Dr. Robert Benson of Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi did not believe in Big Foot, which is why he was asked by a T.V. producer to analyze possible audio evidence for a Bigfoot documentary being produced by the Discovery Channel. "It's interesting," he says.
Benson studies the sounds of birds and marine mammals, and so has been asked many times to listen to recordings of sounds that people claim belong to a Sasquatch, but he never gave them much consideration before. He wasn?t sure he even wanted to work with the Discovery Channel when they called."I weighed the pros and cons," he says. "It wasn't a hasty decision."
Benson finally agreed and received several audio tapes that are scratchy recordings of what sounds like whipping wind. In the foreground is the clear clip of a dog barking. But it's the sound in the background he's been asked to identify - a low, drawn-out wailing like the moan of a banshee. Using special audio equipment, Benson plans to make a voice imprint of the sound which will be a graphical representation that can then be compared to other known sounds. "It's a visual picture of the sound, so we can make measurements of the temporal frequencies," he says. With the help of his students, he will gather background material for comparison with such sounds as those of coyotes, wolves, elk and primates. "This is a mammal, at least we suspect," he says. "We're still analyzing that."
So far, Benson's study hasn't given him a definite answer. He may take his work into a sound studio in the next couple of weeks. "There is a whole range of things that it might possibly be," he says. "?There is the possibility that this could be human."
A trail of human-like footprints found in an isolated Arctic area in 1992 got producer Doug Hajicek interested in the project. While making another film, Hajicek and his guide stumbled on the trail and followed it for about a mile. "They were 17- to 18-inch footprints that traveled through sand, tundra and gravel," he says. "I was amazed. I saw it with my own eyes. We considered everything that could have made this and we couldn't figure it out. It was fresh."
Hajicek did 18 months of field research, talking with scientists, exploring claims of evidence and checking out other documentaries on the phenomenon. "Wouldn't it be interesting to put the evidence in front of mainstream scientists and forensic scientists and let them go at it," he says. "Here's a case where there are photos of this thing and there is film of this thing but there's no body, no skin. There's far more evidence to this creature's existence, I'd say by a thousandfold, than to the Loch Ness monster."
The best piece of evidence may be a 1996 film of an unidentified subject running across a rocky mountain in Washington state near the Canadian border. "We are doing a first time, complete forensic measuring of the Memorial Day film," Hajicek says, which will determine the height, size, speed and gait of the being. "That's still anecdotal evidence but maybe more scientists will get involved to put this mystery to rest and it really does need to be put to rest."
Benson is one of more than a dozen experts Hajicek is consulting, from mainstream sciences such as forensics, primatology and behavioral science. "We have recordings but what the source might be, we don't know," Benson says. "It is evidence but it might be negative evidence."
To learn more,1641,CCCT_811_1172768,00.html,click here.
Dennis Hall says that twenty years ago, he looked out onto the vastness of Lake Champlain near his home in Vergennes, Vermont, and saw a monster lurking in the waters of Lake Champlain.
Sightings of a monster in the lake are common, and there are even cave drawings of something that looks a lot like the monstrer descriptions that dates back to the 1700s. There are scores of sightings each year.
However, not everyone believes in the creature. "I don't honestly believe there's something that big out there," says Ellen Marsden, a professor who has been studying the lake for more than five years. "We need something mysterious out on that lake that we don't understand yet. I think it fills a human need. But-- if you're going to start subjecting it to the scrutiny of science, it's not as easy to explain."
But Dennis Hall has seen it for himself and says, "Well, they're missing out on the possibilities that there's a little more in this world than what meets the eye," he says.
Loren Coleman is an expert on mysterious creatures lurking in the United States. To learn more about them, read ?The Mothman & Other Curious Encounters? and ?Mysterious America?,click here.
NOTE: This news story, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.