Was the Patterson-Gimlin Film Real?

The Patterson-Gimlin film is perhaps the most widely viewed Bigfoot video evidence to emerge since the study of Bigfoot moved from mythology to cryptozoology.  Also referred to as the Patterson or PG Film, Roger Patterson, and Robert Gimlin captured the debated footage in October 1967.  Nearly fifty years later, the authenticity is still questioned by many but there’s never been any conclusive proof that it’s anything other than genuine.

Roger Patterson’s interest in Bigfoot was sparked when he read a True Magazine article by Ivan T. Sanderson in 1959.  While the article was essentially a collection of newspaper clippings, it also contained drawings and interviews not previously published, including some rare hand-drawn maps of supposed encounter locations.  All-in-all, there were some twenty photos of the creature from various sources and illustrations by witnesses.

Patterson and his friend Gimlin were interested in making a movie about Bigfoot and chose a setting they believed to be the perfect location in Northern California called the Six Rivers National Forest.  The area had a well-documented history of sightings dating back to the early 1950s, including a recent, notable encounter investigated and documented by two journalists and an archaeologist.

On the afternoon of October 20th, the pair arrived at Bluff Creek on horseback. While rounding a tree overturned in a bend, they spotted off to their left a figure crouched at the stream.  According to Patterson’s estimations, he was roughly twenty-five feet from the creature.

Patterson’s horse, apparently not too fond of their guest, reared up. He managed to calm the animal and dismounted. Then, carefully, he removed his camera and began to record footage, all the while approaching the unidentified creature.

Spotting Paterson’s approach, the creature started to run and, determined to get the shot, Patterson ran after it, hence the shaking in the footage.  Curiously, the creature paused and looked back over its shoulder at its pursuer, glaring at Patterson.  This moment in time, preserved forever on film, would become one of the most famous frames ever taken of the cryptid.  The creature then entered a grove of trees but reappeared a moment later. Unfortunately, the camera ran out of film, and the footage ended there.

According to their accounts, the two men continued to track the creature for a few miles but lost its trail in the dense undergrowth. They returned to the site of the initial encounter and found footprints. Prepared for just such a scenario, they made two plaster casts of the impressions and measured the stride distance between them.  Based on their measurements, they estimated the creature was about six and seven feet tall.  Unlike most reported photographic evidence of Bigfoot, they believed this creature was female due to its prominently visible breasts.

As is often the case, Patterson presented his proof of the existence of Bigfoot to the scientific community but was promptly dismissed.  Undeterred, he incorporated the footage into a modestly successful documentary film that shown around the Pacific Northwest area.  Despite claims the creature on film is a hoax, he’s always maintained the footage was genuine and that he and Gimlin encountered Bigfoot.

The Patterson-Gimlin film is perhaps the most widely viewed Bigfoot video evidence to emerge since the study of Bigfoot moved from mythology to cryptozoology.  Also referred to as the Patterson or PG Film, Roger Patterson, and Robert Gimlin captured the debated footage in October 1967.  Nearly fifty years later, the authenticity is still questioned by many but there's never been any conclusive proof that it's anything other than genuine. Roger Patterson's interest in Bigfoot was sparked when he read a True Magazine article by Ivan T. Sanderson in 1959.  While the article was essentially a collection of newspaper clippings, it…

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2 comments

  1. Biohazard

    Classic footage…. Love it! That’s some high tech equipment back in his day. Can you imagine if he had a high tech camera of today? We would be able to zoom in and actually see the zipper on that gorilla suite…

  2. The Librarian

    Given today’s standards, if it wasn’t computer generated then I’m guessing you’d probably see the velcro – who uses zippers today?

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