For every person that believes a creature like Sasquatch might exist, there are around six who are more doubtful, as I discussed in a recent article that looked at some statistics indicate about people’s attitude toward Sasquatch.
For the believer, or even for the “hopeful” skeptic, making an argument for the existence of Sasquatch always seems to be met with getting over the hurdle represented by the lack of physical evidence for the creatures. “If they exist,” any doubter might ask, “then where are the bodies, or any other evidence that helps nail down the fact that the creature exists?”
Although it is fair to point out that there are no bodies, and more broadly, that there is a troubling lack of physical evidence for mystery or “relict” hominoids, it would be a stretch to say that there is no evidence.
Archaeologist Myra Shackley, one of the few anthropologists to have seriously looked at the subject argued this point in her 1983 book Still Living? Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neanderthal Enigma.
“Even if you discount half the evidence you are still left with a substantial volume of material,” Shackley wrote.
“I am ready to accept that people are capable of imagining things, perhaps even the same things – but imagination does not create unclassifiable footprints.”
The question of footprints allegedly left by mystery hominoids remains one of the most persistent forms of evidence for these creatures in modern times. The problem is that they are also among the most easily hoaxed evidence that is available.
“Even if you have a million pieces of evidence, if all the evidence is inconclusive, you can’t count it all up to make something conclusive,” anthropologist David J. Daegling told Scientific American in 2007. Daegling has criticized the work of Jeffrey Meldrum, Ph.D., who is arguably the most widely-recognized scientist today who advocates the study of Sasquatch. Meldrum maintains that the study of footprints and their castings is both worthwhile from an anthropological viewpoint, and also helps us understand the validity of the argument for the existence of Sasquatch.
“The footprints constitute a prolific body of data that permits repeatable objective evaluation,” Meldrum wrote in a 2017 paper. “They, the footprints, exist. I have amassed over 300 specimens of footprint casts, as well as hundreds more photographs of footprints. The analyses of these have been the subject of a number of publications, as well as public and professional presentations.”
In the past, Meldrum has co-authored a number of scientific papers and other publications that examine the question of Sasquatch footprints and their authenticity (like this one). What may be less widely known, however, is that Meldrum has also painstakingly worked to make digital renderings of the footprints so that they could be made available for the public to study online.
“I am in the process of archiving these data in digital form,” he wrote in 2017, “as 3D scan files in the case of the casts, making these data available to any interested investigator.”
Here comes the good news: you can now examine Meldrum’s archive of footprint castings online, in a digital collection that showcases 179 castings, as well as a 3D model of the subject of the famous 1967 Patterson Gimlin film.
Dubbed The Virtual Footprints Archive, Meldrum’s site “contains 3D scans and provenience data of track casts from around the world, primarily footprints from North America.
Meldrum’s cast collections are included in the archive along with “tracks gathered by the late Dr. Grover Krantz (Washing State University), as well as investigators such as Paul Freeman and Cliff Barackman, and others too numerous to mention, who have shared their finds.”
Track castings of footprint finds may be inconclusive by themselves, but as Meldrum has noted in the past, even presuming the majority of such finds were fakes, it would only require one to be an authentic representation of a footprint left by an unrecognized bipedal primate to justify further study.
However unlikely that possibility may seem for some, Meldrum’s Virtual Footprints Archive is a valuable resource for any serious researcher, and will certainly help to keep both curious enthusiasts and the open-minded experts “on track” for years to come.