The modern search for Bigfoot -- a creature long presumed to be pure myth, until an accumulation of eyewitness reports began to suggest otherwise in the middle of the last century -- has been a strange pursuit for those few devoted individuals within the field.
Beginning in the 1950s, what first had been relegated to Native American legends began to spill over into newspaper reports of eyewitness encounters with large hairy beasts (although a number of reports prior to the 1950s did exist, it was during this period that Bigfoot, much like UFOs, truly began to stake its claim within American culture). Soon, there were a handful of individuals devoting generous amounts of their time to the serious study of these reports, in an attempt to assess whether any fact may exist behind them.
Names that come to mind include Peter Byrne, a British big-game hunter who moved to the Pacific Northwest and shifted virtually all his attention to the search for "America's Abominable Snowman." Another researcher to emigrate to America and study the Bigfoot situation was Swiss-born Rene Dahinden, who would go on to become one of the leading proponents of the famous Patterson-Gimlin film. However, perhaps none of those early researchers would leave quite such a mark (or perhaps we shall say print, in this instance) in the field of Bigfoot research as John Green, who it has been reported passed away on May 28, 2016. He was 89 years old.
Throughout his lifetime, Green became convinced that an undiscovered species of large, ape-like creature existed in remote parts of the Pacific Northwest. Green was first shown a series of large footprints crossing a sandbar in the Bluff Creek area of California (later becoming famous as the location of the aforementioned film made by Roger Patterson in 1967). As a journalist, Green went on to author a number of books on the subject of Bigfoot, including the landmark Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us (1978), still widely considered by many to be one of the most authoritative books ever written on the subject. His other books included his earlier On the Track of the Sasquatch (1968), Year of the Sasquatch (1970), The Sasquatch File, and two later editions, Encounters with Bigfoot and The Best of Sasquatch Bigfoot, featuring combined works that were based on his earlier writings. Green also was contracted as a speaker at a number of scientific symposiums that dealt with Bigfoot research, and appeared in several documentaries on the subject.
With the ideas and research he presented over the years, Green managed to influence the field, and those working within it, in a number of novel ways. Early on, Green had made distinctions between typical reports of "Bigfoot", and strange details about far more massive footprints that were discovered which, according to some, seemed to indicate the presence of even larger creatures. Researcher Loren Coleman, both a thoughtful chronicler of cryptozoology, as well as author of many very detailed obituaries remembering others in the field, offered the following on Green's link to the concept of "true giants", an idea which Coleman later expanded upon:
"Even the relatively recent book that I wrote and coauthored with Mark A. Hall, True Giants (NY: Anomalist Books, 2010), can trace its origins to John Green’s finding that creatures larger than Bigfoot were being reported. What Roger Patterson had called the “Giant Hairy Ape,” which was different than Bigfoot, Green had also noted. Green had written of reports from the 1950s and 1960s that told of extra large hairy men with giant, almost two-feet long, foot tracks. This is not to blame Green for any radical theories that Hall [and I] decided to write about, but Green’s outside-the-box thinking certainly stimulated a good deal of lateral research."
Loren's entire obituary on Green can be read at his Cryptozoo News site.
In 2012, John's wife, June Doreen Green, passed away after a long illness. John and June are survived by their five children.
Despite the loss of another of our landmark "founding fathers" in the field of serious, disciplined research into the unexplained, John Green's influence on the field of cryptozoology, as well as the role he played in the migration of Sasquatch from a cultural myth, to a field of biological and historical research, will be remembered fondly. We thank him for his life's work, and for many books he gave us that chronicled his years spent in pursuit of one of North America's greatest mysteries.