Bigfoot is, without a doubt, the most recognized animal mystery in North America. Most Bigfoot sightings occur within the Northwestern United States, although the early 1970s produced some reports out of the Arkansas area. Similar sightings occur in Canada, where the creature is known as Sasquatch. According to eyewitness testimonies, the human-like creature is well over 7 and a half feet tall, weighing as much as 600 pounds. They seem to be largely nocturnal and usually are reported as traveling alone or in pairs. Their bodies, covered in red or light-brown colored hair, seem to be more human-like than ape-like, although their facial features seem to be somewhat proportioned like a gorilla – short necks, flat faces and nose, sloped foreheads, and wide shoulders. Their name is derived from the often-discovered footprints, which average around 18 inches in length and 7 inches wide.
Historical Bigfoot Sightings
Some Bigfoot researchers cite American Indian traditions as the first recorded sightings of human-like hairy bipeds. The first recorded sighting occurred in 1870 and was reported in the California newspaper – Antioch Ledger. The newspaper correspondent reported that he had witnessed a “gorilla, or wild man, or whatever you choose to call it in the bush. Its head appeared to be set on the creature’s shoulder without a neck”.
The next report came out 30 years later in 1901. A lumberjack on Vancouver Island, was trekking alone because his Indian helpers had refused to accompany him due to their fear of the resident ‘monkey men’. While walking through the woods, the lumberjack spotted a ‘man beast’ washing near a river. It was described as being colored in reddish-brown hair with particularly long arms. After the creature spotted him and fled, the lumberjack examined the footprints and noted that they were particularly human-like with the exception of their extremely large size.
Many more reports began coming out in the early 1900s near the Vancouver area. By this time, the residents of Western Canada were well aware of a creature in their area known as Sasquatches. By 1960 there had been thousands of reports of Bigfoot creatures in the Northwestern region of the United States. It was at this time that the inevitable occurred – one was actually captured on film.
The Roger Patterson Film
Roger Patterson had devoted much of his life to Bigfoot research after reading an article in a 1959 issue of True magazine. Much of his spare time was spent roaming the Pacific region woods, movie camera in hand, searching for traces of the legendary animal. On October 20, 1967, he and his fellow Bigfoot researcher, Bob Gimlin, were riding in the dried bed of Bluff Creek in northern California, an area with an extraordinary number of Bigfoot sightings. While passing a tall pile of brush, they spotted a Bigfoot creature kneeling in the dried creek bed. Their horses were spooked by the incident and forced both riders off. Grabbing their equipment, they quickly began filming as the creature stood up, looked around, and casually strolled off into the woods. The file caused quite a stir and was broadcast on many of the nation’s news broadcasts. Unfortunately, Roger had only 28 feet of film left in his camera, or the recorded phenomena would have contained much more detail. Five years later, Patterson died, swearing to the end to the authenticity of both the sighting and film. Gimlin, still sticks by the story.
Researchers quickly arrived on the scene and found tracks in exactly the spot Roger and Bob described. Following the tracks, they discovered that the animal had actually climbed up a hill and sat for some time, apparently watching the two men as they recovered their spooked horses. Later examination of the film revealed that if shot at 24 feet per second, as Roger indicated, the movement of the animal’s limbs was human-like but much longer in duration and stride, proving that the creature’s neuromuscular system was not human, ruling out the possibility of a person in an ape suit. Furthermore, it was determined that the sophistication required to build such an accurate and detailed costume could have only been accomplished by two manufacturers in the United States – and both deny any involvement in the sighting…
In-Article Image CreditsFrame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film taken on October 20, 1967, claiming to depict Bigfoot/Sasquatch via Wikimedia Commons by Patterson-Gimlin with usage type - Editorial use (Fair Use). 1967
Artistic depiction of Bigfoot via Wikimedia Commons by LeCire with usage type - Public Domain. March 24, 2006
Image from a Bushnell trail camera Bigfoot via Wikimedia Commons by Rick Jacobs with usage type - Fair use with modification. It provides a historically significant depiction of a possible misidentification of the subject in question and it helps in providing critical commentary on explaining what may be happening during the sightings.
Featured Image CreditArtistic depiction of Bigfoot via Wikimedia Commons by LeCire with usage type - Public Domain. March 24, 2006