Behind the Scenes of Finding Bigfoot: “Bigfoot Merit Badge” with Cliff Barackman

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 7th, 2013

Cliff posted his behind the scenes views for the episode of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot entitled “Bigfoot Merit Badge” on his website.

Cliff Barackman home Page

Finding Bigfoot Season Three – Bigfoot Merit Badge

Colorado was supposed to be the last episode to be filmed on our last run at the end of June, 2012. However, there were raging wildfires throughout much of the area at that time, so we had to postpone the filming. We were able to go to the area the following September.

The evidence that brought us to Colorado was a piece of 8mm film footage that was taken in 1962. To my knowledge, this is the earliest footage that purports to show a possible bigfoot, predating the Patterson/Gimlin Film by five years. The footage is owned by Gary Bouvier, but he did not film it. His father filmed the footage while on a boy scout backpacking trip. Gary was on this trip, but he was just a 13-year-old boy at the time.

The footage is not of high quality, but it clearly shows either a human or a bigfoot. As the camera pans around the opposite side of a small valley, a figure can be seen making its way across a snow field. This figure is upright, and it seems to be hopping from rock to rock as if it was trying to avoid stepping in the snow. The camera is only on the figure a few moments before it pans to the woods again. The film resolution is very low, and this is compounded by the fact that it was transferred to digital format by showing the film on a screen or wall and having it video taped.

Despite the low quality, a couple details can be seen. There seems to be something hanging off of the figure in a couple of the frames as it leaps from rock to rock. This could be hair hanging from the figure, but it also could be a long winter coat of some kind. As the figure reaches the last rock, it seems to turn and face the camera briefly before walking up the hill to the left through the snow.

Unseen in the footage on the show was some slight movement in the tree line nearby. Gary noticed this movement when watching the film on a large projector screen at his home, and he hypothesizes that there was another figure there that caught his father’s attention.

When we met Gary at the location, we found that the film site could have been anywhere along a 10 or 15 mile trail that pushes into the Rawah Wilderness Area. It was impossible to do a recreation at the actual site, so we did our best trying to recreate the movements of the figure. There were some slight differences that I observed between Bobo’s movements and what can be seen in the footage, but nothing conclusive.

I think the context of this footage is more compelling than the footage itself. Gary remembers that his father and the other scout leaders sat all the boys down one night on the trip and had a very stern talk with them about not leaving camp, especially at night. Gary said this was most unlike his father to act like this, so he knew something was up, even as a young boy. Also, Gary commented that his father referred to the figure in the video as an “animal,” and not a man. Though Gary’s father didn’t really like to talk about what was in the footage, he maintained that it was a “creature” until his death a few years ago.

What was most interesting was something that was not shown in the episode (although I understand this segment is in the Canadian version of the show, as Canada has fewer commercials than here in the US, and the episodes are a bit longer). We were able to take the footage to a company called CinemaLab, based out of Englewood, CO. They are a film laboratory that specializes in media restoration, preservation, and analysis. They have done media forensic work for law enforcement agencies including the FBI.

Due to the way the file was transferred to digital format (see above), little more info could be squeezed out of the footage. However, they verified the presence of another possible figure in the woods nearby, as well as the trailing “coat” or “hair” that was mentioned above. They said that if they had the original film, much more could be determined from the footage. Since the episode is now in its final form and has already been aired, I will be taking this on myself to get the analysis done. I have contacted Gary about this and have his blessing to do the follow-up work. I will announce any further findings on my blog in the coming months.

~ Cliff Barackman

See Cliff’s photos and the rest of the report here.

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

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