October 20, 1967
Bluff Creek, California
Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin film Bigfoot
Patterson and Gimlin had been intrigued by the sightings of large, hairy people in Northern California. These included reports of the Sasquatch — believed to be the anglicized form of the Salish word Sasq’ets, meaning “wild man” or “hairy man” — as well as the oh-mahs from the Hoopa peoples. Both the Salish and Hoopa are Indiginous to the Pacific Northwest. Reportedly, Patterson and Gimlin had happened to be at the right place at the right time and were able to record a brief glimpse of the creature.
The Patterson-Gimlin video is undoubtedly one of the most iconic Bigfoot videos of all time. A total of 59.5 seconds was captured on 16 mm film showing what appears to be a female ape-like, bipedal, hairy creature approximately 6’9” (206cm) tall, walking into frame and glancing at the camera as she continues. Frame 352 (pictured) has become synonymous with the cryptid. Officially, the figure has been named Patty.
The video immediately took hold of the interests of the public. The Los Angeles Times ran a sprawling 4-page report on the video and the legend behind Bigfoot. Additionally, various scholars attempted to prove, or disprove, the validity of the video.
The most common dismissal of the video notes the figure walking looks to be a person in a gorilla costume. In fact, costume manufacturer Phillip Morris claimed shortly before he died that he had sold a suit to Roger Paterson which was then used in the film.
Some who believe the video is genuine, and do not accept the costume hoax theory, reference the movie Planet of the Apes. The movie was released the year after the Patterson-Gimlin video and had a budget of $5.8 million (roughly $43.4 million today). Jeffrey Meldrum, professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University, notes the costumes in the movie look considerably less lifelike than the figure starring in the Patterson-Gimlin film. He uses film to ask anatomy students to identify various surface anatomy features. “They start at the head and they can see the trapezius, they can see the deltoid … erector spine down the back, shoulder blades moving under the skin … the quads contract when they’re supposed to contract. None of which ever show up in a cheap off-the-shelf costume.”
Professional Sasquatch researcher Cliff Barackman noted the nature of Patty’s walk in the video: “The trailing leg of the creature shows a great flexibility in the foot. There are a few frames there where we see Patty take her heel off the ground but yet keep the entire forefoot in touch with the ground. … One of [the prints] showed a very distinctive pressure ridge. A push-off that comes about as a result of the very flexible mid-foot.”
Even Dame Jane Goodall, the world-renowned primatologist and anthropologist, and leading expert in chimpanzee studies, has stated she believes in the existence of the Sasquatch. “I’m sure that they exist,” Goodall stated in an interview. “I’ve talked to so many Native Americans who’ve all described the same sounds, two who’ve seen them. There was a little tiny snippet in the newspapers just last week, which says British scientists have found what they believe to be a yeti hair and that the scientists in the Natural History Museum in London couldn’t identify it as any known animal.” However, in the same interview she admitted she is “a romantic so I always wanted them to exist.”
Both those who believe in the film and those who call it a hoax agree without a body it would be impossible to say for certain if the creature is real.
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