Do Bigfoot TV Shows Help the Subject?

TV Crew Photo by Ben Collins on Unsplash
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I have been working on portions of the book dealing with Bigfoots in the modern era and I thought I would share an excerpt from a draft I’m working on. It deals with the documentary style TV shows and specials that have become big hits and brought attention to the subject of Bigfoots and their possible existence.

The Internet Spawns the Era

Laptop Photo by Glen Carstens on Unsplash
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

In the late 1990s and early 2000s the internet hit its stride and sites with forums about Bigfoots popped up all over the place.  People could finally connect with others about their own experiences and share photos and videos of what they claimed to be a Sasquatch with the world.  With this newfound ability to share evidence the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization was formed by Matt Moneymaker to compile sighting reports into a centralized database.  Moneymaker would go on to co-star in a reality series dedicated to finding evidence of Bigfoots called, well, Finding Bigfoot

Legend Meets Stardom

Before Finding Bigfoot came a seminal documentary in 2003 on The Discovery Channel named Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.  I said in the introduction that this was the program that got me interested in the phenomenon as a real area of study and opened my eyes to the existence of incredible evidence for these creatures.  It also introduced the world to Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, an anthropologist who studies anatomy and bipedalism.  Dr. Meldrum helped a lot of people realize that there were some academics who took the possibility of the creatures seriously and thought the subject was worthy of study.  Directed by Doug Hajicek, this documentary spawned the excellent TV series MonsterQuest

Most episodes of MonsterQuest revolved around Bigfoot-like creatures, but the show explored a lot of different cryptids over its run.  The show took a very scientific approach and didn’t over-sensationalize its subjects.  Often scientists from different disciplines would be brought in to examine evidence and the show would submit samples for DNA and other testing.  It would also feature Cliff Barackman and James “Bobo” Fay in a few episodes, and those two would go on to join Matt Moneymaker on Finding Bigfoot.

Finding Fame for Bigfoots

Finding Bigfoot was immensely popular and came at a time that paranormal-based investigative reality shows were beginning to bloom across the ever-growing landscape of cable television.  The show followed Moneymaker, Barckman, Fay, and skeptical field biologists Renee Holland across the country and eventually the globe in search of the ever-elusive animals.  While no definitive proof was ever found, interesting things did happen, and the show was entertaining.

Help or Harm?

Camera Crew Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

While some researchers believe that these types of shows harm the credibility of the subject, I disagree.  They not only bring awareness to the subject, but also fund expeditions and scientific testing that would otherwise not happen.  DNA testing, for example, isn’t cheap, so when Discovery or A&E Networks fork out money to test hair, scat, or other evidence it helps the field as a whole.  Sure, Destination Truth, Finding Bigfoot, and other shows are edited and enhanced for entertainment.  So what?  The fact that they are entertaining is what keeps the subject in the public eye and being studied.

Yes, there are some shows that are completely faked and scripted, and they don’t always expressly state that when airing.  Maybe those shows do some damage, but more people are interested in, and doing their own research on Bigfoots is never a bad thing.

Chad Gatlin

I have been a Firefighter, a Radio Personality, a Writer, and an Insurance Agent. Now I am adding Author to that list! I have had a long interest in the weird and unexplained, and love to discuss and debate these subjects.

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