Sasq-Watch Action Team   


Refuting Popular Evidence

The Sasq-Watch Action Team invites critical reviews of evidence presented by many sources, including evidence presented by other Bigfoot-oriented organizations, self-proclaimed experts, witnesses, and experimenters.  

Is the Patterson-Gimlin Film Real?

By: Nick Marinoff

Is the Patterson-Gimlin film real? For over 40 years, the footage of a bipedal, ape-like creature captured on a 16mm Kodak camera by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin in Bluff Creek, California has embedded itself in viewers’ minds, and Bigfoot researchers continue to argue over its validity. For many, it serves as the strongest evidence in support of the creature’s existence.

Throughout the years, photographic evidence of Bigfoot has continued to emerge. Though much of it has been respectively debunked, Patterson’s film still garners speculation. What is it that makes this grainy, less than a minute-long piece of footage so unique that analysts are consistently compelled to take another look?

One leading factor is the unusual gait and walk. In the video, the animal’s knees are bent as it meanders aimlessly through the forest. Experts claim that such a posture does not match the walking stance of human beings, who typically lock their knees as they move from one point to another.

This statement was supported on Monster Quest, which ran for three consecutive seasons on the History Channel. Strapping motion capture sensors to the body of a uniformed athlete, doctors instructed their subject to replicate the animal’s movements as best he could. The athlete failed to do so, suggesting further that the creature’s gait bears greater resemblance to that an animal, not a human.

Other examinations were also recorded. Primatologists who viewed the footage determined that the creature, based on its scale in the video, weighed anywhere between 350 and 700 pounds, yet manages to retain fluidity in its motions while walking. A person wearing a large suit and accessories to increase their size would likely be unable to move with the same stability. Enhanced images of the creature’s face also show what appears to be muscle definition around the jaws, eyes and forehead, and that the features are similar to those of a chimpanzee. If this is indeed a mask, it’s an extraordinarily detailed one, particularly for an era when make-up effects were crude and relatively limited.

After filming the animal, Patterson claimed to have discovered tracks, many of which contributed to his personal collection of plaster casts. According to Gimlin, their horses reacted in fear towards the figure, and the area has long been synonymous with Native American folklore surrounding the Oh-Mah, a race of alleged bipedal primates. Some of these stories date back to the early 1500s.

One consistent argument revolves around the creature’s breasts, signifying its “female status.” Many scientists claim that if the subject is a human in an ape suit, they’d be less likely to take specific means of adding female anatomy to the costume, and some experts note that the composition of the creature’s body is detailed enough to identify it as a living, breathing mammal.

Ironically, the figure’s feet have also been the subject of conjecture. Certain points of the film show the animal’s feet appearing bright white and similar in physicality to rubber-soled shoes, causing many skeptics to label the video as a hoax, yet Bigfoot researcher M.K. Davis, who has analyzed the footage on several occasions, advises viewers to pause and examine frame 61 specifically. In this segment, the definitive outline of a bipedal foot can be seen as it’s lifted in the air mid-step. A ball and heel accompanying five distinct toes (similar to the characteristics of a human foot) can be clearly observed, and a suit of such scope and accuracy would have likely been unavailable in the 1960s.

The fact that a single video could be analyzed for nearly fifty years shows that the enigma of Bigfoot is as strong today as it was then, and believers can expect further analyses before an official conclusion is reached. Until then, the film will remain open to interpretation; some will condemn it while others will validate it, and the roaring mystery surrounding Bigfoot’s existence is certain to live on for some time.

About the Author

Nick Marinoff is an avid writer, journalist, and cryptozoology fanatic. Check out his book on Amazon, “Take a ‘Loan’ Off Your Shoulders: 14 Simple Tricks for Graduating Debt Free.”

Claims in Popular Circulation. 

Claim: Sasquatch are nocturnal.

Our Conclusion: UNKNOWN.
  The actual habits of Sasquatch are not reliably documented by any scientific organization.  Eyewitness accounts of Sasquatch do not qualify as study of their life cycles.  Many sightings of Bigfoots have occurred in daylight hours.

Claim: Sasquatch eat deer.

Our conclusion: UNKNOWN. There is little, if any, evidence to suggest that Sasquatch eat deer.  No photograph, video, or corroborated eyewitness account has ever shown or described a Sasquatch eating deer.  Also, no account, description, photo, or video has ever shown a Sasquatch to carry tools, spears, weapons, traps, or nets.  It would be unlikely for a non-tool using hominid to be able to successfully capture or kill deer barehanded. More likely, Sasquatch are like humans, and have evolved to be opportunistic omnivores who will exploit any resources at their disposal.

Claim:  That noise wasn’t a fox or a squirrel, so it must have been a Sasquatch!

Our Conclusion: FALSE.  The public is regularly barraged by unsupportable conclusions being drawn by well-meaning people as well as pranksters.  There are many possible causes for unexplained noises in the woods, from dropping pinecones, to fishers, martens, porcupines, other animals, and people.  Direct observations and documentation are needed to corroborate strange howls and other calls to those purportedly being made by Sasquatch.  

Claim:  A  witness just related her story of a 12-foot-tall hairy monster, so it must have been a Sasquatch.

Our conclusion: FALSE.  We find it improbable that a bi-pedal hominid could reach that size and still function efficiently. It defies the mechanics of hominid physiology.  More likely, people often misjudge size, and are generally poor at estimating scale.  The public's acceptance of purported evidence from unreliable witnesses tends to discredit other evidence coming from more reliable sources. 

That shallow impression in the sand at the edge of a creek is a Sasquatch footprint.

Our Conclusion: UNKNOWN.  There are many possible environmental causes of impressions and indentations in soil.  Rolling rocks, barefoot kids, animals stepping on a piece of wood, natural depressions caused by flowing water, the passage of a dirt bike years ago can all cause temporary and persistent soil indentations.  The best evidence of a real foot print from a Sasquatch would come about by actually filming a Sasquatch walking, and then examining its print, supported by any possible DNA evidence found in the print.  

Claim: Scientific evidence of Sasquatch starts with the belief that they exist.

Our Conclusion:  FALSE.  Once one is a committed believer, that person will likely seek conclusions which would tend to validate their beliefs, even if those conclusions are unsupportable.  Researchers should remain objective, curious, open-minded, and evidence-driven.  

Northern Sierra Sasquatch habitat.  Robert Scott Film photo.

Claims made by Patterson-Gimlin Film:

The most famous of all film examples of a Sasquatch purportedly caught on camera is the Patterson-Gimlin film of 1967. 

Our Conclusion:  Most likely, FAKE. This looks like a reasonably well-crafted costume to us.  There are several observations we have made suggesting this is a person in a costume, and constitutes a well-planned hoax.  Please refer to  on-line video postings of the Patterson-Gimlin film to view what we have observed.

A note on the images: The use of small portions of stills from the original film falls under "fair use", as they are included only for sake of comment, criticism, and education.

The face is concealed by what looks to be a furry mask.  If one were to construct a costume such as this, it would have been much easier to cover the face with a fur mask than to accurately and believably create realistic facial features.  Hollywood style make-up effects were most probably not available to this film’s creators. 

Furry face mask.  No facial features.

The hands appear to be completely furry.  If one were to construct a costume such as this, it would be much easier to make the arms look long by having furry fake hands hanging at the end of the arms. Realistic looking fake hands that show skin are difficult to accurately construct.  Notice that as the “creature” walks across the shaky film, the hands and fingers do not move relative to their positions on the forearms.  The hands are also held in a position commonly associated with male human traits, even though the creature is depicted as female.

Furry hands.

The soles of the feet are bright white.  Looks like rubber soles to us.

Tennis shoe soles?

The breasts do not appear to move, as if they are packed with stuffing.

Stiff chest padding.

There is no intergluteal cleft, or to put it less delicately, there is no butt crack.  It looks like the creature’s furry bottom has been sewn together.

Intergluteal cleft appears sewn up.

The head is proportionately too small for the body.  This would suggest that several layers of clothing were worn under the costume to make the creature look larger and bulkier, and to help insure the fur suit was stretched tight so that no folds or loose flaps of material would be visible.  This makes the creature look well padded, fat, and out of shape.  We doubt that Bigfoots are couch potatoes.

Small head. Furry ridge from head to mid-scapular area suggests stretched tight material.

We see no evidence of muscle movement, as is claimed by others.  The creature was filmed from a relatively long distance, and the original film does not have the resolution or clarity to affirmatively indicate musculature. 

Eyes are not visible at all, even as blurry dark dots.  This would suggest the costume included a full pull-over hood. 

In several frames, it can be observed that the back of the hood appears to be attached to the mid scapular area of the back, drawing tight as the creature walks, and creating an apparent ridge of fur from the back of the head down the back of the costume. A real hominid would be unlikely to feature such a ridge.

Look at the big picture.  We're talking about the context, setting, and circumstances surrounding this film.  Those who accept this film as genuine point to possible muscle twitches, while the totality of the circumstances are ignored.  With all of the loud footfalls created by men on horseback in a rocky creek-bed, we believe it is unlikely a secretive hominid would decide to expose itself in the open creek area.  Dense woods are immediately adjacent to the supposed Bigfoot when the film first shows the creature.  The horsemen were out in the open filming it. A more likely scenario would have the Bigfoot waiting in the cover of the woods until the humans on horseback had passed. 

Final note.
The Sasq-Watch Action Team does not discount the existence of relict hominids.  We are very interested in identifying strong, reliable, credible evidence to support the existence of this member of the human family.  However, the evidence must be scientifically supportable, testable, and irrefutable.

Sasq-Watch Action Team presents and evaluates evidence of relict hominids, Bigfoot or Sasquatch, living in North America, using empirical & physical evidence.

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