Skepticism

Bigfoot

Even if you haven’t heard of the “Patterson-Gimlin film”, chances are, you’ve seen this iconic video.

This grainy, blurry film reputedly stars Bigfoot (and a chick Bigfoot at that!). Moreover, it’s touted as the best evidence for Bigfoot in existence.

Anyway, here it is… again…

In the latest episode of Monster Talk, we interview Mike McLeod, author of Anatomy of a Beast, an in-depth study of the  characters surrounding the Patterson-Gimlin film and the hunt for Bigfoot. There are obsessive Bigfoot hunters, hoaxers, and accusations that someone wore a big, hairy, primate suit…

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22 Comments

  1. Has there ever been a case where a creature that was considered a myth by mainstream zoologists has been found to actually exist? In other words, has any cryptid ever turned out to be real?

    It seems like once I read some cryptozoologist claiming that the gorilla was once a myth.

  2. @pciszek:
    That’s sort of true of mountain gorillas. From Wiki:
    “In October 1902, Captain Robert von Beringe (1865-1940) shot two large apes during an expedition to establish the boundaries of German East Africa.[5] One of the apes was recovered and sent to the Zoological Museum in Berlin, where Professor Paul Matschie (1861-1926) classified the animal as a new form of gorilla and named it Gorilla beringei after the man who discovered it.”
    So basically, the mountain gorilla was only discovered in 1902 and was rumored to exist prior to this. Not exactly a cryptid though.

  3. There’s a great stabilized version of the Patterson film here. It definitely puts to lie the claims that the figure in the video “didn’t move like a human”. It looks just like a guy stroling along in an ape suit.

  4. @anonentity: Cute video. Is that your foot? I noticed that whoever’s foot it is has the long finger like toes that I have on my giant feet.

    I clicked on the next bigfoot video and it was a long triad about how no one had ever debunked the patterson film as a hoax and how hollywood’s best costume desiners had been unable to make a costume that matched the bigfoot in the patterson video.

    What a load of crap.

  5. If I’m not mistaken, a family living in the Northwest came clean and exposed that they had been responsible for perpetuating the bigfoot mythology. When they patriarch of the family died, the stepped forward. They pulled out the suit, some bigfoot shoes they used to leave tracks, and a bunch of other items giving irrefutable evidence of their hoax. By the way, that’s his wife in the suit.

  6. @Aquavid: They were one of many. It’s like crop circles. A lot of people over the years have done this. Before and after them. When I was a kid living in California back in the 70’s an old man came out and showed how he had been carving wooden feet and faking tracks all over. And a lot of people continue to hoax bigfoot all the time.

  7. You know, as a skeptic I don’t think the idea of undiscovered primates is impossible; just unlikely. Particularly unlikely is an 8 foot hominoid ape that manages to completely elude anyone attempting to find it. (However the kid in me reeeeally wishes it turned out to be true). But this is one of those things in skepticism I sometimes catch some heat on. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the hypothesis of primates unknown to science, and therefore it isn’t overly credulous to say that somewhere there may very well be something like an undiscovered ape in some remote corner of the world. It’s just that up till now no good evidence exists for such claims. I just think it would be foolish to say on the skeptical side “There’s no more big mammals to discover; therefore bigfoot, yeti, what have you, can’t be real.”

  8. pciszek wrote: “Has there ever been a case where a creature that was considered a myth by mainstream zoologists has been found to actually exist?” Depends on your definitions of such terms as “considered”, “myth”, and “mainstream zoologists”. Various creatures have been reasonably well known by local people, but not in the professors in Europe. (e.g, Gorilla, okapi, saola or Vu Quang ox). Scientists considered the platypus a hoax even after the Governor of New South Wales sent them a sketch and a skin. :-)

    Re the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film, various PhDs and Hollywood costume experts have said that if it’s a costume, it’s a DAMN good one, and would have been very difficult (expensive) to make in 1967. On the other hand, experts have been wrong before, and I don’t see how anything that big could remain undiscovered. Wikipedia actually has a good summary – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patterson-Gimlin_film .

  9. @archaic:

    Surely this had been debunked enough by now…

    I think it is very important to continue to investigate the “classics”. For all of us that have heard the debunking of this film (or any other odd belief) ad nauseam, there are countless numbers of people just discovering these topics for the first time via shows like Monster Quest etc. I know my introduction to critical thinking probably started as a response to shows like In search of. (Yes I am that old) As a kid you find things like this fascinating and this can be a doorway to skepticism when you are interested enough to find out more.

    Old hand Skeptics may be board of these topics, but everyday there will be someone new to them who will be interested in discovering more. Having new information available is great for them. Hopefully someone will see this new podcast and get hooked. They might then look at the site and follow the links to other podcasts that have more current themes. Plus it’s damn entertaining on its own.

  10. bluescat48 wrote: “The only problem with the primate bigfoot connection is that there is no evidence of any ape native to the Americas”

    Very true. The standard bigfootological reply is that Gigantopithecus is known from China around 100,000 BCE. By some estimates this primate was up to 3 metres (10 ft) tall on its hind legs — though not known whether it ever did stand on its hind legs — and weighed up to 540 kilograms (1,200 lb) . It was probably at minimum as big as a gorilla.

    Various large creatures (mammoths, bison, lions) are known to have walked over the Bering land bridge (Siberia-Alaska) from Asia and become established in North America, so why not Gigantopithecus?

    This is one of those fringey ideas that IMHO is neither obviously reasonable nor obviously nuts. (Although again, IMHO if Bigfoot did exist it would be as well known as moose, bears, or elk, or for that matter as pandas are in China — rare and shy, but also big and hard to miss.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigantopithecus

  11. @guest1999: Re the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film, various PhDs and Hollywood costume experts have said that if it’s a costume, it’s a DAMN good one, and would have been very difficult (expensive) to make in 1967.

    One of my galpals is a costume designer. (Has a degree in it, works in film, etc). So I asked her about it.

    She says that she could make a suit to match that would be nearly identically, as long as it was being shot from the same distance. As for the material, fake fur was very popular in the 50’s and 60’s and there were numerous types, so finding one would not be difficult. Adding a bit of oil would make it clumpy and shiny. It’s also fairly easy to hide a zipper.

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