Yes, I’m going to rant again. Those of you who know me probably know I’m fascinated by the strange and paranormal.
Well, recently an image was posted on a Facebook page local to me (and which I follow) about a woman whose kids found a partially decomposed foot in the woods, which they (and she) believed to be human in nature. She contacted the police, but she also sent a photo of the item to the owner of this particular Facebook page, who posted it and requested comments.
Most people agreed that it appeared to be a human foot, but a few (myself included) theorized that it might be a bear’s foot, minus the claws on the ends of the toes. The bear foot theory was not only dismissed, but essentially scoffed at. When I posted links to images of other partially decomposed bear foots which had also mistakenly been believed at first to be human feet, the owner of the Facebook page told me “This is definitely NOT a bear foot. It is CLEARLY a human foot” and again dismissed my theory. Several other commenters did the same, some ridiculing the bear foot idea.
Well, the other night I noticed that this Facebook page had posted an update indicating the police forensics and an expert from a local university had concluded that the foot in question was definitely that of a bear and not a human. The update was posted quietly, without much uproar, and with barely a comment of acknowledgment. I at least expected the page owner to acknowledge that they and others had been wrong. Nothing.
So I scrolled my way to the original post to see if they had acknowledged the bear foot theory that had been posted in the comments there. Well, not only had they not done that, but each and every comment regarding the bear foot theory, as well as each and every comment disputing (and/or ridiculing) that theory, had been deleted.
Does it sound like I’m upset? I’m actually not upset so much as just disgusted. I’m considering unfriending or unfollowing that particular Facebook page because this one act has made me lose some respect for the person that runs the page. She has essentially twisted the history of the discussion regarding the foot that was found and erased her and others’ dispute of one of the theories (which later became fact).
Why is this such a big deal? Mostly because most of us that are interested in such things are skeptics. We see lights in the sky, we try to explain them with fact and logic. We hear a knocking sound when we’re alone in the house, we try to find a logical and mundane explanation (like a raccoon in the basement). We try to find the simplest and most logical and easily provable explanation for things that we don’t understand before coming to the conclusion that something unusual is going on.
By this person not only neglecting to acknowledge that a theory they ridiculed was actually correct, but by also removing every mention of that theory or their dispute of that theory, they have removed the proof of the speculation surrounding the incident as well as damaged their own integrity as an impartial observer. It makes me now doubt everything they have posted of a supernatural nature, wondering if they’re leaving something out that might give a clue as to the true nature of the event or item they are describing.
I could post a long story about the time my husband and I saw a UFO. I can describe the chill that went down my spine and the way my husband and I both looked at each other with the same wide-eyed expression and said, “Did you see that?” I can tell you that we were in the car and on our way somewhere, but we still decided to take the time to chase down the object, and the thrill and excitement we felt trying to get close enough to see the little green men piloting it, deciding which street to turn down, which direction to go to get a better glimpse. You’d be amazed and think, “Wow, you saw a UFO!”
If I then leave out the fact that we DID get close enough to see it up close…only to discover that it was a Fuji blimp…what does that make me? And if you later found out that I KNEW what I saw was not an alien spacecraft, that it was just a blimp heading to a local sporting event, what would that do to my credibility from that point forward? Would you believe anything I posted after that? Or would you be left wondering what details I was leaving out that might help to explain what it was that I saw?
There is a LOT of misinformation and disinformation in the world these days. Our politicians lie to us, our news media twist the facts to give us a good story. If we as skeptics refuse to acknowledge when we are wrong; if we refuse to accept that some things have very mundane, simple explanations even though our imagination may get the better of us, then what does that say about us? Are we being true to ourselves? Or are we merely falling victim to the same sensationalism that is so prevalent today?
I’ll be cross-posting this on P-E, though without most of the back story details, because we think it’s important for those of us running sites like that to be objective in our observations and give our readers the opportunity to make up their own minds about what they’re seeing or reading about.
Author’s Note: If you’re interested in more information on the bear paw stories, please see this site, this site and this site. Also, check out this Google search. You see, I wasn’t just making up stories that the foot in question was possibly a bear paw; I was sharing factual, proven information showing that bear paws are very OFTEN mistaken for human body parts and that it was POSSIBLE that the foot found was a bear paw. I never assumed that it WAS or that it WASN’T; just offered an alternate theory.