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Skeptical Views about Bigfoot

“ Either the most complex and sophisticated hoax in the history of Anthropology has continued for centuries without being exposed or the most manlike and largest non human primate has managed to survive in parts of North America and remains undiscovered by modern science. ”

( Prof G.W.Gill - President of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology )


Michael Wallace with the carved footprints used by his father Ray Wallace to create hoax Bigfoot footprints

On rare occasions a bigfoot sighting or track find is shown to be a hoax.

Author Jerome Clark argues that the "Jacko" affair, involving an 1884 newspaper report of an ape-like creature captured in British Columbia (details below), was a hoax. Citing research by John Green, who uncovered the fact that several other contemporary British Columbia newspapers regarded the alleged capture as most dubious, Clark notes that the New Westminster, British Columbia Mainland Guardian wrote, "Absurdity is written on the face of it"1. Interestingly, Clark failed to see the same possibilities when researching cattle mutilations, calling them "extraterrestrial" in nature.

In the past ten years the style of bigfoot hoaxes that have won wider attention from the press were false claims of hoaxing famous pieces of evidence such as the Patterson Footage or the Jerry Crew tracks from Bluff Creek.

In 1958 road foreman Jerry Crew claimed to have discovered enormous footprints at an isolated work site in Bluff Creek, California. The story and photo garnered

international attention through being picked up by the Associated Press. Crew was overseen by Wilbur L. Wallace, brother of Raymond L. Wallace. Years after the track casts were made, Ray Wallce got involved in bigfoot research and made various outlandish claims. He was poorly regarded by many who took the subject seriously. Napier wrote, "I do not feel impressed with Mr. Wallace's story"2 regarding having over 15,000 feet of film showing Bigfoot

Shortly after the death of Ray Wallace his children claimed he was the "father of bigfoot". They claimed Ray faked the tracks found by Jerry Crew in 1958. There were some wooden track stompers among Ray's inherited belongings which the family claimed were used to make the 1958 Crew tracks. The shape of Ray's wooden track stompers did not match the shape of the Crew tracks, but the Wallace photo did provide a catchy visual element for the news story, which circulated internationally as "The Father of Bigfoot Dies." At the height of the publicity the Wallace family sold the story rights to a Hollywood filmmaker. The film, set to star actor Judge Reinhold, was never produced.

Canadian newspaperman John Green was closer to the Jerry Crew events than any other living journalist. He points out the Ray never claimed to have made the Crew tracks, and Ray was not present in the Bluff Creek area when the Crew casts were obtained. Wallace had road-building contracts in various parts of the Northwest and was usually not around in Bluff Creek. Years after the fact, Wallace attempted to capitalize on the interest in various ways. He tried to sell various items from a roadside shop, including bigfoot footprint replicas, which he made behind his shop using a pair of wooden track stompers.

Arguments against the hoax explanation

Primatologist John Napier acknowledged that there have been some hoaxes but also contended that hoaxing is often an inadequate explanation. Krantz argues that "something like 100,000 casual hoaxers" would be required to explain the footprints.3

As noted above, Wallace claimed to have begun the modern Bigfoot phenomenon in 1958 by using phony foot casts to leave Bigfoot prints in Humbolt County, California. His family received major press attention in 2002 when they detailed what they said were Wallace's claims. Bigfoot supporters deny their claims. One writer, for example, argues: "The wooden track stompers shown to the media by the Wallace family do not match photos of the 1958 tracks they claim their father made. They are different foot shapes."

It's also worth noting that Sasquatch reports antedate Wallace's claims by several decades -- see Burns's Maclean articles of the 1920s , and a series in The Oregonian from 1924 about the alleged Ape Canyon attacks.


Mainstream scientists and academics generally discount the existence of Bigfoot because the evidence supporting belief in the survival of a prehistoric, bipedal, ape-like creature of such dimensions is scant.

Furthermore, Bigfoot is alleged to live in region that would be unusual for a large, non-human primate: all other recognized non-human apes are found in the tropics, in Africa, continental Asia or nearby islands. The great apes have never been found in the fossil record in the Americas. No Bigfoot bones or bodies have been found.

Furthermore, the issue is so muddied with dubious claims and outright hoaxes that many scientists do not give the subject serious attention. Napier wrote that the mainstream scientific community's indifference stems primarily from "insufficient evidence ... it is hardly unsurprising that scientists prefer to investigate the probable rather than beat their heads against the wall of the faintly possible"4. Anthropologist David Daegling echoed this idea, citing a "remarkably limited amount of Sasquatch data that are amenable to scientific scrutiny."5 He also suggests mainstream skeptics should take a proactive position "to offer an alternative explanation. We have to explain why we see Bigfoot when there is no such animal"6. While he does have some pointed criticism for mainstream science and academia, Krantz concedes that while "the Scientific Establishment generally resists new ideas ... there is a good reason for it ... Quite simply put, new and innovative ideas in science are almost always wrong" 7.

On May 24, 2006 Maria Goodavage wrote an article in USA Today entitled, "Bigfoot Merely Amuses Most Scientists". In it she quoted John Crane, a zoologist and biologist at Washington State, "There is no such thing as Bigfoot. No data other than material that's clearly been fabricated has ever been presented."

Further Reading

Bigfoot at 50. Evaluating a Half-Century of Bigfoot Evidence


The Credibility of Sasquatch Witnesses


1. Clark, Jerome, Unexplained! 347 Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences and Puzzling Physical Phenomena, Visible Ink, 1993. P195

2. Napier, John Russell Bigfoot: The Sasquatch and Yeti in Myth and Reality, 1973, E.P. Dutton. P89

3. Krantz, Grover S., Big Footprints: A Scientific Inquiry into the Reality of Sasquatch, Johnson Books, 1992. P32-34

4. Napier, John Russell Bigfoot: The Sasquatch and Yeti in Myth and Reality, 1973, E.P. Dutton. P16

5. Daegling, David J, Bigfoot Exposed: An Anthropologist Examines America's Enduring Legend, Altamira Press, 2004. P61

6. IBID P20

7. Krantz, Grover S., Big Footprints: A Scientific Inquiry into the Reality of Sasquatch, Johnson Books, 1992. P236