Bigfooter Buckley Gets More Media

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 2nd, 2007


Photograph on left of George Haas, René Dahinden, and Archie Buckley in Oakland, California, taken by Loren Coleman, 1975. On right, alone, Archie Buckley.

After posting my Bigfoot-related remembrance of Archie Buckley’s life, the media has discovered him anew and somewhat made a mess talking about his object of pursuit, Bigfoot. Let’s hope that’s not the part that is spread around tomorrow.

In recent days, northern California papers have published two new obituaries about Buckley. When the straight media discovered the Bigfoot angle to Buckley’s life, the papers apparently decided to publish articles about the under-the-radar humble researcher.

One, by a paper in Redding, printed a good factual piece.

Meanwhile in San Francisco, the paper there did a bit of mixing some of this, a little of that, adding some misinformation, and then came forth with their contribution. I congratulate them for interviewing a relative. They also demonstrated their article lifted my discovery that Buckley had died on the 37th anniversary of his own Bigfoot encounter, reworded my summary of his sighting history, and even used the phrase, “friendship and fish” that I had included in my obituary.

But then, in the case of this article from San Francisco, they just couldn’t help themselves and had to add in a bit of incredibly “bad data” to their obituary. It was an unnecessary mistake that has nothing to do with Buckley.

Below, you will note from the San Francisco Chronicle article, reporter Peter Bimrite wrote: “There were, of course, plenty of skeptics who took great joy in exposing hoaxes. The most infamous liar was Ray Wallace, who confessed on his deathbed a few years ago that the hulking creature he captured on home-movie footage was really his wife dressed in a gorilla suit.”

Restating reality, I must differ. The facts are: Wallace never gave a deathbed confession. Wallace’s family, after his death, told only of Ray Wallace’s use of wooden and plaster creations to place fake Bigfoot tracks in a few limited locations in California and Washington State in the late 1950s and 1960s. The film being referred to is not the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin footage, as any casual reader might assume, but of films made in 1969 and in early 1970s by Wallace. This crude home movies were known to be of Wallace’s wife in a terrible fake “Sasquatch” costume (probably a gorilla suit) soon after those films were made. There were no death bed confessions about them either.

Again, Ray Wallace had nothing to do with Archie Buckley, and the grounded, credible Bigfooter Buckley had nothing to do with prankster Wallace.

Now to the papers….

Thomas Buckley — devoted to study of Bigfoot

Peter Fimrite, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, July 1, 2007

If there is one thing clear from the writings of Thomas Arthur Buckley, it is that the legendary beast known as Bigfoot was misnamed.

The hairy ape-man, also known as Sasquatch, did not really have inordinately large feet for his size, according to Mr. Buckley, an expert on ambulation. What he had, Mr. Buckley wrote, was an enormous posterior.

Mr. Buckley, of all people, would know. He not only studied Sasquatch footprints, but claimed he once looked the foul-smelling forest dweller right in the eye after luring it out of its hiding place with what he said was “friendship and fish.”

The 89-year-old Bigfoot aficionado, who wrote extensively and talked on television about the elusive giant, died on June 18 at the Canyonwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Redding. His funeral was held Monday.

It was probably just a coincidence that Mr. Buckley’s death came on the 37th anniversary of the day he said he came face to face with the haunch-heavy brute and lived to tell about it.

Known to almost everyone as Archie, Mr. Buckley was born in 1917 in Alameda and raised in the island city. He played football and basketball and excelled as a pole vaulter at Alameda High School, where he graduated in 1936.

He lugged cameras for Ansel Adams in Yosemite in the summers of his youth, making friends with local American Indians, adopting their spiritual beliefs and developing a lifelong love of the wilderness.

He played a bit part in the movie “Robin Hood,” starring Errol Flynn, while attending Chico State University, where he graduated in 1941 with a bachelor’s degree in education. He married in 1942 and enlisted in the Army during World War II.

During the war, Mr. Buckley became a pioneer in the new field of physical therapy, serving as chief of physical reconditioning at McCloskey General Hospital, a Texas facility that specialized in amputation and neurosurgery.

After the war, he worked at the Veterans Administration hospitals in Oakland and Martinez, where he did extensive research on amputees and the benefits of rehabilitative exercise for the wounded and elderly.

His work on geriatric amputees was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1959.

Mr. Buckley was a member of numerous national medical associations and was on the U.S. Board of Civil Service Examiners for physical therapists, but he was best known for his alleged encounters with Bigfoot.

He was fascinated by the giant, bipedal ape and began venturing out into the Trinity Alps in the 1960s hoping to find the beast’s lair. His grandson, Cole Hudson, said he would hang salmon and shad 10 feet high in the trees and make “oook, oook” sounds in the night, trying to attract the creature.

On the night of June 18, 1970, an 8-foot-tall Sasquatch lumbered into his camp just south of the Trinity Alps and began gobbling the fish, Hudson said.

Mr. Buckley “was sleeping in the back of a Volkswagen Beetle at the time,” said Hudson, relating the story he heard numerous times. “He got a flashlight out, and it walked right over to the car and looked through the glass. They were almost face to face. It was an adult male over 8 feet tall. They exchanged glances for 10 to 15 seconds.”

That was Mr. Buckley’s closest encounter with Bigfoot, but he said he spotted several other hairy ape-men striding around subsequent camps and heard them wailing in the woods.

In his 1984 “Report on Sasquatch Field Findings,” Mr. Buckley said he found evidence of a dozen different Bigfoot individuals in the Sierra and Trinity mountains. The report claimed the size of Sasquatch’s feet had been “grossly exaggerated” but marveled at other attributes.

“Their gluteal muscles are extremely large, particularly the gluteus maximus,” he wrote. Mr. Buckley also vouched for the legitimacy of the controversial 1967 Bigfoot film by Roger Patterson.

“A key to the authenticity of his film is solidified in the size of her butt!” Mr. Patterson wrote about the striding creature. “No hoaxer could have dreamed that one up!”

Mr. Buckley’s observations came at a time of great public interest in the Bigfoot phenomenon. A collection of San Francisco-area Bigfoot researchers, including Mr. Buckley, formed the Bay Area Group to study the gangly gorilla-man. He and his fellow cryptozoologists were featured hunting the creature on an episode of “In Search Of” with Leonard Nimoy, titled “Monster Hunters,” in November 1978.

There were, of course, plenty of skeptics who took great joy in exposing hoaxes. The most infamous liar was Ray Wallace, who confessed on his deathbed a few years ago that the hulking creature he captured on home-movie footage was really his wife dressed in a gorilla suit.

Nevertheless, Hudson said, his grandfather believed in Bigfoot and hoped until his dying day that the endangered unidentified mammal would one day be protected.

“He was unflagging in his belief,” Hudson said. “He was very disappointed that there were people out there who were trying to take advantage of actual findings by throwing hoaxes into the mix.”

Mr. Buckley is survived by his wife of 65 years, Rhea Buckley, of San Leandro; daughters, Diane Hudson of Dublin and Sharon Winton of Shasta; son, Bill Buckley of Redding; five grandchildren; and seven great grandchildren.This article appeared on page B – 6 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Meanwhile, up the coast, the treatment was more straightforward.

‘Bigfoot’ researcher Buckley dies at 89

By Jim Schultz
Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Arthur Archie Buckley, an early Bigfoot researcher who claimed he first saw the legendary creature in 1970 in the Trinity Alps, died earlier this month at Canyonwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Redding. He was 89.

Funeral services were held Monday at the Chapel of the Chimes in Hayward.

Buckley, who died June 18, was featured with other Bigfoot hunters and researchers in a 1978 TV episode of “In Search of …” narrated by Leonard Nimoy of “Star Trek” fame.

But Buckley, who was not interested in any additional media attention, had interests that extended far beyond Bigfoot.

According to obituary information provided by his friends and admirers, Buckley, who enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II, was a medical administrative officer and served as the chief of reconditioning at the Army’s largest hospital specializing in amputation and neurosurgery. A pioneer in the then new field of physical therapy, he reportedly was instrumental in helping automobile engineers alter vehicles for World War II amputee victims.

After the war, Buckley went to work with the Veterans Administration in Oakland, helping veterans to try to overcome their physical limitations. He retired in 1969 from the VA Hospital in Martinez.

A lover of the outdoors, Buckley eventually became involved in the Bay Area Group (BAG) of Bigfoot researchers.

A tribute to him posted on a Bigfoot-related Web site by Loren Coleman, one of the world’s leading Bigfoot researchers and authors, said Buckley was unique.

“He was hearty, friendly and an incredible expert on feet due to his work with veterans who had foot disabilities, battle wounds and, most of all, amputations,” Coleman wrote. “He took his special expertise in feet and was able to read footprints with a keen eye to how the animal, hominoid or hominid, was walking, striding and/or running.”

In a report of his Bigfoot field findings, Buckley wrote that he found evidence of a dozen different Bigfoot in the Sierra Nevada and Trinity mountains. Redding Record Searchlight.

Thanks to David Pescovitz of Boing Boing for pointing out the San Francisco media report.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

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