This episode of In Search of Aliens was supposed to be a hunt for the Cyclops according to the published listings. But something happened that led H2 to swap out the episode for the one we actually saw tonight S01E05 “The Search for Bigfoot.” The Cyclops episode will air in two weeks because H2 is taking Labor Day weekend off. Instead, we are treated to an ersatz Finding Bigfoot in which our intrepid hero Giorgio Tsoukalos tramps through the Washington woods to look for the ultra-terrestrial Bigfoot, the one who rides in a flying saucer. I previously discussed the connection between Bigfoot and flying saucers in an April blog post.
The trouble, of course, is that any Bigfoot documentary is an exercise in waiting for the inevitable disappointment since we would have heard long ago had Giorgio Tsoukalos actually found Bigfoot or his flying saucer. It’s not the kind of news you save for five minutes before eleven on a late August Friday night.
If “The Search for Bigfoot” seems familiar, it’s because Tsoukalos already covered this topic—including, as we shall see, the same false claims about Greek mythology, in Ancient Aliens S04E03 “Aliens and Bigfoot.” This episode added nothing to the earlier series’ coverage, and in fact was somewhat less coherent and definitely less entertaining than Ancient Aliens’ version.
As the show begins, Giorgio Tsoukalos tells us that extraterrestrials came to earth in the past and modified our DNA, along the way creating hybrid creatures with human and animal traits. He asks whether aliens also created hairy giants such as Bigfoot, whom he is seeking in Washington State. He claims that finding Bigfoot will help prove that aliens still live “in our midst.”
Tsoukalos notes that the modern Bigfoot legend began in 1958, but he connects this to myths of hairy giants “dating back to ancient times.” He cites the Yeti (dating to 1921, but possibly drawing on earlier wild man legends), the Yowi (dating to the 1800s, but drawing from Aboriginal mythology), and the Yeren (also apparently modern, but derived from Chinese wild man myths). The show illustrates all of these with drawings of gorillas and Tsoukalos calls the legends suspiciously similar even though descriptions of the creatures vary wildly. Many of the most recent sightings are similar, but skeptics would say this is due to pop culture cross-contamination, not to a lost race of alien monkey men.
Tsoukalos meets with a group of dedicated Bigfoot hunters called the Olympic Project led by Derek Randles who have spent “thousands of hours” monitoring the woods without finding any monster apes. Randles describes his own Bigfoot encounter, in which he claims to have seen Bigfoot after several rocks fell near him. Tsoukalos notes that the same backwoods where Bigfoot lives in Washington are the same place where UFOs are frequently sighted, sometimes in connection with Bigfoot, who occasionally hitches a ride on the flying saucers.
Even our hero seems curious to know why there is no evidence of Bigfoot despite all the effort expended to find him. The Olympic Project team share various efforts at Bigfoot research, which offer very little by way of evidence, and even Olympic Project members admit that the evidence can be explained in different ways that don’t include Bigfoot. Nevertheless, they are convinced that they have a recording of Bigfoot’s yodel. It doesn’t sound like anything to me, but I am no audio expert.
The men (there are no women) pack up during the commercial break and head off into the field, to Mount Muller. The team sets up a bunch of equipment in an effort to burn time in this rather dull knockoff of Finding Bigfoot.
Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, an anatomist who believes in Bigfoot, shows Tsoukalos casts of Bigfoot prints and identifies them as “male” and “female” based on their size, though it seems a bit of a stretch to suggest sexual dimorphism in a species that isn’t known to actually exist.
Randles tells Tsoukalos that Bigfoot is large, hyper-intelligent but extremely rare, and this immediately reminds Tsoukalos of what else but the goddamned Watchers from the Book of Enoch, because the Watchers are the lynchpin of all fringe history. We can’t go too long on a fringe show without them. He gives a potted history of the Watchers’ breeding with humans to produce giants (cf. Genesis 6:4, which Tsoukalos does not do). Could Bigfoot be a Nephilim giant? Tsoukalos says he wants to know but instead of pursuing this angle, he instead starts knocking on trees to see if Bigfoot will send a telegraphic message back.
After the break, Tsoukalos claims that Gilgamesh’s companion Enkidu is a Bigfoot because of the following lines from Tablet II of the Epic of Gilgamesh:
His whole body was covered with hair; he had long hair on his head like a woman;
Tsoukalos, however, must not have read the Epic of Gilgamesh since he ascribes Enkidu’s creation to the Anunnaki, when the epic is quite clear in Tablet II that he was created by Ninhursag, also known as Aruru, a fertility goddess: “Aruru created in her heart a man after the likeness of Anu.” Therefore, Tsoukalos is wrong to connect Enkidu in a daisy chain to the Anunnaki and thus the Watchers, whom he considers parallel alien gods. Aruru is not one of the Anunnaki, but a primal deity, one of the seven great gods of Sumer.
Next, Tsoukalos says that Linda Moulton Howe “discovered” a connection between Bigfoot and cattle mutilation in 1980. (Bigfoot had been associated with UFOs since 1976, when the Six Million Dollar Man placed him among aliens, and UFOs had been associated with cattle mutilation since the mid-1970s, so the transitive property of fringe history made identification inevitable.) Howe’s discovery took the form of a letter she received from a Washington man who claimed to have seen a flying saucer (classic version—disc shaped) that teleported a Bigfoot to the earth. Several cows died thereafter, and I want these disgusting pictures of mutilated animals off of my screen. Tsoukalos believes (in the interrogative, of course) that mutilations are of “an extraterrestrial origin,” even though most professional investigators long ago concluded that the so-called mutilations were natural decay and the work of scavengers. I wrote about this in my article on aliens and anal probing a few weeks ago.
After the break, Tsoukalos interviews a former sheriff’s deputy who claims to have seen Bigfoot twice. Richard Germeau is the deputy, and he is not a disinterested party but the co-founder of the Olympic Project, which he started in 2009, before he left the sheriff’s department amidst a flurry of accusations and lawsuits. Germeau seems to genuinely believe he saw Bigfoot, but he provides nothing that substantiates his claims. For example, everything he described could easily fit a bear standing on its hind legs, but Germeau is clearly steeped in fringe culture. He says that his first thought was that the monster was—and this is verbatim—“a relic hominid.” Like we all do. However, he later wondered if it might be a “shape-shifter [or] inter-dimensional type being” because Native American mythology includes stories of skin walkers. He carefully adds that he does not necessarily believe any of the hypotheses he just proposed, though they shape his ideas about Bigfoot all the same.
Tsoukalos next goes to visit frequent Ancient Aliens guest Jonathan Young, the founder of the Joseph Campbell Archives. After the break, Young shows Tsoukalos books with myths in them and he relates Bigfoot to the “troglodytes, all the way back to the Greek historians.” Tsoukalos declares them “large, hairy, beastly looking creatures” from Greek myth who descended from the sky and were very wise. No. Try again. We went over this in the “Aliens and Bigfoot” episode of Ancient Aliens. As I wrote then:
There are no troglodytes in Greek myth, much less troglodytes who “came down from the sky.” There are only a couple of mentions of troglodytes in ancient literature, and they are from history, not myth. (Not that Tsoukalos knows the difference.) The Troglodytes are the (human) inhabitants of Troglodytis, a city, in Flavius Josephus (Antiquities 1.15.1) and are otherwise people who live along the Red Sea coast.
Tsoukalos, however, takes this as license to decide that Merlin is a giant troglodyte, too, because the fifteenth century manuscript Lailoken and Kentigern describes the Caledonian prophet Lailoken as “hairy,” and he in turn is often identified with the Welsh figure of Myrddin Wyllt, often thought to be the inspiration for Merlin. Straightforward, no?
I want this episode to end. It’s so stupid.
Young and Tsoukalos think Bigfoot could be a shape-shifter akin to a werewolf and might masquerade as a human being when not rampaging through the woods. Tsoukalos drops this and returns to the theme of animal-human “hybrids” that he has covered at least twice already in this hour. Young is “excited” by Bigfoot because he feels Bigfoot is a survival of ancient myth that will lead humanity to “transcendence.” It’s all “power of myth” hot air, but it sounds even stupider when said to Giorgio Tsoukalos, who takes it all literally.
Next we get the requisite discussion of Gigantopithecus and the claim that this giant ape that went extinct 100,000 years ago might be the ancestor of Bigfoot, having apparently walked across the Bering Strait ages ago to skulk in Washington’s woods. Dr. Tori Randall, a biological anthropologist and the curator of the Museum of Man, tells Tsoukalos that Bigfoot could exist, though she seems to have been edited to remove qualifiers from her statements. For example, when asked (nonsensically) if Bigfoot is the “missing link” between humans and apes, her answer as presented makes no sense and has nothing to do with the question since she talks about fossils. All of this somehow leads to Tsoukalos endorsing the idea of evolution but then claiming that only aliens could increase DUF1220, a protein domain that may be involved with brain evolution and is more prominent in humans than apes.
Tsoukalos finishes the show by suggesting that Bigfoot is actually a natural human, the way we would have been had aliens not pumped us full of DUF1220. Sure, let’s go with that. Because that explains why Bigfoot rides a flying saucer and steals cows’ rectums.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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