He moves like a human. It’s just a man in a costume hidden by the grain of aged celluloid. There is no way that this hoax proves the existence of Bigfoot.
Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin’s 1967 footage, shot in Northern California, is not only easily the most reproduced footage of Bigfoot — it’s also the most attacked. Scientist after scientist has slowed down the motion and peeled back the layers to say that the creature on the tape provides no evidence for Bigfoot, Sasquatch, or any other variation of the hairy giant that has captured public imagination for centuries and, if ancient records are to be believed, terrorized them for millenia.
Dr. Jeff Meldrum, a Bigfoot specialist from Idaho State University who has appeared everywhere from the National Geographic Channel to NPR to the Syfy channel, explained his own findings Saturday at the Wilbur D. May Museum in Rancho San Rafael Regional Park during the museum’s “Creatures” exhibit.
Meldrum has trekked China, Russia and coast to coast of the United States to track down Bigfoot — and affirm the creature’s existence, which Meldrum said was long ago confirmed for him by footprint examinations, personal experiences and a distinct historical record. Native American legends feature creatures like Bigfoot as commonplace, but many famous American adventurers, including Theodore Roosevelt, also reference the beast in their journals.
“Lewis and Clark both wrote separately about a pass filled with fierce giants more akin to bears than people,” Meldrum said. “They described them as — get this — the men who wear no moccasins.”
The details contained in his footprint point to evolutionary characteristics that paint Bigfoot as something completely plausible — an unknown link in the evoltuonary chain between man and ape, according to Meldrum. He said footprints attributed to Bigfoot show an animal that does not step downward with its toes first like a human but with its entire foot in one sweeping motion.
“The weight is spread out across the entire surface, totally different from that of humans,” Meldrum said. “We’ve got a footprint replica from across the world that indicated the same species.”
And new technology is reopening even commonly dismissed evidence like Patterson and Gimlin’s famous footage, he said. By breaking down the red-green-blue color spectrum making up the more than 50-year-old video, the most crisp of the images can be sequestered and viewed on its own. Bigfoot’s fur and body have been written off as poor costume work by debunkers, but this fresh level of detail, Meldrum said, puts those naysayers to rest.
“Ask any costume designer what the hardest part is, and they’ll tell you the neck,” Meldrum said. “It is almost impossible to replicate the way that skin hangs from a human neck. Remember the Grinch? The hairs on his chin are there to block the fact that there’s no costume behind that.”
Clarified footage does repudiate claims that the hoax is the work of clever costume designers, Meldrum said. Even with the advances in costume design since 1967, it would still be almost impossible to make a suit that looks so realistic, he said. Scrupulous details — like massive neck muscles built to support the massive weight of the creature’s face that spread from Bigfoot’s back over the top of his skull — seem much too intuitive for mere hoaxers, he said. Even more convincing is the tendon now visibly protuding from the back of Bigfoot’s legs as he steps, according to Meldrum.
“That kind of detail doesn’t show up in a costume,” he said. “This is skin over muscle and skeletal mass.”
Further scientific discoveries about the process of evolution have also challenged some of the debunker’s arguments. New Scientist recently published answers to a question hypothesizing the existence of hominid creatures, a step that Meldrum said he believes is the first in a series of many toward broader accpetance in a scientific community that he said still largely ostricizes Bigfoot researchers. Modern discoveries may hold the potential to prove the existence of these half-beast, half-man creatures, he said.
“At the time (of the footage), to have such a chimera of gorilla and man was impossible,” Meldrum said. “As history has shown us, nature doesn’t always take the straight path.”