Geographical Index > United States > California > Del Norte County > Article # 176
Media Article # 176
Sunday, October 12, 1997
Experts Back Bigfoot Film
By Michael Lewis
The legend of Bigfoot, the abominable snowman's North American cousin said to stalk the densely forested Pacific Northwest, looks poised to take a hairy stride closer to reality.
Researchers have computer-enhanced a much derided 1967 film clip purportedly showing a female of the species and claim to have proved that it shows a creature unknown to science - not a hoaxer in a fur suit.
A forthcoming report by the Oregon-based North American Science Institute, whose three-year study cost about $100,000 (£62,500) will state that the film subject -- a large, hairy, upright walking figure with pendulous breasts -- displays elasticity, or the movement of skin over muscles.
"We checked the film grain for inconsistency," said NASI research director Tod Geery. "If a fur suit was being used we would expect to have located seams where the cloth folded."
Geery says redigitization should have revealed a hood, gloves, zipper or boots. Instead Nasi detected different hair length and coloring, teeth and the white of an eye.
Over the last century there have been hundreds of reported sightings and huge footprints, but this unique film -- taken at Bluff Creek, northern California, by Bigfoot hunters Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin on Oct 20, 1967 -- remains the most startling evidence.
The men said they were scouring the area on horseback when Mr. Patterson's mount reared and fell sideways. Moments later he saw the Bigfoot striding across a sandbar 90 feet away.
Mr. Patterson tore his camera from a saddlebag and raced after him. At one point the creature turned and gave its pursuer a look which stopped him in his tracks. It was like "when a baseball umpire tells you one more strike and you're out," he said.
Hours later the men drove wildly to the home of a friend, Albert Hodgson. "Al," said Mr. Patterson, "I got me a picture of this son of a buck!"
The former rodeo rider died of Hodgkins Disease in 1972 having failed to convince scientists that his film showed a real animal. Mr Gimlin, now 66, still swears on its authenticity but refuses all interviews after suffering years of ridicule.
It is debatable whether Nasi's findings will impress Rick Baker, an Oscar-winning makeup artist, who believes Mr Patterson's Bigfoot wears cheap fake fur.
Bigfoot buffs have called on him to duplicate the footage. One man who has, John Waters, a television wildlife cameraman, failed miserably. "Our Bigfoot always looks like a man in an ape suit," he said.