Monday, July 11, 2016

On the Track of the Sasquatch by John Green (an excerpt)

The late John Green wrote a remarkable book on Sasquatch and gave a detailed account on who Roger Patterson was who shot the controversial bigfoot film in 1967.

From "On the Track of the Sasquatch" by John Green from

Roger Patterson's Movie 

For years I have been told that if there were such a thing as a Sasquatch someone would have taken a picture of it. Last year someone did, but it has not brought the matter much closer to a conclusion. As a matter of fact I know of four occasions on which a Sasquatch has been photographed. Twice, some years apart, the photographs were taken from planes, both near Sonora, California. At least once they came upon the thing by following tracks that could be seen from the air. I have not seen either of these pictures but apparently neither is very clear.

Another set of pictures came to light as a result of a series of newspaper articles in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1965. Dick Russell, assistant manager of Brooks Cameras, told the Chronicle the pictures were brought in more than five years previously by a grizzled woodsman who gave his name as Zack Hamilton and told of being stalked by a hairy monster in the Three Sisters Wilderness area of central Oregon. He never came back for his films.

Apparently most of the pictures have since been mislaid, but the paper published one of them. It is focused in the foreground and the "hairy monster" is just a black blob which appears to have arms, legs and a head. It is so much out of focus that the monster could even be a freak shadow effect. If the other pictures could be found, however, it might be useful to compare the shape of the blob and its position relative to other objects. If it shows motion it would almost certainly be the real thing, and indeed there is no particular reason to doubt it. The intriguing question, to me, is what became of Zack Hamilton.

Finally, and by far the most important, there is the movie taken by Roger Patterson in the Bluff Creek area of Northern California in October, 1967.

Roger Patterson is one of a half dozen men in North America who are at present actively engaged in investigating the Bigfoot/Sasquatch phenomenon. Many people seem to think that makes his picture highly suspect—which makes about as much sense as saying that a burglar has been framed because the man who caught him was a policeman on duty.

Patterson got into the Sasquatch game well after the start, when the big fuss in northern California had died down and the "expeditions" had all departed. He didn't let it lie dormant long.

In his 30's, married, with three children, Patterson is a former rodeo rider and still spends as much of his time as he can on horseback. His home is in ranch and orchard country west of Yakima, Washington, and he makes a precarious living as an inventor and promoter.

His interest in "Bigfoot" started with an article by Ivan Sanderson in True Magazine in December 1959, but he did not do very much about it until 1964 when he went to Willow Creek, and talked to a number of people there who were interested in the big tracks. Although it is about fifty miles away from the area where most of the tracks have been seen, Willow Creek is the nearest town of any size and has seen a lot of Bigfoot hunters come and go. It is also home for many loggers and road construction workers who have seen tracks on occasion, and Patterson had no trouble hearing firsthand stories.

From there he went to Bluff Creek itself, and had the good fortune to meet Pat Graves, a road builder at that time employed by the Forest Service in a job that took him over many of the dirt roads in the area and also out beyond the present roads into the bush.

Graves not only told him of numerous tracks he had seen over the years, some many miles from any road, he also was able to direct him to a set of tracks made just a few days before.

That Patterson saw tracks on a casual visit to the Bluff Creek area is by no means as coincidental as it might seem. I have only been there twice when there were no tracks. A man named "Skip" Clark, then an Annapolis cadet, is reported to have been able to get almost perfect casts of fresh tracks, without prearrangement, on two consecutive visits.

While Patterson was at Willow Creek he was able to see a collection of clippings kept by Betty Allen, and to talk to Al Hodgson, another local Bigfoot investigator. They gave him the names of numerous people to see up and down the country and got him thoroughly launched on his investigation.

The next thing Patterson did was to bring out a book, which had a good deal that was new. This included reports uncovered by another investigator, Lee Trippett of Eugene, Oregon, and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, and newspaper articles about a famous incident in 1924 when the "Giant Hairy Apes" of Mount St. Helen's staged a night raid on a cabin occupied by a group of miners in what is now called Ape Canyon. He also drew pictures from eyewitness descriptions to illustrate the book.

His next move was to start making a documentary film on the subject.

Most readers will probably have seen a picture or two taken from the movie, if not the movie itself. I do not have the right to use pictures from it in this book, although Rene Dahinden and I have had Canadian lecture rights to it. It shows a female creature just such as so many people have described, walking erect on two legs, extremely heavy of build, and completely hair covered. The movie is not sharp enough to show facial detail, but it is plain that most of the face is hair covered, and that the head has heavy brow ridges and a peak at the back, like an ape, but does not have an ape's projecting jaw. The thing has no neck at all, a point emphasized by many people who have told of seeing one of these creatures,. The cars do not show. Arms and legs, although extremely wide and thick, do not show any bulging muscles, but there are heavy buttocks—something no ape has. The foot comes down on the ground heel first, not flat or up on the toes.

Persons seeing the film, even "trained observers" with qualifications in zoology, almost get the impression that the creature walks just like a man and has a build that would not be abnormal for a man. Frame by frame study of the movie and measurements of the proportions of the figure contradict both these impressions. The stride is actually much smoother than a normal man's, because the knee is bent as the weight comes on it. A walking man bobs up and down as his body goes over the top of his straightened leg. The Sasquatch in the film moves in a flowing fashion, with her leg being bent at all times. It is much straighter when she is reaching out in full stride than when it is bearing her full weight.

No precise measurements are possible, but taking as a standard the length of the foot, which is known from the track to be about 141/2 inches, the creature measures about seven feet in height and not much less than three feet in width across the shoulders. This is half again as wide as a heavily built man, and other dimensions are proportionately heavy. Her thigh is as big as a normal man's chest, her ankle as big as his thigh. Her arms are long enough to span close to nine feet; two feet more than her height, but her body is also very long, so that her arms do not appear to hang very low. Her legs are shorter than those of a normal man. These dimensions cannot be taken as typical for all Sasquatch, since both apes and man show extreme variations in body shape, but they do add to the problems for those who would like to dismiss the film as a hoax.

To begin with, the film itself has not been tampered with. Hollywood, as everyone knows, can produce virtually anything in a film, even the same person playing two parts or imaginary monsters throwing around real people. These "special effects," however, are done in the film laboratories, and the technical people at Canawest Films Ltd., who worked on Patterson's film for us, state categorically that it is an original, not tampered with in any way.

Such a thing could be a machine, but estimates of the cost of making one run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If it is not an animal or a machine, it would have to be a man in a suit. So far no scientist has been able to point out anything that would indicate this to be the case—even though most of them have been under the mistaken impression that it is about the same shape as a man. Several have said that they can see what looks like muscle movement —that the moving limbs behave like living flesh, not like padding. A particular problem with the "fur suit" explanation is the fact that the shoulder joints are about a foot farther apart than those of any man who could be found to wear the suit, yet the thing is able to swing its arms widely and with complete freedom, without any padding being obvious. Anyone who has ever taken a close look at a football player wearing shoulder pads, or who can remember when men's suits were built to give the illusion of great shoulder width, will realize that it is quite obvious when the padding is any amount wider than the shoulder.

Bob Titmus came down from Kitimat to see Roger's movie when it was shown at the University of British Columbia, and then went on down to Bluff Creek to see what he could learn there. He found the location where the movie was made and followed the tracks across the creek and up on the opposite hillside, where it appeared the creature had sat for a while watching what was going on down on the sandbar. Bob wrote to me that tracks confirmed exactly what Roger and Bob Gimlin had said. He brought back 10 casts of consecutive tracks.

Last June I went back to Bluff Creek myself, meeting Jim McClarin there, and we were again able to locate the scene of the film—traces of some of the tracks were still visible. Using slides made from the movie we were able to locate the exact spot where Patterson's camera was when his movie was taken—finding to our surprise that he took most of the footage kneeling or crouching. With Jim, who stands almost 6 feet 6 inches in his boots, acting the part of the Sasquatch, we reenacted the movie. Comparison of slides of the two films has established beyond doubt that the Sasquatch was not much under seven feet in height and extremely heavy.

Click here to buy "On the Track of the Sasquatch" from to finish reading!

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