Putting Bigfoot to Bed
“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” ~Carl Sagan
It was a dark and stormy night.
Wait, forget what you have just read – that intro was intended for another story altogether.
OK, here we go.
After two previous articles about Bigfoot, we’ll put Bigfoot to bed in For Your Consideration. At least until next Halloween or the full skeleton of a Bigfoot is found by deer hunters this season.
One of the many colorfully named bars that graced Marlinton through the years was the Flamingo. A name as foreign to these mountains as beans and cornbread would be in Miami Beach.
Six-year-old David Workman was with his parents when they prepared to close up the Flamingo one crisp, clear fall evening in 1952. After they closed their bar around midnight, another hour was spent filling ice machines, sweeping floors, and cleaning the bathrooms. They finally got on the road home around 1:15 a.m.
David enjoyed being with his parents and nothing escaped his notice. He was and is one of those rare people who can remember details of the ordinary and the extraordinary.
And something extraordinary was about to take place that could never be forgotten by David or his parents, Elmer and Lola Workman.
They traveled south on Route 219 on their way home to Camp Island Ford on the Greenbrier River. As they approached the final curve before Cook Town, Lola saw something that had stepped over the cable guardrail and was about to cross the road into the path of their car.
David sat in the front seat between Lola and Elmer. He was fiddling with the knobs on the radio when his mother slammed on the brakes. He was thrust forward against the dashboard and looking out over the hood of the car onto the highway. What he saw at that moment was burned indelibly into his memory.
He describes a being of approximately six to seven feet tall, stout and muscular, and covered with thick black hair over its entire body. The creature strode across the road, not even glancing at the vehicle and its occupants.
When it reached the berm, it continued across the ditch and up the hill without slowing down or using its arms to pull itself up the incredibly steep slope until it disappeared from sight.
When I asked David if it could have possibly been a black bear, he was adamant that whatever it was, it was definitely not a bear. In David’s words, “He walked upright like a man the whole time. In fact, we got a good look at his rump, and it looked human except covered with hair, completely covered.”
When David asked his father, “What was that thing?” His father replied, “It’s probably something that escaped from a carnival.” What else could a father, caught off-guard, say in such a situation? It was as good an answer as possible at that moment.
And, remember, this was 1952, and the term Bigfoot did not enter the vocabulary until 1958.
David said that it was the only time his family members ever saw anything remotely like what they observed on Route 219. It was a defining experience for David and a frequent topic of family conversation throughout his parents’ lives.
The Workman family had experienced something extraordinary together that could not be denied or written off as a product of imagination.
This is a true story insofar as David Workman is an astute and credible individual. I doubt anyone who knows him would take issue with that statement. He, and his family, reported exactly what they saw.
Now, I have never seen a UFO nor a Bigfoot, but I cannot say with certainty that they do or don’t exist. And the only animal I have ever seen that I did not immediately recognize was in the jungles of Venezuela, an unlikely-looking creature called a tapir.
In fact, I believe that there is a lot to reality that cannot be known with our five restricted senses and a somewhat evolved brain.
I am reasonably well-versed, if not entrenched, in the scientific method.
Yet, I understand that reductionist science is only interested in data. And that anecdote and subjective experience have little or no value in mainstream science, particularly where replicability is paramount.
However, overlooking the anecdotal altogether may, in itself, be an unwise departure from an essential element of science – curiosity, and open-mindedness. That, and a healthy dose of skepticism. Another skill on the wane in our country.
Orthodoxy of all types will often take us in a direction that frequently becomes an ever-narrowing path.
As a writer, I am not attempting to convince you, the reader, of anything.
I just ask that you consider, truly consider, that there are things that fall outside of mainstream science orthodoxy. These experiences are difficult, if not impossible, to study using conventional methods.
Bigfoot apparently has quite a following today and has played a significant role in the history of indigenous cultures, as well.
Joseph Campbell, who wrote and taught extensively about comparative religion and mythology, was there to remind us that myth and legend have played an outsized role in societies throughout the world.
But what do we know for certain about Bigfoot?
When it comes to Bigfoot, we are anecdote rich and evidence poor. To date, there is no conclusive evidence that the fabled creature ever existed, at least from a mainstream science perspective.
Maybe you remember a 1984 ad campaign by the hamburger restaurant chain Wendy’s? An older woman peers between the buns of a hamburger from a competing chain and, upon seeing a half-dollar size burger, complains, “Where’s the beef?”
That appears to be where we are with Bigfoot, at least for the present. Unfortunately, this legend is rife with hoaxes. And physical evidence such as hair always turns out to be from some mammal other than a Bigfoot – to date, at least.
It seems that the actual phenomenon here may be that so many people from diverse parts of the world believe in similar creatures. Australia has its Yowie, Asia claims its Yeren and Almas. While the Himalayas are reported to be the home of the Yeti.
Our planet should be crawling with these “big hairy man” creatures. But still, no overwhelming evidence exists to once and for all prove their existence.
Yet, there is hope for those of us who prefer a world of enigma and mystery. We have plenty of both, right here in our universe.
Consider the following.
Nearly 90 percent of our universe’s matter is composed of Dark Matter, and we know little to nothing about it. Then there is the fact that our universe is in a state of runaway expansion due to a force we cannot detect – Dark Energy.
We cannot interact with either of these “dark” forces that determine the structure of our cosmos, and its future, as well.
We are only now beginning to understand gravity. The same is true for the mysterious supermassive black holes found in the center of most large galaxies, including our Milky Way Galaxy.
At the quantum level, we enter a world that doesn’t abide by any of the laws of Newtonian physics. Subatomic particles that are seemingly in two places simultaneously. And, a reality where whether something exists as a particle or wave at any given moment, is a matter of human observation.
Is that strange enough for you?
Now, consider the head-scratching puzzlement of Quantum Entanglement. This is an astounding phenomenon where two entangled objects separated by great distances interact without contact. Something that Einstein called “Spooky action at a distance.”
So, even if UFOs, Bigfoot and Chupacabra all end up in the same bucket with leprechauns and fairies, we still have mysteries and conundrums aplenty all around us.
Full disclosure: I still keep my UFO adorned X- Files poster tacked to the wall boldly stating, “I Want to Believe.”
And, I do.
A huge thanks to Mac Gray and David Workman for their invaluable contributions to this series on Bigfoot.