Go back to the Bigfoot Compendium.
I started out my casting tests with small rectangles, some of which I sent to Chilcutt, then moved to blob-like shapes. Eventually I began to suspect that total slurry mass might have an effect on the resulting desiccation ridges. I decided create a test cast in the shape of a big foot. What resulted surprised me.
The following test cast was made in virgin volcanic ash with plaster of Paris. I’m actually going to start off by showing you the track that the cast was made in, after the cast was pulled from the track. Usually the track is destroyed when a cast is pulled, but not in this case. No fixative or barrier spray was used to hold the substrate together.
Note how the ridges form a band around the anterior wall of the track, in what would correspond to the toes. But more interestingly, note the band of ridges that run across the “ball” of the foot, analogous to that seen in the CA-19 cast. What I believe is going on here is this; desiccation ridges tend to form at the sidewalls of the track, even if the sidewall is as subtle as the ridge between the ball and the toes of the track.
I am confident enough in this interpretation to assert that the “ridge flow pattern” of desiccation ridges is a function of the shape of the track. If this is the case, and the CA-19 cast exhibits desiccation ridges and not Bigfoot’s dermal ridges, then the “ridge flow pattern” of the cast is a function of the shape of the track. It’s entirely possible that the very cornerstone of Chilcutt’s “ridge flow pattern” hypothesis is flawed, as it may be based on a misinterpretation of what causes the ridges in this cast to “flow” the way they do. Part of this is speculative on my part, as Chilcutt simply has not written down his theories and interpretations. He has submitted one very short piece on a cast from Georgia, called the “Elkins” cast, and that’s it! His exact concepts are very hard to pin down. But he had repeatedly referred to the “ridge flow pattern” being consistent throughout a number of casts, including the CA-19 cast.
Here is one of Chilcutt’s rare (only?) interviews in print. Interestingly, he asserts that:
JO: Was there anything different about these particular friction ridges?
JC: Yeah, once I decided they could not have been faked I started looking at the texture and the ridge-flow pattern. I found in all the sasquatch foot casts I examined that the ridges flow up and down the side of the foot…in humans the ridges flow across, and in primates that we know of they flow at an angle.
JO: So this is something completely different from both apes and humans?
JC: Yes. I’ve never seen a print where the ridges go up and down the side. And once I determined what this animal’s print looked like, it was easy to examine the others and be able to tell a fake from a real one.
Lets take another look at my Big Foot shaped test cast of 10-4-2005.
Here we can clearly see the “ridge flow pattern” of known desiccation ridges. Note too, that my “point of first impact” of the slurry was in the center of the cast.
The photograph above compares a copy of the CA-19 cast on the left with the plaster of Paris test cast of 10-4-2005 on the right. This is proof that known desiccation ridges can occur both on the periphery of the cast and on the plantar surface. As we can see, bands of ridges can even flow laterally across the test cast, similar to the “ridge flow pattern” of the CA-19 cast.
Plaster of Paris test cast on right, copy of CA-19 cast on left:
At one point the “casting expert” criticized the conditions under which one of my early test casts was made because I had used water at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I had done this because John Green had written in On the Track of the Sasquatch page 47; “We took a lot of photographs and counted and studied tracks, but as the day wore on the heat went over 100 degrees”. I had found within the technical literature published by US Gypsum, the manufacturer of cements I was testing, that the quickest time to set was when the water was at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Perhaps Green had allowed his water to reach ambient temperature. At the time I speculated that perhaps a quick time to set was involved in the mechanism of action of desiccation ridge production.
But what if Green didn’t use water that got that warm? What would happen? Could desiccation ridges arise with water at colder temperatures? It was worth a test, and the results are perhaps even more spectacular. On October 19, 2006 I made a test cast using plaster of Paris over virgin volcanic ash. I used straight cold water out of my tap, and plaster of Paris which I had left outside on my front porch inside a plastic bag. My final slurry temperature before pour was a chilly 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The substrate was at room temperature of 69 degrees Fahrenheit. Surely colder than Green’s conditions.
The results show the “ridge flow pattern” even more clearly than the test cast shown earlier, made on 10-4-2005.
Not only can desiccation ridges occur at this low temperature, this test cast once again demonstrates how desiccation ridges flow as a function of the shape of the track they were made in.
Note that I’ve demonstrated that desiccation ridges can spontainously form on test casts in multiple substrates, with multiple casting cements, and at multiple slurry temperatures and thicknesses. This is a generalized process, and the resulting desiccation ridges have a familial resemblance.
Substrates that I’ve tested that support desiccation ridges include volcanic ash (pumice), silica, fly ash, calcined kaolin, graphite(!), clay-like soil from the bank of the Duwamish river, and soil from Clay City Washington. Casting cements that I’ve tested that will support desiccation ridges include Hydrocal B-11, Ultracal 30, plaster of Paris, and “Forbes FIberfill”. Jeff Meldrum achieved a positive result from natural loess soil from Idaho in 1999, years before I had even done any testing at all, and totally independent of me.