The Centre for Fortean Zoology was founded in the UK in 1992 - nearly 20 years ago. Over the past two decades it has expanded to become a truly global organisation. We opened our American office in 2001, our Australian office in 2009, and now - in our 19th year - we are proud to welcome CFZ Canada to the CFZ global family.

Thursday 21 March 2019

Cashing in on Bigfoot

There seems to be an ever-increasing stream of "products" in relation to Sasquatch.  The many "reality" TV shows are just the tip of the iceberg.  Although I am particularly fond of "merch" and "bling" I am disheartened by how it is presented and used.
Now, if I had an extra $45 (USD) just lying around, I'd buy this.  And I'd wear it.  It's a quality item.  But to have that extra means I would have already funded my top-notch field kit, paid off the books I've purchased, explored several continents in the field and invested in good insurance.
One of the issues that cause us to not be able to really define what beings like this are, is the misdirection of funds.  If you are lucky enough to have money, and you are really interested in research, this shirt isn't going to further your work.  It won't get dna testing done.  It won't  teach you anything about  zoology, etc.  It won't give you better respect (and thereby get you possible outside funding and exposure).  It will only make you look good.

Hypothetically, let's say you have $100 for your research right now.   This cash would be much better spent on gloves or evidence collection items.  It might pay for a weekend camping space or permit to go into the field.  It might buy you an online course in linguistics so you can qualitatively decipher what folks are saying are Sasquatch communications.  Every single one of those items helps further your study, and possibly bring the breakthrough we are all hoping for.

With the reality TV like "Finding Bigfoot" or "Mountain Monsters" getting income from advertising and often their own merchandise, they could be doing more.  They could be highlighting really good fieldwork.  They could be funding tests for all researchers.  They could be incorporating the process of learning how to do this sort of research.  Instead, they are simply entertaining and sucking the less experienced right in to a false sense of how research works.

That false sense is not only not helpful but also potentially damaging.  Where are the segments on how they got permission to be where they are?  Where is the full disclosure of everything they found, even if it was not helpful?  Where is the discussion on how to use the equipment normal people can afford instead of a fancy FLIR?

I have worked on these sorts of shows, both in front of the camera and as a consultant.  I can honestly say they are some of the most offensive people to work with.  I've also worked extensively with ghost research shows and movies and I find them to be much more honest.  In some cases, they even donate their equipment to a "real" researcher when they are done filming.  Wouldn't it be great if  Crypto shows would support actual research?  Wouldn't it be great if the "stars" actually knew what they were doing?

I acknowledge that the shows have put paranormal research of all kinds in the spotlight, and that is probably a good thing.  Those of us from the original "Unsolved Mysteries" generation are aging and the fresh faces and brains are much needed.  How do you vet them though?  Do you choose someone who can tell you all about Matt Moneymaker and nothing about the Yeti? Or do you choose the university student majoring in Anthropology?  That student may have absolutely no experience and will already be more knowledgeable  than the TV people.

I recently was invited to join a group online of people who do serious research on cryptids of various kinds.  The person who invited me was a new online friend and seemed to be very realistically interested in the study.  I was still cautious though, because I don't want to be part of groups that are fans rather than researchers.  There's nothing wrong with being a fan, so long as you make it clear that you are not a researcher.  I just don't have the time to be their source of answers to the most basic things.  I also no longer have the patience to listen to one more skeptic whine about how we've found no bodies.  

MeterTo HT-18 Handheld Digital 3.2 inch Color Screen Thermographic Camera Infrared Thermal Imager Imaging Camera with Resolution 220x160-20 to 300°CFortunately, this new group is truly professional.  I don't always agree with their opinions and methodology, but I do respect them.  They are at least making a real effort.  One member is saving for a FLIR camera.  A FLIR E53-24 Advanced Thermal Camera with 240 x 180 IR Resolution, Meterlink Ready, MSX Image Enhancement and 24 Degree Lens kit runs about $6500 Canadian dollars. It's a grand toy, but is not necessary.  A perfectly good infrared handheld camera can be found for $600, and a very basic model can be purchased for use with your smart phone for about $250.  There is no reason to over commit financially on a study of something you can't even prove exists.  Plus, that hoodie may keep you warm in your fieldwork, but these will help you a whole lot more.

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Tuesday 19 March 2019

Anybody Home?

I've been away too long. 

With huge thanks to Jon Downes, I am returning to CFZ-Canada.  The last few years have been challenging to say the least, but things are turning around and I am once again doing active research, although my field work will still be minimal due to physical restraints.

Not much is happening in Canada these days as far as Cryptids are concerned.  I am always open to reports and requests for information.  Just comment or email me at 

I'm also actively looking for someone to pass along my books and tools to and mentor in the field.  I'd prefer it to be someone between 20 and 40, but will certainly consider others.  And if you are female you get extra points!  Women in Cryptozoology are fairly rare.  That may be my next article actually.

At any rate, it feels good to be thinking again.  I hope I can make you think about a few things as well.