Little Bits of History

What Big Feet You Have

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 20, 2013


October 20, 1967: Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin shoot a 53 second film with a 16 mm hand-held Kodak movie camera. The star of the film was about 100 feet from the photographer. The leading man was Bigfoot, or else a tall human in a modified gorilla costume. Patterson had spent years searching for Bigfoot (Yeti, Sasquatch). He had written a book on the subject pointing out evidence in support of the creature’s existence. He and his friend, Bob Gimlin, were near Yakima, Washington looking for Bigfoot.

The two were riding horses in the Six Rivers National Forest when they saw a female Bigfoot by a creek. The sight frightened Patterson’s horse who reared and threw Patterson to the ground. Patterson grabbed his camera and pursued the creature on foot. Gimlin watched with a rifle in hand should the creature attack. Both humans had agreed to shoot only in self-defense. They estimated the height of the creature to be over 7 feet and figured the weight to be 700 pounds. Footprints left in the sandy soil measured 14.5 by 6 inches. Fearing confrontation, the humans did not give chase into the woods.

All evidence for the creature’s existence is circumstantial. There have been no concrete artifacts located, such as skeletons, scat, or fur. Sightings are always adults without children or teens ever seen. Many of the people claiming to have had encounters with the giants have later recanted, admitting to perpetrating a hoax. So, was the Patterson film a hoax? Gimlin is adamant that he was not involved in any trickery. Patterson died of cancer in 1972. Gimlin admitted there was a possibility that Patterson set up a person dressed in a gorilla suit and filmed it without Gimlin’s knowledge.

There are proponents who insist Bigfoot exists. The arm length of the creature filmed is given as proof. D. W. Grieve, M Sc., Ph.D. has stated the film speed is crucial to determining if the film is fake or not. If the 16 mm film was shot at 16 or 18 fps (feet per second), the gait is inconsistent with human walking. If shot at 24 fps or greater, Bigfoot happens to walk just like a human. In 2002, Philip Morris claimed to have made the suit worn by the film star. Bob Heironimus claimed he was the person inside the suit.

“One can hardly quarrel with a movie taken at a range of approximately 100 feet . . . but of course it all depends on the movie – and the star.” – John Napier

“The Bigfoot researchers say that no human can walk that way in the film. Oh, yes they can! When you’re wearing long clown’s feet, you can’t place the ball of your foot down first. You have to put your foot down flat. Otherwise, you’ll stumble.” – Philip Morris

“Another thing, when you put on the gorilla head, you can only turn your head maybe a quarter of the way. And to look behind you, you’ve got to turn your head and your shoulders and your hips. Plus, the shoulder pads in the suit are in the way of the jaw. That’s why the Bigfoot turns and looks the way he does in the film. He has to twist his entire upper body.” – Philip Morris

“Roger Patterson set out to make a Bigfoot documentary. He immediately stumbled upon a Bigfoot. Not only that, he stumbled upon a Bigfoot that was out in the open in bright, clear sunshine, perfect weather for filming. He didn’t just beat the odds. He gave the odds a royal whipping.” – Robert B. Stein, hoax expert

Link of actual film at You Tube
Stabilized animated gif of the film.

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Most human societies have a creature who is larger-than-life somewhere in their legends. Wildmen living in the Pacific Northwest have existed in tales prior to Europeans arriving in the area. They had different names and their large creatures had some different habits, but they are described similarly. In 1951, Eric Shipton photographed what he called a Yeti footprint and brought the subject into more mainstream consciousness. However, there were reported contacts with Bigfoot even before this. In 1925 a prospector claimed to have been abducted and five other miners claimed to have been attacked at a different site. In 1941, a mother and her children escaped with Sasquatch approached their house, according to her. In 1958 more footprints were found by a bulldozer operator. Then lastly in 2007, a motion triggered camera shot a picture of something, either Bigfoot, or a bear with the mange.

Also on this day: Subway Vigilante – In 1987, Bernard (Bernie) Goetz was sentenced.
Football Fiasco – In 1851, Johnny Bright was injured on the field.
Kragujevac – In 1941 the Kragujevac massacre began.

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