Rethinking the Manitoba Video

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 19th, 2011

Coming to the defense of the often-forgotten Manitoba Sasquatch video – sort of…

Remember the Manitoba Bigfoot videotape taken by Bobby Clarke during the spring of 2005? Why are people so quick to criticize it because of where it first appeared? Why is everyone surprised that it was on A Current Affair initially? I personally feel we should not judge the possible linkage between the foggy image of a Bigfoot on that footage, and where it first was screened. Ask yourself, without bias, what worth might we discover in this tape in the future?

Art: Courtesy Dave Lowe.

The story about the video first broke on April 22, 2005.

At dawn on Saturday, April 16, 2005, a Manitoba ferryboat driver named Bobby Clarke was doing his job when he noticed something "big, black figure," "a massive creature" on the opposite bank of the Nelson River, about 300 meters away. Clarke had an old camcorder on board to record any wildlife he saw, so he picked it up and took two minutes and 49 seconds of videotape of what many say is a Bigfoot. He showed it to hundreds of locals at his friend, Georgina Henry’s house in Norway House, Manitoba, before he sold the first rights to screen it to the program, A Current Affair.

Bigfoot researchers were dismayed to hear the Native Canadian had sold the footage to television, but then Clarke merely said that he wanted to make a little money off all the interest in his footage, just as much as the next guy. He made no outrageous claims for it, and was curious about what the creature might be.

Clarke told the Globe and Mail that he "has been nervous ever since seeing the creature, especially when he takes the ferry to the side of the river the creature was on."

Despite a well-publicized A Current Affair expedition to Manitoba to search for the Sasquatch, and keep the story alive, no results were forthcoming. As fate would have it, the entire news magazine was cancelled by Fox Television a few weeks after the Clarke Bigfoot affair was no longer current.

There was an early rush to discard the Manitoba tape merely because of its association with A Current Affair. But hold on. Could it be that A Current Affair went for it because Bigfoot and related topics are an entertaining part of the diet of such reality television programming? Could it be they knew they could make a lot of money in ad revenues by getting an exclusive during sweeps month? Could it be that they obained the rights because they offered more money than 20/20, Dateline, CNN, or anyone else?

Examine the history of where the initial places past footages have been broadcast. Ivan Marx’s film was on You Asked for It (1972), Paul Freeman’s video appeared on Hard Copy (1992), Danny Sweeten’s Texas tape was screened on Strange Universe (1995). How about the “Redwoods Video,” when it was still known as the “Playmate and the Primate” footage? It was on Hard Copy (1995). The “Snow Walker” footage was on Paranormal Borderline (1996). Ray Wallace’s initial hoaxing claims, before they made it to the national broadcast media, were screened on Inside Edition (in January 2003). Some people feel some of these examples may, indeed, hold images that can assist us in understanding the reality of Bigfoot. Others seem to clearly be hoaxes and fakes.

The history of the initial release of the mixed bag of Bigfoot news, traditionally but unfortunately, has been, on tabloid television. No matter what the final analyses or in whose credible documentaries they eventually appear, Bigfoot videotapes are broadcast on reality programming on television, in general, first.

I wish this was not true. Nevertheless, we must not judge any videotape or photography too harshly based upon where we first view it. I’m afraid to say it, but if we consider that the first lengthy discussion of the Patterson-Gimlin footage (along with its stills) occurred in a men’s magazine, Argosy, that is no reason to discount it, is it? After all, as most of us know, today that bit of film is one of the best pieces of evidence we have for the reality of Bigfoot.

I’m not sure if there’s anything to learn from the Manitoba video about Bigfoot, but for now, I think it is best to keep an open mind, as opposed to ignoring it just because of who got the first rights to show it.

Contributor Chris H. added:

It’s also important to remember that the Ojibway/Nipissing/Nipigon native communities have an oral tradition featuring the ‘Waywaygweshi,’ a mischievous creature often described as hairy and man-like. If these traditions are anything to go by, it is slightly smaller than the western bigfoot and ‘follows the water’ much like the unidentified subject in the Manitoba video.

The 1975 RCMP reports from Norway House (eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg) as well as reports over the past century from north-central and northwestern Ontario make a strong case for zeroing in on this region. While for the most part utterly uninhabited save for scattered native communities, a canoe makes this region much more accessible than the mountainous ranges of western Canada and the US. Maybe the secret is in finding a promising area between James Bay and Lake Winnipeg, settling down for an extended period (the summer) and, in the words of Elmer Fudd, being ‘wery, wery qwiet.’ Chasing Sasquatch seems fruitless…waiting for Sasquatch may be the key.Chris H.

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.

5 Responses to “Rethinking the Manitoba Video”

  1. dogu4 responds:

    Watching instead of chasing; sounds like good advice.

  2. DWA responds:

    Oh, yeezh.

    When I read the header, I thought: NO KIDDING. And right after I thought: Oh no. He means THAT Manitoba video.

    Nothing to see here, folks. Move on. Blobsquatch. I’m pretty sure the version I first saw had much better res than I’m seeing here. And I thought then what I think now.

    You wanna see an unjustifiably forgotten Manitoba video? Go to Youtube and type in “Peguis bigfoot.” Look at THAT one. Not this one.

    As a friend of mine – a lawyer not given to extreme pronouncements and who is of the same mind as me on this question – put it:

    If Patty is Bigfoot, then this is.

    He means THAT one. NOT this one.

  3. Cryptidcrazy responds:

    It is so blurry and out of focus, on first glance, I’d say it’s a black bear.

  4. zpf responds:

    The blobbiest of squatches. That’s what I call shape-shifting! Seriously though, I totally agree, being initially shown on Current Affair has zero to do with its validity.

  5. Greg102 responds:

    I’ve never understood this video. Maybe I’ve never seen a better quality version of it. Every version I’ve seen, it’s a complete blur. It could be anything. I’m not sure how this video ever got any type of publicity. Unless someone has a much better version that I’ve never seen.

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