THE PATTERSON-GIMLIN FILM
On October 20, 1967, ex-rodeo cowboy Roger Patterson and partner Bob Gimlin filmed what appears to be a female Sasquatch traversing a sand bar in Bluff Creek. The film's authenticity has never been disproven.
The Patterson-Gimlin film is a movie of a Bigfoot creature taken by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin in 1967. Both men lived near Yakima, Washington State. Patterson had been involved in the search for the elusive Bigfoot or Sasquatch for many years and had written a book on the subject entitled Do Abonimable Snowmen Of America Really Exist? In this book, he calls attention to the significant amount of evidence that supports the creature's existence. Gimlin, a highly experienced outdoorsman, was a close friend of Patterson and agreed to accompany him on a wilderness expedition to search for the creature.
Equipped with a 16mm hand-held Kodak movie camera, the two searchers set out on horseback in October, 1967 and explored the wilderness regions in northern California. They concentrated their search in the area near Bluff Creek which is in the Six Rivers National Forest. Bluff Creek itself, is about 38 air miles south of the California/Oregon border and 18 air miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. This region was selected because Bigfoot footprints had been found there in prior years. A road was constructed into Bluff Creek in 1957, opening the area, which up to that time had been remote wilderness. Road construction workers noticed large human-like footprints in the soft soil which were reported to the press by Jerry Crew in October, 1958. The word "Bigfoot" was used in the press release and has now become a common name for the creature. Subsequent investigations at that time revealed tracks of six different sizes, indicating that a number of creatures frequented the area. Footprint sizes ranged from 12¼ inches to 17 inches long.
In the early afternoon of October 20, 1967 Patterson and Gimlin spotted a female Bigfoot down on the creek gravel sandbar. Patterson's horse reared in alarm at the sight of the creature, bringing both horse and rider to the ground, Patterson pinned below. Being an experienced horseman, he quickly disengaged himself and grabbed his camera. While running toward the creature, Patterson took 24 feet of colour film footage. During this time, the creature quickly but calmly walked away across the sandbar into the woods. In the meantime, Gimlin observed the whole scene, rifle in hand, in case his friend was attacked by the creature. The men had previously agreed that under no circumstances would they shoot a Bigfoot unless in self-protection. The creature, estimated to be 7 feet 3½ inches in height and weighing 700 pounds, left footprints 14½ inches long by 6 inches wide. In that part of Bluff Creek, there is a sandy clay soil with a blue-gray tinge. This type of soil holds footprints remarkably well for a long period of time.
Fearing a possible confrontation with the creature and perhaps others of its kind, the two men decided not to pursue their prey into the forest. They reasoned that they had photographic evidence of its existence and did not want to put the creature or themselves in jeopardy.
The film has been studied by many scientists throughout the world who continue to remain divided on the authenticity of the sighting. Roger Patterson died in January, 1972 steadfast in his belief in the creature's existence. Robert Gimlin, who now resides in Yakima, also continues to maintain that what he saw was the elusive North American Bigfoot. To this time, no firm evidence has surfaced to cast a doubt on this truly amazing discovery.
From: Internet Virtual Bigfoot Conference Digest, 1996, V2 #111
First Photos of "Bigfoot" California's Legendary "Abominable Snowman"
Ivan T. Sanderson
Argosy Magazine Article, February 1968
At three-thirty p.m. on the twentieth of October last year, two young men, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin, were "packing" it on horseback into one of the last remaining great wilderness areas, northeast of Eureka, California. Their saddlebags contained, on one side, rifles and grub and, on the other, ready-loaded movie and still cameras and other equipment. They were following a creek which had been washed out two years ago in the terrible floods that devastated most of northern California. This was some twenty miles beyond the end of an access road for logging and about thirty-five miles in from the nearest and only blacktop road in this vast, as yet not fully mapped area of National Forest. I have been up this Bluff Creek and, as a botanist, I can tell you that it is rugged — four layers or tiers of trees, the tallest up to 200 feet, and a dense undergrowth. Also, the terrain goes up and down a gigantic sawtooth.
Roger and Bob rounded a sharp bend in the sandy arroyo of the creek. Then it happened. The horses reared suddenly in alarm and threw both the riders. Luckily, Roger fell off to the right and, being an experienced horseman, disengaged himself and grabbed his camera. Why? Because he had spotted what had turned their horses into mad broncos. About 100 feet ahead, on the other side of the creek bed, there was a huge, hairy creature that walked like a man!
The way Roger described it to me would not, I am afraid, make much sense to you; but then, Roger had been hunting this sort of creature for many years. What he actually said was: "Gosh darn it, Ivan, right there was a Bigfoot. And, fer pity's sakes, she was a female! Just wait till you see the film." Roger is a Northwesterner and he does not waste words, but what he does say, I listen to. This is what he told me:
"On the other side of the creek, back up against the trees, there was a sort of man-creature that we estimated later, by measuring some logs that appear in the film, to have been about seven feet tall. Both Bob and I estimate — and this pretty well matched what others told us from examination of the depth to which her tracks sank into hard sand— that she would weigh about three hundred and fifty pounds. She was covered with short, shiny, black hair, even her big, droopy breasts. She seemed to have a sort of peak on the back of her head, but whether this was longer hair or not I don't know. Anyhow, hair came right down her forehead to meet her eyebrows, if she had any; and it came right up to just under her cheekbones. And — oh, get this — she had no neck! What I mean is, the bottom of her head just seemed to broaden out onto and into her wide, muscular shoulders. I don't think you'll see it in the film, but she walked like a big man in no hurry, and the soles of her feet were definitely light in color."
This last bit got me, as I have seen really black-skinned Melanesians with pale pink palms and soles. I don't want to sound facetious, but this whole thing gets "hairier and hairier," as you will see in a moment. Roger did something then that I have never known any professional photographers to do, even if his camera was loaded with the right film, he had the cap off the lens, the thing set at the right F stop and so on. He started running, hand-holding his Kodak sixteen-mm loaded with Kodachrome film, trying to focus on this "creature." What he got was just about what any amateur would get in such circumstances. But then he got a real break. As he puts it:
"She was just swinging along as the first part of my film shows but, all of a sudden, she just stopped dead and looked around at me. She wasn't scared a bit. Fact is, I don't think she was scared of me, and the only thing I can think of is that the clicking of my camera was new to her."
"Okay," I said. "Tell me this, Roger — the hunting season was on, wasn't it?" "You're darned shooting right it was," Bob Gimlin chimed in. "And out that way, anything moving with fur on it is liable to get shot." But actually, there just aren't any hunters way up there, twenty miles beyond the only road, known as the Bluff Creek access. Could it be that this Mrs. Bigfoot knew all about guns but was puzzled by the whirring of a small movie camera? And another thing: everybody who says they have been close to one of these creatures or has found one of their "beds" has stressed the ghastly, nauseating stink they exude and leave behind. Was this what really scared the horses or did the horses scare the "Adorable Woodsman," which is my name for the lady?
(While we referred to this in the title as the "Abominable Snowman" for purposes of quick identification, the Bigfoot or Sasquatch, zoologically, has nothing to do with the Himalayan Abominable Snowman known for centuries in Asia and first brought to the attention of the western world in 1921. Our lady is a form of primitive, full-furred human. The Yeti, or Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas is some sort of giant, rock-climbing ape, in my opinion, and that of Professor Carleton S. Coon. The Yeti footprints found have an opposed big toe, almost like a hand. The Bigfoot has an unopposed toe, such as is seen only on human-type creatures.)
While Roger took the film, Bob got the horses calmed down and then rode over the creek. Roger was running again after the Bigfoot, still hand-holding his movie camera. Despite the logs and trash on the route she took — and it was not even a game trail — he got some parting shots which turned out to be of particular interest to the scientists. But we will come to that later.
At that point, I asked Bob — because he was then what is called "the back-up man," which means that he was now close enough to see Roger clearly — "Just what was Roger doing?"
"He was running like hell, jumping them logs and going up into the real thick bush."
"Did you see her, too?"
"Yeah, Ivan, but way ahead and really taking off for the hills."
This brought me up sharp, because I had by this time viewed their film (and half a dozen out-takes, blown up, in full color as transparencies, which I had examined under strong magnifying lenses on an illuminated shadow-box several times and projected by three different projectors). In every case, the creature was — at standard speed for photos (twenty-four frames per sec) — as Roger said, at first just ambling along, swinging her rather long arms, not running scared, and even stopping for a brief look-see over her shoulder as it were; then ambling on again into the deep woods... Yet here was the back-up man saying that she had taken off for the hills. Roger, however, backed up his back-up man unprompted.
"When she got around the corner and into the real heavy stuff [timber and underbrush] she did take off-running, I mean — because, when we lost her tracks on pine needles after tracking her for about three-and-a-half miles, we took plaster casts of her tracks. Now, down by the creek, in the sand, where we first spotted her, her stride was from forty to forty-two inches from the back of the heel on the left side to the back of the right heel ahead; but when she got really going, she left tracks that measured sixty-five inches from back heel to back heel. Man, she was running just like you and I do!"
"Why 'she'?" I asked Roger.
"Well, Ivan, let's run that film through again, and you tell me, as a trained zoologist, if that thing has pendant breasts or not."
We ran the film again, slowly, and we had a stop-and-hold device on the projector by which we can hold any frame without fear of burning it. This we did and, so help me, there are definitely large, pendant breasts fully covered with short, black hair. No ape (or monkey) is known to have had any such development of the female mammary glands. Human beings, on the other hand, do — frequently.
Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin actually have nothing much more to add. They presented us, both newsmen and scientists, with this film for appraisal. We viewed it, and our findings follow. But, for my money, these young men, after six years of sensible effort, have turned up with the first bit of (possibly) concrete evidence for something that, however fantastic it may sound, has been going on for years, both in this country and Canada — and a lot of other places in the world, like Russia, for instance. So let me get down to a proper analysis from both a scietific and journalistic point of view. Before I do this, however, I want to say that, in this day of technology, 'anything' can be a hoax. But elaborate hoaxes cost a lot of money, and if they are to fool scientists and the like, they also require plenty of knowledge. Anyway, here's what we did to verify and check it out:
I have known Roger Patterson by correspondence for about six years. He tells me — and this flatters me to hell — that he got interested in this business from reading a book I published in 1961, entitled Snowmen: Legend Come to Life, (Chilton), which was a compendium of all I had been able to find in published form on this subject up to that date. I, myself, had been researching it since 1930. During this work, I found that the British had first become cognizant of the matter in Asia in 1921, and quite by mistake. However, as I went back in history, I discovered that just such hairy, primitive, non-tribalized humanlike creatures have been reported by scholars of various cultures and in literature for centuries from almost all over the world. Thus, what Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin achieved is not just an isolated incident. It fits a pattern, and precisely. But what happened next?
Well, these young men had the sense to get their film carefully processed, under guard, a copy made, and the original locked up in a vault so that it could not be scratched, stolen or destroyed. Then they went to the one group of people who really know about "faking" things — especially like "King Kong," "apemen" and other phony monsters — namely, Universal Pictures in Hollywood. There they met Dale Sheets, head of the Documentary Film Department, and top technicians in what is called the Special Effects Department, who are the men who have actually made such things for the movies. They asked the technicians, in effect: "Look at this strip of film. fellows, and then tell its if you could reproduce that for us." "No," the experts answered. "Maybe if you allotted a couple of million bucks, we could try, but we'd have to invent a whole set of new, artificial muscles, get a gorilla's skin and train an actor to walk like that. It might he done, but offhand we'd say it would be nearly impossible."
So then Bob and Roger applied to various groups of American scientists out west. None were seriously interested. There were, however, two Canadians who had also been looking into this matter in their country, where the creatures have been named Sasquatches (suss-kwatches). These Canadians, Mr. John Green, a newspaper publisher of Harrison Lakes, British Columbia, and Rene Dahinden, originally a Swiss mountaineer but for the past two decades a government forestry officer for the Canadian government, flew down to Yakima, Washington, and invited Roger, Bob, and Roger's brother-in-law, Al De Atley, to come up to British Columbia and give a group of scientists there a showing.
They did, in Vancouver. At this meeting, there were, in addition to Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan, Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of British Columbia, who is the province's leading zoologist, a dozen or so scientists, including Don Abbott, an anthropologist with the Provincial Museum in Victoria. Most of the scientists admitted in print that, though they had come to the meeting skeptics, they had left somewhat shaken. Here's how they stated their reactions in the Vancouver Province next day:
Dr. McTaggart-Cowan summed up the more cautious opinions when he said: 'The more a thing deviates from the known, the better the proof of its existence must be.'
Don Abbott spoke for the dozen or more scientists who appeared remarkably close to being convinced: "It is about as hard to believe the film is faked as it is to admit that such a creature really lives. If there's a chance to follow up scientifically, my curiosity is built to the point where I'd want to go along with it. Like most scientists, however, I'm not ready to put my reputation on the line until something concrete shows up — something like bones or a skull.
Frank Beebe, well-known Vancouver naturalist and provincial museum illustrator, commented: "I'm not convinced, but I think the film is genuine. And if I were out in the mountains and I saw a thing like this one, I wouldn't shoot it. I'd be too afraid of how human it would look under the fur. From a scientific standpoint, one of the hardest facts to go against is that there is no evidence anywhere in the western hemisphere of primate (ape, monkey) evolution — and the creature in the film is definitely a primate.
Beebe's objection, however, was typical of those given by other "experts" who ventured out of their own specialties to comment. Since I know something about primates and about geography, I brought this matter to the attention of Dr. Joseph T. Wraight, who happens to be the Chief Geographer of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. His statement appears in detail elsewhere in this magazine, but may I sum it tip here by saying that the distinguished Dr. Wraight — whose doctorate, by the way, is in Human Ecology — responded in effect, "Bunk!" to this last objection.
One leading American weekly appeared to have been sufficiently impressed by the film to fly Roger, Bob and Al, with their film (and out-takes from same, blown up) to New York to bear their story straight. Armed with the film and these statements, the three landed in New York and gave me a buzz. I was with them in two hours. And then the "jazz" began. Every time we called upon anybody, we were asked for "further confirmation." It was not easy, but we got it, step by step. But after a week of spending other peoples' money, the boys, as I call them — though they are all married and fathers — got a really rude, flat and, in my opinion, senseless turn-down. So that's why the story I am writing is in these pages.
The boys have not asked anybody for a single cent for what they've got. All they wanted was to be reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses. (This has been done.) For the rest, they need sufficient funds to mount a properly equipped and trained small group to go into this or another wilderness area for a full year to stage a real hunt for a Bigfoot — captured alive or on film — or else at least for a skull or other physical evidence. The commonest question asked me about these Bigfoot (of California) and the similar Sasquatches of Canada is: "Why has nobody ever seen one?" The answer to this is that they have, and by the hundreds, and for a hundred years (let alone the earlier sightings by local Indians). One is even alleged to have been captured on the trans-Canada railroad's tracks in 1884, to have been examined by medical men and held in captivity for some time. It was even mentioned in official dispatches to the Crown by the (then) Colonial Governor of British Columbia. Further, I personally took an extended trip in 1959 to the West, covering just about every area from Alaska to California, and even the Canadian Northwest Territories, and interviewed several dozen people who said they had encountered these creatures. All my findings up to 1961 went into my book, mentioned earlier. Since then, however, further reports have continued to stream in at a minimum of once a month.
Meantime, eight groups that I know of went into the field, apart from Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin, and I know that the last have several scores of interviews on tape with other "witnesses." What is more, none other than Dr. Vladimir Markotic, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Calgary, Alberta, made two trips to the same areas and assessed the current reports two years ago.
The next most common question (from non-zoologists, that is) is usually: "Why, if there are so many of these big creatures running around, haven't we ever found a single bone of one?"
My answer is simply to go and ask any game warden, real woodsman or professional animal collector if he has ever found the dead body or even a bone of any wild animal — except along roads, of course, or if killed by man. I never have, in forty years on five continents! No, Nature takes care of her own, and damned fast, too. But there is another point here. These creatures are apparently not even tribalized. In fact, they seem to be lone hunters or gatherers, forming only small family parties that break up as soon as the youngsters can get along on their own. Unlike the next stages up the ladder to us people, they do not seem to bury their dead. If they did, we might have stumbled across their ritual burial grounds, even in caves — though such are rarities — where they are reported to live. Then, there is another very prevalent notion: Almost everybody except zoologists — and even many of them — seems to believe that no big, new animals could still remail undiscovered. This is a complete fallacy. First, despite all the howls about our population explosion, more than half the land surface of the earth has not yet been mapped, or for the most part, even pentetrated. Further, the world's second bulkiest land animal-Cotton's wide-lipped rhinoceros-was not found until 1910; the forest giraffe or okapi until 1911, and the giant sable antelope until 1929. Then there is the kouprey, the second largest ox, found in Indochina in 1936, and, of course, the Coelocanth fish in 1938, thought to have been extinct for some 70,000,000 years. I might add that two herds, numbering 400 and 300 head respectively, of forest bison-believed to have existed in not too pure a form in only one national park in Canada-turned up in 1960 only eighty miles from the new road going to Great Bear Lake. [The Komodo dragon, which is the largest known reptile, wasn't discovered until 1912. The mountain gorilla, an ape species peculiar to Africa, was a native legend for centuries — just like Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman — but he wasn't established as a real creature by scientists until 1901.
[EDITOR'S NOTE.] The other most asked question comes from the zoologists and professional anthropologists. It is really twofold: (1) How could such a creature be in the North American continent, because not one single bone or tooth of any true monkey (as opposed to the South American monkeys, which are quite different) and much less an ape, has ever been found here? This is true, but then the same people turn right around and state that (2) our Bigfoots, Oh-Mahs and Sasquatches are hominids, meaning on the human branch of our old family tree! This I find to be completely ridiculous and totally unscientific.
Let me explain. First, let us leave "monkeys" of all kinds out of it, and concentrate on what scientists call the pongids (or apes) and the hominids (or man-types). True, no ape has turned up on this continent; and I'm not surprised because they are tropical animals and, although there have been mild, temperate times in the Bering Sea and the Aleutians, they had no reason to go meandering all the way up there and over here. The hominids, on the other hand, were represented by several types that lived in cold climates, even up to the ice front, in the case of the Neanderthalers; and, what is more, horninids in the form of what we call humans (i.e. Homo sapiens — such as our American Indians, and later the Eskimos — seem to have been able to get here over the land bridge, or the ice bridge at least, according to all the professional scientists. So, may I ask, why is it so all-fired impossible for earlier human types to have done the same? Also, would some anthropologist please explain how our brown bears, elk, moose and so on got over here from northeast Asia where they originated?
You can't have it both ways. Either these things are apes or they're manlike creatures. Everybody says they look like men (even if dressed in "monkey suits"). Men have gotten here, but the apes have not. Isn't this exactly what the true scientists have been saying all along?
Bob and Roger feel that these creatures are definitely human — or at least what scientists call hominid. They may be the last of their race, or subspecies, or other species of us "people." And Bob and Roger want them "conserved," or at least given a chance. Above all, they don't want mobs armed with high-powered, automatic rifles barging in by the thousands and driving the already overworked and understaffed sheriffs, local and state police out of their minds.
Another point: The Minister for Recreation of the Canadian Cabinet, Mr. Kenneth Kiernan, has expressed sincere interest in these efforts. So also has our Secretary of the Interior, the Honorable Stewart Udall. The conservation angle to all this is serious enough, but there are other angles that we will not go into at this time.
Now comes the end of the story.
The leading news media — but not the working press, I should stress — treated this whole thing as an uproarious joke. But one of our leading picture magazines showed geniuine interest and arranged for the films and out-takes to be shown to representatives of the departments of zoology and anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History. Once again, as in Canada, the press wire services were on hand but were informed in closed session, I am told by these experts that the whole thing was nothing but a colossal hoax. The exact expression used by their spokesman being, as reported to me, "not kosher!" And the reason is alleged to have been simply that such a creature as depicted was impossible. The use of this term would, in this case, seem to imply that while considered a hoax, it was short of a fraud; but, if the creature depicted is impossible, then, for my money, it can only be a man-made thing and thus an outright fraudulent design. I have failed to receive any suggestions for a third alternative. This is manifestly a most unsatisfactory, situation. Furthermore, their verdict pronounced upon the pictures was handed down so fast that no time could have been given for a proper, thorough and truly scientific examination of the pictures to have been made. Finally, the existence of such a creature is not impossible. So, we — ARGOSY, that is — decided to do something practical. We did. It took time, patience and real cooperation from several other leading scientists. This is what we did:
First, our publisher, Mr. Harry Steeger, picked up the tab for the film and pictures, so that Bob and Roger and Al could get home for a couple of days for Thanksgiving. Next, I and my friend and partner, Desmond Slattery, drove down to Washington, D.C., where we set up a showing of the film and out-takes and blowups of all kinds. Then Argosy editor Milt Machlin flew down with the film, and brought his son Jason along, since he is a budding photographer — and an electronics wizard as well, in that he ran two tape recorders at different speeds for five solid hours. We then assembled the following persons:
Mr. N. 0. Wood, Jr., Director of Management Operations for the U.S. Department of Interior, representing the Honorable Secretary of that Department, Stewart Udall, on his written request to us.
Dr. A. Joseph Wraight, Chief Geographer, U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (currently of the U.S. Department of Commerce) also a human ecologist.
Dr. John R. Napier, D.Sc., Director Primate Biology Program, The Smithsonian Institution. World-known expert on human, ape and monkey musculature, movement, and the anatomy of their hands and feet.
Dr. Vladimir Markotic, Associate Professor of Archeology at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canadg. Also a physical anthropologist.
Dr. Allan Bryan, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Also present were several of us on "the other side of the fence" — let me call them the journalists or newsboys, or what you want. In addition to Des Slattery and Milt Machlin and myself, there was present Tom Allen, currently writer and editor on the editorial staff of The National Geographic Society. Tom has been a working newsman all his life; for seven years a feature writer and editor of the Sunday New York Daily News, then managing editor of Chilton Books of Philadelphia.
During a four-hour session, the films and stills were shown, examined under high magnification, challenged, questioned, argued about and studied. The scientists did not agree on all points. They did not even all see exactly the same details in the often hard-to-read blowups. But after careful scrutiny over a period of hours, not one voiced the suspicion that there was a vague possibility that someone with enormous funds, a strange, undecipherable motivation, a disregard for life and limb and an enormous knowledge of anatomy, physiology, photography and human psychology might have been clever enough to set up a hoax good enough to fool the top experts in their field.
In addition, in a separate screening, the film was shown to Dr. Osman Hill, head of the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center at Emory University. Dr. Hill said, among other things: "All I can say is that if this was a masquerade, it was extremely well done and effective." He also expressed the feeling that this evidence was strong enough to induce some group to mount an expedition to search for further evidence.
So what's the next step? At this point, everything clearly indicates the need for a major expedition with helicopters, two-way radios and possibly dogs to set on the trail of the next Bigfoot seen, though I've heard dogs usually run the other way when they get a whiff of the Bigfoot's spoor. I can guarantee one thing for myself and Argosy Magazine. This story is definitely to be continued.
BOTHELL, Wash. (AP) - In the hearts and minds of true believers, Bigfoot's existence has long been enshrined in a single minute of jerky, grainy footage of a startled sasquatch retreating into the upper California woods.
But two enthusiasts of the legendary being are alleging four magnified frames of the 16 mm footage show tracings of a bell-shaped fastener at Bigfoot's waist. They say the creature in the so-called Patterson-Gimlin Film can finally be dismissed as a man in a monkey suit.
"It was a hoax,'' said Cliff Crook, a longtime Bigfoot tracker who devotes rooms to sasquatch memorabilia in this suburb north of Seattle. "How can an artificial, manmade object end up on a Bigfoot?''
The film, purportedly showing a female Bigfoot fleeing a streambed, was taken by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin on Oct. 20, 1967. It has largely withstood independent scrutiny and, for many steeped in the lore of the man-beast, has become bedrock evidence of its very existence.
"There's no way of really detracting from it,'' said Ray Crowe, president of the Western Bigfoot Society in Portland, Ore. The image captured in the footage "has a fluid motion. It's a wild creature of nature.''
The film is important because many Bigfoot believers compare all plaster casts of telltale footprints against those made by Patterson the day he purportedly filmed the creature slinking across a sandbar in the Six Rivers National Forest.
Discredit the footage, experts agree, and the gold standard for Bigfoot tracks will be washed away.
Crook bases his assertion on computer enhancements performed by Chris Murphy, a Bigfoot buff from Vancouver, British Columbia, who maintains he discovered an aberration in the footage in 1995 while helping his son Daniel prepare a class project.
Murphy declined to be interviewed, instead supplying a written narrative detailing his discovery.
According to that account, the Murphys used a color photocopier to duplicate a frame of the Patterson film. Zooming in again and again, Chris Murphy became suspicious.
To him, something geometric - vaguely the shape of a bottle opener - seemed to take shape at Bigfoot's waist. Murphy maintains that four sequential computer-scanned frames of the film show the object in different positions, as if it were swinging. He theorizes something is cinching the sasquatch costume in place.
Murphy made a clay model of the object and in October gave that and the enlargements to Crook, a charter-bus driver transfixed by sasquatch stories since 1957. That's the year he made a camping trip with teen-age friends on Washington's Olympic Peninsula that ended with telltale signs of a sasquatch encounter: a rustling of brush, a throaty growl and an ever-worsening hallmark musk.
Decades later, at 58, spare rooms in his home are dubbed "Bigfoot Central,'' stuffed with photos, plaster casts and maps dotted with push-pins that chart sasquatch sightings.
Now his hoax assertion is giving rise to a howl that would make a Bigfoot proud. Longtime enthusiasts smell a deserter.
One recent e-mail was typical of the incredulity Crook's allegation of a costume fastener is up against.
"Cliff, Cliff, Cliff,'' it scolded. "That's matted feces.''
"There are two witnesses (and) there are footprints,'' said Rene Dahinden, a Richmond, British Columbia, researcher who shares the film's copyright. "We've never had anything like it previously, and anything like it since.''
Dahinden, 68, discounts Murphy as an amateur. "He wasn't involved in this until 1993,'' Dahinden said. "He couldn't spell the name 'sasquatch' before that.''
Grover Krantz, a Washington State University anthropology professor and Bigfoot expert, also believes firmly in the old footage.
"I fully accept the Patterson film,'' Krantz said. "If there was a fastener, it could not be seen in an enlargement. The film grain is such that it cannot hold an image of something that small.''
The truth of the Patterson-Gimlin film remains as elusive as Bigfoot itself. Enthusiasts such as Krantz and Crowe see the film as a building block for their faith. And the faiths of Crookand Murphy endure in spite of it.
Crookknows that, in dissent, he and Murphy are "far outnumbered.''
"There's a few broken friendships because of this,'' Crook said. "I just figured, 'This is a search for the truth. When it becomes something different, that's when it should stop.'''
Maybe a Bigfoot will one day view the film, Crookfigures, and offer its own disapproving grunt.
"There's just too much evidence that these creatures do inhabit certain areas out there,'' Crook said, ever sanguine. "Even though the Patterson film is a hoax, it doesn't mean Bigfoot doesn't exist.''
Former Bothell resident says Bigfoot film shows man in a fur suit
Cliff Crook has made a clay model of an item
that he says, under extreme magnification,
appears on the hip of a dark figure some
believe to be Bigfoot.
Staff photo by Andrew Walgamott.
by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter
For some, it might be like dethroning Elvis as the king of rock and roll.
Cliff Crook, a former Bothell man, is claiming that a large, hairy figure some believe to be Bigfoot caught on film is really just a man in a monkey suit.
"It has to be. What is it doing with a man-made object on it?" Crook said. He said that in four frames of the famous Patterson film, magnified 100 times, there appears to be an inch-long device. Attached to the figure's hip, Crook says it may be a clasp, a bell, or a fastener. The object appears in different places in each frame, indicating it is flopping around, he said.
While the film has been analyzed by an expert in bio-mechanics who remains convinced that it isn't just a man in a suit, Crook boldly predicts, "It will go down as the Bigfoot hoax of the century" and promises more evidence soon.
"It's not all that's been found, but that's all I'm supposed to tell the media at this point," Crook added. Cryptically, he said perhaps the man in the suit would be named.
The Patterson film records a dark, bipedal figure striding across a northern California creek bed. It was taken by Roger Patterson, a Bigfoot hunter, who, along with another man, happened onto the creature on October 20, 1967. Patterson died in 1972.
For those scratching their heads, Bigfoot, or Sasquatch as it is also known, is ... well, it's hard to say what exactly it is without a specimen for scientists to study, or even the bones of one. Some regard it as a myth. Others say it is probably an ape. A few dedicate their lives searching for it.
Best known for the large footprints it leaves behind, Bigfoot is said to be elusive, smelly. There are numerous stories of men encountering hairy beasts from the turn of the century. Similar beings are recorded within local Indian cultures, and in Asia.
Professor stands by own conclusions
The subject of Bigfoot draws emotions from derision to open-minded skepticism to unquestioning belief. The Internet, as can be expected, is loaded with bizarre Sasquatch encounters, everything from terrifying howls to Bigfoot/UFO collaborations.
One man who has treated the subject scientifically is Grover Krantz, a Washington State University professor of anthropology. He told the Weekly that despite Crook's claims, he stands by conclusions he made on the Patterson film in his 1992 book Big Footprints: A Scientific Inquiry into the Reality of Bigfoot.
There, he writes that the creature had a standing height of six-feet, six-inches, weighed around 500 pounds, had shoulders over 28 inches wide, and was probably female.
"There's simply no way to fit a man in that suit," Krantz said last week, adding, "A normal description of Sasquatch fits perfectly."
Krantz, who analyzed the film, based his measurements on film speed, distance from camera, the subject's stride, size of footprint, comparative body volumes, typical human statures, and the distance between the creature's armpits. He said a padded suit would make a person's arms stick out, rather than hang down, like the figure's do.
Blowing up images of the film is nothing new, Krantz notes, but he says there a limit to how much it can be magnified. "If they see a button, it's obviously something else," Krantz said.
Krantz believes Bigfoot is probably a living representative of Gigantopithecus, a primate known in the fossil record.
Whether you buy into Bigfoot or not, you've probably seen the Patterson film. Said to be the second-most viewed film of all time next to the Zapruder film of President Kennedy's assassination, it still inspires people to lope across rooms with stooped backs and swinging arms when their memory is jarred.
Author and biologist Robert Pyle calls the film "extraordinarily important" in Bigfootology. "It's one of the more substantial pieces of evidence and isn't something to easily dismiss," said Pyle.
In his book, Where Bigfoot Walks, Pyle detailed Bigfoot-like beasts specific to various local Indian cultures as well as writing about the so-called "Bigfoot hunters." The importance of the film, he notes, is not only that it was made before the Planet of the Apes era, but it "deeply impressed" Hollywood movie studios at the time. In fact, Krantz writes that Disney executives said they couldn't duplicate the film two years after it was made.
For those like Chris Spencer, a southwest Washington man interested in Bigfoot, a lecture on the film by Krantz convinced him of the woods-walker's reality. "If that film didn't exist, I'd still have my hands up in the air," Spencer said.
Pyle is a little more cautious. He says that while he leans towards the possible existence of some as-yet-to-be-discovered animal, he's not now prepared to accept it outright. But he warned against the fallacy that debunking the film would mean there was no such thing as Bigfoot.
"It would hurt the case for Bigfoot, but would it suggest he's apocryphal? No. There are still too many tracks to account for," he said. Krantz has found dermal ridges on some tracks.
Still a believer
Despite his assertions, Crook remains a believer in Bigfoot. He said he saw a "forest giant" while camping in 1956 and has searched ever since. A 58-year-old cartoonist, Crook runs Bigfoot Central, a sort of information clearinghouse for reports and data, from his home in Mill Creek. He takes credit for "taking the first step on the Bigfoot trail by anybody."
In his upstairs office, pins on a map of the state denote recent sightings, including one in eastern King County for which he gave no exact location.
Crook says he gets about 300 to 400 reports of Bigfoot a year, which he distills down to about three or four "legitimate" incidents for investigation. Most sightings, he says, are cases of mistaken identity--stumps, bears, an elk in the dark.
But a recent incident in Wahkiakum County has caught his attention. On Nov. 8, elk hunters made plaster casts of deep imprints they found in the woods, according to the Longview Daily News.
Downstairs, in a cool basement, Crook keeps a number of plaster casts of giant footprints, newspaper clippings and Bigfoot memorabilia.
War of words
Like the aura of Bigfoot himself, Crook's proof is rather shadowy and hard to make out. He admits so much: "It's like a photo that, if you look at long enough, you see it." The object was discovered by Christopher Murphy, a British Columbian. Amidst shades of black and red, there appears to be something geometric, something vaguely bell-shaped.
Crook said he has long doubted the Patterson film. "It was too much like a man in a fur suit. I just couldn't put my finger on it, though," he said. He said it didn't look like the figure he saw in the 1950s.
Still, as a group, Bigfoot hunters tend to find what fits their mindset. "Most of the Bigfooters begin by gathering all the information they can find, then rejecting those reports or references they deem groundless or unsupportive of their biases," Pyle writes.
Krantz writes that many hunters are motivated by greed, personal vindication, fame, or science. With public skepticism and media snickering, those like Spencer are loath to go public with their own stories lest they be looked on as wackos.
"There are lots of people with good evidence who aren't willing to come forward because they'll be labeled as nutcases," Spencer said.
As it is, Crook's announcement predictably has sparked a war of words within the Bigfoot community.
Rene Dahinden, a Canadian who owns part of the Patterson film's copyright and receives royalties when still photos of it are published, told the News Tribune of Tacoma, "Any idiot who says it's a man in a fur suit doesn't know what he's talking about."
Dahinden and Crook were formerly friends. Both claim to be portrayed as the Sasquatch hunter in the movie Harry and the Hendersons.
Now, Crook has made a clay mold of the trinket, hoping someone will recognize it. He says a reward may be offered soon for information. "We think someone will identify this bell-shaped object. When they [do], we'll have them then," he said.
Crook says the hate mail is already coming in.
(Editor's note: This is not the first time Mr. Crook has been in the news...)
Bigfoot film: Disproof may be in the details
November 29, 1998
C.R. Roberts ; The News Tribune
For Rene Dahinden, who owns part of the copyright, it's the second-most studied and seen film of all time. First place goes to Abraham Zapruder, who captured the assassination of John Kennedy.
It's the famous "Patterson-Gimlin Film" taken on Oct. 20, 1967, near Bluff Creek in Northern California. It's the one where a female Bigfoot looks at the camera then lopes across a sandbar toward nearby woods. It's the image most people think of if and when they think of a living, moving Bigfoot.
But for Cliff Crook, who manages the information clearinghouse called Bigfoot Central from his home in Bothell, the film is finally just humbug and flimflam. He's believed it's been a trick since the beginning, and now he thinks he's got proof.
Says Dahinden, who lives in Canada and continues to receive royalties whenever still photos from the film are published, "Any idiot who says it's a man in a fur suit doesn't know what he's talking about."
Says Crook, "I'm happy that this film is, after all this time, blown away, exposed. I think this is going to settle it for a whole lot of people. This is undeniable, conclusive proof that the film is a hoax."
A man in a fur suit. Not Sasquatch.
And the proof?
An object, man-made, partly hidden in the fur. A thing, dangling above the right thigh at the waist of the beast.
"Possibly a fastening device. I can find it on four frames," says Chris Murphy, a Bigfoot researcher and teacher at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Analyzing the film, enlarging the images, Murphy says he found "some kind of an object that appears to be man-made. I don't know what it is. It looks to be some kind of fastener."
Whatever it is, Murphy says, it does seem to move - to flap - from one frame to the next. The movement caught his attention several months ago, more than a year after he first saw the object.
Being publicity-shy and knowing the impact his discovery would have in the small but passionate world of Sasquatch enthusiasts, he'd rather let Crook make the announcement.
"It's going to be catastrophic to the Bigfoot community," he says. "There's so many believers in that film.
"We went back and forth by e-mail for months," Crook says. "He said, 'There's something I want your opinion on.'"
Something - an object estimated to be an inch long and just over a half-inch wide. Something that might secure a clasp. Or maybe it's a decoration, or an amulet.
From Murphy's photo blowups, Crookfashioned a scale model in clay. "It's not as important to identify the object as it's just more important to us that it's man-made," Crookv says. "That alone blows away Patterson's film. People will come up with lots of excuses, but there's no way they can explain away what was found under magnification. The truth is the truth, and that's what we have to get to. It shows up clear as a bell."
In fact, his model looks like a bell, a charm, a doodad. An ornamental zipper-pull maybe. Or maybe not. The truth is, looking at the enlarged photograph, my own eyes see only a fuzzy something that doesn't seem to belong on the fur of a Sasquatch.
But then, a Sasquatch doesn't seem to belong on a sandbar of the aptly named Bluff Creek.
"It's going to change the whole face of Bigfoot research," Crooksays. He's been tracking the creature for 41 years. He organized Bigfoot Central in 1981; and along with his wife, Carol, he takes sighting reports from around North America. In his basement stand display cases containing plaster
footprints and hair samples.
And now that he's breaking the newest news, he's thinking of holding a full press conference - which won't make a happy man of his former friend and fellow researcher Rene Dahinden.
Says the man who owns the photographic rights to the biggest frames since Zapruder's, "We have an acrimony. He's trying to turn around and bite us. He is off my list."
Says Crook, "I'm not afraid of the attacks I'm going to get."
- - -
C.R. Roberts' column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. He can be reached at 253-597-8535, or by fax at 253-597-8274. Address e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
© The News Tribune
(Editor's note: I question the veracity of these claims, simply due to the lack of credibility of the claimant.)
Expert Defends Patterson Bigfoot Film
by Lance Orchard
December 1, 1997
WALLA WALLA -- A recent story in a London-based newspaper which debunks the 1967 Bigfoot movie filmed by the late Roger Patterson, demands a response. Here's mine.
What was offered as proof that Patterson unwittingly faked the famous footage has been countered in the past by scientists and students of the matter. The statements by these men recognized top names in the Bigfoot world absolutely refute the London "Sunday Telegraph" story of Oct. 19, 1997. The story was picked up and run in the November 1 issue of CNI News, an electronic magazine devoted to the UFO, Bigfoot, space exploration and related issues. Questions may be directed to its editor, Michael Lindermann at CNINews1@aol.com. Statements quoted herein are from their issue of Vol. 3, No. 17.
In the "Sunday Telegraph" story co-authored by Mike Lewis and Tim Reid, a Hollywood director, John Landis, revealed: "That famous piece of film of Bigfoot walking in the woods that was touted as the real thing was just a suit made by John Chambers."
Mr. Chambers, the article notes, "has refused to confirm or deny the reports."
"October 20" (the articled notes) "marked the 30th anniversary of the day that Bigfoot hunters Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin emerged from the wilds of northern California with the celebrated film, perhaps the only footage of unexplained phenomena which has stood up to rigorous scientific examination. Patterson died in 1972 convinced he had filmed a real Bigfoot.
"But Howard Berger told a Bigfoot investigator, Mark Chorvinsky: 'It was like a gag to be played on the guy who shot it. The guy never knew it was a hoax his friends played on him.'
"The subject of the Patterson film a large, hairy, upright-walking creature with wobbling breasts is seen walking left to right, turning briefly to glare in the direction of the cameraman before disappearing into the trees."
But, the late Bob Titmus, who arrived on the scene at Bluff Creek shortly after the '67 filming, reported he had followed the Bigfoot's tracks and even said he found evidence the Bigfoot had sat down, watching Patterson and his partner, Bob Gimlin, from a vantage point above the men.
The sharp-eyed observations of Titmus who, by the way, had reported seeing three Bigfoots during his lifetime (two at one time) is but one refutation of the "Sunday Telegraph" article.
John Green, a British Columbia newspaperman who was acquainted with Patterson long before 1967, and who has studied thousands of Bigfoot tracks and track casts, authored early definitive books on the subject. In his book, "On the Track of the Sasquatch," Green notes this about the Bluff Creek tracks:
"The tracks appeared perfectly natural and normal. The same as the many others that we have tracked and become so familiar with over the years, but of a slightly different size. Most of the tracks showed a great deal of foot movement, some showed a little, and a few indicated almost no movement whatever. I took plaster casts of ten consecutive imprints and the casts show a vast difference in each imprint, such as toe placement, toe gripping force, pressure ridges and breaks, weight shifts, weight distribution, depth, etc... Nothing whatever indicated that these tracks could have been faked in some manner. In fact, all of the evidence pointed in the opposite direction. And no amount of thinking and imagining on my part could conceive of a method by which these tracks could have been made fictitiously."
In his book Green has even more to say, but here's what he observes about the possibilities of a suit having been used to fake the Bluff Creek creature:
"I do not contend that no such contrivance could be built, but I do suggest that the thing could not be 'just a man in a fur suit.' The 'suit' would have to contain an elaborate mechanism which would probably not be much simpler or cheaper than a machine without a man inside. Confidence men have done some remarkable things on occasion, and sometimes at great expense, so I will not say that such a thing is impossible, but knowing Patterson I cannot imagine him doing such a thing, if indeed it could be done, nor do I think that he could have raised the money to do it.
"I have noticed that scientists who talk to Patterson are not prepared to accuse him of perpetrating the hoax, but since they are equally unable to accept that the thing he photographed was real, they seize on the only other alternative, that someone was out there in a fur suit hoaxing him. Oddly, they are thus choosing the one alternative that is literally impossible. Patterson has photographs not only of the creature, but also of its tracks, and these shots show the men's own tracks all around the Sasquatch tracks. It is obvious from their depth that the big tracks are made by something several times heavier than the people. Now, if there was a man swinging along inside a suit when Patterson took his movie it was most certainly not a man carrying a heavy load not walking over four miles an hour with three-and-a-half foot strides and deeply bent knees. A man carrying the weight to make the tracks Patterson and Gimlin say this thing made as they watched would have to be a mighty individual to manage even a slow shuffle. It follows that if the thing on the film is a hoax, the tracks and the film could not possibly have been made at the same time, as Patterson and Gimlin state. If there is a hoax, they have to be involved."
Grover Krantz, Washington University anthropologist, is probably best known as one of the very earliest scientists to lay his career on the line and publicly announce that he felt the Bigfoot thing was something real. He has written a scholarly book on the subject, "Big Foot Prints." In the book, Krantz ( who also had been acquainted with Patterson) has this to say of the Patterson film of 1967:
"After watching the film many times, I told Patterson about some its technical consistencies that were evident to me. With most of these he already knew what was involved or quickly caught on. But when I talked about some of the more technical details of bio-mechanics, he soon showed the familiar blank look of a student who had lost the drift of the explanation, but was still trying hard to pay attention. Yet he must have known all of these details in order to create the hoax (assuming he knew of a hoax). For instance, he could see the anterior position of the front of the shin, but how that related to foot leverage was quite beyond his understanding. Also he had originally estimated that it weighed only half of what was settled on later, yet all the details were calculated to fit with the greater weight. I think that a hoax is most unlikely on these grounds alone.
"A few years after the film was made, Patterson received a letter from a man in Thailand who assured him a Sasquatch was being held captive in a Buddhist monastery. Patterson spent most of his remaining money preparing an expedition to retrieve this creature; I was to be part of the operation. Then a man who was sent to investigate on the spot found out it was a hoax. At the time Patterson knew he was dying of Hodgkin's disease and firmly believed that with enough money he might be cured. Instead of making another Bigfoot movie, which he could have done if he had faked the first one, he spent almost everything he had on a wild goose chase. Then he died."
When he secured rights to the Patterson film, Rene Dahinden, a man who has been in this Bigfoot hunt for as long as anyone, was soon showing the film to scientists in Russia. What resulted from their highly intensive study of the film is found in 14 pages of the book, "The Sasquatch and Other Unknown Hominoids." This 335-page book is a compilation of scientific papers relating to Bigfoot as edited by Vladimir Markotic. Introductory comments for each paper are by Krantz.
One paper in the book, authored by two Russians, Dmitri Bayanov and Igor Bourtsev and Dahinden, minutely dissects the every movement of the female Bigfoot in Patterson's historic film. These details are to be found on pages 219 through 233 in the book. In their summary of their findings in their paper, the authors make these observations:
"We have subjected the film to a systematic and many-sided analysis both in its technical and biological aspects. We have matched the evidence of the film against the other categories of evidence and tested its subject with our criteria of distinctiveness, consistency and naturalness. The film has passed all our tests and scrutinies. This gives us ground to ask: who other than God or natural selection is sufficiently conversant with anatomy and bio-mechanics to 'design' a body which is so perfectly harmonious in terms of structure and function?
"Further research may correct some of our findings, but it seems most improbable that the positive result can be voided. Hence we confidently give this verdict:
"The Patterson-Gimlin movie is an authentic documentary of a genuine female hominoid, popularly known as Sasquatch or Bigfoot, filmed in the Bluff Creek area of Northern California not later than October 1967, when it was viewed by Rene Dahinden and other investigators."
Others, as equal to the task as Titmus, Green, Krantz. Bayanov, Bourtsev or Dahinden, could offer similar refutation of the "Sunday Telegraph" article which appeared in CNI News. These have done the job admirably, it would seem.
Synopsis of the NASI report on the Patterson Film
The North American Science Institute (NASI) Report, Towards a Resolution of the Bigfoot Phenomenon, prepared by Mr. Jeff Glickman a forensic examiner, was released in June, 1998. The main report findings applicable to the Patterson/Gimlin may be summarized as follows:
Measurements of the creature: Height: 7-feet, 3.5-inches; Waist: 81.3-inches; Chest: 83-inches; Weight: 1,957 pounds; Length of arms: 43-inches; Length of legs: 40-inches.
The length of the creature's arms is virtually beyond human standards, possibly occurring in one out of 52.5 million people.
The length of the creature's legs is unusual by human standards, possibly occurring in one out of 1,000 people.
Nothing was found indicating the creature was a man in a costume (i.e., no seam or interfaces).
Hand movement indicates flexible hands. This condition implies that the arm would have to support flexion in the hands. An artificial arm with hand movement ability was probably beyond the technology available in 1967.
The Russian finding on the similarity between the foot casts and the creature's foot was confirmed.
Preliminary findings indicate that a human being could not duplicate the forward motion part of the creature’s walking pattern.
Rippling of the creature's flesh or fat on its right side was observed indicating that a costume is highly improbable.
The creature's feet undergo flexion like a real foot. This finding eliminates the possibility of fabricated solid foot apparatus. It also implies that the leg would have to support flexion in the foot. An artificial leg with foot movement ability was probably beyond the technology available in 1967.
The appearance and sophistication of the creature's musculature are beyond costumes used in the entertainment industry.
Non-uniformity in hair texture, length, and coloration is inconsistent with sophisticated costumes used in the entertainment industry.
Mr. Glickman closes his scientific findings with the following statement: "Despite three years of rigorous examination by the author, the Patterson-Gimlin film cannot be demonstrated to be a forgery at this time."
Glickman's estimates of the creature’s height and weight caused a lot of controversy. Dr. Grover Krantz has since established that the creature’s standing height (fully erect) did not exceed 6-feet, 6-inches. Another scientist has established that the creature’s weight was 820 pounds. These findings call into question other physical measurements (chest, waist, arms, legs) established by Glickman.
To view the entire NASI report, click here