Notes on the Patterson-Gimlin Film
Proponents of the existence of Sasquatch often refer to the 1 minute-long color film shot with a hand wound 16mm Cine-Kodak K-100 camera (ultra-wide angle 15mm lens?) by Roger Patterson and accompanied by associate Bob Gimlin, near Orleans, Humboldt Co., California on October 20, 1967. The film has fascinated me for most of my life. I’ve included links to the footage below. At first glance we see shaky documentation of a tree line and brush adjacent to a wash and as the camera steadies we see a hairy upright and bipedal entity walking away from the camera into the woods. At one point (designated as Frame 352) the entity turns around -nonchalantly, and looks straight at the camera.
I’ve watched the film perhaps a hundred times and it still strikes me as a guy in a hairy costume (note I didn’t say Gorilla suit), but not so much because the “Bigfoot” looks like a cheap suit, but how the creature walks. It strolls along in large strides like a guy walking down the street to go to a tavern. The entity moves all too familiar. It’s not ape-like at all, so my immediate inclination is to associate and identify the creature as a human in garb. If it is a suit, it’s an odd one and the person inside is a big one. More on that later.
Special effects technician and makeup artist Stan Winston reviewed the film and remarked “It’s a guy in a bad fur suit, sorry!” He also noted that “if one of my colleagues created this for a movie, he would be out of business.” (Source: TV Show “Movie Magic” which aired from 1994 to 1997). I’m inclined to think there were plenty of makeup people around in 1967 talented enough to fabricate such as suit. My point is the technology was not new to the late 60’s. Just check out Jack Pierce’s simian makeup in The Monkey Talks (1927), Charles Gemora’s ape in The Monster and the Girl (1941), Toshinori Oohasi’s Yeti suit in the Toho film Abominable Snowman / Yujin Yukiotako / Half Human (1955) (see image below) or John Chamber’s work in Planet of the Apes (1968).
However, the more I watch the film the more puzzled I get. The waist has a distinct texture change. There’s a break as if this were two pieces of a suit that don’t match, but muscles (foam appliances?) are visible as the creature walks (watch the calf muscles). The creature also has what appear to be breasts. Sasquatch has breasts? Makes sense if there are multiple breeding colonies across the planet. The creature is big. Various scaled restorations of the footage figure the creature to be over 6’5″ and several hundred pounds (the average weight of a professional football player in the 60’s was about 200 lbs). The lower body section is massive. I’m sure there were giant people around in the 60’s, but I question how a person could move so fluid in a hairy guy suit in rugged terrain.
So what’s the answer? Elaborate hoax or new animal? Bob Gimlin was carrying a rifle. Why didn’t he shoot it for definitive proof? Seems fishy to me. I’m leaning toward hoax, but I’m puzzled to the elaborate anatomical correctness and size of the suit. Another interesting point: there has been an explosion of Bigfoot videos in the modern YouTube, smartphone digital age, yet none of the videos come close to the believability of the Patterson-Gimlin film. It stands alone as the holy grail of cryptid footage. If this film is a hoax, then why is it the best footage?
Cine-Kodak K-100 Camera Manual
The Patterson-Gimlin Film on YouTube:
Digitally Enhanced and Stabilized PGF: