So yesterday was the big day for Jeffrey Gonzalez and David Raygoza. As reported last week, they issued a press release claiming that they had found “the most convincing evidence of Bigfoot since the Patterson film.” The press release went on to detail what they had found: some smudges on a pickup truck window that they felt looked like a Bigfoot face and upper torso; and the fact that they had a forensic specialist come out to the scene to collect DNA. No photos were included of the smudges, and no statement was given as to whether or not the DNA had actually been tested yet or not. The story broke, but not with the media coverage that the Biscardi “Bigfoot in a cooler” story had. Loren Coleman reported this story on his blog, Cryptomundo, and other outlets (including us here at The Occult Section) picked it up from there. Most of us were not impressed by what we were hearing in the press release. Smudges and untested or inconclusive DNA had been seen before. Then a photo was released by Jeffrey Gonzalez, and Loren posted it online. Loren took a lot of heat from Gonzalez, Raygoza, and their supporters for basically distributing a photo that Gonzalez himself posted, which he claims was “leaked.” Who leaked the photo, I don’t know, but he obviously can’t trust his inner circle. Or he did it on purpose to generate buzz.
So basically, these guys sent out a press release promising amazing evidence, talked about what that evidence was, got tons of publicity, and then complained that people didn’t think that their evidence was groundbreaking. Mind you, very few people accused them of perpetrating a hoax. Most of us were simply stating that smudges on a windshield and inconclusive DNA were not “proof” of anything, as people have found smudges and unidentifiable DNA before. It was nothing new and didn’t require a press conference. In a field that is striving for serious scientific recognition, we don’t need unnecessary attention brought upon us, especially when there is nothing to back up the claims. The Biscardi hoax did way too much damage, and we are still trying to recover from that.
Then more info started coming out. Members of the team started leaking info that the DNA had not yet been tested (“This is just what they are doing right now… analyzing the evidence they collected…”). The one piece of evidence that might have proven interesting had not even been tested yet? What was going on here? How could a press conference be called if the evidence hadn’t even been analyzed yet? And yet they wondered why people didn’t immediately believe their claims.
So finally, the press conference was held yesterday at 4pm Pacific. What was revealed? Some pictures, shown below, that apparently show bear paw prints. If they aren’t bear, they are definitely animal print, perhaps a mountain lion, and do not look like human or gorilla hand prints to me. And in fact they are already being debunked.
The other fact revealed at the press conference? They have not yet tested the DNA evidence that they collected, and now they need YOUR money to test it! That’s right, they want us to donate $5,000 to them, so that they can test the DNA evidence they collected. Most likely from a bear. So no DNA evidence to speak of. They called a press conference to show smudges and ask for money. And yet they get mad when people compare them to Biscardi, when people accuse them of not living up to the hype they themselves created, for accusing them of being hucksters. They called a press conference to ask for money. That is all that came out of all of this.
There are other facts out there, well-researched by Mellissa Hovey over at The American Bigfoot Society (and check out her blog, The Search for Bigfoot). For example, the fact that two years ago, Jeffrey Gonzalez claimed that he captured Bigfoot on a trail cam. This also happened on Memorial Day weekend, just like when they found these smudges. And like these smudges, Jefferey didn’t notice anything unusual about the photo until David Raygoza pointed it out to him and suggested that it could be proof of Bigfoot. Noticing a pattern here?
I don’t normally write blog posts that end up being this long, but things like this really bother me. There are gaping holes in their story. What they found is hardly interesting, much less worthy of a press conference. They have money to remove windows from the pickup truck and go on these expeditions, but can’t come up with the money themselves to get the DNA tested? I think Maury Povich provides free DNA testing.
I don’t think these guys hoaxed this “evidence.” I mean, there’s nothing impressive enough here to hoax. It’s just smudges and DNA that hasn’t even been tested yet. But they definitely jumped the gun, got the cryptozoological community whipped up into a frenzy, called a lot of unnecessary attention to the field and themselves, and ultimately did not deliver on their lofty promises. At best, they look like overeager dreamers, wanting so badly to find Bigfoot that they see the creature in everything they do. At worst, they look like money-grubbing con artists, making big promises and then requiring that the rest of us pay them money in order to see the evidence.