POCATELLO — Bigfoot fans were treated to an opportunity to hear from some of the world’s foremost experts on Sasquatch when “Sasquatch Prints in the Park” convened at the Fort Hall replica at Upper Ross Park in Pocatello.
This weekend’s event featured multiple presentations by Bigfoot researchers like Idaho State University Physical Anthropology professor Jeff Meldrum and former “Finding Bigfoot” host Cliff Barackman. The event gave fans a chance to buy Bigfoot and other paranormal-related merchandise from vendors and speak face-to-face with the show’s expert guests.
“These types of events serve many different purposes,” Meldrum told EastIdahoNews.com. “From my perspective, it’s an opportunity for academic outreach or educational opportunity.”
The experts educated their audience on the myriad of research angles from which to approach a subject that may seem fairly narrow and limited to those unfamiliar with the art and science of Sasquatch research.
For example, Meldrum’s primary area of expertise is footprints.
“My day-to-day research is primarily focused on the evolution of human bipedalism,” Meldrum said. “But I have an interest in the possible existence of Sasquatch and have made a study of the footprint evidence to that end.”
Meldrim’s presentations showed in-depth analysis of physical evidence left behind by Bigfoot and dug into the famous Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film that was captured in Bluff Creek, California in 1967. He also illuminated the link between the science and mythology of the creature.
He said that while the film is a powerful testament to the existence of Sasquatch, the most compelling evidence he’s seen has been the footprints.
“That’s where my expertise comes in,” he said. “It requires a certain degree of expertise to really fully appreciate. While some people see just a collection of feet, I see the underlying anatomy that is consistently represented in all these seemingly disparate examples of Sasquatch footprints.”
Barackman offered insight he accrued while shooting 100 episodes of “Finding Bigfoot.”
“The show was fantastic,” he said. “It took me to places I never expected to visit and I learned a tremendous amount about the species. It turns out Sasquatches live in some very unexpected areas. The evidence is overwhelming that they’re in fact real animals and it was just the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Barackman’s presentations stressed that you don’t need a degree from a university to do scientific research. He emphasized the importance of being a “citizen scientist” and the essential role that amateur researchers play in the scientific discovery process, citing the fact that the majority of comets and asteroids are discovered by amateur astronomers as an example.
The event featured a number of other experts like Scot Violette of Oregon’s Blue Mountain Bigfoot Research team who filled EastIdahoNews.com in on the link between Sasquatch and Native Americans. Becky Cook, author of “Bigfoot Lives… in Idaho” spoke of her own encounter with Sasquatch and not needing science to validate what you see with your own eyes.
Both Meldrum and Barackman also noted that events like “Sasquatch Prints in the Park” offer those who may have had a Bigfoot encounter a haven where they can share their experience with other like-minded people.
“I find that many, many people, many more than anyone would ever suspect, have had experiences with Sasquatch,” said Barackman. “But nobody wants to talk about it because of their fear of being chastised or being ridiculed or thought of as a drunk or crazy or something like that.”
“A lot of people cry when they tell me these things because they’re relieved that they can finally unburden this strange thing that they experienced on somebody who will take them seriously and listen to them,” he added.
Meldrum said such events often benefit both the people who attend and have Bigfoot encounter stories as well as the researchers and experts themselves.
“Here they experience a community of sympathetic listeners,” he said. “And I receive numerous gems of information and data that people provide from stories of experiences to even examples of footprints. It all adds to the data.”