original illustration by Rohit Singh

 

Welcome to week two of Spooktober: A Cryptid Extravaganza. Last week, we went over the prophet of destruction, The Mothman of Point Pleasant. This week, we go over everyone’s favorite jerky mascot and the most identifiable cryptid of the bunch — Bigfoot.

Walking around on two legs like a normal human, this passive creature is a roughly 8-foot tall ape-man with large feet and hair all over its body. It lives in secluded areas of the earth and is rarely seen outside of the forest where it dwells. Bigfoot goes by many names — Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Yeti — and roams many paths.

Bigfoot is mainly seen in the Northwest United States (Washington, Oregon, Northern California, etc.), but there have been sightings all around, from Florida to Maine to Utah. Either there’s just one quick Bigfoot running back and forth or several Bigfeet around the world. The latter seems more likely because there have been sightings of similar beasts in eastern Europe and Australia, and the Yeti or the Abominable Snowman is actually the Himalayan cousin of our hairy friend. 

One popular explanation is that Bigfoot was made as a marketing ploy to help forest preservation and animal protection during the 1950s. I believe this isn’t the case because Native American tribes have been telling stories of Sasquatch-like creatures back before Europeans set foot on the continent.

Bigfoot really came into the public eye after the famous “Patterson-Gimlin film,” simply known as the “Patterson film.” If you don’t remember what that is, maybe this picture will help:

Wiki Commons and The Public Domain
The Patterson Film – Frame 352

The Patterson film, which purported to be authentic footage of Bigfoot roaming in the wild, was filmed in 1967 by Roger Patterson and Robert Gilman in the Bluff Creek Area of northern California. This film came with some controversy, however. A year prior, Patterson’s self-published book, “Do Abominable Snowmen of America Really Exist?” was released to lackluster reviews. The Patterson film could have easily been a marketing ploy for his book, although he was passionately fighting for its authenticity up until his death in 1972.

Bigfoot is likely the most-used cryptid in film and popupar media. If I were to suggest the best of the best, I would say “Harry and the Hendersons” and “The Goofy Movie” are the best movies with Sasquatch. Also, again, “The Adventure Zone.” I can’t plug the second season enough. This is the last time, I promise.

Bigfoot is probably the best gateway to studying cryptozoology. It’s not hard to believe that another breed of ape lives in the undiscovered areas of the land, sneaking around in the forests we dare not travel for the fear of the known, not fear of the unknown.

#MakeCryptidsCoolAgain

m.falkner@dailyutahchronicle.com

@FalknerMarshall 

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