Usefulness and Interpretation of Visual Sasquatch Evidence
By Blake Mathys
Over the history of Sasquatch investigations in North America, there have been many photographs and films or videos presented as containing visual representations of these creatures. Some have been completely discredited and are now widely acknowledged as fakes. Others, most notably the Patterson-Gimlin film, are considered by some to be genuine. In between these two extremes there are many that may contain something interesting, but the resolution, distance, interference, or lighting conditions (or combinations of these factors) prevent accurate determination of the identity of the object(s) represented. In many instances, such visual records are only interpretable if the person who filmed/photographed the object(s) explains the context and points out relevant landmarks or features. In addition, comparative photographs or video are sometimes taken to illustrate the size or position of the objects of interest. I would like to propose the following guideline for evaluating visual evidence:
If the object represented is not easily noticeable and interpretable without ancillary information, then it should not be advanced as providing evidence for the existence or occurrence of these creatures.
In order to be clear, I would like to clarify a bit. My guideline could be restated as this: If a person naive to the evidence and not biased for or against the existence of Sasquatch looks at the presented evidence and says, "I don't see anything," then that visual record should not be claimed as a probable or possible visual record of Sasquatch.
Note that this is not meant to imply that none of the photographs or videos that would not meet these criteria actually hold visual representations of Sasquatches, only that they do not add anything to our knowledge or the argument over the creature's existence. This guideline is advanced with the same goal as my Six Rules of Bigfoot Research, which is to improve the quality of the evidence that we gather and present to the general public and scientific establishment. If my guideline is applied to the visual evidence thus far promoted, I think we would find that there are only a handful of visual records remaining, and those could quickly be placed into "Probable Hoax" and "Probable Authentic" categories. The ancillary information that can be provided becomes useful in determining authenticity, but according to my guideline would only be admissible after the guideline is applied.