Bigfoot Encounters

Copyright Vance Orchard

WALLA WALLA ---- A recent story in a London-based newspaper which debunks the 1967 Bigfoot movie filmed by the late Roger Patterson, demands a response. Here’s mine.

What was offered as proof that Patterson unwittingly faked the famous footage has been countered in the past by scientists and students of the matter.

The statements by these men … recognized top names in the Bigfoot world … absolutely refute the London "Sunday Telegraph" story of Oct. 19, 1997. The story was picked up and run in the November 1 issue of CNI News, an electronic magazine devoted to the UFO, Bigfoot, space exploration and related issues. Questions may be directed to its editor, Michael Lindermann Statements quoted herein are from their issue of Vol. 3, No. 17.

In the "Sunday Telegraph" story co-authored by Mike Lewis and Tim Reid, a Hollywood director, John Landis, revealed: "That famous piece of film of Bigfoot walking in the woods that was touted as the real thing was just a suit made by John Chambers."

Mr. Chambers, the article notes, "… has refused to confirm or deny the reports."

"October 20" (the articled notes) "marked the 30th anniversary of the day that  Bigfoot hunters Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin emerged from the wilds of northern California with the celebrated film, perhaps the only footage of unexplained phenomena which has stood up to rigorous scientific examination. Patterson died in 1972 convinced he had filmed a real Bigfoot.

"But Howard Berger told a Bigfoot investigator, Mark Chorvinsky: ‘It was like a gag to be played on the guy who shot it. The guy never knew it was a hoax his friends played on him.’

"The subject of the Patterson film – a large, hairy, upright-walking creature with wobbling breasts – is seen walking left to right, turning briefly to glare in the direction of the cameraman before disappearing into the trees."

But, the late Bob Titmus, who arrived on the scene at Bluff Creek shortly after the ’67 filming, reported he had followed the Bigfoot’s tracks and even said he found evidence the Bigfoot had sat down, watching Patterson and his partner, Bob Gimlin, from a vantage point above the men.

The sharp-eyed observations of Titmus … who, by the way, had reported seeing three Bigfoots during his lifetime (two at one time) … is but one refutation of the "Sunday Telegraph" article.

John Green, a British Columbia newspaperman who was acquainted with Patterson long before 1967, and who has studied thousands of Bigfoot tracks and track casts, authored early definitive books on the subject. In his book, "On the Track of the Sasquatch," Green notes this about the Bluff Creek tracks:

"The tracks appeared perfectly natural and normal. The same as the many others that we have tracked and become so familiar with over the years, but of a slightly different size. Most of the tracks showed a great deal of foot movement, some showed a little, and a few indicated almost no movement whatever. I took plaster casts of ten consecutive imprints and the casts show a vast difference in each imprint, such as toe placement, toe gripping force, pressure ridges and breaks, weight shifts, weight distribution, depth, etc. Nothing whatever indicated that these tracks could have been faked in some manner. In fact, all of the evidence pointed in the opposite direction. And no amount of thinking and imagining on my part could conceive of a method by which these tracks could have been made fictitiously."

In his book Green has even more to say, but here’s what he observes about the possibilities of a suit having been used to fake the Bluff Creek creature:"I do not contend that no such contrivance could be built, but I do suggest that the thing could not be ‘just a man in a fur suit.’ The ‘suit’ would have to contain an elaborate mechanism which would probably not be much simpler or cheaper than a machine without a man inside. Confidence men have done some remarkable things on occasion, and sometimes at great expense, so I will not say that such a thing is impossible, but knowing Patterson I cannot imagine him doing such a thing, if indeed it could be done, nor do I think that he could have raised the money to do it."I have noticed that scientists who talk to Patterson are not prepared to accuse him of perpetrating the hoax, but since they are equally unable to accept that the thing he photographed was real, they seize on the only other alternative, that someone was out there in a fur suit hoaxing him. Oddly, they are thus choosing the one alternative that is literally impossible. Patterson has photographs not only of the creature, but also of its tracks, and these shots show the men’s own tracks all around the Sasquatch tracks. It is obvious from their depth that the big tracks are made by something several times heavier than the people. Now, if there was a man swinging along inside a suit when Patterson took his movie it was most certainly not a man carrying a heavy load – not walking over four miles an hour with three-and-a-half foot strides and deeply bent knees. A man carrying the weight to make the tracks Patterson and Gimlin say this thing made as they watched would have to be a mighty individual to manage even a slow shuffle. It follows that if the thing on the film is a hoax, the tracks and the film could not possibly have been made at the same time, as Patterson and Gimlin state. If there is a hoax, they have to be involved."

Grover Krantz, Washington University anthropologist, is probably best known as one of the very earliest scientists to lay his career on the line and publicly announce that he felt the Bigfoot thing was something real. He has written a scholarly book on the subject, "Big Foot Prints." In the book, Krantz ( who also had been acquainted with Patterson) has this to say of the Patterson film of 1967:

"After watching the film many times, I told Patterson about some its technical consistencies that were evident to me. With most of these he already knew what was involved or quickly caught on. But when I talked about some of the more technical details of bio-mechanics, he soon showed the familiar blank look of a student who had lost the drift of the explanation, but was still trying hard to pay attention. Yet he must have known all of these details in order to create the hoax (assuming he knew of a hoax). For instance, he could see the anterior position of the front of the shin, but how that related to foot leverage was quite beyond his understanding. Also he had originally estimated that it weighed only half of what was settled on later, yet all the details were calculated to fit with the greater weight. I think that a hoax is most unlikely on these grounds alone.

"A few years after the film was made, Patterson received a letter from a man in Thailand who assured him a Sasquatch was being held captive in a Buddhist monastery. Patterson spent most of his remaining money preparing an expedition to retrieve this creature; I was to be part of the operation. Then a man who was sent to investigate on the spot found out it was a hoax. At the time Patterson knew he was dying of Hodgkin’s disease and firmly believed that with enough money he might be cured. Instead of making another Bigfoot movie, which he could have done if he had faked the first one, he spent almost everything he had on a wild goose chase. Then he died." When he secured rights to the Patterson film, Rene Dahinden, a man who has been in this Bigfoot hunt for as long as anyone, was soon showing the film to scientists in Russia. What resulted from their highly intensive study of the film is found in 14 pages of the book, "The Sasquatch and Other Unknown Hominoids." This 335-page book is a compilation of scientific papers relating to Bigfoot as edited by Vladimir Markotic. Introductory comments for each paper are by Krantz.

One paper in the book, authored by two Russians, Dmitri Bayanov and Igor Bourtsev and Dahinden, minutely dissects the every movement of the female Bigfoot in Patterson’s historic film. These details are to be found on pages 219 through 233 in the book. In their summary of their findings in their paper, the authors make these observations:

"We have subjected the film to a systematic and many-sided analysis both in its technical and biological aspects. We have matched the evidence of the film against the other categories of evidence and tested its subject with our criteria of distinctiveness, consistency and naturalness. The film has passed all our tests and scrutinies. This gives us ground to ask: who other than God or
natural selection is sufficiently conversant with anatomy and bio-mechanics to ‘design’ a body which is so perfectly harmonious in terms of structure and function?

"Further research may correct some of our findings, but it seems most improbable that the positive result can be voided. Hence we confidently give this verdict:

"The Patterson-Gimlin movie is an authentic documentary of a genuine female hominoid, popularly known as Sasquatch or Bigfoot, filmed in the Bluff Creek area of Northern California not later than October 1967, when it was viewed by Rene Dahinden and other investigators."

Others, as equal to the task as Titmus, Green, Krantz. Bayanov, Bourtsev or Dahinden, could offer similar refutation of the "Sunday Telegraph" article which appeared in CNI News. These have done the job admirably, it would seem.

On Saturday October 26, 1997 Bobbie Short drove up to Los Angeles and interviewed John Chambers in a senior care center where he was living and recorded his denial that he had anything to do with the making of any costume or ape suit for Patterson. He did not know Patterson or Gimlin although he had heard of them. Its a matter of audiotaped record.

Dr. George Agognino, Dept of Anthropology at New Mexico University uncovered a deliberate hoax perpetrated by Bob Titmus in his northern California hey-day when he planted moose hair and moose droppings and claimed them to be Sasquatch in Northern California. Trouble is, there are no moose in California and only devious taxidermist like Titmus had access to moose droppings. Titmus also tried to pull a fast one on Peter Byrne.

Rene Dahinden, who knew Titmus well from 1957 onward is on record in November 1999 as remembering the late Bob Titmus whom he called "Titmouse - a devious little man, I wouldn't trust that guy with my cur dog."

Dahinden died in 2001, always exclaiming he would expose John Green and Bob Titmus and it wasn't long after Rene's death that John Green started singing Titmus' praises and contibuted heavily to the artifacts alleged to belong to Titmus at the dedication of the Willow Creek Bigfoot Museum at its Grand Opening in 2003. Also after Dahinden's death, Bob Gimlin came out of seclusion for the first time in roughly 30 years of silence.

The notation above that Titmus showed up 9 days after the Patterson filming and found tracks and a butt print where the creature watched Patterson and Gimlin from a high vantage point is another lie Titmus told. That story never happened. See:

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