by Wm. Michael Mott
I do not say that the data of the damned should have the same rights as the data of the saved. That would be justice. That would be of the Positive Absolute, and, though the ideal of, a violation of, the very essence of quasi-existence, wherein only to have the appearance of being is to express a preponderance of force one way or another–or inequilibrium, or inconsistency, or injustice. -Charles Fort
When writing about anomalous subjects, one has to be very careful to keep oneself out of the narrative as much as possible. Until my recent publication of a photo showing an unexplained aerial object, this has always been my policy as a Fortean writer and researcher, because one must remain as objective as possible in order for all data to be properly assessed.
In his writings, the late John Keel related his own experiences, which were often encountered in his investigations, or as a result of them. Likewise, Brad Steiger has, over the years, shared personal investigative experiences, as well as some from his childhood. Yet both gentlemen remained highly objective in their investigations, research and analyses. The only times they brought personal experiences into their narratives were those times that strangeness affected them, or those close to them, directly.
When researching and investigating anomalous phenomena, a great deal of logical deduction comes into play. Patterns are assessed, eyewitness accounts are evaluated, and known facts within the scope of current scientific knowledge are brought to bear. Historical sources and accounts are also of great importance, as parallels to recent events or phenomena are often found within them. The type of information that often eludes investigators is “hard evidence”… I.e., a photo that can not be explained as a hoax, inexplicable DNA evidence, or physical artifacts.
When it comes to the last-mentioned category, such artifacts have in fact been found, not once but many times. Manufactured objects like a candlestick and an iron hammer have been found encased in coal which came from deep strata having an age in the millions of years; and tiny, intricate metal objects resembling finely-tooled gears have been found. In South African pyrophylite mines, unexplained, precision-machined objects called Klerksdorp spheres have been found and recovered many times, from strata that is 3 billion years old. Skeptics attempt to explain the latter objects away as “calcareous concretions”, by comparing the spheres to other objects found, but this is dishonest scientifically (equivalent to saying that bats and birds belong to the same family because both have wings and can fly, for instance) and intellectually. In short, it is a dismissal based in opinion and conjecture, and not in fact. A convenient equivalency or similarity is identified and then exploited in an opportunistic, eager fashion as an “explanation”, when more often than not it is simply a thinly-veiled effort to debunk and discredit something that does not fit into the accepted, permitted and religious orthodoxy of modern scientific “thought”.
In the stone bed of the Paluxy River, in Glen Rose, Texas, there are some very interesting footprints, fossilized in stone. One type of track present is that of a theropod dinosaur, three-toed on each foot, and fairly wide in configuration. The other set of tracks appear to be those of a bipedal humanoid of giant size, wearing footwear, which are placed roughly parallel to the dinosaur tracks. The rock containing these tracks was mud, back during the Mesozoic, a vast period of time which lasted from approximately 240 million years past, until the end of the Cretaceous period, some 66 million years ago.
Such pieces of “damned data”, as Charles Fort termed them, do not fit into any “acceptable” school of “science”. Therefore, they must be debunked, er…discredited, uhm…explained away as rapidly and with as much contemptuous disdain as possible. Their very existence is an upstart affront to the wardens of scientific fact, the gate-keepers of orthodoxy, the guardians of the hive, the high-priests of science themselves! With the Paluxy tracks this effort has resulted in explanations of them being nothing more than the “eroded” metatarsal dinosaur tracks of animals running on their heels and “carvings”. Elaborate diagrams have been created to show “how” the very-wide dinosaur tracks eroded into comparatively narrow humanoid tracks.
And there you have it, case closed. Except for the data that the concerned and vexed paleontologists intentionally omit, ignore or don’t mention… Such at the fact that the stride of the alleged tracks of a giant humanoid correspond to a humanoid stride, and look nothing like those of the loping, splayed stride of the nearby theropod tracks; or the fact that the line of supposedly “toes-eroded-away” tracks go on for quite some distance, yet never once is a verifiable, missing dinosaur “toe track” found that is connected to one of them. So either there were meat-eating carnivorous dinosaurs running around ancient Texas wearing tight-fitting sensible shoes, or apparently there was something, or someone, striding about with a foot structure and stride which would be that of a very, very large human being (or similar form). Here we have a procession of dinosaurs and giant, unknown bipeds, either walking side by side or in close chronology, or chronologically close enough to share the same muddy river bottom. Quite a procession indeed.
Or, to quote an earlier writer on these topics:
PROCESSION of the damned.
By the damned, I mean the excluded.
We shall have a procession of data that Science has excluded. -Charles Fort
The power that has said to all these things that they are damned, is Dogmatic Science. -Charles Fort
Recently, while walking my dog on our rural property, I came across a rectangular-looking rock sticking out of the ground. With the help of my son I dug it up. It was the small end of a bigger stone, and the whole appears to be either sandstone or limestone. It is a very hard form of it, however. It was buried in the ground at about an 80 degree angle. It was facing an uphill direction on a gentle slope of terrain.
I took this weird find back to my house but it wasn’t until the next day, when the light was “just right”, that my girlfriend noticed that it “looked like a footprint”.
Now we shall have something that is high up in the castes of the accursed… -Charles Fort
The day after that I took some photos in late afternoon light, when the angle of illumination really brought out the details. I have since shown the photos to a podiatrist, who says that it is definitely a footprint of “some kind of animal”. He said “The outline does have the shape of a rear foot of an animal. Not enough impression to make out details of the rear portion. Might be a toe walker as calcaneus bone is often elongated in dogs and cats for example and does not directly bear weight.” A few days later, he contacted me again and stated the following: “I think a calcaneus (heel bone) is shown. That means whatever it was walked on the whole foot instead of metarsal heads and toes.” In other words, it is definitely a humanoid footprint, one which is at least 30 million years old, and found in the New World. He also said: “The outline helped me a lot in analyzing. Enough to change my opinion of the print from toe walker to complete foot walker.” Additionally, a renowned cryptozoologist and zoologist saw the photos and quickly said “Bear?” There is only one problem with this: If this is a chunk of stone from the Ciaiborne Group deposit, or the Tallahatta Group, then that would place it in the Eocene. There were no bears roaming the planet at that time, and few mammals of a size to make a print like this.
There was, however, a primordial, ancestral canine creature called an Amphicyonidae, or “bear dog”. This nasty character roamed North America, Europe, Africa and Asia from the Middle Eocene until the Pleistocene Epoch, a period of over 44 million years. Could I have found a fossilized, prehistoric “bear dog” print? Well, only if bear dogs had opposing big toes, with four receding toes alongside them, much in the fashion of a human foot. Which, of course, they did not.
The fossil appears to represent a a shallow print, with mud or soil displacement to the sides, such as is left in very slippery mud. The other (“bottom”) side is almost perfectly flat, apparently supporting the possibility of a cast-like fill where an imprint dried, then was filled in by more sediment which eventually became the fossilized cast.
Other opinions have been varied, and for the most part accept the fossil for what it appears to be. A bigfoot researcher stated that the print ls similar to existing plaster casts of footprints left by “sasquatch” or “bigfoot,” and seems to be “a very base form of them…a starting point …maybe before evolving into the current foot.”
A medical doctor and specialist in medical forensics took a look at the photos, and stated “it looks like you have yourself a (foot)print”, and “Very interesting. I’ve not seen a fossilized one so you have something special.” So we have input from two medical doctors (one a podiatrist, and one a specialist in forensics), a bigfoot researcher, and a cryptozoologist (and zoologist) who has examined many tracks in the field, and all four individuals see a track left by, at the very least, a foot.
This gives us a near-consensus on this anomalous object, at the very least, being a genuine fossilized footprint. But not so fast! I also contacted a professional paleontologist, and his assessment was not so glowing. In response to my email, he responded within an hour, and stated the following:
“To the untrained eye, something unfamiliar can look like ANYTHING, or whatever the eye is untrained to recognize. To the trained (professional) eye, there is considerably greater familiarity, thus fewer possibilities as to what could explain a given phenomenon (and thus fewer “mysteries” or “unknowns”).
“True, the rock looks like a foot print (people show me rocks all the time that they say look like skulls, but aren’t). There are actually a number of features that convince my trained eye that it is nothing more than a slab of sandstone with peculiarly parallel burrow fillings (on one end), probably produced by a burrowing decapod (e.g. ghost shrimp) on the seafloor. Not to discount your podiatrist, but there are numerous things wrong with the footprint, if human (or “humanoid”)…
· The ‘toe mounds’ are wrong (e.g. they form more of a straight rather than a curved line).
· The ‘inner arch’ is convex and not concave.
· There is no outer arch.
· The ‘ball’ (heel) of the foot is much too subdued.
“This is just a coincidental shape (or convergence of shapes). Coupled with the source, Eocene marine sediments often populated with the burrows of benthic decapods, I’d say you have only a conversation piece. However, if you were to show me just one more such “footprint,” and in better shape than this one, then I might be willing to consider the possibility that…you now have two bizarrely shaped rocks.”
I found this to be a very interesting response, in several regards. First: When I contacted the paleontologist, I made no mention of the terms “human” or “humanoid”. None whatsoever. I just sent him a brief account of how I came to find the object, and some photos. So apparently he “saw” a humanoid footprint “with his trained eye”, which apparently resembled one closely enough for him to subsequently make the comparison himself.
Second, the (seeming) print is extremely similar to some modern casts of bigfoot prints in overall structure (they tend to be “flat-footed”, in most cases), including the observations he made about the “toe mounds” being in a straight line, the “inner arch” being convex, and the heel being “subdued”. Considering that the strata the rock came from is probably between 35 and 46 million years old, and was near the surface for most of that time, it should be expected that some weathering would occur, particularly in an impression left as a shallow, “slipping” footprint ascending a muddy slope. A shallow footprint in very slippery mud would also, very likely, leave little to no impression from an outer arch, and the “heel would be subdued”, with the toes digging into the slope of the hillside.
Third: the likelihood of ghost-shrimp sculpting the exact shape of a humanoid footprint, complete with big toe, smaller toes evenly distributed and perfectly parallel, and all properly placed and of proper relative size to one another, is about as likely as a hill of ants building a replica of the Eiffel Tower. His rapid expert description of this is to describe the toe imprints as “peculiarly parallel burrow fillings (on on end).” In other words, the parallel nature of these ridges was noted, but then summarily dismissed as being “peculiarly parallel”. Having spent quite a bit of time in the woods, swamps and outdoors as a young man, particularly in search of isolated fishing spots, this author can attest to seeing “burrowings”, tunnelings, and so on by tiny creatures, in muddy areas, on a regular basis, including inside the hoof-prints of cattle! I have even seen the mud-towers built by crawfish inside of cattle prints… and this fossil object has none of those features whatsoever. Additionally, I do not recall ever seeing perfectly-spaced and parallel “tunnels” by mud-burrowers… Ever. They meander, squiggle and loop below the surface, leaving weird raised patterns in the mud. His contention that the footprint-shape was created by the blind questings of sub-surface shrimp is not just absurd, but is comical. This out-of-hand dismissal is borne out by his closing statement:
However, if you were to show me just one more such “footprint,” and in better shape than this one, then I might be willing to consider the possibility that…you now have two bizarrely shaped rocks.
In other words, and much like the paleontological evaluations of the Paluxy River tracks, if I were to find an entire series of fossilized footprints, they would not really be footprints… They would only be “bizarrely shaped rocks”. Always. Nothing else is even remotely possible.
It is a good thing that early humans did not count on the opinions of highly-specialized scientists when tracking game, or they would have starved to death and none of us would be here to ponder these matters.
In the topography of intellection, knowledge is ignorance surrounded by laughter. ~Charles Fort
But science is established preposterousness. ~Charles Fort
So now I have a fossilized something, a chunk of “damned data” in the Fortean sense, a “damned rock” in the literal sense. I suppose I will keep it, lest it go the way of so many other anomalous bones, skulls, skeletons and artifacts found in North America over the last 200 to 300 years, objects that were given over for temporary examination and safekeeping to various museums and “institutions,” only to… disappear, to vanish into some hidden hell reserved specifically for such accursed and troublesome Lies of Nature. Will I ever get rid of this 30 to 40 million-year old object?
Probably not. As I said, I’ll probably just keep the damned thing.
The God of the bees is the Hive. -Charles Fort
I will find out for myself. -Charles Fort