Today when I was poking around in Borders because I’ve been feeling a little cabin fever after being snowed in by 2 big storms, I saw a book called Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science by Jeff Meldrum. It was in the science section, near my favorite shelf of biology books. I love this aisle of Borders but am sad to say that I might be the only one, because I’ve only seen another person looking at the science books here once.
At any rate, I picked up the Sasquatch book because of the title and it had a very nicely designed cover. (Yes, I am a sucker for judging a book by its cover.) I was tempted to buy the book on sight, but it’s $27.95US in hardcover, and I figured I’d better do a little poking around on line to see what I could find out about it before plunking down almost $30 for a book that might be boring, or worse, stupid. So here’s my report of what I’ve found online:
Amazon has a quote from Jane Goodall amongst its reviews. Sounds promising, so I read on. Goodall says, “Jeff Meldrum’s book ‘Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science’ brings a much needed level of scientific analysis to the Sasquatch – or Bigfoot – debate. Does Sasquatch exist? There are countless people – especially indigenous people – in different parts of America who claim to have seen such a creature. And in many parts of the world I meet those who, in a matter-of-fact way, tell me of their encounters with large, bipedal, tail-less hominids. I think I have read every article and every book about these creatures, and while most scientists are not satisfied with existing evidence, I have an open mind.”
OK, although this quote sounds a little wishy washy, I’ll give the book a chance because they were able to get a quote from Goodall. But now I need to look further than Amazon, so I put the book title into a google search and discover that there’s a DVD with the very same cover for sale here https://secure19.activehost.com/legendmeetsscience/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=2. The last line of the review of the video says, “If you want to stun and humble a skeptic, sit him down in front of this program.”
The DVD is for sale on the website of The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. According to their website, “The mission of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) is multifaceted, but the organization essentially seeks to resolve the mystery surrounding the bigfoot phenomenon, that is, to derive conclusive documentation of the species’ existence. This goal is pursued through the proactive collection of empirical data and physical evidence from the field and by means of activities designed to promote an awareness and understanding of the nature and origin of the evidence.”
To me, that sounds like they’ve already decided that Bigfoot exists and they just want to find evidence that supports this conclusion. OK, two strikes against the book. One for the line at the end of the DVD review and one for the mission of the BFRO.
Moving on down the list of hits on my google search, I see WikiPedia. Although I know there’s been a study that showed that wiki and the Encyclopedia Brittanica had about equal accuracy in their articles, I still don’t really trust wiki. But I do look there a lot of times just to get an idea about a topic, before moving on to more solid sources of info. Wiki confirms that the book and DVD are, indeed, the same. And they have a link to the official home page of Legend Meets Science, which redirects to, you guessed it, the BFRO page!
Just when I’m about to toss the idea of reading this book into my mental trashcan, I see a link to an NPR interview with the author. Hmm. Promising. But it’s only available for Windows Media Player and I’m on a Mac, so I have to pass it by. There’s a transcript for $3.95 but that money could go toward the book, should I decide to buy it. (Yes, even when I’m doubtful about a book, I’d rather buy it than take it out of the library. Here’s my dilemma. If I take it out of the library and like it, then I’ll want to buy it anyway. But I’ve already read it, so I’ll feel guilty about spending the money. So I’d rather just buy it first, then at least I’ll have read the copy I spent my own money on, even if it’s no good. Is that tortured logic or what?)
I read one review from The Trades, that gave Legend Meets Science a C+. The reviewer writes, “If you’re a believer in the existence of sasquatch, this book will become your new Bible. If you’re convinced the big guy only exists in the minds of kooks, you’ll probably get worked into a lather over the author’s bias toward the subject. And if you’re looking for a crash course in anthropology, you’d do well to study the chapters enclosed. If you’re a lay person, however, with a passing interest, you’ll find much of the work dry and academic, and perhaps spend most of your time looking at the more interesting pictures and reading the eyewitness accounts, while skipping the sections about how metatarsals are jointed and how hominids move and how big they can be and the precise way of measuring a thorax.”
There are some other reviews online, but there are dust bunnies in the corners of my bathroom and the needles are falling off of my Christmas tree, so I really ought to clean up a little instead of spending the rest of the afternoon reading book reviews.
So, I guess I am feeling a little disappointed. Like I was almost tricked into reading a book of Bigfoot bullshit. But I may have to read this book anyway, because I desperately WANT it to be a good book! I love Sasquatch, and the cover is so cool (reminds me a little of werewolves, which I also love). Even if the book is bunk, maybe it will be a fun read for me anyway, since I read science books as a hobby, and I don’t get bored by the technical details.
So waddya think, should I email the author and see if he’ll do an interview for SkepLit?
P.S. I still can’t figure out how to post pictures to this blog. Sorry! I used to be a geek, but maybe I’m getting too old…. so you’ll have to click on the Amazon link above to see the cool cover.