Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 19th, 2007
In 2002, this was labeled as a frame of film showing Elna Wallace reportedly inside this Bigfoot suit, or did a photo editor mixed up the old Ray Wallace footage with the old Ivan Marx fake Bigfoot footage to talk about the Patterson-Gimlin film? Of course, this was not the first time that newspapers confused their Bigfoot films, now was it?
Mark Hall notes in his overview published here today, that in 2002, I brought to the attention of the Bigfoot community the media’s poor unfolding of Ray Wallace’s history. I stated especially newspapers were totally confusing the Wallace family’s claims of Ray hoaxing footprints and the making of his own 1970s’ films with the filming of the Roger Patterson-Bob Gimlin footage in 1967.
Even though I first told the Seattle Times’ Bob Young about Ray Wallace’s death, that Wallace was a trickster, and that Young might wish to talk to the family about Ray’s prank tracks that a few of us had known about for years, the reporter decided to interview and quote others beyond the business of Wallace’s fake footprints.
Here is the media madness chronology I recorded five years ago:
The specific evolution of this new media hoax can be seen clearly in how this leapt from one newspaper to the next.
Bob Young’s Seattle Times article for December 5, 2002, has this segment:
[Mark] Chorvinsky believes the Wallace family’s admission creates profound doubts about leading evidence of Bigfoot’s existence: the so-called Patterson film, the grainy celluloid images of an erect apelike creature striding away from the movie camera of rodeo rider Roger Patterson in 1967. Mr. Wallace said he told Patterson where to go “near Bluff Creek, Calif.” to spot a Bigfoot, Chorvinsky said.
“Ray told me that the Patterson film was a hoax, and he knew who was in the suit,” Chorvinsky said.
Michael Wallace said his father called the Patterson film “a fake” and said he had nothing to do with it. But he said his mother admitted she had been photographed in a Bigfoot suit. “He had several people he used in his movies,” Michael Wallace said.Bob Young, Seattle Times, December 5, 2002
The USA’s Associated Press release for December 6, 2002, included this paragraph:
[Ray] Wallace said he told Patterson where to spot a Bigfoot near Bluff Creek, California, Chorvinsky recalled.
“Ray told me that the Patterson film was a hoax, and he knew who was in the suit.”
Michael Wallace said his father called the Patterson film “a fake” but claimed he’d had nothing to do with it. But he said his mother admitted she had been photographed in a Bigfoot suit, and that his father “had several people he used in his movies.”Associated Press, December 6, 2002
The story was then telescoped in this misleading paragraph in the Scotsman of Sat 7 Dec 2002:
Mr Wallace later persuaded his wife to dress up in a monkey suit for ‘Bigfoot’ photographs, and he told Roger Patterson, a rodeo rider, to set up his camera to film the famous footage, shot in 1967, which supposedly showed the creature walking up the hillside.Scotsman, December 7, 2002
The above and more was misunderstood or misread, and re-written as the following in the Evening Telegram of London, for Sat 7 Dec 2002, in an article, “That’s not Bigfoot, that’s my wife” by Oliver Poole, who was reporting from Los Angeles. The story was then picked up by such news outlets as the Strait Times of Singapore and others. Poole’s article reads, in part:
Mr Wallace continued with the prank for years, producing photographs of Bigfoot eating elk and frogs. These, it emerged yesterday, were, in fact, members of his family – usually his wife Elna – dressed in a hairy ape suit with giant feet stuck to the bottom.
The most famous evidence for Bigfoot’s existence, the so-called Patterson film, a grainy, cinefilm image of an erect ape-like creature, was taken by Roger Patterson, a rodeo rider, in 1967. It was another of Mr Wallace’s fakes, the family said – he told Mr Patterson where to go to spot the creature and knew who had been inside the suit.Oliver Poole, Evening Telegram, December 7, 2002
The story then jumped back across the ocean, to land on Sun 8 Sun 2002, in Vancouver, British Columbia’s The Province, in an article by Stuart Hunter entitled – “‘Fake’ Sasquatch flick won’t halt Bigfoot hunt” as this…
Despite a stunning claim last week that the most compelling film footage of the ape-like creature is a fake, Bigfoot hunters say they won’t stop pursuing their elusive and smelly quarry.
The family of Ray Wallace admitted after his recent death from heart failure in California that while the Bigfoot footprints were huge, the hoax was much, much bigger.
That was no man dressed in a gorilla suit in the infamous Patterson-Gimlin grainy black and white film footage from 1967 — that was Wallace’s wife Elna.
Reporter Hunter even then uses an earlier quote from the Seattle Times article that was only about the pranks with the fake footprints, not about the Patterson-Gimlin film, and places it as his next paragraph after the above.
“He did it for the joke and then he was afraid to tell anyone because they’d be so mad at him,” admitted Dale Lee Wallace, the hoaxster’s nephew.Stuart Hunter, The Province, December 8, 2002
Therein you have the makings of a media hoax. From Bob Young’s rather balanced item about Ray Wallace’s death and how the family said he used fake feet, allegedly, in 1958, including opinions and remembered claims of hoaxing. Then it goes to wire service and analytic article creations, and finally to the jump that “the Patterson film is a fake by Ray Wallace with his wife in the suit” – something no one in his family ever said.
Michael Wallace said his father called the Patterson film “a fake” and said he had nothing to do with it.Bob Young, Seattle Times, December 5, 2002
That’s what I had to say in 2002 and at presentations since then, such as the one shown above that I gave in London.
Has the mixed-up media claim that Ray Wallace was behind the Patterson-Gimlin film had an impact? I note it was carried along as fact in newsmagazine articles appearing in 2003, to such an extent that the story on Ray Wallace in the January 20, 2003 issue of Sports Illustrated mentioned Wallace being the one who had faked the “Patterson film.” Today, the “death of Bigfoot” debunking about Wallace and the Patterson-Gimlin footage lives on via the Internet.
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.