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2003 International Bigfoot Symposium Keynote Address
By John Green

  John Green with Bob Gimlin at the Willow Creek Museum in Bluff Creek, CA

Most of you will have noticed that I am not Jane Goodall, and you may well be wondering why I have been asked to fill her spot at this symposium. Well, you are missing the obvious. We have the same initials.

That Dr. Goodall has been unable to keep her commitment to speak here is most unfortunate. Her presence might well have focused the attention of the media on the fact, which they have so far largely succeeded in ignoring, that scientists of world-wide reputation are starting to take a serious look at the evidence that humans are not the only bipedal primates on Earth.

That, in my opinion, is the current development that holds the greatest promise for the future of Bigfoot/sasquatch investigation...

 It is by no means just Jane Goodall.

 In recent years I have had considerable contact with:

  • George Schaller, director of science for the Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Esteban Sarmiento, primate specialist at the American Museum of Natural History
  • Russel Mittermeier, president of Conservation International and chairman of the world-wide Primate Specialist Group
  • Daris Swindler, author of the atlas of comparative anatomy of man and chimpanzee.

All but Dr. Mittermeier have spent time examining the Skookum cast.

All of them are on our side.

They have all stated, all but one of them publicly, that the evidence already accumulated establishes the case for full scientific participation in getting to the bottom of this matter. Dr. Mittermeier told me that he has long considered taking up the hunt himself--and he told Jeff Meldrum that he would not fear being criticized for doing so, because he and his team have already discovered several other unknown primates.

Dr. Swindler, whom I have known for more than 30 years, has appeared in documentaries on this subject in the past as the obligatory skeptical scientist. Now, after careful examination of the best heel print in the Skookum cast, he has expressed the conviction that it is the heel print of a large unknown primate - and he would be here with us today if his health permitted.

With this high-profile support, and with the increasing number of less eminent but fully-qualified zoologists and physical anthropologists who are already participating at their own expense, the time may well be near when scientific institutions with resources and funding will join us in our search.

All that, however, is in the future, and I am really about the past. The number of individuals and groups now participating in the investigation and the amount of information now available on the internet have gone far beyond my ability to monitor, and my own recent efforts have produced nothing worthy of the keynote position that has been assigned to me here.

What I do have is experience, nearly a half century of it, so mainly I will talk about that.  

I would like to start with a few words about Bob Titmus.  

Those of you who have had a chance to go through the Bigfoot wing of the Willow Creek museum will have noted that most of the items exhibited are his and you have probably made the connection that without him there would be no Bigfoot wing and we wouldn’t be holding this symposium. 

What you may not realize is that without Bob Titmus there would have been no magazine articles by Ivan Sanderson, no expeditions funded by Tom Slick, no movie by Roger Patterson, no books by John Green or Grover Krantz or John Bindernagel - and in all probability most of you would never have heard of Bigfoot.

Bob never wrote a book and never sought publicity, so he never became well known, but not even Rene Dahinden dedicated his life to the hunt for Bigfoot to the extent that Bob did, and no one in the 40 years that he was active accomplished anything to compare with what he accomplished.

If you think that statement is extreme, try to think of anyone else whose original materials - not clippings or copies - could form the basis for a substantial museum exhibit. And yet almost all of this is from California. The bulk of his time was spent in British Columbia and the material from the most productive period, when he was able to spend full time in the hunt, was lost when his boat burned and sank while he was on shore.

Bob was a hunter all his life, and was also a master taxidermist, so he knew a lot more about animal sign and animal anatomy than most of us. He also had almost unlimited patience and perseverance, great assets when looking for individual hairs in the underbrush. What’s more, his subconscious mind was tuned to continuously check out animal tracks from a moving car no matter what else had his attention, the way most of us are subconsciously aware of the traffic around us.

From the time in 1958 when his old friend Jerry Crew came back from the Bluff Creek road job with a cast that proved that the huge tracks were not just big bear tracks, Bob devoted all the time he could afford to the search for the track maker.

Initial success came quickly. After only a few weeks he and his friend Ed Patrick, who is here today, found on a sandbar in Bluff Creek slightly smaller tracks of distinctly different shape, proving that “Bigfoot” was not just a freak individual, but a member of a population. The casts that Bob made on that early occasion are on display in the museum, and are still among the best ever made anywhere.

Progress was much slower after that, and a few years later Bob abandoned his beloved taxidermy, selling his business so that he could spend full time in what was then a hot area on the coast of British Columbia. There he suffered back injuries that left him fighting extreme pain for the rest of his life, but he kept up the hunt, including many returns for weeks or months at Bluff Creek. On one of those trips he made his invaluable series of footprint casts from the Patterson film site, and on another he drained a pond to get at what I consider are probably the only genuine hand impressions ever cast.

Another accomplishment, which should have settled this whole matter years ago, was gathering one by one from twigs where he had reason to believe a sasquatch had passed, a set of hairs that were identified by radioimmunoassay as having to be either chimpanzee, gorilla or human.

The eminent scientist who made the identification had previously established by the same method that chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than to gorillas, a finding since confirmed through DNA, so that identification was as good as saying  “it’s something close to all three but not any of them.”

Bob knew they were not human hairs, because there were guard hairs that all tapered to a point, while human guard hairs, all on the head, grow continuously and have cut-off ends.

That they weren’t chimp or gorilla hairs was equally obvious, since they were brown and found on twigs in a California forest. That they were something different from all three could have been established in minutes with a comparison microscope, but the scientist had ground up every hair.

I spent a lot of time with Bob and I could tell stories that you would find a lot more entertaining than what I am actually going to say, but my main role in this investigation, especially in recent years, has been the collection and study of information, and since I have been at it for so long and since I no longer write books, I believe that I should use this opportunity to pass on to you some of what I think I have learned. 

Let me stress that I am speaking strictly about just one form of unrecognized bipedal primate, the huge one that makes the enormous footprints in North America. There are others described, particularly in Eurasia, that I don’t pretend to know much about, and those which are a lot smaller presumably have a very different history.

Also I should warn you that some of the things I have to say will be things many of you don’t want to hear, and may refuse to accept. Being, like a lot of sasquatch hunters, a contrary sort of person, I’ll get to that part right away.

First, and foremost, we are not involved in a story that can be shaped to fit our own fantasies, and it is not necessarily one with a happy ending.

Most of us probably started out with a mental image of what these creatures are, but if we aren’t prepared to amend it to fit the facts as we learn them we are not likely to accomplish anything. Most of us also want to believe that our efforts will be beneficial to the sasquatch in the future. I sincerely hope that will be the eventual result, but experience suggests that a disturbing episode will come first.

The evidence is crystal clear that we are dealing with animals, not semi-humans or super-humans. That means that anything that any of us do towards proving that sasquatch exist brings closer the day when zoologists and physical anthropologists will take over from the amateurs.

They will want to study these creatures in every possible way, and some, I expect, will get official permission to collect for dissection not one, but several.

I am, of course, familiar with the argument that we should only study sasquatch the way Dr. Goodall studies chimpanzees, and such methods will certainly be tried. I doubt, however that they will prove to be practical with creatures that are so much more mobile in their home environment than humans, and even if they are practical, they cannot provide all the information that will be wanted.

The anatomy of creatures that walk in much the same way that humans do is going to be studied in detail. To do that effectively will involve dissection, and will require more than one cadaver, because the cuts made while exploring one bodily system destroy the others.

You may consider what I have described so horrifying that it will never be allowed, and attitudes towards animal rights may have changed to the point where that will be the case, but 30 years ago I was shown a freezer full of chimpanzees stacked up like cordwood awaiting dissection for just such a study.

So if your top priority is to make sure that no sasquatch is killed, your most logical course is to do what over the years quite a few like-minded people have already done—drop the whole thing and hope, although of course it won’t happen, that everyone else will do the same.  

I call these big creatures sasquatch because that is the name for them where I come from, far older than “Bigfoot”, and not so suggestive that there is only one of them. But why do I call them animals? Not just because of what I have learned about them in the last 46 years, but more because of what scientists have learned during that period about human origins.

Fossil finds have established that more than a million years ago our forbears had already lost the primate’s best natural weapons, fighting teeth. And for evolution to reduce their dental armament until it became no better than our own must have required a similar previous period when those small, slow bipeds had weapons in their hands.

That gives some idea of the almost unimaginable amount of time that human ancestors spent relying more and more on mental adaptions, mastering the use of weapons and tools, precise communication and group co-ordination, in order to survive on the dangerous African plains and become what we are today.

The idea that creatures, which emerged from that time period, equipped with magnificent physical adaptions also acquired mental abilities similar or superior to our own may have romantic appeal but it is evolutionary nonsense. 

But they walk upright like us, so they must be our close relatives. Something as unusual as upright bipedalism couldn’t have evolved twice. That is a compelling common-sense argument, but science has recently blown a huge hole in it.

Among the few higher primates known to exist there are two very unusual methods of locomotion, one is upright bipedalism, the other is knuckle walking. We are the only recognized bipeds, but there are two knuckle-walking groups, chimpanzees and gorillas.

Although chimpanzees are far more arboreal than gorillas their feet are very similar, and like gorillas they have special pads for walking on the backs of their fingers.

Common sense says that such odd adaptions must have a common origin, so chimps and gorillas must be each other’s closest relatives. Immune reactions and DNA analysis, however, both say that the chimpanzee’s nearest relative is us.

Knuckle walking, therefore, must have evolved after the gorilla’s ancestors started their own branch of the family tree, and chimpanzees and gorillas must have evolved it separately.

I am not submitting that as proof that humans and sasquatch evolved upright bipedalism separately, but it does prove that it could have happened, and considering that our DNA is almost identical to that of chimpanzees and bonobos, the chance that we are even more closely related to sasquatch seems to me to be a very slim one.

The other thing I have to say that may well upset some of you is this:

There is nothing new about people claiming that they have been able to make detailed observations of sasquatches and know all about their appearance and behavior. People with stories like that have turned up numerous times in the past 45 years, and so far the end result has always been disappointment. If you are involved with such a person, be cautious. I have watched former colleagues get so deeply committed and then so sharply disillusioned that it soured them on the whole subject and they dropped out.

Similarly, there is nothing new about people believing they see or hear or smell evidence of sasquatch presence almost every time they go out in the woods.

But unidentified sounds and smells are just that, unidentified sounds and smells, and shapes found in photographs that could be sasquatches could also not be. There are other agencies besides sasquatch that can take food, make beds of vegetation, break trees and branches, move rocks, pound on things or make interesting depressions in the ground.

There have been cases where people have gone far beyond any reasonable extreme to fool someone with manufactured evidence of sasquatch presence, and also cases where people have gone pretty far to fool themselves.    Try not to add to that list.

All of us surely hope that some day some such story will be proved to be true, and at my age I tend to wish very hard that it will happen soon, but my experience offers no reason for optimism. Many years ago I decided that people who saw so much and knew so much were a long way ahead of me, so they had no need of my help and I would just await definite results. I am still waiting.

For anyone hoping to persuade mainstream science to take on this quest and provide the expertise and resources to bring it to a conclusion, episodes of this sort do real harm. Those who take them seriously end up looking foolish, and the prospect of looking foolish is surely one of the main reasons why few of the scientists that we know have an interest in this subject do anything about it, and why there is no financial or institutional support for those that do take it up.

In this respect I have my own cross to bear, the Albert Ostman story. How could we have taken seriously his tale about being carried off in his sleeping bag by a big male sasquatch, being kept corralled in a box canyon with a family that included an old lady, a young male and a younger female, and escaping by getting the old male to swallow a box of snuff?

Albert was a very believable fellow, who handled tough cross-examination with cheerful composure, swore to his story without hesitation, and stuck to it until he died, but I wouldn’t believe him if he were telling it today.

Today, however, he would have easy sources for his descriptions of those four individuals and what they did.   When his story came to light, in 1957, the opposite was the case.

Sasquatch were not commonly thought of as completely hair-covered creatures living much the same life as a bear, instead their public image was that of a tribe of giant Indians, hairy only on their heads, who lived in villages, held annual get-togethers on a special mountain, and used signal fires.

His descriptions, so contrary to the media image of his time, have stood up wonderfully well over the years. More than that, he was questioned for hours by Daris Swindler and the veterinarian from the Seattle primate center, and they told me that the physical details and the actions he said he had witnessed all rang true.

Did he actually observe such creatures, in whatever circumstances? There is just his story, with no supporting evidence, and that is unfortunate, because there are elements in his story that would be very significant but are not confirmed by subsequent reports. No one else, to my knowledge, has claimed that the females go out and gather food to bring back to a home place, or that sasquatch sleep in woven blankets of bark and moss, and while there is indeed a widespread assumption that they live in family groups the bulk of evidence suggests, to me at least, that they do not.

Another witness who contributed some unique elements of information did have evidence to show.  

Glen Thomas, a logger living in Colton, Oregon, eventually claimed four separate sightings - which is more than enough to set alarm bells ringing - but his first story, of watching a big male sasquatch dig deep into broken rock high up on a mountain ridge to get at hibernating rodents, was backed up by the hole in the rocks, five feet deep, as steep-sided as a well, and obviously beyond human ability to duplicate without machinery.

He also had something to say bearing on the family hypothesis. A female and infant were with the big male and shared in eating the rodents, but Glen noted that the young one was always careful to keep on the other side of its mother from the male.

Glen Thomas did not tell his first story until after the Patterson movie was public knowledge, but another account of exceptionally detailed observations came to light not just before the movie, but before the first “Bigfoot” cast was made in 1958.

William Roe, a man whom I later learned had an established reputation as an accurate observer of wildlife, told of watching a six-foot, very heavy, hair-covered, obviously female creature in a small clearing on a mountain near Tete Jaune Cache, British Columbia. He said it was eating from a bush, not berries, but the leaves. (A full-size copy of a drawing of the animal, made by his daughter at his direction, is on display here.)

The Ostman and Roe stories had a lot to do with my becoming caught up in this investigation so long ago, but there was another that was even more instrumental. That was something that had taken place at Ruby Creek, British Columbia, in 1941. As a sighting report it was nothing special, a women living in an isolated home on an Indian reserve told of seeing a hairy giant approach from the nearby woods. She fled, but a group of men went to investigate and found a series of huge humanlike tracks, which, among other things, indicated that the track maker had stepped casually over a four-foot railway fence.

I was told that story in 1957 by one of the men involved, someone I already knew and respected, and I later spoke with three other people who had seen the tracks. I was also told that a deputy sheriff from Bellingham, Washington, had come to investigate at the time. He had since died, but from his son I obtained a tracing of a footprint cast that he had made.

When I came to this area in 1958 I had that tracing with me, and, as you can see, it is almost a perfect match for a tracing that Bob Titmus had made from Jerry Crew’s “Bigfoot” cast.

Ordinarily at this point I might go on to tell of seeing some old tracks on the Bluff Creek Road on that occasion and of returning to see the second type of tracks found by Bob Titmus, and also of my experiences with Roger Patterson before and after he got his movie. The time to deal with those events, however, is tomorrow afternoon in the panel discussion, with other people who were much more closely involved than I was.

For the first time at any symposium, you will have the opportunity to hear directly from Bob Gimlin, who was with Roger on that fateful day, from Ed Patrick, who was with Bob when they found the new tracks, and from Ed Schellenberg and perhaps others, who were there when the original Bigfoot tracks showed up on the Bluff Creek jobsite.

I have mentioned that the bulk of evidence does not support the hypothesis that sasquatch live in family groups. On what basis do I make that statement?  

Well, I wasn’t always the homebody I tend to be today. I won’t bore you with specifics, but I spent many years and traveled many miles stirring up, investigating and recording sighting reports and footprint finds, and I conducted an information exchange involving most of the investigators active at the time.

It certainly didn’t compare with what the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization has done in recent years, but it went on a lot longer, and the number of reports that I had on file grew year by year from dozens to hundreds and eventually to thousands. For a while I even tried to keep up with all the information that became available after the internet got going, but that has now grown beyond what I care to attempt.

Every few years I used to go through a complex exercise in trying to analyze the information in those reports, counting tiny symbols entered on big sheets of graph paper, until that became completely impractical. Then, about 10 years ago, I switched to trying to do it with a computer—and I knew nothing about computers. 

Sasquatch hunting in the early days used to be stimulating, even exciting at times, occasionally hilarious. Entering thousands of reports in a computer is just a wearisome grind, and many a sad software story is involved before you even get to that stage. I won’t bore you with specifics, but nothing comes easy.

In any event, for the past several years I have had thousands of reports entered, currently just over 4,000, and considerable ability to get answers to questions from them.

For many questions only a minority of the reports contain any answers, but nearly all reports tell how many creatures were involved and their size. Currently out of 3,684 such reports 3,325 list single adults and 171 more than one adult. Small creatures by themselves were reported 111 times, and small creatures with one adult 37 times. 

Only 40, or just over one percent of the reports, involve combinations of large and small creatures that may have been families including an adult male and female.

Only 32 of the creatures seen alone were described as adult females, so it seems plain, assuming that sasquatch do exist, that only the adult males normally behave in ways that expose them to a risk of being seen by humans.

That does leave open the possibility that females and young are often present but remain out of sight, however it seems to me beyond reason to elevate that possibility to an assumption. The family of one male, one female and their offspring is, after all, unknown among large higher primates other than man.

It has always been my hope that someone would show up who could write a program that would set the computer, on its own, searching day and night for relationships among the hundreds of items of information until they revealed something unsuspected that would be useful. So far that hasn’t happened, but by less exotic means the computer has provided interesting answers to some frequently asked questions, and has poked holes in some of the things we used to think we knew.

Consider smell, for instance. It seems as if people are always reporting that sasquatch have a terrible smell. In Florida they are even called “skunk apes.” The numbers tell a very different story, at least for western North America. In the spring of 1995, when I had only western entries completed, strong smell was mentioned in only 72 out of 923 descriptions.  

Of course in many cases, because of distance or some other reason, there could have been a smell that the witness did not detect, so I checked the few entries where the animal was reported to be 10 feet or less away and not separated from the witness by glass or any other barrier. The result,  there were 14 mentions of a strong smell and four of a mild smell,  while in 26 encounters there was no smell noticed at all. 

We used to speculate whether the lack of smell in some cases, strong smell in others, indicated that sasquatch shared with dogs an inclination to roll in strong-smelling things, but gorilla researcher Dian Fossey has provided a more likely explanation. In her book “Gorillas in the Mist” she refers several times to a powerful “fear odor” produced by adult male gorillas under stress,   and notes that they have special glands in their armpits from which the scent is emitted.

As to frequently asked questions, how many times have we heard the challenge, “If these things exist how come hunters (or loggers, or prospectors etc.) never see them?”

(An even more frequent question is “If these things exist how come nobody ever sees them?”, but you don’t need a computer to answer that.)

As to the people whose recreation or occupation regularly takes them into the woods, the answer, of course, is that they do report sightings and they do find tracks.

At the end of 1995 I had 1162 entries of sightings and track finds in which the activity of the witness was noted. Of these, 125 were hunting, 34 logging, 23 prospecting, 10 trapping and 77 involved in other outdoor occupations.

The commonest sighting report, by far, was something seen on or beside a road from a car, and the second most common was something seen outside by a person in a house. Of encounters in the wild, at least a third were by hunters or people working there.

One of the questions that we ourselves tend to ask is whether sasquatch migrate with the seasons, the hope being that they might regularly pass by the same spot at the same time of year. In 1996 I looked at the evidence of the computer entries in three different ways:

  • The relationship of altitude to the time of year
  • The relationship of direction of travel to the time of year
  • The relationship of location to the time of year

None of these showed any consistent pattern that would indicate migration.

Altitudes were highest in summer, but lowest in the spring, not the winter.  

Direction of travel was a mishmash of inadequate numbers, but showing a slight majority heading south in the summer and towards the ocean beaches in the spring—the opposite of what the migration hypothesis would suggest.

Latitude and longitude put the center of observations in all four seasons within a circle just 30 miles in diameter.

Considering that the examples I have just given were picked because I thought you might find them the most interesting, you can see that sasquatch hunting by computer is not particularly exhilarating even after the task of doing the entries is completed.

I am glad, however, to have been able to provide data for studies other researchers have done, and perhaps I will be able to do the same for some of you in the future.

I have said that the events at Bluff Creek in the 1950s and 60s can best be dealt with at the panel discussion tomorrow, but there is one aspect that very much involves the present, and perhaps I can dispose of it now.

I am referring to the claim made last year by his family that the late Ray Wallace the contractor on the road construction job where the first “Bigfoot” track was cast, made those footprints by walking around wearing a pair of wooden feet.

Had the first newspaper to carry the story behaved responsibly, and asked the Wallaces to demonstrate that they could duplicate those tracks with the wooden feet that they displayed as proof, that story would never have been printed. Instead it was treated as revealed truth, and it was republished and broadcast all over the world, with some wonderful embellishments.

One newspaper quoted a Wallace nephew saying that Ray had sent younger members of the clan out to make all of the big tracks that have been reported all over the continent. Others took a mention of Ray making movies of his wife in a fur suit and twisted it to include the Patterson movie.

Even the newspaper in Eureka, which had printed the original stories that introduced “Bigfoot” to the world, got on the bandwagon with a yarn about how the publisher at the time had known all along it was a Ray Wallace hoax.  

It was a totally irresponsible performance by the media, and frankly a lot of people involved in Bigfoot research weren’t any better. Their reaction might be summed up as: “Okay, Ray Wallace faked the Bluff Creek tracks but we have other tracks that are genuine.”

They didn’t bother to find out, any more than the media did, whether the Wallace claims were true, and seemed perfectly willing to discard as evidence tracks that are the most thoroughly investigated and best authenticated of any that have ever been found.

The current Wallaces actually don’t show any sign of knowing much about the Bluff Creek tracks and may even believe that what they are saying is true, although one of them told Rick Noll that his father never actually said he had faked the tracks, they just grew up knowing he had.

The wooden feet that they showed the media, as you can see in the full-size photos of them on display here, do not match the original “Bigfoot”. They do appear to be attempts to duplicate the casts made by Bob Titmus of the different set of tracks he found on a Bluff Creek sandbar, but one of them is so crudely carved that they would not likely fool anybody.

I expect those feet were just made to see whether tracks could be faked with them, something that probably, like myself, some of you have also tried. The answer, of course, is that you can make passable tracks in flat ground if it is soft enough, but in firm materials or up and down slopes, forget it.

Some of the original tracks were in very firm materials, and some went up and down steep slopes. This museum has had an offer in circulation for several months now of $100,000 for anyone who can show how they could have been faked.

So far there is no sign that any Wallace cares to try for the money, but perhaps they haven’t heard of it. The same editors that swallowed whole their nonsensical story refused to believe a real one. Priding themselves, I suppose, on not falling for a publicity stunt, they gave the $100,000 offer no publicity at all.

Granted that the $100,000 was put up in an attempt to get publicity, since all other attempts to get the media to counteract the damage they had done had failed, but it is a genuine offer. The first person who can demonstrate how the Bluff Creek tracks could have been faked will be paid $100,000. Tomorrow, you when you hear the people who were involved at the time describe what they observed; I think you will agree that there is no cause for concern that the money will ever be claimed.  

What is the story about Ray Wallace? I never met him, because he was never around Willow Creek the times I was here, but I was told early on about his reputation as a practical joker, and in later years I got occasional letters and phone calls from him.

According to newspaper stories he was pretty upset in 1958 about people suggesting he had faked the tracks, pointing out, undoubtedly correctly, that the whole thing was interfering with his contract and costing him money.

It wasn’t long, though, until he began to try to get in on the action, telling outlandish tales about his adventures with Bigfoot. He even tried to sell Tom Slick a movie of Bigfoot he that claimed to have taken. I wasn’t there, but I was told that Ray asked for $10,000 and wouldn’t show Tom the film until he had the money.

We had learned by then that Tom could be very gullible at times, but that wasn’t one of the times, so we never knew what would have happened if he had agreed to pay.

We thought then that it was an attempted swindle, but having learned more of Ray’s reputation from people who knew him well and admired him I feel sure now that it would have turned out to be just one of his pranks.

A while later, after he had returned to the area in Washington where he came from, Ray got involved in selling very odd looking footprint casts, supposedly from the Mount Saint Helen’s apes. I never heard that he had casts from Bluff Creek, and I’m sure he never claimed publicly that he had faked the tracks there; because he would certainly have been called on to prove it.

To give you something of the flavor of the man, I’ll quote a couple of passages from of his letters.

In 1961 he wrote to the Klam-ity Kourier, here in Willow Creek, as follows:

Big foot used to be very tame, as I have seen him almost every morning on my way to work… I would sit in my pickup and toss apples out of the window to him. He never did catch an apple but he sure tried. Then as he ate the apples I would have my movie camera clipping off more footage of him… I have talked to several movie companies about selling my movies which would last for three hours. The best offer I’ve had so far is $250,000.

A letter to me in April 1979, included the following:

… everyone says who has heard Big Foots screams in northern California, before all the Big Foots were killed and hauled down the Klamath River in a tug boat and out into the ocean 12 miles to where there was a small ship anchored in international waters and frozen into a block of ice and then transported to Hong Kong and sold, so now there aren’t any more left in northern California, or is there if they are being let out of flying saucers.

Everything Ray did was so transparently bogus that it seemed obvious he was just having fun. It is hard to imagine he expected his yarns to be believed, and although some writers back East swallowed the bait I don’t know of anyone involved in the sasquatch search in the West who took him seriously or felt that he was causing any sort of problem.

 Ironically, he didn’t fool people on a grand scale until he wasn’t around to enjoy the joke, and unfortunately when it did happen it did real harm. 

We will never know the full extent to which people or projects that could have made valuable contributions in this field have turned away or been turned down because the media fell for this silly story, but we do know of enough examples to establish that the effect will be substantial and long-lasting. Sasquatch hunting, however, has always been three steps forward, two steps back, so we will just take our lumps and carry on, undeterred.

In that vein I would like to close with one of my favorite memories from the days when Rene Dahinden and I were pioneers in this strange pursuit. We had been on a radio phone-in show for a couple of hours, back in 1963, when a man called in and said something like this:

 “Don’t you idiots realize that there are two hundred million people in North America and you are the only two who take this stuff seriously.”

I don’t remember the caller’s exact words, but Rene’s reply still rings in my ears:

“Mister, there are two hundred and twenty million people in North America, and every bloody one of them is wrong!”

There may be an extra hundred million of them today, but there are also a lot more of us, and we are making real headway—so carry on.

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Revision History
This article was originally presented at the 2003 International Bigfoot Symposium. It was published on the Bigfoot Information Project website on August 22, 2004. It will also be published in an upcoming issue of the Texas Bigfoot Research Center's newsletter, Texas Bigfoot Report.

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