This mysterious creature is known by many names including Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti and the Abominable Snowman. Whatever name you call it by it is a mystery that still persists despite decades of researchers and adventurers trying to find real proof of its existence. Grainy film footage and photographs are suspected of being faked as are hundreds of plaster casts of footprints and other scraps of “evidence.” Even in this age of ever-present camera phones evidence remains elusive. For most people only a body that can be verified by scientists will solve the mystery once and for all. Bigfoot might not be real, but it’s been a real part of popular culture and will likely continue to be.
10. Legendary Art
Native American Indian culture is full of references to a mysterious hairy creature. In oral legends passed down for centuries and in cave paintings like the Ute Indian cliff painting in the above photograph various tribes were depicting something specific. The question is whether their works were purely fantasy or were they reporting on actual experiences with real animals they came into contact with? Many tribes consider Sasquatch or Bigfoot to be an actual animal and one that is believed to hold a special place in the natural world because of it’s seemingly close relationship to mankind. Indians do not generally consider the creatures to be a threat to them, but just another being that deserves respect and perhaps a wide berth. Many of the indian tribes believe Bigfoot has a spiritual nature and may even exist in another dimension. The appearance of one of the creatures conveys an important message whose meaning should be carefully considered by the person who made the sighting. It is this supposed spiritual nature that Indians credit for Bigfoot’s ability so far to elude modern efforts to capture or kill it. These works of art may be compelling evidence of the reality of the creature. They predate by centuries the popular culture’s fascination with Bigfoot.
9. Joe Rogan vs. Bigfoot
Joe Rogan is most known as a stand-up comedian and as a color commentator for UFC’s Mixed Martial Arts bouts. In 2009 he started a product that has become very popular. The podcast has given Rogan a platform with which to discuss a range of topics with millions of listeners. Although the topics usual revolve around sports and entertainment, his show has taken on less mainstream topics such as extraterrestrials and even the existence of Bigfoot. Rogan hasn’t pulled any punched on the subject making his view that the whole thing is a big hoax perfectly clear. In the process he has greatly annoyed some people in the Bigfoot research community with his enthusiasm for trashing them on his podcast. One would think believers in the mysterious creatures would have developed thicker skins since they must deal with skeptics of all stripes. Rogan is known for his aggressive, pull no punches style that seems to be particularly galling to his targets. They do have a point about Rogan, because calling people names doesn’t prove Bigfoot is fake. Rogan is an entertainer, and whether you believe in Bigfoot or not, he has had entertaining moments on his podcast talking about Bigfoot so he wins either way.
8. Making An Impression
People who are convinced that Bigfoot is a real creature, and not a longstanding hoax, often point to a number of large footprints that have been photographed over the years. Plaster casts have been made of many of the footprints found in mud and snow and are touted as concrete evidence. The footprint casts have become one of the iconic pieces of evidence associated with Bigfoot. But many critics of the Bigfoot research community dismiss the casts as fakes. Unfortunately for believers in Bigfoot there have been several documented cases of people trying to perpetrate hoaxes using props to create phony footprints. All it takes is for one prankster to put on a pair of rubber feet and traipse around the woods to call into question years of hard, painstaking work by dedicated people. A handful of mainstream scientists have studied some of the casts with mixed results. While some of the evidence has not been shown to be definitely fake, they cannot be proven to be real either. Footprints will never be a substitute for a body or some clear cut DNA evidence that everyone can agree is genuine. But until there is incontrovertible evidence of Bigfoot’s existence that scientists can agree on footprint casts will continue to be an important part of the case for the creatures’ existence.
7. Seeing Is Believing
Many of us want Bigfoot to be real, but barring real physical evidence skepticism must be maintained. For many people seeing has been believing with thousands of people reporting Bigfoot sightings across the United States. There is a site called bigfootsightings.org where people can report their own experiences. Since the time of the first European settlers sightings have been reported in most states in the union of varying quality. Descriptions of the creature have been remarkably consistent, but this fact can be a double edged sword that has been used against people reporting a sighting. Critics have argued that the reason the descriptions are so consistent is that the people are working off of descriptions they have heard or read about rather than from a genuine sighting they’ve made themselves. While it’s almost certainly true this is the case with at least some sightings. It is difficult to argue, however, that this can account for all of the sightings reported for centuries all over the world. This type of behavior certainly can’t account for the photographs and videos that might depict the creature. Although it’s true that many eye witnesses might easily be mistaken, the majority of them seem to be completely sincere about what they think they’ve seen.
6. Shout It Out Loud
Although lesser known than the footprints, video and photographic evidence Bigfoot vocalization evidence has been an important part of ongoing research efforts. Bigfoot has long been associated with making loud and menacing cries and growls that are sometimes part of a sighting experience. Often the “witnesses” only hear evidence of the creature and never set eyes on a creature. Perhaps these sounds that are said to be audio evidence of the creature have become prominent because sounds are easier to capture than visual evidence. Critics would probably argue that the vocalizations are much easier to fake than the video and photographic evidence is to fake. Whatever the reason, however, vocalizations of unidentified animals are increasingly recorded and analyzed using the latest acoustic software. Although with out a live specimen’s vocalizations to compare to the recordings they cannot be considered to be definitive proof. Nevertheless many Bigfoot researchers consider the vocalization evidence to be more important than visual evidence that is often easily discredited. It has become common for Bigfoot researchers to go into the woods with microphones and recording equipment and attempt to elicit the vocalizations. The researchers do this by trying to mimic the Bigfoot calls and then hope for either an audible or visual response from a creature.
5. Jerking Bigfoot Around
If it’s true that there is no such thing as bad publicity than what do Bigfoot researchers think of Jack Link’s using the creature to sell it’s beef jerky snacks? Presumably Bigfoot would enjoy the bits of dry salty meat, but it probably wouldn’t enjoy the spotlight that it has attracted in our popular culture. The mysterious creature has been the subject of a number of movies, television shows, books, comics and toys since the 1960’s. Before Hollywood treated Bigfoot fans to the 1987 release Harry and the Hendersons there was Bigfoot’s infamous appearance on the 1970’s hit show The Six Million Dollar Man where the creature went up against the cyborg Steve Austin. Perhaps Bigfoot’s and his fans biggest boon has been the Internet. The world wide web sometimes seems to exist in order to spread and popularize arcane information to the masses. Enthusiasts used to speak to one another on the phone or at small gatherings, but cyberspace allows millions of people to connect on a daily basis to share, images, stories and other information. Cable television routinely airs documentaries of varying quality that offer the latest evidence of Bigfoot’s existence. As far as pop culture is concerned it is probably better for business if it remains a mystery rather than proven to exist.
4. Good Hair Day
Bigfoot researchers have tried many different ways to verify the existence of the shadowy creatures. Footprints, and photographic evidence have so-far come up short. Samples of supposed Bigfoot hair have appeared periodically over the years and held out as proof. Although many of them have been shown to be obvious attempts at fakery, other samples have not been brushed aside quite so easily. In 2012 a genetic researcher and self-proclaimed Bigfoot skeptic in Texas named Melba Ketchum says she subjected a collection of hair samples to repeated DNA analysis in her laboratory. After years of research she concluded that some of the hair samples were from an as yet unidentified primate she believes to be Bigfoot. Ms. Ketchum has further explained she believes that Bigfoot is a form of human hybrid formed approximately 15,000 years ago. Independent tests by other scientists would go a long way toward validating Ms. Ketchum’s work. This not the first time Bigfoot hair figured prominently in the attempt to prove the creature’s existence. In 1960 British explorers traveling in Nepal were shown an alleged Yeti scalp with intact hair that for a time was considered fairly convincing evidence that the creature was real. However, other researchers eventually concluded that the ” Yeti scalp” had been fabricated from the hide of a type of local mountain goat.
3. The Science of Monsters
Cryptozoology is the study of animals whose existence is in doubt. Bigfoot and its relatives around the globe such as the Yeti and Abominable Snowman are the primary focus of this research. Although cryptozoology is not considered to be a real branch of science like biology or chemistry, a lot of expertise, money and time has been expended trying to solve the mystery of Bigfoot’s existence. A number of researchers have tried to bring true science to bare on the question, but so far they have had inconclusive results. One researcher at a 2016 conference presented compelling teeth mark evidence found on elk bones that he argued were from an as yet unidentified hominid or early ancestor of man. This evidence was found in the Pacific Northwest and has so far not been debunked by mainstream scientists. Another area of research that is progressing and could lead to a breakthrough has to do with the science of smells: Bigfoot stinks. Many people who have had close encounters with the hairy beast report that he often emits a foul smell that is not easily forgotten. This odor problem would be in line with other primates such as mountain gorillas that release a powerful odor as a defense mechanism. Bigfoot researchers hope that evidence like this will continue to stack up until the reality of the creature becomes clear to everyone.
2. Great Ape
If Bigfoot is a real, but a still unidentified primate then there is a good chance its identity could turn out to be Gigantopithecus. Gigantopithecus is Greek for “Giant Ape” and the name certainly fits as fossil evidence shows that the large primate stood over 9 feet tall and weighed as much as 1,300 pounds. The fossil record also shows that this great ape lived at least as recently as 100,000 years ago. This is important because it would place the animal in the same timeframe as several other hominid species or early versions of man. However, many researchers believe the giant primate was likely more closely related to modern day Orangutans. There is disagreement over whether the animal was bipedal or walked on its knuckles like an ape. Either way it should be noted that the vast majority of Bigfoot sightings describe the creature walking in a true bipedal fashion like humans. Bigfoot’s upright gait is one reason many researchers think it is unlikely that most sightings are actually misinterpreted bear sightings by people unfamiliar with these animals. Misidentifying a bear as a Bigfoot has long been common way skeptics have dismissed sightings. Evidence points to Gigantopithecus being a herbivore which seems to be in line with theories about Bigfoot’s dietary habits. Most mainstream scientists refuse to comment about whether Bigfoot may in fact be modern day populations of Gigantopithecus. Although, many Bigfoot researchers and lay people alike hope that someday scientific evidence will solve the question once and for all.
1. Proof Of Life?
The most famous and the best evidence to date of the possible existence of Bigfoot is still a shaky piece of color film shot in 1967 by amateur photographers. The film footage in question was shot along Bluff Creek, one of the tributaries of the Klamath River in Northern California. This was a remote and rugged area, but it was pretty well traveled by loggers at the time who had previously made reports about finding large, unexplained footprints in the same area. Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin were traveling on horseback with a camera when they say they suddenly came upon a large creature. Patterson had recently become interested in the local legends about Bigfoot and was determined to gather evidence of the creature. Some critics have used Patterson’s interest in the creature against him saying he had a motive to stage the encounter. The film Patterson shot appears to be of a female Bigfoot and lasts just under a minute. However, it gives fairly clear images of the creature. Various critics and even Hollywood special effects teams have attempted to debunk the footage without success. Even skeptics of the film have been forced to admit if it is a hoax it was very well done and has so far stood the test of time. Both Patterson and Gimlin maintained the authenticity of the movie up to the time of their deaths. In 2002 a costume shop owner named Phillip Morris claimed to have provided an ape suit that was used in the Patterson film, but this man’s claims have remained unsubstantiated. Perhaps one day Bigfoot will be proven to be a real species of primate thought to be extinct, but until than millions of people around the world will continue to hope that this mysterious creature is real.