I will edit your comments

Someone posted a comment yesterday on one of my posts.  The commenter was angry and made what I perceived to be a personal attack.  They weren’t attacking me.  They were attacking the person I had written the post about.  I edited the post to remove the truly egregious personal attacks, and informed the commenter why I had done so.  They were not happy with my decision to edit their comments.

I have a lot of young people who visit this blog.  I want to keep things as civil as possible. The Internet has become fertile ground for bad and rude behavior.  I want the kids who visit this blog to be exposed to honest, respectful debate.  If you leave a comment that I deem unfit or ugly, I’ll either edit it or delete it.  I have sole discretion over what and won’t be edited or removed.

If you disagree with me, another commenter, or even someone I’ve written about in one of my posts, I encourage you to speak your mind, but do so with a little tact.  If you feel the need to rant mindlessly, start your own blog, or tell your friends on Facebook.  This blog isn’t the place for that kind of behavior.

That’s it!  Have a nice day!

Yet another update on the Melissa Hovey (Clawed) Bigfoot

Sold on ebay in October of 2006

Wow, this information is coming in fast and furious!  I’m getting a lot of referrals from Cryptomundo today so I decided to see what they were saying about the post on Karl Kozak’s revelation that the picture is actually just the back of the costume of the creature in his movie Clawed.  Turns out a Cryptomundian left a comment that Cryptomundo posted a story about the costume from Clawed being for sale on ebay back in October of 2006.  If you won the bid, you would also receive a DVD demonstrating how they made the suit!  The last bid at the time they posted the story was $3,000.  I have no idea what the final bid was.  Here’s the description from ebay

This is the authentic screen-worn Bigfoot creature suit as used in the feature film, “The Ghost of Echo Mountain”. This stunt suit was used twice and remains in perfect condition.  It has been fabricated of a soft polyfoam (BJB 265) and latex skin. It has been maticulously painted using airbrushed inks. All fur is synthetic and was both handlaid and contact cemented in place. This item stands approximately 6′6″ (including footware) and was designed for the lead actor who was 6′2″ and 210lbs. The suit is quite large, so please be aware that it may require modifications for those smaller than six feet.  I myself have tried on this suit (5′10″, 175 lbs) and found that by bulking it out using pillow foam worked just fine…just a little on the warm side. The head piece is seperate from the body and is just a slip on. The body suit is entered from the back. Folds of the synthetic fur covers all seams. The actors hands were painted using tattoo inks to match the overall colour scheme and feet are covered with fur.

With this costume I will include a copy of the promotional DVD on the fabrication of the suit and a copy of the original script entitled, “The Unknown”. Due to the lightwieght materials used in the fabrication of this suit, I expect shipping costs to be minimal.

Who bought the suit?  Are there other promotional DVDs on the construction of the suit?  So many questions, and so few answers!

BTW – A new assumption can be made based on this information.  Whoever bought the suit is the source behind the hoax not the FX team as I speculated before.

Update on Clawed/Melissa Hovey Picture

The following is from Melissa’s latest blog post on the director of Clawed’s assertion that her picture is the creature in his film.

Dave Conover, who also submitted a written opinion, will be following up on this lead with the person who made the suit for the movie “Clawed.” Mr. Kozak may be the Director of this movie, but he didn’t make the costume.

I believe Dave is one of the researchers who helped debunk the “backyard Bigfoot” in Kentucky.  He correctly identified it as a bird in flight.  He should get to the bottom of this.

Many people have stated that the Clawed creature and the subject in MH’s photo don’t look similar.  There are differences, yes.  Namely, the Bigfoot in MH’s photo is missing a left arm.  Costumes in today’s films are made in pieces in order to give the actors more freedom of movement that looks realistic.  I suspect (key word) that the now famous picture is the costume in the early stages of development.  They took test pictures along the way that they sent to the producer/director for evaluation. That could be why Karl is so sure this is the creature from his film.  He may have even seen this actual picture before.   Since it’s missing an arm, I’m going to further assume that there isn’t even a person in the costume.  It’s on a bust or dummy of some kind.

This is an example of a typical "costume" in process in a Special FX studio. This is NOT the Clawed costume in process. I'm using this picture just as an example of the typical suit construction.

For an example of how a makeup FX studio designs and builds a suit, click here to visit Steve Wang’s Special FX blog.  It’s pretty fascinating stuff, and you can get a sense of what I’m talking about when I say they bulid these things in pieces.  Please note:  Steve Wang was not the Special FX artist for Clawed.  I’m just giving his work as example of how the industry works.

If MH’s picture is just the creature from Clawed, who sent the picture to her?  That’s the million dollar question.  Only she knows her source’s name, and who knows if he’s supplied her with his real name.  When you do costumes for a film based on a legend (real or not), you do a lot of research.  This is just speculation (again key word), but the FX guys may have come across her name in their research or heard her on a Bigfoot radio show, and decided to see if their creature could pass the test and fool a bona fide Bigfoot researcher.  When she didn’t bite, they decided to back off and drop out of the picture.  That’s a total guess on my part, but to me it’s a logical scenario.  I’ve decided it was unfair of me to make this accusation, speculative as it was, without any real information to justify it.

Nothing would make me happier than to post a retraction.  I’d be thrilled beyond belief if this were the real thing, but my spidey senses tell me that an unnamed source that disappeared for four years isn’t that reliable and shouldn’t be trusted.

UPDATE: Given that the costume was auctioned off in October of 2006 on ebay, I think it’s more likely that whoever purchased the suit is behind an attempted hoax. Assuming that Karl Kozak is correct about this being the costume from his film.

Breaking News on the Melissa Hovey Bigfoot Picture

The Bigfoot Evidence blog posted a video that compared the picture of the Bigfoot sent to Melissa Hovey by an unnamed source to an actor in a costume in the movie Clawed directed and produced by Karl Kozak. A visitor identifying himself as Karl Kozak left a comment on the blog claiming that the subject in the photo is indeed from his movie. However, the poster then made some other claims about a new Bigfoot movie he is producing and then asked for donations for his film. To say the least, this struck me as odd behavior.

I located Karl’s email address on IMDB and sent him a messsage asking him if he was the one posting on the Bigfoot Evidence blog. He responded fairly quickly stating that it was not him. He went on to say he is not working on a new Bigfoot movie.

Here’s the breaking news part. He identified the photo sent to Melissa Hovey as the creature from his movie. In other words, it is not Bigfoot. It is an actor in a costume.

One in the same?

Here is what he had to say on the matter:

I do recognize the photos of our bigfoot costume of course and the back side photo is from our film too, not the real deal.  The film was shot in North Bend Washingon in the mountains and the costume made fashioned by a Seattle SFX company.

Unfortunately, it appears as though someone is attempting to hoax Melissa. To her credit, she never claimed that this was an authentic picture of the big guy. She was extremely cautious, and I applaud the way she handled this.

So, unless her anonymous source wants to come forth with the other pictures to bolster his claim that this is a real Bigfoot and not an actor in a costume, this case is closed as far as I’m concerned. It was fun while it lasted!

UPDATE: Some people on forums and other blogs seem a little surprised that I would so easily take the word of Karl over Melissa’s source.  There’s one simple reason I put more value in Karl’s claims over her source’s claims.  I know Karl’s name.  He’s attached his name to his claim that this is the costume from his movie.  Melissa’s source has chosen to conceal his name, and he has every right to do so, but in my mind, it gives him less credibility.  It shields him from inquiry and tough guestions.  I understand he doesn’t want to be labeled a crazy person, but if he wants this image to be taken seriously, he has to do one of two things; produce the other images, or come out of hiding.  Both would be preferrable.

Bigfoot pic higher res and sans watermark

A clearer version of the image.

My initial thought is this is not a game cam photo. It’s far too detailed and clear even for today’s trail cams let alone a trail came from 4 years ago. I’m not saying this a hoax. I’m just saying the individual who supplied it is not being completely candid about how this picture was acquired.

I’d like to tell you I think this is Bigfoot, but until more is known about who took this picture and what equipment was used, I have my doubts.

A new clear photo of Bigfoot to be published today at 1:00 pm ET

Click here to see the pic.

I haven’t seen it, but it supposedly is a clear photo that is either a well-funded hoax or the real deal. Melissa Hoovey  will post it on her blog The Search for Bigfoot today at 1:00 pm.  The photo is one of a series taken by an unidentified individual’s game cam.  He is not a Bigfooter, and he’s apparently not a huge fan of all the “crazies” associated with the phenomenon.  He contacted Melissa because he had heard her on a radio program discussing Bigfoot, and he felt she would give him the best advice.  He sent her a single image from the trail cam at her request, and she claims to have been blown away by the photo.  After some discussion with the gentleman on how to proceed, he dropped off the radar.  He came across the paranormal Bigfoot community and became terrified that he would be associated with them and labeled a nut job.

Melissa’s been sitting on the photo for four years, chomping at the bit to do something about it.  She’s made the decision that the public good outweighs this gentleman’s concerns.  She feels more than confident that she can conceal his identity.  In short, she thinks the photo is too good not to share.

In her own words:

Like many others in this field of research I expected a blurry photo taken at a great distance. No, that is not what was sent. When I opened the email with the attached photo, in all honesty, I damned near fell out of my computer chair. It was so clear and the alleged animal is right there!! No zooming, nothing. I didn’t know what to do. It looked so life like. The subject of this photo looks like it could turn around at any second. I was absolutely blown away.

We shall see!

Only nine days left in Two Notch Kindle Fire Giveaway!

1. The Drawing will be on March 10.

2. I will stop accepting entries on February 29.

3. The Man Who Saved Two Notch will be made available for free from February 1- 5. I’m afraid after that it will cost $2.99 to download the book from Amazon via the Kindle Store after Feb 5.  Unfortunately, the Kindle version is no longer free, but it’s still on $2.99!

4. You must answer the qualifying question to be officially entered into the drawing. The qualifying multiple choice question is as follows:

What is Abel Decker’s horse’s name?
1. Runner
2. Chubby
3. Crank
4. The name is never given.

5. Since it is multiple choice, you only have one shot at getting it right, so make sure you read the book before answering.

6. Email me your answer at member@rwridley.com with the subject line: The answer to the Two Notch question.

7. Don’t post the correct answer anywhere online. I was alerted to someone doing that during that last drawing, and I had to disqualify the person in order to be fair to everyone else. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do, but it had to be done.

8. You can download The Man Who Saved Two Notch here.

9. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download a Kindle app for your phone or computer here, Free Kindle App

10. The only other qualification is that you must have an address within the United States where I can ship the Kindle Fire should you win. Nothing against you lovely people in other countries. It’s just really expensive for me to ship something outside of the US.

What makes Homo sapiens human?

Is this a human?

The debate continues in the Bigfoot community over the as yet revealed unrevealed results of Dr. Melba Ketchum’s DNA study. Most of the participants in the debate have no idea what Dr. K’s paper will reveal, yet through various fruitful and fruitless sleuthing techniques they believe they have uncovered what the study will conclude, Bigfoot is almost human. They, of course, have come up with more precise scientific jargon to express what that means in the world of lab coats and test tubes, but for those of us that don’t have letters after our names that is essentially what they are saying; Bigfoot differs from Homo sapiens in only the slightest way, genetically speaking.

Whether or not Dr. K’s study will stand up to scientific scrutiny remains to be seen. In fact, whether or not Dr. K’s study concludes the above even remains to be seen. The quality and conclusion of the paper can’t be debated with any degree of intelligence because no one outside of a handful of people has seen it. But that doesn’t mean this discussion has been all for naught. On the contrary, I think something very important has come out of the guessing and wishing surrounding Dr. K’s unpublished paper. What does being human really mean?

Not everyone is buying into the “almost human” moniker. Old schoolers insist we are dealing with a bipedal ape. They argue that we are simply looking at a highly intelligent animal that walks like us. Nothing more. That is where we find ourselves today on the issue of Bigfoot. There are three fairly reasonable sides to consider.

    • Bigfoot does not exist
    • Bigfoot is human
    • Bigfoot is an ape

Discounting the “Bigfoot does not exist” crowd for a moment, the divide between the two latter sides is so slim it’s hard to see. Let’s forget the DNA study for this discussion. From a moral perspective, we have to decide amongst ourselves what being human means before we can decide whether something is human or not.

As a society, we have decided that medical testing on Chimpanzees is morally acceptable because they are so genetically similar to us we can save our species  by sacrificing members of theirs. Think about it. We are knowingly killing and causing harm to something we’ve deemed an animal because its genetic structure is dissimilar to ours in the smallest degrees. Why aren’t Chimps, Gorillas and Orangutans considered human? Because they aren’t Homo sapiens? What if Neanderthals had survived and lived in our mountainous regions today? Would they be humans? Their scientific identification is Homo sapiens neanderthalensis or Homo neanderthalensis depending on who you ask. They are almost like us. More similar to us than our great ape brethren. Would it be morally acceptable to conduct medical testing on Neanderthals if they lived today?

What is it that strips something of its rights? Is it lack of language? It can’t be stated with any kind of scientific certainty that Neanderthals had language. Some of the genetic markers for speech have been discovered, so the scientific community is leaning towards the use of language by Neanderthals. So let’s pretend that language is where we draw the line in the sand. Whales and dolphins demonstrate a highly sophisticated form of sounds that some have interpreted as language. Yet, we allow countries like Japan to hunt whales for food. Koko the gorilla has demonstrated the capacity to learn and use American Sign Language, but she is not considered human. Legally, the argument could be made that we could conduct medical experiments on her despite her ability to communicate outside of her species. In fact, some would even say that teaching research apes sign language could be beneficial because they could actually describe how they are feeling. The mental state of the animal could be more accurately monitored and as a result we Homo sapiens could avoid the same kind of mental anguish.

Clearly language is not enough to consider something human. Is it culture? Is it intelligence? Is it tool us? Is it belief in a higher being? I submit that none of these are factors in determining if something is human or not. There are animals that demonstrate a cultural structure. There are highly intelligent animals. There are animals that use tools on a regular basis. And, there are Homo sapiens who do not believe in a higher being. I would even go further and say that we do not use genetics to determine if something is human or not. We decided Homo sapiens were human long before the field of genetic study even existed.

As far as I can tell, as a society we decide if something is human or not purely based on physical attributes alone. If something isn’t bipedal, it’s not human. If something is covered in hair or fur or feathers or scales, it’s not human. There are anomalies within our species that are exceptions to those rules, but overall that’s the way we’ve come to the moral determination that something is human or not. Based on those two criteria, Bigfoot puts us in a tough spot being a hairy biped.

I’ve said all that to say this. I believe debating whether Bigfoot is ape or human is putting the cart before the horse. We have to first determine what makes something human and leave genetics out of the discussion. Does something that doesn’t quite look like us deserve the same rights as we do? We may find that Bigfoot is governed by their own set of laws. They may have a language. They may even have little inside jokes about the hairless creatures that roam their forests with guns and cameras. It’s not even outside of the realm of possibility that they believe in a higher being and have communal rituals they perform in observance of their higher being. We don’t know enough to know what we don’t know.

Now you may be one of those on the third side of this issue and can’t believe for a second that Bigfoot exists. In which case, you are probably having a good chuckle right about now. Consider this. Something left behind DNA samples to be included in that study. The study revealed something that merits publication in a scientific journal. There is something out there. What it is may bring Homo sapiens to a cross roads. We may have to decide if something outside our species or something that is defined as a Homo sapiens subspecies can be considered human.