Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 29th, 2009
With the recent attention that an actress has brought to Nessie, it seems only fair to revisit the most famous celebrity cryptozoology sighting of all time.
Which report would that be? President Jimmy Carter’s encounter with a cryptic attack rabbit? Commodore Stephen Decatur’s observation of the Jersey Devil? No, hands down, no pun intended, there is only one sighting that shall rank as the #1 entertainment cryptid event ever: It has to be the Anna-Marie Goddard incident.
In August 1995, among the redwoods of California, a documentary crew was filming a pilot (“Adventures”) in which a Dutch model and actress named Anna-Marie Goddard (born January 13, 1970) was involved. By accident, a Bigfoot was seen and taped, after the production for their episode was filmed. Ms. Goddard has been called the “Playmate” in this incident because historically she had previously been chosen as the Playboy’s 40th Anniversary Playmate of the Month in January 1994. Goddard was also the Playmate of the Year for the Dutch edition of Playboy. She also had and has appeared in numerous Playboy videos. (There are lots of photos of Ms. Goddard that can’t be posted here, needless to say, but her presence on the Internet is widespread.)
Anna-Marie Goddard does not appear in the so-called “Redwoods video” (although she is in outtakes I’ve privately viewed). But she was in the enlarged recreational vehicle (RV), being used as crew working space, when the moving images were taken. The footage was captured by chance as the members were joking around, relaxing, and taping each other with a personal hand-held videocam during the downtime after shooting. As was written afterwards: “Music plays, beers froth and the ever-present video camera is running as the crewmembers relax after a long week’s work.”
The actual video most often shown, taken by crew member Craig Miller, demonstrates that a casual encounter does seem to have been captured on tape. An apparent upright Bigfoot is shown going in front of the film crew’s RV, and appears to be displaying an erect phallus. The undertones of Goddard’s presence are significant in analyzing this entire scenario and how this video is viewed.
In my “Sex and the Single Sasquatch” writings and lectures, for years, I’ve been mentioning that it does seem some Bigfoot are attracted to trailers, almost as if the design of mobile homes and RVs parallel the construction of Orgone accumulators (a/k/a Orgone boxes), which are suppose to be sexual-energy-generating or -collecting containers.
Are Sasquatch getting a sexually-related vibe from trailers, almost like an energy beacon that is drawing them nearer? I can think of several encounters near such objects, but there just is no other like the famed “Playmate” footage, later to be called the “Redwoods Video,” taped near a RV. Or is it because trailers, mobile homes, and RVs are most often located on the edges of civilization, at the fringes of rural and wild areas?
Or has the “Redwoods Video” been overblown, having been erected in importance, beyond what it should have been?
Suddenly, the driver glimpses a shadowy movement at the periphery of the headlights. “Look! It’s a f—ing bear!” he shouts to his companions. Eager to catch it on video, the cameraman zooms in on the retreating figure. Through the rain, the crew see what they take to be a massive, shaggy bear. It walks upright, arms swinging at its sides, around a slight bend in the road some 30m or so ahead. “Let’s go get it!” someone shouts.
The driver accelerates forward as the hirsute figure glances warily back. But instead of the protruding snout of a bear, there is a flat, human-like face. “That’s not a bear,” one of them realises. “What is that?” asks another. The driver brakes to an abrupt halt as, without warning, the apparition steps in front of the oncoming vehicle and crosses the road in the direction of the nearby Smith River. The headlights reveal a hair-covered giant, towering nearly 2.5m (8ft) tall. “Switch to full beam,” someone urges. Taken aback by the bright beams, the figure raises its arms defensively, then moves with unhurried deliberate strides, pausing momentarily to glare back with a “what-the-hell-are-you-doing-here?” expression. “Oh my God … it’s Sasquatch!” someone exclaims. The astonished crew take in the sloping brow, broad flat nose, high flaring cheekbones and broad well-muscled neck and shoulders.
And then the giant vanishes behind a massive redwood tree. In all, fewer than 30 seconds have elapsed. Attempts to follow it are futile in the rainy darkness….
For more, but uncritical, discussion on the Redwoods video, see BBC Wildlife, September 1998 by Jeff Meldrum and Richard Greenwell.
The question must be asked, would the initial attention to this video even been there without Ms. Goddard’s involvement? Were not her outspoken candid statements that she had seen a Bigfoot (for example, on the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno and on “Weakest Link”) critical to this video being viewed more widely? What about acknowledging her bravery in coming forward as an eyewitness? What about examining the themes of speculation underlying this video because of her part in the story?
While Goddard’s presence may be underplayed by some researchers, it is only proper to look at why this was originally entitled the “Playmate video,” giving her due credit for her openness about her experience. Clearly, her celebrity was important to having this whole event become known.
This video is an enhanced version of (the former “Playmate video,” now) the “Redwoods video” (taken August 28, 1995, about 8:30 p.m.).
The half-hour news program “Hard Copy” first aired the video on November 10, 1995. The item was entitled as “The Playmate and the Primate,” with host Terry Murphy saying it was “the exclusive video of Beauty and the Beast.”
For the historical record, Dr. Jeff Meldrum renamed (around January 10, 1996) what was at first called the “Playmate Bigfoot video” to the “Redwoods video,” so it would be taken more seriously.
Would you agree this is the most famous celebrity cryptozoology encounter?
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.