Sunday, October 21, 2012

Idea Garage Sale: Bird's Eye Mysteries

A professor at Idaho State University has put together a project for aerial reconnaissance of the northwestern American forests, in order to look for Bigfoot. This strikes me as a good approach to the problem. I am reminded of an anecdote repeated to me by the operator of the Bigfoot Discovery Museum,
who is the natural depository of any and every passers-by's bigfoot story, of a small plane pilot overflying a clearcut area littered with felled, but not yet removed, trees. Below him he saw a truck driving down the road, and a large dark more or less humanoid shape paralleling it; when they came to an angle at which they could view each other, the humanoid threw itself to the ground in imitation of the logs!

My own belief is that Bigfoot is a good old-fashioned shape-changing fairy, but I approve of this project. If nothing else, it will take reams of footage of ordinary daily life in the flyover area, which is almost bound to discover unexpected behavior in known animals. The technology could also be adapted to security and search-and-rescue uses.

And of course fictional ones. Suppose you had a small self-propelled group of crypto-hunters put together one of these, or simply using a remote-controlled toy to survey an area in which they suspected a bigfoot, or chupacabras, or Goat Man, was hanging out. What human activity might be going on in the same area - secret activity, of people who will go to considerable lengths to keep from being found out?

You could write a crime drama around this premise. Or a more basic juvenile mystery, with the drone camera called into service to clear somebody of, say, vandalism. You could have mundane secrets cross tracks with exotic ones. The drone's operator could disappear, and his fate be puzzled out based on the evidence in the drone's camera. You could uncover Bigfoot - or bigfoot hoaxers - or both at once. You could have a comedy of errors, with the camouflaged drone mistaken for something exotic by a separate group of mystery-hunters, and the drone's deployers misreading their shots of the mystery-hunters' own cleverly disguised attempts to track the Thunderbird.

Why not?


  1. Peni, if you would happen ever to like an introduction to Jeff, I would be pleased to provide one.

  2. Whoa, you know Jeff Meldrum? Cool! You ever go Bigfoot hunting with him? I'm not likely to be in that part of the country, but if I ever am I'll drop you a line and we'll see what we can do. Also, if I ever write a cryptid book. It's far from the worst idea I ever had.

    1. It'd be more accurate to say that Jeff, as a colleague of my dad, has known me since I was a snot-nosed little brat running around at Biology Department picnics. We've never done the bigfoot thing--we were always busy with fossils. Tolo Lake is the big and protected enough I can talk publicly about it dig. There's a brief overview here
      Now, I'm on my husband's computer. So why does google let me post here from this but not my own?

  3. Are you perhaps not signed in from your own? The ways of google are mysterious and disturbing...Oooh, digging up mammoths!Mammoths are so cool.

    Actually, archeology is cool, period. Also backbreakingly hard work, which is why I don't do it more often. Yay for citizen science, and being well enough to do it regularly!