Sunday, 3 January 2016

A Photo of the Wild Man of the Pyrenees?

     Let me state up front that I find it extremely hard to believe that a bipedal primate, unknown to science, could exist up to the present time in a narrow stretch of mountains between two heavily populated countries, such as France and Spain. Then again, I held the same view about the Australian yowie, until the sheer bulk of evidence became too large to ignore, for evidence which would be unimpressive individually can become very strong in the aggregate. We must therefore follow the trail wherever it leads us, and at least record every item of evidence as it turns up.
     Some months ago, when I published an article on the legendary "wild man of the Pyrenees",  Javier Resines kindly informed me about various articles on the same matter on his own Spanish language blog. So, for those whose Spanish is limited, I shall provide a translation of his article of 30 March 2012. As explained, the closest town to the event was Irún (43° 21'N, 47° 20' W), an ancient Basque city close to the sea and to the French border.

A Yeti Near Irún?
by Javier Resines

     The presence of supposed wild men in our country has been a common fact for a long time. In the Basque Country, in particular, there exist documented accounts of encounters with strange hominids since the twenties of the last century. This would be Basajaun, the lord of the forests, a species of local yeti which has formed part of the Basque legends since time immemorial.
The site of the encounter
     As we have said, from time to time a new sighting is produced of this type of being in the mountains and valleys of this region. The story which we are relating today took place a year ago, on 5 April 2011. The place, Artikuta, an extensive, broken, wooded countryside situated close to Irún.
     The witness, Joxan, and his 14 year old daughter made use of a free day to undertake an excursion through the zone. After passing the summit of Bianditz, they took the Three Cromlechs Path which goes towards Errenga. In this instance, they heard some loud whistles and, about 200 metres away, saw something moving towards Peñas-Errenga which caught their attention.
Enlargement of the first photo
     At first they though it was a dog, a human being, an ape, or even a bear, despite it having vanished from the zone a century ago. The witnesses saw a man covered all over with hair, dressed in "a type of  fur poncho", and which was running at an incredible speed uphill, while emitting loud whistles. Those sounds, long and sustained, seemed to be answered from a nearby summit and, also from an adjacent wood. According to the testimony, there did not appear to be any echoes.
     To complete and round off the strange scene, father and daughter affirmed that they noted a strong odour, "like a cowyard" in the area, an odour which persisted for half an hour. The animal, or whatever, was running for one or two minutes over the dangerous and steep ground until it disappeared from their sight due to the ruggedness of the terrain.
The strange being
     Basajaun, human being, bear? Joxan was able to take several photographs with his mobile phone, some of which we show so that each of you can make up your own mind.

Comment
     What can one say? In the case of UFOs, Dr J. Allen Hynek once pointed out that a photo itself does not prove anything. All it is is an additional piece of evidence, to be assessed in connection with the account of the sighting.
     In this case, the subject of the photo is clearly not a bear. However, the shape is consistent with a human being. Just the same, although witnesses tend to underestimate distances and overestimate times, I would expect that, at the distance involved, an ordinary person could distinguish a fully clothed human being. Apart from that, its behaviour in that wild countryside was not really consistent with that of a human being - especially if we consider the answering whistles.
     Also, although the photo is not good enough to be useful in evidence, it is equally not good enough to be a fake. In other words, if someone wanted to produce a hoax photo, you would expect him to do a better job of it. I suppose, theoretically, Joxan may have taken photographs of an unnamed friend cavorting among the rocks, and as an afterthought decided it might prove useful for playing a trick on a blogger. Even then, one would expect him to take the photos a bit closer to the subject.
     By and large, there is nothing wrong with the story and photograph except that they are fantastic. 
     There is one more thing to remember. We are so used to watching such good wildlife documentaries that is seems we are in the middle of it that we tend to forget the planning, patience, professionalism, and high technology involved. Wild animals do not organize their activities for the benefit of human photographers. This goes double for when the photographer is a rank amateur strolling through the woods with a camera or mobile phone, and when the animal in question is rare, shy, preferentially nocturnal, and which lives in areas where trees and shrubs get between it and the eye witness. Have a look at these "bigfoot photographs". Not very good, are they? But isn't this just what you would expect if a real animal were involved: one or two very good shots (? Patterson-Gimli), many which were obviously hoaxes, and a large number which are neither one thing or the other?

12 comments:

  1. Interesting report. Just a minor detail - There were estimated to be a minimum of 31 bears in the Pyrenées in 2014. I'm ex pat Northern Irish, living at the other end of France in the far north (any further north and we'd be in Belgium), but kept reasonably up to date by different sites i subscribe to, on the bear, wolf populations, etc. A recent article (I think it was in 20 Minutes or La Depeche du Midi) claims due to the confusing weather here now that bears are not always hibernating in the winter, if it is mild. I have no idea exactly where this area is, and may not be known as a habitual range of bears, but thought worth adding. Link to article on population, with small map - http://www.paysdelours.com/fr/ours/ours-pyrenees/

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    1. Interesting, however the figure in the photo really doesn't appear to be a bear.

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  2. Thank you very much for publishing the article, Malcolm.
    I also have many doubts about what Joxan photographed. The easiest thing is to be a hiker .. but we will never know.

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  3. Another clarification: a century have not seen bears in this area.

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  4. Odd that no bigfoot has ever been seen in the San Bernardino mountains near Los Angeles especially when considering the notoriety such an event would provoke.

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  5. Doesn't look like a bear, the shoulders are hunched and the arms are a bit too long.

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    Replies
    1. The proportion of the head to the body, the appearance of fur covering the entire body and the curve of the shoulders do not suggest either a bear or hiker. It would be interesting to conduct a comparison of its size against the outcrop of rocks.

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  6. You know, I have a friend who was a professional skier in France back in the 70's and 80's and who is an all around avid traveller. After having a conversation about things he'd seen in travelling, be told me kind of sheepishly that he and a group of fellow skiers all saw a "Bigfoot" while backcountry skiing in France. I asked him for more details and he said that he was leading a group and came through some trees into a clearing. Right there was a huge "hairy man" that they all quickly skied past. After getting to the bottom, they all looked at each other and said, "did you see that?!" I guess they couldn't have missed it. I asked him how tall it was, and he guessed it was around 9ft (if I remember that number right....at any rate, much taller than a normal man). He also saw a horse being skewered over a BBQ in Kyrgystan in the 70's while using Soviet era rock climbing trail maps he obtained selling Levi jeans in Russia to rock climb nearly inaccessible cliff faces...so yeah, he is the guy to see the thing. If you want him to email you about it, I can ask him.

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  7. Yes, I would like him to email me about it. There is a button at the top of this blog on "How to report a sighting". It is particularly useful to know the location, distance, time etc.

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  8. These hominids are all over the planet. I saw one in 1972 (southern New York) up close and it had black eyes, muscular, about 7 & 1/2 feet tall approximately, maybe 400 to 450 pounds and the fear level was indescribable. Since it was in rural area populated by humans, it wasn't protecting it's domain so it wasn't aggressive and didn't growl or howl, I think it was checking out the neighbor's shed(they had chickens and rabbits) from the road and down on all fours at first. I thought it was a big dog at first, threw a few rocks at it(the last one was big). When it stood up I thought it was a bear briefly till it came at me to check me out standing right in front of me, close enough to reach out and touch it. I sheepishly lowered my head in submission and when I realized I was still alive I looked up at it slowly raising my head an it was just scanning me with its eyes, no emotion. I then re-lowered my head after looking at him like "I'm sorry for throwing rocks at you". Then it walked off into the woods and I ran back to my house the fastest I've ever ran, to the point of not even feeling my legs moving. . . as if my body was just floating and my heart racing super fast. I was only 14 and afraid to tell anybody, especially since at that time not even knowing what I encountered until reading about bigfoot in the Reader's Digest a few years later and instantly realizing that's what I met on that dark road after midnight.

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  9. I just can never understand why every time someone snaps a picture of one of these supposed humanoids, Why the picture is always blurry, So i think i will believe it when a clear picture is produced.

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The Possum Book

I am pleased to provide a link to a website of a friend of mine, Robyn Tracey, who has written a fascinating story about her dealings with brush-tailed possums in the outer suburbs of Sydney. You can download the book for free, or read it on the site. Go to: The Possum Book.

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