First of all I want to say thank you to Cliff for taking a few minutes out of his very busy schedule to answer our Forum questions for our Blog page. I must say that Cliff’s name has come up for questions often in the last few months I have been doing this blog. Cliff, did you know the only other Finding Bigfoot cast member’s name that has been asked for is James “Bobo” Fay? I think that is a testament to the fact our forum relates more to you.
Thank you for the kind words and for the opportunity to interact with the folks at Bigfootforums.com. I'm always happy to answer questions based on my experiences and speculations, but please remember: I'm not a bigfoot expert, though I play one on TV. There are no bigfoot experts. I'm just a bigfoot learner, like everybody else.
1) David NC;
- I would like to ask Cliff that with his travels around the country is the realization that Sasquatch is more widespread in the United States readily accepted now?
It is certainly more accepted that sasquatches have a wider range than was previously thought a few decades ago. As recently as the 1980's, many prominent bigfoot researchers thought this was largely a Pacific Northwest phenomenon. I think this view is now widely recognized to be incorrect. As far as I can tell, sasquatches live in suitable habitat throughout most of North America. (Their presence below the Mexican border is not well-documented, and is based mostly in historical newspaper accounts and heresay) Sasquatches, or at least closely related species, seemingly are, or were, present on all the other continents (except for Antarctica).
First off, thanks for your work an time, it's appreciated.
· Besides the P/G film and tracks, what is the most compelling piece of evidence for you, be it a video, audio, sightin' report or track find?
For me, I find the congruency of all the available data to be the most compelling thing to support the reality of the species. The inferred structure of the foot based on footprint evidence is congruent with what can be observed in the PGF. The anatomy and behavior noted in historical newspaper accounts coincides perfectly with what people continue to report to the present day. The hand and foot impressions on record seem to be morphologically similar whether from WA, KY, MI, or elsewhere. Congruencies abound, and in fact seem to be the norm. If this was all made up, there should be some notable discrepancies, but there really aren't. I find that impressive.
· Is there one such piece that fascinates you to no end? All the best! Pat Beaton...
Not so much one piece of evidence, but I'm really into the repeat appearances of one individual sasquatch over time. There are some excellent examples from the footprint track data that show one or two individuals popping up again and again in a general area as the years progress. This information gives insight into possible habits, range, and seasonality of the creatures, as well as rare glimpses into the social structure of bigfoots.
· My question for Cliff is; will you be doing any follow-up work on the site of the London Trackway when he is not busy with the show?
Yes, though my time is limited. I have started experimenting with fake feet in order to learn more about the tell-tale signs of hoaxing. I have also enlisted the help of a USGS soil geologist to help with possibly determining the mass of the track maker.
I'm not so sure anymore that the London Trackway is the real deal, so I'm working on the “null hypothesis” approach: trying to prove it is not real. If I can do this, then I have my answer. If not, the question is still open. My confidence in the trackway is about about 50/50 right now.
· Hi Cliff, on the show, you guys do a lot of calls and wood knocks. I realize that it is necessary to get responses to make the night investigations more exciting and "TV worthy" (whatever that means!). But how do your own methodologies differ from those used on the show?
· Do you do the same types of things when you are not being filmed?
On Finding Bigfoot, we necessarily have to take the kind of approach that I refer to as “quick and dirty.” We only have a couple nights at a location, and calls and knocks are an effective way to get a response and make some television with some real possible bigfoot action included. However, I don't really take that same approach when I'm working my own spots outside of Portland, OR where I live.
I do knock and call at times, but I use these techniques sparingly. It seems pretty clear to me that you can't trick a bigfoot for long before it catches on and learns that humans are doing the calling. They will soon recognize your calls, and they might just leave the area if they figure out that it's just you again.
I think a better approach is to frequent a certain location as much as possible doing the exact same thing every time. I recommend that one drives the same car, wears the same clothes, does the same routine, goes to bed at the same time, etc... Just assume that you're being watched when you are at the location.
My goal is to become a predictable feature in THEIR environment. They need to learn about me if I'm going to be allowed to learn about them. They need to learn that I am not a threat, and I am interesting enough to come around and watch for a while.
The problem with my preferred research method is that I'm on the road for eight or nine months a year, so I cannot become that predictable feature in their environment. They might recognize me at the Blueberry Bog, but I'm not predictable yet. Maybe once the show's over I can do a better job at this...
· Do you think knocks/calls could alert them to your presence and cause them to move away, or do you feel like it peaks their curiosity and draws them in? Thanks, and I really enjoy the show - Never miss it! Michele
I think that knocks and calls could do either of these. It depends on the sasquatch. They are as individual as you and me, and they don't conform to our expectations. Some bigfoots are just more curious than others, and some are more shy. Some are probably just plain jerks. They seem to be very people-like in this way.
· Hi Cliff, since you have begun working with the Bridges what conclusions have you drawn about the Sasquatch in Florida as compared to those living in the PNW?
I don't see any significant difference between the sasquatches in Florida and those found in other parts of North America. They have the same foot morphology and general behaviors as described elsewhere. They may live in a different habitat, but so do the bigfoots that live in South Dakota and the Pacific Coast. I don't think the habitat makes for a different species when pretty much everything else about them is the same.
6) Doc Holiday;
- So for cliff.......how about, how often do you have to fight the urge to smack MM on the back of his head and ask " what are you thinking ??" LOL
To be fair, I think we all can be difficult sometimes, not just Moneymaker. We spend a tremendous amount of time together, and we all have strong personalities, so we wear on one another. I liken it to going on a roadtrip with your significant other. They will eventually annoy you, though you get along fine. I feel that we have a good balance and understanding of one another now. I wouldn't smack anyone on the head, and I could ask eitherMoneymaker, Bobo, or Ranae, “What are you thinking?” and they would not be offended.
- But more seriously, if you could do things different on the show what would you change?
I would probably change the bigfoot that comes on before and after the commercial. It roars and growls and drools, giving the viewer a skewed perception of what a sasquatch is. It is made to frighten, but this isn't fair to bigfoots. I understand why they do it, though. A bigfoot silently walking into brush isn't nearly as dramatic, unless you've seen this yourself.
· Cliff, you say you were once pro-kill to obtain a specimen for scientific confirmation of the species but are not anymore, what made you change your mind?
Compassion made me change my mind. The more I learned about the species, the more I realized that no individual bigfoot deserves to make the sacrifice to be shot for the sake of the species. They are not humans, but they are so human-like that it seems to me that it would be morally wrong to kill one. I feel this same way about the other great ape species, and I would feel that way about any other hominoid that might be discovered elsewhere in the world. To sum it up in one sentence: It is very rude to kill an individual in order to satisfy our curiosity.
- What would you say is the worst part and the best part of doing the Finding Bigfoot series?
The best part about doing Finding Bigfoot has to be the amazing opportunities it has given me to learn about the species in different parts of the world. Sure, the adventure stuff is awesome. Who doesn't like riding ATVs, crashing in hot air balloons, and traveling the world? But still, at the end of the day it is really cool to see the similarities between bigfoots in different parts of the globe and to compare them. It has given me an understanding of the species that I don't think I could have obtained just by working my spots in Oregon and Washington.
The worst thing about being on Finding Bigfoot is the time I have to spend away from home. It's hard to tell from watching the show, but I'm basically an introverted home-body. I love to be at home, and I love to be in Portland. When I hit the road, I leave behind my dog, girlfriend, garden, guitar, fish tank, friends, and everything else that makes me Cliff. I miss my life, but this won't last forever, and you have to make hay while the sun is shining, so they say.
· Am I wrong, or does Renae seem a bit less skeptical lately?
It's hard to say. I can't really figure her out. She speaks and acts like bigfoots are real, but then she says she doesn't think they are and never has. I think you'd have to ask Ranae about this, as I'm not qualified to answer for her.
This is a loaded question and if you can give a hint to the answer that would be pretty awesome.
· Has the Finding Bigfoot show ever left out any evidence of Bigfoot that was determined to have been too frightening or disconcerting for the viewing audience?
No, this has never happened. Something that has happened, though, is that bigfoot stuff has occurred that wasn't included in the show because it didn't happen on camera. Television is a visual media, and if the cameras didn't capture something, it cannot make the show. It makes sense, but it can be pretty aggravating. For example, in Virginia while the cast was out trying to encounter a bigfoot on a night investigation, a bigfoot or two came around base camp where the crew and PA were hanging out in the cars watching movies or doing whatever they do while we are working (they have to sit there with their walkie talkies on in case we need something in the field, but they basically have nothing to do for the four to six hours we are out walking around) and started throwing rocks at the cars. Several rocks hit the sides and tops of the U-Haul van, but the crew didn't realize what was going on at the time. This obviously couldn't make the show since it didn't happen to the cast, and it wasn't on camera.
Cliff, enjoy your work, attitude and openness.
· Do you have a youtube channel which displays any of your music?
No, not yet. I am slowly getting my music website back in order, though, and will be offering downloads of my original music there when things get going. Eventually, CliffordBarackman.com will be up and running and will offer my recordings for free, or whatever you'd like to pay me for them. This business model is called “Pay what you want,” and it hits a chord in me that I like. I don't plan on making a living on my music, and I really want people to enjoy it, so the Pay-what-you-want model makes a lot of sense to me. A little extra beer money is never a bad thing, but I won't have to depend on it to pay my mortgage.
· From your viewpoint, what new technologies and/or methodology do you see coming to, or happening in the Bigfoot Research field? Thanks
I think the most important technological innovation that will change bigfooting is that thermal imagers and night vision will get cheaper, thus putting this technology in the hands of more and more people. This has already started to happen, but when the gear is within reach for hobbyists and laymen, we should see a lot more video clips of possible bigfoots coming in. This, of course, will raise questions on how to authenticate the clips, but that's a good problem to have.
As far as methodologies for bigfooting, I hope that more rural people will recognize that they share the woods, and even their own properties, with sasquatches. These people could then obtain some of this inexpensive thermal or night vision surviellance gear and install it in likely locations to get more footage. I think the most effective method of studying bigfoots is to empower the locals/propert owners to do the ground work and get footage. After all, they are the ones that actually live there full time with the bigfoots.
· Hi Cliff, in the years since 2008 I have changed my opinion of the BF totally. It started from fear because my son had been chased by one and it really scared him terribly. At the time he was 16 years old and was stalking coyotes with a shotgun on our hunting lease. We then found a series of tracks, very large ones and smaller ones on the road bed where this happened. That made me realize it probably could have been defending a younger one. Also, I have no doubt if it had wanted, it would have attacked him because it was within 50 feet. Was there ever a time you feared them or thought they were more like monsters so often portrayed on TV movies?
No, not really. I figured that if they were dangerous or aggressive, they would have been “discovered” by now, probably by an angry mob with pitchforks and torches. That's not to say that I haven't been unnerved by their presence once or twice. After all, they are large hairy ape-men, and that in itself is kind of creepy. But still, logic tends to prevail in me, and I don't really fear them any more than I would another wild creature.
· As I began spending more time learning about them and several glimpses of them in the woods around our camp. I began to change from fear to more curious of what they were. After several interactions and very good visuals including my wife seeing one look around a tree, we saw the face as much more human like that I even thought they were. Do you think as I do after much more evidence and interaction that the BF is a type of person?
No, I don't think they are a type of person. They are a different species with different needs, thoughts, desires, and ways of interacting with their environment. We probably share many of the same emotions, fears, and impulses with us, just like we do with other species, particularly the great apes. However, to simplify them into another type of person I think is to not do them justice. They are sasquatches. That is why I respect them and love them. Just like many other species, they are very human-like in some ways, but are not human. This does not imply they should be treated as inferiors in any way. They should not be hunted. They should not be disrespected. They should not be eaten. They should be learned about and respected for what they are: sasquatches.
· Have you had any clear sightings of their face and if so, what was your thought at that time?
No, I have not.
· Do you have any current projects besides the Finding Bigfoot show you can tell us about?
I think the most important thing I'm doing is the Orang Pendek Project. I am working with the locals in Sumatra to obtain physical evidence in the form of footprint tracks and hair samples of orang pendeks in Kerinci National Park. Before I started this project two years ago, there were two or maybe three orang pendek casts in the world. Now I can proudly say there are nearly forty in my collection, and more coming in all the time (I literally got an email this morning that there was another sighting or track find with footprint casts made). I am working on sharing the finds with the public via my website, but my time is short because I'm on the road filming the show.
· Last question. Do you think they will be proven to science any time soon?
Soon? I don't know. Since they are in fact a real species, I do think it is an eventuality, though. My opinion on when this might happen fluxuates back and forth, but when it comes down to it, I kind of don't care when science figures out they're real. Since I am not pro-kill, I cannot advocate them being “proven” to science because that necessitates a dead one. There is no other option because that is the way science currently works. One will eventually be shot, hit by a car, found dead, or something like that. Will it happen soon? I have no idea. In the meantime, I'll be here trying to learn as much as I can about them and trying to obtain footage so people can share our enthusiasm for the creatures.
Again our thanks to your time and we look very much forward to your answers. Please feel free to post any links or mention any future appearances here. We feel very honored that you agreed to take the time to help us continue this series of very informative Blog interviews.