Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Jen's Theory of Bigfoot Sightings and UFOs

Playing in the background: A tennis tournament
Meters swum today: 1600

(This came about when I was answering an email from a relative, which mentioned that municipalities with a higher than average number of Bigfoot sightings also have a higher than average number of UFO sightings. Don't ask me what municipalities we're talking about, but I imagine one of them is not Dallas. Waco is a distinct possibility.)

Many hundreds of thousands of years ago, when we'd just become homo sapiens, we were sharing the planet with an unknown number of other species of proto-humans. Fossil evidence says we hung around with Neandertals for something like 60,000 years in the meadowlands of central Europe, until the latter finally died out due (probably) to the warming environment. In the last few years scientists have dug up the remains of a new species in Indonesia, homo florensis, that some people are calling "hobbits" because their maximum height was about three feet. These guys might have actually survived into the modern era, as local legends refer to events and sightings as recently as "eight lives of men" ago (roughly translated as 300-500 years ago.) And of course there were the great apes, like the "dark men of the forest" (lowland gorillas) occasionally encountered by African peoples and others, that did not officially exist until the late 1800s.

What All This Means Is, for a very long time we as a species have been aware, or fuzzily aware, of the existence of Others Like Us That Are Not Us. If you were a homo sapiens and you came across a Neandertal, each of you would likely think the other one was pretty creepy-looking (which might, along with an inability to hook up sperms and eggs between two disparate species, account for our current lack of Neandertal DNA; evolutionarily speaking, the big cave men were a dead end.) So does it not logically follow that, in moments of mortal peril (ie, being alone in a forest and suspecting predator animals might be following you) that you might catch a glimpse of something, a large animal, say, or maybe just a disturbing tree or rock formation, and "see" a large furry humanoid creature that bears a number of striking parallels to our long departed buddy, the Neandertal?

I suspect what's going on here is more racial memory than hallucination, though it has aspects of both. It's ridiculously easy to fool the eye and having read more than my fair share of court transcripts and depositions, I can tell you that if three or four people saw the same event from three or four different angles, you can get six different descriptions, nine or ten major areas of disagreement, a couple of fistfights, at least two motions in limine and possibly one finding of contempt. And that's just the times where there's enough evidence to get to court in the first place.

Does that explain the occasional footprints and the weird tufts of hair that don't match any known animal? No, though one DNA test recently discovered a tuft of (gasp!) opossum hair on top of a frozen gorilla suit. I'd be thrilled to bits if somebody found one of these critters alive. I'd be even more thrilled if the guy found one of these critters alive and left it the heck alone. We don't do nearly enough nothing sometimes.

My theory of UFOs: I don't have one. I saw one, once, though, in the desert near Phoenix at night. Top secret aircraft? Maybe. Drunk helicopter pilot swapping all his landing lights to bright orange as a premature Halloween joke and flying in a weird loopy spiraly pattern because he couldn't see straight? Possibly. Whatever it was, it was flying, and I couldn't identify it. Therefore, a UFO.

People have been seeing these things for thousands of years, too; they're even depicted in Maya carvings and paintings from the Middle Ages. And the Bible. For example; Ezekiel saw two wheels a'rollin', way in the middle of the air. Much earlier than that, in the first chapter of Genesis in fact, the people of the sky (whoever they were) saw that the daughters of men were fair (and not bad lookin', either) and interspecies fooling-around beget the Nephilim which, if you believe this stuff, had multiple faces and tended to die in infancy. Siamese twins? Possibly. The book of Leviticus, written after Genesis but before Ezekiel, goes on and on about how very bad it is to have sex with "angels." (I have heard "sky men" is a better translation, but ancient Aramaic is not one of my languages) This seems like a strange thing to prohibit if it isn't an active problem. That'd be like finding a sign next to Loch Ness that says, "Do Not Feed That Thing In The Loch That Does Not Exist."

Leviticus also cautions men against eating critters that crawl upon the bottom of the sea and wearing shirts made of two kinds of stuff. Tell that to the next fundamentalist Christian you see eating crab or lobster while wearing poly-cotton. I'm just sayin'.

Just to tie this all together, the writers of "The Six Million Dollar Man" presented compelling evidence (a good script) that Bigfoot (played by Andre the Giant) was actually an alien. If you can't trust Colonel Steve Austin, who can you trust?

Aside: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. See it. Watch it. Live it. It's effing amazing, complete with a pivotal moment in which a character learns that "we all have darkness and light inside of us; what makes us what we are depends on which one we choose to act upon" that Buddha himself would have appreciated. I'm wishing I'd read the book now. Oh, and Helena Bonham Carter is in it, too. Very cool.


Craig Woolheater said...

Hey Jen,

You might want to check out the website of the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy.

Jen Ster said...

Good heavens, who even knew there was such a thing? I certainly will!