Finding Bigfoot's Ranae Holland is probably one of our favorite skeptics. Whether you love her or hate her, you have to give it to her for standing up for clarity on the subject. On the show, it's clear to most people that she's the most objective person on the team when it comes to searching for evidence. What's most liked about her is that she's coming from a place of respect and tolerance, which is unique in the playing field of "critical thinkers".
In an article from AfterEllen.com, Ranae states the importance of keeping an open mind: "Listen to other ideas. I mean, this is what makes you a better person. If we surround ourselves with people who think like us, then how are we going to learn and challenge ourselves?"
In the article, Ranae said that she doesn't think the Patterson-Gimlin creature is real, but she's open to the possibility that Bigfoot exists:
I think one of their strongest pieces is the [Patterson-Gimlin] film, and all four of us were fortunate enough to go down to California with Bob Gimlin and go to the exact spot. And I, as a skeptic myself, have no problem saying that I want to believe in Bigfoot. I just don’t have the evidence here that I can say "I believe it’s real, because the evidence is there." However, I just love watching the P-G film because I don’t believe that Bigfoot’s real, but I can’t explain how they did that. I mean, is that a guy in a suit? But how’d they do it, then? Show me how you did it. I think there is a BBC documentary and it’s a horrible attempt. They put their top guys on it — show me how they did it.
AFTERELLEN: But didn’t [Oscar-winning makeup and creature artist] Rick Baker or one of his makeup associates recently claim to have made the suit in that film?
[Note: I had misremembered that story. It was makeup artist John Chambers who was rumored to be associated with the suit. Chambers denies it, but apparently director John Landis has confirmed that rumor. Chambers is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking creature and makeup work on – Oh, dear – Planet of the Apes. - AD]
RH: It’s so interesting, because it goes back and forth. Someone will come forward and then somebody will show that they really didn’t. And there was a gentleman who who was affiliated in some way with Patterson and Gimlin who said he was the guy in the suit, and it turned out that he was discredited for the most part.
Here’s what it comes down to: It is arguably one of the most controversial pieces of footage. Right up there with the Zapruder film and the man on the moon. And there are people who don’t think man walked on the moon, and there are people who don’t think that Kennedy was shot by one man, and there are people who do and don’t believe that that is or is not an animal. And those three things were all shot around the same time, within a matter of a few years. And those films are all controversial and talked about to this day. We’re still arguing. And I would like to say let’s talk about it. We can discuss it rationally and respectfully. But I’m just fascinated by how to this day it persists.
This whole crazy adventure that I’m on really began because I as a little kid back in the ‘70s was watching Bigfoot shows and the Patterson-Gimlin film and In Search Of… with my dad, and that was our special time. And then I move out to Washington State and became a research biologist, and then he passed, and I have vivid memories of that special time together. And I wanted Bigfoot stories where I did fieldwork, and that’s how I met Matt[Moneymaker, of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization].
And then many years later, on a break from contracting at NOAA [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration], I was supposed to be heading back to school, and I had this opportunity and I ran with it.
To be quite frank, this is in honor of my dad’s memory. And that only lasted so far, because it’s entertainment. It’s not, for me, true science. But before the first season wrapped, I’d see 6 to11-year-olds at the town hall meetings with their dads in the front row with the guys, and I’m like “Oh, my gosh, that was me 30 years ago.” It continued. This isn’t about me anymore. This isn’t about me and my dad anymore. This is about, wow, these little — maybe these little future scientists, or these kids who want to believe, and they’re in that explorative “I can be anything” phase, and think it might be possible.
I am all about making sure that these kids can learn that they can be objective, critical thinkers. And then get them going there, but then also talking from a place of respect and tolerance. Listen to other ideas. I mean, this is what makes you a better person. If we surround ourselves with people who think like us, then how are we going to learn and challenge ourselves?
So when parents come up to me and tell me that their 9-year-old put down his Xbox and he goes out in the woods, well, there you go. I’m on board. I question myself: “What am I doing? It’s 22 degrees, I’m eating the worst food possible, I’m surrounded a lot of times with people that normally I don’t agree with (but I can still respect), It’s cold, I’m tired, what am I doing?” And then I hear those stories. That’s why I’m doing it.
You can read the full article here.