Saturday, March 2, 2013

Roy Mackal

So as I've been wrapping up my research, I've been reading Roy Mackal's book, The Monsters of Loch Ness. The body of the book is only 218 pages, but the book is 400 due to the extensive appendices. Mackal, instead of chronicling one or a handful of expeditions or observations like Dinsdale and Meredith, uses his book to analyze the data that has been collected already, only using data that is actually useful, which whittles down the observation pool to around 250 sightings out of thousands. By carefully analyzing these observations, he attempts to compare what has been observed with the theories about what Nessie is, including suggestions of plesiosaurs, seals, otters, and worms. In the end, he posits the most probable option as being a giant eel, as collected specimens from the loch are of a reasonable size.

I think this book will be invaluable in writing my paper, as it is essentially a summation of the research and observations that have been referenced in other sources that I've found but haven't been able to get.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Doubtful News

I found a website today called Doubtful News, which has an "alien big cats" tag, and obviously, they're skeptics. They have a list of all alien big cat stories reported in newspapers, and one of the ones that I had not seen before was titled "A joke? Black panther toy surprises observer", and while it is not about a claimed ABC sighting per se, I thought it was something to note: it raises the point that people are aware that others believe alien big cats truly exist and so play tricks on those believers because they think it's amusing to make fun of that fringe belief, which results in mainstream science/culture becoming even more skeptical of ABCs' existence. Now, I haven't decided whether I believe alien big cats truly exist or not, but that's not the point of this class; the point of the class is to learn to evaluate resources and use them to one's advantage. I just wonder: How is science supposed to believe in the existence of alien big cats if people are drowning possible potential evidence in practical jokes like the one above?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I can't count! And I got another library book

I thought I had all my blog posts up to date but I missed one. Woops! Anyway I got another library book so I will use it to catch up on my blogging.

It is titled Monster Hunt and it has one blurb about mermaids. It's centered around a letter written in the Eighteen Hundreds that was reposted in a Scottish newspaper. The letter is a statement from one of six men who were out deep-sea fishing and caught a mermaid. The statement goes into great detail and claims that the mermaid talked to them. They released it back into the water as it is bad luck to kill a mermaid. The author of the book goes on to say that dugongs and seals don't make sense for this description. He goes on to share facts on mass hallucinations and how even if mermaids aren't real, there are many who will swear on their lives that they saw one. I really like the quote he uses at the end of the blurb:

"' This is a question which, after five thousand years is still undecided;'"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

5. What is the most useful video you have found pertaining to your monster?

     I recently discovered the documentary "Eyes of the Mothman" which has proven to be most useful to my research. The intro to the movie introduced me to a related story I had never heard of before. The story of Chief Cornstalk of the Shawnee tribe and the curse he put on the Point Pleasant area. The story drags on much longer than I'd wish but it does set up for an interesting tale. The movie features first hand accounts and testimonials from locals of point pleasant as well as appearances from other prominent figures from the Mothman culture such as John Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies. Besides the introduction most of the information regarding the Mothman I have heard and read elsewhere but it was nice to have locals to the area actually talk about it. Althought the documentary was a tad on the long side it was well made and interesting nonetheless.

Link to the movie website: http://www.eyesofthemothman.com/

also this movie is available on netflix.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Archive Findings

I found a few interesting things after visiting the archives. The folder I was given included a collection of various newspaper clippings regarding Sasquatch sightings, handwritten personal accounts of sightings, hair samples, and a map with a marked sighting. It was highly interesting to view these pieces because they were extremely personal, which gave some credibility to the evidence. These items were part a part of someone's personal collection, so what reason would they have to fabricate information? In my opinion, this a collection from someone who genuinely believes they saw Bigfoot, however, whether or not they actually did is unknown.

This is where the lack of credibility comes into play. This was not a scientific collection of evidence. While they included hair samples, there is absolutely no way to be sure where they got them or what they actually saw. Oral history is an extremely frustration part of this research project. While oral histories provide fascinating accounts of incredible sightings, I am not ready to easily accept their views. The handwritten accounts found in the archives was especially frustrating. It was extremely difficult to decipher their handwriting and it was a jumbled collection of fragmented sentences. While interesting and convincing, the personal accounts are difficult to accept because they don't come with any background information, sources, or anything.

Hunting the Thunderbird

If I were a monster hunter in search for a thunderbird, I would most likely value personal accounts of different Native American tribes.  The Thunderbird originates from Native American culture, and while there may be other races/cultures that believe in the existence of the thunderbird, it can all be traced back to those tribes.  I believe that the direct, original source may give me the most information that would be helpful to me.

In these accounts, I could get a rough idea of the size, habitat, call, diet, and the spiritual background of this bird, which all are very valuable if I am hunting one.

While there may be more recent sightings of thunderbirds, and the information that I could derive from these sources may have some value, I personally would value the “original” sources.