Although I’m skeptical about many of the cryptozoological reports I see and even more of the paranormal reports I see, there is one constant in my world view that keeps me searching for the truth of all these other creatures and phenomena – Bigfoot.
Bigfoot does exist. I completely believe it’s only a matter of time before someone bags a Bigfoot body and proves to the rest of the world once and for all, that this cryptid exists.
Some of the evidence of Bigfoot and his relatives is compelling and scientifically verifiable. In some cases, the scientific conclusions have been inconclusive, but only in the sense that some DNA or hair sample didn’t match any known species including man’s – which may mean that it has come from some “other” species.
Let’s look at the facts and accounts surrounding Bigfoot and see if I can convince you that he exists.
Over the years many people have hoaxed Bigfoot footprints but these were inevitably exposed as the frauds they are. Hoaxing is the single most serious problem we have in the Cryptozoological world, in my opinion, because as investigators, we want to at least spend a little time to determine whether an alleged sighting/evidence is credible. If not, we move on.
But all this hoaxing, and I’m including all those horrid YouTube videos in this, detract us from investigating the few real and legitimate sightings and evidence that do, in fact, exist. Let’s look at the footprint evidence.
Jimmy Chilcott worked for eighteen years in law enforcement forensics as a fingerprint expert. He eventually got into studying footprints, as well, and from there ventured into the study of primate footprints. He has a collection of over one thousand prints of nonhuman primate hands and feet.
In 1998, Chilcott saw Dr. Jeff Meldrum on TV, and asked him to evaluate some of the casts from his own collection. He wanted to see what Dr. Meldrum thought of the dermatoglyphics (dermal ridge patterns) on his samples, and what he thought of them compared to those of humans.
According to them, human dermal ridges are fairly standard except if the foot has experienced an injury and/or has a scar. This also applies to other non-human primate footprints.
Dr. Meldrum’s own collection of Bigfoot prints show that the dermal ridges run longitudinally (from toes to heel), while in humans they run transversely (left to right). In other apes, the ridges run obliquely, that is, at an angle.
After some brainstorming, both men feel that Bigfoot has his own unique dermal ridge “signature” that is repeatedly demonstrated across many footprint casts.
Furthermore, Chilcutt found that the dermal ridges in a legitimate Bigfoot print are twice the thickness of a human’s dermal ridges. He also noted that many prints show a splaying of different toes between casts which would naturally occur in a walking animal. Have you ever walked across the lumps and bumps in sand, and looked back at your footprints? Your toes might be splayed one way or the other, too, from the motion of walking on the uneven surface. A hoaxer’s prints would always look the same since they’d be formed by the same rigid stamp or form.
Critics have claimed that Chilcott’s (photo to the right) research shouldn’t be taken into account because he’s in law enforcement and not a scientist. They criticize him for not publishing his findings in a scientific journal.
Good writing and presentation skills are not usually part of the average law officer’s skill set. People drawn to law enforcement have other valuable but very different skills that help them do their jobs well. You cannot make a writer/speaker out of someone who is not inclined that way.
Furthermore, because of Chilcutt’s investigative skills, which have to include extensive use of logic and reason, he’s in an excellent position to identify patterns and draw conclusions. What else do forensic officers do?! To discount his research and testimony is downright foolish and I will not do that.
In an article called “Bigfoot Exposed: An Anthropologist Examines America’s Enduring Legend” Dr. David J. Daegling says, “Chilcutt commits the same logical fallacy … he deduces that hoaxing is incompatible with expertise. Yet a would-be hoaxer need only contemplate the soles of their own feet to get inspiration for the subtler aspects of foot print making.”
He further claims that supposed details found in the casts, like sweat pores, ‘may just be the by-product from the making of a cast.”
So he’s saying anybody could make a fake footprint by contemplating their own feet. If I’m looking at my feet the last thing I’m noticing is dermal ridges. Until Chilcutt’s research pointed them out I never even noticed them! And sweat pores, my foot doctor tells me they do exist on everyone’s feet – I defy anyone to find one, at least on my feet.
So to say an amateur can contemplate their own feet and create a viable hoax is foolish in my opinion. On top of that, these footprints are found not only across the U.S.A, but around the world! ALL those people are going to be so good at hoaxing footprints that people like Chilcutt and Meldrum will be fooled? Absolute nonsense.
From my research, I became aware of a nasty development in the world of Bigfoot Research. It seems there is quite a bit of squabbling and sniping going on between some in academia and some who are really doing research into this animal’s existence. So I recommend that when you read articles by people who are sniping one way or the other, ignore the rest of what they have to say. I’ve read several sniping articles and what shocked me was how they had the facts of a story or incident, or report completely wrong. They seem to be more interested in bellowing their own “expert” opinions on the matter rather than honestly evaluating the item or topic in question.
Footprint evidence isn’t a deal breaker in determining whether Bigfoot exists or not. But at the end of the day, Jimmy Chilcott has come to believe in the existence of Bigfoot and his expertise is authentic enough for me because he always evaluates the prints prudently.
These are harder to come by, although this isn’t to say people don’t find hair samples in the woods. But getting hair samples with viable DNA still attached (think roots), is extremely hard to do.
Others, like the BFRO, have analyzed the hair samples that have come their way based on the appearance of the hair under high-powered microscopes. Let’s review some of those.
Animals with fur have an overcoat called “guard hair” that lays over a layer below, not surprisingly called the undercoat. Some animals with fur shed it in clumps at various times of the year and it collects on branches or the forest floor where people find it and wonder about it.
Primates (including humans) have hair which isn’t shed in bunches, and we lose it pretty much one at a time and then it’s replaced. Bigfoot is a primate, so he would have hair similar to ours. That’s why we don’t find big clumps of Bigfoot hair laying around. How hard is it to find one or two hairs in a forest? I’d probably want to try to find the needle in the haystack first!
Even so, some researchers feel they have found legitimate samples of Bigfoot hair.
The BFRO has analyzed 15 samples that they feel may very well be Bigfoot hair.
The hair samples ranged in width between 40-90 um (averaging 65 um). The hair cortex was uniformly tinged red with a fine pigment-granule distribution. The medulla (a dark core usually running down the center of a hair) is typically absent. Interesting to note, in human hair, very fair blond hair is also missing the medulla.
BFRO insists that hair from other forest dwellers, like rodents, carnivores, and ungulates can be accurately identified and are distinct from the 15 samples they had tested. Those samples had been collected from 4 different states.
Of all the evidence researchers might be able to collect, genuine Bigfoot hair is probably the most elusive.
Bone samples are hard to find too. Consider when a Bigfoot dies in the forest, its body is immediately subjected to the rigors of Mother Nature. Animals pray on the body, animals like porcupines and rodents eat the bones. Insect larva rise up and consume a lot of the corpse. The rate of decay is very fast.
To the left you can see the jaw and some teeth of a Gigantopithecus, found in China, compared to that of a human. Interestingly, for thousands of years, Chinese pharmacists have been grinding down these bones and teeth to use in their medicines. They refer to them as dragon’s teeth or dragon’s bones. One wonders how many have been destroyed over the millenia, for a Chinese potion.
I don’t know of any authentic bone samples that are believed to be Bigfoot. In my research, I’ve read how it’s very rare to almost impossible to find bear carcasses in the woods. So why would it be surprising to not find Bigfoot bodies?
Some researchers believe that because of the social nature of Bigfoot (and other primates), family members may watch over the body or may actually bury it. Right now we don’t know for sure, but a lack of bones and bodies doesn’t deter me in believing Bigfoot exists.
Scat, or animal poop, is sometimes found and attributed to Bigfoot. The BFRO has an extensive description of the muck, which I’ll quote here (from their website):
“Their feces are sausage-shaped, up to 4” in diameter and up to three feet long, forming a folded heap. They are replete with numerous intestinal parasites, including hook worms, as well as small bones, hair of prey and ample vegetal matter.”
There was a reported case of a Yeti sighting in northern Sweden, where after a night’s harassment from a Yeti, a man investigated the area where the creature had been. He said he found a massive bunch of scat at the base of a tree, but he didn’t think to get a sample for testing.
Such is the frustration in the pursuit of Bigfoot.
The presence of scat isn’t something I like to dwell on because I believe there are more compelling ways to confirm the animal’s existence.
Researchers claim they occasionally find nests where they believe Bigfoot has bedded down for a night or two. The nests are typically formed with branches and woodland debris, sometimes having a roof-like overhang, sometimes lined with mosses and other soft materials. The photo to the right was taken in Wisconsin.
The sheer size of the nests is what gives them away. Other woodland animals don’t need nests of the size that researchers find, and impressions left by their bodies in the nests are quite large.
We know that other large primates such as gorillas make nests at night, often from softer materials like big leaves. Bigfoot is a primate so his behavior would more than likely be similar to the gorillas and some other primates.
Again the lack of DNA evidence works against us. But it’s clear SOMEthing is making these structures and no known animals seem to be capable of building such things, and these known animals have been studied enough for us to know and understand their nesting practices.
Scientists will consider whether there are adequate food sources for a population of Bigfoots to survive and thrive. According to researchers around the country, there seems to be ample supplies of food for these huge animals.
According to researchers, Bigfoot is an omnivore – he’ll eat anything. His diet is largely carnivorous too and some researchers report seeing this animal catching fish or digging up clams, and catching ground squirrels. They are reported to hunt poultry, deer, elk, and bear.
They’ve been observed eating leaves, berries, roots, aquatic plants, young evergreen shoots and other vegetation. They’ll also eat road kill, or meat/fish from human storage sites, hunter-killed game, and occasionally, garbage.
Livestock aren’t particularly threatened by them, as there have only been a few reported cases where livestock was killed and taken by a Bigfoot.
They have been seen drinking water.
Bigfoot’s range is extensive, not only within the U.S.A., but around the world. From the Vietnam Bigfoot, to the Yetis of the far north, these animals, or their cousins, seem able to adapt to a multitude of environments.
This shouldn’t be surprising because mankind is able to adapt to any environment, usually with our technology, true, but that’s only been around for the past 100 – 150 years. Prior to that we built shelters, grew crops, raised animals, and survived around the globe.
Bigfoot researchers believe that the Bigfoot families are pretty much always on the move. They seek and forage for food, and may follow other animals as they migrate around the countryside. For example, researchers believe that Bigfoot is present during the run of Salmon in the Alaskan rivers, just like its fellow omnivores, bears.
There is still a lot of wilderness left in the world, and these animals take advantage of it. Perhaps increasingly our paths intersect as we humans branch out to discover the wonders of nature, but for now it seems like there is room enough for all of us.
Top-notch sightings are the reason I believe so strongly in the presence of Bigfoot. DNA may come and go, samples may be tainted, some footprints may be hoaxed, on and on. But solid, reliable people are seeing this creature, not only in the U.S.A., but around the world. Let’s explore some of those.
Dirt Biker in the Backwoods, “Tony”, SW Ontario, Canada
I believe the guy in this video, identified only as “Tony”. His story is very natural, realistic, and he comes across as being down to earth, reasonable, a stable type of person. He does discuss why he doesn’t talk about this encounter much because he’s concerned people won’t believe him and think he’s making it up.
I’ve long said I believe the Texans will be the ones to “bag a body” of Bigfoot, and they sure do hunt him regularly. Here’s an account I like because it’s in the words of the skeptical reporter. Read what happened to him.
From a Former Hunter and Retired Police Officer, Allegheny County, PA
From an Experienced Hunter, Southeast TX
I’d like to note that this witness says something at the beginning of his testimony that highlights the problem we, in the Cryptozoological community, have to face every day. He didn’t want to tell anyone else about his experience for fear of ridicule, and perhaps trouble at work. People need to get over making fun of people who have witnessed strange things. It wouldn’t hurt if they looked at many of the other stories in my blog where I discuss newly found animals, new to science, every month, if not more often. There are plenty of creatures that science hasn’t yet formally acknowledged!
Retired School Teacher, Ocala, FL
Interesting case from a retired school teacher who travels this particular road several times a week.
This guy is a caretaker for the area’s state parks. He knows what’s in those woods. Especially now.
Over the years, I’ve heard many reports like the ones I shared here. In fact, if you’re hungry for more, explore the BFRO’s website, especially the Reports section.
I had heard a report of a mass sighting of a Bigfoot on a highway at night in Washington State. Many people called the police to report the sighting, and in fact, at least one policeman saw the creature. The witnesses were very credible, and what happened is a Bigfoot was trying to cross a highway and was terrified by the cars, the speed, the lights. One lady saw it close-up right outside her car door and said it looked terrified. I can’t find a written account of that report unfortunately; I had seen it on a Bigfoot program years ago.
In fact, on one of the Fact or Faked programs, they showed a video clip from a policeman’s car camera that showed what looks like a Bigfoot crouched down, but running across the road. You can hear him talk to his companion in the car, and they did not believe it was a bear, in fact, they sounded stunned by what they saw.
Police, ex-military personnel, staid and upright citizens around the country are reporting sightings of this animal. How can that many people be wrong?
A professor I know was on vacation in one of our state parks this past summer. His wife spotted something on the side of the road. She thought it was a bear. They slowed down, looked more closely, and it turned out to be a type of cattle, that I believe was called a Hereford. So he believes people are misidentifying other animals for Bigfoot.
Well, the key point in his story is that they slowed down and had a good look and were able to see what was really there. Most everyone in the reports I’ve read or heard paused to check out what they were seeing. Many of these people are experienced hunters and woodsmen and women, as well as police and military types who are trained how to observe and report all types of situations. They know a bear when they see one, and they’re shocked to know a Bigfoot when they see one.
I know I can’t really convince you that Bigfoot exists, but I feel very strongly that it’s only a matter of time before someone comes up with the definitive proof that these creatures exist.
Earlier this year, scientists from Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology requested Bigfoot researchers to send samples of what they believed to be Bigfoot material – hair, scat, bones, whatever.
They would then take the materials and test them once and for all to see if they could uncover DNA of an unknown primate. The collection period ended in September, so at the time of writing this article, the testing procedure is underway.
I can’t wait to hear if they find anything. But even if they don’t, I won’t be deterred in believing in Bigfoot’s existence. If you recall the section on evidence, you’ll understand that getting viable DNA from any of these “samplings” is extremely difficult due to the conditions they were found in (out in the wild, possibly in wind, rain, snow, freezing or hot temperatures), the conditions they were subjected to after being recovered, and then the age of the samples. DNA is fragile and will deteriorate rapidly under most conditions.
So it’s back to bagging the body. One day, someone will. And if you’re wondering why that wasn’t done already, you may want to read my article on the Vietnam Bigfoot. There’s a good chance some soldier in the Vietnam War killed one of the Vietnamese “rock apes” and brought it back to the states. But that’s another story.
I’d love to hear what you think about the existence of Bigfoot! Have you ever had an encounter? Please share with us!
Til the next time!