If you’ve got an internet connection and a pulse, you’ve probably heard a lot about a certain video uploaded to YouTube last weekend that involved a couple hikers and a guest appearance by a legendary cryptid (we covered it in the Daily Weird earlier, should you need a quick look at the details).
To be honest, I’m surprised that the “Spokane Bigfoot” video has gained as much attention as it has. When the clip originally popped up in my google alerts feed last week, I gave it a watch, had a laugh, and passed it off, thinking that no one could possibly think the video was for real. I was, quite obviously, wrong.
At the time of this posting, the video has climbed to over 200,000 views, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down, with bigfoot enthusiast websites like Cryptomundo running stories about it every other day, and regular attention from major media news outlets. Yet, how come, through all of this, the uploader known only as Samantha13950, refuses to do any kind of public interview?
Simple: the video is almost certainly faked. Why do I think so? Because after noticing the lack of real journalism going on regarding the extremely lame hoax (at least the “Georgia Bigfoot” a few years back had some effort put into it), we went ahead and shot the same thing yesterday afternoon to prove how easy it was:
Not too shabby, huh? Sure, maybe Dana didn’t have the lumbering gait of a Sasquatch perfected, but we didn’t feel like putting Tim Holmes on a plane to Ontario so that he could school us in the intricacies of Bigfoot trotting.
For the sake of argument, let’s say that our crude recreation isn’t enough to make up your mind. First of all, let’s take into consideration the context of the video. All we know is that a few kids went for a hike in the Spokane woods, and amazingly, as they rewatch their hiking footage at home, they notice something strange in the background.
Let me ask you, how often do people use their shitty iPhone cameras to capture riveting footage of woodland hikes? Sure, there’s a whole lot of boring stuff on YouTube, but shaky camera-phone video of hiking smacks of a sketchy set-up right from the start.
Several days ago, Samantha13950 gave a quote via email to Inlander.com about where the video was taken.
“I will let you know that we were in downriver park where the big hill starts to flatten out down by the river. The video is from my iphone. I was filming my friends slapping at ginormous mosquitoes and trying to get through some thick weeds.”
The portion of land in question, as evidenced by a quick look at google maps, shows that the forest they were “hiking” in, is just a thin strip of woods directly adjacent to Spokane Community College. Take a look at how the blonde in the video is dressed. Seems like she just came from some kind of sports practice, doesn’t it? Well, another quick google search confirms that there was a huge track and field meet going on at the college the weekend of the supposed encounter. We’re talking hundreds of bored kids sitting around by the woods while they wait for their events. Perfect time for a little fun with the iPhone, no?
Finally, take a gander at the Bigfoot itself. It doesn’t really look like anything like the Sasquatch that we’ve come to know over the years. It doesn’t appear very tall, muscular, or hairy, which is pretty contradictory of traditional reports. If you watch the clip closely, it honestly just looks like the silhouette of a dude in high tops sneaking through the woods. Are those Nikes?
Alright, so maybe, just maybe, these kids were hiking through the forest and innocently caught something they hadn’t planned on. But I highly doubt it. Too many things don’t make sense for it to be considered a serious piece of evidence in the hunt for Bigfoot, and until the uploader decides to cowboy up and step out from behind the anonymous mask of Samantha13950 for a proper interview, or uploads the full video, what we’re stuck with is an inconclusive clip that’s going to be debated and argued about in cryptozoological circles for years to come.
But that’s probably the point. So where is the reasonable journalism at?
Let me back up for a minute. I love paranormal hoaxes. They’re fun, and when they’re done right, they can provide years of mystery and magic to a subject that has a tendency to get a bit stale. Lots of people have been able to make a fun hobby out of sniffing out hoaxes. For example, look at the the excellent skeptic podcast MonsterTalk. While a sizable portion of the so-called “skeptic movement” like to busy themselves by telling stupid people to stop doing things only stupid people do anyway, people like the MonsterTalk gang are having fun educating people on the subject of cryptids and their rational explanations, and honestly, being true paranormal investigators while they’re at it.
Hoaxes are an inevitable part of searching out the weird, and you don’t have to identify as a skeptic to dispel any of your own bunk findings. I certainly don’t consider myself a skeptic by any means, and yet I don’t have a problem calling bullshit when it see it.
My point is that if the mainstream (and paranormal) media are going to circle jerk over a really bad hoax, they ought to do at least five minutes of research on the bit they’re promoting. Don’t worry, you can still have fun with it, and providing reasons that the amazing find might not be genuine won’t ruin your supernatural street cred or automatically make you a skeptic. It will, on the other hand, make you look a little more reasonable in your beliefs.