The Legend of Bigfoot is Alive and Well

legend of bigfoot

I never gave Bigfoot aka Sasquatch too much thought. In fact I never gave Bigfoot any thought. I think the first and only times I heard mention of Bigfoot might have been in college and I may have been tripping. As an English and literature major I never even read anything about Sasquatch and I went to school in upstate New York so when my publisher asked me to write about Bigfoot like most things I had to do my research. 

My first big surprise was that Bigfoot is a folklore legend that might have its roots in Humboldt, California. I actually thought Bigfoot was from England but Humboldt gave me a chuckle because I had to think someone might have been ‘toking’ up too much good Humboldt weed. But it seems that is where the legend was born. 

“In 1958, journalist Andrew Genzoli of the Humboldt Times highlighted a fun, if dubious, letter from a reader about loggers in northern California who’d discovered mysteriously large footprints. “Maybe we have a relative of the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas,” Genzoli jokingly wrote in his September 21 column alongside the letter.”

“Later, Genzoli said that he’d simply thought the mysterious footprints “made a good Sunday morning story.” But to his surprise, it really fascinated readers. In response, Genzoli and fellow Humboldt Times journalist Betty Allen published follow-up articles about the footprints, reporting the name loggers had given to the so-called creature who left the tracks—“Big Foot.” And so a legend was born.”

I ask myself though why does this legend continue to exist and gain momentum? Were there sightings of a hairy monster type man before the Humboldt sighting? And why do people believe it? It seems people saw a Bigfoot type man way back in the 1800s. 

“Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is a giant ape-like cryptid (or species rumored to exist) that some people believe roams North America. There is scant physical evidence that any such creatures exist, but Bigfoot buffs are convinced they do, and that science will prove it.”

“Most sightings of Bigfoot occur in the Northwest and the creatures can be linked to Indigenous myths and legends of wild men. The word Sasquatch is derived from Sasq’ets, a word from the Halq’emeylem language used by some Salish First Nations peoples in southwestern British Columbia, according to the Oregon Encyclopedia.” 

“As early as 1884, the British Colonist newspaper in Victoria, BC published an account of a “gorilla type” creature captured in the area. Other accounts, largely decried as hoaxes, followed, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia: Sasquatch book author John Green compiled a list of 1,340 sightings through the 19th and 20th centuries. But the modern Bigfoot or Sasquatch myth gained new life in the late 1950s.” 

It seems that Bigfoot is North America’s version of the Abominable Snowman. I heard of the Abominable Snowman long before I heard of Bigfoot. Why I do not know. Maybe the snowman was more popular in legend or myth. 

“It seems to represent the North American counterpart of the Himalayan region’s mythical monster, the Abominable Snowman, or Yeti.”

“Abominable Snowman, Tibetan Yeti, mythical monster resembling a large, hairy, apelike being supposed to inhabit the Himalayas at about the level of the snow line. Though reports of actual sightings of such a creature are rare, certain mysterious markings in the snow have traditionally been attributed to it.”

Is there a difference between Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman? The Abominable Snowman has been around much longer. 

“Despite scientific evidence showing that most traces of “Yetis” actually come from Himalayan bears, many people are still convinced of the existence of the cryptid. For others, claims of sightings like this one prompt a simpler question: What’s the difference between the Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, and Bigfoot?”

“The Yeti is the oldest legend of the bunch. Lore of a man-like beast in the Himalayas has its roots in pre-Buddhist religion. The Lepcha people recognized a supernatural “Glacier Being” as one of their hunting gods and the ruler of all the forest’s creatures. It wasn’t until later that an early version of the term “Yeti” emerged. Most experts believe it derives from a Sherpa word, possibly yeh-teh meaning “small, man-like animal” or meti meaning “bear.” The Yeti starred as the antagonist of many cautionary folk tales shared by the Sherpa people. In their legends, the creature was depicted as an apelike man who left large tracks in the snow.”

The term abominable snowman came later and is interchangeable for Yeti. Although it came from a translation error. 

“The name “The Abominable Snowman” was originally a translation error. Henry Newman, an Anglo journalist working in Calcutta in the 1920s, first heard reports of a Wild Man on the slopes of the Himalayas from members of a 1921 British expedition to summit Everest led by Lieutenant Colonel C. K. Howard-Bury. Sherpas on the expedition discovered footprints that they believed belonged to the “wild man of the snows,” and word quickly spread through the Tibetans. Newman, hearing these reports, garbled the Tibetan term metoh kangmi (which means “man-like wild creature”), misrecognizing metoh as metch, and mistranslating “wild” as “filthy” or “dirty.” Settling finally on “The Abominable Snowman” for his English-speaking readers, the name stuck.” 

The similarity between Yeti and Bigfoot is that both walk upright like man and are big and hairy. The difference is their locations and that they are entirely different beasts. 

“Thus, “Abominable Snowman” and “Yeti” are basically different names for the same legend, but Bigfoot is a different beast altogether. Like the Yeti, Sasquatch, later dubbed “Bigfoot,” is believed to be a large, shaggy primate that walks upright like a man. The main difference between the two mythical animals is their location. While the Yeti belongs to Asia, Bigfoot is thought to be native to North America, specifically the Pacific Northwest. Tales of ape-like wild men inhabiting that region can be traced back to indigenous communities—”Sasquatch” is derived from sésquac, a Halkomelem word meaning “wild man”—but the name “Bigfoot” is a 20th century original invention.”

Are there recent Bigfoot sightings? Absolutely! The most recent one I found was from a news article last May 2021. A woman in Ashland, Ohio asserts a sighting after leaving the gym around midnight. https://www.richlandsource.com/news/bigfoot-woman-reports-sasquatch-encounter-outside-gym-in-ashland/article_e16ec08e-ac17-11eb-b715-ebc258717644.html

“ASHLAND — The 20-year-old woman walked out of the Warehouse 24-Hour Gym around midnight, her workout complete.”

“She turned to the right and headed to her car in the well-lit parking lot. There were no other vehicles in the lot on that side of the building, constructed and opened in 2018.”

“But she was reportedly not alone on the cool, clear spring night April 24.”

“The woman heard a twig snap. She looked and saw a creature, seven or eight feet tall and covered in gray fur, racing back into the woods about 30 yards away.”

“It was far too large, likely several hundred pounds, and moved too quickly to be a man, she believed. Shaken and in tears, she called her parents from a nearby restaurant, asking them to come and drive her home.”

“She had likely encountered a sasquatch, according to nationally acclaimed Big Foot investigator Matthew Moneymaker, who has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of the mysterious creature, including the national cable TV show, “Finding Bigfoot.”

I found this History Channel YouTube video from February 2021 from an inconclusive sighting in North Carolina – I will leave it to you my reader to decide for yourself if this was Bigfoot or something else. The Proof Is Out There: NEW BIGFOOT SIGHTING in North Carolina (Season 1) | History

Then there was the lawsuit in 2018 a woman filed against San Bernardino, California because she claims they did not believe that she did see Bigfoot! 

“CRESTLINE, Calif. — A Crestline, Calif. woman said she spotted a sasquatch in the San Bernardino mountains and filed a lawsuit to prove it.”

“If they wanted to hurt us that day they could have,” Claudia Ackley said. “We were right there.”

“Ackley was hiking a trail in Blue Jay with her two daughters on March 17, 2017, between 6:30 and 7 p.m. She said her daughters noticed it first.”

“They’re standing right there frozen looking at something,” Ackley said. She believes they were looking at Bigfoot.”

“He looked like a Neanderthal man with a lot of hair,” Ackley said. “About 800 pounds. I was trying to tell it to please not hurt us, and that’s when he just stared at me.”

“I’m sorry you saw a bear,'” Ackley said. “And I said no; this was no bear. I know what I saw.”

“Ackley has filed a lawsuit against the state of California, as well as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, for refusing to acknowledge the existence of the species of Bigfoot. The spokesperson for the CDFW would not comment because of the pending lawsuit.”

“They’re on our property. They knock on our walls. They look through our windows,” Ackley said. “It’s more and more and more.”

Ackley’s lawsuit was dropped by her attorneys to be rewritten with additional evidence. https://www.sbsun.com/2018/03/20/california-womans-bigfoot-is-real-lawsuit-has-been-dismissed-for-now/

“Ackley and Standing said they plan to present evidence proving the existence of Sasquatch, including testimony from wildlife biologists, wilderness experts and police forensic officers. They said they also will introduce fingerprint, footprint, and even DNA evidence from hair samples Standing said he obtained from a tree during a 2014 expedition.”

“According to the Sun, Ackley is most worried that the government could be putting people in danger by not recognizing Bigfoot as real.”

For anyone who is planning a camping trip or a hike in the woods and you want to be on the lookout for Bigfoot there are several different accounts of what to look out for: 

“In California, there are century-old pictographs drawn by the Yokuts that appear to show a family of giant creatures with long, shaggy hair. Called “Mayak datat” by the tribe, the image bears a resemblance to the commonly held vision of Bigfoot.”

“Many Native American cultures have written oral legends that tell of a primate-type creature roaming the continent’s forests. In these tales, the animals are sometimes more human-like and, other times, more ape-like. In the mythology of the Kwakiutl tribe that once heavily populated the western coast of British Columbia, Dzunukwa is a big, hairy female that lives deep in the mountainous forests.  According to the legend, she spends most of her time protecting her children and sleeping, hence why she’s rarely seen.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBTUQI60yqQ&t=141sWhat Gimlin’s camera sees is a strange, large ape-like figure limbering on its hind legs across a clearing. For a brief moment, the animal appears to look directly at the camera, and, then, it’s gone. This is the famed Patterson-Gimlin film reportedly shot in October 1967 in the heavily wooded forests of Northern California, and it is one of the most heavily analyzed pieces of film in American history.

“Native Americans weren’t the only ones seeing this hairy, primate creature roaming the wilds of America. Nineteenth- and early 20th-century newspapers had whole sections devoted to the miners, trappers, gold prospectors, and woodsmen claiming to have seen “wild men,” “bear men,” and “monkey men.””

Why are people still hunting for Bigfoot or why do people still think that shadows in the dark and the rustling of bushes might be Bigfoot?  

“I think we need (Bigfoot) in a deep-seated psychological way, because of our evolutionary origins,” Robert Michael Pyle, a lepidopterist, naturalist and poet, told me in an interview late last summer. We were walking through a quiet and heavily forested glade in coastal Washington. “I think it goes all the way back to what we came from.” https://www.hcn.org/articles/essays-even-if-bigfoot-isnt-real-we-still-need-him

“Half-wild creatures have been feeding the human imagination for thousands of years. We have evolved with them, and away from them. In the grand scheme of human evolution, we rarely lived without monsters at the edges. Gilgamesh’s city-state, Beowulf’s mead hall — these exist in opposition to Enkidu and Grendel. We fear the wild, and we miss it. For Bigfoot to exist, even in our imaginations, we need a landscape that can carry him. In a modern world that is so tamed, so pruned and paved, we are losing something that has long been with us and defined us. “Frankly, I think if we lose our connection to the wild,” Pyle said, “we’ll be far less human, less animal.” Our belief in Bigfoot may be a sign of our spiritual health.”

“Some people see these cryptohominids as symbols of pure freedom, living by instinct and foiling every effort to pin them down. To search for Bigfoot in the forest is to taste that freedom. On the trail, you become extra-attuned to nature: the smell of scat, the sounds of breaking branches, the curious impressions in the dirt. As long as there are wild places in America, Bigfoot remains a possibility that, to its most ardent proponents, cannot be disproved.”

In the age of fake news Bigfoot has actually triumphed. 

“Bigfoot also embodies other less romantic but no less enduring American traits, like gullibility and a hunger for attention. “There are so many fake videos,” says Loren Coleman, the founder of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. The problem has grown worse with social media, where viral hoaxes, like drone footage of a supposed Bigfoot in a clearing in Idaho, can rack up millions of views. Coleman, for his part, believes there is evidence for Bigfoot’s existence, but he and his like-minded peers find it difficult to focus attention on this material amid the growing number of obvious shams. “Technology has ruined the old cryptozoology,” Coleman says.”

“His complaint echoes concerns in more mainstream American life, where technologies that promised to build consensus have, in fact, made the truth more difficult than ever to discern. On the internet, Bigfoot has found a habitat much more hospitable than North American forests. It turns out that Bigfoot does not need to exist in order to live forever.”

Happy Hunting! Well, don’t hunt, just look.

Author: Sherri Margolin (Dark Matters)

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