The Best Sasquatch Evidence

Bigfoot Has Been Spotted For Years, But is There Evidence?

Sasquatch sign
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North America has its own monster. While Scotland has its Loch Ness sea serpent and the Himalayas has its Abominable Snowman or Yeti, North America lays claim to Sasquatch or, as he has been nicknamed, Bigfoot. Sasquatch - a 7- to 8-foot-tall man/ape - has been sighted in North America for centuries. Before the European invasion, Native Americans were very familiar this "hairy giant" that lived in the wilderness.

One of the earliest recorded sightings of Sasquatch by a white man occurred in 1811 near what is now Jasper, Alberta by a fur trader named David Thompson. Since then there have been many sightings of the creature in Western Canada, and in many states of the U.S., especially the Pacific Northwest, Ohio, and even as far south as Florida, where the swamp-dwelling beast is known as the Skunk Ape.

Is Sasquatch mere legend or a remarkably elusive reality? What's the evidence? Personal accounts of sightings are plentiful and deserve weight because of their numbers. Physical evidence, such as footprints and hair samples, is rarer, and recordings on film and video rarer still. Here's a look at some of the best - and always controversial - evidence for the existence of Sasquatch.

Footprints

He isn't called Bigfoot for nothing. There have been more than 900 footprints attributed to Bigfoot collected over the years, having an average length of 15.6 inches.

The average width is 7.2 inches. That's one big foot. By comparison, the foot of a 7-foot, 3-inch basketball player - a rarity, to say the least - is 16.5 inches long but only 5.5 inches wide.

Through 1958 and 1959, Bob Titmus and others found numerous Bigfoot tracks in the area of Bluff Creek where the famous Patterson/Gimlin film was shot several years later.

In 1988, wildlife biologist John Bindernagel of Vancouver Island found massive footprints in the snow and heard a "whoo-whoo whoop" call in the woods. His evidence includes 16-inch, human-like footprints found in Strathcona provincial park while hiking. In addition, Bindernagel said he heard a strange, ape-like call at a friend's cabin near Comox Lake in 1992. Bindernagel said he knows of no other creature in North America that makes such a call, and he believes it was a Sasquatch trying to communicate with its own kind.

Dwellings and Graves

Although by no means verified or authenticated, there have been claims of discoveries of Sasquatch dwellings and even burial sites:

Dallas Gilbert says he has had several encounters with Bigfoot, but his most controversial claim is for that of a possible Bigfoot community and burial site. Gilbert's story is weakened by his reluctance to disclose the exact location of the site. However, he has told The Daily Times of Portsmith, Ohio, "There are places where you can see territorial markings and snaps that the creature has made in the trees. There are even canopies and bows made of trees for him to sleep under." The burial site is marked by a stone, according to Gilbert.

"It looks like a tombstone almost," Gilbert said. "You can see the outlines of the creature's eyes, head, and his teeth." No corpses or other remains have been recovered from the area, so all we have is Gilbert's word on these claims.

In 1995, Terry Endres and two friends were researching an area known for Bigfoot sightings for a local cable TV show. They chanced upon a large, dome-shaped structure constructed of branches and brush. It was large enough for three full-grown men to sit in and was obviously not a natural occurrence.

Sounds

Not many people have heard the lonely, chilling cries and howls of Bigfoot. But those who have, and know the sounds of the wilderness, say it's an unforgettable sound like no other.

Outdoorsman Bill Monroe, a writer for the Portland Oregonian, recounted his experience in an article for the newspaper.

Monroe was elk hunting when the stillness of the late afternoon was broken by an eerie sound. "The deafening screaming, choking, belching moan from the ridge was chilling." he wrote. "The kind of scream that sends mothers scurrying to find their children. The kind of scream no cougar or bear could ever squeeze from their throat... unless it was their last. Piercing, echoing, guttural; a single, horrible high-pitched-yet-throaty, inhuman, unnatural creation of Steven Spielberg that makes your skin crawl."

In 1984, Bruce Hoffman was prospecting for gold near the Clackamas River. He told investigator Greg Long this story: "I had to park a couple hundred feet from the river, and I had to walk a little ways back towards the small stream that was running into the river. And just before I got to the small tributary, I would say from one-eighth of a mile to a quarter of a mile away, down in the woods I started hearing this yell, or a call. The sound had a base tone, a muscular sound to it, and the sound got loud. You could hear how it went up through the trees and up to the sky. The sound traveled about three to four miles to the ridge of the mountains. You could hear the sound hit the mountain."

Smells

Invariably, the sighting of a Sasquatch is accompanied by a very strong, very foul odor.

In June 1988, Sean Fries was camping on the north fork of California's Feather River. "I climbed into my tent and lay down on my bedroll. I let my dogs run around because they always stay close to camp.

I started to doze off when suddenly I woke up. It was dead quiet - no crickets, nothing, and my dogs came running into my tent shaking. I grabbed my rifle and flashlight and stepped outside the tent. I couldn't see anything, but I had that sensation of being watched. Then I heard some very heavy footsteps right behind me in the trees. There was also a very strange odor, almost like a cross between a skunk and something dead. This thing circled my camp site all night long."

Sightings

There is no shortage of Bigfoot sightings, some being more compelling than others and sounding more authentic. Here are some examples, from experienced outdoors people, that lend credence to the legend:

Clayton Mack, a Native American of the Nuxalk Nation, knows the Canadian wilderness and its creatures as well as any man alive. A reputable grizzly bear hunter for 53 years, Mack relates this tale: "I was fishing in Kwatna all my myself in August. I had a 30-foot boat with a single-cylinder engine. I got to Jacobson Bay, about 15 miles from Bella Coola, when I saw something on the edge of the water. It was kneeling down-like and I could see his back humping up on the beach. It looked like he was lifting up rocks or maybe digging clams. But there were no clams there. I turned the boat right in toward him. I wanted to find out what it was.

"For a while there, I thought it was a grizzly bear, kind of light-color fur on the back of his neck like a light brown. I nosed right in toward him to almost 75 yards to get a good look.

He stood up on his hind feet, straight up like a man and I looked at it. He was looking at me. Gee, it don't look like a bear, it has arms like a human being, it had legs like a human being, and it got a head like us. I keep on going in toward him.

"He started to walk away from me walking like a man on two legs. He was about eight feet high. He got to some drift-logs, stopped and looked back at me. He looked over his shoulder to see me. Grizzly bear don't do that, I never see a grizz run on its hind legs like that and I never see a grizzly bear look over his shoulder like that. I was right close to the beach now. He stepped up on those drift logs and walked into the timber. Stepped on them logs like a man do. I watched as he went a little higher up the hill. The wind blew me in toward the beach, so I backed up the boat and keep on going to Kwatna Bay."

In 1995, Paul Freeman, a veteran Bigfoot hunter, Bill Laughery, a former game warden followed the sound of odd screams that were heard in the Blue Mountains of southeast Washington state. Joined by Wes Summerlin, a local resident, they hiked to an area where Bigfoot tracks had been found. In a clearing, the men found several small trees twisted, broken, and dripping sap. Caught on the trees were large clumps of long black and brown hair (see below). They caught sight of a seven-foot ape-like creature and heard the screams of two others. They observed the creature through binoculars at a distance of 90 feet, eating yellow wood violets. The trackers also found droppings two to five inches long, full of half-eaten carpenter ants, and fallen trees that had been pulled apart for the ants inside.

Hair Samples

Tufts and strands of hair thought to come from Sasquatch have not added to the weight of evidence for the reality of the creature. Most hair samples tested proved to be that of bears or other non-primates. Promising samples were obtained in 1995 by Freeman, Laughery, and Summerlin.

The hair samples gathered by the three men were sent to Ohio State University for DNA analysis. Dr. W. Henner Fahrenbach "determined microscopically that the hair appeared to have come from two individuals of the same species, that it differed in color, length, and hair growth cycle between the two sets, had not been cut and was indistinguishable from human hair by any criterion."

Ultimately, the tests were inconclusive. The researchers said that the "DNA extracted from both hair shaft or roots (hair demonstrably fresh) was too fragmented to permit gene sequencing."

Photos and Video

Photos, film footage, and video of Sasquatch are extremely rare. At worst, they are murky, fuzzy, and inconclusive. At best, when they are clear, they are highly controversial and suspected of being hoaxes.

The Patterson/Gimlin film is by far the most famous and most scrutinized footage ever taken of Bigfoot. Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin shot the footage in 1967 with a 16mm camera while on an expedition to find the elusive creature in the Bluff Creek area of the Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California. Large footprints had been found in this region in previous years. Debate among various "experts" over the authenticity of the film has been ongoing for 30 years. In recent years, some people have come forward to claim that they participated in the hoaxing of the film, but even their testimony has been called into question. (See "No, Bigfoot Is NOT Dead")

In September 1998, David Shealy took 27 photographs of the 7-foot-tall creature in the Everglades. "I had been sitting up in the tree for about two hours every night for the past eight months," Shealy said. "I dozed off for a little while, and when I woke up, I saw it coming straight at me. At first, I thought it was a man, but then I realized it was the skunk ape." Shealy followed the tracks of the animal and made what he said could be the biggest skunk ape discovery: small footprints he says appear to be from a baby skunk ape. Shealy now estimates there are between nine and 12 skunk apes roaming the Everglades and said most people who have spotted the creature usually see them in groups of three or four.

Contact

There are very few cases of close contact or physical contact with Sasquatch. And many that have been reported are quite suspect:

Stan Johnson claims to be one such "contactee." Stan says he first met the 7-foot-tall wild man when he was a boy near his home in the Ozarks. Every day after school, Stan says he would meet the Sasquatch in the woods and talk with him. Since then, he's had several other encounters and believes the creature comes from another dimension. Johnson's is a strange, strange story.