Most people have heard of Sasquatch, but few people really
know what it is. Sasquatch has become lost in the garish world
of “Bigfoot,” a California USA gadfly in wooden feet.
The truth is that Sasquatch is real. The sound that opens this
page is an authentic reproduction based on the witness
testimony of Myrtle and Ken Walton of British Columbia.
Myrtle was William Roe’s daughter, the only man to date who
has had a close enough encounter with a Sasquatch to describe
it faithfully. With her assistance, Roe drew a sketch of an unexplained and gross hairy creature. His account was fundamental in taking the Sasquatch out of the world of white man’s preconceived impression of the Sasquatch as a “giant Indian with long hair on its head.”
Until as late as 1955 that was the impression of the “charming Indian myth” of the ‘Sasquatch-men’— some primitive tribe of giants. To a certain extent white man did believe they existed. In 1934 the small community of Harrison Hot Springs was terrorized by what the Indians declared to be the “Susquatch-men.” Whites were equally terrified at night by “wolf-like howls,” read an article by C.S. Lambert. The community was so unnerved that the people formed a vigilante committee to track them down to “their lairs.” The Indian guides always deserted whenever they got close to the mountainous area where they were said to live. The whites repeatedly failed to find a trace, leading Lambert to say that many held as doubtful “the existence of the primitive tribe.”
In 1955 Roe’s affidavit changed everything. While up Mica Mountain in the Canadian Rockies he came across a female creature that was hairy all over, had large breasts, a negroid shaped head, and walked on two legs. It was between 6 and 7 feet, and the only thing he could do was to associate it with the legendary “Sasquatch” of the Indian tales.
Roe would forever change the image of the Sasquatch. Because of the description, it was soon to become looked-upon as a homegrown version of the incredibly popular Yeti or Abominable Snowman that had dominated news reports in the 1950s before strutting across the silver screen in some bad B movies.
Soon thereafter, the very year the best motion picture in the Cine du Yeti hit the screen (1957’s Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas) something happened at Bluff Creek, California, far from Canada where the Sasquatch had long been legendary. Big human footprints were found embedded in the soft chocolate earth of the logging roads. “Bigfoot” was coined by the local lumbermen. Bigfoot hit world news due to the popularity of the concept of an “Abominable Snowman.”
Bluff Creek presented a mystery, an irony and a paradox. How was it that some large “manbeast” like a Yeti could be existing here? And, indeed, no one knew what to make of “Bigfoot” in California until John Green came to Bluff Creek in November 1958. He alone identified “Bigfoot” with the Sasquatch. Green had been piqued about the whole idea of a living “abominable snowman” in America, and Roe’s account had led him to believe it was still around. The sighting at Bluff Creek, if real, was the first Sasquatch sighting since Roe’s in 1955. Green felt it was worth the drive from Canada to California in order to make sure.
Green had other reasons to believe that the Sasquatch was very real. He had just finished an admirable investigation of what is still the first Sasquatch encounter that was formally investigated. This incident, called the Ruby Creek Incident, took place in 1941. Unfortunately, what Green had uncovered in his 1957 investigation would not be the underpinning material that would temper a new organization made up of Canadians and Americans: PNE— Pacific Northwest Expedition. This would be tragic. Moreover, Green’s guiding conclusion that the Sasquatch and Bigfoot were one and the same was phenomenal given his detailed investigation of the Ruby Creek Incident.
All the evidence for Bluff Creek, California’s “Bigfoot” was at an odd contrast with Sasquatch. Most notable was the fact that Sasquatch seldom ever returned to the same place, and for Ruby Creek it never did return after that October day in 1941. But Bluff Creek’s Bigfoot would constantly return with the same perfect foot and always in August of the year.
Bigfoot had one great advantage: it caused researchers, primarily John Green, to look into old newspaper reports and books. This uncovered real evidence for Sasquatch. Among these were the legends of the skoocums of Mount St. Helens.
Yet sadly all this formidable historical evidence became just a footnote of fact in the great fallacy that was Bigfoot. The Cine du Sasquatch, firmly rooted in Bluff Creek’s hype and hyperbole, caused everybody to overlook the real evidence and defer to the publicity. (Bogus Bigfoot: The Science of Folklore)
Spurred on by the reputation for a “Bigfoot” existing around Bluff Creek, Roger Patterson went there in October 1967 and “filmed” one. The Patterson Film has become the cornerstone of all Cryptozoology. It is regarded as real or as the greatest hoax ever perpetrated.
Roger Patterson’s “Bigfoot” would unquestionably bury the reality of Sasquatch. His creature would be a strange amalgam of the popular Bluff Creek reports, sporting feet inspired not by Sasquatch but by Wallace’s “hourglass” prints so predominant in the area. Had Bigfooters done their jobs better, Patterson’s strange amalgam could have instantly been put down. But it would succeed and usher in the era of big money and Bigfoot— the 1970s.
I feel it is certain that Bigfoot would have long died out except for Patterson. Everybody was so infatuated with the “reality” his film presented that they overlooked the telltale clue which proves its origin as purely Bluff Creek: it’s footprint.
The footprint was inspired not by the Ruby Creek Print, but by the type of “hourglass” prints that dominated Bluff Creek from 1958 to 1967 thanks to Ray Wallace— one reason why Wallace’s family is so denounced today for going public with what Ray Wallace had been up to. To expose the origin of the “hourglass” print as a hoax is to expose the most famous Bigfoot that used a similar foot . . .and used it only at Bluff Creek where Wallace invented it.
Nevertheless, to this day we live with the connection that “Bigfoot” and Sasquatch were one and the same. Bigfoot became a missing link in one extreme view and some rare giant bipedal ape in another. By 1971, René Dahinden, one of the original Bigfooters with Tom Slick’s PNE, was able to admit he had seen 3000 footprints. Based on the evidence, he never saw a real print in his life.
The Cine du Sasqautch begun by Patterson popularized Bigfoot all over the Pacific Northwest. Prints were being found everywhere. Almost every one was of an enlarged human foot, though different from both Patterson’s and Wallace’s fake feet. In fact, each and every one was unique unto itself.
The same can be said for “Cripple Foot,” the prints found in Washington State near Bossburg in 1969. It too was merely an enlarged flat human foot. However, only the crippled right foot cast has gotten wide circulation in photos. The other, uncrippled foot, showed merely an enlarged flat human foot.
The mania for footprints attracted an anthropologist, Dr. Grover Krantz. Unlike PNE’s scientific counselor, Ivan T. Sanderson, or the Smithsonian’s Dr. John Napier, Krantz would rely solely on footprint casts mailed or handed to him. He would not regard the circumstances of their discovery. More than anything, Krantz’s entrance into Bigfootery was a death blow to Sasquatch research. He would forever cement the two as being one and the same. As such he became the Falstaff for a carnival king. In his vast armory of plaster casts, he had not one real Sasquatch footprint. All were fakes, all except a copy of a strange foot he had never heard of: The Shipton Print. He knew little about it, and saw no point “in taking it seriously” until another showed up.
The evolution of Bigfoot footprints never once struck the Bigfooters as strange. The “hourglass” disappeared in 1968, and in its wake throughout the entire United States a hundred different footprints casts were created. Each one was an enlarged human foot. Eventually they evolved from flat, stiff prints to showing push-off friction, scars and toenails. They were found from Washington State to Indiana. In the 1980s “dermal ridges” became popular, and footprints now showed this added skin detail. Funny different footprints were also found and given charming names like Wrinkle Foot.
Krantz accepted many of them while other Bigfooters, like Dahinden, declared that “any 3 year old child could make these fakes.” But Krantz never saw a level of intelligence in Bigfooters worthy of acknowledging. Krantz insisted it would take an expert at “human anatomy” to fake the Cripple cast. Regarding the Patterson Film: “I don’t see how Patterson could have figured this all out in order to have faked it.” In the 1980s when dermal ridges suddenly started appearing, Krantz was certain only an expert could fake the ridges. He insisted he could not be fooled by fakers.
Krantz was also instrumental in securing Sasquatch’s image as a “higher primate,” though never qualifying exactly what he meant. In 1971 he said Cripple Foot’s foot was human, but then in defending it in 1975 he said the location of the bulges show it was not human. Then he said it was Gigantopithecus; he was outspoken in his views to kill one.
Despite his favorable media image, he was considered to have a very shallow knowledge of Sasquatch by the old Bigfooters. In fact, Dr. Krantz earned the enmity of other Bigfooters, especially Rene Dahinden, for his “classroom bound” methods.
The cornerstones of Krantz’s evidence always remained Cripple Foot and the Patterson Film. Krantz’s investigation thus became a strange pursuit of the amalgam of the carnival created only in America post 1958 Bluff Creek. He knew nothing of the early reports, and dismissed as hearsay anything but Patterson’s film and his collection of plaster casts. Statements defending his evidence, as noted above for Cripple Foot, often contradicted.
The dawn of the 1970s was the sunset of the real Sasquatch. Patterson’s film image was firmly intrenched upon society. This image even inspired a number of humorous grandstanders, so inept in their “ape-men” that by effect it made Patterson’s hoax look that much more real. The greatest documentaries on Bigfoot were made in this same decade, broadcasting (though sincerely) a faux image of a cave-man or missing link or some “gentle giant” ape of the forests. The fearful image of the Sasquatch was vanquished. The mosaic that was formed was that of a music hall comedy beast. And from there until now this changing and adapting Bigfoot has dominated the scene. In the 1980s, he became created by aliens. In the 1990s, he was a psychic contact.
Today Bigfootery is the odd pursuit of folklore. Most of the “scientific experiments” are set to verify the Patterson Film or justify Krantz’s plaster cast collection.
Patterson’s creation was inspired by the image of the Yeti, which is said to have a conical head. His early book shows that.
Krantz presenting the “Cripple”
The garish and make-believe. No one looking for Bigfoot was ever capable of finding Sasquatch.