The Ray Wallace Debate – Part II

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 13th, 2006

Toledo Casts

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Ray Wallace make fakes in a wide variety of configurations. Part of the “Toledo Collection” photographed in the 1980s by Ron Schaffner. Used by permission.

How the Wallace family and friends pulled off their few series of faking events is slowly beginning to be understood. For example, the long stride of the regularly paced “Bigfoot” prints found in fine dust on logging roads linked to Wallace were reported by the hoaxers to be achieved by fakes loosely strapped on the bottom of boots as the wearer was pulled behind a truck, holding onto a rope. Of course, this was not easy, or probably without accidents, but these pranksters had time to practice. The period 1957-1967 seems to be a key, from Mad River to Bluff Creek. No one says they were perfect in their fakery, and, indeed, their footwork is being revealed more easily by their routinely inanimate footwear with a likening for specific indentations and other Wallace characteristics. And I’m not saying they made all the Sasquatch prints. No, the real Bigfoot were out there too. But let’s stop, again, and look at what bad data we need to throw out.

Mark A. Hall has written extensively on the question of Ray Wallace and his “footcasts.” The following 2003 article from his journal, Wonders is merely one of a number of such examinations, the most recent of which was published last year. Used by permission.

The Bigfoot Community’s Wallace Problem

by Mark A. Hall © 2003

The seekers of Bigfoot in the North American West have been unable to put the Wallace Problem behind them. At the end of 2002 the time had arrived to accept the meaning of the fake feet possessed by the heirs of Ray Wallace, a wealthy contractor who had started planting fake Bigfoot tracks in 1958 and saw his ruse succeed only too well to the time of his death in November of 2002. While always discrediting himself with extravagant claims to have film, recordings, and colorful stories of Bigfoot activity, Wallace nevertheless was one of the people who saw genuine Bigfoot tracks at the start of the Bigfoot publicity that began in 1958. The distinctive fakes that Wallace put into circulation can be sorted out from the record and disposed of. I addressed this issue in Volume 7 of Wonders. [1] There I related the history from 1958 onward when what appear to be genuine tracks were first given widespread publicity.

Some faked impressions, made in imitation of genuinely large footprints, were discovered in at least three instances, in 1958, in 1960, and in 1967.

In short, after the initial sensational interest in Bigfoot was sparked by a genuine set of strange footprints, Ray Wallace hired two men to look into the matter. Soon thereafter he began to deposit false footprints along creeks and roads in Northern California. Those carved tools for hoaxing appear to me to have been based upon a find of genuine footprints made by his employees. Bigfoot seekers, who had little experience with Bigfoot prints in 1958, were fooled by those bogus impressions. Until the presentation of the hoaxing tools in December of 2002 one particular set of fake feet has had a significant impact on the record of Bigfoot. With further study of genuine Bigfoot tracks, more can now be said about how this success was gained and how genuine Bigfoot tracks can be viewed. [All illustrations have been removed.]

The general response to the Wallace Problem has been to deny any importance to the issue. A false dichotomy has been used to deflect considerations of the problem that will reveal the truth. Two choices have been offered and both are false. No one should be asked to pick between holding Wallace responsible for all Bigfoot tracks or accepting that Wallace never faked any tracks whatsoever. The first is naturally an absurd proposition that is designed to direct people to the stated alternative. The second proposition of “no fakes” is a sly attempt to excuse those people who were in fact fooled by Wallace fakes and do not want to acknowledge their embarrassment. The Wallace Problem that remains is to recognize the trash among the claimed records of Bigfoot tracks and to throw out the trash along with false ideas about Bigfoot tracks that have been fostered in part by them.

There are two reasons for the success of the hoax. These reasons will be emphasized here. Number one: The fakes were introduced early into the modern history of Bigfoot investigation. Number two: They were created in imitation of genuine imprints of a primate foot. Acknowledging these facts will allow the entire Bigfoot community to put these phoney tracks in their proper place in history and then carry on with better and worthwhile investigations into genuinely unusual wildlife.

Ray Wallace is dead and will not ever make a confession. Demanding that others make his confession for him now is demanding something that will never happen. In addition, a “money challenge” has been put forth. In the style of James Randi, Phillip Klass, and Ted Serios, money has been offered if someone can satisfy the requirements of the person stating the challenge. Here it is a case of making false tracks of a certain type under certain conditions. The money challenge is a creation of John Green working through the Willow Creek Museum in California. Green is the author of several books on Bigfoot.

As Tom Stienstra noted in the San Francisco Chronicle on 13 March 2003, “I’ll predict right now that the $100,000 reward announced last weekend for anybody able to create fake Bigfoot tracks that could fool experts is a publicity stunt for the Willow Creek Museum, the capital of Bigfoot Country. I predict nobody will ever get paid the money, no matter what anybody comes up with.”

As with all the money challenges, there is a certainty that the money will not ever have to be paid because the person issuing the challenge is not obliged to concede that the requirements have been met to his or her satisfaction.

All of that activity is simply smoke and mirrors to distract people from the simple facts of the matter. Ray Wallace produced fake footprints with a pair of wooden feet modeled on genuine tracks found in 1958. Wallace exaggerated the features of those genuine tracks in making his false feet. His fake footprints were therefore distinct in shape and size.

When I published an examination of the Wallace hoaxes in Volume 7 a direct response to it was posted by John Green to whom I sent a copy of Wonders with the discussion of Wallace. And we had an exchange of e-mails prior to his posting to the internet discussion group

His posting on 28 February 2003 has nothing of value in it. It is an attempt to fog the issues and attack the messenger because the message is unwelcome.

One of Wallace’s relatives has said Ray Wallace did not make a public confession because he did not want to endure the reaction of those who were fooled by him. That reaction is being visited upon anyone who would now speak up about this one success in the panorama of Wallace‚s career of attempted hoaxes.

To blow away some of the fog, Green’s accusation that I have an “attitude of long standing” is a groundless charge. His complaint that I have a “third alternative” I find simply incoherent. Further, there is no “Mark’s version” for the employment of Kerr and Breazele. I am citing the historical record, for which Green is not offering any corrections.

Several writers in the East have written on these subjects. Green is deliberately sowing confusion when he writes that “two writers in the Eastern U.S. took him [Wallace] seriously.” Some will mistakenly attach that accusation to me.

Green should either name names and explain his statements or put away his tar brush.

Green fails to recognize the importance of the events of 1975 to 1981 that were described in my articles for 1978 and 1994 [2] and were summarized in Wonders Volume 7. The Bigfoot community should be eager to make use of such an opportunity as took place then and might occur in the future. Here is a chance to compare tracks that have turned up in relative isolation, so that it is possible to link those tracks to specific animals then observed in the same region. And if care is taken, the sounds associated with those animals and all other behaviors they exhibit can be narrowed to the type of primate seen.

I find this kind of short-sighted view of events to be one of the harmful consequences of simplifying the entire subject of mystery primates. A golden opportunity to learn is being dismissed as just another Bigfoot report. When people ask why this entire subject appears to make little progress, here is a fine example of self-defeating behavior on the part of a Bigfoot seeker.

All the criticisms that I and others have made about the way Steve Matthes presents his story in the book Brave and Other Stories do not alter the basic facts of his testimony. Early one morning in 1960 he was on a logging road in Northern California where giant footprints were found. Upon close scrutiny he realized they were fakes. His photograph of a cast of one of those fakes matches the wooden tool displayed by the Wallace family in 2001. Those people who would deny the meaning of this record are only kidding themselves.

Here are the key sentences in Matthes‚ account that some people want to ignore:

The line of tracks in the dust stretched out as straight as a string – like those of a man stepping off measured distances between two given points. This, I theorized, was because the person making them, in order to make the extended length of stride to match the size of faked track, had to concentrate on what would be the visual results of his efforts to reach the point where the tracks were to leave te road. The flexibility of movement that is expressed by irregularity – found in tracks during the normal line of travel – was missing. Instead, what I saw was a line of travel that was fixed and rigid! The, when I began examining the individual track itself, another thing became quite obviously wrong with it, but was also something that would have been missed unless looking for it.

When the weight of any soft-padded foot of an animal is brought to bear on the feet, the foot expands, or spreads, under the pressure induced by the added weight. Then, when the body weight is removed as the animal begins lifting its foot to make its next stride, the toes of the foot contract, leaving a track with a featheredge – if made in the dust as these were. On these tracks, there was no evidence of any foot expansion or spreading of the toes, indicating the track [maker] had been made of nonexpandable material such as leather, wood, metal, or plastic. [3]

Those who will look at the photographic record from Blue Creek Mountain in 1967 will find the same characteristics illustrated in that record. Those tracks are also bogus. We can throw out this trash now, or allow future investigators to claim a superior wisdom by pointing out the obvious.

Green calls the Blue Creek Mountain tracks “probably the most often seen and most intensely studied and certainly the best-documented of any tracks anywhere.”

They look like the imprints of flat-footed wooden feet because that is what they are.

The display of the Wallace carvings makes it clear what kind of device would have made them. The Matthes testimony is the icing on the cake.

Green contradicts his own posting made immediately after wooden foot-forms were displayed by the Wallace family in December of 2002. Green made this observation via the internet on 5 December 2002. His message in full was:

What Wallace Jr. is holding certainly is not a mold for the 1958 Jerry Crew 16″ Bigfoot‚ cast, of which I have a copy, but it definitely is either a mold for or a copy of a 15″ footprint of the type found by Bob Titmus and Ed Patrick in a Bluff Creek sandbar later the same year, of which I also have copies.

There is something worth checking out here, for anyone who is in a position to do so.

As to Ray Wallace having started the whole thing, however, Rene Dahinden and I in 1957 saw a tracing of a British Columbia footprint cast that was a much closer match for the Jerry Crew cast, and that cast had been made in 1941.

This brings us back to the record of events in 1958 and thereafter. Loren Coleman has recently brought to my attention the existence of a footprint cast made by Roger Patterson in 1964. Tracks were found by Pat Graves on Laird Meadow Road in Del Norte County of California. (Laird Meadow itself is located at 41d 22m 59s N, 123d 44m 12s W.) Patterson made two casts.

The record of the Laird Meadow cast (the shape appears in Fig. 2) is helpful to our understanding of what was happening back then. It appears to show the same foot as that of the creature identified as “Patty” in the Patterson-Gimlin film of 1967. The imprint shows that this female was around three years earlier at the same level of maturity. If she was in the same area six years earlier, her tracks could have been found by Kerr and Breazele at that time. Such a cast could then have served as the prototype for the alder-wood Wallace foot-forms.

The presence of two tracks makers in the same area of Northern California in the 1950s and 1960s has been indicated by Charles Edson’s observations of tracks in those years [4] and by the casts that have made showing those same two sizes, one male (such as cast in 1958 and 1964) and one female (as cast in 1964 and 1967). The measurements, casts, and photographs are indicating finds of tracks for the same individuals (“Patty” and her mate).

Edson and others were likely to be seeing imprints made by “Patty” during the years that fakes were done. But casts of her genuine prints seem to be rare for the early years, while the Wallace fakes have been illustrated again and again. The 1964 Laird Meadow cast is simply the earliest for “Patty” where there is a clear record. Now let us find the explanation for why the female tracks sometimes show a sort of bulge behind the toes on the inside of the foot. This kind of indentation shows in the tracks left by “Patty” in 1967 and in the female tracks found in South Dakota in 1977 (the Grand River cast). [5]

Loren Coleman pointed out in our exchange on the Laird Meadow cast that the “split-ball” configuration attributed to the Neo-Giants appears to vanish now that we know of the Wallace fakes and can examine valid tracks free of their influence. I have to agree with him.

The female foot as seen in the Laird Meadow cast has a long big toe. The split-ball appearance seen elsewhere appears to derive from a mis-reading of the female track caused by a combination of a long big toe and something behind the toes that is not always present but does distort the shape of an imprint.

This could be something like the accumulation of soil behind the toes. It appears in some of the tracks but not in all of them. Because this distortion is so regular in its effect I think it is likely to be the result of large calluses developing on the Neo-Giant foot. A toughening of the skin on the long toes and on the ball behind the toes could account for the impression left in tracks. Again, as I have observed before, we find that “the track is not the foot.” The nature of such growths would explain why they are not always present, even on the same individual over time.

The notion of a split-ball as a physical feature in Bigfoot tracks grew out of this distortion. The idea was further promoted by the exaggeration of this feature in the false tracks laid down by Ray Wallace and whoever may have assisted him. When carving the foot forms this feature was made large and full and appeared in every print wherever and whenever they were used.

The better imprints of genuine footprints and the resulting casts show the toes as individual appendages without a split in the ball of the foot.. The Grand River cast and some 1967 Bluff Creak casts have this indented appearance. The Laird Meadow cast and a cast of what appears to be a female track made near Mt. Shasta do not. [6]

The “split-ball” configuration was simply incorporated into the Wallace fakes at the time of their creation in 1958. Whoever carved the alder-wood tools put this split-ball appearance on both the feet. As I have suggested, this carver could have worked from a cast made by Kerr and Breazele, two men who were hired by Ray Wallace in 1958 to look into the Bigfoot excitement in October. As his employees their findings were reported only to Wallace. First hand knowledge of these events died with Ray Wallace. The numerous fakes in subsequent years and the mis-reading of a few genuine tracks have perpetuated the notion of a “split-ball” as a physical part of the Neo-Giant foot.

Similarly, the notion of an hour-glass shape to the feet appears to have been promoted by bogus items. Some people will remember a photograph that appeared in John Green‚s On the Track of the Sasquatch on page 30. It has been widely reproduced elsewhere as a “beautiful” example of a Bigfoot track. It was identified as being photographed by Rene Dahinden. But what is the full story behind that track? Dahinden did not use that shot in his 1973 book. Its origin is unknown and suspect. That picture and the exaggerated roundness to the forward part of the female foot in the Wallace fakes are influences that have suggested the “hour-glass” characterization.

It otherwise might not have been applied at all to genuine tracks.

Ivan T. Sanderson used a Wallace fake as his illustration of a Sasquatch track in Abominable Snowmen. This would have been because that illustration was readily available to him as the deadline for his book was upon him. In his book he wrote of the Neo-Giant foot: “They have a double first subdigital pad; they are extremely short and broad for their size; and, the second to fifth toes seem to be conjoined.” [7] The double pad and conjoining of toes appear to be notions promoted by the infamous Wallace fakes.

Sanderson includes on page 469 of his book outlines of the feet of both the American Neo-Giant and its Asian counterpart. The second lacks any “split-ball” appearance. I think this is because it does not exist except as a mis-reading of callused tracks.

One day, however distant that time may be in the future, we will have the opportunity to examine the feet of the Neo-Giants. I think it will be discovered at that time that the notion of a split-ball was erroneous. I have attempted here and in my previous article of 27 pages in Wonders Volume 7 to present the context for how this digression from the truth has come about.

We should advance the scant knowledge we possess about these animals by careful and honest examination of the traces of the Neo-Giants. We should not be content to sit back in expectation that a road-kill will one day vindicate simplified claims that something large and hairy is around in the woods.

There is no humiliation in doing the right thing. The proper course of action here is to dispose of the false records that have annoyed all of us who want only to determine the best possible record of events in what are the difficult circumstances of pursuing a quarry that does not want to be found. The honest search for Neo-Giant tracks was diverted for forty-four years by imitations. Let us put them aside and make the best of what we can recognize to be genuine.


1. Mark A. Hall, “The Real Bigfoot and Genuine Bigfoot Tracks,” Wonders 7(4): 99-125 (December 2002).

2. Mark A. Hall, “Contemporary Stories of Taku-He‚ or Bigfoot‚ in South Dakota as Drawn from Newspaper Accounts,” The Minnesota Archaeologist 37(2): 63-78 (May 1978), and Mark A. Hall, The Yeti, Bigfoot & True Giants (Wilmington: MAHP, 1994, 1997).

3. Steve Matthes, Brave and Other Stories (privately published, San Francisco, 1988).

4. Charles Edson, My Travels with Bigfoot (Los Angeles: Crescent Publications, 1979).

5. Hall, “The Real Bigfoot,” 116, 117, Fig. 3b, and Hall, “Contemporary Stories,” Fig. 5.

6. Dixie Reid, “Bigfoot,” Sacramento Bee, 4 October 1986.

7. Ivan T. Sanderson, Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life (Philadelphia: Chilton, 1961), 473

Copyright 2003 by Mark A. Hall.

Originally published in Wonders June 2003.

More on the Wallace debate to be continue in Part III.

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.

11 Responses to “The Ray Wallace Debate – Part II”

  1. godzilladude responds:

    So, lemme see if I follow. Ray Wallace liked to lie a lot. In 2002, he shows some track-makers that match tracks seen in the 1950s, and his family, which has claimed all kinds of impossibilities, says he made all those tracks using these track-makers.

    Just off-hand, how to we know he didn’t make the track-makers based off a set of tracks he found? And how do we know when made them? Why couldn’t it be 2001, or 1990, or 1980?

    I must be missing part of the story here. Sounds like one side is assuming that because the tracks match up nicely, that they are all Wallaces, and someone else is assuming that Wallace created his copies based on all those tracks. Not sure I’m seeing the solution here.

  2. Loren Coleman responds:

    Godzilladude…you need to re-read the Wallace chapter of your copy of Bigfoot! that I know you own. 🙂

    Hey, Wallace was dead in 2002. He showed his fakes back in the 1980s to some people, as per the photos. His family found more after he died. Photos of footprints – tracks that don’t match real Bigfoot feet, actually – show that his squared hallux creations turned up in a few places.

    Those are the bad data. Nothing more, nothing less.

  3. Tube responds:

    I have never seen the photo at the top of this article before. The artifacts pictured are referred to as “fakes”. Does that mean we are looking at cement casts or carved wooden “prosthetics”?

    While it is ridiculously easy to fabricate single casts, creating fake trackways is a much more involved process.

    According to Rick Noll, Wallace exhibit numerous casts in his roadside museum during his lifetime. Are the artifacts pictured from his museum?

  4. Loren Coleman responds:

    I am happy to be publishing a photo that people have not seen.

    These were taken in Toledo, WA, in Wallace’s possession. I am not sure he called it a “roadside museum.” More like his shed.

    If you will look through the Wallace fakes pictured in some books recently, including Chris Murphy’s, these are concrete fake artifacts, not wooden fake feet.

    I agree completely that the ones pictured above are different than the wooden fake feet used to leave prints. But apparently, Wallace also used these concrete ones on now and then to make “plaster casts” for people of Bigfoot prints.

    Fake trackways were easy for Wallace, as Matthes discusses.

  5. Rick Noll responds:

    I must be missing something also… Laird Meadow Rd (1964, 16″) tracks are the same as Patty’s tracks (1967, 14.5″)? Did she shrink or something?

    I see a lot of reading between the lines in Hall’s letter. I own and have read Steve Matthes, Brave and Other Stories. Didn’t think there was that much information in it concerning Kerr and Breazele.

    Sorry, I think John Green’s work on the subject is the more believable. I’ll stay with it. I mean… he was there after all and has allowed me to look at everything he still has… never once did he put a spin on the story or embellish it to suit himself.

    As far as John Green writing a hoax story… looked to me like it was for pure entertainment value, never once thought otherwise… and anyway, later owned up to. It’s not like he made up dozens of them about strange furry creatures living all over the place, he took a local legend and played “what if”. Seems like he knew “what if” a little more than he thought.

  6. primateer responds:

    For what it’s worth, I have found a footprint in the Patterson film, and have a frame showing the subject making the footprint. Just thought you’d like to know. M.K.

  7. fuzzy responds:

    Yadda Yadda Yadda, again.

    The last two sentences in the above article are its most important words.

    These creatures are out there leaving new footprints and other evidence behind, for careful investigators to find and learn from, on a daily basis!

    Yet here we sit, arguing about 50-year-old trash tracks made by assorted mischievous buffoons!

    Spring is almost upon us, with its promise of NEW sightings and NEW tracks and NEW information. We know where the animals are encountered most frequently, and we have the equipment to go there and properly gather scientifically valid evidence in a secure manner.

    Let’s quit the yakkin’ and start the trackin’!

  8. dbdonlon responds:

    It wouldn’t be bigfoot if the experts didn’t fight amongst themselves..

    I guess the important points are that Wallace made fakes, and we know it. Maybe we can even tell what prints he faked. That’s good. The post just above mine makes the next important point: Wallace is dead and we’re still finding tracks.

    BUT it’s not like, past those points, there isn’t an interesting question here for folks just like us to pursue. In other words, I don’t think it’s true you can’t “track AND yack” all you want.

    This debate might not be of crucial importance, but it’s interesting, so let’s see part III!

  9. john green responds:

    dbdonlon’s post shows a good example of how mere speculations and even outright misstatements end up being quoted as facts if they are repeated often enough.

    The facts are that Ray Wallace made and sold very fake-looking track casts, as illustrated, and that members of his family after his death produced some pairs of carved feet fitted with straps so that they could be worn and walked on.

    That Ray Wallace might have used these carved feet to fake tracks is a reasonable speculation, but nothing more. He might only have used them as Grover Krantz and I used the ones we once made, not to try to fool anyone but to see could be done with them.

    That none of the Wallace strapped carvings so far produced could have been used to make any tracks that have been accepted as genuine is obvious on close comparison.

    That people who never saw any of the California tracks or even the locations where they were made persist in presuming to tell the people who did see them and investigate them that they know that they were faked, and by whom, is one of the strangest wonders of the Bigfoot world.

  10. dbdonlon responds:

    Well great, I had to stray into Mr. Green’s line of fire!

    I supppose that it can be put to rest pretty easily if the question really is easy, but things being what they are, I am not expecting them to be easy..

    I see one way of proceding straight off. Here’s the crux:

    “Those who will look at the photographic record from Blue Creek Mountain in 1967 will find the same characteristics [of Wallace fake feet] illustrated in that record.”

    Let’s have Mr. Coleman and Hall present the evidence — a reproduction of the photographic evidence, and a reproduction of the fake feet showing the same characteristics.

    Hey, this is the internet, we can do this!

    For instance, damndirtyape, whose true identity is no doubt known around here, posted images of the 1967 Blue Creek tracks on a bulletin board a little more than a year ago here.

    What Wallace fakes are we going to compare the tracks to? There are some in that thread, including some attempts to actually compare them to the tracks found at Blue Creek. Maybe some or all of this can be gathered together into one place, easier to navigate than a bulletin board, and we can procede from there. At least I think that’s the way to go.

    Otherwise, we are stuck with:

    Coleman and Hall: The Blue Creek Mountain tracks were faked!

    Green and Noll: No they weren’t!

    And, gentlemen, that is going to get boring..

    Now that I’ve been back to look again, I think I was right, it isn’t going to be easy..

  11. Peaks of Dan responds:

    Have Coleman & Co. and Green & Co. considered sitting down and having a “face to face” over this issue? Or at least a confrence call? Find some common ground, then list points A, B, C, etc. of each side?

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