One the one hand, it does seem incredible that a giant ape has been swanning around North America and no body parts have ever been recovered.

    On the other hand, the PG film seems to stand up well after decades of investigation. And the history of footprint tracking is pretty compelling.

    I have spoken to people who say they saw them, and I didn't get the feeling they were lying, or that they had mistaken bears for apes.

    I have seen bears in the wild, and never took them for anything else.

    A fascination mystery, all in all.

  4. I think Renae is doing the best she can given her perameters in the show. I would like to see a bit more factual education on the episodes, I want to learn something new each time. I don't ever want to see Matt throwing a tissy
    fit like he did last season. And she was right to call him on it. I wish the producers would give a little more thought about showing the audience what's on the thermal when they say they heard something. The show loses credibility when they don't share everything they bring up. By the way, I could find him given the resources! X-p

  5. I feel that it is shameful what The Discovery Channel media producers are doing to the issue of The Big Foot saga.

    Let it live or die on its own accord, but do not use it as an after school entertainment prgram, designed to make money for the tv mogels. Their present production is not that far removed from Spongebob.

    As for dear Ranae, I can't help but feel sorry for her because she has an inward quality that makes me want shield and protect her.
    Dr. Bill

  6. I feel bad for Ranae, if she says that she doesn't think it is bigfoot, her opinion gets thrown on the ground almost everytime. She is trying to put logic into it, but the other guys immediately say that it was bigfoot. At least Bobo will sometimes admit it might not have been bigfoot lol

  7. Here is how Ranae qualifies as a sceptic
    1. Doesn't follow up in the field to investigate nearby loud sounds because she is afraid of what she might find, and then that would be the end of her as the token sceptic on Finding Bigfoot. check!
    2. Doesn't use the simple process of elimination to arrive at a short list of possible causes for noises in the woods that require thumbs, like rock clacking, branch rattling, rock throwing. check!
    3. Doesn't use the process of elimination to arrive at a short list for perpetrators of howls. check!
    4. Doesn't acknowledge a paranormal cause for nearby noises in the woods. check!
    5. Has no intention of given the slightest acknowledgement that a paranormal Bigfoot is the perpetrator of nearby loud noises in the woods. check!
    6. Despite 3 seasons of hearing noises that she can't explain, nor does she want to, she is no closer now to acknowleging the existence of the Bigfoot people, than she was on the Finding Bigfoot season 1 opening show. check!

    Oh she's a sceptic alright!

    1. Paranormal? You expect a scientist to acknowledge a paranormal cause? You're an idiot.

  8. As a closet homosexual I fear my childrens retribution over my tobacco useage,

    Mike Josserand Sr.


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