My mom and I would watch a lot of television when she was dying of Lou Gehrigs Disease. I would be on a sofa chair in her bedroom. She would be sitting up in her medical bed. There’d be the tray where she had her pretzels or saltines, and her soda (7 up).
The particular episode we were watching one afternoon was In Search Of Bigfoot.
In this episode they showed the grainy film image of Bigfoot walking across some place in the woods. I learn later this is known as the famous Patterson film.
In the mid 1960’s some guy named Patterson and his friend witnessed a Sasquatch (Bigfoot) walking in front of them and started filming it. Patterson said it was about seven feet tall.
In the early afternoon of October 20, Patterson and Gimlin were at Bluff Creek in Northern California. Both were on horseback when they first saw the creature. They said they were in shock.
Patterson estimated he was about 25 feet away from the creature at his closest. Patterson said that his horse reared upon seeing (or perhaps smelling) the figure, and he spent about twenty seconds getting off the horse and getting his camera that he happened to have on him because when you ride horseback, in the nineteen sixties, you always bring your movie camera.
Digression: Google or Bing the typical movie camera of 1965, and see how portable it was. Possible, yes. Likely while riding horseback – no. I’m just saying.
The camera was in a saddlebag and it took him about twenty seconds, he actually counted, I guess, before he could run toward the figure while operating his camera. He yelled “Cover me” to Gimlin, (To which I ask ‘Cover me with what?’ Like is this guy Gimlin going to do – what – if Bigfoot comes at him – throw bananas?) Anyway, our story continues-who thereupon crossed the creek on horseback, rode forward awhile, and, rifle in hand, dismounted (presumably because his horse might have panicked if the creature charged, spoiling his shot).
The figure had walked away from them to a distance of about 120 feet before Patterson began to run after it. The resulting film (about 53 seconds long) is initially quite shaky (and blurry of course) until Patterson gets about 80 feet from the figure. At that point the figure glanced over its right shoulder at the men and Patterson fell to his knees; on Krantz’s map this corresponds to frame 264. To researcher John Green, Patterson would later characterize the creature’s expression as one of “contempt and disgust.” We don’t really see that look when we view the grainy footage though. But this is the Zapruder film of Bigfoot, in essense, and it is all we’ve got.
So Leonard Nimoy says this and my mom, not even bothering to turn her head to face me, says:
“Its on film, though.” I say.
“Its Bull- Shit.” she insists. “The gorilla man looked disgusted? I thought he was thirty feet away. And why is the film so blurry?”
“He was nervous.”
“So was your dad when he took photos of the Canyon on our camping trip a few years ago. They aren’t blurry.”
“Dad didn’t see Bigfoot.”
“Either did this guy.”
The film continues. Shortly after glancing over its shoulder, the
blurry grainy creature walks behind a grove of trees, reappears for awhile after Patterson moved ten feet to a better vantage point, then fades into the trees again and is lost to view as the reel of film ran out. Gimlin remounted and followed it on horseback, keeping his distance, until it disappeared around a bend in the road three hundred yards away. Patterson called him back at that point, feeling vulnerable on foot without a rifle, because he feared the creature’s mate might approach- Said Nimoy.
“The creatures mate” my mom says, still able to lift the can of 7up to her mouth, taking a swig before putting it back down. “Now the monkey man is married, too.”
Nimoy offered up the believers reasonings why no bones of Bigfoot creatures have ever been found in the Pacific Northwest. Evidently, it was due to the many scavengers of the area and the highly acidic soil in the region.
They show the film over and over. Its always grainy.
“It looks like a fat guy in a gorilla suit on his way to a campground bathroom.” She says.
“They found footprints mom.” I say.
“Bullshit.” She says, taking a handful of pretzel sticks and chomping them for a minute. “That’s a guy with wooden boards shaped like big feet attached to baseball bats and stomped into the ground. Your dad could make those with his jigsaw.”
She had a point.
Bigfoot walked with a bad posture, hanging low and forward, like an old man hunched over in a forward lean.
“He looks constipated.” Mom says. It goes toward her conclusion he was looking for a bathroom. “Look how he’s hunched forward with those long arms. Your great uncle Frank walked like that in the last two years of his life.”
Nimoy says some witnesses have seen Bigfoot eating berries in the woods.
“Those two guys sat on a case of beer, smoked grass (that’s what mom called pot), and came up with the whole thing.” My mom said.