Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Patterson-Gimlin Film (Part 1)

It's not zapruderesque, but 60-second footage of what the filmmaker called a Bigfoot has become as famous (some say infamous) as the subject matter it depicts.

By Mike Payne from Unsolved Mysteries

It's the most famous pose this side of the Heisman.

There she is (presumably a she because this figure is a little too busty to be a male), in mid-stroll, seemingly looking at a cameraman rolling film as what has been called a Bigfoot by some and a man in a costume by others, walks through a partially wooded area in far northern California. 

The date is October 20, 1967. 

And we still don't know if it's real or not. 

Oh, there are plenty who believe the film is legitimate and just as many folks who denounce it as a sophomoric hoax. Yet nobody knows for sure. Or at least no one can, without a doubt, prove it one way or the other. 

Of course it didn't help that the man who filmed the scene - a former rodeo cowboy named Roger Patterson - died of cancer about five years after the film emerged. Right up to his death, Patterson - a self-proclaimed Bigfoot enthusiast who authored a book titled "Do Abominable Snowmen of America Really Exist?" in 1966 - insisted the 60 seconds of footage he shot was real and legitimate. Bob Gimlin maintained a stony silence for years before offering some insight into the film, most notably that he - Gimlin - had not knowingly participated in a hoax of any kind. When it was suggested to Gimlin that maybe he had been duped at the time the footage was shot, he stopped short of confirming or denying that could have happened. In a phone interview in 1999 with the BBC for its "The X Creatures" show, Gimlin said, "I was totally convinced no one could fool me. And of course I'm an older man now... and I think there could have been the possibility [of a hoax]. But it would have to be really well planned by Roger [Patterson]." 

Gimlin was there when the footage was shot. As both he and Patterson explained shortly after the film found its way to a monster-centric public, the film's origins began with Patterson's idea of searching an area of northern California where several large Bigfoot-like footprints had been found in the recent past. Patterson rented a Kodak 16mm camera and he and Gimlin took to horseback to travel the terrain of the his Rivers National Forest along Bluff Creek that sits several miles south of the California-Oregon border and about 18 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. 

According to Patterson, his horse began to rear and act up when it saw the unidentified hairy subject. Patterson reported that he tried to calm the horse but that the horse threw him. He still was able to get to his feet and attempt-ed to calm the horse down while he pulled his camera out of a saddle-bag. He then turned the camera on and - running toward where the creature had been - yelled for the armed Gimlin to "cover" him. Gimlin then rode his horse along a creek with Patterson in sight. He eventually dismounted his horse in case it became spooked at a sighting.

Tomorrow, part 2 of this article will be posted.

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