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Notes For Unsolved: Bigfoot

Research notes for Supernatural Season 2 Episode 2

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**Research compiled for Ryan & Shane on December 29, 2016 by Kari Koeppel.

The Basics

  • There have been accounts of “Almas,” or big, strong, hairy, naked people living in Caucasus since at least the 15th century.
  • The reports include these “almas” being domesticated, killed, or even married.
  • Different cultures have different versions of this “monster”:
  • It’s cousin is the Yeti, reportedly located in the Himalayas.
  • The Australian outback has a “Yowie.”
  • Indonesia has a “Ebu Gogo.”
  • Sasquatch is said to be located in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Most primatologists do not believe that the existence of a Bigfoot or Sasquatch to be likely.
  • A North American Great Ape would be some sort of remnant of the Australopithecus or Neanderthal population.
  • The name Sasquatch is derived from the Halkomelem dialectal word “Sésquac,” which means “wild man.”
  • “Sasquatch” was first used by the Coast Salish people, who lived in the Fraser Valley in the Pacific Northwest as well as on parts of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Both of these regions have had more recorded Sasquatch sightings than any other region.
  • Bigfoot is another, more widely used term for Sasquatch.
  • Yetis are an entirely different creature, reportedly found in the Himalayas. The “Abominable Snowman” is reportedly the same creature as the Yeti.
  • Cryptozoology is the study of hidden creatures, like the Loch Ness Monster, yeti, or Sasquatch.
  • Sightings of Bigfoot/Sasquatch have been reported in almost every US state.
  • The state with the most reported sightings is Washington, with over 600 reported sightings as of 2015.
  • It’s believed that there is more than Sasquatch - it is not a singular creature, but a species.

Early History

Footprints, 1958

  • In 1958, Gerald Crew made a cast of large footprints found near his bulldozer in Bluff Creek, Del Norte County, California.
  • Locals in Bluff Creek started referring to the creature who made the tracks as “Big Foot.”
  • The Humboldt Times wrote about the story, and editor Andrew Genzoli decided to write it as one word, no space: Bigfoot.
  • After that, the name caught on.
  • HOWEVER Ray L. Wallace reportedly created the big footprints found in Bluff Creek, California in 1958, using a pair of carved wooden feet.
  • His two children came forward after Wallace passed away at the age of 84 in November 2003.
  • His son, Michael, said, “This wasn’t a well-planned plot or anything. It’s weird because it was just a joke, but then it took on such a life of its own that even now, we can’t stop it.”
  • Wallace reportedly had a friend carve the feet, then had a friend drive him in a truck slowly while he stomped the prints into the ground, creating footprints that had a seemingly large gait.
  • Wallace reportedly was a big prankster who loved jokes.
  • Bigfoot believers think that there’s so much other evidence of Sasquatch’s existence, that Wallace’s prank doesn’t matter.
  • Others had always suspected that Wallace had faked the footprints, and this news did not deter them.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum believes that the Wallace hoax could further cloud respect for legitimate researchers:
  • “What concerns me about the Ray Wallace story is that it puts a damper on legitimate researchers. They’re seen as kooks or cranks. But what it actually does is steel them all the more.”

Patterson-Gimlin Film, 1967

  • In 1967, Roger Patterson, an amateur Bigfoot hunter, filmed a home movie in Six Rivers National Forest in northern California.
  • The film shows a sort of ape-man walking on two feet, occasionally looking at the camera.
  • Many believers believe the film is real, including Drs. Fahrenbach and Meldrum. Other believers think it’s fake.
  • Dr. Meldrum believes you can see Sasquatch’s muscle movements in the 1967 Patterson film.
  • He thinks that Sasquatch’s ankles in the film would be a key indicator if it was actually a man in a costume - but there’s nothing to suggest it.
  • Patterson also shot the film with Bob Gimlin. It’s commonly referred to as the Patterson-Gimlin film.
  • The film has never been completely debunked.
  • Gimlin regretted shooting the film, believing that Patterson benefited off of it more than he did, but he believes what he saw.
  • It tore their friendship apart, and they didn’t make up until Patterson was on his death bed.
  • The film is 59.5 seconds long. The men were riding horses at the time, and their horses reacted to Bigfoot before they saw it themselves.
  • Watch the Patterson-Gimlin film of Sasquatch on YouTube

Recent History

Modern Experts & Evidence

  • Paul Freeman of Walla Walla, Washington took casts of Bigfoot footprints in the 1990s.
  • Freeman showed Jeffrey Meldrum, an associate professor of anatomy and anthropology, 14-inch long prints in the Blue Mountains. Meldrum is an expert on foot morphology and the movement of monkeys, apes, and hominids. He has edited a textbook on the evolution of bipedalism.
  • Some of the prints turned at a 45-degree angle, which Meldrum believed meant the print-maker looked back over its shoulder as it moved.
  • Some of the footprints were flat, while others showed a running motion, with the toes digging into the ground. Some of the prints showed skin whorls.
  • Meldrum felt it would be hard to fake the running footsteps “unless you had some device, some cable-loaded flexible toes.” He took a cast of these footprints.
  • Other people have taken casts of potential Bigfoot footprints, recorded possible calls, found unidentifiable hairs, and gave witness to having actually seen Bigfoot in person.
  • Meldrum wrote the book Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science in 2006, arguing that “the evidence that exists fully justifies the investigation and the pursuit of this question.”
  • As an argument against the existence of Bigfoot, David J. Daegling, an anthropologist at the University of Florida, said, “Even if you have a million pieces of evidence, if all the evidence is inconclusive, you can’t count it all up to make something conclusive.”
  • Either to prove Sasquatch’s existence, or inexistence, it would necessitate the discovery of some sort of fossil or specimen.
  • There are other pieces of “evidence” that are argued over. One piece of evidence is called the “Skookum cast.” Proponents believe it is a cast of a print of a reclining Sasquatch, while opponents believe it’s an imprint of a reclining elk. Similarly, proponents of Sasquatch argue that it’s unscientific to discount the evidence that Sasquatch exists, while opponents of Sasquatch think it’s unscientific to give it so much credence.
  • Dr. Wolf Henner Fahrenbach, a retired zoologist who formerly worked at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, believes in Sasquatch and has done analysis on over 700 footprints.
  • He believes that Sasquatch’s foot is approximately 15.6 inches long, and the creature may weigh up to 2,000 pounds.
  • Dr. Fahrenbach told the New York Times in 2003, “I’ve gotten close enough to smell him.” When asked how he knew the smell belonged to Sasquatch, Fahrenbach said he didn’t at the time, but later matched it with other descriptions.
  • In 2001, clinical psychologist Dr. Matthew Johnson had an encounter with Bigfoot that he reported to the National Park Service. Dr. Johnson is 6’9”, had lived in Alaska for years and was very familiar with the outdoors, and did not believe in any sort of supernatural creature. He was convinced with what he saw and by 2003 was president of the Southern Oregon Bigfoot Society.
  • All Bigfoot stories lack proof, either a body, skeleton, or clear photo or film that’s indisputable.
  • In 2006, Jane Goodall wrote a blurb for Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum's book on Bigfoot, writing that it “brings a much-needed level of scientific analysis” to the conversation.
  • Jane Goodall told NPR: “Well now you will be amazed when I tell you that I’m sure they exist.”
  • Dr. Meldrum, a footprint expert, believes that’s the most convincing evidence currently available of Sasquatch’s existence. While Dr. Fahrenbach has been unable to identify Sasquatch DNA, as of 2006 there were at least 15 samples that he had been unable to identify as any other animal. Dr. Meldrum believes it would take a large sample in order to properly sequence Sasquatch DNA, in order to tell the difference between Sasquatch and human DNA, as it would probably overlap quite a bit.
  • Dr. Meldrum himself had found Sasquatch footprints on five separate occasions as of 2006. However, he had never seen a Sasquatch itself.
  • It’s believed that there is more than Sasquatch - it is not a singular creature, but a species.
  • The Sasquatch big toe is aligned with its other toes, similar to human foot alignment.
  • There have been several incidents where widely believed Bigfoot encounters have proven to have been a hoax.
  • Cryptozoologists call Sasquatch “Gigantopithecus.”
  • Sasquatch is believed to smell horrible.
  • There is a road near where Sasquatch was first “spotted” that is now called the Bigfoot Scenic Byway.
  • When the nearby Eyesee Road was first being constructed north of the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation, crew members would arrive at the morning to find that 500-pound tires had been thrown around, bulldozers had been turned over, and giant footprints were all around the site.
  • Bigfoot hunters went crazy over the site.
  • Reportedly there have been many Bigfoot sightings near the Elk Creek Bridge in Happy Camp.

Georgia, 2008

  • In 2008, two researchers from Atlanta purchased a frozen Bigfoot carcass… but it turned out to be a rubber gorilla suit.
  • In 2008, Rick Dyer and Matthew Whitton of Georgia claimed to have killed a Bigfoot in the woods of northern Georgia.
  • They kept its body in a freezer, and planned to present the evidence, which included video.
  • Dyer ran a Bigfoot tour company.

DNA Analysis

  • In 2012, a veterinarian-researcher claimed to have sequenced Sasquatch DNA, claiming that Sasquatch was descended from human females who had mated with “unknown hominin” males. This claim was not widely accepted.
  • In 2014, a team of researchers conducted genetic analysis of reported Sasquatch hair samples.
  • The test was the first of its kind, and tested about 36 different samples.
  • The study was lead by an Oxford University professor of human genetics.
  • The samples turned out to belong to a range of known animals, including sheep, dogs, bears, raccoons, and humans.
  • The professor who performed the study said, “absence of proof is never proof of absence.”

According To The Internet

  • The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization describes the sasquatch as “a large, hairy, bipedal non-human primate that is distributed over the North American continent to varying degrees of concentration.”
  • “Its massiveness, deviation from human bearing and different gait leave no doubt in the mind of observers that they have seen a creature different from man or known animals.”
  • Skin color ranges from deep black, charcoal, dark brown, reddish brown, or gray, with the palms of the hands and soles of the feet are much lighter.
  • Albino sasquatches have reportedly been seen.
  • The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization is very clear that sasquatches are covered with hair, not fur.
  • The hair ranges in length from 3 inches to 2 feet. It reportedly grays with age.
  • The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization reports that approximately 10-15% of close encounters with Sasquatch are accompanied by a horrible, intense smell, “comparable to the odor of smegma.”
  • Many encounters report a feeling of being watched beforehand.
  • Sasquatch’s head has been described as “relatively small” for a creature of its size.
  • The average height of a sasquatch is reportedly 7’10”.
  • The Sasquatch in the Patterson film is estimated to be 540 lbs, but the maximum weight is estimated to over 1,000 lbs.
  • Sasquatches are thought to be nocturnal.
  • Believed to be omnivores, eating plants and berries as well as deer, poultry, and bear.
  • Thought to kill large prey with a blow to the head.
  • Mating has been “observed” in May and June, with the belief that sasquatch pregnancy is around 9 months.
  • They are thought to have a life expectancy of about 35 years.
  • Have been mainly observed walking with a long, smooth stride, described as “like cross country skiing” or “like riding a bicycle.” Arms are described as swinging widely.
  • There are reportedly about 5 feet between steps in the Sasquatch stride.
  • Thought to sleep in temporary shelters.
  • Strength is thought to be legendary, and it’s thought they “take pleasure” in using their strength.
  • Sasquatches are mainly silent; however, they are also been credited with howls, grunts, screams, moans, and growls.
  • It’s been noticed that sasquatches are “orderly,” stacking rocks neatly while searching.
  • They have also been noticed to leave “gifts” in return for food that’s been left for them.
  • The “gifts” include dog skulls, evergreen shoots, or even small live animals like baby goats, kittens, or turtles.
  • The most common response from a sasquatch upon interaction with a human is immediate withdrawal.
  • They seem to be more calm towards women and children vs. with men.
  • They are not noted for using tools, the skill that is thought to separate humans from other apes.
  • → database for Sasquatch sightings, by location


  • Skamania County, WA has an ordinance on the books that outlaws killing Bigfoot.
  • (note: this whole ordinance is great & worth reading & possibly quoting)
  • “The Sasquatch, Yeti, Bigfoot, or Giant Hairy Ape are declared to be endangered species of Skamania County and there is hereby created a Sasquatch Refuge...”
  • Actor Jimmy Stewart had his wife smuggle a Yeti fingerbone out of Nepal in her lingerie case. However, in 2011, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland analyzed it and found that it was human.
  • The mascot of the former NBA team, the Seattle Supersonics, was named Squatch.
  • Additional Sources
  • When Patterson and Gimlin made their famous film of a Bigfoot in 1967, one of the first places they stopped to report their discovery was Al Hodgson's general store in Willow Creek. And Hodgson's store remained the central place people came to report sightings for many years.
  • Additional Sources: [1] [2] [3]