On the Trail of Bigfoot: The Discovery
Directed by Seth Breedlove | Small Town Monsters
I remember a time, not too long ago, when this blog was more cynical and critical. The paranormal boom of the mid-2000s brought plenty of attention to the field, but most of it was not good. TV shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures were embarrassingly obvious ratings-grabs, desperate to make each episode more thrilling than the last. Logic, truth, or science be damned. Finding Bigfoot was a nice guilty pleasure, but ultimately it was hard to take too seriously. And honestly, these shows were the best of what was available. Sad times indeed, yet it provided plenty of fodder for our little blog here. And, even though mostly good-natured, the criticisms flew freely.
At times, I’d get angry comments or emails, saying I was being too harsh or mean, but in all honesty, these shows, documentaries, books, were all pretty awful. And they deserved harsh criticism, rather than blind acceptance. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And none of the paranormal media was delivering any evidence at all. But the masses were eating it up.
All of this is my long-winded way of saying that I’d basically lost my love for the paranormal. I figured it was dead, forever to be dominated by nitwits and frustrated actors. But then a renaissance happened. I was finding documentaries and books that weren’t complete drivel. And by far, the most successful and prolific producer of paranormal content was Small Town Monsters.
Home Sweet Home?
A quick glance at the posts here over the past year or so will reveal that I’ve reviewed a fair amount of STM productions. But I also find myself watching many offerings that I don’t review. For example, I’m hooked on the Beyond the Trail series, even though I’ve only reviewed the premiere episode. I don’t want the blog to become all STM all the time. But as far as paranormal documentaries go, I can find no better. Yet I can barely catch my breath before another one comes out. Which brings us to On the Trail of Bigfoot: The Discovery.
The latest On the Trail offering follows members of the Olympic Project, a group of Bigfoot researchers investigating Bigfoot on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Co-founded by Derek Randles and Rich Germeau, the group tries to employ a more scientific approach to the subject of Sasquatch. Through the use of trail cameras, DNA samples, audio recording analysis, and other quantifiable means, the team hopes to eventually find solid evidence to prove the existence of Bigfoot.
The Discovery, unsurprisingly, takes a closer look at a discovery made a few years ago by members of the Olympic Project. Simply put, the team was contacted a number of years ago by the owner of a logging company about something strange that was uncovered deep in the woods. It appeared to be a large nest. Or, rather, numerous nests of a group of large animals, all bunched together. The nests were made up of stripped huckleberry bushes, which seemed to indicate animals with opposable thumbs. The nests were grouped closely together, as if it were a family unit. An interesting find, indeed. But is this proof of the existence of Bigfoot? Some spoilers ahead.
Don’t Knock It
As with all Small Town Monsters productions, director Seth Breedlove takes a measured, objective look at the discovery. He rightfully calls out a bit of the ridiculousness in the Bigfoot community, especially tree knocks. Personally, tree knocks are a bit of a red herring for me. Many Bigfooters attribute these knocks to Bigfoot, but I’ve never understood why. Nobody has ever seen a Bigfoot knocking on trees. And if you’re in an area that’s known for Bigfoot activity, you’re much more likely to be exchanging knocks with other Bigfooters, far off in the distance, rather than an acyual Bigfoot. It’s an intriguing theory, but ultimately not good evidence. At all.
The point of all this is that the Olympic Project may now have some actual physical evidence of large, possibly primate-like creatures building nests. It is something objective, measurable, observable, able to be photographed and sampled. Team members here show off video, photos, and their various analyses of the nests, and come to some conclusions. Mainly, they believe the largest Bigfoot was nesting on the outer perimeter of the nests, in a protective stance. Smaller family members may have nested on the inside. One theory is that the nesting area was a birthing station of sorts, for a baby Bigfoot.
The theories presented here are intriguing, and backed up with logic. More so than tree knocks, at least. That being said, it still takes some huge leaps of faith to conclude that these nests were made by an undiscovered North American primate. Unlike the Patterson-Gimlin film, which is very “black or white” (i.e., it’s either a hoax or it’s a real Bigfoot), there is a lot of wiggle room regarding the nests. Yes, they could have been hoaxed. The Olympic Project team members admit that people have tried hoaxing them before. But it could have been deer, or other large nesting animals. I think the conditions of the bushes could have alternate explanations as well. Overall, it’s merely more anecdotal evidence. Something that needs further exploration. But for now, it remains just another piece of a much larger puzzle.
On the Trail of Bigfoot: The Discovery is a fascinating look at some provocative new evidence for the existence of Bigfoot. However, it won’t really settle the Bigfoot debate. Believers will see this as more proof for their arsenal, while the skeptics will continue to scoff. New information and data in this field is always welcome. The nests are intriguing bits of evidence, to be sure. But as far as being a major discovery, I think it falls a bit short. Ultimately, the viewer can decide for themselves. As always, Small Town Monsters continues to set the standard for high-quality paranormal documentaries, and The Discovery is another stellar entry.
On the Trail of Bigfoot: The Discovery releases tonight at midnight on most streaming services