Bigfoot

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Bigfoot

There is no creature in the realm of Cryptozoology that is more universally recognized than the large, ape like creature known as both Bigfoot and Sasquatch. There has been over 3000 sightings of Bigfoot in the United States alone, ranging from Washington State to Maine, and as far south as Texas and Florida. The large majority of sightings come from the Pacific North West Region. Natives of the United States and Canada all have legends and stories of the creature, and as the human population swells and we venture further into the wilderness, modern man is creating its own legend and stories, of the Wild Man of the Woods.

Description

Eyewitness accounts of Bigfoot are remarkably consistent, describing a hair covered, bipedal, ape like creature, between 6 and 9 feet tall, with a muscular build, and broad shoulders. The creatures face appears to be slightly less hairy than the rest of its body, with large eyes, a pronounced brow ridge and a crested scalp, similar to that of a male gorilla. In most cases Bigfoot is described as having a black or dark to reddish brown coat, though in rare cases silver hued and even yellow fur has been reported The hair is also said to be longest on the head, neck, and shoulder regions. Bigfoot’s massive frame is said to be supported by thick muscular legs and large feet, which can measure more than 20 inches in length.
Casts of supposed Bigfoot tracks indicate a very human like foot complete with 5 toes, though in some cases tracks have been found with as few as 4 and as many as 6 toes, however this is often attributed to injury or poor casting. Tracks are often found in mud or soft sand and are used by some researchers to determine the weight of the individual who left them. By studying the force required to leave the same size depression in similar soil, some researchers believe that Bigfoot can weight anywhere from 500 to over 1000 pounds, eye witnesses descriptions of Bigfoot seem to support this weight range. On rare occasions, about 10% according to John Green, Bigfoot is reported as having a very pungent odor, some researchers believe this stench is a by-product of sweat and forest living, while others believe that Bigfoot is able to produce the smell at will.

Diet

Bigfoot is thought to be an omnivore, eating both plants and animals, and would take advantage of food items available seasonally and varying by habitat. Bigfoot is reported to enjoy naturally available plant life, such as raspberries, choke cherries, wild apples, wild nuts, young plant shoots and inner tree bark, while also hunting wild game like fish, rabbits, squirrels and deer. Essentially Bigfoot’s diet is thought to be similar to that of native human hunter gathers.

Habitat

Sightings of Bigfoot almost always occur in, or around, densely forested and sparsely populated regions of the United States and Canada. Though the majority of sightings seem to occur in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, similar creatures have been spotted with some frequency as far east as Maine and as far south as Texas and even Florida. A large number of Bigfoot sightings also occur near fresh water sources like rivers, creeks and lakes, and in areas where annual rain fall exceeds 20 inches.

Origin

Stories of the Wild Man have been reported by natives of the United States and Canada for centuries. Various tales and legends describe a large bipedal hair covered creature living in the woods, sometimes to be feared, always to be respected. The modern Bigfoot phenomenon, and the creature’s name itself, can be traced back to 1958, when bulldozer operator Jerry Crew walked into the Humboldt Times news room with plaster casts he made of huge footprints. Mr. Crew stated that he discovered the footprints embedded in the mud at a remote work site near Bluff Creek Valley. Humboldt Time columnist Andrew Genzoli reported on the tracks in a column printed on October 5th 1958 where he coined the nickname Bigfoot.

Sightings

Indigenous people of the United States and Canada have many tales and legends regarding dealings with creatures whose descriptions match those of modern Bigfoot sightings, including members of the Lummi Tribe, located in Western Washington State, who tell tales of a Bigfoot like creature they call Ts’emekives. Native Americans living in what is today Spokane Washington had stories of giants living on and around nearby mountain peaks, claiming they would steal salmon from fisherman’s nets. Documenting all native and modern accounts and sightings of Bigfoot would be nearly impossible, the following represents a small sampling of modern noteworthy sightings.

  • In 1924 Prospector Albert Ostman claimed to have been abducted by a family of Bigfoot and held captive for 6 days. As his reported retelling goes, Mr. Ostman was sleeping in his sleeping bag near Toba Inlet British Columbia in 1924 when a Bigfoot roughly 8 feet in height entered his camp and abducted him. Mr. Ostman reported that he was carried across country for 3 hours, while still encased in his sleeping bag, and was eventually put down in front of an additional three creatures. He claimed that the 4 Bigfoot, one child two males and a female, did him no harm during the ordeal and fed him sweet tasting grasses to sustain him. On the 6th day, Albert Ostman escaped by feeding the largest male tobacco, snuff to be exact, which made him groggy and unable to stop his escape.
  • In 1924 one of the earliest documented accounts of large ape like creatures in the Pacific Northwest was reported by minor Fred Beck. Mr. Beck claimed that he and four other miners were attached be a group of large “apemen” while staying in a cabin in the shadow of Mount Saint Helen in Washington State. As the stories goes, the minors were sleeping in the cabin when the roof began to be pummeled by large rocks, when the minors exited the cabin to see what was going on they claimed that they saw a group of large “apemen” assaulting the cabin from the cliff side. Beck claimed that though the creatures were up high and it was dark out, they could clearly see that they were not human, he stated that they were able to shoot one of the creatures and suspected that they killed it, though they could not confirm that. According to a series of articles published in 1924 by the Oregonian, multiple reporters and other eye witnesses witnessed the damage to the cabin after Mr. Beck reported the attacks, they also reported finding large footprints at the scene. Over the years, the area would be renamed Ape Canyon due to the multitude of sightings in the area.
  • Another strange occurrence occurred in Ape Canyon in 1950 when skier Jim Carter disappeared while filming a documentary with a group of men. The stories goes that Jim Carter ventured off on his own to film the documentary and was never seen again, during a search of the area on of the search members commented that he had a chilling feeling of being watched the entire time. Some ski tracks through thought to be those of Jim Carter were found and seemed to indicate that he saw something that frightened him as they appeared to indicate a high rate of speed while also making jumps that even the most experienced of skiers would avoid attempting. The trail eventually went cold and Mr. Jim Carter was never seen again, and while no Bigfoot or Bigfoot tracks were found at the seen, some people speculate, due to the history of the area, that Bigfoot may have had something to do with his disappearance.
  • In 1958, as stated above, construction worker Jerry Crew discovered and made casts of a series of very large foot prints he claimed to have found at a remote work site near Bluff Creek California. Articles covering the discovery of these tracks went on to coin the term Bigfoot and really kicked off the modern Bigfoot phenomenon. Mean years later the children of Raymond Wallace, brother of Wilbur Wallace who was Jerry Crew’s Foreman when he discovered the foot prints, came forward with a pair of 16 inch wooden feet that they claimed where used by their father to fake the tracks discovered by Jerry Crew. This story is often discounted by Bigfoot researchers pointing out that the wooden track creators presented by the children do not match photos of the original tracks and are a different shape all together.
  • In 1967 the most famous, most hotly debated Bigfoot sighting to date occurred, when Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin not only saw the elusive creature, but claimed to have captured it on video as well. The tape, which would later become known as the Patterson Gimlin Film, sometimes just Patterson Film, was shot on Bluff Creek, about 25 miles north west of Orleans California, on October 20th 1967 and appears to show a large bipedal ape like creature walking away from the camera and glancing back once before heading out of frame. The film has been subjected to all manner of testing over the years but has yet to be successfully debunked. Read more about The Patterson Gimlin Film here.
  • On the night of August 28th 1995, a film crew from Waterland Productions filmed a short, grainy video of what some researchers believe to be a Bigfoot crossing their RV’s headlights before disappearing into the darkness. The video was shot in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park about 50 miles south of Bluff Creek, where the famous Patterson Gimlin Film was shot. The video is most commonly known as The Redwoods Film or The Redwoods Bigfoot Film, though there are some references to the video originally being known as the Playmate Footage, reportedly because the crew had been filming Playboy Playmate Anna Marie Goddard for a Playboy TV Special.
  • On May 26th 1996, Memorial Day, Lori and Owen Pate were on a fishing trip with friends and family near Chopaka Lake in Washington State, just five and a half miles from the Canadian Border, when they spotted something usual in a near by field. The resulting video appears to show a Bigfoot like creature running full speed across the field, disappearing momentarily behind a hill and then reappearing shortly after, walking this time, before disappearing into the woods. Closer examination of the film, now known as the Memorial Day Bigfoot Film, only added more mystery to the identity of the figure, with some suggesting that not only could they clearly see female anatomy, but they could also make out a second, much smaller, creature being carried on the main subjects back. This has lead some researchers to suggest that the video not only shows a Bigfoot, but more specifically a younger, female Bigfoot caring her infant child on her back, which appears to slip slightly down at one point, only to be hoisted back up by the bigger creature without breaking stride. At the end of the video, the creature seems to increase in height before disappearing, some researchers suggest that this is a result of the smaller Bigfoot being lifted on to the shoulders of it’s mother, while others, who believe the video to be a hoax, believe that if the figure was a person in a suit, that they lifted mask off at this point to breathe, thinking they were out of view.
  • On September 16th 2007 Rich Jacobs, captured an image some believe to be off Bigfoot on one of his camera traps he used for hunting. The photo was taken in the Allegheny National Forest, near Ridgway Pennsylvania, and shows a strange, almost ape like creature, walking on all fours in the center of the frame. It’s hard to tell exactly what the creature in the image is exactly, though it does seem to share a frame with at least one Bear Cub, leading many to suggest it is simply another bear cub, or slightly old bear. A spokesperson for the Pennsylvanian Game Commission even went as far as stating that it was probably a bear with a severe case of mange.
  • On February 17th, 2011 a video posted to Youtube under the title “Bigfoot hunted by Helicopter” seemed to not even show a Bigfoot at all, but rather a family, teaching their young son to shoot firearms in an undisclosed location. The son fires off two rounds from a 22 caliber rifle with little of interest happening, but when he fires off a shot gun, something can be seen moving rather quickly in the background. Upon closer examination the figure appears to be a large humanoid figure, running from a group of trees to another group of trees at a fairly high rate of speed. Another interesting element of this video is the audible sounds of a helicopter circling over head, which become louder and faster when the figure begins to run, prompting some researchers to suggest that the suspected Bigfoot in the video was being hunted, hence the videos name. Although it’s difficult to make out exactly what the object in the video shows, it is clear that a humanoid figure can be seen running across the background, and though it is impossible to tell the size, it does appear to be rather large.

 

Again, these are just a few of thousands of sightings that have been reported over the years, and as video cameras become more and more common, the occurrence of recorded Bigfoot videos have also increased. this might normally be considered a positive for Bigfoot researcher if not for the frequency in which Bigfoot Videos are now faked, only strengthening the believe of skeptics that Bigfoot does not exist. A quick search of Youtube will pull up hundreds of videos all claiming to have captured Bigfoot on film, some of which are clearly faked, while others are harder to tell and spark much debate in the Bigfoot Community.

Expeditions

In 1960 millionaire and cryptozoology enthusiast Tom Slick,, financed an expedition into the Pacific North West in search of Bigfoot. The expedition became known as the Pacific Northwest Expedition and was coordinated by Redding California Taxidermist Robert Titmus. Titmus, along with Ivan T Sanderson and a team of individuals whom were sworn to secrecy by Tom Slick, explored reports of Bigfoot Activity by remote construction companies who claimed that Bigfoot would enter their camp and move objects, many far to large for a normal man to move.

  • In 1974 The National Wildlife Federation funded a field study hoping to produce physical evidence that would prove the existence of Bigfoot, however no discoveries were made during this study.
  • A February 2009 episode of the History Channel show Monster Quest detailed the teams expedition to Fouke Arkansas to search for the legendary Bigfoot like creature known as the Fouke Monster.
  • A March 2009 episode of the History Channel show Monster Quest detailed the teams expedition to the Rocky Mountains in search of Bigfoot.
  • A January 2010 episode of the History Channel show Monster Quest detailed the teams expedition into the foothills of North Western Kentucky in search of Bigfoot.
  • A March 2010 episode of the History Channel show Monster Quest detailed the teams expedition to California’s Sierra Nevada in search of Bigfoot.
  • The BFRO, Bigfoot Field Research Organization, leads several expeditions in search of Bigfoot every year. Their Mission is “to resolve the mystery surrounding the Bigfoot phenomenon, that is, to derive conclusive documentation of the species existence. They have documented many sightings, foot prints, vocalizations and suspected hair samples, but as of yet have been unable to conclusively prove the existence of Bigfoot.
  • The television show Finding Bigfoot, which airs on Animal Planet, sends a team of Bigfoot field researchers to different areas each episode. During the episode the researchers use various methods to try and either find, or lure, Bigfoot into camera range, this includes call blasting, pheromone chips, trail cameras, infrared cameras, wood knocking and sending researchers into the wilderness to name a few. To date they have been unable to produce any evidence which proves the existence of Bigfoot.

Evidence

The only evidence that will satisfy the scientific community at this point is a body, dead or alive. The scientific community at large will not accept the existence of Bigfoot unless a body is produced, and to date, no such body has been brought forward. That however, is not to say that there is not evidence that suggests the possibility that a large ape like creature is roaming the forests of North America.

Perhaps the most abundant and well known form of Bigfoot evidence are casts of the creature’s foot prints. Since the first casts made by Jerry Crew in 1958 thousands of additional prints have been discovered and cast all across the United States and Canada. One of the leading authorities on Bigfoot foot prints is Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, a Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology at Idaho State University and an expert on foot morphology and locomotion in primates. Dr. Meldrum has studied proposed Bigfoot foot print casts as well as fresh uncast Bigfoot tracks and notes that in some cases they display a unique combination of more primitive ape like features in conjunction with specializations for a bipedal walking motion. Several footprints found seem to show dermal ridges, similar to finger prints, which some Bigfoot researchers believe would be to difficult to hoax.  One of the more unique Bigfoot prints to date were found in 1969 near Bossburg, Washington. The prints appeared to indicate that the creature’s right foot was severely deformed. Analysis of the print would lead some to suggest that the creature suffered from a rather severe case of clubfoot, a birth defect which will, over time, make the afflicted individual appear to walk on their ankles, or the sides of their feet. Concerning these apparent clubfoot tracks, primatologist and Bigfoot researcher John Napier wrote the following:
“It is very difficult to conceive of a hoaxer so subtle, so knowledgeable, and so sick, who would deliberately fake a footprint of this nature. I suppose it is possible, but it is so unlikely that I am prepared to discount it.”

In addition to footprints, rare cases of Bigfoot hand impressions have been reported over the years, and in some cases casts were made. During the early 1970’s the first known casts of Bigfoot hand impressions were made by Ivan Marx in an unknown part of Northeastern Washington State. In the 1980’s another set of suspected Bigfoot hand prints were discovered and cast by Paul Freeman while working in the Blue Mountains in Southeastern Washington State.

Perhaps one of the best known, and strangest, Bigfoot related casts in existence today is the Skookum Body Cast, or Skookum Cast, which is thought by some to show the imprint of a Bigfoot’s body. The cast was make on September 22, 2000 during a BFRO, Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, expedition into the Skookum Meadows area of Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State while filming an episode of the now cancelled show Animal X. The cast itself measures 3.5 feet by 5 feet and weights roughly 400 pounds and is thought by some Bigfoot researchers to be a partial body print of a Bigfoot. The imprint was discovered along a muddy roadside and, according to some, shows a forearm, hip, thigh, heel, ankle and Achilles tendon of a reclining Bigfoot.

Skeptics of the Skookum Body Cast believe that the impression was created by an elk, an animal quite common in the area. This belief seems to be further validated by the presence of elk foot prints around the cast, along with coyote, and the discover of elk hair, along with bear hair, in the cast itself. Believers claim that dermal ridges can be seen clearly in the area they describe as the Bigfoot’s heel, while skeptics claim the markings to be nothing more than short hairs and wrinkles in the skin of an elk’s wrist.

Hair samples are another piece of evidence that researchers sometimes find while in the field, often times finding tufts of hair in conjunction with a recent sighting they may be investigation. Suspected Bigfoot hair can be tested and examined in a number of ways, the best being DNA analysis. In 2012, after a five years study, veterinarian Melba S Ketchum claimed that after examining more than 100 suspected DNA samples, she and her team of researchers at DNA Diagnostics in Nacogdoches Texas had concluded that the creature known as Bigfoot may be a human relative. She and her team suggested that Bigfoot may have developed around 15,000 years ago as a result of a hybrid cross between humans and an unknown primate species. While an interesting theory, the back bone of her findings, the team’s DNA research, has yet to stand the scrutiny of independent researchers.

Occasionally other physical traces of Bigfoot are claimed to be found. Mainly including things like finger prints and scat, Finger prints are typically found on vehicles that are parked in wilderness areas over night. The prints are often arranged in such a manner that would indicate someone, or something, had been leaning on and inspecting the vehicle. Jimmy Chilcutt, fingerprint technician at the Conroe Police Department in Texas, has examined several suspected Bigfoot finger prints and while he has been able to discount many of them, there are some that he believes may be genuine. Even more rare than Bigfoot finger prints, is Bigfoot scat, which, when found, usually turns out to be bear scat upon closer examination. Some researchers suggest that Bigfoot may bury their scat, or hide it away from the main group, in order to keep flies and disease away, others suggest that because their diets would be so similar, that Bigfoot scat might appear to be bear scat.

Vocalizations

Like many known animal species, researchers believe that Bigfoot utilizes vocalizations to communicate various messages over long distances. There are a variety of suspected Bigfoot vocalizations, including howls, whoops, whines, screams and roars, to name a few. Some recordings of such vocalizations can be easily explained away by experts familiar with scientifically recognized animals such as coyotes, while others prove harder to explain. These vocalizations that defy explanation and cannot be attributed to any known animal are the subject of much debt in the Bigfoot community, and while no one can know for sure what a Bigfoot sounds like, should it prove to exist, mysterious vocalizations add another layer to the Bigfoot story.

Wood Knocking

Wood Knocking is a phenomenon associated with some Bigfoot sightings in which the sound of wood hitting against another piece of wood to make a knock sound is thought to originate from a Bigfoot. Some researchers believe that wood knocking is used as a form of communication, in some cases it is believed to serve as a warning system to other members of Bigfoot’s group. Researchers often will try using wood knocking as a way to invoke a response from any Bigfoot in the area during investigations, and while they do receive a response from time to time, it is difficult to say for certain just what was responding.
Some researchers believe the wood knocking phenomenon may actually be a Bigfoot clapping, instead of knocking two pieces of wood together. These researchers state that wood knocking sounds are surprisingly similar, which would be virtually impossible to accomplish given the use of different trees to knock on. Bigfoot would also need to carry a piece of wood with him or her at all times in order to quickly respond to other wood knocks, leaving these researchers to speculate that Bigfoot may actually be using a clapping technique to generate the knocking sound.

Theories

Mistaken Identity: Those who are skeptical of Bigfoot’s existence often cite mistaken identity as the root cause for the majority of Bigfoot sightings. The animals that they believe is responsible for most Bigfoot sightings are bears, which when standing on their hind legs, can reach heights of 8 feet. In a 2009 study published by J.D. Lozier et al, in the Journal of Biogeography, ecological niche modeling was used to infer Bigfoot’s preferred ecological parameters using reported Bigfoot sightings. The study found a very close match with the ecological parameters of the American Black Bear, noting than an upright bear looks much like Bigfoot’s reported appearance. The results of the study considered it highly improbable that the two species would share such a similar ecological preferences and there for Bigfoot sightings were likely sightings of black bears.

That’s not to say that this study is the final word on Bigfoot’s true identity, in fact. many eye witnesses who claim to have seen Bigfoot are avid hunters and outdoors men who scoff at the idea that what they saw was a Black Bear, a creature they are quite familiar with due to their regular exposure to the wilderness.

Hoaxes: Even the most faithful Bigfoot enthusiast will agree that a number of Bigfoot sightings, images, videos, and claims of having captured or killed the elusive creature are hoaxes. Hoaxes can be perpetrated for a variety of reasons, however the most common seems to be monetary gain. For example, in 2008 two Georgia men posted a video to YouTube claiming that they had found the body of a dead Bigfoot in a North Georgia forest. Searching for Bigfoot Inc paid the two men 50,000 for the remains which arrived, after payment, in a block of ice. Upon thawing the contents, it was discovered that the hair was fake, the head was hollow and the feet were made of rubber. In 2012 a Montana man, dressed in a ghillie suit, was struck by a car and killed while perpetrating a Bigfoot Hoax.

Though Bigfoot hoaxes may explain some Bigfoot sightings, there are still those who believe the circumstances of their sighting, such as remote wilderness conditions, rule out a hoax as the source of their encounter. Hoaxes are damaging though, even if a video or sighting is not hoaxed, the specter of a hoax looms large, causing many to dismiss evidence or a sighting outright with little to no consideration of it’s possible authenticity.

Gigantopithecus: Some researchers, including Grover Krantz, have suggested that a possible candidate to explain the Bigfoot phenomenon is a relic population if Gigantopithecus Blacki, thought to be the largest ape that ever lived, and also thought to have completely died out over one hundred thousand years ago. While there is no fossil record of Gigantopithecus Blacki ever having lived on the continent of North America, researchers have found fossils in Eastern Siberia, leading proponents of this theory to speculate that they may have migrated across the Bering Straight. While many scientifically recognized animals crossed the Bering Straight and settled in the forests of North America, the fossil record does not support the case for Gigantopithecus Blacki having done so, none the less this theory is not without it’s believers.

Paranthropus: John Napier and anthropologist Gordon Strasenburg theorized that should a creature such as Bigfoot exist, it may likely be a member of the Paranthropus genius of hominids. While Paranthropus, also known as robust australopithecines, are thought to have died out roughly two million years ago, fossil evidence suggests that they would have looked very similar to Bigfoot, complete with natural bipedal gait and a credit skull.

Interdementional Traveler: Some Bigfoot researchers have taken to the beliefs held by some native american tribes and argue that Bigfoot is very real, however it is a spiritual being and exists on a separate plane of existence than humans. Believers suggest that Bigfoot has the ability to cross between planes of existence at will, including our own, theirs, and any number of other potential planes.This ability to cross between planes is often cited by supporters of this belief to explain why Bigfoot corpses are never found, and why breeding populations of Bigfoot have never been discovered, they simply do not exist on our plane.

Pop Culture

Bigfoot has experienced somewhat of an explosion of popularity and recognition over the last ten years or so. Major networks like The Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, Spike, and the SyFy Network have all produced and / or aired shows on the topic of Bigfoot, some factual and scientific, some low budget terror flicks, here’s looking at you SyFy. Bigfoot has been the topic of weekly TV shows like Finding Bigfoot and 10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty, as well as been featured on a myriad of commercials, most famously in the Jack Links Beef Jerky ads, Messing With Sasquatch. A wide assortment of books have been written about Bigfoot, both factual based evidence driven books and fictional novels alike have grown in popularity over the years. Bigfoot has even been featured in Marvel comic books, the TV show Futurama, and has been the topic of many books in the realm of Crypto Porn, often kidnapping unsuspecting female campers and hikers so that he can have his way with them.
As Bigfoot’s popularity grows, so does the interest in further investigating the existence of the creature, leading to more investigators and researchers dedicating their time and finances into the search for the elusive Bigfoot.

 

Organizations

www.bfro.net
www.easttennesseebigfoot.org
www.gcbro.com
www.nabigfootsearch.com
www.kentuckybigfoot.com
www.sasquatchresearchers.com
www.woodape.org

Written by Sean – PACC Admin

 

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