Patterson-Gimlin Footage Turns 44

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 18th, 2011

As we rapidly approach the 44th anniversary of the Patterson-Gimlin footage on October 20th, my congratulations, once again, to two gentlemen for obtaining the best single, multifacted piece of evidence for the classic North American Sasquatch. Despite numerous attempts to discredit it, my sense is this one grows better with age.

Anthropologist Grover Krantz, one of the good guys who sadly passed away on Valentine’s Day a few years ago, once estimated that about “100 million potentially visible track events” have occurred “in the last 40 years in areas where people coexist” with Bigfoot; that’s about five possible track finds occurring every minute in the Pacific Northwest. Sightings, of course, occur much less frequently. A good piece of documentary-quality film footage of a Bigfoot is an even rarer event.

Why do I think the P-G footage is authentic?

I feel it combines many forms of evidence:

1. The event occurred in an area known for Native traditions of these forms of hominoids. Locally, the cryptid is called Oh-Mah.

2. There are contemporary sightings, from the 1950s onward, here.

3. In this specific incident, the animal was seen.

4. It was smelled.

5. It was sensed by the horses.

Photos: Lyle Laverty, October 1967, Bluff Creek, California.

6. A trackway of ten prints was found, the tracks casted and preserved – via film and in a physical state – for others to analyze. Such examinations reveal flexible, animate feet for this cryptid, historically now known as a Bigfoot.

Roger Patterson

7. And finally, the apparent animal was filmed, and analysis of this footage by Americans, Canadians, Russians, and others verify this was authentic, probably made of an unknown primate, and it was not an elaborate or casual hoax, as assumed by debunkers and some closed-minded skeptics, in a few cases.

For me, all of the above combine into the virtual and visible vortex of the best pieces of evidence for the existence of Bigfoot, short of a living or dead specimen, to date.

Here is how the incident is described in my The Field Guide of Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates, which I coauthored with Patrick Huyghe.

Bob Gimlin

October 20, 1967 Location: Bluff Creek, California, USA Witnesses: Roger Patterson, Robert Gimlin

While riding in the Six Rivers National Forest early one afternoon, Roger Patterson, an expert rodeo rider, and Robert Gimlin, a part Native American outdoorsman, rounded a bend and spotted a large upright creature on one of the creek’s sandbars. The dark, full-figured creature was covered with short hair (even on its large pendulous breasts) and possessed a sagittal crest. This bony ridge on top of the head, which supports heavy jaw muscles, has only been found, in primates, on certain fossil hominoids (especially Paranthropus) and among a few male apes, baboons, and other large modern species.

Patterson’s small Welsh pony smelled the creature and reared, bringing both pony and rider to the ground. But Patterson got up, grabbed his camera from the saddlebag, and while running toward the creature, took 24 feet of color film with the rented 16mm hand-held Kodak movie camera. The creature walked steadily away into the forest, turning its head once toward the camera. Gimlin, meanwhile, remained with his horse, a 30.06 rifle in hand, fearing his friend might be attacked. But the Bigfoot soon disappeared into the woods. Immediately after the filming and in the days that followed, casts of the tracks were taken from the many footprints–each 14.5 inch long by 6 inch wide–the creature had left in the sandy blue-gray clay soil.

Similar footprints found in this area over the years had drawn the two men from Yakima, Washington, to search the area and now they had 952 frames of color film to support the existence of this 6-to-7 feet tall, 500- to 700-pound creature. While scientists who have examined this footage remain divided on its authenticity to date–claims about men-in-suits from Hollywood notwithstanding–no firm evidence has surfaced to cast serious doubts on the film or the events that produced it. In particular, the apparent movement of the muscle underneath the hair argues strongly against a hoax. Native Americans, First Nation Canadians, and Alaskan Inuits all have legends, going back centuries of giant hairy men and women like the one seen in this film.

Bob Gimlin today, photo by Todd Neiss.

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.

8 Responses to “Patterson-Gimlin Footage Turns 44”

  1. Randal Bradford via Facebook responds:

    I fully believe this footage is authentic…..mainly because at that time there was NO way to make a costume as realistic as this even Hollywood did not have the ability to create this at that who in their right mind would be intelligent enough to think to make this specimen a female with noticeable breasts? those who wish to trash this video can do so all they want… all honesty…they can’t prove its a fake and we can’t prove its reality!

  2. William Robert Hancock via Facebook responds:

    Happy birthday Patty! Many happy returns!

  3. Robert Michaels via Facebook responds:

    I read the Article in Argosy magazine, interested in Cryptozoology ever since.

  4. kittalia responds:

    I honestly don’t think the film could be real. Say what you want, I can’t see it’s head being anything but a mask. Everyone talks about how it moves, and fps, but the biggest thing is looking real. If someone could show me how that perfect pale rectangle could be a face, realistically, I might believe it. But I’ve seen numerous paintings, etc, and it still looks like a hole to see out of to me. Also, it has pale skin under the fur (soles of the feet, face, palms) and most primates have pale skin.

  5. norman-uk responds:

    Possibly you are honestly right and Pattie is a figure wearing a mask, but if so what is she? I think you would have a very difficult time matching the figure up with any human. That is taking the film as a whole. Perhaps you are just looking at the darker picture above (frame 352 ?). The brown pic below this gives possibly a more realistic view of Bigfoot or Mrs Bigfoot. I think it is a much harder task to make the case out for a human in a suit than some other kind of hominid and if cryptozoologists were trying to do this instead of bigfoot they would really be up against it.

    A ‘what if thought’ that goes through my mind sometimes, is that as dinosaurs where on the planet for so long why didn’t a highly intelligent version evolve convergently with hominids and does it still survive? Birds dont fit the bill! Could explain some of the difficulties absolutely prooving bigfoot ! Well I dont think there is any evidence of it except in sci-fi! So while not abandoning the idea altogether I still look slightly hopefully out of the corner of my eyes for any clues.

  6. BUKWASBOO responds:

    Patty’s the real thing for sure ………People talk about the Patterson/Gimlin encounter/film like its the encounter to end all,..people should keep in mind that sightings like this and even better happen every year its just that Patterson got his on film …WHY HIM ?…because he had every confidence that he would if he just kept looking , and he was ready for it….if you read hes book you’ll find that his passion and wide eyed enthusiasm is more than evident,… in 1967 was still the infants of bigfooting ,…he “knew” discovery was just around the corner and he wanted to be the guy
    We are now in an era of frustration… but we DO know more about these beings now even though what were finding out is clearly making some uncomfortable,………..but all bigfooters should take heart ! WE HAVE A REAL Bigfoot on film ! for us all to see ! and to wonder at,.. very,very COOL ! So Happy Birthday Patty !

  7. kittalia responds:


    Good points. I still don’t see it as being real, even with the face shot. Two more points- with other apes, their breasts are only visible when nursing. Almost all sightings of females have babies with them, most likely because it is to hard to tell the difference when not nursing. Also, all other primate breasts are nearly hairless. Bigfoot might exist, but my vision of a bigfoot isn’t quite like this.

  8. DWA responds:

    This, from Ben Radford’s Greatest Hits:

    “The idea that nobody has duplicated the P/G film and therefore it’s evidence of authenticity is a red herring… I’ve heard the same argument about the Egyptian pyramids, that because critics have not built a full-size pyramid to prove how it could be done somehow proves it couldn’t be done. Ridiculous. Just because no one has put in the considerable time, money, and effort to duplicate the film doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Logic fail.”

    That paragraph is the “logic fail.” Just needed to put this up here, in case anyone gets challenged like that by some nut.

    The scientific mainstream accepts the construction of the Pyramids, by those “alleged” (i.e., proven) to have originally done so. (So do, um, you, if you have ever, um, seen them.) Anyone who thinks they “couldn’t be done” is, um, well now, soft in the head doesn’t begin to say it. Anyone who would duplicate the construction of the Pyramids, just to show that, yep, they really (duh!) did it, is, well, nutty as a Pharaoh. All one has to do when confronted on this is what one would do if told that the moon landings were faked or that Bush blew up the Twin Towers: Um, sure, buddy. You show me your evidence whenever you’re ready. But no one needs to build a Pyramid to prove anything. Buy a plane ticket.

    The “skeptics” allege that P/G was not only faked, but easy to fake. Radford is one of the key proponents of this tabula-rasa ‘thesis’; he has said it could have been done for as little as a few hundred dollars. (It’s right here on Cryptomundo, Ben, don’t deny it.) That is cheap, and easy. Radford himself would be able to do it, easily, for that little money if it could be done. And he has enormous incentive to do it. There is much opinion that P/G is genuine, and much opinion that it was faked. It is easily one of the world’s greatest mysteries; no hoax ever debunked has anything like its staying power.

    That no one has duplicated it – with all the interest, with all the challenges out there – is, indeed, as strong a piece of evidence as it would be possible to produce short of proof that it can’t be done, because that figure is in its birthday suit.

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