Go back to the Bigfoot Compendium.
Some years ago, I posted on a popular Internet forum rather simple directions on how to create casts that exhibit desiccation ridges using volcanic ash as a substrate. Since that time several individuals have successfully followed these directions, and obtained the results I suggested they would. Being that duplication of results is one of the fundamental qualities of science, I believe that the methodology and results of Bigfoot advocate Sam Rich deserves to be publicized and praised.
I can find nothing at all to criticize in Sam’s work. His style is even more scientific than mine in the sense that he eliminated one more variable than I did; he used a standardized impressioning tool to create his “tracks” whereas I simply made mine “freehand” each time. Since we both achieved virtually the same results, I would argue that this variable is not greatly important in the grand scheme of things; You can make cookies by hand or use a cookie cutter. I made mine by hand, Sam used a cookie cutter. Our cookies both tasted the same…
Sam has given me permission to re-post his findings on my own website.
Starting with a chunk of clay, Sam created a “male” master for his final impressioning tool, which, understandably, was a Big Foot:
Through a series of steps, he arrived at a final impressioning tool, complete with handles with which to pull the tool cleanly away from the test substrate:
Removal of the tool, which he painted dark green, perhaps as an homage to The Incredible Hulk, resulted in a cleanly detailed “track” in a bed of volcanic ash:
No fixative was used, and a plaster slurry was poured into the “track”. Note where the plaster slurry is contacting the substrate, and how the propagating wave front of the slurry is more or less curved. This is an outstanding photograph as it illustrates the initiation of two fundamental features of the desiccation ridge process; the “point of first slurry impact”, and the arched furrows which curve in toward the point of first impact.
The resulting cast exhibited every single subtle feature which I had discovered to have occurred under such circumstances; a subtle ring recording the point of first slurry impact, furrows that abut bands of desiccation ridges, with the ridges on the inside of the furrow, relative to the point of first slurry impact. The “ridge flow pattern” that followed the sidewall contours of the track. Desiccation ridges of the same size, shape, and pattern of distribution that I’ve seen again and again in my own tests:
Having done this myself, I can personally attest that photographs alone do not do justice as to how much work and meticulous preparation goes into doing this kind of test. Because Sam went to the trouble of creating a standardized impressioning tool (his Big Green Foot), his conclusion is unduly modest:
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Given that these casting artifacts (and their similarity to alleged “dermal ridges”) was anticipated the results came as no surprise.