The Real Bigfoot and Genuine Bigfoot Tracks

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 19th, 2007

During the next ten days, I will be sharing Mark A. Hall comprehensive contribution, “The Real Bigfoot and Genuine Bigfoot Tracks,” which completes the triad of his treatments detailing his examination of North American unknown hairy hominoid footprints in the context of the Ray Wallace hoaxes.

Blue Creek Wallace Hoax Comparison

The Real Bigfoot and Genuine Bigfoot Tracks

Part 1: Introduction

by Mark A. Hall

As the new year of 2003 began, there was a welcome shift away from the excesses in newspaper reporting on Bigfoot that the USA experienced in December of 2002. The Denver (Colorado) Post in its issue for 5 January 2003 published the news that some professional scientists are now outspoken about the importance of looking at the subject of Bigfoot. The article by Theo Stein was headlined “Legitimate scientific study of legend gains backing of top primate experts.”

Representatives from the scientific ranks have been few until now, with Jeffrey Meldrum, W. Henner Fahrenbach, and John Bindernagel being prominent. Grover Krantz and John Napier did not live to see this moment. Both authored books that gave the subject a serious treatment.

Notice was taken in the article that “dedicated amateurs” had also worked to change attitudes toward the subject. Now they can welcome on board such names as George Schaller, Jane Goodall, Daris Swindler, Esteban Sarmiento, and Russell Mittermeier.

The solutions to the questions raised by Bigfoot reports are not just around the corner because of this change in attitudes. The subjects remain as challenging to people’s efforts as ever. But the way is now open for young scientists to take up the pursuit of them as they have not been free to do before.

I will come back to some of the things they might be doing later in this article.

The December 2002 excesses were brought on by the death of a man in Washington State. His relatives announced after his death that he was responsible for the legend of Bigfoot. They produced some strap-on false feet as their proof. They are free to hold any peculiar beliefs they wish within their family circle. Much like the Gran family in Minnesota who told historians a second-hand account of how they came to believe one of their ancestors carved the Kensington Runestone. The only people they impressed with their family legend were some die-hard opponents of the stone. The stone has been demonstrated to have a sound linguistic basis in the 14th century, beyond the abilities of any Minnesotans in the 19th century. [1]

The people in Washington State have been free with their boasts. But when challenged to demonstrate how these tools could produce believable tracks in natural surroundings where tracks have been found they alibied out of showing how it could be done. Some false tracks were produced with those false feet. They have a presence dating from 1958 in the history of Bigfoot. They were left in locations where tracks could be easily placed. But the hoaxer when alive denied any guilt. Responding to the failure of the hoaxer’s nephew to demonstrate their use, the long-time Bigfoot investigator John Green observed: “His uncle Ray was smarter. He never publicly claimed he had or could fake tracks, so was never called upon to prove he could do it.” [2]

Here is how I commented on the December furor on my website (

In 1982 the media in the USA went wild by spreading the musings of an 86-year-old logger that he had invented Bigfoot. His unsupported claims were passed around with an accompanying photograph of him holding up a wooden carving of a footprint. In my book Living Fossils I chronicled the trail of those claims as they unfolded over several years. The episode of Rant Mullens served as an example of how people make claims, get attention, and are exploited by others for their buffoonery. In December of 2002 we have seen the media performing the same uncritical service for another claimant to the birth of Bigfoot.

We are reminded that blowhards and publicity hounds will always be with us. For them a carving or a few false footprints become the answer to everything. Other signs of publicity hounds are promises of revelations that never materialize, claims that they have secret evidence they are not yet free to divulge, and threats of lawsuits that are simply frivolous. America’s freedom of speech and action allows people to behave as loose cannons in these ways. Over time they find their way into the news. Only these people and those who listen to them are responsible for their actions.

Recent accounts of hoaxed footprints have been distorted to wrongly defame the Patterson-Gimlin film once again. The film remains above reproach. As for the existence of genuine Bigfoot tracks, twenty-five years ago I wrote up a sixteen-page summary of 1977 Bigfoot reports out of South Dakota. It was subsequently published in The Minnesota Archaeologist for May 1978 (Vol. 37 No. 2). Gigantic footprints in two sizes were illustrated based on those events. I returned to the subject in 1994. Reports from Manitoba including tracks and more reports from the Dakotas provided a context that I discussed in two chapters of The Yeti, Bigfoot & True Giants. I presented those reports as one of the few instances of record where Patterson’s Bigfoot, also known as Neo-Giants, ventured out of the West. Those track records are the best evidence of genuine Bigfoot tracks. They were established in Manitoba and the Dakotas far from the confusion that has been realized for the record of tracks in the Pacific Northwest.

Newspapers picked up this latest hoax claim from the Seattle Times and caused a widespread charge that “Bigfoot is dead.” The broadcast of misleading information has spilled over from 2002 into 2003 as some of the media continue to draw the wrong conclusions from the statements of this Washington family.

The genuine nature and long history of Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest could not be done away with by the claims of Rant Mullens and they will survive these latest boasts. Public discourse is likely to be tainted for some time, however, because the communications media B both print and broadcast B are not too practiced at getting the whole story and following up to set the record straight.

The famous film produced through the fieldwork of Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin got drawn unfairly into the December 2002 furor. The Washington hoaxer was a fountain of extravagant claims when alive and was well known for them. Among his doings were some films of a person in a fur suit. They were not taken seriously. Another boast he made was that of telling Patterson where to go to film a creature. Remarks about these deceptions became confused by the press, however. Cryptozoology author Loren Coleman tracked the manner in which the re-writes were done as the story leapfrogged around the globe. Journalists confused the Patterson-Gimlin with the bogus home movies. [3] The credibility of the film remains as good as it can be. People who continue to criticize the Patterson-Gimlin film have only been grabbing publicity for themselves by making claims they cannot back up. In recent years there have been several examples of this. The articles making claims against the film have not been followed up with articles admitting the falseness of those claims.

Tomorrow – Part 2: Wildmen in North America and Bigfoot Emerges.

Originally published in Wonders for December 2002 (Vol. 7 No. 4) pp. 99-125.
©2003 by Mark A. Hall. All rights reserved.

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.

3 Responses to “The Real Bigfoot and Genuine Bigfoot Tracks”

  1. Ceroill responds:

    Thanks for presenting this, Loren. Very interesting.

  2. squatchwatcher responds:

    Very interesting indeed. South Dakota is my stomping grounds. Loren keep up the great work.

  3. mystery_man responds:

    Oh no, I’m not getting drawn into another debate on tracks again! 🙂 Seriously, though, interesting article.

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