Krantz on Skookum Cast

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 25th, 2007

Grover Krantz

There’s a new argument occurring over at the James Randi skeptics forum, between Bigfoot promoters and skeptics, this last week in February 2007. It’s all about the unlikely subject of what was said by anthropologist Grover Krantz regarding the reality of the Skookum Cast.

Here’s the result of some research and what may be the “final” confusing answer on the matter.

In 2004, Scott Herriott engaged in a spirited exchange with John Green on the Bigfoot Yahoo list about the subject. Herriott displayed some skepticism pertaining to Green’s claim that Krantz had endorsed the Skookum Cast. After all, Herriott remarked, there seemed to be nothing published by Krantz to show he endorsed it. Green replied:

I never appreciate insinuations that I am a liar.John Green, December 2004

Herriott then asked specifically:

What exactly did he [Grover Krantz] say in reference to it? Any videotape of him saying this? Even a confirmed written sentence from Krantz saying, in essence, “I think the Skookum imprint was definitely made by a Sasquatch?” Excuse me if I’m somewhat skeptical of claims made by fellow advocates.Scott Herriott, December 2004

To which, John Green answered:

Grover [Krantz] was terminally ill when he examined the cast, although he did not know it until shortly after that. I am not aware of anything he may have written, nor do I recall his exact words, but I was with him during the examination and had several telephone conversations with him about it afterwards. He always discussed it in terms of what it obviously is, and never expressed any doubts about it.John Green, December 2004

Skookum Cast

This is a a fiberglass replica of the Skookum Cast, which was on display at the “Bigfoot in Texas?” exhibition at the University of Texas San Antonio.

The “Skookum Cast” is a reproduction of a massive impression made with 325 pounds of casting material, mostly by Rick Noll. It is said to be an alleged partial Bigfoot body print found on September 22, 2000, in a muddy wallow, near a road in the Skookum Meadows area of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state.

The initial examination of the recovered cast took place outside Seattle, at Derek Randle’s workshop, the first weekend after it came out of the woods. This examination was attended by Grover Krantz, John Green, Ron Brown, Jeff Meldrum and John Bindernagel, as well as Rick Noll and Derek Randle, of course.

During Grover Krantz’s first encounter with the Skookum Cast, in September 2000, the Australian crew of “Animal X” (for the Animal Planet) was filming that initial examination of the Skookum Cast. In it, reportedly, Grover Krantz is thought to be heard saying he agrees with everyone else examining the cast right at the beginning of the program. Later, according to proponents of the cast, Krantz is shown examining the cast, appears with his book, says the cast certainly looks like a Sasquatch thrashed around on the ground and then acknowledges he was quite impressed with it. Clear verification that Krantz made these statements, one way or the other, on the record about the Skookum Cast are still unverified, until a transcript of that program can be obtained.

Jeff Meldrum in his new book mentions he flew in for the weekend to see it. Meldrum’s university issued a press release about the cast on October 23, 2000. This news dispatch was picked up by newspapers across the country, and Meldrum’s name was tied to the Skookum Cast, not Krantz’s or Noll’s. Meldrum’s statements were published in New Scientist (December 23, 2000). Meldrum noted that the imprint seemed to have been made by a large, hair-covered hominid more than 2.5 meters tall. He found markings that looked like human dermal patterns on the heel print, he said.

Jeff Meldrum’s 2006 book does not contain statements from Grover Krantz seconding his opinion on the Skookum Cast. No websites contain any first-hand Krantz statements on the cast.

John Green’s first published comments on the Skookum Cast occurred during November 2000, and remain easily accessible on the internet. Chris Murphy’s 2004 book has no statements from Krantz on the Skookum Cast.

David J. Daegling’s skeptical Bigfoot book indicates that Krantz made comments that did not endorse the Skookum cast. Perhaps some of Krantz’s interview remarks can be read that way?

Even after inspecting the Skookum Cast three times, [Grover Krantz’s] opinion of it was tempered by a cranky ambivalence.Bruce Barcott, Outside Magazine, August 2002.

I don’t know what it is. I’m baffled. Elk. Sasquatch. That’s the choice.Grover Krantz said to reporter Bruce Barcott of Outside Magazine.

The June 2002 videotaping of the documentary, Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, with a gathering of scientists examining the Skookum Cast, took place after Grover Krantz had died. Of course, Krantz’s last book was published in 1999, so it contains no comment on the 2000 discovery, either.

Grover Krantz died on the morning of February 14, 2002, in his Port Angeles, Washington State home.

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.

13 Responses to “Krantz on Skookum Cast”

  1. Lu Ann Lewellen responds:

    Grover quite clearly endorsed it on the Animal Planet show Animal X: Bigfoot, the one about the Skookum Expedition. He said he was quite impressed with it and was very much on camera at the time.

    The source for Daegling’s comment may have been the Barcott article.

  2. stonelk responds:

    Skookum Meadow is less than thirty miles from my home. But the terrain is so rugged it would take me at least an hour and a half to drive to the nearest in road. Then a two mile hike to the meadow. Since the roads in are gated and locked. Not one of my usual haunts. I do spend time in other parts of “The Dark Divide” There are places that have never been logged. The wilderness is intact with trees over five hundred years old. It is like stepping into an other world. I would love some of these sceptics to take a walk in the woods with me. This area has a nasty habit of swallowing people. Last year it was some one I knew. Searchers found his rig but not him. Too bad he wasn’t with me I haven’t lost any one yet. But go with me and you will realise how big it is and how it could easily be home to a large hominid. I am planning a expedition mid September into an area that seems to be calling me. I would consider taking one or two others with me who were serious about finding the truth.

  3. colobus responds:

    Here’s Grover’s first-hand statement on the Skookum cast:

    “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN I am a partially retired Full Professor of Physical Anthropology from Washington State University, Pullman, WA. Presently I reside in Port Angeles, WA and teach one course per year back to Pullman via TV connection. My connection with the sasquatch phenomenon dates back to the early 1960s, though for a long time that of a curious onlooker rather than one who accepted its reality. In 1970 I studied a pair of casts of apparently crippled feet, 17 inches long, and deduced the major aspects of the foot anatomy to be consistent only with an 8-foot tall, powerfully built bipedal primate. The problems involved in producing such tracks were such that any human manufacture could be ruled out. After continuing studies I published a book “Big Footprints” (1992) which summarized all my scientific information on this animal. It was reprinted with an addendum in 1999 under the title ‘Bigfoot Sasquatch Evidence’. I have read the statement by Dr. Jeff Meldrum about this subject and the need for a high-level, official inquiry about its existence. I fully concur with his request and the reasoning behind it. He and I are personally acquainted and I would judge his scientific
    qualifications and personality as beyond reproach. On two occasions he and I were able to study the recent body cast, and his observations are correct. Grover S. Krantz, Professor. Signed February 2, 2001″

  4. DWA responds:

    OK, I understand. We have the usual problems accruing to a blog for which most of us (quite correctly) recognize the usefulness of anonymity.

    That said: is there a source for the statement above? Something we can observe independently of this blog?

    Blogs aren’t scientific papers. We have to live with that.

  5. colobus responds:

    The above document written by Grover Krantz was one of six testimonials about the Skookum cast made by professionals who examined it in 2001.

    These testimonials were assembled to document various participant opinions regarding the phenominon as a whole, and the Skookum cast in particular, as a possible introduction to the subject for professionals in relevant fields who would be approached to examine the cast.

    Many others have copies of these documents, including Jeff Meldrum and Richard Noll, both easily contacted for verification.

    It’s a bit surprising that there is any question about Grover’s view on the Skookum cast, as it is well documented both on film, and in writing. It seems the people doing most of the questioning have not contacted the principals involved in the examintaion of the cast to simply ask them if they knew of any additional documentation of Grover’s views.

    Perhaps some feel that if something is not freely available on the internet it does not exist.

    As for Bruce Barcott’s statement in Outside Magazine; when Bruce was writing that article Grover was in the final stages of a very painful death. As people who knew Grover would attest, even when in perfect health he could be cranky. It seems likely that any conversations he might have had with Mr. Barcott just weeks before his death may have been colored by what he was enduring.

  6. Lu Ann Lewellen responds:

    Thank you, colobus. As one who’s been through many debates on the above mentioned forum, all I can say is they don’t hesitate to shoot the messenger, even when the messenger is already dead.

  7. WingsofCrystal responds:

    I just finished your “Bigfoot!” book and it was very good.

  8. yousawhat! responds:

    I’ve never recovered from these guys having over 325 pounds of casting material on site! I guess it was a “just in case” thing.

  9. daledrinnon responds:

    I never had any problems with Meldrum’s statements, or Krantz’s. Nor would I believe in ANY piece of evidence simply on somebody else’s say-so.

    To me the top of the body in the print (slanted to the upper right corner on the right hand cast) very strongly resembles the head and shoulders of a large gorilla lying down. The scale of the actual print area measures out to me as about three by five feet. Those are just my impressions at this distance.

  10. daledrinnon responds:

    That meant the cast shown on the left of the photo when I said ‘right hand cast’ (sorry, that was anatomical right)

  11. Rick Noll responds:

    To address yousawhat! –

    There were 13 people on the expedition. Several of them brought their own casting material. I usually carry three 2.5 gallon plastic buckets full (about 75 pounds). Dr. Fish liked how I set these up and asked for me to bring him a 100 pound bag of Hydrocal B-11 as well during the expedition. When I got there, he already got himself some, so he didn’t want it. So, I had 175 pounds in camp.

    75 pounds of plaster is not that much, unless you are packing it in, when you consider that a good original Bigfoot track cast should have between 12 and 17 pounds of plaster. Dr. Fish had 25 pounds and added that to the mix. We both were hoping to be able to cast a trackway series during the expedition… not just one track.

    The Skookum cast used 175 pounds of my own Hydrocal B-11 and 6 aluminum tent poles. We then added Dr. Fish’s 25 pounds. Other material added towards the end such as POP and Fixall just fell off the back side of the cast. They did not adhere. When making casts with Hydrocal B-11 you use 2/3 plaster and 1/3 water for any given volume of mix… in this instance about 7 pounds of water for each 25 pounds of plaster… about 228 pounds. Of course the 28 pounds of water disappears when the plaster cures.

    Detractors of the cast that know very little about it because personalities are really what is at issue for them with it usually start with your type of statement as an argument… they then move on to why how did we get so much plaster out there and the hardened cast back out of the woods and finally on to would an animal sit down like that when they could just reach down and grab what they wanted… thus it all begins again.

    325 pounds include the heavy duty tires, steel frame and protective plywood box and bolts encasing the cast, applied months after its making.

  12. thom_powell responds:

    To all,
    Everything Noll said is correct. The Hydrocal was brought up there to give to LeRoy. That’s been explained many times before but it keeps getting swept aside when folks want to reinitiate circular discussions. In addition, I had two bags (50 lbs) of plaster up there as well as all that hydrocal, but it was worthless cuz it doesn’t adhere to the hydrocal. Yes, we had a lot of stuff up there, because it was an expedition. It should also be noted that we wished we had more.
    I was there for one of the official examinations In Jan, 01, near Rick’s house at the community college in Edmonds, WA. with Grover and Jeff and Esteban and John G. Krantz slipped out for a smoke (he smoked True’s) I joined him. I asked him what he thought of the cast. He said (direct quote) “It’s either the real deal or it’s a very good fake.” ( Krantz, Jan, 2001, Edmonds, WA.)
    As a ‘true’ scientist (pun intended) Krantz was always guarded in his assesment. As far as the possibilities of fakery, there is none. I am dead certain it is not a fake. I can account for every detail of the cast’s origin and the whereabouts of every individual involved (see ‘The Locals’ Chapter 6), but in the end, I stop trying to convince every new wave of skeptics.
    And, at this point I care even less what Grover said or thought. He’s DEAD! Please, could we go with what LIVING experts think. There’s no shortage of informed assesments by living experts. Dr. Jeff is an infinetly preferable source of information, or Esteban Saramiento, or Schaller, or anyone but dear departed Grover, who’s post-mortem opinions and assesments are quite irrelevant. His work on the sasquatch subject was all but over before the cast originated. He would be the first to point that out. While we were outside smoking, I asked him to inscribe my copy of his book. In it overleaf of his book he wrote, “To Thom-Everything is in here except the Skookum Cast”
    Doesn’t that say it all?
    Best to all,
    t. powell

  13. DWA responds:


    I’d forget about skeptics. At least about trying to justify anything to them.

    Unfortunately for true skepticism, I can say one thing about most – not all, but the vast majority – of people who self-identify as “skeptics” on this topic: They’re ignorant of the evidence and ignorant of the scientific process.

    There are exceptions. (Several of them check in here fairly frequently.) But they are few.

    All the searchers can do is ignore the goofball chorus and focus on gathering the evidence. More strength to your arms.

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