For years there has been a steady stream of sightings of something large and hairy loping through the wildernesses of North America, variously called names such as Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Skunk Ape, and for as long as these mysterious beasts have been reported there have been those who have sought to capture them on camera for all the world to see. Some of these have proven to be rather lacking in quality, and indeed it has become almost a running joke within the world of cryptozoology that they are forever doomed to remain blurry, shaky, and indistinct. However, there is no denying that these strange videos can be compelling on some primal level, and with the rise of video sites such as YouTube we have been saturated with such supposed video evidence. Go do a search on “Bigfoot videos” on YouTube and see what I mean. With the increase in camera usage (and sadly the ability to fake), we have been faced with more alleged Bigfoot videos than we know what to do with, to the point that it can be exhausting trying to analyze, look through, and vet them all. Some of them are garbage, others enticing, and others still that leave a big question mark hanging. Here I have kept things as basic as I can, and presented for your perusal some of the most debated and oft-discussed alleged pieces of Bigfoot footage ever captured.
We might as well start with the grand daddy of all alleged Bigfoot footage, and by far the most famous, which is what has come to be known as the Patterson/Gimlin footage. In the early 1960s a former rodeo rider from the U.S. state of Washington by the name of Roger Patterson found himself fascinated with the Bigfoot phenomenon after reading an article about it. From 1963 he made his way around the Pacific Northwest investigating sightings reports and looking for the elusive creatures in the wilderness all over Washington, Oregon and Northern California, and one of the places that most intrigued him was a location called Bluff Creek, California.
In October of 1967, Paterson returned to Bluff Creek, this time with his friend and fellow former rodeo rider Robert Gimlin. The two made their way on horseback to a secluded area where Bigfoot was said to have been sighted on numerous occasions, and with them they carried a 16mm video camera, just in case. The two spent a few weeks searching the area and then on October 20 their patience was seemingly rewarded when they were out riding near the creek and their horses became inexplicably agitated. Then, upon rounding an overturned tree they saw around 100 feet away an immense bipedal hairy creature begin to make its way across the rocky creek bed towards the forest beyond.
Paterson had the presence of mind to start up the camera, and even jumped off his horse to pursue the creature, eventually dropping to one knee in an effort to steady the camera, and at one point the beast turns its head over its shoulder to look directly at him before calmly, almost casually continuing its way for the tree line, where it would disappear from view. The footage Paterson managed to capture that day has gone on to become the most talked about, scrutinized, and famous pieces of Bigfoot footage ever taken, indeed one of the most discussed pieces of mysterious footage period, and shows a large bipedal figure covered with short, smooth hair, with a sloped forehead, pointed head or crest, and most intriguing of all a pair of what seem to be swinging pendulous breasts, suggesting it was a female.
The footage has been picked apart, debated, and discussed for decades, and although many think it is a hoax there are plenty who still believe that this is some of the best photographic evidence for the existence of Bigfoot ever taken. Although widely dismissed as a debunked video, the fact is that it has never been conclusively shown to be fabricated, and is still much talked about even after over 50 years of having every one of its frames intensely scrutinized. Whether you believe it to be a fake or the real deal, there is no doubt that this is the very first clear footage of an alleged Bigfoot ever taken, and it has become iconic, with stills from it recognizable worldwide even by people with no interest in cryptozoology at all. You can see it here.
Almost, but not quite as famous as the Patterson/Gimlin footage is a piece taken in 1994 by US Forest patrolman Paul Freeman near the Blue Mountains of the Washington-Oregon border. Freeman had first sighted a Bigfoot in 1982 near Walla Walla, Washington, which caused him to become obsessed with the mysterious creatures. Over the years he made many expeditions out into the wilds in search of the creatures and was known for putting forward various supposed physical evidence he had been able to find, including tracks, a partial hand print, and even an imprint of a buttocks from a purported Bigfoot. The plaster casts made of the tracks in particular are notable for the presence of dermal ridges, skin whorls, and anatomical details upon them, which have convinced experts such as anthropologist Jeff Meldrum of Idaho State University and Grover Krantz of Washington State University, although others were more skeptical and have accused Freeman of fabricating evidence in an effort to seek publicity.
Nevertheless, in 1994 Freeman was finally able to get video footage of what he claimed to be two of the creatures in the Blue Mountain area. It is unfortunate that Freeman had such a mixed reception to the previous evidence he had put forward, because the footage, while admittedly very blurry and shaky, has been seen as being quite possibly authentic by the few who have taken it seriously enough to carefully investigate it. Too many have been quick to dismiss the footage based on the reputation of being a potential hoaxer and publicity hound, but whether this footage is faked or not, it is still one of the more discussed and well-known pieces of Sasquatch footage out there, perhaps second only to the Patterson/Gimlin film. Real or hoax? Watch the Freeman footage here and decide for yourself.
The following year saw another extensively viewed and talked about supposed Bigfoot video that was taken at the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, in Del Norte County, California. On August 28, 1995, an RV carrying a film crew for Waterland Productions were driving through the area at night, along with Playboy Playmate Anna Marie Goddard, who was a star in the Playboy special they had been working on. As they drove along they happened to have their video camera going and at one point the driver of the vehicle shouted that he could see a bear.
The crew trained their video camera on it and it turned out to appear to not be a bear at all. Instead, they captured on film a bipedal figure standing by the side of the road, which then retreats while swinging its massive arms at its side. In the footage someone shouts “Let’s go get it!” and the driver attempts to give chase as the beast glances back over its shoulder, prompting one of the witnesses to exclaim “That’s not a bear!” At this point the driver stops and the creature steps out in front of the vehicle to stalk off towards the nearby Smith River. At this moment it is clearly visible in the headlights, appearing to be a large, broad figure around 8 feet in height and covered in long, shaggy hair, with a sloping head and flaring nostrils. The driver hits the high beams and the creature throws up its arms in surprise at it lumbers off, eliciting a shout of “Oh my God … it’s Sasquatch!” from one of the witnesses. The seemingly somewhat startled beast then moves off to disappear behind a redwood tree, and further attempts to locate it are unsuccessful.
The video was later released and became a sensation. A return to the location of the sighting and careful analysis of the surroundings was used to come to the conclusion that whatever the creature in the video is is around 2.3 meters high, too tall to be a typical human being. There were also observations made that the subject at one point displays clear movement of musculature that would have been difficult to fake with a gorilla suit, as well as detailed foot and ankle anatomy and even the suggestion of a penis on the creature. With some of the details picked up by researchers, the so-called “Redwoods Video” or “Goddard Bigfoot Video,” has been praised by many as one of the better, more intriguing pieces of Sasquatch evidence out there, and there has been no evidence of a hoax despite intensive analysis of it. Some of the footage with enhancements can be seen here.
Another heavy hitter in the world of supposed video footage of Sasquatch comes from just 1 year after the Redwoods video. On May 26, 1996, on Memorial Day, a Lori Pate was out with her family and friends on a fishing trip at Chopaka Lake, in Okanogan County, north central Washington, and decided to go for a hike with her husband Owen. During the hike Lori claimed that they had heard some strange animalistic noises coming from the woods around them and they decided to try to film whatever it was on an 8mm camera they had with them.
Not long after this, the couple spotted a hairy, bipedal creature run across a grassy area towards the forest on the other side and managed to catch it on camera. The footage shows the creature, whatever it is, run across a hill and disappear behind a slope, only to reappear and then slow to a walk to make its way into the trees. The bizarre detail that it seems to grow larger in height as it walks off has led to speculation that the thing is perhaps carrying an infant on its back which happens to climb up higher at that point in the footage. What has gone on to be known as the “Memorial Day footage” has become a very divisive video among cryptozoologists, with around half expounding it as some of the best video evidence of Bigfoot and the other half writing it off as a clear hoax. Whatever it may be, it is one of the more well known Bigfoot videos out there, for better or worse. See it here.
A little more controversial, but much talked about nonetheless was a clip from 2001, taken at Prince Edward Island, Canada. In this case, a man named Nathan Wiley was out in the wilderness there for the purpose of shooting a video for a school project when they came across something they were perhaps not expecting. In one scene they were filming of a person running, in the background there is the startling sight of a Bigfoot-like creature that runs across the clearing as if spooked by the activity of these human intruders. Wiley himself would say of the footage they caught:
All I know is, it looks huge, black and furry and seems to start out running on all fours and then proceed at the end to get up on it’s back legs and run. There aren’t any bears on the island either so we have no idea what is it.
The video generated quite a lot of buzz when it was first released, and it was quickly noted that the subject does not really appear to run on all fours at all, but rather in a series of leaps assisted by propulsion from its arms, very much like a large primate of some sort. Astute observers and Bigfoot researchers were also able to deduce that whatever the thing is appears to be going at a healthy clip, somewhere in the range of 25 to 30 mph. While there are certainly detractors who say this is some sort of stunt, and let’s face it there always are, it is nevertheless a compelling little piece of footage that has caused quite a bit of discussion and debate. You can watch it for yourself here.
A more recent intriguing video comes to us from as recently as 2015, when a Matt McKamey and friend were canoeing through the swamps of Lettuce Lake Park, Florida and saw what could have been the Florida Skunk Ape, a Bigfoot cousin native to the swamps of the southern United States and so-named because of the horrible stench it purportedly exudes. As the pair made their way through the water, they spied a tall, black shape through the trees which appeared to be moving through the snake and alligator infested muck foraging for food.
The footage itself shows what appears to be a very tall, dark creature with a cone-like head rummaging through the swamp and crawling up over a log before scurrying out of sight. What is interesting about this video is that the thing seems to be very at home in the swampy environment, moving with ease and finesses through the water and mud. Some of the details are interesting too, as many observers have noted that the beast seems to run off with what looks to be a fish in its hand. Also curious is that this is one of the few video clips that seems to show one of these creatures just going about its business, in this case looking for food. What did these guys catch on film? Watch it here and see what you think.
With the increasing use of cameras and our ever expanding presence into the wildernesses of this world, perhaps it is no surprise that such oddities should be picked up and immortalized on film more often. The problem is that in this day and age of YouTube hoaxers now have a venue to put out their wares and further muddy the waters for those of us honestly trying to look for evidence and answers. There are many, many more potentially worthwhile videos out there where these came from, and this article could have gone on and on, but it has become increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. No longer can we always trust what we see on film, and we have entered a new age of fakes and video analysis. For better or worse, these are a selection some of the videos that have stood the test of time, and have proven to be amongst the most popular. They will probably never be considered good evidence, or even evidence at all by some, but they do serve to at least make us think, and wonder just what may lie out there in the wildernesses of our world.