Anniversary of the Patterson/Gimlin Film

It was on this date – Oct 20, 1967 – that the famous Patterson/Gimlin film was reportedly shot alongside Bluff Creek in northern CA. This controversial, 59.5-second film, depicts a hairy, man-like creature walking away from Roger Patterson, who had chased it a short distance and then claimed to have fallen to the ground to capture the now famous segment. Some have deemed it an elaborate hoax, while others heralded it as genuine proof of the existence of Sasquatch. We may never know what the truth is. However, what I do know for sure is that this film had a significant impact on me.

I had just turned five years old when the film was reportedly made. I don’t recall when I first saw it or had even heard of Bigfoot, but within a few years the film began to make its rounds in the local theaters. When it came to my hometown I begged my parents to let me see it. We didn’t often go to movies, so I considered it a special treat to be taken to the cinema to see the film.

Sitting in that darkened theater, my world changed slightly as the Patterson/Gimlin film was projected onto the big screen. It frightened me deeply, but intrigued me even more.

I was mesmerized. Could it be possible that an ape-like creature that walked on two legs was stalking the forests of North America? Since our family home was nestled in the woods I began to wonder if there could be Bigfoots wandering in my backyard. The film left such an impact on me that I could rarely visit the woods during my youth without wandering if I might run into a Sasquatch.

I’m no longer a little boy but I still wonder about Bigfoot as I visit the out of doors. Reports of Sasquatch/Bigfoot have circulated this country from the the early 1800s. The reports continue to come in. Today, however, there are a number of organizations that compile these reports and conduct field investigations as follow up. One of the most best-known organizations is Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BRFO). This organization maintains a website where the reports of sightings are organized by location.

In spite of the number of sightings that the various organizations receive, skepticism is also abundant. This is not without good reason. There have been a number of well-known hoaxes. In 2002, on his deathbed, Ray Wallace confessed that he had faked Bigfoot tracks at a construction site in northwest CA. In 2012 Randy Tenley was killed by a car when he stepped out on the road wearing a ghillie suit as he was attempting to incite Bigfoot reports in his area.  And in 2014 Rick Dyer took the body of what he claimed was a dead Bigfoot on tour, for which he charged people to see. He eventually confessed on Facebook that it was a hoax.

Roger Patterson, who shot the famous film, died in 1991. He went to his deathbed claiming the film was genuine. Bob Gimlin, who was with Patterson that day, is 88-years old and continues to claim that what they saw was real. However, in 1999, Bob Heironimus came forward stating that he was the man in the Bigfoot costume who was filmed that fateful day. Both Patterson and Heironimus passed polygraph tests. We may never know the truth.

Whatever the case may be, the lure of the unknown is worth celebrating.












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