In 1958, journalist Andrew Genzoli of the Humboldt Times highlighted a fun, if dubious, letter from a reader about loggers in northern California who’d discovered mysteriously large footprints. “Maybe we have a relative of the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas,” Genzoli jokingly wrote in his September 21 column alongside the letter.
Later, Genzoli said that he’d simply thought the mysterious footprints “made a good Sunday morning story.” But to his surprise, it really fascinated readers. In response, Genzoli and fellow Humboldt Times journalist Betty Allen published follow-up articles about the footprints, reporting the name loggers had given to the so-called creature who left the tracks—“Big Foot.” And so a legend was born.
“There are various wild man myths from all over the world,” says Joshua Blu Buhs, author of Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend. In western Canada, the Sts’ailes First Nation have the “Sasq’ets,” the supposed origin of the word “Sasquatch.” However, the modern U.S. concept of bigfoot can be traced quite directly to the Humboldt Times stories in 1958.
“People later go back and dig through old newspapers and stuff and find scattered reports of a wild man here, a wild man there,” he says. “But it doesn’t coalesce into a general discussion until the ‘50s.”
Even though loggers blamed acts of vandalism on Bigfoot, Allen thought that most of them didn’t really believe in the creature. It seemed to her that they were just passing along stories with a “legendary flavor.” Still, the story spread to newspapers all over the country, and the TV show Truth or Consequences offered $1,000 to anyone who could prove the existence of Bigfoot.
“Who is making the huge 16-inch tracks in the vicinity of Bluff Creek?” Genzoli wrote in one of his columns that October. “Are the tracks a human hoax? Or, are they the actual marks of a huge but harmless wild-man, traveling through the wilderness? Can this be some legendary sized animal?”
Once Bigfoot’s story went public, it became a character in men’s adventure magazines and cheap trade paperback novels. In these stories, he—for Bigfoot was definitely a “he”—was a primal, dangerous creature out of the past who lurked in the modern wilderness. By the 1970s, pseudo-documentaries were investigating his existence and films were portraying him as a sexual predator.
In the ‘80s, Bigfoot showed his softer side. He became “associated with environmentalism, and a symbol of the wilderness that we need to preserve,” Buhs says. One big example is the 1987 movie Harry and the Hendersons, which portrayed Bigfoot as a friendly, misunderstood creature in need of protection from John Lithgow and his family.
So why has the Bigfoot legend persisted for 60 years? “It takes on its own momentum because it is a media icon,” Buh suggests.
Just as no one really needs to explain that characters who turn into wolves during a full moon are werewolves, no one needs to explain who a hairy man-ape walking out of the woods would be. “It’s just something that’s easy to refer to,” Buh says. That would be Bigfoot.
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Bigfoot: The Legend of Sasquatch
Sasquatch, also called Bigfoot, (from Salish se&rsquosxac: &ldquowild men&rdquo) a large, hairy, humanlike creature believed by some people to exist in the northwestern United States and western Canada. It seems to represent the North American counterpart of the Himalayan region&rsquos mythical monster, the Abominable Snowman, or Yeti.
The British explorer David Thompson is sometimes credited with the first discovery (1811) of a set of Sasquatch footprints, and hundreds of alleged prints have been adduced since then. Visual sightings and even alleged photographs and filmings (notably by Roger Patterson at Bluff Creek, California, in 1967) have also contributed to the legend, though none of the purported evidence has been verified.
Sasquatch is variably described as a primate ranging from 6 to 15 feet (2 to 4.5 metres) tall, standing erect on two feet, often giving off a foul smell, and either moving silently or emitting a high-pitched cry. Footprints have measured up to 24 inches (60 cm) in length and 8 inches (20 cm) in width. A Soviet scientist, Boris Porshnev, suggested that Sasquatch and his Siberian counterpart, the Almas, could be a remnant of Neanderthals, but most scientists do not recognize the creature&rsquos existence. (Continue reading from Encyclopedia Britannica)
Pre-Columbian and Early American Legends of Bigfoot-like Beings
Originally printed in the Western Bigfoot Society Newsletter "The Track Record". Excerpted from "Legends Beyond Psychology", by Henry James Franzoni III. Reprinted with permission from all parties.
"Here in the Northwest, and west of the Rockies generally, Indian people regard Bigfoot with great respect. He is seen as a special kind of being, because of his obvious close relationship with humans. Some elders regard him as standing on the "border" between animal-style consciousness and human-style consciousness, which gives him a special kind of power. (It is not that Bigfoot's relationship to make him "superior" to other animals in Indian culture, unlike western culture, animals are not regarded as "inferior" to humans but rather as "elder brothers" and "teachers" of humans. But tribal cultures everywhere are based on relationship and kinship the closer the kinship, the stronger the bond. Man Indian elders in the Northwest refuse to eat bear meat because of the bear's similarity to humans, and Bigfoot is obviously much more similar to humans than is the bear. As beings who blend the "natural knowledge" of animals with something of the distinctive type of consciousness called "intelligence" that humans have, Bigfoot is regarded as a special type of being."
"But, special being as he is, I have never heard anyone from a Northwestern tribe suggest that Bigfoot is anything other than a physical being, living in the same physical dimensions as humans and other animals. He eats, he sleeps, he poops, he cares for his family members. However, among many Indians elsewhere in North America. as widely separated at the Hopi, the Sioux, the Iroquois, and the Northern Athabascan -- Bigfoot is seen more as a sort of supernatural or spirit being, whose appearance to humans is always meant to convey some kind of message."
"The Lakota, or western Sioux, call Bigfoot Chiye-tanka (Chiha-tanka in Dakota or eastern Sioux) "chiye" means "elder brother" and "tanka" means "great" or "big". In English, though, the Sioux usually call him "the big man". In his book "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse," (Viking, 1980), a non-fiction account of the events dramatized by the excellent recent movie "Thunderheart", author Peter Mathiessen recorded some comments about Bigfoot made by traditional Sioux people and some members of other Indian nations. Joe Flying By, a Hunkpapa Lakota, told Mathiessen, "I think the Big Man is a kind of husband of Unk-ksa, the earth, who is wise in the way of anything with its own natural wisdom. Sometimes we say that this One is a kind of reptile from the ancient times who can take a big hairy form I also think he can change into a coyote. Some of the people who saw him did not respect what they were seeing, and they are already gone."
"There is your Big man standing there, ever waiting, ever present, like the coming of a new day," Oglala Lakota Medicine Man Pete Catches km told Mathiessen. "He is both spirit and real being, but he can also glide through the forest, like a moose with big antlers, as though the trees weren't there. I know him as my brother. I want him to touch me, just a touch, a blessing, something I could bring home to my sons and grandchildren, that I was there, that I approached him, and he touched me."
Map of North American Indian Liguistic and Cultural Area
Click on a region to view that area's legends
Ray Owen, son of a Dakota spiritual leader from Prairie Island Reservation in Minnesota, told a reporter from (the) Red Wing (Minnesota) Republican Eagle, "They exist in another dimension from us, but can appear in this dimension whenever they have a reason to. See, it's like there are many levels, many dimensions. When our time in this one is finished, we move on to the next, but the Big Man can go between. The Big Man comes from God. He's our big brother, kind of looks out for us. Two years ago, we were going downhill, really self-destructive. We needed a sign to put us back on track, and that's why the Big Man appeared".
Ralph Gray Wolf, a visiting Athapaskan Indian from Alaska, told the reporter, "In our way of beliefs, they make appearances at troubled times", to help troubled Indian communities "get more in tune with Mother Earth". Bigfoot brings "signs or messages that there is a need to change, a need to cleanse," (Minn. news article, "Giant Footprint Signals a Time to Seek Change," July 23,1988).
A commenter provided additional information on this term: "Rugaru" comes from the Michif language spoken by the Metis people. Michif is actually a French-Cree/ Algonquian hybrid language. The word "Rugaru" is indeed a cree pronounciation of "Loup Garou."
Mathiessen reported similar views among the Turtle Mountain Ojibway in North Dakota, that Bigfoot --- whom they call Rugaru -- "appears in symptoms of danger or psychic disruption to the community." When I read this, I wondered if it contradicted my hypothesis that the Ojibways had identified Bigfoot with Windago, the sinister cannibal-giant of their legends (see Track Record #14) I had surmised that because I had never heard of any other names for, or references to Bigfoot in Ojibway culture, even though there must have been sightings in woodlands around the Great lakes, and indeed sightings in that region have been reported by non-Indians. But the Turtle Mountain band is one of the few Ojibway bands to have moved much farther west than most of their nation and Rugaru is not a native Ojibway word. Nor does it come from the languages of neighboring Indian peoples. However, it has a striking sound similarity to the French word for werewolf, loup-garou, and there is quite a bit of French influence among the Turtle Mountain Ojibway. (French-Canadian trappers and missionaries were the first whites that they dealt with extensively, and many tribal members today bear French surnames), so it doesn't seem far-fetched that the Turtle Mountain Ojibway picked up the French name for hairy human-like being, while at the same time taking on their neighbors positive, reverent, attitude toward Bigfoot. After all, the Plains Cree -- even though they retain a memory of their eastern cousins tradition of the Wetiko (as the Windigo is called in Cree) -- have seemed similarly to take on the western tribes view of Bigfoot as they moved west.
The Hopi elders say that the increasing appearances of Bigfoot are not only a message or warning to the individuals or communities to whom he appears, but to humankind at large. As Mathiessen puts it, they see Bigfoot as "a messenger who appears in evil times as a warning from the Creator that man's disrespect for His sacred instructions has upset the harmony and balance of existence." To the Hopi, the "big hairy man" is just one form that the messenger can take.
The Iroquois (Six Nations Confederacy) of the Northeast -- although they live in close proximity to the eastern Algonkian tribes with their Windigo legends -- view Bigfoot much in the same way the Hopi do, as a messenger from the Creator trying to warn humans to change their ways or face disaster. However, mentioned among Iroquois much more often than Bigfoot are the "little people" who are said to inhabit the Adirondacks mountains. I never heard any first-hand stories among the Iroqouis about encounters with these "little people" -- for that matter, I never heard and first-hand stories in that region about Bigfoot, either -- but the Iroquois pass down stories about hunters who occasionally saw small human-like beings in the Adirondacks (which are not all that far from the Catskills, where Rip Van Winkle was alleged to have met some little bowlers) (and slept for 100 years -HF). Some present-day Iroquois assert that the "little people" are still there, just not seen as often because the Iroquois don't spend as much time hunting up in the mountains as they used to. many Iroquois seem to regard both Bigfoot and the "little people" as spiritual or interdimensional beings who can enter or leave our physical dimension as they please, and choose to whom they present themselves, always for a reason.
Stories about small, humanoids who inhabit wild places are found in many areas of the world, especially Europe. (The Kiowa tell a story about several young men who decide to go exploring south from their Texas home for many days, seeing many new things, until they came to a strange forest [obviously the jungles of southern Mexico] whose trees were home to small, furred humanoids with tails! This they found to be too weird, so they immediately headed back for home). I never thought to connect the stories about the "little people" with the Sasquatch until Ray Crowe brought up the possible connection. After all, if there may be large relatives of humans living in remote areas, would it be so impossible for there to be small ones? Details that stretch credibility, such as pots of gold, pointed and belled caps, games of ninepins, etc., could conceivably be embellishments added over generations to some genuine accounts of sightings.
Throughout Native North America, Bigfoot is seen as a kind of "brother" to humans. Even among those eastern Algonkian tribes to whom Bigfoot represents the incarnation of the Windigo -- the human who is transformed into a cannibalistic monster by tasting human flesh in time of starvation -- his fearsomeness comes from his very closeness to humans. The Windigo is the embodiment of the hidden, terrifying temptation within them to turn to eating other humans when no other food is to be had. he was still their "elder brother", but a brother who represented a human potential they feared. As such, the Windigo's appearance was sort of a constant warning to them, a reminder that a community whose members turn to eating each other is doomed much more surely than a community that simply has no food. So the figure of the Windigo is not so far removed from the figure of the "messenger" coming to warn humankind of impending disaster if it doesn't cease its destruction of nature.
The existence of Bigfoot is taken for granted throughout Native North America, and so are his powerful psychic abilities. I can't count the number of times that I have heard elder Indian people say that Bigfoot knows when humans are searching for him and that he chooses when and to whom to make an appearance, and that his psychic powers account for his ability to elude the white man's efforts to capture him or hunt him down. In Indian culture, the entire natural world -- the animals, the plants, the rivers, the stars -- is seen as a family. And Bigfoot is seen as one of our close relatives, the "great elder brother"
How a 1924 Bigfoot battle on Mt. St. Helens helped launch a legend: Throwback Thursday
What defines the Pacific Northwest in the popular imagination? Surely a mix of stereotypical images comes to the average American’s mind: serial killers and indie rockers, strong coffee and liberal politics.
Then there’s the pièce de résistance: Bigfoot. Our famous hidden resident.
It’s one of the Northwest’s most familiar in-jokes. Sasquatch can be found on hipster mugs and T-shirts, and hairy beasts roam the streets on Halloween. A popular music festival is named after the creature.
Spirit Lake (The Oregonian)
As a result, it’s been largely forgotten that intrepid investigators in these parts took the mystery seriously for years, tracking giant footprints and collecting reports of freaky whistling noises heard in the forest.
No one knows for sure when the Northwest's Bigfoot legend truly began, but the most successful launching pad for the public's obsession with it is known: a battle that supposedly took place in a narrow gorge on the east flank of Mt. St. Helens. The gorge is now called Ape Canyon.
That’s where, in the summer of 1924, a group of gold prospectors stumbled out of the woods, shaking and glassy-eyed, to tell of 7-foot-tall ape-like animals attacking them with boulders.
Fred Beck, Gabe Lefever, John Peterson, Marion Smith and Smith’s son Roy described coming upon “gorilla men” near where they had built a small cabin for their gold-hunting forays.
They claimed they were eight miles from Spirit Lake when they encountered four of the giant animals moving through the forest with erect, human-like strides. “They are covered with long, black hair,” The Oregonian reported, relating the descriptions offered by the men. “Their ears are about four inches long and stick straight up. They have four toes, short and stubby.” The witnesses estimated each animal weighed about 400 pounds.
A 1970s Bigfoot photo submitted to The Oregonian by a hiker. (Oregonian archive)
Taken aback at the sight of the huge beasts, Fred Beck fired his rifle at one of the creatures, and, struck three times, the wounded animal toppled off a cliff. (Beck reportedly claimed years later that another member of the party fired the shots.)
The violence proved a mistake.
That night, the men said, they were awakened when huge stones began clomping against the outside of their cabin. Then they heard -- and felt -- giant bodies slamming against the walls and door. The ape-men were seeking revenge.
The beasts eventually tore a hole in the roof, allowing them to target Beck.
“Many of the rocks fell through a hole in the roof, and two of the rocks struck Beck, one of them rendering him unconscious for nearly two hours,” The Oregonian reported.
Finally, the prospectors said, the sun began to come up, which prompted the animals to break off their attack and slip away. The men poked their heads out the door and, when they decided the coast was clear, ran out of the woods.
Tales of giant “ape-men” weren’t exactly new to the area. Hunters, lumberjacks and prospectors had seen massive footprints now and again over the years, and Native Americans in the area had spoken of “mountain devils.” But few people seriously worried about the possibility of huge, unknown creatures being out there in the forest.
That changed when the gold-hunters returned to civilization that summer day in 1924. The dramatic story of their battle with large, human-like beasts was irresistible -- and thus hard for people to dismiss.
The enduring legend of Bigfoot
Sixty years ago, a California logger found a set of enormous footprints — and a star was born. Here's everything you need to know:
How did Bigfoot get its name? On Aug. 27, 1958, a bulldozer operator for a Northern California logging company made a discovery. Jerry Crew was clearing away brush and stumps near Bluff Creek, about 300 miles north of San Francisco, when he found enormous, manlike footprints in the mud. Shocked, he relayed the news — and discovered his colleagues had also spotted mammoth tracks several times. News of their sighting was published in the local Humboldt Times. "Giant footprints puzzle residents along Trinity River," read the Oct. 5, 1958 story, which contained the first recorded use of the name "Bigfoot." The Sunday story went out over the newswires, and "on Monday, Tuesday, and for the rest of many days," Humboldt Times columnist Andrew Genzoli said, "we had reporters from all the wire services pounding on our doors."
Was the story true? No. After Crew's co-worker Ray Wallace died at 84 in 2002, his children revealed a secret Wallace had concealed for decades: He'd made the prints by stomping in the mud with carved wooden feet. It was all "just a joke," they said. News of Wallace's hoax, however, barely registered with Bigfoot believers. Today, "interest in the existence of the creature is at an all-time high," said paleontologist Darren Naish. In May, thousands of believers will attend one of the largest-ever Bigfoot conferences, in Ohio, where, organizers say, "speakers from across the Bigfoot community . share their experiences and knowledge in the subject of Sasquatch."
Is Bigfoot a purely American phenomenon? Sightings of a similar half-man, half-ape have been reported by people all over the world. Indigenous tribes of British Columbia called the creature "Sesquac" — meaning "wild man" — and the term was later anglicized to Sasquatch. The Chinese believe a "Yeren" roams the western Hubei mountains. Australians say a "Yowie" stalks the Outback. When Alexander the Great conquered the Indus Valley in 326 B.C., he demanded the vanquished population bring him a Himalayan yeti. By any name, this mythical creature is usually described as a bipedal hominid sporting a shaggy coat of hair covering its 8-to-12-foot-tall frame (although sightings of "juveniles" also occur). The brute can weigh 800 pounds and leave footprints twice the size of a normal human adult's. Bigfoot believers contend the creature is the proverbial "missing link" between man and his evolutionary forbears.
Have there been other hoaxes? Bigfoot's legend seems fertile terrain for rogues and raconteurs. In 1957, a prospector named Albert Ostman came forward with a tale of having been abducted in 1924 by a Sasquatch — and forced to live with its family for six days, until he escaped. In 2008, two Georgia men, one a former policeman, claimed to have recovered a Bigfoot corpse in their native mountains — but after an international media frenzy, it was discovered they had purchased a Bigfoot costume and stuffed it with roadkill and animal entrails. But the most famous suspected hoax came just nine years after Wallace's 1958 prank. In 1967, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin made a 59-second film showing an ape-like creature walking around near the same Bluff Creek of the original sighting. Years later, costume manufacturer Philip Morris said he sold Patterson the gorilla suit seen in the film, and introduced a large man who said he tromped around in the costume for the camera.
How frequent are sightings? In America, the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) lists more than 5,000 sightings from every state except Hawaii, with about one-third coming from the Pacific Northwest. In January, hikers in Provo, Utah, spotted a massive, dark figure moving slowly along a mountainside. "Seriously, look how big it is!" cries hiker Austin Craig on a video posted to YouTube. Real or not, the country's love affair with the monster is indisputable. The last two years brought two children's films: The Son of Bigfoot and Smallfoot. Animal Planet just concluded an 11-season run of Finding Bigfoot, which never quite lived up to its name.
What do scientists think? Scientifically speaking, there is not a single iota of evidence showing that Bigfoot is real. "Nothing, nothing at all," said Mark Wilson, a natural sciences professor who has studied the sightings. No bodies, no bones, no hair, no skin, no DNA. A 2009 study proposed a theory about what eyewitnesses are seeing. Researchers plotted Bigfoot sightings and found they corresponded roughly to the American black bear's habitat. Black bears can look frightfully tall and human-like, the authors noted, when standing upright on two legs. Other scientists point out the unlikelihood that a species populous enough to breed could evade all attempts to find it. "It defies all logic," said anthropologist Phillips Stevens Jr. Nonetheless, the legend persists. Famed anthropologist Jane Goodall has heard indigenous people on several continents describe sightings of Bigfoot-like creatures. "Well, you will be amazed when I tell you that I'm sure that they exist," Goodall said. "I guess I'm romantic. I don't want to disbelieve."
Why people want Bigfoot to be real Nature writer Robert Michael Pyle studied Bigfoot enthusiasts — and concluded their obsession gives them a good excuse to spend time in remote, wooded areas. "These guys don't want to find Bigfoot — they want to be Bigfoot!" he wrote. Others frame Bigfoot as a symbol of freedom from the modern world — a simple creature who is free of civilization's rules and boundaries. It's comforting to believe another hominid evolved without "the cruelty, greed, vanity, and other ‘childishness'" of Homo sapiens, says naturalist David Rains Wallace, who has studied Bigfoot lore. Folklore professor Lynne McNeill says Bigfoot satisfies a deep human hunger for the mysterious and the magical, and serves as proof that humans have not totally dominated nature. "It's a better world if Bigfoot can be real," McNeill says. "It says something positive about our retention of wilderness spaces. It says something positive about the fact that we maybe aren't utterly destroying the planet we live on if a species can remain hidden and undiscovered."
We Don't Believe In Bigfoot Anymore. Or Do We?
Eventually, the Bigfoot craze settled down and we were able to breathe a little easier. That doesn’t mean that the sightings have stopped. Yes… they are still being reported today. According to folklore, Bigfoot is still roaming the woods of southern Arkansas. And Bigfoot will always be a source of entertainment, even if we can all (someday) agree it was a hoax -- after all, Harry and the Hendersons came out in the late 1980s, and was a huge hit.
Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend
Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend is a non-fiction book written by Joshua Blu Buhs and published in 2009 by the University of Chicago Press.  It explores the history of the concept of Bigfoot, discusses the exploits of its believers, as well as hoaxers, and examines the cultural influences that give the entity its staying power.   
Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend is an exploration of the history of Bigfoot (called Sasquatch in Canada),  and its counterparts, the Abominable Snowman and Yeti, with a focus on stories from the American Pacific Northwest.   Buhs maintains that Bigfoot does not actually inhabit the forests, but, is "real" in the sense that the stories told about the creature are "part of the American cultural landscape".   
Buhs contends that Bigfoot is a construct of popular imagination representing a "tradition of the wild man" that "allowed white working-class men" to hold onto traditional, masculine roles while societal changes (feminism and civil rights) in the 1960s and 1970s "challenged their assumptions about society".  Although Bigfoot has its roots in European and Asian fairy tales,  and sightings of "giant figures with long reddish hair" were reported in the 1920s.  Buhs claims Bigfoot stories in men's adventure magazines, like Argosy, True, and Saga,  as well as "mockumentary" movies shown in makeshift movie theaters called "four-wallers" in 1970s rural America helped give shape to Bigfoot and secure its place in popular culture.  Bigfoot became symbolic of the changes these men feared and way of connection with (or escaping into) the wilderness. 
Buhs provides a historical accounting of Bigfoot encounters, including purported sightings and abductions.  He surveys the physical evidence collected and photographed (footprints, tufts of fur, droppings),  and introduces readers to such devotees of Bigfoot as Rene Dahinden,  Roger Patterson,   Ray Wallace,  John Napier,  Albert Ostman,  P.T. Barnum,  Grover Krantz,  Ivan Sanderson,  and others who researched, looked for, and, in some cases, faked Bigfoot sightings or exploited the idea of Bigfoot for their own gain. 
Buhs also outlines how the commercialization of Bigfoot, through the sale of commercial products (B-movies, T-shirts, TV shows, whiskey advertisements), transformed Bigfoot, once feared, into a creature to be ridiculed. Environmentalism, Buhs posits, changed Bigfoot into a gentle giant.  By the mid-1970s, Bigfoot research had dissolved into "exposed hoaxes, arrogant and premature proclamations of conclusive evidence, and vindictive infighting." 
Reviewers of Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend found the book, overall, to be an entertaining account of Bigfoot that lead to "interesting places".   
Buhs' attempt at telling an historical account of an imaginary creature, for some reviewers, was problematic.  Folklorist Jennifer Attebury argued that although Buhs used "excellent secondary sources" and solid primary sources, the exploration of Bigfoot might better be described as "fakelore." She suggested that the book might have benefited from theoretical frameworks provided by contemporary folkloristics. 
Still other reviewers     found Buhs' characterization of Bigfoot as reflecting the hopes, fears and desires of white working-class men "a bit of a stretch".  Paul Lucier wrote in his review, "Buhs is sympathetic to the Bigfooters, and he tries to restrain any prejudgments, but in the end he cannot help but explode each incident and, perhaps unintentionally, show up the Bigfooters as either fools or frauds".  In his review, Benjamin Radford wrote that Buhs characterized skeptics as "routinely ridiculing" the subject of Bigfoot, and suggested that prominent skeptical Bigfoot researchers, like Michael Dennett, treated the subject and its claimants with respect. 
Some members of the Bigfoot community received the book less than enthusiastically, calling it a literary fraud. 
The Startling 1967 Bigfoot Sighting Caught On Film
Twitter The so-called Patterson-Gimlin film spans 59.5 seconds and remains hotly contested as to whether or not it is an authentic Bigfoot sighting.
The Patterson-Gimlin film of 1967 arguably cemented Bigfoot into American folklore more than any other sighting in history.
Of course, Sasquatch was known among several Indigenous North American tribes and American newspapers reported sightings as early as the late 1800s, but no actual footage of the beast existed — until Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin’s fated trip.
It was on Oct. 20 of that year when the two men rode their horses through Bluff Creek, California. Patterson had been obsessed with the mythical beast, eager to produce films, and authored books on the subject. Gimlin was merely an old friend who joined Patterson in support.
Around 1:00 p.m. that day, their horses suddenly kicked as a strange scent filled the air. Then, the men spotted a furry creature ambling on two legs about 100 feet away. The two men dismounted, and Patterson used his trusty Cine Kodak camera to capture the beast on 16 mm film.
Ever since, Patterson and Gimlin’s film has been scrutinized, lauded, and criticized in equal measure. Some have deemed it the most elaborate prank in history, while others — including esteemed researchers — see it as the most convincing Bigfoot evidence ever recorded.
But skeptics have argued that because Patterson profited so thoroughly from the short film, he almost certainly developed the footage as a forgery on purpose. Indeed, Patterson did take the film on a nationwide tour charging admission and even published a book on Bigfoot the year prior. Many thus deem him a huckster who finally caught a lucky break with this contentious video.
Costume designer Phillip Morris even claimed that he himself sold Patterson the costume seen in the film. Later, a Yakima, Washington, man named Bob Heironimus alleged that Patterson had paid him to don the costume.
The Patterson-Gimlin film has staunch defenders, however. Idaho University professor Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, for instance, believes the musculature and limb ratios captured in the footage are way too precise to have been forged, particularly for a video from 1967. Bob Gimlin, himself, has never wavered from any detail of the account.
Ultimately, the Patterson-Gimlin film laid the foundation for how Bigfoot sightings were to be received moving forward. But it is just one of the Sasquatch encounters chronicled here that is simply too intriguing to ignore.
Abominable! Russian official admits staging yeti sightings to attract tourists
The new Hulu docuseries “Sasquatch” is built around journalist David Holthouse’s account of one very strange night in northern California in 1993.
While Holthouse was visiting a friend on a marijuana farm, a terrified visitor arrived in the middle of the night, telling stories about seeing the bodies of three men who’d been ripped apart by Bigfoot.
Holthouse, who’d put the memory aside for decades, returns to California’s cannabis-growing “Emerald Triangle” to investigate the now-hazy, but deeply unsettling, story in a three-part show premiering Tuesday and executive produced by Jay and Mark Duplass.
The mythical forest-dwelling creature turns out to be the starting point of a larger story about the violent history of the area and its multilayered secrets.
But the Bigfoot legend itself looms large in this region. California is second only to Washington in state sightings, with 445 encounters (versus Washington’s 676) documented by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.
True believers still come to this part of the country hoping to catch a glimpse of Bigfoot/Sasquatch, which Britannica.com defines as “a large, hairy, humanlike creature believed by some people to exist in the northwestern United States and western Canada.”
The travel guide Fodor’s even has a list of the top ten places in California to go if you’re looking for a Bigfoot encounter, many of which are in or near the “Sasquatch” series’ setting.
The Internet is filled with accounts and recordings by freaked-out campers who see and hear strange things while in the vast California wilderness, with experiences of hearing the “Bigfoot howl” especially abundant.
“Sasquatch” includes interviews with several northern Californians who swear they’ve had a brush with the supernatural wild man.
The most famous of the featured “Squatchers” is Bob Gimlin, whose 1967 film clip, shot in California’s Humboldt County, is still the most in-focus footage of a supposed Bigfoot.
Gimlin, who shot the film with his friend, the late Roger Patterson, maintains it’s not a hoax and that the men actually saw what appears to be a bipedal, female ape-like creature strolling across the wilderness, casting looks at them over its shoulder as it goes.
But “Sasquatch” also includes an interview with Bob Heironimus, a neighbor of Gimlin’s, who swears equally vehemently that the film is a hoax, and that he knows this because he is the gorilla-suited man in the clip.
Disgruntled at never having been paid like the two men promised, he finally broke his alleged vow to say nothing and went public in 1999.
The Patterson-Gimlin film, though only one minute long, has been the subject of never-ending debate in the Sasquatch and, marginally, scientific communities. While most scientists are not inclined to allow for the possibility that a huge, undiscovered species of hominid could have secretly existed all these years, some are equally convinced that the unsophisticated film could not have been a hoax.
The late Washington State University anthropologist Grover Krantz was one of the most famous academic defenders of the film: After initially dismissing it as a prank, he eventually studied the gait of the creature in the clip closely and concluded that it couldn’t have been easily faked by a human.
His belief in Bigfoot, which he began to think was a relative of the long-extinct Gigantopithecus primate, was shored up by the 1969 discovery of what became known as the Cripplefoot tracks — casts of giant footprints in the snow, with the left foot appearing to be deformed. But Krantz was widely believed to have been overly credulous in his insistence that nobody could fake an unusual footprint.
A Sasquatch hunter with still images from the famous 1967 Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film. Alamy Stock Photo
The late s and early s were high times for Sasquatch explorers. A key piece of supposed evidence was recorded by another pair of men at a remote California deer camp between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park.
Their hair-raising audio recordings, known in the Bigfoot community as the “Sierra Sounds,” purport to capture a number of unidentifiable creatures in the night, yelling and vocalizing in what seems like a primitive language.
After their initial experience, Ron Morehead, a church board administrator, and Alan Berry, a Sacramento journalist, went back to the spot over the course of a year, amassing what they always swore was a legitimate series of recordings.
But over the decades, despite unflagging public interest, not one Bigfoot researcher has ever managed to get a clear photo or video. Visual evidence has largely consisted of unconvincing footage, such as a 2001 clip from the Marble Mountain wilderness, also in northern California.
Taken by a church group, it supposedly captures the image of a Sasquatch walking along a ridge.
In 2007, Sasquatch was given a legitimacy boost when legendary anthropologist Jane Goodall allowed for the possibility that it might be real.
In her praise for the book “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science” by Jeffrey Meldrum, she wrote, “In many parts of the world I meet those who, in a matter-of-fact way, tell me of their encounters with large, bipedal, tail-less hominids.
I think I have read every article and every book about these creatures, and while most scientists are not satisfied with existing evidence, I have an open mind.” She repeated those sentiments in a 2018 interview: “I’m a romantic. I would like Bigfoot to exist. I’ve met people who swear they’ve seen Bigfoot.
I think the interesting thing is every single continent there is an equivalent of Bigfoot or Sasquatch. There’s the Yeti, the Yowie in Australia, the Chinese Wildman, and on and on and on. I’ve heard stories from people who, you have to believe them. So there’s something.”
In 2018, Bigfoot entered the legal system when California resident Claudia Ackley sued the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Natural Resources Agency for refusing to acknowledge her encounter with a Sasquatch in a tree.