Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Today in Bigfoot History | JUL, 3 2008 | East Indian Villager's Bigfoot Encounter Spurs Scientific Search

Mande Burung (Indian Bigfoot) Concept art for the History Channel's Bigfoot the Definitive Guide
Artist: Dhamindra Jeevan  
“Gigantic, hairy, ape-like...” --The only words Abu could Mutter

India has many strange tales of the Mande Burung, including one where a villager was force to breast-feed on a Mande Burung. The story below is a little less, well, exotic and seems to mirror our own efforts in North America. Even to the point of authorities showing little interest.
The Telegraph, Calcutta, India

Shillong, July 3, 2008: “Gigantic, hairy, ape-like...” was all that Abu Marak could utter in between gasps for breath.

Surrounded by villagers in the safety of his house near Durabanda in the West Garo Hills, Abu’s eyes still mirrored the excitement of spotting the animal. Within a few days, Abu’s account, coupled with those of a few other villagers, became the raw material for a renewed scientific search for the legendary Big Foot — mande burung in Garo.

Sasquatch in North America, yowie in Australia, yeti in Nepal — Big Foot has its share of dedicated followers across the globe. The creature, which is supposed to be about eight feet tall, is said to have been last sighted at Rongrigittim in South Garo Hills in July 2005, before making a reappearance in May this year.

The Achik Tourism Society, which has been on this elusive animal’s trail for the past few years, said the best sighting data was recorded in between January and March in 2002.

This year, the animal was spotted in forests between Nokrek and Chokpot.

“Soon after receiving news from the villagers, we sent our team on the trail of this unknown creature, but unfortunately we could neither see it, nor record any footprints,” said Dipu N. Marak, general secretary of the Achik Tourism Society.

By the time the villagers reported their findings, the mande burung had shifted its location, rued Dipu.

Before coming together as the Achik Tourism Society, Marak and his friends were engaged in compiling data about Big Foot.

“We started our data collection on November 15, 1997, when the creature was first seen near Andol Chiring, in South Garo Hills,” Dipu said.

Information on the mande burung are available in the form of video footages and photographs of footprints, which measure between 14 to 15 inches and impressions believed to have been left by the creature on trees and nests.

“We have already alerted the Wild Life Trust of India after hearing about its sighting this year, but the authorities have shown little interest in the creature,” Dipu said.

The Achik Tourism Society has also apprised the deputy director of tourism in Tura about the findings.

Conservationists and biologists believe that the creature, which could be a descendant of the ancient primate, may have been living in the dense jungles of the Nokrek peak.

Author and Sahitya Akademi award winner Llewellyn R. Marak, who is also an avid follower of mande burung data — is optimistic that “one day the efforts by the villagers and youths to trace Big Foot will be rewarded.”

“I have seen the footprints of this creature. It’s really big and I am convinced that such a creature has a home in Nokrek,” he said.

Llewellyn came down heavily on forest guards and officials for not heeding the villagers’ reports.

“Very frankly, they (forest guards) are lazy and instead of listening to the villagers, they scold them.”

All attempts by conservationists to persuade the forest department to initiate a research into the mande burung have also proved futile.

But that has not dampened the spirit of those who have ceaselessly been collecting every detail to prove that Big elusive Foot does existence. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Today in Bigfoot History | July 2 1995 | John Green Calls Peter Byrne a Fraud

John Green (left) Peter Byrne (right) are pioneers of Bigfoot research.
"Peter Byrne is a fraud. He tells the public that Sasquatch is near human because that's what they like to hear." --John Green;  in a 1995 Chicago Tribune Article

In an article almost two decades old we see some of the same divisive debates that still plague the modern Bigfoot community. Ape vs. human. Kill vs. No-kill.

The excerpt further below is from the July 2, 1995 Chicago Tribune article. In the article you will read opinions of Peter Byrne from Grover Krantz and John Green. 

At the time Mr. Byrne was investigating the Bigfoot mystery under a grant from the Academy of Applied Science. A former Big Game Hunter, he was initially involved in the search for the Himalyan Yeti in the 1950's in the Slick expedition. 

Grover Krantz was a professor of physical anthropology at Washington State University, perhaps most famous to the general public as one of the few scientists not only to research Bigfoot, but also to express his belief in the cryptid's existence. 

Finally John Green is Canadian retired journalist and first began investigating Sasquatch sightings and track finds in 1957 after meeting René Dahinden. 

Time was running out.

But then, in 1992, good luck struck. Byrne received from Boston's Academy of Applied Science a very generous five-year grant. It provided enough money to found the Bigfoot Research Project, and to hire two assistants to help him launch the most high-tech monster search the world has ever seen--a search that relies on police gear, wildlife research equipment, a Jeep, a video camera, and, above all, a phone line. Byrne has a toll-free number, 1-800-BIGFOOT, and a dozen or so people call in every month to report sightings. The old hunter takes notes and then, if a sighting sounds promising, he rushes off to investigate- -to peruse the crushed twigs or watch witnesses imitate the horrible scream. Every detail is logged onto computers. Eventually, if all goes as planned, Sasquatch's migrational patterns will become clear, and Byrne can jump into a helicopter.

There are, on standby, two Bell 206 choppers equipped with the infared sensors used to track prison escapees. These would zero in on the beast, and Byrne would shoot a small dart. The dart would loop into the Sasquatch's flesh, extracting a small bit of tissue--enough to fill up, say, one tiny test tube--and ultimately the creature would lope off, unharmed. And the cameras would whir: You know the tabloids would be there. Indeed, they can't wait. Last year, the crew of "Unsolved Mysteries," an independent syndicated TV show, spent a week with Byrne filming a mock Bigfoot hunt that was replete with a Hollywood stunt man wearing oversized shoes.

Byrne has also been covered by "Ancient Mysteries," "Sightings," and the Australian Broadcast Corporation, and newspapers ranging from The Hood River News to The New York Times.

There critics are out there.

With all the fame has come criticism. For instance, Grover Krantz, a Bigfoot believer who teaches anthropology at Washington State University, argues that Byrne is "a sham, a fake." Krantz takes issue mainly with Byrne's opposition to killing, which evolved after decades of watching bumbling tourists murder Nepalese tigers. "I argue for humane treatment too," says Krantz. "But in order to attain protection for the Sasquatch, we have to prove they exist. And Peter knows that the only way we can do that is by bringing in a body." John Green, a retired Canadian journalist who has written several books on Bigfoot, is even more critical. "Peter Byrne is a fraud," Green says. "He tells the public that Sasquatch is near human because that's what they like to hear."

Green is certain that, "if Sasquatch is real, he's just an animal." But Byrne feels the truth is far more complex: He likes to think of the creature as a convict. "As a child," he explains, "we played a game called Convict 99. One person was the fugitive. Others were the police; they tried to put themselves in the mind of a fugitive. Now we're trying to do the same thing. Bigfoot is out there, but where? Where is he hiding?" It's a vast question and, trying to answer it, Byrne has forded an icy, chest-deep stream on snowshoes and slept out on winter nights with nothing but a small fire to warm him. He says, "It's like we're trying to find a needle in a haystack and the needle is moving and it doesn't want to be found."

You can read the full article titled, "ON THE TRAIL OF BIGFOOT," at Bigfoot Encounters

Journalist: Weekly World News Stole My Bigfoot Skull Story!

This is the photo that ran with the Weekly World News story.
Mark Sal, the the Standard-Examiner reporter who broke the fossilized Bigfoot skull story is now accusing Weekly World News (WWN) of plagiarizing his story. Weekly World News is most famous for it's Bat Boy story but has used Bigfoot many times on the cover (SEE Top 5 WWN Bigfoot Covers). It is hard to tell if he is flattered or upset, none the less, plagiarism is a serious charge. 

In an article titled, "Plagiarized Bigfoot story gives big head to yours truly" Mr. Sal compares his story to the WWN:

WWN STORY: “I was looking for some fossils,” the 69-year-old “semi-retired” anthropologist told WWN, “and I was kind of drawn to something in the ground.” It was a rock, sticking up out of the dirt. “So I went and dug it out, and you couldn’t tell what it was ’cause the head was face down; all you could see was the back of it,” he said. “But when I dug it out you could see the face, perfect.”

S-E STORY: “I was looking for some fossils,” the 49-year-old “semi-retired” private investigator explains, “and I was kind of drawn to something in the ground.” It was a rock, sticking up out of the dirt. “So I went and dug it out, and ...” Well, you get the idea.

Ooh, how eerie is that? A 69-year-old “semi-retired” anthropologist and a 49-year-old “semi-retired” private investigator just happen to have the exact same experience — right down to the very words they use to describe their discoveries. Several other quotes in the two stories were verbatim, including the final paragraph of both. And on top of that, WWN photoshopped the dickens out of Standard-Examiner photographer Nick Short’s portrait of Mr. May.

How does one explain such amazing coincidences? Well, if we were to reduce it to dueling headlines, the Standard-Examiner would probably go with something like: “Unethical tabloid rag plagiarizes S-E Bigfoot story.
The article at Weekly World News titled, "Bigfoot Skull Found!" seem to already be updated with the plagiarism removed. Now the article acknowledges the Standard-Examiner article and the story of the Bigfoot skull discovery is different.

“I went for a walk in the woods so that I would avoid having to talk to son-in-law, who’s always a pain-in-the ass when he comes over for Sunday supper ,” the ex-proctologist  told WWN, “and then I tripped and fell over something that was sticking up out of the ground.”

“After I got up, I looked at it and it looked like there was these two big eye holes looking at me.  So I kicked it a few times to see if it was alive and then I realized it wasn’t alive… it was a skull!”
We reached out to Mark Sal and he confirmed WWN responded quickly to his article about plagiarism and apologized. While we had Mr. Sal on the phone we asked how he was selected to to report on the fossilized Bigfoot skull and his response was, "Luck of the draw."

Furthermore there was actually debate at the Standard-Examiner, if the fossilized Bigfoot skull was even newsworthy. Mr. Sal felt Todd May was sincere in his belief that he had discovered a fossilized Bigfoot skull. According to Mr. Sal, not only was the story worth telling and investigating, which prompted him to reach out to paleontologists for the story.

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