In Northern California’s Six Rivers National Forest on October 20, 1967, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin were horseback riding along the banks of Bluff Creek when they captured a brief video of what appears to be a large, hair-covered female bipedal figure walking into the frame from the left, looking over its right shoulder, and continuing until it exits on the right. The video is the most well-known, hotly contested, and ultimately unproven video of a purported sasquatch.
It’s still a hot issue of discussion among Bigfoot believers and doubters 55 years later. Along with becoming an instantly recognizable emblem for a squatch, the profile of the apelike shape derived from the film with its domed head and huge swaying arms is imprinted on an unending array of goods.
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One of the topics discussed on a recent edition of my Talking Strange paranormal pop culture podcast (available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube) with guest Dr. Jeff Meldrum, an anatomy and anthropology professor at Idaho State University, was The Patterson-Gimlin Film (PGF).
In addition to being the author of Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science and the principal editor of the academic magazine The Relict Hominoid Inquiry, Meldrum is a known expert on the development of hominin bipedalism. He also believes that the Patterson-Gimlin Film is still relevant in 2022 and holds up better than it did in 1967.
He claims that the reaction, the narrative, and the ending would have been entirely different if Patterson had released his movie this year as opposed to 55 years ago.
The results would be quite different if we could reverse the current anthropological understanding of the fossil record of hominid evolution and place it in 1967, in contrast to the constraints on all those talents and technologies required to fake a movie like that.
Meldrum is saying that Hollywood lacked the ability to produce a gorilla costume that looked and moved like Patty, in contrast to assertions made by those who claimed PGF was a man-in-suit fraud at the time the tape was shot. A monkey that moved in such a way could not be explained by science at the time, though. But as special effects and filmmaking have improved, so too has science.
Meldrum claims that even historically open-minded scientists, like John Napier, who wrote one of the earliest academic treatments on the subject of sasquatch, were hindered by traits like a hybrid structure that resembled an ape from the waist up and a human from the waist down, were unable to explain these traits.
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A short while later, discussions centered on Lucy, a 3.2 million-year-old fossilized female Australopithecus hominid species that was found in 1974.
What was the press release’s description of it? She resembles a chimpanzee from the waist up, and a human from the waist down.
Science has finally caught up with the subject, Meldrum continues. All these many combinations and features, in retrospect, prefigured what we now know.
The latest Talking Strange episode features the entire conversation with Dr. Meldrum, in which he also discusses other compelling modern sasquatch evidence, what it might take for the general public to accept the creature as fact, a paradigm shift in young scientists’ curiosity, and the significance of taking indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge of the subject into account. The complete dialogue can be seen below:
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But on the occasion of the Patterson-Gimlin Film’s 55th anniversary, I got in touch with other renowned Bigfoot researchers and aficionados to get their opinions on whether the tape still holds up and why we are still fascinated by just 954 frames of footage that lasts for less than a minute.
Dr. Mireya Mayor, a primate specialist who co-discovered the tiniest ape in the world and is a National Science Foundation Fellow; Expedition Bigfoot on Discovery+ and the Travel Channel
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The Patterson-Gimlin movie is to blame for the huge and rising fascination with this cryptid.
Bigfoot was previously only known from Native American folklore and the imaginations of those who had seen the creature but were possibly too frightened to report it. It has not been disproved despite the numerous inquiries and in-depth examinations over the years, and the interest and search persist.
Director/curator, North American Bigfoot Center Cliff Barackman
The Patterson-Gimlin Film continues to be the best sasquatch footage after 55 years. Some people find it to be a gold mine of knowledge on gait and body composition. Most people will never see another sasquatch, so this is their only chance. It stands for the more perplexing mysteries that remain to be discovered for everyone. To have it is a blessing.
Russell Acord, a retired army sergeant who wrote the books Bigfoot and the Tripwire and Footprints of a Legend, as well as serving as the International Bigfoot Conference’s event supervisor; Expedition Bigfoot on Discovery+ and the Travel Channel
This video, in my opinion, is the best evidence of a sighting in broad daylight to date. The gait, the surface, and the general fluid movement without hesitancy speak for themselves.
Given the incredible costumes we can currently create, it would still be very difficult to recreate this movie today. Walking that creek bottom thus easily would be difficult due to the river rock and cobblestone.
Due to the fact that neither side of the argument can definitively support their position, this movie will continue to be contested for all of time. Despite this, it has held up quite well under inspection.
This detail is unmatched, in my opinion, and there is absolutely no chance that it was photo-shopped for effect. To replace the P-G film, something pretty profound will be required.
Both detractors and supporters of this movie have viewed it innumerable times and debated it for hours. When you speak with Bob Gimlin, the only surviving eyewitness to the movie, I genuinely believe him because he has faithfully narrated every detail of that particular October day in 1967.