On October 20, 1967, near Bluff Creek, north of Eureka, California, Bigfoot hunters Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin managed to shoot several feet of movie film of what appears to be a female Bigfoot. With its glossy black hair shining in the bright sun, the Bigfoot walks away from the camera with a stride that is human. It looks back at the cameraman as it walks steadily toward a growth of trees. It does not appear to be frightened, but it is obvious that it wishes to avoid contact.

Experts say that the creature in the filmstrip is over seven feet tall and estimate its weight at around 400 pounds. It left footprints 17 inches long, and it had a stride of 41 inches. Patterson and Gimlin felt that they had at last provided the scientific community and the world at large with proof of Bigfoot's existence.

After his examination of the Patterson-Gimlin film, Dr. John R. Napier, director of the Primate Biology Program of the Smithsonian Institution, commented that while he saw nothing that pointed conclusively to a hoax, he did express some reservations about the exaggerated, fluid motion of the creature. He also said that he thought the Bigfoot was a male, in spite of the pendulous breasts, because of the crest on its head, a signature of male primates.

Dr. Osman Hill, director of Yerkes Region Primate Research Center at Emory University, stated his opinion that the Bigfoot in the filmstrip was hominid (humanlike) rather than pongoid (apelike). If the being in the film was a hoax, Hill commented, it had been incredibly well done.

Technicians at the Documentary Film Department at Universal Pictures, Hollywood, agreed with the scientists' assessment and said that it would take them a couple of million dollars to duplicate the monster on the filmstrip. First, they stated, they would have to create a set of artificial muscles, train an actor to walk like the thing on the film, then place him in a gorilla skin.

Most scientists remained skeptical, and the controversy raged for 30 years. On October 19, 1997, just prior to a press release by the North American Science Institute that would announce their analyses that the creature depicted on the film was genuine.

Chris Murphy, a Bigfoot researcher, told the Sunday Telegraph (October 19, 1997) that "very high computer enhancements of the film show conclusively that, whatever it was, it was not wearing a suit. The skin on the creature ripples as it walks."

On September 22, 2000, a team of 14 researchers that had tracked the elusive Bigfoot for a week deep in the mountains of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State found an extraordinary piece of evidence that may end all arguments about whether or not the creature exists. There, in a muddy wallow near Mt. Adams, was an imprint of Bigfoot's hair-covered lower body as it lay on its side, apparently reaching over to get some fruit. Thermal imaging equipment confirmed that the impression made by the massive body was only a few hours old.

The team of Bigfoot hunters who discovered the imprint—Dr. LeRoy Fish, a retired wildlife ecologist with a doctorate in zoology; Derek Randles, a landscape architect; and Richard Noll, a tooling metrologist—next made a plaster cast of what appeared to be impressions of the creature's left forearm, hip, thigh, and heel. More than 200 pounds of plaster were needed to acquire a complete 3-1/2 x 5-foot cast of the imprint. Dr. Jeff Meldrum of Idaho State University stated that the imprint had definitely not been made by a human getting into the mud wallow.

On October 23, Idaho State University issued a press release stating that a team of investigators, including Dr. Meldrum; Dr. Grover Krantz, retired physical anthropologist from Washington State University; Dr. John Bindernagel, Canadian wildlife biologist; John Green, retired Canadian author and longtime Bigfoot hunter; and Dr. Ron Brown, exotic animal handler and health care administrator, had examined the plaster cast obtained from the mud wallow and agreed that it could not be "attributed to any commonly known Northwest animal and may present an unknown primate."

According to the university press release, after the cast had been cleaned, "extensive impressions of hair on the buttock and thigh surfaces and a fringe of longer hair along the forearm were evident." In addition, Meldrum, associate professor of anatomy and anthropology, identified what appeared to be "skin ridge patterns on the heel, comparable to fingerprints, that are characteristic of primates."

While the cast may not prove without question the existence of a species of North American ape, Meldrum said that it "constitutes significant and compelling new evidence that will hopefully stimulate further serious research and investigation into the presence of these primates in the Northwest mountains and elsewhere."

Roger Patterson's Movie

Muscle movement on the creature's thigh

Is Patterson's Film A Hoax?


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