See the Gigantopithecus blacki in the Extinct animals gallery
For hundreds of years, people have claimed to see a gigantic hairy creature which resembles a man. Known by many names- from Bigfoot to Sasquatch- the creature is infamous for its ability to escape capture while leaving little to no evidence.
Although seen by a multitude of people, the basic description of the creature has stayed consistent. Bigfoot is said to stand about seven and half feet tall with thick hair covering nearly the entire body- excluding the hands and face. An extreme stench usually accompanies the creatures as they slowly travel through an eerily silent forest. Most reports place the creatures alone, usually at the dead of night. This would help explain the creature's ability to escape capture. John Napier, a professional Primatologist who researches Bigfoot, claims the average Bigfoot footprint is from fourteen to eighteen inches in length and about 7 inches in width.
Native Americans of the region of Pacific Northwest are known to fear the creature. Legends date back hundreds of years, and include the Witiko (Wendigo).
Perhaps one of the most celebrated cases involving Bigfoot was the infamous late night encounter with several loggers. While working in the Mount Saint Helens area around Lewis River in July 1924, several loggers noticed a strange whistling and thumping sound coming from a nearby ridge. After a week of strange and unexplained noises, two of the men saw a seven-foot creature standing on a ridge. Taking several shots at it, the men hit the biped and watched as it fell into the ridge. After fleeing back to the cabin, the men hid in the small wooden structure as rocks smashed against the walls and ceiling. Several times during the night, the creatures tried to break the door down. The attack lasted all nights, but the only evidence found by the Portland Oregonian newspaper was strange footprints. The canyon was dubbed "Ape Canyon" in memory of the strange event.
In 1967, one of the men published a booklet, entitled "I Fought the Apemen of Mount Saint Helens," which described his experience with the creatures. In 1982, Rant Mullens, an eighty two year old man, explained the events during an interview. Mullens claims he was returning from a fishing trip when he and his uncle decided to play a trick on the loggers. Mullens claimed he and his uncle rolled several rocks over an edge of a nearby hill to scare the men.
The story is fairly hard to believe when considering the original account. The loggers claimed to see the creature several times, in broad daylight, and with distances of just a few feet. The loggers were also armed with a large assortment of weapons, which would make the prank even more dangerous.
The most amazing, and controversial, piece of evidence is a short film shot by Roger Patterson. The film helped change the way the world looked at Bigfoot, but it created as much mystery as it helped solve. Patterson, an amateur writer and Bigfoot hunter, went searching for the creature on October 20, 1967. Planning to make a documentary, Patterson filmed several locations for stock footage. At 1:15 PM, Patterson and friend Bill Gimlin were riding north in Bluff Creek, in Six Rivers National Forest when they saw a female Bigfoot squatting near the creek. The female quickly stood and walked to the tree line. During the sighting, the group's three horses panicked and threw the men to the ground.
Grabbing his 16 millimeter camera, Patterson used the twenty-eight feet of film he had remaining to capture the creature. To the day he died, Patterson swore his story was true. Gimlin also holds the story as being entirely true. Bob Titmus, the first investigator on the scene, found large footprints that would have matched the creatures on the film. Titmus also found evidence that the creature walked up a nearby hill and sat and watched the duo as they collected their horses.
The speed of the film, however, determines if the film is really that of a large, hairy biped or of a man in a suit. Patterson could not recall the speed of the film- be it twenty-four feet or sixteen feet per second. If the film was shot in sixteen feet per second speed, then the swing of the creature's arms and walk would be impossible for a man to mimic- so the creature on the film would be what the men claim. The creature on the film itself is also of controversy. Patterson claimed the biped stood about seven feet four inches tall but when reconstructing the film, investigators found the creature to stand about six feet six inches. John Napier claims either the footprints are a hoax, or the film is, due to the difference in the creatures stride. A Disney Studio chief, along with many others, feels that if the film was a hoax, it was "brilliantly executed."
With so much evidence and so many reports of the strange creature, it appears it is only a matter of time before we reach a conclusive answer.