Not to Plan a Hoaxed Filming
There are many obviously objectionable points associated
with the Patterson/Gimlin film. Some skeptics have seized
on these as handy sticks with which to pummel it. But one
could turn their case on its head and argue the opposite: that
even rudimentary planning would have eliminated such
predictably problematic stuff. To wit:
- “Red-flag” behavior by Patterson, Gimlin, or “Patty”;
- Bells & whistles—these are costly & troublesome. (Keep
It Simple, Stupid.)
Thus, the very fact that so many easy-to-foresee red flags and
unnecessary complications were involved implies a lack
of foresight, which implies a lack of planning, which implies
the absence of a commercially motivated hoax.
Suppose you’re planning how NOT to film a successful Bigfoot
hoax. You’d be well advised to incorporate these
red-flags and risky/costly bells-and-whistles:
- Don’t buy the camera you use. (Although it’ll
become a valuable artifact.)
- Allow the rental period on the camera to be exceeded,
and be jailed for not returning it on time. (That’ll
add to your credibility!)
- Use a better-than necessary (16 mm) camera that reveals
objectionable details, like uniform hair length, too
long-foot length, etc. [Thanks
to Bigfoot Forums (BFF) member “Toe Toe.”]
- Ask along a second witness, greatly complicating things
(if he is unwitting), or adding to the expense (if he
- Ask along two third witnesses (ditto). (Track Record #35,
p. 4, and #97, p. 2.)
- Boast that you’re going to film a Bigfoot, making
your encounter seem non-accidental.
- Use horses. (They complicate the story, could fail
to rear, and add expense.) [Thanks to BFF member “HarryHenderson”]
- Have the two witnesses disagree on many details, such
as the creature’s smell, stride, and height, and whether
or not Patterson’s horse fell on him, or he slid off
it (according to Gimlin). (See Barbara Wasson’s Sasquatch
Apparitions, p. 68.) “Let’s get our
stories straight”— someone amongst every group
of plotters utters that classic line, both in countless popular
thrillers, and in the real world. Virtually all commercially
motivated plotters rehearse. But not P or G—so
perhaps they plotted nothing. (Note—the differences
in P & G’s stories were not forced out of them cross-examined
separately, which is the way suspicious contradictions emerge
in the tales of conspirators, but popped up the first times
they were asked merely to tell their stories by interviewers
(e.g., on radio interviews together). Nor were they about
minor aspects of the tale they hadn’t anticipated
being asked about, but were about its central aspects.)
- Estimate the creature’s weight at half of what
would be a reasonable guess, and a few years later
revise your estimate, causing skeptics to accuse you of unreliability.
- Don’t photograph a human or stick to provide scaling. (Doubt is
- Stage the event at a site with the reassuring name of Bluff Creek.
- Film in a location near a road, where someone might stumble
on the crew.
- Film in an awkward, out-of-the-way part of the country,
and hang around the site for over two weeks before
waste of resources and time.
- Include characteristics in the suit that scientists are
sure to object to, such as:
- Features not encountered among female apes, such as
a sagittal crest, large hairy breasts, a bulky, heavily
muscled torso, and a bold, dominating stride.
- A human-like stride, not the “lumbering” gait
friendly scientists expected, and not different at
first glance from the walk of an actor in an ape-suit.
- A foot length that doesn’t agree with the length
of stride for a human.
- No strong directional grain to the hair and little
irregularity in hair-length.
- A light-colored foot-sole, wrapping slightly up around
the edges of the foot.
- A rear-projecting heel.
- An unlikely, half-human face, like nothing in art or
- Any type of face. (Showing it would only raise
objections, and in any event would be difficult to
make realistic. [Thanks to BFF member “Cochise” for
the last point.])
- Fail to contact scientists who believe in hominids, like
- Add oddities like a hernia on the thigh and a large skin
tag (or tumor) on the breast.
- Claim a Friday filming, making it impossible to process
the film over the weekend.
- Claim to have done so anyway.
- Be penny-wise and have the film developed by an unnamable
moonlighting camera-shop employee. (Although a “clear
chain of custody” is a must.)
- Show the film on Sunday, an almost-impossibly short time-line,
despite the lack of any need for a speedy showing.
- Show the original print repeatedly to visiting BF buffs,
so it will get scratched and scuffed, instead of making
viewing copies of the film immediately.
- Put the priceless film in the mail, instead of hand-carrying
it to a developer.
- Don’t invite the press to the dramatic first showing,
or to the film’s processing.
- Forget the filming speed. (Another gold star on your credibility
- Lose the original copy of the first reel, and also all
copies of the second reel.
this article on the Bigfoot Forums >
This article was originally published in Bigfoot Times, March
2004 and Bigfoot
Co-op, April 2004. Items 19-24
were added for this version.