‘Cryptozoology’ Category Archives


Why did the mammoth cross the river?

by Eugene in Animals, Cryptozoology

Saw this on Huffington Post the other day. It’s been making quite a splash in Cryptozoology circles.


It looks pretty convincing at first glance. But only at first glance. Most people point out that it’s probably either a bear, holding a salmon in its mouth, or a composite image of an elephant crossing some water superimposed on the river using Adobe AfterEffects or something similar.

My first thought was that it’s two guys who rented a Mr. Snuffleupagus costume and waded across a river with it.

Actually, according to the MonsterTalk guys, it’s most likely just a digital hoax. A film maker named Ludovic Petho identified the footage as his own– sans mammoth! It’s part of a documentary he’s working on about his father’s escape from a Siberian POW camp in WWII. Below is very clever, and very thorough comparison of the original footage with the hoax.


Even without this pretty definitive takedown, there is one other giveaway: elephants breathe through their noses. Unless they are actively drinking or retrieving something, they generally keep their trunk tips out of the water.


“Bigfoot is Probably Real” exhibit at Renton History Museum

by Eugene in Bigfoot, Cryptozoology, Eugene's work, Museums


User-generated Bigfoot drawing from the Renton exhibition

Everyone’s favorite furry giant is making an encore appearance, this time in a more contextually appropriate setting: Renton History Museum. I have been working with director Elizabeth Stewart and we’ve put together a show that’s part art installation, and part educational experience on the value and uses of evidence, eyewitness accounts, and critical thinking.

Renton History Museum is a charming place, housed in the Art Deco building that served as the city of Renton’s firehouse back in the day. The whole main exhibition area is lit by an enormous vintage neon sign (rescued from an old theater downtown), and there are dioramas of Indian villages, a Boeing flight simulator, and a walk-through replica of an early settler’s house.

I have “inserted” (quite literally) Bigfoot into the history of Renton and the Pacific Northwest, in a way that I have always wanted to do, and in a way that I think is quite legitimate. It doesn’t really matter, in a social sense, if Bigfoot is “real”, because as part of the culture of the Northwest, he already is.

The show is open now through January 28. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM.
Renton History Museum
235 Mill Avenue South
Renton, WA  98057
Phone: 425-255-2330

Museum Website: http://rentonwa.gov/living/default.aspx?id=1220

Here’s a press blurb about it: http://renton.patch.com/articles/is-bigfoot-real




The Deep

by Eugene in Animals, Cryptozoology

No, not Peter Benchley’s novel and subsequent movie about pirate treasure, drug runners, and killer morays in the Caribbean, but a very cool stop-motion animation from animation darling PES. Featured on Showtime, by the bug in the corner. You could think of it as a SteamPunk nature documentary.

PES’ homepage is here.


The Anachronism

by Eugene in Cryptozoology, Eugene's work, Naturalists

A haunting and beautiful film by Matthew Gordon Long, shot in British Columbia. Worth watching the whole thing. The official website is here.

The Anachronism (Full Film) from Anachronism Pictures on Vimeo.

Just so you know– I was steampunk before steampunk had a name. Below is an old sculpture of mine, from Lost Naturalists of the Pacific:


Eugene Parnell, artifact from Lost Naturalists of the Pacific, 1997

Eugene Parnell, artifact from <i>Lost Naturalists of the Pacific</i> (detail), 1997

Eugene Parnell, artifact from Lost Naturalists of the Pacific (detail), 1997


Thylacines on film

by Eugene in Animals, Cryptozoology

Thylacine at the Hobart Zoo, Tasmania, in the 1930's.

Thylacine at the Hobart Zoo, Tasmania, in the 1930's.

The thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, so far has the dubious distinction of being one of the few animals to go extinct so recently that it has been captured in motion pictures before its demise. I have seen excerpts of the films here and there on television, but today I stumbled upon this good collection of them online, at a site called the Thylacine Museum.

They are haunting. The animal is familiar-looking at first– we see the small, delicately balanced feet of a carnivore, the pointy ears reminiscent of a coyote, the muzzle– but also so alien. Especially when it opens its mouth. Where is familiar pattern of incisors and canines? And how can it open so wide? It’s crocodile-like, and the long, long, wedge-like head and strangely expressionless eyes give it an eerie, prehistoric countenance that I find thrilling.

But, despite the constant hopes and occasional reports, the thylacine is gone for good. One of the more interesting books on the subject is Michael Crewdson’s Carnivorous Nights: On the Trail of the Tasmanian Tiger, illustrated by the great Alexis Rockman. Above all, it’s a story about desire and regret– regret that it’s gone, and desire for one of the many sighting reports to be true. Well worth the read– and funny as well.

The most interesting thylacine story I have ever come across was an article in the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini, the national airline of Papua New Guinea, from the early 90′s. It was a back issue that Ralf Stüttgen had kicking around his guest house in Wewak when I was there in ’93. This missionary in the highlands of Irian Jaya, on the Indonesian side of the border, near Puncak Jaya, had brough a picture book of animals with him to show the children at the school where he taught. People in the village got to looking at it, and amongst the photos was one of a thylacine.

The villagers got quite excited, and said they knew this animal. The missionary, of course, pointed out that was impossible; they were from Australia and Tasmania, and the last of them died out decades ago. Not so, insisted the people, there were some in the general vicinity. Well, a couple expeditions were launched and turned up nothing, although it did turn out that the local people could describe the animal’s habits, footprints, and scat with uncanny accuracy.

And, let’s not forget, Australia and New Guinea were once a single land mass, up until very, very recently: about 8,000 years ago, with the final melting of the Pleistocene glaciers. In evolutionary terms, that’s like yesterday. Recently enough, one might even think, to be remembered.


It’s a guy in a suit, get over it

by Eugene in Bigfoot, Cryptozoology

This story has been floating around the online-news-o-sphere for the past few days, and at least two people have forwarded it to me. Some local hunters in Northern Minnesota have produced a trail cam image that they claim is Bigfoot.


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In the gallery, a simple experiment

by Eugene in Bigfoot, Cryptozoology, Eugene's work

Part of my new show at Gallery 4Culture involves a simple, Myth-Busters type experiment: is it possible to replicate Bigfoot footprints with those giant wooden strap-on feet made famous by Ray Wallace in the 1970′s?

As the video shows, results are mixed. The average step reported in Bigfoot trackways is 48 – 60″. My target trackway was about 57″. For most ordinary individuals, taking steps large enough to replicate this spacing, with wooden feet strapped to your shoes, is simply not possible, at least not for any distance. My friend Jay Bryant, however, at 6 foot 6, is the exception that proves the rule.

In the video you can also see people interacting with the taxidermied bigfoot whose construction I have been chronicling here over the past few months. This is the effect I have wanted: to put you in a dark room with Bigfoot and a flashlight. It changes the experience completely from the open, well-lit group show in Kirkland. There is something pulse-quickening about carrying a flashlight into the dark, to see what you might find there, especially the big lantern type with the huge square batteries and over-arching handles, that bring memories of childhood campouts and thunderstorm-induced power failures. It’s simply primal.


A Bigfoot Expedition, Reported

by Eugene in Bigfoot, Cryptozoology

Journalist Scott Bowen is On the trail of the New York Bigfoot. He joins an expedition sponsored by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, and tells us all about it. I have always wondered about these expeditions. At the reception to my show the other night, I met a field biologist working on the Olympic Peninsula, who has met some of the core members, and what she had to say wasn’t terribly kind. Another gallery visitor mentioned that the expeditions have become so popular (despite the $300 fee for first-time joiners) that BFRO is no longer allowing new people to come along.

So when you get 400 people to go camping together and trot around in the woods with their night vision scopes and walkie-talkies and whatnot, does it become anything other than a kind of group snipe hunt? BFRO contends that their expeditions do, reliably, turn up Bigfoot-related phenomena like vocalizations and wood-knocking. But are they legitimate, or are they some kind of manufactured thrill-experience? Hard to say. My informants tell me some of the participants are quite sincere.

I guess I won’t find out; not this year, at least.


“False Proof” at Kirkland Arts Center

by Eugene in Bigfoot, Cryptozoology, Eugene's work

False Proof

September 11 – October 3 , 2009
Curated by Cable Griffith

Nola Avienne, Zack Bent, Jana Brevick, Drew Christie, Jonathan Gitelson, Eugene Parnell, and Samantha Scherer.

Opening reception: Thursday, September 10, 6 – 8:30 PM

False Proof

False Proof

It is human nature to linger on the threshold between rational thought and total fantasy, fact and fiction, known and unknown, natural and supernatural, regardless of religious or spiritual persuasion. A great many things in the universe defy explanation, and in some ways, we prefer it that way. Answers can sometimes be cold and decisive, shutting the door to the fundamental question at the root of creativity, “What if?” The artists in False Proof address several of these time-tested phenomena by creating work that exploits the bubbles we preserve between knowing and not knowing.

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Building Bigfoot, part four

by Eugene in Bigfoot, Cryptozoology, Eugene's work, Processes and Materials, Work in Progress

This is part 4 of this series, you can see part three here. In the last installment, we saw the process for casting a body part as a hollow fiberglass and resin shell. In this post, we’ll look at the other casting method I use, solid casting with urethane plastic.

The left hand of Bigfoot, modeled in clay

The left hand of Bigfoot, modeled in clay

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