This monster cryptozoology tale takes place in Sequoia National Park, CA. Did this controversial filmmaker really capture footage of a Bigfoot running in the forest? Or is it an elaborate hoax? Cryptoville explores the pros and cons for the answers!
This sighting of a really big Bigfoot with, dare I say it, luxurious hair, was captured in Sequoia National Park which is in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California in 2005/6. I mention the Sierra connection because it is truly a Bigfoot hotspot among Bigfoot researchers. Many of them have caught compelling evidence from there.
Does that automatically mean that this video is real? It’s hard to say. Let’s look at what some experts have said about it, and I’ll share with you what I think, then you can decide for yourselves. It’s a tough call.
Here is the original footage of the creature (almost 4 minutes long):
Setting the Scene
I used that section title purposefully because the man who “captured” this footage is actually a filmmaker. That immediately puts me on my guard because if anyone can come up with a decent hoax, I have to think a filmmaker and experienced videographer would be able to.
If I’m following this story correctly, the filmmaker, Shawn Bannon, first caught the footage in 2005, but later on in 2013 he made it into a short film. Cryptozoology investigator, ParaBreakdown, refers to it as a “mockumentary.”
The story goes that Shawn and a couple of his friends went on their semi-annual mountaineering trip to catch some beautiful pictures of the Sequoia National Park forest (above left). At the time he shot the footage, Shawn figured they were at a 7,000 foot elevation.
Shawn shot the video with extreme long range lenses so the animal looks closer to the witnesses than it really was.
The problems began when real Bigfoot researchers tried to contact Shawn (presumably in 2005/6) to get more details and ask questions about his sighting. He apparently ignored them all, including legendary investigator, Loren Coleman. That angered a lot of people.
However, Shawn does seem to have talked to radio host George Noory of Coast to Coast about it so there may be a podcast of that interview somewhere on the internet. I have not heard it.
First Expert Reviewer
Let’s look at the video ParaBreakdown created to discuss this Bigfoot footage. It’s about 9 minutes long. Phil Poling is the man behind ParaBreakdown.
(Artist’s rendering of red-haired Bigfoot by Lexa on DeviantArt, right.)
Phil had a few issues with this whole situation and the footage:
- The fact Shawn Bannon never said the creature was a real Bigfoot or denied it was a Bigfoot is suspicious to Phil. In fact, Shawn just didn’t say anything.
- The footage shows 45 seconds of almost uninterrupted footage of the creature in clear view – something that’s almost unheard of in the Bigfoot community. If it’s one thing we know about Bigfoots, it’s that they can disappear into their surroundings in record time.
- Phil says the most compelling evidence that this footage is hoaxed is the fact that there are 5 edits, despite Shawn saying the footage was unedited. Phil shows them clearly in his video review.
- Looking at the animal’s appearance, Phil thinks the long hair is created with extensions attached to a costume. He also feels that any “musculature” in sight is the underside of the costume with a lot of padding beneath it.
- Some have said the creature’s agility speaks to its authenticity, however Phil doesn’t agree. The part where it looks like the Bigfoot jumps over a stump isn’t clear. It could have just hopped over a fallen log.
Here’s Phil’s video if you’d like to see it (about 11.5 minutes long).
Second Expert’s Opinion
ThinkerThunker also reviews Bigfoot videos over on YouTube as well as on his own website. He seems reluctant to share his name, so I’ll refer to him as “TT.” (American Indian style totem of Bigfoot, left.)
TT embraced this Bigfoot footage much more enthusiastically than Phil Poling did. He saw a few things differently. For starters, he said the creature looked like a cross between an orangutan and a Transformer! LOL! It sort of does!
TT made these points in his video review:
- He was impressed that the creature grabbed a tree while it was running, as though it was nothing. I’m not sure that means anything, though. It looked like a little sapling.
- When the creature ran it kept its arms down at its sides, like a Bigfoot does. Yes it did, but someone imitating a Bigfoot could have learned to do that too.
- TT was very impressed with the way the creature seems to leap over a stump, but in the shot, we can’t tell for sure that’s what it did. As Phil Poling said, it could have jumped over something much smaller to the side of the stump.
- TT pointed out that it’s much harder to run in a heavy costume than in regular clothes. I take his point, but on the ParaBreakdown video, Phil shows us a team mascot in full hairy costume running around like a crazy person. Of course the mascot is running on a flat, clear basketball court, while in this video the creature is running through a debris strewn forest.
- TT thinks the hair on the creature looks matted in some places. I see what he’s looking at, but I thought it was gaps in the hair on the body or costume.
- Finally, TT was very impressed with the musculature that he says becomes apparent when he zoomed in on the image. He cites its hamstring and quads. Honestly, I’m not sure it’s not the movement of the costume with tight padding underneath it.
TT makes an excellent case why this video most likely wasn’t created using CGI. I think he’s right on that score. But that still doesn’t mean it wasn’t a hoax.
If you’d like to see TT’s video review, it’s here (about 12 minutes long):
I’m not an expert, but I’ll state my opinion for the record.
My first thought upon seeing this creature was that this must be the Fabio of the Bigfoot world! I have never seen a Bigfoot with such flowing, luxurious hair; I mean, I’m jealous!!
Then I think about the Bigfoot caught on the Patterson/Gimlin film (which I believe is authentic). The hair on that creature was a lot more natural looking and believable. I’m not sure what’s going on with this creature’s hair, but it’s extraordinary. And that might be a clue.
Shawn Bannon has behaved suspiciously throughout this whole scenario. He submits his movies to various film festivals and things like that, so he’s first and foremost a filmmaker. That makes me instantly suspicious.
I think Phil Poling’s analysis of the video is enlightening. He shows where that footage was edited 5 times and we can see it in his review. Yet Shawn said it wasn’t edited (except for clarity). Something is definitely not right about the sequencing of the footage. (Artist’s rendering of “Patty” from the Patterson/Gimlin film. Note the hair which he copied from the footage.)
As to the animals’ appearance, well, it looks “over the top” to me. Did you see the show with the analysis of the Patterson/Gimlin film with Dr. Jeff Meldrum and some other experts and scientists? With today’s technologically superior equipment, they were able to clear up those images and see things with more definition. They could see muscle movement beneath that animal’s hair. It was clear and very compelling.
In this video from Shawn Bannon, it just seems messy and obscure when viewed close-up. I’m not sure we aren’t just seeing layers of the costume and bulky padding beneath it.
So is this a hoax or the real thing? I’m afraid I have to come down on the side that this was more than likely a hoax. But I still believe in Bigfoot and I know, like many of you too, it’s only a matter of time before science catches up with the rest of us.
What do you think of this controversy?
Special thanks to Lisa Webster-Vitale for bringing this video to my attention! She won a cute Becky Kelly fairy bookmark.
Call for Videos
If you see a Bigfoot video that you’d like me to review on Bigfoot Thursday, please send the link to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your entry wins, I’ll send you a fairy bookmark too.