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Shooting the Bigfoot

A BBC investigation into Bigfoot

Capturing a Bigfoot on film is a rare occurrence-the most compelling and celebrated footage is of course the 1967 Patterson/Gimlin film, of which I'm sure 99.9% of people reading this are overly familiar with, in the past few years many efforts have been made to debunk the film, "I was the man in the suit" or "I know the identity of the man in the suit" are claims that have been well publicised through many media, none have which been backed up with any tangible proof at least not at the time of writing.

An investigation by wildlife photographer and cameraman Chris Packham into the phenomenon handled the subject in a less sensational way.In a BBC television documentary series-"The X-Creatures", Chris set out to investigate various cryptozoological cases, as well as the programme dealing with Bigfoot.(Shooting the Bigfoot), other phenomenon such as the Yeti,the Loch Ness monster and the Thylacine-an extinct ?, species of Australian wild dog also were featured in the series.

The way in which he investigated these cases was fairly impressive, given that producing a TV show that would attract viewers was the main goal, the aim was to speculate on whether a population of Sasquatch could feasibly exist, in purely biological terms.

A perhaps hammy and over-dramaticsized reconstruction of the Fred Beck/Ape Canyon occurrence opened the proceedings, accompanied by a rather sceptical voice over provided by Packham

Inevitably the Patterson/Gimlin footage was the main subject of his investigation, a conversation with Bob Gimlin was more or less a repetition of John Green's interview with Gimlin, with Bob wearily retelling the tale,however he admitted that in the passing years on reflection, that the Bigfoot caught on film may have been a guy in a suit, who was taking a hell of a chance with his life.

Packham also sought out other sources regarding the footage - Jon Vulich, a special effects artist who has thrown his hat into the ring on the 'hoax' side of the issue was interviewed and repeated his claims of the John Chambers/Planet of the Apes rumours that the film was no more than a hoax orchestrated by Patterson, aided and abetted by Chambers.

Grover Crantz trotted out his theory that the locomotion of the creature exempted the possibility of a human, of which Packham decided to be unsafe-Dr Krantz demonstrated his version of the creatures locomotion and argued that it was unlikely that it could be kept up for the distance travelled by the creature in the footage, Chris disputed the claim-perhaps with practice it could have been possible?

John Green displayed his collection of track castings, the ones taken from the Bossburg incident seemed to have the most persuasive properties, Chris and John also viewed the footage together and it was very interesting to see film of Roger and Bob before the incident

Packham decided in his own words "to pay homage to Bluff Creek", by attempting to recreate how the footage may have been faked, using the same type of hand-held Kodak used by Patterson and laying out the path the creature took as precisely as possible the BBC crew filmed a large actor costumed in a rather unconvincing suit (no doubt supplied by Jon Vulich's studio), the results of which led Packham to suggest that the range of the creature was in much greater proximity than first thought and that consequently the behaviour of the beast, walking away, seemingly unconcerned, would be unlikely in such a supposedly reclusive animal. It was also inferred that the camera had been deliberately shook to blur the image.


Packham also cited the fact that the mountain gorilla despite being elusive and inhabiting remote and inaccessible terrain has been catalogued to the extent every individual in the population is known.Chris concluded that Bigfoot had never existed apart from in the minds of the "dreamers and the schemers".

A Comment on the Packham investigation from Matt Moneymaker.

In a recent correspondence (my first experience of contact with, I add), with renowned expert on the Bigfoot Phenomenon, Matt Moneymaker- I happened to mention the 'X-Creatures' programme and my page focusing on the 'evidence' presented by this.

Matt replied in no uncertain terms-I am more than happy to print this new statement.........

"Chris Packham is a total fraud. He lied about Gimlin saying that after years of reflection it could have been a man in a costume, etc. Gimlin never said anything even remotely similar to that. Curiously, they don't have a tape or any kind of recording of Gimlin making that statement, yet they spent thousands of dollars travelling to different countries in order to interview people for that production. Did you ever wonder why they could only quote him? ... They lied. Appleby now blames it on Packham. Packham has no comment. He got paid and delivered his show. That's all he cared about.

Packham had also brought some old receipt of Patterson's post Patty-footage film licensing to Patterson's widow's residence. Then he set up Mrs. Patterson to allow him to get close enough to Roger's papers so that he could make it look as though he pulled the old receipt from Roger's papers. This scam wasn't shown in the film/TV version of the program, but was used for the magazine version of production.

Packham and Appleby also defrauded Patricia Patterson with a contract saying that their interviews with her, and their use of the Patterson footage were for a production entitled "World's Greatest" -- instead of the actual title "World's Greatest Hoaxes". Fox Television is currently being sued by Mrs. Patterson's attorney for this part of the fraud. Others in the BBC have already stated to us that Packham's production was pretty discpicable. The only way he could get the money for this production was by assuring the folks at the BBC that he could solve all the world's greatest mysteries in one production. So when some twenty-something punk makes that kind of superman promise, there's nothing he won't stoop to in order to make it look like he accomplished his goal. The Packham/Appleby production was a fraud, and the BBC admits it."

As stated on the first page I welcome all contributions and opinions, and fully admit my ignorance when faced by serious researchers, however my personal opinion of most TV shows concerning the Phenomenon, including the 'X-Creatures' programme is that they simply rehash what has been said in previous efforts (most laughable recently of which was the Fox show 'Worlds Greatest Hoaxes-Secrets finally revealed), and have never stated to the contrary.

Nevertheless this is one of the media with which a sceptical general public forms an opinion on the subject, and I believe that they should be consequently examined, especially if you are questioning the validity of the 'evidence' presented in them, as Matt did so eloquently above.

Letters sent to BBC Wildlife magazine concerning the Packham Investigation

Contrary to what Chris Packham states in his Bigfoot article (September), not all large apes live in groups or pairs; male orang-utans, for example, are solitary creatures. Furthermore, many museums and universities have huge collections of skeletal materials from American animals, but few of them have the resources to fully document their collections. It is possible, then, that the physical evidence required to confirm the reality of Bigfoot is lying in a box waiting to be discovered. And as much of the Pacific Northwest has never been properly mapped and is largely unexplored, infrequent and unsubstantiated sightings of Bigfoot therefore can be attributed perhaps to the fact that the area is uninhabited and that few people go there. - Roger Thomas

There is a wealth of misinformation in the Bigfoot article but, due to limited space, I can deal only with the most outrageous misstatement made by Chris Packham, namely that he has proved that the Patterson-Gimlin movie of a Bigfoot is a hoax.

He cites three grounds for this claim: (1)he found something at Mrs Patterson's home that "proved there was a secret;" (2) special-effects experts "laughed at the simplicity of the suit" and produced one themselves; and (3) Bob Gimlin "broke his silence to voice his doubts" about what he'd seen.

First, all that was found was documentation indicating that Roger Patterson made money, after the event, by selling rights to the film. This is not news to anyone with the slightest familiarity with the matter, and Paul Appleby, the X-Creatures producer, admitted to Mrs Patterson that it has no bearing whatever on the film's authenticity. Second, Appleby told me at length in a telephone conversation about how sophisticated that 'simple' suit was and said that the reason they used the pathetic suit shown in the photographs is that the BBC could not afford the real thing. And the X-Creatures crew were naive to believe a claim that, 30 years ago, Hollywood provided an unemployed ex-rodeo rider with a suit that no one since has been able to equal for any of their big-budget movies.

Third, Bob Gimlin has expressed no doubts that he saw an unknown animal. When pressed by Appleby, all he did was admit that he was not impossible to fool.

There is indeed a proven hoax involved in this matter, but it is not the movie: it is the story that you have published.

John Green

British Columbia, Canada

A Reply by series producer Paul Appleby

I should clarify John Green's comments regarding the tv programme. The point of re-enacting the filming at Bluff Creek was not to reproduce the suit but the filming of it. So the suit wasn't as important as using the same dimensions and the same model of camera and lens. And the point it made was that the behaviour of the 'creature' was highly unusual. Bob Gimlin wasn't pressed to say anything, though he did say that he thought it could have been a hoax, but added that it would have to have been well planned by Roger Patterson. - Paul Appleby:Series Producer