In my humble opinion, the scientific search for Bigfoot should be at the top of the list when considering which strange, paranormal, supernatural, or unexplained phenomena we as a species should investigate. Of all the various creatures and and beings that are supposedly out there, I feel like it’s probably the one most grounded in reality. I mean, an undiscovered primate is much easier to accept than alien beings visiting us from other star systems, or ghosts contacting us from another realm or dimension or afterlife. Unfortunately, there are very few accredited researchers brave enough to search for what is out there, if anything at all. People like Dr. Jeff Meldrum and the late Dr. Grover Krantz are among that rare breed who have the PhDs and are attached to universities, and risked it all to search for sasquatch, often to the detriment of their careers. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of good, respectable researchers out there without PhDs or university credentials, because there are. But the average layperson, as well as the mainstream scientific community at large, is going to give more credence to someone with an advanced degree. It’s an unfortunate reality. So I was happy to see that the executive director of the University of New Mexico’s Gallup campus led a Bigfoot conference and expedition. Unfortunately, he seems to have ruffled a few feathers at the school in doing so.
GALLUP, N.M. — The head of the University of New Mexico’s Gallup campus is under fire for spending money on Bigfoot-related pursuits.
UNM Gallup’s Executive Director Dr. Christopher Dyer organized a two-day, on-campus Bigfoot conference in February followed by a Bigfoot expedition, costing taxpayers more than $7,000, KRQE-TV reported (http://bit.ly/2e2e9g7 ).
“It was the largest and most well-attended event in the history of this campus,” Dyer said.
UNM paid for advertising, meals for guest speakers, airfare and per diem. Self-professed Bigfoot expert Dr. Jeff Meldrum was paid a $1,000 honorarium plus expenses. The other guest speaker, Rob Kryder, was paid a $500 honorarium plus expenses.
Dyer is an avid Bigfoot hunter in his free time and says he only pursues the mythical creature when he isn’t on the job. He has a collection of Bigfoot hairs and photos of suspicious footprints.
After the conference, Dyer and some of his companions went to the desert searching for Bigfoot. No students or faculty went on the expedition, but KRQE found UNM paid for the expedition. Dyer said he and his companions did not spot Bigfoot, but they did see habitat.
“I’d have to say it was pretty much a blown waste of money because we did not find evidence because of the snow. It was just impossible to get around out there. So in that case, yeah would we spend money on that again? Absolutely not,” Dyer said.
Dyer said he uses discretionary funds for field work that he believes has some kind of merit, such as field work of some kind of research. “People use monies from the taxpayers to do research. For Bigfoot or whatever,” Dyer said.
UNM President Robert Frank said he didn’t know about the university’s Bigfoot spending until reporters called about it.
“Dr. Dyer needs to be much more thoughtful about how he undertakes these activities,” Frank said. “The type of expedition that just took place was not appropriate and will not occur in that manner again.”
On the one hand, I can see why the University might be upset, given that Mr. Frank only learned about this event from reporters. I’m sure it caught him off-guard and was an embarrassing situation for him. But he also seems of the mind that the research was not appropriate and won’t be allowed in the future. If Dyer did indeed use discretionary money, then why can’t he research what he wants? I’ve seen studies in the past, spending way more than $7,000, to see if people pee in pools when they are swimming and what the effects might be. Isn’t an undiscovered primate (and probable human relative) just a little more important than finding out what percentage of the population pees in swimming pools? Enforcing university protocol is one thing, but flat-out banning certain types of research is disheartening to say the least.