Cryptozoology is the study of “hidden” animals, and creatures like Bigfoot, Champ, Ogopogo, the Loch Ness Monster and the Jersey Devil. They are all classified as “cryptids.” Many of us believe, but the proof is limited – and sometimes even non-existent.

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We’ve all seen shows like Finding Bigfoot and Monster Quest on TV where a group of scientists or researchers meander through forests, rivers and mountains to get a glimpse of the world’s most elusive animals, and usually, they wind up empty-handed. Naturally, this leaves a lot of people unconvinced; no proof means no pudding, and if there’s no pudding, a lot of people go unsatisfied, so many are quick to say these creatures just don’t exist.

But, the problem may not be whether the animals are fake. The idea of “hidden” creatures isn’t that hard to fathom. It’s a great big world out there, and tons of creatures are just waiting to be discovered. Heck, dozens of new ones are discovered every year. It’s not like they just fall out of the sky. They’ve been there all along. No, the problem just might be the technology researchers are using.

What does this mean?

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Most of the time, technology is a good thing. For example, I don’t know where we’d be without the Internet; Amazon wouldn’t exist, people like Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t be billionaires, and I’d sure as hell be out of a job (most of the platforms I write for are strictly digital). So, to say technology has made the world a better place in some instances, would be an understatement.

That’s not to say, however, that technology hasn’t created its fair share of problems. Computers have given birth to viruses; debit cards are often hacked or stolen, and those damn iPhone batteries got to be charged every five minutes (argh, mine just went out). In the case of searching for cryptids, the latest tech gadgets may be doing less to find them and more to drive them away.

Check out this story, for instance. In 2013, the University of Idaho came up with the brilliant idea to start using drones to try and capture Sasquatch footage in what was known as “The Falcon Project.” It sounds intriguing until project leader Jeffrey Meldrum informed listeners they’d be employing a 45-foot-long drone to do the job… 45-feet-long??!!

And to get applicable footage, you know it’s going to have to fly at pretty low altitudes. I don’t care how big and tough Bigfoot is – a 45-foot-long flying object would make any creature run and hide as fast as possible. Sheesh, I can bench press 200 pounds, and I’d probably wet myself… Okay, not really, but you get the point.

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Furthermore, shows like Finding Bigfoot often feature scientists walking into the woods while holding boom poles and large microphones, kind of like what you’d see on professional film sets. Obviously, recording sounds are important; some of the most controversial cryptid evidence exists in audible form, but to an animal, a boom pole would be long and scary.

Consider what many experts say to do if you encounter a mountain lion or bear while hiking or riding your bike in the woods. The first thing would be to pick the bike up and hold it over your head while screaming to give yourself a bigger, more ferocious appearance. Most of the time, the creature may feel intimidated and move on, eager to find easier prey. If you have no bike, pick up a large stick, or hold your shirt out. Anything that gives the impression you’re a strong, fearsome being that shouldn’t be messed with.

You just look too freaky

Chances are, walking into the woods with a bunch of equipment on your back or with an eight-foot boom mike protruding from your hands is going to make you look freaky to a lot of animals, and if cryptids are anything like known species, their reactions should be the same.

Animals can usually sense when you’re around; through smell and natural instincts, most animals will be aware of your presence long before you’re familiar with theirs. A Bigfoot isn’t likely to know what a boom mic is, but if you walk through the woods carrying one, he’ll probably spot you a mile away and think twice before stepping out to introduce himself.

How to conquer this problem

If you want to capture a beast on camera, maybe go with as little as possible. A digital camera or smartphone should do the trick. Have you ever noticed that most of the cryptid footage out there is usually taken from an impressive distance? Furthermore, most encounters are purely circumstantial.

A man goes out into the woods one day for an afternoon stroll and comes home changed forever… Was that an ape he just saw, or something else? He didn’t meander about with a large video camera or boom poles or a truckload of people. It was just him… Little old him, and if he was lucky, he had a camera-phone or Polaroid on him. He didn’t necessarily go out there looking for a chance encounter, yet it happened.

As the saying goes, sometimes less is more, and in the case of finding creatures that are known to be pretty elusive, it definitely applies, so if you’re ever out in the woods or paddling a raft on Loch Ness, maybe leave all your bigger gadgets at home.

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