Lost Tapes The Patterson Film and Bigfoot

The Patterson Film
Bettmann/CORBIS

Coming in at No. 1 on our countdown is the Patterson film, by far the most famous and compelling evidence of Bigfoot's existence. Shot in Northern California's Bluff Creek in October 1967 by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin, the short film shows what appears to be a female Bigfoot walking briskly across a sandbar in the middle of the afternoon. The footage is shaky at first, since Patterson was thrown from his horse when the creature first appeared and had to scramble to his feet with his camera. Then, the footage steadies as the eager filmmaker focuses on his subject just as the she-beast turns to face the camera before disappearing into the woods.

These images have become the most iconic and conclusive Bigfoot images of our time. They are also the most controversial.

There is no doubt that the Patterson film made a huge impression on the world, but is it real? The film has been analyzed for authenticity numerous times over the past three decades. Unfortunately, the findings have been far from consistent. Some say that the animal's stride is inconsistent with that of a man — arguing in favor of the Bigfoot hypothesis — while others say the footage is merely a hoax, albeit a skillful one. The truth may never be known, but one thing is certain; the Patterson film is the cornerstone upon which all subsequent Bigfoot research has been built.

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