Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 2nd, 2011
Osama bin Laden has been killed by U.S. Navy Seals, reportedly on May 1, 2011.
In 2007, I looked at the supposed height of bin Laden, and post this again, with some temporal revisions, with all due respect to the victims of this terrorist.
Was Osama bin Laden as tall as Bigfoot? This is a serious consideration of a subject, although a few would rather make fun of it by just reading the headline and not the blog here: What happens with eyewitness reports of height? The parallel between the alleged stature of Osama bin Laden and Bigfoot, two topics that do not make me laugh, is remarkable.
Was bin Laden as tall as Bigfoot?
The answer may be a careful “Yes.” Here’s why.
According to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted notices and poster, Osama bin Ladin was given as having a height of 6′ 4″ to 6′ 6″. Six and a half feet tall. A half a foot short of seven feet tall.
It is doubtful that bin Laden ever went beardless, btw.
If you overview the sources for the heights of Bigfoot and Sasquatch, a reader can locate all kinds of height quotes. One can find reports of 12- 14 feet tall Sasquatch (Pitt Lake, BC) ~ but those may be of “True Giants,” and not the supposed the run-of-the-mill 9 feet tall Bigfoot and 8 feet tall Forest Giants. Some reports of Bigfoot range up to 20 feet tall, which have been categorized as “True Giants” by researcher Mark Hall. In general, various books, television shows, and experts talk about Bigfoot being between 7 and 8 feet tall.
John Green says Bigfoot average seven and a half feet tall, a figure Jerome Clark repeats in his Encyclopedia of Strange and Unexplained Physical Phenomena. George Eberhart in his two-volume encyclopedia Mysterious Creatures writes that Bigfoot’s height is “an average of 7 feet 10 inches.”
What’s realistic in both of these realms, regarding the height of Osama bin Laden and the height of Bigfoot?
The general feeling for Osama bin Laden, from the FBI and governmental sources, was of a giant of a (but evil) man. An urban myth has developed of this large, imposing figure who headed Al Qaeda. His height, as noted, is, thanks to the FBI, said to be six and a half feet, towering above others. Thus, in some fictionalized movie scenes, the character of bin Laden or a Osama-clone is shown walking tall among men in a crowded marketplace or at a desert encampment.
With the publication of Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, the beginning of the demystification of Osama bin Laden started.
After five years of talking to interviewees who had met bin Laden, Wright shattered the myth of the 6′ 6″ height of bin Laden, bringing to light that the leader of Al Qaeda stands only about six feet tall, with some eyewitnesses saying he is only 5′ 7″ in height.
Wright says that an optical illusion is often created by bin Laden who surrounded himself with bodyguards from Yemen, who traditionally are physically short. Also, he would most often be photographed sitting down. (The Yemeni mastermind of the bombing of the Cole, Jamal Mohammad al-Badawi is said to be 5′ 5″ tall. Other Al Qaeda fugitives wanted for the African embassy bombings are Yemenis Ahmed Salim Swedan and Fahad Mohammed Ally and both are listed as 5′ 6′ – 5′ 8″.)
Now, let’s get to the reality behind how tall Bigfoot is.
In one forgotten but famous statement Bernard Heuvelmans said: “A creature covered with long hair always looks bigger than it really is,” (Personality, South Africa, June 5, 1969), in reference to reported heights of 7 feet for creatures leaving 10 inch long tracks.
Eyewitness reports and the linked height estimates for how tall is Bigfoot must be viewed with skepticism.
Please look to the one piece of evidence that clearly gives us a good foundation from which to judge the height of Bigfoot: the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin footage.
Roger Patterson was physically short and rode a short Welsh pony at Bluff Creek in 1967. His frame of reference for any experience must be considered from his point of view.
The Bigfoot filmed along Bluff Creek on October 20, 1967, rose to a full height which Roger Patterson estimated to be seven feet, four inches. 7′ 4″!
Jim McClarin (above, left), as filmed by John Green, is compared to the Bigfoot, in situ, at Bluff Creek, California, as filmed by Roger Patterson.
Though the initial reaction, even after viewing the film repeatedly, was that a 7 feet tall Bigfoot had been sighted and filmed, soon the so-called McClarin analysis showed something entirely different, heightwise. This first filmed analysis by John Green of the exact site using researcher Jim McClarin as a stand-in for Bigfoot, showed the creature may have been only six feet, six inches tall.
A closer reading of John Green demonstrates that this filmed Bigfoot may be even shorter.
Dr. D. W. Grieve, an English anatomist, after looking at the Patterson-Gimlin footage and the McClarin film, thought the Bigfoot was not over 6 feet, 5 inches. John Napier in his The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality wrote: “Earlier comments that this specimen was just under 7 ft. in height and extremely heavy seem rather extravagent. The present analysis suggests that Sasquatch was 6 ft. 5 in. in height.”
Green writes on page 124 of his Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us (1978): “At one time I was certain that the creature was several inches taller than Jim (at 6 ft. 5 1/2 ins. in his boots, 180 lbs.), particularly since it is more stooped. Now I am aware that it is possible to line up some frames so that Jim appears to be as tall or even taller.”
So it appears, legend and myth have turned Osama bin Laden and Bigfoot into giants bigger than they may have actually been. In reality, both bin Laden may have been under 6.5 feet in height, and Bigfoot too, much shorter than is generally acknowledged. While we consider they both did and do exist, unfortunately, it also must be said the group known as Bigfoot/Sasquatch remains elusive and at large.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.