by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
On October 20, 1967, Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin filmed what remains the most hotly contested ever video of a creature believed to be Bigfoot. In the intervening years, the Patterson-Gimlin footage has been analyzed and re-analyzed by Bigfoot enthusiasts, cryptozology experts and scientists all around the world.
For those who believe it is real, they cite a number of reasons including:
*The gait of the creature is not a gait that is achievable by a human being
*The video shows muscle movement underneath the “suit” which wouldn’t be visible if it were a costume. I’ve seen various muscles cited, although the independent movement of the buttocks seems to be one of the biggest arguments.
*The creature in the video has an uneven fur pattern and fur length, showing areas of wear. This is consistent with wearing patterns in the fur of wild animals.
*The creature in the video appears to have a herniated quadriceps muscle.
*Height analysis shows the creature to be over seven feet tall with an exceptionally broad chest.
*Close up analysis of the video shows the creature to have a sagittal crest (bone running along the ridge of the brow) and breasts like you would see on a chimpanzee or a woman.
*No costume has ever been found, nor has anyone been able to reverse-engineer the “costume” to recreate something that looks and moves like the critter in the movie.
*The arm length of the creature is disproportionately long compared to human arm length.
Here is a video that outlines some of these arguments for the reality of the footage:
There are a number of things that also point to the footage being a hoax, however.
*Patterson was a long-time Bigfoot enthusiast and actually set out to make a Bigfoot documentary. Many feel it is rather serendipitous that Patterson was able to capture footage when no one else ever had.
*In a 1999 interview, Gimlin admitted that he could have been fooled by an elaborate hoax set up by Patterson (who died in 1972 swearing that the footage was real).
*There have been rumors that Planet of the Apes costume designer, John Chambers, helped to design the creature in the footage. Chambers denies these allegations.
*The quality of the footage is poor, as home movies were at the time. Because of this, many argue that there was no need for an elaborate suit and even one of poor quality could be used.
*In 2002, a North Carolina costume designer named Phillip Morris claimed to have made the suit used in the Patterson footage. His wife vouches for him; however, Morris hasn’t produced evidence other than testimony about his part of a hoax.
*Yakima, Washington native Bob Hieronimus claims to have been the man in the suit. Hieronimus’ description of the suit he wore, however, does not match the description of the suit given by Phillip Morris.
*Arguments have been made that the Bigfoot in the film was made to look taller using forced perspective photography techniques that have been used in a number of movies to make principles look either taller or shorter.
Is the Patterson-Gimlin footage a hoax? It depends on who you talk to.
One site, Bigfoot Encounters, makes a point by point examination of the film; however, they are seeking to prove the existence of Bigfoot. Much like anything else, once a personal agenda comes into play it is impossible to know how objective any observation is.
The site, Patterson Bigfoot Debunked, has the opposite agenda. On this site, Leroy Blevins, Sr., makes a point-by-point argument for why the Patterson-Gimlin footage is a hoax. Some of it is quite compelling.
For those interested in finding true evidence of Bigfoot, the Patterson-Gimlin film footage remains a mystery that may never be solved. Too many logical explanations surround the footage -including people who have come forward and admitted to perpetrating a hoax – to make it ever be considered evidence of the Bigfoot phenomenon.
We’d love to know what you think of the Patterson-Gimlin footage. Use the comments section below, or weigh in using our forums.