Bigfoot Encounters

Will North America's Most Elusive Mammal
Become Extinct Through Scientific Neglect?

By Warren L. Cook

A Ph.D., with a differing opinion of Ivan Marx… Dr. Warren L. Cook ...

In what follows, it is my intention to document the likelihood that the sasquatch is very possibly Man's closest relative in the animal kingdom and the next most intelligent species on Earth, but has so far escaped being autopsied or otherwise documented as a real species to the satisfaction of scientists, where after it could come under protection.

Hence it is in danger of becoming extinct because inroads upon its habitat make for few and increasingly isolated breeding pools. Slaying even a single specimen for the sake of identification might push that particular band over the border of natural recovery.

Scientific disinclination to research the subject seriously is therefore one of the primary problems. Sadly, divulgation of the many unusual encounters annually is left to the tabloids.

In an excellent book titled “Bigfoot: the Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality,” first published in 1972, British anthropologist Dr. John Napier, onetime head of the primate program at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, set forth in great detail various lines of evidence leading him to conclude that a manlike ape actually roams certain areas of North America.

In Napier's opinion, “That such a creature should be alive and kicking in our midst, unrecognized and unc1assified, is a profound blow to the credibility of modern anthropology."  

Dmitri Bayanov, Soviet hominologist (i.e. specialist in surviving hominoids), of Moscow's Darwin Museum, cites the opinion of the late San Francisco Bay area sasquatch study group leader George Haas that to establish the species, films are needed, comparable to those taken by Adtien Deschryver of gorillas in Zaire (Dmitri Bayanov's, "A Hominologist's” View From Moscow, USSR", in: "The Scientist Looks at Sasquatch" (II). Roderick Sprague and Grover Krantz. Moscow, Idaho,1979). Bayanov is justifiably opposed to harming or capturing a Sasquatch in the name of "Science," pointing out that "there was no need to shoot or cage a Tasaday to prove the existence of that Stone Age tribe in the Philippines."  

Photographing the notoriously odoriferous and elusive Sasquatch poses problems much greater than is the case with gorillas or the Tasaday, as I postulate that their behavior patterns are probably evolving as a consequence of experience and natural selection, they have become for the most part nocturnal and are so intelligent as to be extremely adept at keeping out of harm's way.

Although there have been accounts of one being captured (1865, 1878, 1884, ca 1940), slain or found dead (ca 1880, 1903, 1905, 1920, 1965, 1967, 1970), in each instance those witness to the physical evidence were not sufficiently concerned, or were unable to get it preserved or scientifically studied.

The two best documented cases in point are the hairy hominid captured near Yale, B. C., described at length in the Daily Colonist of Victoria, July 4th, 188-4 and the top portion of a skull, 1501 larger than human, found in California's Minaret Mountains in 1965 by a medical doctor and sent to a pathologist at Ventura County General Hospital, who judged it to be "some anthropoid species other than human.” He took it to the Department .of Archaeology at UCLA, where it was quickly dismissed as being an abnormal Indian, but retained (B. Ann Slate and Alan Berry, Bigfoot, N. Y., 1976, pp. 160-65). Best efforts to locate the skull failed, a decade later, but the anthropologists involved recollected it as "a peculiar thing--its morphology and markings," and that it didn't resemble any of the known aboriginal populations of California. I talked to the physician, who has performed enough post mortems to recognize a human cranium, and as of 1983 he still had no word of his find.

One Bigfoot investigator, on at least ten different occasions has come forth with color stills and motion picture footage alleged to be of a sasquatch. Demonstrably, Ivan Marx of Burney, Shasta County, California, is a very accomplished nature photographer, skilled woodsman, and animal tracker. By inquiring of Indian and Eskimo informants, and studying Sasquatch habit patterns. Marx would appear to have learned how-to be at the right spot at the right time, camera at the ready.  

Ivan feels disoriented in the bowels of a skyscraper and is happiest in the wilderness. He frets until back with his "sweetie", as he calls his devoted wife, Peggy, who often accompanies him in the wilds. Zealous to preserve their modest, unfettered life style, Ivan and Peggy have invested a major portion of their lives coming up with the Bigfoot photos for which he is well known -- some say notorious -- among hominologists. But precisely because year after year, he comes forth with such pictures, they are scorned by some or the other well known Bigfoot enthusiasts. He has equivalent distaste for them as "great white hunter types" with a "sour grapes" attitude toward him because they lack the skills and patience to get anywhere near a sasquatch except by chance.

Marx's footage sometimes does not conform to the expected image and the specimens in his photos vary in color, size, volume, body fat and length or hair. When he first showed me his color photos, I carped at the domed appearance of the creatures' skulls (a feature that has subsequently been corroborated by other eyewitnesses with whom I have spoken) and it got back to me that Marx had remarked to a mutual friend. "I can't photograph the creature the way them jollies think he ought to look, but only the way he is."

My concern from the beginning was to establish whether Marx is telling the truth or faking the photos, words and deeds. Anyone who knows him will report that he is one of the greatest story tellers going -- a contemporary Will Rogers.

John Green's Sasquatch, “The Apes among Us,” (Saanichton, B. C., and Seattle. Wash. 1978) best book to date on the creature has an unforgettable chapter titled, simply. “Ivan”. Because my own professional reputation was at stake, since I first met Ivan and at the risk of losing his confidence I have ceaselessly sought to probe for inconsistencies, approaching the same point from different angles, months and years apart. Doubtless conscious of this, it probably discomfits him but he has always been patient and never failed to give answers that seemed honest and frank. Initially, he and Peggy were unaware of being protagonists in a historical process, and that. It was important to document their photos chronologically and provide details of the content in which they were taken. This had never been done. Plain, unassuming folk, to them it was simply life experienced, year to year.

Until a sasquatch is examined, in the flesh, and the Marx photos are validated or refuted, I cannot be certain my judgment is correct, but I am of the opinion that Ivan and Peggy, while reticent in their personal lives, are steadfastly honest and it would be out of character for them to jeopardize their goal of documenting sasquatch by tainting genuine photos just to produce more.

Unwilling to take them on faith, I have studied each or the photos in the light or what we know from the studies or Goodall, Fossey, Galdikas-Brindamoor et al., and from sasquatch reports independent of Marx. As Dr. Grover Krantz, Professor of Anthropology at Washington State University told me, “Pictures do not constitute proof.”  But they are the best evidence to date of our relationship to what might be our-closest relatives among other living species.

In one of our most fruitful sessions together, in his Burney home, after I hearty Sunday dinner of roast bear and "Cibeque" pie. a rice and prickly pear casserole from Peggy's home state of Arizona. Ivan and Peggy consented to my taping an interview without foreknowledge of what would be asked. They gave straight forward answers to the most delicate of issues.  

Competition between some of the most dedicated Bigfoot enthusiasts has been intense, and Marx's successive footage was bound to be challenged as to authenticity, from the outset. Consequently, it has not been subjected to the extensive scientific scrutiny that Napier and Russian scientists lavished upon the late Roger Patterson's famous 18-second film taken in 1967 at Bluff Creek, Humboldt County, California. (Dr. Cook's copy of the Patterson film ran only 18-seconds????)

A 1983 feature-length documentary, "In the Shadow of Bigfoot," an Amazing Horizons, Inc., production, incorporates Marx's most recent, dramatic, and potentially the most valuable Sasquatch footage from the point of view of physical anthropology.

Some will hail it as a worthy response to the Haas-Bayanov plea and others will attempt to "laugh it out of court". Marx's latest stills are fine-grained and full of details, and his action footage so revelatory of musculature and behavior patterns that they should shift the debate from "whether such a creature exists,” where it now languishes, on the periphery of scientific awareness, to "what can we learn about this relict manlike ape and from it, about ourselves,” and "how can we prevent it from coming any closer to extinction?"

Dr. Gordon Strasenburgh ("Perceptions and Images of the Wild Man)," in: Sprague and Krantz, op. cit.), has set forth evidence of the extinction of similar hominoids in Europe within historical times, but they survive and are being scientifically studied in the U.S.S.R. and China. Dr. Krantz makes a case for the Sasquatch's increasing in North America, but others perceive reasons to disagree. In any case, Bayanov chides, "Cannot Homo sapiens afford to be magnanimous- enough to grant “Most Favored Creature Status” at least to his nearest kin in the animal kingdom?"  

Ivan Marx saw his first Sasquatch footprint in October 1951 at Dead Horse Summit, Siskiyou County, in Northern California. The term "Bigfoot" had not yet been invented and until then Ivan did not believe such a creature existed. While hunting cougar (he captures them alive, including the one in a current automobile advertisement), in 1958 in Nevada's White Mountains, just east of Bishop, California. from 500 yards away Ivan spotted a tall, black, ominous, manlike creature.

Using a 400 mm telephoto lens he filmed it for about fifteen seconds, as it strode ponderously down an open slope among what appears to be sage brush, and then stoops to feed off one clump. Ivan says it was "too strange, unknown, and potentially dangerous to want to get any closer.” Nine years later, after the Patterson 1967 footage made headlines, Marx disclosed to very few persons his own, less detailed film. Inspecting the original, I could see the numerals "57" at intervals along the sprocket holes, the year of manufacture, corroborating Ivan's chronological sequence.
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Warren L. Cook, Ph.D. Anthropologist, 1984

For Peter Byrne's narrative on Ivan Marx's BF movies, see this page:

Dr. Warren Cook as a child he was stricken with Polio which left him disabled, this disease did not hinder him from becoming a remarkable individual who had crossed many obstacles to become an impressive scholar. He was fluent in writing and speaking Spanish, French, German and Portuguese. Traveling to various sites across the world, Cook always had his best friend Warren Dexter who was his photographer that assisted him with his difficulties and accomplishments, “Cook Overcame formidable personal obstacles to purse his compelling research around the world; he was one of life's heroes, and an example to others”.  

    He attended the University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru obtaining his first doctorate of Letters. From there, he attended Yale University where he earned his Masters Degree and Ph.D. While attending Yale University he achieved recognition from his peers from an award winning dissertation; in his dissertation was both published and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Shortly after Cook attained international recognition and distinction for his research of the pre-conquest Cultures in the Peruvian Andes. With his accomplishments and exceptional research skills he held the position of examining and determining the authenticity of ancient artifacts. Cook's success brought him to a point were he became an official assessor of any objects retrieved from the Illinois' Lost Tomb. At Castleton College, Vermont, Warren Cook was a Professor of History and Anthropology where he was outstanding in his work and findings. He chaired Castleton Conferences on “Ancient Vermont” in 1977. Cook held this conference to give answers to the rock carvings and stone chambers found in Vermont that other archeologists ignored. 

    In 1987 Cook started working with Russell Burrows, which lead to the Burrows Cave discovery. Cook, who was the project director of this research, assigned the name “Burrows Cave” to the cave, “Thanks to Dr. Cook, the phenomenon was removed forever from mere speculation into the arena of authentic archaeology”. ( One of the major discoveries of American Anthropology is The Burrows Cave, which is the paramount of Cooks success. Throughout Dr. Cook's 64 years, he has made significant contributions to the findings of Anthropology and Archeology which is still very useful today. Cook, born in 1925 passed away in December of 1989 after completing two years of research on Burrows Cave, leaving tremendous legacies that will never be forgotten. 


Written by: Errol Seymour

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