Patterson Revisited

(Patterson film, 1967, Northern California)

I came across the Patterson film again recently. It's got to be one of my biggest tormenters. Why? Because my entire life, I always poo-poo'd the concept that this was genuine film. No one ever gets such extraordinary things on film and if they did, people would rush into the woods like madmen wanting to capture the beast.

It wasn't until the past 10 years or so that I've looked at the film differently. BF, after all, is not like an elusive ghost. It is a real biological creature that could be captured on film (although there are those who believe he is popping in and out of other dimensions).

I think what bothers me the most about the film is that going about debunking it is much like debunking ghostly evidence. To the outsider, it can be disputed too easily, but to the person who was there in the context, it is forever burned into their memory; they know the context, they know that they saw, smell and heard and they also know it was the genuine thing.

So, I feel some compassion now for Patterson and Gimlin when I view the film. I think about how I would feel if I got amazing ghostly evidence and people shot it down. In fact, Ben Hansen from “Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files” and I were talking, he mentioned how film can make people either believe something completely or say that it was easily faked with modern movie-making techniques. It has a polarizing effect.

This film is definitely polarizing.

One thing I talk about extensively in my upcoming book “Was That a Ghost?” is taking the context into account when looking at your encounter; taking into consideration your belief system and your explanatory style when evaluating an encounter. I am going to try to do the same here with the film.

Belief: I do believe in Bigfoot, not sure if I believe in the film (partially objective)

Context: I will review the context in which the film was taken (below).

Explanatory style: In comparing the pros and cons, I will try not to interject any belief system and keep myself objective (below).

The truth is, we must judge on just this case and not anything else. You might believe in ghosts, but each hunting case has to be handled very objectively. You know you believe in ghosts, but that does not have to mean that everything that happens is ghostly. Same here. I believe in BF and that will remain whether or not this film proves to me to be authentic.

This film, in other words, will not be the only thing that makes or breaks my belief.

I thought I should step away from a strange gut feeling that it's authentic when my head says it can't be. I figured I'd break down what bugs me about the film and what intrigues me about it and play “good guy/bad guy” with it.

What bugs me...

Why doesn't the creature react to horses and men shuffling after him? Surely, BF has not seen horses or such huge beasts, other than bears, before. Patterson clearly chases after him too, but BF just strides away like “whatever dudes!

Why is the face so hairy? I didn't expect to see the face covered completely in hair. I thought it would be more leathery like apes and have large bare areas.

How possible is it that these two men went looking for BF and actually found him? Had they been camping and filming their fun vacation and captured it, I would have believed them so much more.

No apparent calluses on elbows or knees. I'm not sure I know that much about how BF lives, but it seems to me that areas like elbows and knees would be worn down and callused from life outdoors, kneeling, leaning, and sleeping on the forest floor.

Why is his fur sooooo silky? I have long curly hair. When I go camping and lay down on the forest floor, my hair is filled with bits of leaves and all kinds of shit and it will stay there for days if I don't brush out my hair. I doubt BF has a groomer, but damn! His hair looks fine and not matted or dirty.

Most females in primate groups/man tend to stay with the children while the men do the scavenging. Why is this BF female wandering around alone? Where is her tribe? They should be social creatures if they are like their relatives.

Timing. She seemed a bit caught in the act by these men, but two men on horseback clomping through the woods, leaping over boulder-lined streams would be heard by her and she would have been leaving before they even got close and she wouldn't be taking a parallel trek to them, she would have high-tailed it away from them so that they see her backside. This chick BF seems to be doing the runway walk at a beauty pageant.

What intrigues me...

That this creature has pendulous fur-covered breasts is intriguing. It was a touch that one would not expect and men would likely, if designing a costume, just stick on some tits, not thinking about a mature female who has breast fed and not worn a bra her whole life. This is no silicone lady, she's the real deal in the chest department.

The location. It was a creek area and would likely be a spot where she might do some fishing or drinking.

They ran out of film. Really, if you were going to do this, you'd put this film early on the reel while the batteries are fresh. You wouldn't wait until the end of film to record it. They could have chased after BF and gotten even more film.

Profit. It didn't seem as if the men made a lot of money off the film. There was no Tom Biscardi'ish handling of the evidence that made it hard for anyone to view it or asking for cash to study it. They didn't go on a crazy publicity tour or anything else that would profit off such a find.

The head turn. This impressed me because up until now she seems to give a shit they're there, walking away at her own pace, but when she does look over her shoulder at them, it reminded me instantly of apes at the zoo that check you out as they walk away. They know not to completely ignore their stalkers.

The filming place. This one gets me because most of those hokey faked BF vids are deep in the woods where bushes and brambles, trees and thicket blot out the creature's details so we can't pick apart its authenticity. For 1967, for these men to create a hoax like this and have the cajones to put BF out in the open like that with a very well-captured view of the entire body in full-blooming sunlight was either really cocky or just freaking lucky timing.

If I could just have a few minutes with Gimlin, I'd want to ask him this:

"Dude, when Patterson had you wandering the woods looking for BF, did he lead the way that day? Did he seem pressured to get there at a certain time? Did he see the creature first? And, how far in did you follow it after you filmed it?"

I know my brilliant followers can add to this list of "bugs me" and "intrigues me." Feel free to do so. You know I love stimulating conversation on paranormal subjects.

(ape walks like man)


  1. Bigfoot's hair is silky smooth because he has a sponsorship deal with Herbal Essences!

  2. You should check out the documentary "Spotlight On The Patterson-Gimlin Film" and see some of the enhanced & stabilized footage. There's stuff revealed in there that has never been seen before.
    I think you can find a few clips from it on Youtube as well.

  3. I would like to remain open-minded about BF. However; I really doubt this footage. Just watching it gives me that uncomfortable vibe that this is fake.

    A few days ago, my neighbor's cat (Peppy's nemisis) was walking across my backyard giving me the same look as this BF. I lifted my camera to take a pic for my blog when the cat took off like Lindberg.

    It didn't know what the object in my hands was and didn't want to find out. If it is a genuine BF, it would have to be a stupid one.

  4. I'm open to the concept of Bigfoot, I believe that the footage is faked. Just seems too convenient, is all.

  5. Very intelligent responses. Steve, if BF uses herbal essences, I do not want to be in the woods when he starts making those sounds that always accompany the use of that shampoo--yikes! BG; I do believe on one of the dozens of BF documentaries I have, they stabilized it and digitally enhanced it. Was that the one where the dude was allowed to use the original film? That did take affect my opinion and open my eyes. Barry, BF hasn't had a reason to be timid like a cat, but still, Patterson said his horse reared and he spilled from it, so that should have scared BF a lot to see a huge beast making a commotion and rearing. HN, this is much the same problem that J&G have had with their show. They are looking for ghosts and if they find proof it's always suspect. It is hardest on folks looking for BF to prove him. I'd much more trust Mr. Smith from Cedar Rapids vacationing in the Cascades.

  6. ……. Sharon, thank you for this blogticle. There are never too many ghosts that Bigfoot can't get some of the limelight, too. When I was a kid, I loved the idea that the Patterson-Gimlin footage was authentic. Now, however, I think that we can conclude that it is a fake.

    Also, this blogticle in specific hints at the interdimensional aspect of the mystery. In the canon of Faery Magic, those who adhere to those praxese & outlooks have always considered the origin of them (Bigfoots) being a kind of Fae creature.

    One of my spiritual mentors, RJ Stewart, told some of us last year @ The Annual Fairy & Human Relations Congress held in the beautifully bucolic Pacific Northwest, that one of the seven who he works with, Jack, is a scout for him. He isn't a diminutive, gossamer-winged sprite. He answers to the description of this fellow.

    You're truly blessed, Sharon, & it's a great joy to watch as you scientifically woman, seemingly singlehandedly, a field largely still thought of as filled with cranks, hoaxters, and charlatans. You totally rock ~ (•8-D

  7. This was an insightful read. I am open to the idea of BF, and it could make sense about dimensional shifting, why they haven't been able to further observe or trap them, but there has to be more than we know.

    1. dimensional shifting? your name is very appropriate!

  8. Bror;
    You are light and magic that is much needed in this world, my big brother. We can never prove or disprove the film completely, but as I said, it wouldn't change my belief that he exists. Surprisingly, even though the film is compelling, it actually worked against my belief in BF in the long run because it felt contrived and too incredible and if that was hoaxed, how much else was hoaxed? I would assume that he is much smarter than any ape and much more cautious about human contact. I supposedly have a boat load of cousins in WV that I've never seen or met. They stay way up in the hills (squirrel eating types) and even though my family lives in the tiny towns around those mountains, they have yet to run into them. So, it's entirely possible to be hidden even in populated town areas without being seen.

    Hey, you're in BF's backyard, go search, buddy! It's the top of my bucket list #1 spot to hunt BF. You know, here's another example of readers giving ideas for posts. That just made me think I should print out that paranormal bucket list. Thanks friend!

  9. You might be interested in the recent "Bow-Nessie" picture.

  10. Sucio;
    I just saw that on my buddy Cullan's site "Strange State." I have to admit, I am not at all a believer in lake monsters, but that one did have me baffled. It's very unusual.

  11. Excellent work.

    This film. Such fun.

    The whole thing has always looked and felt hokey to me.

    The plethora of debunking points make more sense to me than anything pointing to its authenticity.

    For every "Aha!" there is a giant "hmmmm..."

    Animals are unpredictable and, as such, I hate to pin any debunking on the behavior of the alleged beast. I do, however, feel like the behavior of the people surrounding the film gives me no confidence.

    What I know for certain is that there has been a metric ton of analysis that has kept me in stitches over the years, both pro and con.

  12. Pangs;
    It's difficult because the logical side of me says that the creature's reaction and the context--the men going to find him and finding him makes it very questionable. I also think that as a hoax goes, it would be exceptional! I never ever took the film seriously until the past several years when documentaries and shows have been examining it seriously. It made me wonder if I missed something, so I started to look at it more and more. The more you look at it, the more it becomes a reality. It's a weird affliction how that works. Now, I am taking more time to listening to the nagging intuitive voice that says--look how she is not startled, not scared, striding alongside them... that's not natural for a beast that works so hard to hide.

    1. that voice is leading you away from the truth

  13. I just can't watch that video without my immediate reaction being "psssshaw....BF walks cooler than that"

    I can only come at it from best case measurements of everything for sizing comparisons.

    I try not to look at the video :P

  14. Looks like anatomically correct costume. You can still see the light skin around its eyes.

  15. Damn, that ape walking looks just the way I pictured BF walking through the woods. It is possible that BF is a giant ape (not quite as big as King Kong, lol).

  16. Julie;
    I'd seriously not consider him to be. The only time that an ape would walk like that would be either that he was trained in a circus and grew up being taught to walk like his master, or he for some reason has a condition that makes walking preferable. If you see a dog with no forelegs, they can actually learn to walk on their hind legs. If an ape's wrists or something were hurt, he would just simply compensate by walking. The proportions on apes are all wrong too. BF is reported with long legs which would make him more human like than ape like. He definitely sounds like a good mix of the two of us. The question would be his brain capacity--looks impressive when you see that film--if it's authentic. But, a smart ape would definitely have run out of there and probably not even been caught in the open in the first place.

    1. how many smart apes compared to stupid apes have you interviewed?

  17. Bror;
    You are brilliant! Yes, that's the pup I was thinking of. Crazy thing, huh? Well, we get humans who use their feet as hands, so adaptability is survival.

  18. I believe it was Loren Coleman who said something like, "If the PG film is ever proven to be authentic, we'll keep looking for Bigfoot. It it's ever proven to be a hoax, we'll keep looking for Bigfoot."

  19. BG;
    Exactly! Same for ghosts. No matter what evidence we come up with, believers will keep believing. In the book I have coming out soon, I said that the thing about the paranormal is that once a person has experienced it, he is forever changed into a believer, but a believer does not stop believing if a haunting is debunked.

  20. human behavior would lend itself to thinking its a fake...these creatures aren't part of most individuals believe systems growing there is no reason to think this is real..though if you really whole heartedly study this film and ignore the ridiculous hearsay and bias rumors ,and listen to the true experts who have spent years objectivley analyzing this film. You may find yourself considering the possibility that this film is very authentic. .Yes at first glance bigfoot does resemble a large ape like human in a suit..


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