A recent question about a mokele-mbembe video
brought forth a lot of digging and even
more questions - including a supposed lost "Thunder Bird" picture.
The more you dig into mysteries like these the more it would appear that there are a lot of "lost evidence" in the Cryptozoology world. Animal
Planet even took the idea and made a TV series about it: Lost Tapes
Examples of "Lost Evidence"
1. The Mokele-Mbembe video
which supposedly shows the cryptid in the water.
The video was debunked at some point when "experts" said that it's clear that it's two local fishermen on a boat. (Others say it's clearly an
elephant swimming.) The video is unavailable for review. Yet many
to have seen it.
2. The Thunderbird Photograph:
There are scores of people who say they saw a photograph of a thunderbird nailed up to a barn door with a line of men standing in front of it to give
it scale. That picture has never been found although all describe the same picture.
The photograph is unavailable for review. Yet many claim to have seen it
3. Steve Irwin's Tasmanian Tiger footage
After Steve Irwin was killed by a stringray, a strange rumor circulated that he might have captured an elusive, supposedly extinct Thylacine on
videotape during the making of the mentioned episode. But, for whatever reason, the blurry footage was never broadcast. Or was it?
While critics say Steve Irwin never looked for the Thylacine, many say
they have seen
an episode of Crocodile hunter (or at least a trailer) showing the a hunt for the Tasmanian Tiger. The footage is unavailable.
There are many more examples (and I welcome members to post rumours of "lost evidence").
An interesting (yet far-out) theory of a Cryptomundo reader calling herself (himself?) Kim reads like this:
I suspect that someone with the ability to go back in time stopped the photo from being taken. After that occurred the photo disapeared from all
the books and magazines it was ever in.
I think this happened in the early 1990’s. Sounds crazy I know, but I also know I had the photo in a book prior to 1996.
Naturally when we approach the time travel theory we hit a barrage of paradoxes.
If a person stopped footage from becoming public by time travelling, then people simply won't remember the footage existing. You cannot remove
something from a time-line and not remove the memory of it, right?
We can bend the time travelling theory a bit and take the Matrix approach where we all live in a Cyberworld. In the movie
"unexplained phenomena" such as UFOs are described as viruses or "rogue AI". It
would be easy for the programmer of the Matrix to remove said "cryptozoological evidence" from the Matrix.
But such a theory is naturally a bit farfetched and just about impossible to prove.
Confabulation and False Memories
Confabulation is the formation of false memories, perceptions, or beliefs about the self or the environment as a result of neurological or
psychological dysfunction. When it is a matter of memory, confabulation is the confusion of imagination with memory, or the confused application of
true memories. Confabulations are difficult to differentiate from delusions and from lying.
So basically the theory suggests that these rumours of evidence are fictional memories?
According to the egg-heads confabulation or false memories can be organic or psychological of origin.
1. Organic Causes
Berlyne (1972) defined confabulation as "...a falsification of memory occurring in clear consciousness in association with an organically derived
amnesia." He distinguished between:
- "momentary" (or "provoked") confabulations – fleeting, and invariably provoked by questions probing the subject's memory, sometimes
consisting of "real" memories displaced in their temporal context.
- "fantastic" (or "spontaneous") confabulations – characterised by the spontaneous outpouring of irrelevant associations, sometimes bizarre
ideas, which may be held with firm conviction.
Patients who have suffered brain damage or lesions, especially to the prefrontal cortical regions, may have confabulation of memories as a symptom.
2. Psychological causes
Bartlett's studies of remembering are arguably the first concerted attempt to look at the memory-illusion phenomena. In one experiment, he asked
a group of students to read an Indian folktale and then recall its details at various time intervals. As well as errors of omission, interestingly he
found numerous errors of commission whereby participants had adapted or added to the story to make it more rational or consistent.
Theorists such as Bransford and Franks noted the significance of personal beliefs and desires, or more technically scripts and schemas, in memory
False memory effects are usually (but not always) explained as a reliance on gist traces in a situation when verbatim traces are needed. Because of
this people may mistakenly recall a memory that only goes along with a vague gist of what happened, rather than the exact course of events. Three
reasons are proposed: First, there is thought to be a general bias towards the use of gist traces in cognition due to their resource efficiency, and
people will tend to use gist traces when they seem sufficient. Second, verbatim traces are said to be inherently less stable than gist traces, and
decay faster. Third, in the process of forgetting, memories fragment and gist and verbatim traces can become independent.
In other words psychology suggests that many of the "cryptozoologists" (or at least people interested in Cryptozoology) remember the said
photographs or videos because they want it to be real?
So according to this theory a person vaguely remembers a video clip about a werewolf he saw as a child (keep in mind that theoretically speaking this
is a false memory and the footage doesn't exist). He wants to "confirm" the memory by reviewing the video clip and posts on an Internet forum
asking about the footage. A person comes along and recall something similar, and confirms that he has also seen the footage. A third person comes
along and recalls the footage to be from an Episode of a 1986 TV series "How Strange is that!". (Let's say there was an episode about werewolves
but it never showed the "imagined" footage.) And every time a person comes along and adds more detail to the memory of the footage that doesn't
exist...? And so "lost evidence" is created by a string of false memories. The hunt for the footage continues but is never found because the
evidence simply doesn't exist.
Is that really possible? Can we really have such little faith in our memories?
I have a similar situation. In the late 80’s there was a supposed UFO crash in the Kalahari, South Africa. A local magazine did a story on the crash
and included a photograph of the alien. I clearly recall the article and have spoken of it here on ATS. Yet, after much digging I have been unable to
produce the article from the magazine... Did I create a memory because I want to believe the article/aliens & UFOs are real? There is no doubt in my
mind that the article is real - but can I really trust my memory if I am unable to confirm it?
How do you confirm a memory? By providing proof, right? And we're back at square one.
Then there is the much-hated, but very obvious answer. Claims of "lost evidence" are lies. People simply claim to have seen a photograph or a video
because they want the attention, they want to be part of a discussion or they are spiteful. Can it be that all these people claiming to have seen the
"lost evidence" are lying?
It surely would be simplest answer. But for most cryptozoologists this would be a sad blow, as we would hate this to be the case.
Let's say someone is wilfully trying to hide evidence of crypto beasts. The big question would be "why?!".
When we look the UFO field for instance where there is arguably proof of Government cover-ups we can understand why. If life outside our world were a
reality it would have an undeniable impact on our lives. But if say Bigfoot existed - so what? It's just another animal. New animal species are
discovered on a weekly basis and announced to the world with great excitement. Why would a giant animal in Loch Ness or an existing pack (streak?) of
Tasmanian Tigers be any different than the re-discovery of the Borneo Rhino?
Unless there are more to Crypto’s than we think? Or we are making more of them than is necessary? Or they simply don't exist?
As is typical with subjects such as these there are now more questions than answers. Perhaps this would encourage people to do more investigation.
Produce the evidence to prove that their memories CAN be trusted. Prove that they are NOT liars.
Any more theories? Any more examples of "lost evidence"?
[edit on 5-8-2009 by Gemwolf]