Monday, June 15, 2009

Are Strange Explanations Looking Less Strange?

After more than a century of reported sightings and at least fifty years of hunting, proponents of the legendary beasts collectively termed Bigfoot are no closer to solving the riddle than they were when they began. Now, as then, there are only a scattering of intriguing tracks and a few curious but inconclusive odds and ends of data. It should come as no surprise then than more and more Bigfoot researchers are turning to alternative explanations for the creature's elusive behavior.

There was a time when those who professed seeing flying saucers, interdimensional portals, and vanishings in conjunction with Bigfoot sightings were ridiculed as fringe kooks. After all, Bigfoot - if it existed - was a flesh and blood animal, likely a primate. If reputable scientists such as Grover Krantz, Jeff Meldrum, and even Jane Goodall were weighing in on the topic, it had to be fodder for serious zoological inquiry. Right?

Not any more. While a certain core group (among which the devotees of the aforementioned scientists can be found) will always hold fast to the flesh-and-blood, terrestrial theory, other respected investigators are looking toward other fields to explain what was once dismissed as bunk. Suddenly, quantum physics mingles with exobiology in a strange melange that looks to incorporate data that are equally weighed, leaving no stone unturned but more than a few heads scratching.

Some wonder if this isn't a last-ditch effort to hold onto a belief structure that, at the dawn of the 21st century, can seem quaint - especially in light of some embarrassingly public hoaxes. The New York Times may have once declared 'God Is Dead,’ but the new millenium prefers killing off Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.
It makes sense, in a way. In order to progress, societies often kill off the past: rulers, myths, customs. Do Bigfoot and the like represent a naivete and nostalgia that a world weary from economic downfall, incessant war-mongering, and social decay can no longer find endearing?
By embracing cutting edge, theoretical physics to explain why we can't bring home the bacon when it comes to these fantastic creatures, are we essentially grasping at straws? Is the Bigfoot community clinging fiercely to something that simply isn't there?

On the other hand, could there be merit to multiverse explanations of creatures that exist in more than one dimension, explaining why we can't always see them? Are reports of hallucination-inducing subsonic vibrations true? And what are we to make of those who say that previous reports of unusual objects or lights in the sky around the time of Bigfoot sightings should be taken more seriously?

Who can say for certain. However, I predict that in moving forward more and more researchers will begin to look toward these fringe theories and alternative explanations in their further quest to prove the existence of these enigmatic creatures. As ground-breaking work in physics (such as that taking place at CERN) brings us ever closer to understanding just how truly weird our universe is, we might just find ourselves rethinking what we once thought odd. A flesh-and-blood unknown primate? How boring!

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