An excerpt from the upcoming interview with Dr. Ronnie Ranes in the rigorous, widely respected Journal of Personality and Social Psychology:
JPSP: I notice you have the same "I Want to Believe" poster in your office as Fox Mulder from the X-Men.
RR: X-Files, actually. But who's counting? (laughs)
JPSP: (laughs) Now you've got me laughing. Your laugh is infectious.
RR: Not literally, I hope.
RR/JPSP: (combined laughter)
RR: I'm just going to come out and say it, I love Bigfoot! I love the idea of Bigfoot, the movies, commercials, blogs, books and board games -- I love it all!
JPSP: (laughs) What? You're kidding right?
RR: Not exactly. Bigfoot is a passion of mine, albeit a dangerous one in my line of work.
JSPS: Because you're an anthropologist?
JPSP: Bigfoot must go over like gangbusters in the lab.
RR: As you can imagine I get a tremendous amount of teasing from my colleagues because, in the world of real science, Bigfoot has as much place as leprechauns. In the world of real science there are no leprechauns and there is no Bigfoot.
JSPS: I would expect so.
RR: And even though I love Bigfoot, I am not a believer. Even in my Bigfoot lovin' world Bigfoot is nonsense. Fun nonsense but nonsense nonetheless.
JSPS: Thank goodness. I thought I was going to have to call my editor.
RR/JPSP: (combined laughter)
RR: Like most people I learned at a very early age that there is no evidence that Bigfoot exists. None. Not now, not ever. No proof today and no evidence in the fossil record.
JSPS: No smoke, no fire.
RR: Exactly. It doesn't matter to me though, I still love the big hairy guy.
JSPS: So I noticed. Is that a Bigfoot doll on your bookcase?
RR: It's the Bionic Bigfoot action figure from the Six Million Dollar Man. I never liked that they gave him a mustache.
RR: Don't get me laughing again, please.
JSPS: Forgive me. You were talking about your love of Bigfoot.
RR: I love Batman too, but I don't spend one moment of my time trying to find the Batcave. Don't get me wrong I would love to visit the Batcave to see the Dark Knight's refrigerator-sized computers, stuffed Tyrannosaur and giant penny, but I know the Batcave isn't real because I can separate fact from fiction, and I can separate what I want to be real from what is real.
JSPS: Thank goodness for that.
RR: Now it seems like you're teasing me.
JSPS: I'm not. I just can't believe we're sitting here talking about Bigfoot.
RR: I guess my point is you can be interested in something without believing in it.
JSPS: Do you think your interest in Bigfoot hurts your reputation with the scientific community?
RR: Not at all. My colleagues can tease me all they want but at the end of the day they know I'm a scientist, not a lunatic. What science measures is quantitative. There is no quantifiable data to substantiate the existence of Bigfoot because Bigfoot is a legend. And there isn't a single solitary scientist on planet Earth who believes in Bigfoot. Not one.
JSPN: (gesturing to Bigfoot memorabilia) Not even you?
RR: (laughs) No, not even me.