Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization founder Matt Moneymaker and fellow Animal Planet Finding Bigfoot researcher Ranae Holland sat down with Barry Weintraub and Lee Spiegel for a Huffington Post "Weird News" roundtable recently, to discuss their show, its objectives, and the elusive creature known to many as “bigfoot,” “sasquatch” or, as it is often referred to on Finding Bigfoot, “squatch.”
Moneymaker, the leader of the group, is a 100-percent believer in the existence of the sasquatch, which he confirms again in the roundtable discussion.
"People have been describing these types of animals in many different parts of North America for well over 400 years--that's indisputable, that people have described seeing them," he said.
The actual existence of the creatures, however, is highly disputable, and disputing questionable "evidence" is the job of skeptic Holland, who offers alternative explanations for findings, although, in truth, her explanations can be a bit odd and sketchy at times, making it hard to be sure where she stands.
"I completely understand and I can relate to where they're coming from," Holland told Huffington Post. "Yes, I'm skeptical and I still haven't seen the evidence. I can't tell someone they're wrong, nor can I say that I'm right, or we're both wrong and the believers are right."
Without a doubt, she keeps the door open in either direction, which is no doubt good, actually, considering the lack of evidence proving “yea” or “nay” on the subject.
Finding a bigfoot or, at least, credible evidence regarding its existence is the ultimate goal of the team. But, there is more to their outings, according to Moneymaker. "Our mission is multifaceted,” Moneymaker explains. “We collect information and go out in the field to see if we can find scientific evidence, and in that process, try to figure out how these things can be studied scientifically."
The researchers discussed the famous 1967 Patterson footage (see video below) with the rountable, with both Moneymaker and Holland chiming in with their thoughts.
"Contrary to what many people assumed, the footage has never been proved to be a hoax," said Moneymaker. "And every scientific examination and analysis of the footage has either fallen into the category of inconclusive or demonstrating something that can't be explained by 1967 technology.
"Many imposters have claimed to be the man in the costume and all of them have been debunked by people who were there," he said.
Holland’s view on the footage demonstrates why bigfoot “evidence” is often more confusing that compelling in any type of determination.
"When you look at that film now, and I hear people talking about bulging muscles and fingers moving, those can very easily be artifacts from the film itself or from later generation copies of it," Holland said. "Physical anthropologists argue both sides of the issue over whether or not it's possible for a human to recreate the walk of the Patterson Bigfoot. There's an argument based on the film speed and the camera lens. There are so many elements of this that add to the controversy."
Either way, both researchers agree that they want ultimately to find definitive proof, however the truth may fall.
"I just want to know one way or another,” Holland said. “Do I want it to be some prehistoric offshoot of man or an independent species, or just an undiscovered primate? First and foremost, I want to know one way or the other."
Moneymaker agrees that he wants to know the truth, but relates to the roundtable why he believes 100 percent in the creature’s existence, regardless of what he and his team ultimately find.
"There were two animals—one was much bigger than the other,” he described, discussing an encounter he had in 1994 at the Berlin Wildlife Refuge in Portage County, OH. “It came to the tree line right behind me about 15 feet away. It stood there in front of me and growled. If it had been daylight or I'd had the chance to shine a light on it, I would've been able to draw the face, but it was most definitely a Sasquatch—over 7 feet tall and it was growling at me to let me know I should leave, and I did.
"It wasn't even ferocious, but the message was real clear," he insisted.
Finding Bigfoot airs on Animal Planet on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
The complete Huffington Post roundtable discussion can be accessed at "Weird News" online.