Bigfoot photo color analysis

Sasquatches aren’t blue. Right?

I had a conversation years ago with Doug Hajicek, producer of MonsterQuest and Mysterious Encounters, about indigo dye in gorilla suits. Doug felt that the presence of indigo coloring in the hair on any purported Bigfoot photograph was a dead giveaway that the subject was a guy in a guit.

It sounded like a good theory. Trouble is, the photos that he was referring to at the time weren’t so easy for me to discount.

During the filming of Mysterious Encounters, we acquired three photographs of a big, dark, hulking something taken during cleanup after a powwow on a reservation in the south. I don’t have a copy of the photographs in question (one of them can be seen in the Mysterious Encounters episode we filmed in Oklahoma) but I’ll do my best to describe them for you here.

The figure was walking from right to left through the trees behind a man who was reaching down to pick up an empty Cherry Coke box. To me, the “creature”, for all intents and purposes, looked nearly identical to the Patterson/Gimlin sasquatch in shape and mass, except that it was black in color and facing in the opposite direction. The photographs did not appear to have been “doctored”. In the three photographs, the object moved through the trees behind the subject of the photo – the man picking up the box. In the first photo, he was bending down to get the box. In the next, he had picked it up. In the third, he was turned around, looking behind him, presumably at the thing walking through the trees. The clincher is that these photos OBVIOUSLY showed some sort of hairy something moving through the scene. It was big. It was bulky. It had a conical head, and it was not a blobsquatch.

I found it compelling that the witnesses seemed credible to me, that the “creature” was obviously in motion and that there were THREE photos taken in sequence.

I was intrigued – and was disappointed when Doug concluded, on the show, that the subject in question represented a man in a suit based upon the fact that he color sampled the photos and found what he thought was “indigo” dye, indicative of synthetic hair.

I wasn’t so sure. While I agree that cheap, black fur often gives off an “indigo” hue, I felt these photos were too compelling to simply dismiss them based upon using a color-picker in Photoshop.

Regarding the recent Minnesota game camera photo, Doug had this to say in an email exchange: “The suit wrinkles, the rubber hands, arm sleeves, flat hair length, dark indigo blue dye color and the stove pipe legs says it all.” I agree that this photo is most likely that of a guy in a suit. I agree that the other considerations make it a very likely hoax. But does the presence of an indigo hue ALWAYS indicate a suit?

I did some testing on Doug’s indigo theory and I was surprised by what I discovered.

Let’s have a look at the results.

THE THEORY: If indigo coloring is present in the “fur” of a purported Sasquatch photo, the photo must be a suit and therefore the photo is a hoax.

THE METHOD: I used the same technique that I watched Doug use in his editing suite to come to his conclusion about those powwow photos. In PhotoShop, there is an eyedropper tool that brings up a palette, and when you click on pixels in the photograph in question, it  shows the HUE of the color. Pay special attention to the vertical slider on the palette in the screen captures below.

THE FINDINGS:

This Gorilla Suit photo shows exactly what Doug was inferring. Clicking on the photo with the eyedropper tool, the vertical slider has come to rest in the blue spectrum – despite the fact that the actual color appears charcoal gray (see the top “box” to the right of the vertical slider. That’s the actual color as it appears to the eye.) This denotes that there is a bluish tinge in the fur, indicating the presence of indigo dye.

gorilla_suit_color_analysis

Next, out of curiosity, I sampled the Freeman Bigfoot:

freeman_color_analysis

On the Freeman footage, despite the fact that the top box appears black, the color range is GREEN, which may indicate that the hair is reflecting the surrounding vegetation. However, there is no blue in the palette. No indigo. So far so good.

Now, let’s look at the Patterson/Gimlin Bigfoot:

patty_color_analysis

As you’ll see from the color picker, these tones are definitely in the green hue. There was also some yellow, of all things, and red tones as well. Doug’s theory appears to be holding up.

Now let’s look at the Minnesota game cam picture.

MN_bigfoot_color_analysis

There it is. Indigo.

But now things get really interesting. We can’t say for sure whether any of the above photos are “real” photos of a Sasquatch, or a guy in a suit.

Let’s look at something we do know is hair-covered, and real:

gorilla_color_analysis

Huh. Look at the color slider. BLUE?

Unless someone sprayed this gorilla with indigo dye, or he’s wearing a suit, the presence of blue tones indicating indigo dye doesn’t appear to hold up.

chimp_color_analysis

Blue again.

I’m fairly certain that neither one of these creatures is wearing synthetic fur. Yet the slider indicates a blue hue very similar to that of the photo Doug felt was a hoax partly because of the presence of indigo.

The problem is that we’re comparing images coming from 35mm film, 16 mm film, videotape, perhaps digital images… there’s really no way of knowing whether any of the colors have been modified. The hue, saturation, etc. could have been adjusted prior to my analyzing them, or the surroundings could affect the final color outcome.

But that’s the point, isn’t it?

CONCLUSION: Color analysis and the presence of blue tones in a photograph or video CANNOT provide a definitive answer regarding whether something is a real creature or a suit of synthetic hair. It simply isn’t a reliable method of concluding whether an image is a hoax.

I sure would like to have a look at those powwow photos again.

All photographs are copyrighted by their respective owners and are used here under the Fair Use doctrine of Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107 for the purpose of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

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