Dmitri Bayanov's Review
of Greg Long's book "The Making of Bigfoot"
December 11, 2004
A copy of Greg Long's "The Making of Bigfoot" was sent by Bobbie Short to Michael Trachtengerts who gave me the book for a few days. I read the first introductory words: "After nearly forty years of secrecy, the real truth is finally revealed behind the famous Roger Patterson "Bigfoot" film -- a hoax that has managed to fool scores of scientists and millions of people around the world".
Stroking the volume's glossy jacket, I thought: What a beautiful tombstone for the future cemetery of Bigfoot debunkers! And what a Titanic of Ignorance, sinking from collision (nay, collusion!) with an iceberg of falsehoods! Here's the intrepid and indefatigable captain Greg Long, and his imposing patrons and well-wishers -- Kal Korff, Robert Kiviat, Dr.Kenneth Wylie, Dr.Dawn Prince-Hughes -- the elite passangers of a luxurious liner doomed to perdition. I then read their "Advance Praise for The Making of Bigfoot" and thought: Good riddance, gentlemen! You've made your own choice.
Then leafed the book and read here and there to see first of all whether it is an unprecedented in scale and arrogance attack just on the Bigfoot film or on Bigfoot per se. The latter is the case, I concluded. This follows from the very title of the book and from these words of Introduction: "These giant, hairy monsters grip the imagination of millions of people around the world. But do the monsters exist? A surprisingly large number of people think so. Many of them base their belief on a single piece of evidence: a short, sixty-second strip of sixteen-millimeter color film allegedly taken of a Bigfoot on October 20, 1967, near Bluff Creek in Northern California. (...) No other piece of evidence exists, they contend, which is as compelling, convincing, and indisputable" (p.13). This makes it quite clear why the Bigfoot film was chosen as the object of attack on the "monster" itself. So the secret real name of the game must have been "The Unmaking of Bigfoot".
Came across and relished these lines: "I wanted Dahinden's final answer. "Do you think you can separate the film from the man, from the photographer?" - "Of course!" - "You think you can separate the two?" I repeated. - "Just examine the f... film!" he yelled. "F... Al DeAtley! F... Roger Patterson! And f... Bob Gimlin! OK? Ignore the human element. LOOK AT THE F... FILM!" (p.195).
By ignoring the veteran bigfooter's advice, the author underwrote the fate of his book. Actually, he could nicely have connected the film and the man, but only with his merits, not demerits and wrongdoings. The famous film resulted not only from fluke, but also from Roger Patterson's dedication, courage, resourcefulness, and adroitness. Quite a few other people, with cameras, have chanced to encounter a bigfoot, but none has managed so far to rival Patterson's achievement. I can imagine any number of people, myself included, in Patterson's shoes at Bluff Creek, coming back empty handed. No doubt, his action was a feat of investigation.
Kal Korff is known to have written (capitalizing words): "I WANT to see Gimlin PROSECUTED and am WORKING TO ACHIEVE THIS". That is, if Gimlin refused to cooperate with Korff and Long by confessing his and Patterson's "hoax". In this case, Korff wanted "to give a deposition to the Attorney General's office for CONSUMER FRAUD, specifically Gimlin's comments over 'Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science'." So I was interested what Long says about Gimlin in the book. On p.159 I read the following: "... film producer Robert Guenette, who was making a documentary for Schick Sun Classic Pictures, Inc., explored Gimlin's bitterness: "Gimlin's reputation is that of a mild, honest man. I have talked to him several times. He still lives nearby Yakima with his wife, Judy. He has a somewhat embittered attitude about the whole matter; he is angry at the insinuations that he either compromised his honesty to perpetrate a hoax, or indeed was the prime dupe of one. He has repeatedly said that "there is no question about what was out there ..." describing the creature and explaining the incident over and over again in detail. In all his pronouncements, he has not changed his story. He believes he saw a Bigfoot that October 20th at Bluff Creek. I am only one among many who offered Gimlin large amounts of money to "tell the truth" about what "really" happened that day. His answer to me was, "I'm already telling the truth".
Noble Robert Gimlin, I embrace you in my thoughts... How proud I am that you count me among your friends, how lucky I am to have mixed all along with people of your make, not that of Heironimus and his patrons. If only most people stood up for the truth as strongly as you.
Much enjoyed these words of Michaela Kocis on the book's jacket: "This book is a real EYE OPENER and it is refreshing to see that the lost art of good old investigative journalism is FINALLY BACK. This should set an example for courses on critical thinking and investigative journalism around the world." No, the book is bound to become not only an all-time example but also an indispensable manual for courses and schools of journalism around the world. Its lesson number one: Don't take your future reader for as big a fool as you are in the matter you start to investigate. Lesson number two: To avoid looking a fool in the matter you start writing about learn from those who know the subject best.
In investigative journalism of Bigfoot research the top master is John Green. John and I disagree on the nature of bigfoots and the question of killing, but all insiders do know that his vast investigative work firmly testifies to bigfoots' reality. Instead of learning from the old hand of bigfootery, Greg Long questions Green's reputation as "a careful, analytical journalist who checked out all the facts" (p.180). On p.377 Long bursts "into hilarious laughter" hearing Dr.Krantz say , "I doubt that any human being could be trained to do that" (walk like the filmed creature). The cock-sure author offers his own conclusion: "It's obvious from my analysis alone that anyone can duplicate the Bigfoot's walk, and with a slightly above-average artistic ability you could build a suit like that" (p.386). This can be diagnosed as fatal conceit.
The author could also have learned a few things from "America's Bigfoot: Fact, Not Fiction. U.S. Evidence Verified in Russia", conspicuously absent in his bibliography. Instead he chose to learn from "the gang who hung out at the Idle Hour tavern" (John Green). Well, the truth was not his purpose.
"Perhaps the only 'mystery' left now, is WHY so many millions of people, especially scientists and so-called Bigfoot 'experts' and self-proclaimed 'researchers', could so easily have been fooled" (p.10). This is a false question based on a falsehood. Two questions based on the truth are these: Why are the scientific establishment, the government and the mass media fooling so many millions of people into thinking that Bigfoot is a myth? And why can they do this so easily?
The first question touches on ideology, business, politics, etc., so I don't know the full answer. The second is less involved, and my tentative answer is this: Bigfoot would long have been recognized real given normal conditions of science in this research. The abnormal conditions are created by those who are affluent, respectable and singleminded (i.e. one and all closeminded). From academic platforms, through megaphones of mass media, they confidently instruct the public: Bigfoot is a MYTH. Period. The abnormality is helped by Bigfoot researchers who are fundless, maverick, disunited and quarrelsome. What most of them dare say to the public is: Who knows? Maybe it's not a myth? Question mark. Clearly, supposition has no chance against conviction.
We haven't received yet Chris Murphy's "Meet the Sasquatch", so I don't know if it is a strong enough grave-digger for "The Making of Bigfoot". Even if it is, I dream of yet another book on the subject, a marvel of investigative journalism, on a par with the Watergate expose, with heroes and anti-heroes of the historical Struggle for Bigfoot, presenting positive and negative roles of scientists, Presidents, billionaires, institutions, publications, TV shows and documentaries -- the whole lot responsible for the present state of the problem. And let the wretched plight of Bigfoot research be not just an eye opener but a MIND OPENER on the integrity (or its lack) in the scientific community, the government circles and the media. Wish David Hancock would find and commission a worthy writer for the task. The book can be titled "Bigfoot:The Biggest Cover-up in Science".
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