THE PATTERSON AFFAIR
|By Ivan T. Sanderson, Pursuit 1968|
I personally (Ivan T. Sanderson) was present in a suite at the Ambassador Hotel in New York occupied by my late friend Tom Slick, the Texas multimillionaire oil and cattle man, owner of Slick Airlines and the founder of the largest privately backed Scientific Institute in the world and who had spent many years pursuing ABSMs, all the way from the original Abominable Snowmen of the Himalayas to the pigmy Orang Pendek of Sumatra, the Sasquatches of Canada and these Ohmahs or Bigfoot of California, when two senior executives of one of our leading news magazines offered him (officially and in the presence of five witnesses; one of them C. V. Wood who built Disneyland for Walt) $500,000 for the first photograph of any Abominable Snowman (ABSM), dead or alive, that could not be proven a fake.
What actually happened in the Patterson Case was that a mutual friend, - Jim McClarin rang me (Ivan Sanderson) late one night from California to say that word had come out that Roger had obtained some film of a Bigfoot and was on his way to have it processed. He (McClarin) requested help in handling matters, which we immediately promised and we then started laying on all possible scientific, commercial, and publicity outlets. However, we heard nothing further for over three weeks, when HQ got a phone call from Roger from New York. We were down there ill two hours, having alerted LOOK Magazine, and met Charlie Crandall, their Picture Editor, in the hotel, and then got together with Roger Patterson, his brother-in-law, Al DeAtley, and a Hollywood agent who had come east with them.
LIFE Magazine had viewed the film at a private showing for scientists in Canada -- since no Americans would look at it -- and had paid the party's passages to New York and made a dozen 'out-takes' of the best frames from the film. We wanted LOOK Magazine to see these and the film in case LIFE decided to relinquish their option, which is just what they did. We also went to our old friend Milt Machlin, Editor of ARGOSY, an ex-newsman, a live wire and serious minded. (We did not go to TRUE because they had 'muffed' the last story we offered them - i.e. the first copy of the Royal Air Force's analysis of the Tim Dinsdale film of a Loch Ness Monster, which they had proved to be genuine - by sitting on it for three weeks when it was the hottest topical news item on the docket). LOOK Magazine was very impressed but could not do anything on ethical grounds until LIFE Mag came to a decision.
Next day, LIFE took
Roger and Al with the film to the American Museum of Natural History where
a showing was put on for some of the scientific staff: notably Dr. van
Gelder, head of the Department of Mammals and Dr. Shapiro of Anthropology.
The results are fully
recorded in the first ARGOSY piece. The film was flown down to Prof. W.C.
Osman Hill at the Yerkes Primate Center, Emery University, in Atlanta,
Georgia, and then Drs. John Napier, Vladimir Markotic and others viewed
it at a closed showing in Washington at which Dr. A. Joseph Wraight Chief
Geographer to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, and Mr. N. O. Wood Jr.,
Director of Operations for the Secretary of the Interior were present.
A copy of the film was then handed to Dr. Napier of the Primate Biology
Division of the Smithsonian for detailed analysis, a work that is of the
time of writing, still in the process of being executed.
While here the BBC filmed Roger Patterson at HQ, and then shot several hours of a discussion between Dr. John Napier and the writer (Ivan Sanderson) with visuals in the form of plaster casts of the footprints of Bigfoot. Later, they ran an hour on Dr. Joe Wraight in Washington, D. C., then flew to Denver to interview Professor George A. Agogino; then on to Dr. Montagna, Head of the Oregon Primate Center; and ended up with interviews with several persons, of all ages and walks of life on the Coast who had told Roger that they had encountered Bigfoot at close range. It will take two to three months to edit this film but it will then be aired in Europe, and LIFE INTERNATIONAL have opted to publish an article on the story simultaneously.
That there is very great interest in this throughout the rest of the world was exemplified by a half-hour telephone call we had from Moscow. This was from the Editor of AROUND THE WORLD, the Russian equivalent of LIFE, and Dr. Boris F. Porshnev, Professor of History at the Russian Academy of Sciences who has been actively investigating ABSMs for over a decade.
This is the status of the story as of now. A copy of the BBC Documentary, enclosing several runs of Patterson's 'strip' is being given to Roger for private showing in this country and for sale to TV or other outlets. It is rather amusing, but typical of such incidents that all the networks here, several independents, some film companies and a host of agents are now scrambling for an exclusive first showing here. Thus we have avoided the wipe and maybe saved the scientific discovery of the age, but there is a long way to go yet. A film is not conclusive proof of the existence of anything. Only a dead, stunned specimen, or a skull, will prove the matter and convince the scientists and other skeptics. Roger has to get back into the field to obtain such. Meantime, we know of no less than nine other serious minded and in some cases fully financed outfits that are going into the field this spring. The funny thing about this case is that the topnotch scientists most deeply concerned with the specialty are taking it very seriously. Further, most of these scientists are government employed, and both the Canadian and American Governments themselves are deeply interested. This is something quite new in fortean endeavor.
© Pursuit, June
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