A striking photo of Bigfoot bathing in a forest pond was recently sent by a fisherman to the Huffington Post, kicking off paranormal sightings for 2015.
In the photo, above, we see what appears to be a Bigfoot or ape-like creature taking a dip in a tranquil forest pond, submerged up to its armpits, perhaps trying to relax after a long day of attempting to remain unseen in the woods. If the striking photo does stand up to the inevitable scrutiny that is sure to come, the cast of Finding Bigfoot will surely be one-upped, leaving Bobo, Ranae, Matt, and Cliff to throw their extensive Bigfoot hunting gear up in frustration.
The Bigfoot photo was received by Huff-Po's Lee Speigel, who reports on "unexplained phenomena," and says he can always "count on waking up in the morning to find an email from someone swearing that they've just seen Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, a hybrid human alien or a UFO on the moon."
The Bigfoot photo was sent by a 66-year-old retired electrician named John Rodriguez, who said he captured the startling image while out fishing the Hillsborough River near Tampa, Florida, on December 26. According to Rodriguez, the Bigfoot creature was making its way through the water before lowering down, at which point Rodriguez took the shot.
"I fish for gar in the river and I bring my camera to take pictures of the birds and what not. I heard a squishing sound, looked over and saw this thing walking through the water and crouch down in the duck weed. It did not look like a guy in a suit -- it was definitely an animal. I took this picture and got out of there as fast as I could."
At the same time, the Huffington Post reporter seems skeptical that Rodriguez actually captured a shot of Bigfoot, who in Florida is known as the Swamp Ape or Skunk Ape. The skepticism arises from some of the characteristics of the Bigfoot photo. For instance, a closer look shows the photo to be "too crisp" with a "jagged line between the hairy beast and the water." Possible signs that someone tampered with the Bigfoot photo in Photoshop or some other picture editing software.
Fisherman John Rodriguez claims to have captured a shot of a Bigfoot-like creature bathing in a forest pond, but some characteristics of the photo raise red flags as to its authenticity.
Ben Hanson, the lead investigator on Syfy's Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, also took a look at this first Bigfoot photo of 2015. While appreciating the Bigfoot photo's clarity, therein may also be its downfall, Hanson told the Huffington Post.
"It's a relief to finally have a clear picture of the creature. Every other photo and video we get is usually too blurry or the Bigfoot too obscured in brush to allow for any useful identification. Thanks to the clear photo, I'm excited to announce that the photographer has captured a real-life... gorilla in a Bigfoot suit! To be more precise, the face of a gorilla that has been digitally added to the photo with editing software... there appears to be some heavy digital editing touch-up to the fur around the face and where the body meets the water. I'm now leaning more toward believing the whole creature was pasted into the image and then branches and twigs were added in the foreground. The branches also could have really been in the scene, but they were later edited as separate layers so Bigfoot looks like he's now behind them, sitting in deep contemplation."
Hansen also noted that the extensive file information included with the Rodriguez Bigfoot/Swamp Ape picture hints that the photo was created digitally with Photoshop on December 26.
But Rodriguez maintains that his Bigfoot photo is the real thing.
"I did not Photoshop this at all. Believe me or not, when I plug in my memory card, it asks to import and opens in Photoshop. I just changed the name and saved. It seems like people get publicly crucified for coming forward with this kind of stuff."
Rodriguez also told the Huffington Post that because of such debunking attitudes, he was hesitant to even send them his Bigfoot bathing photo in the first place.
In another recent Bigfoot sighting that attempts to back itself up with visual evidence, #Maine claims to have the most "Convincing (Bigfoot footage) since Patterson-Gimlin."Believe it or not, whether bathing in a pond in Florida or running across trails in Maine, Bigfoot seems alive and well in 2015.
[Image by John Rodriguez via the Huffington Post, video via YouTube]