Museum of Natural Mystery – Exhibit 14: Backtracking with Bigfoot



Today’s Museum of Natural Mystery examines Bigfoot’s arrival in the public eye, and its evasion of that eye ever since. Is Bigfoot a feral human? A missing link? A hoax? Here’s a closer look at some of the evidence discussed in the show:



In 1957, the film The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas depicted enormous footprints in the snow. The following year, a set of similar tracks was discovered at a construction site in Bluff Creek, California.


Jerry Crew, leader of the construction team, posing with a 17-inch cast of one of the tracks. These tracks have since been confirmed to be a hoax.


A newspaper called The Humboldt Times referred to the creature as “Bigfoot,” which we’ve been calling it ever since.


The creature returned to the site for several weeks.


In 1968, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin captured a legendary video of the creature known as “Bigfoot” in the Bluff Creek woods.



Patterson passed away in 1972, just four years after the video was shot. He has been labeled as a bit of a con man, and is rumored to have faked the video in an unsuccessful attempt to garner funding for a Bigfoot documentary. Bob Gimlin has since stated that Patterson cut him out of any profit he made off the footage, even going so far as to hire actors to portray Gimlin in public appearances. Numerous people have come forward claiming that Bigfoot was a costume, and that they were the ones inside of it. Most infamous among them is Bob Hieronimus, an old acquintance of Patterson’s with a walk that’s very reminiscent of the creature from the film.



Regardless of Roger Patterson’s character, it is well documented that he was a Sasquatch enthusiast himself, having written a book titled Do Abominable Snowmen of America Really Exist? in 1966.



In his book, Patterson outright plagiarizes illustrations from the works of previous writers on the Bigfoot topic. Most notable is an illustration by Mort Kunstler, for an article written in 1959 by Ivan Sanderson. The article, titled The Strange Story of America’s Abominable Snowman, detailed an encounter by a man named William Roe with a wild woman in British Columbia. Roe’s daughter created a sketch of the creature based on his descriptions.



Roe stated that the woman resembled a large, hairy, muscular man, save for a pair of large breasts, which is how he recognized that she was female. The illustration in Sanderson’s article also included this detail.


The Sanderson/Kunstler article appeared in the December 1959 issue of True Magazine.


Below is the illustration appearing in Patterson’s 1966 book.


Pretty much a direct copy.


This image is not the only illustration Patterson lifted from Sanderson’s articles.



Note that Patterson’s plagiarized images also contain the depiction of the large-breasted ape-creature, as in the Sanderson article. The creature he caught on film also had breasts.


A Patterson Bigfoot sketch vs. the Bigfoot from the video.


Of course, Bigfoot enthusiasts argue that the reason the creature in the footage has breasts at all is that it’s a female genuine Bigfoot, which isn’t impossible. But you have to admit it’s suspicious how closely Patterson nailed Bigfoot’s appearance in his book, a full two years before he saw one for himself. Here’s an extensive, stabilized look at the Patterson film:



To some, it’s proof that Bigfoot was really a guy in a suit all along. To others, it’s proof that no costumed human being could ever move naturally enough to fake the creature seen on the film. If it was all a hoax, Patterson has taken that secret to his grave. Bob Gimlin, for his part, stands by the video’s authenticity. At this point, even if Gimlin were to come out and say that it was all made up, newer recordings like the Sierra Tapes would keep true believers debating even in the absence of hard evidence.



And why shouldn’t they keep the candle burning? The question of Bigfoot’s existence returns some mystery to a world where the unexplored spaces are being increasingly filled in by modern technology. Besides, quite a few attempts have been made over the years to recreate the Patterson footage by putting a person in a suit and having them walk the Bluff Creek clearing. None have ever convincingly succeeded.




Hunting Monsters: Cryptozoology and the Reality Behind the Myths by Darren Naish

Why Sasquatch and other crypto-beasts haunt our imaginations by Ed Simon

Birth of Bigfoot by John Driscoll

The Making of Bigfoot: The Inside Story by Greg Long

William Roe’s Statement Regarding the Wild Woman

The Sierra Sounds – Ron Morehead

The Strange Story of America’s Abominable Snowman by Ivan T. Sanderson

Do Abominable Snowmen of America Really Exist? by Roger Patterson

What Does A Female Bigfoot Look Like? By Loren Coleman


Museum Management:

Museum theme by Michael Guy Bowman

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Tour Guide: Emery Coolcats

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Museum of Natural Mystery is part of the POMEcast network, and thanks a million to the ladies of POME for helping this show get up and running! But above all, thank you for listening!

Emery Coolcats

Emery Coolcats

Podcaster. Extinct animal enthusiast. Host of Museum of Natural Mystery!
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