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Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film

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Author Topic: Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film  (Read 455 times)
Jennifer O'Dell
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« on: March 11, 2007, 03:16:42 pm »

The encounter

As Patterson and Gimlin were allegedly the only human witnesses to their brief encounter with a Sasquatch, theirs are the only testimonies available in studying the account. Their statements agree in general, but Long notes a number of inconsistencies. In an article in Argosy magazine, Ivan T. Sanderson gave the time of the encounter as 3:30 p.m., which differed from 1:30 p.m. time in other articles and in interviews by Patterson and Gimlin. They offered somewhat different sequences in describing how they and the horses reacted upon seeing the creature. Patterson in particular increased his estimates of the creature’s size in subsequent retellings of encounter (Long, 162 - 165). In a different context, Long notes, these discrepancies would probably be considered minor, but given the extraordinary claims made by Patterson and Gimlin, any apparent disagreements in perception or memory are worth noting. (On the other hand, if it was a hoax, much effort was invested in it and a great reward was in the offing; it wasn't a spur-of-the-moment affair. Thus, it could be argued, with so much at stake and so much time to prepare, hoaxers would have "gotten their stories straight" on such basic details.)

In the early afternoon of October 20, Patterson and Gimlin were at Bluff Creek. Both were on horseback when they "came to an overturned tree with a large root system at a turn in the creek, almost as high as a room" (Gimlin, quoted in Perez, 9). When they rounded it they spotted the figure behind it nearly simultaneously, while it was “crouching beside the creek to their left” (Krantz, 85). Gimlin later described himself as in a mild state of shock after first seeing the figure.

Patterson estimated he was about 25 feet away from the creature at his closest. Patterson said that his horse reared upon seeing (or perhaps smelling) the figure, and he spent about twenty seconds extricating himself from the saddle and getting his camera from a saddlebag before he could run toward the figure while operating his camera. He yelled "Cover me" to Gimlin, who thereupon crossed the creek on horseback, rode forward awhile, and, rifle in hand, dismounted. (Presumably because his horse might have panicked if the creature charged, spoiling his shot.)

The figure had walked away from them to a distance of about 120 feet before Patterson began to run after it. The resulting film (about 53 seconds long) is initially quite shaky until Patterson gets about 80 feet from the figure. At that point the figure glanced over its right shoulder at the men and Patterson fell to his knees; on Krantz's map this corresponds to frame 264 (Perez, 12). To researcher John Green, Patterson would later characterize the creature’s expression as one of “contempt and disgust ... you know how it is when the umpire tells you ‘one more word and you’re out of the game.’ That’s the way it felt”.

Now the steady middle portion of the film begins, containing the famous frame 352,(see above at the very top for picture of frame). Patterson said "it turned a total of I think three times" (Wasson, 69), the first time therefore being before the filming began. Shortly after glancing over its shoulder, the creature walks behind a grove of trees, reappears for awhile after Patterson moved ten feet to a better vantage point, then fades into the trees again and is lost to view as the reel of film ran out. Gimlin remounted and followed it on horseback, keeping his distance, until it disappeared around a bend in the road three hundred yards away. Patterson called him back at that point, feeling vulnerable on foot without a rifle, because he feared the creature's mate might approach.

Next, Gimlin rounded up Patterson's horses, which had run off before the filming began, and “the men then tracked it for three miles, but lost it in the heavy undergrowth” (Coleman and Clark, 198). They returned to the initial site, measured the creature’s stride, made two plaster casts (of the best-quality right and left prints), and covered the other prints to protect them. The entire encounter had lasted less than two minutes.

A few hours after the encounter, Patterson telephoned Donald Abbott, whom Krantz decribed as “the only scientist of any stature to have demonstrated any serious interest in the (Bigfoot) subject,” hoping he would help them search for the creature (possibly with tracking dogs). Abbott declined, and Krantz argued this call to authorities the same day of the encounter is evidence against a hoax, at least on Patterson’s part.

Forestry worker Lyle Loverty happened upon the site a day later and photographed the tracks. Taxidermist and outdoorsman Robert Titmus went to the site with his brother-in-law nine days later. Titmus made casts of the creature’s prints and, as best he could, plotted Patterson’s and the creature’s movements on a map.

Patterson initially estimated its height at six and one-half to seven feet (Patterson & Murphy, 195), and later raised his estimate to about seven and one-half feet. (Some later analyses, anthropologist Grover Krantz’s among them, have suggested Patterson’s later estimate was about a foot too tall.) The film shows a large, hairy bipedal apelike figure with short black hair covering most of its body, including the figure's prominent breasts. The figure's head is somewhat pointed; some have argued this feature is a sagittal crest, a type of ridge also found on gorillas. The figure depicted in the Patterson-Gimlin film generally matches the descriptions of Bigfoot offered by others who claim to have seen the creatures.

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