Fools in Paradise
Copyright© 2019 by UtIdArWa
Vincent had been standing there absorbing what I was saying about cameras.
“OK Vince, show me what you’ve got.” I think that calling him Vince was the most startling thing that had ever happened to him. His face at first was shocked and then slowly changed to ecstasy. Could it be that this was the first time in his life, somebody went beyond friendly, to friend? This can be an eye opener for a lonely kid.
His face broke out in a huge smile, “Well, Matt, “ There was a slight hesitation, and then he plunged on.
“This is my track trap.” He pointed to a 2-yard square area. It looked like a kiddy sand box, filled with sand. “My plan was that the Sasquatch would step in the sand, and we would be able to get a definitive footprint. We could get weight estimates and given a little luck even dermal ridges.”
“There is a current line of thought that, from the dermal ridges, individuals could be determined and tracked. Possibly starting a data base to track movements and living habitats.”
I squatted down by the sand box. I was almost sorry to burst his balloon. But it had to be done.
“Vince, this is a great idea. But it won’t work on a number of levels. There have been thousands if not millions of plaster casts made of what are claimed to be Bigfoot prints. Now granted the vast majority are obviously fake. Some folks seem to have a problem counting up to five digits. And others have put the left foot where the right foot was supposed to be.”
“The main problem with the plaster cast foot print is that we are expected to base our observations and conclusions solely on the plaster cast. This is fine if you are looking for a specific car tire or tennis shoe. There is no need supporting evidence, the cast itself, like a fingerprint, is considered unique. But in the case of a Bigfoot cast, very rarely is there any photo documentation and usually it is incomplete and only shows the plaster pour. There is never a soil sample of the surrounding area, or a compression comparison done. And yet we are asked to believe that an 800 to 1000-pound creature made the impression.”
I stepped up and deliberately placed a foot in the box. I even stood on one foot and bounced up and down a couple of times. “Vince, right next to my print, I want you to make another. Just step in the sand, don’t bother with forcing a print.”
I watched as Vince did as I asked. “Now, how deep is my print?”
“I don’t have a ruler Mr. Reynolds.” The kid looked like I had spit in his cheerios.
“That’s alright son.” I pulled my multitool out. “I’ve got one here.” I unfolded the ruler and handed it to him.
“OK Vince, measure the depth of my print and your print.”
“It’s the same. There’s no difference.”
“Welcome to the compression rate world kiddo. If you step on concrete that has set, you won’t leave a mark. But fresh concrete and you’ll ruin your tennis shoes. That is the compression rate between set and unset concrete.”
“Now, your little sandbox here can be set up to make a print. But that’s about it. You won’t be able to tell the weight of the thing making the print. Unless that thing is so lightweight that a comparison can be made from a lighter, or heavier object.”
“Next, as you compress the soil in your trap, to a certain point it will indeed give you a possible data point to determine weight. The problem is that as you compress the soil, with every pound, the rate changes. and eventually you reach the point where, at 800 or 1000 lbs. it’ll be like stepping on set concrete. So, the first question I would ask, in the courtroom of discovery, How deep in your sand? What is the compression rate at half an inch, inch, three quarters, etcetera?
“Next, how dry or wet is your sand? If it’s desert dry, the sides of the print will cave in immediately. This will mess up your measurements and make a plaster print impossible. The same is true if it’s too wet. Try to make a cast in a bowl of soup, Good luck. And that measurement needs to be taken at the time that the imprint is made. Earlier or later and the moisture conditions will have changed. Even the time of day is important.”
“So as a scientist and investigator, you need to measure all of the conditions surrounding the print that was made.”
“I have yet to see anybody do this. All I see is a plaster cast, sometimes with 5 toes, sometimes with three toes, sometimes with 6. In fact, the so-called Himalayan Yeti prints didn’t have any toes. But then again, they were in snow that had been melting for several days. You have to be pretty gullible to accept that as evidence.”
“You also brought up the dermal ridge thing. I know that this is the latest, greatest investigative path. But once again the cast made that show the ridges have no supporting evidence. We are asked to accept their existence on faith. Also, isn’t it interesting that this becomes a topic AFTER the paper on primate dermal ridges comes out?”
“There might be something to it. BUT sand and soil and dirt isn’t going to work if you are after dermal ridges. You’ll need a fine soil clay. Something like what a potter or sculptor uses. I wouldn’t go for trying for anything like a height or weight guesstimate. But a sufficiently pliable clay surface, and I might believe an example of dermal ridges. My suggestion is to start looking at your print mediums and the optimum conditions. Then start considering field conditions.”
“But you have got to show the surrounding conditions. Go ahead and use your idea of confined, measured and documented conditions. But then you’re going to have to come up with a suitable enticement to get Mr. Fuzzy to step into your trap.”
“I’ve seen treats and toys being used. Things like apples and grapes, or colorful balls and CD’s hung from trees. The thinking, once again is that the childlike Sasquatch, fascinated by the colors or salivating over the sugary taste of a fruit, will disregard experience and rush in. Just remember, Mr. Fuzzy has experience with traps. He knows that the best traps are baited with food or a sex lure.”