Leading Bigfoot skeptic Joe Nickell has been researching Bigfoot for years and believes that many Bigfoot sightings may actually be nothing more then bears.
He believes that upright standing bear is the foremost Bigfoot look-alikes in North America and may be responsible for many regional Bigfoot. He also points to the fact that reported Bigfoot behavior often resembles that of a bear and that Bigfoot reports are typically found in the bear territory. His theory is made especially clear, according to him when looking at regional subtypes of Bigfoot-like the Fouke Monster of Arkansas and the Skunk Ape of Florida.
He compares the appearance and behavior of these Bigfoot subtypes to bears and believes there is enough similarities to conclude many sightings of Bigfoot are simply misidentifications. He breaks down multiple Bigfoot subtypes and their bear like characteristics in his new article. Many of these creatures have become well known names in and around the Bigfoot community and there are some interesting similarities. Many Bigfoot enthusiasts and believers are quick to dismiss Nickell’s theory and findings, believing bears are only responsible for a small amount of Bigfoot sightings overall. Here is a breakdown of some of the various regional Bigfoot variants which Nickells targets and compares to bear characteristics in his new article.
The Fouke Monster
Probably the first sighting of what would become known as the “Fouke Monster” after Fouke, Arkansas, near where it was sighted, was in 1953. It was not seen again until 1955 when a squirrel-hunting fourteen-year-old boy fired at it with birdshot.
He described the monster as covered in reddish-brown hair or fur, standing upright at a height of some seven feet, and having very long arms. It also had a flat nose that was dark brown. The creature “stretched, sniffing the air,” then started toward the boy, who shot at it. That seemed to have no effect, and the youth ran away. In 1971 hundreds of three-toed, thirteen-and-a-half-inch tracks were found in a bean field and attributed to the monster (Green 1978, 189–191). The Fouke Monster was the inspiration for the Legend of Boggy Creek movies (Coleman and Huyghe 1999, 56–57; Fuller 1972, 24–28). (As an example of careless research in some quarters, one source [Matthews 2008, 110] places Fouke in “Kentucky.”)
Be the tracks as they may, the boy’s description is a pretty good fit for an Ursus americanus (black bear) of cinnamon color. States one bear expert (Herrero 2002, 131–132): “An individual [black] bear’s coat color may range from blond, cinnamon, or light brown to dark chocolate brown or jet black.” (See also Van Wormer 1966, 21.) Significantly, the Fouke Monster stood and sniffed the air; that is common behavior for a bear “trying to sense something” (Herrero 2002, 139), as the creature obviously was attempting in this instance.
In 1972, “Momo,” short for “Missouri Monster,” appeared near Louisiana, Missouri. A huge creature covered in black fur, it stood upright on two legs. Reports of such monsters date back to the 1940s, and a year prior to “the Momo scare” two women had encountered a hairy ape-man on River Road near the town (Green 1978, 194–195; Coleman and Huyghe 1999, 50–51).
Then, on July 11, 1972, an incident occurred that received national attention, with many eastern U.S. newspapers sending reporters to cover the story. About 3:30 pm on that sunny Tuesday, a fifteen-year-old girl heard her younger brother scream. Looking out a window, she saw a blood-flecked monster holding a dead dog under one arm; then it “waddled” off (Coleman and Huyghe, 1999, 50; Green 1978, 195). According to John Green (1978, 195), “after the fuss started several other people claimed to have seen something similar, generating even more excitement, and a lot of people spent time monster hunting, but nothing came of it.”
I have compiled this composite description of the creature: It stood about six or seven feet tall, was neckless, and was completely covered in long black hair—even its face, according to one source. It appeared to be bipedal yet “waddled” or walked awkwardly. It had a foul smell and was, at least in part, carnivorous, capable of killing and carrying away a dog (Green 1978, 195; Coleman and Huyghe 1999, 50–51).
I submit that this is a convincing description of a black bear standing upright with its waddling gait a corroborative detail. Of course we should read “arm” as “front leg.” (See Nickell 2013a.) As to the hair-covered face, a feature not reported by all witnesses, it may be that the creature was actually seen from the back. In this light, an artist’s conception of Momo, reproduced in Coleman and Huyghe’s The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide (1999, 51), strongly resembles a black bear viewed from behind.
In the vicinity of the Big Muddy River near Murphysboro, Illinois, came reports of a seven-foot Bigfoot described as “dirty white” or white “with muddy body hair,” or even as a “big white ghost”—from three sightings in two nights, June 25 and 26, 1973 (Bord and Bord 2006, 270). Two of the witnesses, teenagers, thought it had been covered in mud or slime from the river. Later that summer it was seen “three or four” additional times (Green 1978, 204).
“The Big Muddy Monster”—as it was now known—was seen again the following year, July 9, 1974, and again in July 1975, both times in the vicinity of Murphysboro (Green 1978, 204; Bord and Bord 2006, 270, 277, 281). On its way to legendary status, “Big Muddy” has also been styled the “Murphysboro Mud Monster” in that learned tome, Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America (Francis 2007, 107), which tells us that it is “Seven to eight feet tall, weighing over two hundred pounds,” that it is “omnivorous,” and “may be dangerous if cornered or startled.”
I do not doubt it. Big Muddy sounds for all the world like a tall black bear—one not black in color however. Black bears can be off-white and even white—as shown in Whitaker (1996, 703, color plate 337)—and albino ones are also known (Herrero 2002, 132).
Full Article can be found here.