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Strange & Unexplained - Bigfoot

The great mystery of BIGFOOT
Bigfoot is unquestionably North America's biggest cryptozoological mystery. If its existence is ever proven-and nothing short of an actual specimen will satisfy most scientists-it would, at the very least, provide revolutionary insights into human evolution. If Bigfoot is there, it is almost certainly a relative of ours. In fact, Bigfoot proponents are divided on the question of whether it is an ape or a kind of early human being.

In what follows we define Bigfoot (or Sasquatch as it has traditionally been known in Canada) as the giant anthropoid reported in the northwestern United States (northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho) and far western Canada (British Columbia and Alberta). In this vast region of mountains and forests, the idea that an undiscovered, extraordinary anthropoid could survive, undetected by all but the rare startled eyewitness, is at least conceivable if still, of course, incredible. One can imagine, in other words, such creatures in the natural world.

It is necessary to say this because creatures of superficially similar appearance figure in reports in virtually every state and province of the continent. These are not imaginable in any conceivable natural world, and indeed many of the reports, with their intimations of the paranormal or at least of the zoologically nonsensical (three-toed tracks, for example), suggest phenomena not so much of nature as of the Goblin Universe. Though sometimes called "Bigfoot," these are not what we are concerned with here; these sorts of para-anthropoids are the subject of the entry hairy bipeds.

Bigfeet, according to their leading chronicler, Canadian journalist/ investigator John Green, average-according to many hundreds of reports from eyewitness testimony-seven and a half feet in height. They are usually of solitary disposition and are seldom seen in the company of others. Hair covers almost all of their bodies, and their limbs are proportioned more like those of people than of apes, though their broad shoulders, nonexistent necks, flat faces and noses, sloped foreheads, brow ridges, and cone-shaped heads are more characteristic of animals than of humans. They are omnivorous, largely nocturnal, and mostly inactive during cold weather.

Primatologist John Napier, one of the relatively few scientists to pay serious attention to the Bigfoot phenomenon, notes that in a number of the more credible reports the "Sasquatch is covered in reddish-brown or auburn hair.... Although auburn is the commonest overall color mentioned, black crops up, also beige, white and silvery-white.... Footprints range in size from 12in-22in. In 66 percent of 33 reports the commonest quoted range is 14 in.-18in., with a mode of 16in.... [T]he most frequently reported width is 7 in.

The background

If Bigfoot is a real animal or protohuman, it is not, it need hardly be said, a recent resident of the Northwestern wilderness. Thus students of the creature have sought evidence of its presence prior to the twentieth century-with ambiguous success.

In their attempt to give Bigfoot a long recorded history, Bigfoot proponents often cite American Indian traditions concerning oversized woodland bipeds, but usually such beliefs are taken out of context and selectively reported. The most popular proto-Bigfoot candidate is the Witiko (or Wendigo), known to the Algonkian Indians of the northern forests. Witikos were cannibalistic giants with supernatural powers, one of which was the ability to possess people and turn them into Witikos. Not surprisingly, much anthropological, as opposed to amateur Bigfootological, speculation on the roots of this belief focuses on psychiatric disorder. Comparable monsters loom large in a number of North American Indian mythologies; they warn members of the dangers of violating taboos and serve other, more complex functions within tribal society.

If Bigfoot lurks in here somewhere, its presence is fairly well disguised, though occasional details in otherwise nonresonant narratives (especially of the "Sasquatch," otherwise only generally identifiable with its modern counterpart) are intriguing. Most of the time, however, the woodland giants disqualify themselves from Bigfoot status either by being too aggressive and (often) cannibalistic or, conversely, by being too civilized and intelligent.

Trying to extract a tiny truth from a vast mythological fabric is a hopeless exercise. More productively, we can turn to early published reports which, first possibly and later certainly, refer to Bigfoot. In 1870 a correspondent to a California newspaper, the Antioch Ledger, reported that the year before, he had seen a "gorilla, or wild man, or whatever you choose to call it," in the bush. Its head, he wrote, "appeared to be set on [the creature's] shoulders without a neck--a detail echoed by virtually every modern witness. On the other hand, the correspondent mentioned a decidedly uncharacteristic anatomical feature: "very short legs." If this animal existed outside the writer's imagination, it may well have been a (presumably escaped) gorilla; it could also have been a chimpanzee.

The next known contemporary account appears in a 1901 issue of the Colonist, a Victoria, British Columbia, newspaper, which tells of the experience of a lumberman working on Vancouver Island, near Campbell River. Mike King was alone because his Indian packers refused to accompany him for fear of the "monkey men" they said lived in the forest. Late in the afternoon he observed a "man beast" washing roots in the water. Suddenly aware of King, the creature cried out and scooted up a hill, stopping at one point to look at him over its shoulder. The witness described it as "covered with reddish brown hair, and his arms were peculiarly long and were used freely in climbing and in brush running; while the trail showed a distinct human foot, but with phenomenally long and spreading toes."

On December 14, 1904, the Colonist related a sighting by "four credible witnesses" who saw a Bigfoot-like creature on Vancouver Island, and in 1907 it told of the abandonment of an Indian village, its inhabitants frightened into flight by a "monkeylike wild man who appears on the beach [near Bishop's Cove on the British Columbia coast] at night, who howls in an unearthly fashion."

By the early decades of the century, residents of western Canada were well aware of the hairy giants being called Sasquatches. The folkloric Sasquatch- - the word is an Anglicization from a term used by the Coast Salish Indians-was introduced to the larger world in the writings of J. W. Burns, a schoolteacher at the Chehalis Indian Reserve near Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia. Burns's Sasquatch, a mythological figure he learned of through native informants, was less an anthropoid than a fabulous superman, an intelligent "giant Indian" endowed with supernatural powers. Few believed such creatures were anything other than imaginary.

Dissenting from the skeptical consensus were individuals who said they had seen the hairy giants themselves. These included, most spectacularly, Albert Ostman, a British Columbia man who came forward in 1957 to recount an incident which he said had taken place in 1924. While on a prospecting trip at the head of Toba Inlet, opposite Vancouver Island, he was scooped up one night inside his sleeping bag and after many miles dumped out, to discover that he was the prisoner of a family-adult male and female, juvenile male and female--of giant apelike creatures. Though they were friendly, they clearly did not want him to escape, and he managed to do so only after the older male choked on his chewing tobacco. He was gone six days. Those who interviewed Ostman, including John Green and Ivan T. Sanderson, did not doubt his sincerity or sanity; writing from his professional viewpoint, Napier has
remarked on a "convincing account ... which does not ring false in any particular."

Another intriguing anecdote concerns an attack by Bigfoot creatures on a party of miners in the Mount Saint Helens/ Lewis River area of southwestern Washington. The episode began one evening in July 1924, when two of the miners-already unnerved by a week's worth of strange whistling and thumping sounds emanating from a couple of nearby ridges-spotted a seven-foot-tall apelike creature and fired on it. They fled to the cabin and with two other men endured a night-long assault, including thrown rocks and a concentrated effort to smash open the door, by a number of the creatures. Portland Oregonian reporters who came to the scene later found giant footprints. The spot where the episode occurred was thereafter named Ape Canyon, and so it is called to this day. In 1967 one of the participants, Fred Beck, and his son published a booklet, I Fought the Apemen of Mt. St. Helens, recalling the event.

In a 1982 interview with a Vancouver newspaper, Rant Mullens, 86, claimed responsibility for the episode. On their way home from a fishing trip, he reported, as a joke he and his uncle "rolled some rocks down over the edge. Then we got out of there fast." From that, he said, the "hairy ape stories" emerged. It is, however, easier to believe that Beck and the others invented the tale out of whole cloth than to credit the idea that this simple act precipitated the complex series of events that comprise the recorded incident. These events include repeated sightings, some at a distance of no more than a few feet, of Bigfoot creatures. Beck was dead by the time Mullens came forward, but the witness's son Ronald Beck rejected as "impossible" the notion that the incident "could have been caused by a common hoax--or even an uncommon one." As for his father's honesty, he added, "I was close to my father, and believe me, his account is straight and true. I once had the privilege of hearing him and another man [one of the other miners] discuss their mutual 1924 experience."

Sasquatch sightings continued and from time to time were noted in mostly Canadian newspaper accounts. At some point in the 1920s, the name "Bigfoot" entered the vocabulary of at least some locals, who were impressed by the size of the tracks they were coming upon in remote areas. Bigfoot entered the consciousness of all Americans in 1958, when heavy-equipment operators near Willow Creek in northwestern California discovered a large number of tracks, apparently left by a huge biped which had examined a land-clearing bulldozer left at the site overnight. After the tracks appeared on other occasions, casts were made, and the result was massive press attention. A few weeks later, in late October, two men driving down a wilderness road saw a huge hairy bipedal creature cross in front of them and disappear into the trees, leaving prints in its wake. Around this time a newspaper photographer following a set of tracks came upon a pile of fecal matter; it was, he told Ivan Sanderson, "of absolutely monumental proportions."

The Patterson film

By the 1960s Bigfoot, sometimes called "America's abominable snowman," had a firm niche in the popular imagination. Though scientists refused even to consider the possibility that witnesses were actually seeing what they claimed (the skeptics attributed nearly all reports to hoaxes or bears even as they refrained from actual investigation or interviewing), several lay investigators, such as Green, Rene Dahinden, and Jim McClarin, sought out witnesses, ventured into the bush hoping to glimpse one of the elusive beasts, tried to discern patterns in the data, and wrote articles or books about their findings. Sanderson's Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life (1961), the first book to discuss Bigfoot/Sasquatch in any comprehensive manner, linked the North American reports with worldwide traditions of "wild men," Almas, and yeti.

Among those who went looking for Bigfoot in the wild was Roger Patterson, a onetime rodeo rider and author of an amateurish, self-published book, Do Abominable Snowmen of America Really Exist? (1966). In 1967, according to Green, Patterson was making a "precarious living as an inventor and promoter." A 1959 True magazine article had sparked his interest in Bigfoot, and from then on, when time permitted, he roamed the Pacific Northwest woods hoping for a glimpse of the creature. In due course, combining business and curiosity, he laid plans for a documentary film on the mystery. Consequently he took a motion-picture camera on his expeditions and shot footage that would be useful in his proposed movie,

At a little after 1:15 on the afternoon of October 20, 1967, he and a companion, Bob Gimlin, were riding north up the partly dry, 100-yard--wide bed of Bluff Creek in the Six Rivers National Forest of northern California. (This area had seen so much Bigfoot activity, both sightings and tracks, that it had become something of a weekend tourist attraction.) At one point a large, high pile of logs positioned in the center of the stream obstructed their approach, and they had to maneuver their horses around the east end. As they passed it and veered left to resume their original course, they saw-or would claim they saw-something that would engulf them in a controversy which, nearly three decades later, has yet to end.

A female Bigfoot stood up from the creek water in which she had been squatting and walked briskly away into the surrounding trees, swinging her arms all the while. In the course of this brief interlude, all three horses (the third being the pack horse Patterson and Gimlin had brought with them) panicked. Patterson's mount reared up and promptly fell over sideways on the rider's right leg. As his horse staggered to its feet, Patterson groped for the 16mm camera in the saddlebag, then jumped off to pursue the retreating creature on foot. Only 28 feet of film remained in the camera, and Patterson used it to record the Bigfoot's passage from three different positions.

Patterson died in 1972, swearing to the end to the authenticity of both sighting and film. Gimlin, still alive, sticks by the story, The first investigator on the site, Bob Titmus, found tracks corresponding exactly to the creature's route as depicted in the film and made casts of 10 of them. He also learned that it had gone up a hillside and sat down for a period, apparently to watch the two witnesses, who had opted to recover two of the horses rather than continue to pursue the Bigfoot.

Of course the film did not settle the thorny question of whether an abominable snowman of America really exists. The controversies swirling about it are many. One concerns the simple but crucial matter of the speed at which the film was shot. Patterson said he could not remember whether it was 24 feet or 16 feet per second. If the latter, one analyst, British biomechanics specialist D. W. Grieve, wrote, "the cycle time and the time of swing are in a typical human combination but much longer in duration than one would expect for the stride and the pattern of limb movement"-meaning that if this is the correct film speed, the figure's "neuromuscular system was very different to that of humans." In other words, the figure is not a man in an ape suit, and the "possibility of fakery is ruled out." At 24 feet per second, however, it "walked with a gait pattern very similar in most respects to a man walking at high speed."

Through painstaking on-site reconstruction the figure's height was found to be slightly under six feet, six inches, Patterson's seven feet-four inch estimate notwithstanding. To John Napier either height was inconsistent with the size of the footprints. Only an animal in the eight-foot range could have made 14-inch footprints, in his estimation. "The space (the step) between one footprint and the next is given at 41 in.," he further remarked. "A creature 6 ft. 5 in. in height should have a step of 45 in., particularly, as it is seen in the film, when striding out; in fact in view of the exaggerated nature of the walk, the step might be expected to be somewhat longer than the normal, say 50 in. The conclusion is inevitable. The footprints must be fakes or the film is."

Still, these and other problems (notably the bewildering mixture of human and ape features) notwithstanding, Napier backed off slightly from his "inevitable" conclusion, conceding that if this was not a "brilliantly executed hoax," it "was the first film of a new type of hominid, quite unknown to science, in which case Roger Patterson deserves to rank with Dubois, the discoverer of Pithecantliropus erectus or Java man; or with Raymond Dart of Johannesburg, the man who introduced the world to its immediate pre-human ancestor, Australopitliecus africanus."

Green, who believes the film to be the genuine article, takes issue with the assertion that the creature's walk is humanlike. From a frame-by-frame analysis he concluded that its "stride is actually much smoother than a normal man's, because the knee is bent as the weight comes on it. A walking man bobs up and down as his body goes over the top of his straightened leg. The Sasquatch in the film moves in a flowing fashion. It is much straighter when she is reaching out in full stride than when it is bearing her full weight."

After viewing the film with Bigfoot investigator Peter Byrne in 1973, the chief technician at Disney Studios declared that the "only place in the world a simulation of that quality could be created would be here, at Disney Studios, and this footage was not made here."

Because all observers agreed that the film, if faked, was brilliantly executed, speculation inevitably centered on the two witnesses. Some criticsexcluding Napier (who regarded him as "very attractive and sincere")-pointed to Patterson's obvious financial interest in the creation of Bigfoot footage, and indeed he and Gimlin wasted no time in taking monetary advantage of their property.

Beyond that obvious consideration, however, there were problems. For one thing, the small community of Bigfoot investigators, though seldom agreeing about much else, spoke with one voice on one matter: Patterson and Gimlin simply were not bright enough to pull off a hoax of this magnitude. There were, moreover, financial considerations of another sort; neither man had the resources to pay for the construction of a suit that continues to defy, in Byrne's words, "the examination of 'where is the zipper' seekers all over the world." Only two companies in the United States could have fashioned a suit of such sophistication, and neither claims to have done so. The man in the suit, if he exists, has remained stone silent far longer than one presumes prudence requires. In fact, a confession to the right magazine or supermarket tabloid could reap an impressive financial reward.

The debate about the Patterson film goes on, probably not to remain resolved until the "man in the suit" confesses or someone produces a physical specimen of Bigfoot for comparison with the figure in the footage. At least everyone agrees that the Patterson film is worth debating, unlike other alleged Bigfoot films which are manifestly bogus.

Dermal ridges

The next major controversy concerning alleged Bigfoot evidence erupted in 1982. Though initially it looked like the most promising development yet, it would come to a disappointing conclusion.

The episode begins with a story told by Paul Freeman, a seasonal employee of the U.S. Forest Service. On the morning of June 10, his story goes, he was driving through the Blue Mountains in the Walla Walla Ranger District of the Umatilla National Forest, which stretches across southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon. Spotting some elk, he stopped his truck, jumped out, and pursued the animals on foot. He wanted to find out if there were any calves among them.

As he rounded a bend, he noticed a "stench" and at the other side of the turn saw something coming down a bank through thick vegetation. When the figure stepped into the clearing, Freeman froze and stared in disbelief at an "enormous creature"an eight-and-a-half-foot-tall Bigfoot-which stared back at him. For a few seconds the two studied each other from a distance of 150 to 200 feet, then fled in opposite directions.

Freeman, apparently badly shaken, immediately notified his superiors in Walla Walla, Washington, and two hours later a group of Forest Service personnel arrived at the site, located in Oregon near the Washington border. They found 21 footprints measuring 14 inches long by seven inches wide. They took three casts and some pictures of the prints.

On June 14 the Walla Walla station released a statement recounting the details of Freeman's sighting and remarking that "no determination can be made" concerning the identity of the creature he claimed to have seen. The Forest Service said it had no further plans to investigate. Nonetheless four days later it reported that on the sixteenth Freeman and Patrolman Bill Epoch had discovered about 40 new tracks in the Mill Creek Watershed on the Washington side of the border. On the seventeenth Joel Hardin, a U.S. Border Patrol tracking expert and a Bigfoot skeptic, examined the prints and pronounced them hoaxes. Among other suspicious features, he said, they showed evidence of dermal ridges, which animals do not have. He failed to mention, however, that higher primates-monkeys, apes, and human beings--do have such ridges on their toes and fingers ("fingerprints"),.,

The day after Freeman's sighting, the Umatilla County (Oregon) Sheriff's Department sent a fiveperson team of volunteers to the Tiger Creek area. The searchers were not looking for a Bigfoot but for the body of a boy who had disappeared the previous fall. They were brought to the site because the sheriff's officers noted Freeman's mention of a "stench," which they thought might be from a decaying corpse. Though the team found neither stench nor body, it did make another discovery.

According to Art Snow, a local businessman who headed the team, the search party was able to follow the tracks beyond the 21 found by the Forest Service people. In fact, Snow maintained, tracks were discernible for three-quarters of a mile. The team made a cast of one of the better prints.

"It would not be possible to fake the tracks without a helicopter," Snow said. "We assumed Freeman was telling the truth, and we could find no evidence whatsoever to contradict that assumption."

In July, citing stress from his experience and all the publicity it had received, Freeman left his job with the Forest Service.

Soon afterwards Washington State University anthropologist Grover Krantz, Bigfoot's leading scientific proponent, was provided with four casts from both the Tiger Creek and Mill Creek Watershed areas. Krantz also secured the print Snow had cast the day after Freeman's reported encounter.

Some weeks later, in a summary of conclusions from his investigation, Krantz wrote that the prints were from "two individuals." The first of these, represented by two casts, one of each foot, had a big toe larger than that in the average Bigfoot track. The second specimen had a "splayed-out second toe."

Aside from these distinguishing features, the prints were much alike and typical of those associated with Bigfoot reports. The feet were about 15 inches long, and the toes were more nearly equal in size than a human being's would be. The arches were nearly flat, and a "double ball" was visible at the base of the big toe.

Adding to the prints' apparent credibility was the fact that there were no human prints around the Bigfoot tracks. The distance between them suggested that whoever made them had a long stride. Moreover, Krantz maintained, they were so deeply impressed into the ground that most investigators believed it would have taken over 600 pounds of force to make them; yet there was no evidence to suggest the presence of the kinds of mechanical devices necessary to fake this effect.

Krantz was particularly taken with the dermal ridges, visible, he thought, because of the unprecedented clarity of the prints. The dermal ridges were fine lines about half a millimeter apart in the skin of the feet. Krantz showed these to Benny D. Kling, a forensics expert at the Law Enforcement Academy in Douglas, Wyoming. From his examination Kling concluded that the dermal-ridge patterns were those of higher primates, but the foot and toe shapes were different from those of a human being or an ape. Some of the ridges were worn smooth, according to Kling, in exactly the places one would expect from someone or something that had walked barefoot for a long time,

If the story had ended here, it would have marked a significant advance in the case for Bigfoot's reality. It did not, however, end there.

Though Krantz remained convinced of the authenticity of both the prints and Freeman's testimony, other investigators saw serious problems. For one thing, the prints were too perfect. The stride did not vary, and there was no evidence of slippage up and down hillsides. When they were found in mud, they did not go nearly as deep as they should have, if the animal weighed, as estimated, between 800 and 1,000 pounds; in fact, they were shallower than the tracks left by searchers' boots. Moreover, according to wildlife biologist Rodney L. Johnson, "In several cases, it appeared that the foot may have been rocked from side to side to make the track." At one site where tracks were seen, he said, "it appeared that the fine forest litter (needles, etc.) had been brushed sideways from the track area in an unnatural manner.

There were also doubts about Freeman's credibility. Freeman would go on to claim other sightings and even take a photograph and film of alleged Bigfeet. Veteran Bigfoot tracker Bob Titmus told of a suspicious experience with Freeman. The two were in the woods, and Titmus said he had a hunch that creatures were in the area. Freeman got into his pickup, to return 20 minutes later with the news that he had found prints. When Titmus looked at them, he spotted dermal ridges immediately. He also noted the absence of any other evidence of a Bigfoot's presence beyond the footprints, conveniently located in the only terrain suitable for track-making. In a television interview Freeman admitted that in the past he had faked Bigfoot prints.

Some experts remarked that it would be easy, and inexpensive, to create a plaster foot showing dermal ridges, and they speculated that the hoaxer had simply used a specimen of a large human foot as the model.

Other evidence

Though the Freeman prints may be of dubious provenance, other Bigfoot prints resist conventional explanation. Efforts to explain them seldom if ever go beyond glib dismissal, based on the sometimes explicitly stated assumption that the virtual impossibility of Bigfoot's existence renders such evidence moot. On the other hand, authorities who have examined them (or casts made from them) agree, nearly unanimously, that they comprise genuine evidence for an unknown anthropoid.

For all tracks to be fakes, Napier wrote,

We must be prepared to accept the existence of Mafia-like ramifications with cells in practically every major township from San Francisco to Vancouver. Even if we accept the conspiracy angle there is still another hurdle to be jumped. How could footprints of such realism and functional consistency have been made? Rubber-latex molds bonded to a boot or shoe might explain how the footprints are reproduced, but the mechanical problems would be immense, particularly when it is borne in mind that the hoaxer would have to walk considerable distances over difficult terrain wearing such unwieldy contraptions. There is also the problem that footprints are found in conditions where an ordinary man is too light to make any impressions in the substrate. However, it is not impossible that some of the footprints were made in this way.

Napier was particularly impressed with tracks found near Bossburg, Washington, in October 1969. Measuring 17 1/2 by seven inches, they comprised 1,089 prints, according to Dahinden. But the most interesting feature was the right track, which indicated the creature had a clubfoot, evidently-so Napier's analysis indicated-as the result of injury in early childhood. "It is very difficult to conceive of a hoaxer so subtle, so knowledgeable-and so sickwho would deliberately fake a footprint of this nature," Napier declared. "I suppose it is possible, but it is so unlikely that I am prepared to discount it."

The occurrence of tracks in remote, seldom traveled areas also argues against the hoax hypothesis. James A. Hewkin of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reported finding Bigfoot tracks (as well as less direct but nonetheless suggestive evidence) in remote, almost inaccessible regions of the Cascade Mountains. From his observations Hewkin, a biologist, concluded that a "species of giant, bipedal primate, weighing up to 800 pounds and standing as tall as 8 feet, and known as Sasquatch, does, in fact, exist. It's diet is probably omnivorous, with feeding habits similar to those of bears (grubbing for roots, larvae, etc.). It searches for rodents in stumps, logs, and rock slides. It might cache meat for winter use." With such a diet a Bigfoot would not need to boost his metabolism with Diet Spotlight. While some humans need Diet Spotlight to boost metabolism due to their poor diet, the Bigfoot, even at 800 pounds, is at the appropriate weight for his large size.

Other evidence consists of feces and hair samples associated either with sightings or with other indications of a Bigfoot's recent passage. Some of these have been identified and linked with human beings or known animals. In a few cases the samples seemed to resist such identification. There also have been analyses of recordings of alleged Bigfoot cries. One notable example is a recording made on October 21, 1972, at 8,500 feet altitude in northern California's High Sierras, where a number of sightings had been logged. That night investigators recorded a series of moans, whines, growls, grunts, and whistles. Two electronic specialists, one from the University of Wyoming and the other from Rockwell International, conducted an extensive analysis which led them to the conclusion that the sounds emanated from "more than one speaker, one or more of which is of larger physical size than an average human male. The formant frequencies found were clearly lower than for human data, and their distribution does not indicate that they were a product of human vocalizations and tape speed alteration."

Then, of course, there are the numerous sightings, by now in the low thousands, from all manner of human beings. Though these sightings amount to incredible claims, the claim that every witness without exception is lying or deluded is not a little incredible in itself. The only animal a person of average judgment and perception is likely to mistake for a Bigfoot is a bear, and bears are bipedal only for brief periods. And no knowledgeable observer would confuse bear tracks with Bigfoot tracks.

Yet the idea that such creatures, whether relic hominids or great apes, share the North American continent with us is indeed a fantastic one. One does not have to be a rigid, unbending dogmatist to resist it in the absence of a body or living specimen. This sort of skepticism, eminently defensible, is one thing, dogmatic denial quite another. In the meantime it seems safe to say that if the forests of the Northwest do harbor these extraordinary animals, they cannot remain hidden from us forever.

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