The Bigfoot legend dates back to indigenous cultures throughout North America, who told stories of hairy beasts dwelling in the woods.
The well-known name “Sasquatch” to refer to Bigfoot comes from Charles Hill-Tout, a folklorist operating in Canada who was told a tale by Chief Mischelle of the Nlaka’pamux tribe. The term “Sasquatch” is a westernized version of the Salishan word se’xsa, meaning “wild-men”.
The name “Bigfoot” first entered the public consciousness in 1958, when a logger supposedly discovered a large set of footprints that resembled human feet, but each print measured 16 inches in length. Other loggers shared similar tales with each other, and began to refer to this mystery creature as “Bigfoot”. After relating their tales to a local reporter, tales of the Bigfoot creature quickly spread. Much later, the family of one of the loggers would state that he had created the footprints using homemade wooden feet to make the tracks.
Throughout North America, hairy ape-like creatures have been sighted and given various names, including the Skunk Ape of Florida, the Fouke Monster of Arkansas, and countless others. The most popular known sighting of a Bigfoot-like creature was captured on film and is known as the “Patterson-Gimlin” film, after the two men who shot the footage, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin.
Shot in 1967 in Northern California, this short film runs for about a minute and appears to show a large hairy creature walking along a creek bed. At one point, the creature appears to turn and look at the camera. This frame would go on to be the most famous shot from the film.
Though both men have always claimed that the film and the encounter was genuine, many believe the film to be a hoax. A man named Philip Morris claims to have made the ape suit used in the video, while Bob Heironimus has said he was the man wearing the costume in the film.
Despite these claims, many still believe the film to be the best evidence of the existence of the Bigfoot creature, and aside from the statements made by Morris and Heironimus, there is no hard evidence that the footage is real or faked. The legend of Bigfoot lives on in the minds of those who choose to believe.