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We live in a contemporary world in which human expectations, relations, and expectations are shaped by the beliefs we harbor as human beings. The fact that the earth is a big place means that it is not short of diverse beliefs essentially shaped by the kind of upbringing an individual goes through. Beliefs vary from religious ones to cultural ones, and while it might be hard to argue about religious beliefs, cultural beliefs have proved to be a constant source of disagreements and varied stories that attempt to give credence to a certain point of view (Coleman 16). While most of the stories might just be myths at the end of the day, what matters is the point of view that one considers to be sufficient enough for them. This analysis aims to analyze the mystery of Bigfoot and explain why despite the ever growing evidence of Bigfoot, there might just be some credibility to claims of the elusive creature’s existence.
One of the most recognized mysteries in the entire North America is without a doubt the mystery of Bigfoot. The story of an ape-like creature being sighted numerous times has proven to be so intriguing, so much so that even scientists have been compelled to join the bandwagon of those attempting to prove just how true the accounts of Bigfoot’s existence are. It is for this same reason that Benjamin Radford and Joe Nickell felt compelled to offer their input and unique view of this never-ending debate. In their respective articles titled, “Bigfoot at 50: Evaluating a Half-Century of Bigfoot Evidence” and "Bigfoot at Mount Rainier," the two authors sought to sufficiently articulate their opinion on the probable existence of Bigfoot.
It is worth noting that almost everyone has an opinion about whether Bigfoot does indeed exist. Granted, this is a question that has over the years elicited much laughter and skepticism in the past half a century. Numerous recollections have been made of hairy wild men being seen roaming in some of the deepest sections of the forest. In his article, Nickell discredits explorer Ingraham's recollection of an encounter with a strange animal. He contends that "Rather that Bigfoot, Ingraham is describing a creature of ‘myth' while declaring otherwise an element of verisimilitude… often used by writers to urge the reader to accept the fanciful as real…" (Nickell 16). Furthermore, a myriad of castings, both foot and hand have been made and even films created of this mythical creature. These have only served to fuel the Bigfoot debate, drawing people from both sides of the divide pitting believers and non-believers. Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the creature has been allegedly sighted thousands of times, and if witness recollections are anything to go by, Bigfoot is a gigantic beast with a height well above eight feet tall and over six hundred pounds in weight (Coleman 26). According to witness accounts, the creature is heavily built and is also covered in thick, brownish fur.
Bigfoot's sightings date back to the years spanning the 1830s according to Benjamin Radford (Radford 30). Radford in his article contends that while there is enough evidence to support the notion of Bigfoot's existence, the evidence contains numerous errors which lend it unreliable. The unreliability of the evidence also calls into question the authenticity of the evidence. According to Radford, the evidence used to proof the alleged existence of Bigfoot ought to be based, not on “quantity” but “quality” (Radford 30). For instance, on the evidence of footprints allegedly belonging to Bigfoot, Radford contends that “…Bigfoot’s tracks are not particularly consistent and show a wide range of variation” (Radford 31). Nickell, on the other hand, was more pro-active and involved in his pursuit of the truth and his article articulates his sojourn into the depths of the territory around Mount Rainier. This is an area synonymous with its Bigfoot sightings. Unlike Radford earlier, Nickell uses his personal observations to discredit the observations. He contends that sightings should not be the only form of evidence used to prove the existence of Bigfoot pointing to one particular case of an encounter. “…the previous summer, she had encountered a standing bear on Rainier, just fifty feet away from her… she pointed out that, with its front legs hanging at its side like arms, and such a bear could resemble Bigfoot” (Nickell 15) In this case he draws parallels arguing that it is possible that a bear might also be mistaken for the creature owing to the similarities in physique.
However, despite the article’s discrediting the evidence of Bigfoot’s existence, the amount of evidence supporting the myth of Bigfoot’s existence can also not be overlooked. The wide range and variety of evidence that has surfaced over the years can also not be simply ignored. While many people in the scientific community attribute the sightings to either hoax perpetrated mischievously and even misidentification, evidence supporting the existence of Bigfoot is also compelling enough for consideration. The fact that Bigfoot sightings have been recorded as early as the 1800s (Radford 30) and while the topic only recently came into prominence, believers have compiled enough evidence to support their claim.
Proof of Sasquatch’s existence mainly comes from a variety of categories namely footprints, photographic evidence, sounds, documented eye-witness sightings, smells et al. While the evidence in each of the categories may elicit a variety of differences, some details are constant across the board. According to Pyle (55), Bigfoot’s footprints are identical to those of a human foot but larger in size. Pyle contends that the footprints of a Sasquatch are on average fifteen inches long and seven inches wide (Pyle 35). In addition to this, there have been recollections of deafening cries which cannot have been made by any human or any known animal, thus leaving the Sasquatch as the only explanation. Radford in his article acknowledges the existence of this evidence which he concludes to be simply nothing more than a hoax.
Another source of evidence which is harder to discredit is recordings which might serve as the answer to the ever-ranging debate. The most compelling evidence of an alleged Bigfoot sighting is presented by the Patterson film which was recorded by Roger Patterson and Bob Grimlin in 1967 (Coleman 23). The film showed an alleged Bigfoot striding through a clearing. It is this film which provides the most compelling evidence yet of Bigfoot’s existence. While non-believers still refuse to accept the evidence, the evidence could yet prove to be true.
In conclusion, while the debate concerning the existence of Bigfoot may yet continue to range on, the evidence of the creature’s existence can no longer be ignored. Regardless of the flaws of some of the documented evidence, it is also worth noting that most of the evidence is consistent. The significance of this discussion is that it puts the question of Bigfoot’s existence into perspective with a critical analysis of both sides of the divide. While it is unlikely that a consensus on the Bigfoot topic might not be forthcoming, the facts cannot be mistaken, and in addition to numerous accounts of sightings, video footage is also available. Admittedly, the available evidence is not undisputable and until undeniable proof of Bigfoot's existence is found, people will have to make do with the available evidence and decide whether or not to believe it.
Coleman, Loren. Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America. Simon and Schuster, 2009.
NICKELL, JOE. "Bigfoot at Mount Rainier?" Skeptical Inquirer, vol. 38, no. 5, Sep/Oct2014, p. 14.
Pyle, Robert Michael. Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the dark divide. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1997.
Radford, Benjamin. "Bigfoot at 50 evaluating a half-century of Bigfoot evidence." Skeptical Inquirer 26.2 (2002): 29-34.
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