Who Forted? Magazine

Where’s the Beef? Thoughts on the Lack of Paranormal Evidence

evidence

When skeptics and believers alike look for evidence in the paranormal fields of inquiry the overwhelming question regards evidence. Where is it? What is it? What should be counted as evidence?

We have video, picture, and eyewitness testimonials, and even physical evidence in some cases, but it never seems to hold up. Why is that? It’s possible that the reason we don’t have evidence that even believers can stand behind a hundred percent is tri-fold. I’m going to break down several topics of interest, and give my thoughts on why we might not have any usable evidence. Well, public evidence at least.

Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Other Hairy Dudes

a-bigfootWhen Sasquatch researchers go searching for clues or evidence, one of the biggest finds happens to be the reason for the creature’s nickname: footprints in soft dirt, sand along creek or riverbeds, and other soft marshlands. We seem to have many footprints, but not any real fur, bone, scat, or even a body. When it comes to Sasquatch sighting and there is visual evidence of video or pictures, it seems to be very blurry or out of focus.  When we do have fur or hair to be analyzed it comes back inconclusive at best, American Black Bear at worst.

So, what gives? Why is solid evidence of Bigfoot so hard to find? Here’s a few thoughts:

Sasquatch is metaphysical in nature

Perhaps Sasquatch is a physical creature only part of the time, almost as if he is half here, and half in another dimension. There are strange stories of Sasquatches and other creatures being picked up or dropped off in UFOs, arriving or leaving in green mists, and other just plain bizarre acts of arrival or disappearance. This is a strange enough idea, but if Sasquatch were metaphysical they could only leave partial evidence behind, like, say.. footprints.

Sasquatch is entirely supernatural, a woodland spirit

When one is sighted by human eyes, they’re as real as anything else, just ask a witness. But once photographed or recorded on video, the recordings lose definition or clarity, particularly while the subject is on camera. Of course, there are hoaxes out there, and we can and do get duped every now and then by those that are particularly well-done, but what of the unsolved evidence that really stands out?

The Sasquatch or Yeti tend to be the focal point of the shot,  they’re blurry yet usually identifiable, though other pictures taken with the camera or even in the same shot, things are in focus and clear. If these creatures are either metaphysical or entirely supernatural, I would hazard a guess that they might have the ability to, well.. “blur” reality. Or perhaps have the ability to “jam” electronics if they want to be photographed. Hell, maybe it’s a passive thing.

If we can believe that something is a form of supernatural or metaphysical creature or entity, we can also believe they will be able to warp or effect reality if strong enough. If Sasquatch is a personification of the earth or woodlands, technology isn’t exactly its best friend…

Unidentified Flying Objects

PurportedUFO2The field of ufology makes me the most curious as to the things that are really going on, specifically why we don’t have particularly good evidence. This is especially perplexing considering the high speed cameras and advanced technology widely available to observe and record strange things everywhere.

One reason for lack of concrete evidence is actually quite simple:  they don’t land on the ground and are just really good at avoiding being shot down or captured.

Aside from the theory of being fantastic escape artists,  there could be several other reasons why we lack good evidence of extraterrestrial craft.

It’s an entirely natural phenomena on Earth

It’s possible that the UFOs we see in photographs and video clips are just a natural occurrence that we don’t quite understand. The spheres, lights, and even tube-like objects reported could be a form of plasma, a biological response to certain geological conditions, or even simply a kind of weather related phenomena.

The uniform shape, colors and speeds of similarly shaped objects can’t be denied, though. When someone actually manages to snap a photo, or are lucky enough to capture a video, they seem to blend into the skies they occupy, and video footage is usually too shaky to examine properly. Those particular objects might lend themselves to military craft. Good luck getting information about that.

They are multi-dimensional, or have a “bubble” around them.

We’ve seen UFOs capable of some astounding feats, many of which are completely un-repeatable by modern technology if piloted. The 90 degree turns and sudden bursts of speed exhibited by these objects tend to make me think that they are either not fully here, or have shields of some sort. The occupants of most space vehicles will tell speak of the toll it takes upon the body for exiting and re-entering our atmosphere. It’s certainly not the thickest around, but the g-force exerted during some of these maneuvers would crush a man. So, to have a machine perform these maneuvers with occupants is unheard of unless they have anti gravity tech that compensates.

Extraterrestrials, Ghosts, and Other Creatures

This is a catch all for the entities that are extremely random or unclassifiable that happen to turn up in blurry photos from time to time. We have the extraterrestrial peeping toms, the cave goblins, the duende, or the ghost haunting an old prison. Again, with these creatures, no real evidence seems to exist.

The entities and cryptids of visiting us (and they are) could possibly use a combination of techniques to “hide”. Sometimes they manage to leave questionable evidence, and indeed, there is the occasional footprints, hair sample, or fluids left behind. But there is one reason why I believe we don’t have good evidence, and it’s a big one.

Humans in times of high strangeness don’t react properly

Dude RunBottom line, I think that we are to blame for not having good evidence.

I’m not saying that your crappy phone or your 1.1 megapixel CVS brand digital camera is useless (but let’s be honest here..), and I’m not saying that your 35 plaster footprint castings are bunk. What I am saying is that humans, when confronted with high strangeness or extreme stress, tend to, well.. freak out, unless they’ve been trained to do otherwise. It’s just in our nature to do so. We tend to miss important facts, forget to turn the camera on, and sometimes.. we just run for our lives, abandoning any chance of evidence collection.

This kind of reaction isn’t horrible (it’s in there for a reason), and it doesn’t make us stupid (some would say running from a monster makes you quite the opposite), it just means that most of us would choose the option of living another day over narrowly escaping a Chupacabra for the sake of a crisp photo and bragging rights.

But for the rest of you, if you do happen to come across a strange event or entity, steady that camera and for the love of god, chase it. Run that bastard down and tackle it. What’s the worst that could happen, aside from another mystery?

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Can you think of another reason that we lack solid evidence of the paranormal? Agree, disagree, or have something to add to a point? We want your thoughts! Tweet us @WhoForted or leave a message in the comments section below. To stay up to date with the latest weird news, like us on Facebook!

I am a pagan who is interested in the Fortean studies trying to make my way through a world of science and magick that I love equally. Without science there can be no magick. Interests: Out of place artifacts, UFO/ETH, Transhumanism, cryptozoology, magick, and anything that catches my fancy.

22 Comments

  1. Russ

    03/29/2013 at 3:40 PM

    Every time I’ve gone out on some paranormal jaunt with friends, if something weird happens, I start going towards it, saying something like “Hey, what is tha–” and then one or several of my friends grabs me and starts running. My choices at that point are run, or be dragged.
    It’s hard to be angry at friends who are trying to save your life (in their minds that is what is happening, and I can’t really say they are wrong).

    • Todd Misura

      03/30/2013 at 12:46 PM

      Towards the end of last year me and a small group would routinely go to a spot that we knew had strange things happen at. We got ghosts, sky sounds, and other stuff I’ve documented. We got scared, but were either stupid or had brass balls to stay even longer.

  2. Marc

    03/29/2013 at 7:30 PM

    Couple of things to consider. Yes, there are millions more cameras running around loose out there (Google “drunk college students” sometime), but most of them use the same, cheap, and shitty lenses we had on the cheap cameras we used prior to 1999. So while they are great at photographing your vomiting friend, they are worthless in the dark, low light, and great distances.

    A good friend is a professional wildlife photographer with an expensive camera and set of monster lenses. He specializes in birds, and he loves shooting Humming Birds. He shoots rapid fire once he finds a subject, but out of sixty exposures only ten(on average) are usable. A great camera with a huge lens is great because it allows him to shoot from a distance which can leave the animal unaware of his presence. Still, even on a day when he wants to shot ducks he has to lie in wait often for hours until the ducks show up and paddle into range. If he has to move the ducks will scatter.

    Try following your cat around with a camera some time and see how long it takes to get that perfect shot, and see how many shots are ruined by the cat moving or turning its head. Digital cameras have issues, digital cameras on phones add more issues. In the seconds it takes for the camera to set up the picture is gone.

    Had Patterson had a digital camera in the four or five seconds it usually takes to turn it that thing walking in thew river-bed is father away. That old movie camera just pointed and shot.

    Another issue with digital cameras is that they have a logic chip to process the image it records. Film just exposed the image onto a negative. The only alteration to the image itself was that it was recorded upside down. The digital image gets a work-over as the image is reassembled in a digital matrix, and with cheap cameras data is often lost as the chip sorts things out. More expensive cameras (DSLRs, etc) have better imaging chips and the images are always truer. But most people have no desire to spend the $600 to $1700 for one of these cameras as they are happy with the cheap one on their phones, or the low-end point & shoot jobs from Canon and Nikon. This means we are at the mercy of cheap equipment in the hands of amateurs.

    Another great experiment any good skeptic should do is try photographing a passing airplane sometime. I don’t mean stake out an airport, or hit an airshow (although airshows are fun, and great practice for amateur photogs)I mean as soon as you hear the tell-tale engines you reach for your camera phone and try to get a shot. In 1989 I took a cheap instamatic camera to the local airshow because Mig-29s were the featured attraction. I have a bunch of photos of 2 of the Russian planes on static display, but the pictures I took of the planes in the air sucked. Just a tiny dot in a blue sky. Someone unfamiliar with the fact that Migs had visited the US would look at the picture and say “That could be anything.”

    UFOs are always going to be a problem. Most people never look up, and are usually inside at night. This means that they are unaware of all the things that go on in the sky. I’m an airplane buff so I spend a lot of time looking up. In my 49 years I’ve only seen two things that didn’t add up, but I’ll skip those stories. All that needs to be said is that light distorts as the atmosphere changes, and on some night a small light can be seen fifty miles away. So people see a strange light where they don’t normally see one and they flip out.

    The next problem is the US Military. Many sightings are military craft doing a secret training mission. All you need to know is that if it’s a secret mission, or a secret unit on a training mission the military won’t say anything. You might get a statement say training was being conducted but it depends on the unit. Some units (Delta, ST6) rarely acknowledge anything unless it was obvious (the 160th doing low altitude flights through Chicago in the days leading up to the Democratic Convention is a good example of a “Black” unit being visible. They also conduct training missions in other cities but are quiet about it). The Air Force and Navy are often more tight-lipped than the Army, and they are the ones with all of the cool planes with the uber-sensitive radars.
    It would be a crutch and cop-out to say “Who knows what all they have locked away in their files?” because the military leaves a paper trail. The trick is knowing the date, location, and units involved in an incident, and even then it’s like Rumpelstiltskin. You often need to know mission code names and other details, but even then you will receive documents that are blacked out. While it means you can’t read it, this means that you know the unit, and can begin to track down crew members. Eventually someone talks, Brentwaters is a good example of a UFO incident where the veterans of the unit were more than happy to tell their stories.

    The trick with the military is not taking an adversarial attitude. If you are respectful, keep your ears open and your mouth shut you can learn a lot. Many times it will take years but it can be worth it.

    As far as Bigfoot goes, I keep an open mind. I returned to college in 2007 and I’m working toward a degree in Marine Geology. It’s hard work (algebra is killing me). In my Marine Biology class I was able to meet some of the top research scientists on earth who work at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) at Moss Landing, CA. Research takes time, and often the biggest breakthroughs are thanks to blind luck. Almost every few months new aquatic deep-sea animals are discovered in the depths of Monterey Bay’s submarine canyon. These critters have been there for thousands of years, but it’s only been in the last 25 years that we’ve been going down there. If you walked into Three Rivers Stadium in February you would never see a Pittsburgh Steeler, or Pirate, and this is what we’re up against with the deep sea. The MARS observatory is changing this as it gives MBARI a 24/7 presence on a shelf of the canyon some 3000 feet below the surface. A small farm of sensors, and a camera keep constant watch. The new data is off the charts.
    This parallels to bigfoot because there is not a huge presence deep in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. Something I’ve learned in Marine Biology is just how much field research IS NOT BEING DONE. Money is tight, and when biologists head into the woods the clock is ticking so they don’t do a lot of looking around. The focus is on the their animal or plant of choice, and that is it. Almost never will a biology team just hike into the remote forest and spend three or four months living out there seeing what there is to see. Those forests are dense, and the terrain is rugged (just ask DB Cooper). The 2nd Ranger Battalion trains in the Nisqually Forest, and often nobody knows they are there, and if they do their job right they are never seen. That’s 150+ guys with guns running around a state park undetected. (*Note: I should say that they used to do this, I don’t know if they continue to do this). Granted Rangers are sneaky dudes, but it should make one think that if 150 men can be hidden in the woods a handful of solitary creatures can hide too.

    Sorry this has been so long and rambling but I need to end with this:

    Remember the Pink Iguana.

    What’s the Pink Iguana? It is a subspecies of Galapagos Marine Iguana. It was “discovered” on a remote beach on one of the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos Islands are the most heavily researched locations on the planet. Not one of the thousands of scientists had ever bothered to wander over to this one beach, and the first guy who did was shocked to discover the iguanas here are pink. Bright pink. Not a color that blends into the volcanic rocks, and not a species of lizard capable of changing skin color to blend into its surroundings. Nope, bright flipping pink. And all of those biologists – including Charles Darwin – had missed seeing them.

    So remember the Pink Iguana and keep on keepin’ on.

    • the paraclete

      03/30/2013 at 9:47 AM

      Right on.

    • Todd Misura

      03/30/2013 at 12:48 PM

      yeps, all good points :D

    • 49152

      04/12/2013 at 6:35 AM

      Wow. Marc, your comment is the most sensible piece of writing I have ever seen on any paranormal site in 17+ years of surfing. A huge number of good points all well made. I appreciate “most people never look up”, they really don’t.
      The article is good too.

  3. Stormeye

    03/30/2013 at 5:43 AM

    I’ve been saying for some time that paranormal, Sasquatch and UFO investigators need to be taking a closer look at the plethora of information now available on the magical traditions. Anyone with a halfway open mind who begins researching this angle will quickly realize that most, if not all, of the high strangeness out there is known to these traditions and that they have working models for explaining and dealing with such things. Take a look at John Michael Greer’s book: “Monsters – An Investigators Guide to Magical Beings”.

  4. Jon

    03/30/2013 at 12:37 PM

    I think a big part of the issue is tv making all these things so popular recently. So people go out and try to imitate tv only with much worse results. Nobody takes the time to research what equipment might work for them. They just grab whatever cheap thing they have laying around and expect results. I spent over a month researching before putting together all the parts for my portable cctv infrared video rig. The results speak for them self, I can record in pure darkness outside at over 200 yards. However not everyone can afford 700 bucks to build one either, or have the technical expertise to build one since it’s custom made rig. The fact of the matter is there is very little off the shelf equipment that can perform in the dark, and at long ranges, and NONE that can do it cheaply!!!! This is a very very expensive habit, and most people just can’t pay to play. I don’t like to admit how much I have tied up in equipment since I have enough high end toys to equip a whole crew but they are just for me lol!

  5. Usul

    03/31/2013 at 2:20 PM

    Try taking a picture of a shooting “star” as it happens. Not of the full sky before it happens, but snap a photo as it happens. Good luck. That’s the same with UFOs. Even if you carried a camera around 24/7, you still couldn’t do it.
    Here is some evidence of the paranormal by Dean Radin and others that can and should be classed as scientific proof.

  6. Jim

    04/01/2013 at 6:43 AM

    Perhaps there simply can be no evidence of that which does not exist? That being said the nature of some experiences are such that they don’t lend themselves to objective quantification, such as an encounter with something spiritual. Bigfoot on the other hand probably is just folklore given the dearth of evidence of something that should leave tangible traces of its existence.
    Some people want to believe in things so badly they don’t depend on evidence to support those beliefs.

    • Jasper T. Woodsman

      04/01/2013 at 9:44 AM

      That’s an understandable perspective, and I’ll be the first to say it’s the boon of believers in the paranormal. But a lack of evidence is not evidence against, and the phrase, “Some people want to believe in things so badly they don’t depend on evidence to support those beliefs,” could be leveled against non-believers just as easily.

      I agree, there can be no evidence of that which does not exist–so why do these sightings persist, even in die hard skeptics? If it wasn’t a mystery, well, it wouldn’t be a mystery!

      • Todd Misura

        04/01/2013 at 7:19 PM

        One thing that I want to make clear is that I am not saying that a lack of proof doesn’t mean a lack of reality. On the contrary I believe that a lack of proof should make us question and ask more questions.

  7. Mad Dan Eccles

    04/01/2013 at 10:03 AM

    Sorry, but Jim’s got a point! Leaving aside flying saucers, which might fairly plausibly have amazing alien technology that can do all sorts of things, why isn’t there any good evidence for Bigfoot?

    Saying that it’s real enough to leave footprints and other physical traces of an inconclusive nature, and even be photographed, but has the amazing supernatural power to vanish whenever it might be shot, captured, or otherwise proven to exist, plus the less amazing but ludicrously specific power of making all photos of it turn out rather badly, is special pleading taken to truly insane levels!

    Think about it. “Bigfoot must be real because I have lots of bad evidence, but unfortunately I can never, ever get any good evidence because Bigfoot has near-infinite supernatural powers that prevent this.” Save your breath and just say “OK, I’m fooling myself!” Logically, you might just as well claim that sometimes, for a bit of a giggle, God Almighty puts on a gorilla suit.

    • Greg Newkirk

      04/01/2013 at 1:47 PM

      Bigfoot died for our sins. Amen.

    • Todd Misura

      04/01/2013 at 7:23 PM

      In all honesty I do think that Sasquatch is a real entity, and these were just possible suggestions. For all we know Bigfoot is just a ghost that possesses people and morphs them into what used to walk the land. And that ghost can and will make you leave footprints and eat tree bark. We don’t know exactly what is going on.

      So we keep searching. For the truth, for ourselves.

  8. Kandinsky

    04/01/2013 at 2:23 PM

    Since my early teens, I’ve had a series of unusual experiences that range from ‘haunting’ type strangeness to a couple of UFO sightings. Some happened in company and others occurred all alone. The UFO sightings (in company) weren’t recordable due to either speed in one case and magnitude (brightness) in the other.

    I don’t mention them to bang my own drum, rather than to make the point that, despite personal experience, they aren’t evidence even for me. They’re subjective reference points that tell me something’s amiss in the way we judge what’s real and what might be. They’re no use whatsoever to anyone else and set the fires of curiosty for me alone.

    Maybe it’s similar to the way astronomers recorded sightings of odd lights on the moon? They were repeated for centuries. It wasn’t until the late ’50s when the first multiple, simultaneous sighting of what we now call transient lunar phenomena gave these reports credibility.

    Even so, despite thousands of hours of telescope time being focused on the moon (every damn night someone’s looking up there), we’ve just got a few seconds of suggestive footage and only speculation has been generated by them.

    The bar’s set very fricken high when it comes to acceptable evidence. Proof of a bigfoot might take some bloodied Will Smith guy dragging a beaten carcass up the steps to MIT.

    • Todd Misura

      04/01/2013 at 7:28 PM

      Much of the paranormal experiences that we have are personal and subjective. We as a community need to have a way to sit down and formulate a working plan or course of action for obtaining evidence if there is any to get it. We have to also stand by and look at everything with fresh eyes.

      But something that we need is a bloodied Will Smith dragging a corpse to MIT. Damn right we do :D

  9. Bryan Daum

    04/02/2013 at 8:54 AM

    You asked for other reasons:
    UFOs are interdimensional and/or cloaked but not perfectly.
    Or
    The have some quantum aspect
    Or
    We are in manipulated holigram (I just hate that one, but bright minds say its possible -still I think its more than a big streatch)
    Or
    They are related to Dark Matter or Dark Energy
    Further
    Mythical Sasquatch,Ghosts, Goblins and Fairies and the UFO questions are just not in the same conversation.
    My skeptical side also screams “Where’s the beef” except that I saw a dayligt UFO that just left me just stunned some 30 years ago. So I keep looking for the beef, disclosure, or nonbiblical revelation.

  10. Kwin The Eskimo

    04/02/2013 at 3:19 PM

    Sorry, but whenever someone takes the Sasquatch phenomena from the biological realm into the supernatural realm I shut them off and disregard their position. You cannot prove something by using something else you cannot prove as your solution. It makes one sound like a raving idiot.

    See, you cannot photograph the giant purple flying donkey of Madris LaPorta because it is not from this dimension. When it appears in our reality it warps space around itself and its hide reflects certain light waves at different intervals. But, oh yeah, they’re real. I’ve even found their footprints.

    (This comment is not designed to discourage anyone’s belief in the giant flying purple donkey of Madris LaPorta)

  11. Pingback: Where’s the Beef? Thoughts on the Lack of Paranormal Evidence | Illuminutti

  12. butch

    04/11/2013 at 5:36 AM

    the theories on big foot reminds me of a show i watched talking about marine biology, this is the example given by the show ,which i think is a brilliant way to shit on the nay-sayers!”i live in kentucky and hear about these things called lobsters and how delicioous they are.well i decide that i will have lobster 4 dinner so every nite at the same time i open my door and wait outside with a net to catch a lobster 2 eat. a whole year goes by and i never even see a lobster, let alone catch 1 or eat it! so i go back to the friends i had over heard discussing lobsters and tell them they are foolish for their beliefs because i waited a whole year trying 2 catch a lobster and it never happened,therefore, there is no such thing as lobsters”!
    absense of proof is not proof of absense!

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