‘Dead Bigfoot Photo’ Update – Hoaxed From a Hoax?

Posted by: Karl Shuker on April 20th, 2015


Click on image for full size version

(The original bear picture postcard alongside the derived, photo-manipulated ‘dead bigfoot photo’ (bear picture postcard owned by Dr Karl Shuker – all rights reserved)

Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would have said if this had happened in Wonderland! Just when it seemed that the much-tangled tale of the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ was finally disentangled, another knot of controversy has duly presented itself.

On April 15, I received an email from Bill Munns, a much-celebrated cinematographic special-effects expert, whose notable contribution to bigfoot investigation was his book When Roger Met Patty (2014), in which his extensive analysis of the famous Patterson-Gimlin film purporting to show a female bigfoot swiftly striding into and back out of view at Bluff Creek, California, on 20 October 1967 concluded that the alleged bigfoot (popularly nicknamed Patty, after Patterson) was not a man in a fur suit as many critics believe, but was a bona fide creature.

Bill had now analysed both the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ and its bear precursor, and to my great surprise he announced in his email to me that in his view not only the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ but also the bear photograph were hoaxes! He alerted my attention to an illustrated report that he had written, documenting his analysis and containing his reasons for believing both images to be hoaxes, which he had uploaded onto the Bigfootforums discussion website a short time before emailing me.

Bill’s report confirmed that the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ had resulted from not particularly good-quality photo-manipulation of the bear photograph. He then highlighted a number of lighting issues present in the bear photograph that made him believe that it was not a natural outdoors photograph, in spite of its apparent outdoors setting. He also brought to attention what he considered to be suggestions of retouching.

As I am certainly no expert in photographic analysis, and, even if I were, I seriously doubt whether I could match Bill’s many years of accumulated experience working in his capacity in the Hollywood film industry, I cannot comment upon the lighting issues that he discusses – other than to wonder whether a photograph known (via the existence of my picture postcard depicting it) to date back almost a century could have been modified so expertly back then. Consequently, I expressed my concern about this in my reply to Bill’s email, and in a second email to me, dated April 16, he agreed with me, noting that it would indeed have been a challenge to achieve at that time.

Also, I need to emphasise here that even if Bill’s assessment of the bear photograph is accurate and that it is itself a hoax, it does not change anything in relation to its status as the original long-existing image from which the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ was created by ‘captiannemo’. This is because, as already noted, my recently-purchased picture postcard containing the bear image confirms the image to be of vintage age, as the postcard’s own production dates from the period 1904-1918, i.e. almost a century before the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ appeared on the scene.

Don’t forget too that ‘captiannemo’ stated in his confession of fakery re the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ that the copy of the bear photograph that he had used to create the bigfoot version from is one that had appeared in an article on grizzly bear hunting published by the periodical Field and Stream during the same time period as the postcard’s publication. Speaking of which: it would be good if this particular article could be traced, thereby placing its own existence beyond any shadow of doubt and adding to the postcard’s existence a second, independent publication source verifying that the bear photograph dates back at least as far as that early period of the 20th Century.

So to anyone reading this update who has access to an early run of Field and Stream: if you could check through it and locate the grizzly bear hunting article, I’d greatly welcome its precise publication details (and a scan of the article too if possible).

As far as the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ is concerned, however, all considerations regarding the bear photograph’s authenticity are in any case wholly irrelevant. All that matters is that we know definitely that the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ was created from it via photo-manipulation, and is therefore a hoax (with the bear photograph known to have been in existence for almost a century at least).

Finally: just in case anyone was wondering whether the bear photograph had actually been created from the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ (thereby conveniently ignoring the bear photo’s confirmed very early production date) rather than the other way round, this ridiculous notion was swiftly scuppered as follows by Bill in his report:

“First, the “dead bigfoot” photo can be verified as derived from the Bear photo because two sections of the Bear body were incorporated into the faked Bigfoot shape. And the lower resolution of the bigfoot body photo creates a source/derivative connection that goes one way. Images can be made less sharp, but not more sharp, in the manner shown. Detail could not have been added to the bigfoot photo to achieve the bear photo. But the bear photo detail can easily be reduced to the level of the bigfoot photo.”

My thanks to Bill Munns for alerting me to his analysis of the two photos and for discussing this fascinating matter with me.

Full details of my debunking of the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ can be accessed here on my ShukerNature blog.

See also:

More: A Cryptomundo Conspiracy?
A Cryptomundo Conspiracy?
Bearly a Bigfoot – Sourcing the ‘Dead Bigfoot Photo’
Exposing the Dead Bigfoot Photo – The Bear Facts!
“Dead Bigfoot Photo,” More
“Dead Bigfoot Photo” Deconstructed
Dead Bigfoot Photo?
Another Dead Bigfoot Photo?

Karl Shuker About Karl Shuker
My name is Dr Karl P.N. Shuker. I am a zoologist (BSc & PhD), media consultant, and the author of 25 books and hundreds of articles, specialising in cryptozoology and animal mythology. I have a BSc (Honours) degree in pure zoology from the University of Leeds (U.K.), and a PhD in zoology and comparative physiology from the University of Birmingham (U.K.). I have acted jointly as consultant and major contributor to three multi-author volumes on cryptozoology and other mysterious phenomena. I am the Life Sciences Consultant to The Guinness Book of Records/Guinness World Records (Guinness: London, 1997-present day), and was consultant to Monsters (Lorenz Books: London, 2001), as well as a contributor to Mysteries of the Deep (Llewellyn: St Paul, 1998), Guinness Amazing Future (Guinness: London, 1999), The Earth (Channel 4 Books: London, 2000), and Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained (Chambers: London, 2007). I appear regularly on television & radio, was a consultant for the Discovery TV series Into the Unknown, and a question setter for the BBC's quiz show Mastermind. I am a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a Member of the Society of Authors, and the Cryptozoology Consultant for the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ). I have written articles for numerous publications, including Fortean Times, The X Factor, Paranormal Magazine, FATE, Strange Magazine, Prediction, Beyond, Uri Geller's Encounters, Phenomena, Alien Encounters, Wild About Animals, All About Cats, All About Dogs, Cat World, etc. In 2005, I was honoured by the naming of a new species of loriciferan invertebrate after me - Pliciloricus shukeri.

2 Responses to “‘Dead Bigfoot Photo’ Update – Hoaxed From a Hoax?”

  1. cryptokellie responds:

    There is no controversy here to bother with. Everyone knows that the Bigfoot version of this image is a crude photo edited fake. End of story.

  2. Karl Shuker responds:

    Two responses needed here:

    Firstly – Yes, there IS, still, a controversy, namely as to whether not just the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ but also the vintage bear photo from which it was created is a result of photo-manipulation, as I clearly explain in my article here, but which cryptokellie does not seem to have read or understood, judging from their above comment.

    Secondly: although it SEEMED obvious that the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ was indeed a crude photo-edited fake, everyone did not KNOW that (indeed, no-one KNEW that), because until I revealed the vintage bear photograph no-one had ever traced the original photo from which the ‘dead bigfoot photo’ had been created. Assuming something to be fake and knowing (via uncovering conclusive proof) that it is a fake are two very different things.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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