Editor's opinion

To paraphrase Charles Dickens, Bigfoot is dead, as dead as a doornail.

The following startling news announcement hit the front page of the Oregonian Dec. 6: "The man whose prank launched the 'Bigfoot' legend in 1958 has died - and family members say they can now reveal the truth. 'Ray L. Wallace was Bigfoot. The reality is, Bigfoot just died,' said his son, Michael Wallace, whose father died of heart failure Nov. 26 at a nursing facility in Centralia. He was 84."

The video of a front-leaning, hair-covered figure ambling through a deadfall forest captured our imagination. Now, we learn that the furry critter in the film was Mr. Wallace, dressed up in a Bigfoot suit, carrying out a prank to manufacture a videotaped "sighting" of Bigfoot.

I suppose next we'll be told that Area 21 is just a military testing site in the desert, not a secret graveyard for alien flying saucers. What about the incidents documented in the movie "Fire in the Sky," where a logger in northern Arizona was abducted by aliens and returned naked to the earth? What about his testimony?

The problem with these unexplained phenomena is that too few people witness and document them. Consider the Loch Ness monster in Scotland. Why can't somebody take a decent picture of the beast when they're with a gaping crowd of spectators? Then, the crowd, armed with their own cameras, could snap away to provide independent verification of the sighting.

Bizarre phenomena seemed to shadow my former landlords in Arizona (what is it with Arizonans, anyway?). This couple once lived in a haunted house in the Midwest. Later, while living in Northern Arizona, they recounted the experiences of friends who boated into the far recesses of Lake Powell. These friends, shaken and scared, told my landlords a tale of seeing bright lights and a hovering saucer above their remote campsite. The incident frightened them so badly that they boated out in the dark, risking collision with underwater rocks.

Were the friends hallucinating or pulling off an elaborate hoax? Maybe they exuded as much authenticity in their story as Mr. Wallace had with his Bigfoot hoax. I'll never know. I just grimace when I think about all the tourists who could have verified that sighting if the family had boated to a designated, public campground.

As for Bigfoot, I still believe. In fact, when I meet him out in the woods, I'll ask him: "Would you at least have the decency to show yourself to a large enough crowd so a handful of believers do not end up looking foolish?" I'll plan to bring some friends along and maybe a video camera.

Anyone with comments about "Editor's Opinion" can contact David Carkhuff by calling 575-0710 or by e-mail at editor@bluemountaineagle.com.

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