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Michael Dennett

Michael Dennett, who headed the Seattle area skeptics group Society for Sensible Explanations for over two decades, died May 2, 2009; he was fifty-nine years old. He had been diagnosed with leukemia and hospitalized for several months.

Mike was an investigative writer perhaps best known to Skeptical Inquirer readers for his research into Bigfoot, on which his first feature-length article was published in 1981. He was one of the first skeptical investigators to challenge Bigfoot claims, doing research into claims of dermal ridges (“Bigfoot fingerprints”) and hoaxed tracks. He was a meticulous researcher, a careful investigator, and a true skeptic who called out fakery and pseudoscience when he saw it but was careful not to belittle or criticize people for their beliefs.

Dennett’s research went far beyond Bigfoot, and he wrote about topics as varied as fire-walking, the Bermuda Triangle, UFOs, the Salem witch trials, and psychics. He also contributed to Psychic Sleuths, The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal, The Outer Edge, and other books. Born June 20, 1949, Mike was a 1971 graduate of Norwich University and a former Army Captain, paratrooper, and Ranger. Though his day job was selling municipal water systems, his academic loves were history, skepticism, and writing alternative-history science fiction. He is survived by his wife, Lois. His final article, “Science and Footprints” (about contradictions in accounts of the 1967 Patterson/Gimlin film, the “best evidence” for Bigfoot), was published in the November/December 2008 Skeptical Inquirer.

Science and Footprints

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

Science and Footprints

A recent article in a scientific journal argues that alleged footprints at the Patterson film site provide evidence for Bigfoot.

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Plunging into the Depths of a Mystery

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.5, September / October 2006


Review of Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures. By Ben Radford and Joe Nickell.

Experiments Cast Doubt on Bigfoot ‘Evidence’

Skeptical Briefs Volume 16.3, September 2006

Experiments Cast Doubt on Bigfoot ‘Evidence’

One star of the Bigfoot community over the past decade has been latent-fingerprint examiner Jimmy Chilcutt.

The Bigfoot Legend Lives

Skeptical Briefs Volume 16.1, March 2006

Within the span of a few years the Bigfoot community has lost its two primary proponents, René Dahinden and Grover Krantz

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Some Reasons for Caution about the Bigfoot Film Exposé

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 29.1, January / February 2005


For skeptics, the revelation of a hoax can provide valuable insights but may also contain pitfalls.

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