Bigfoot (or Sasquatch, if you prefer)!
Frequent readers of this blog know that I have a fascination for conspiracy theories, mysterious places, and other such things. Along those lines, the legends of Bigfoot (or Sasquatch) intrigues me. Though my interest waned somewhat, I recently reviewed Revived by J M Northup, a book with a Sasquatch as one of the main characters, and I’m catching up with the latest in Bigfoot lore.
So, where do the legends begin? Our oft-consulted friends at Wikipedia say the legends mostly begin in the Pacific Northwest. Native American folklore tells us Bigfoot is a hairy bipedal humanoid. So where did the name Sasquatch originate? Again, Wikipedia tells us the name is the Anglicized version of the Halkomelem (the language of the British Colombia First Nation peoples) word sasq’ets.
Why does Sasquatch attract such attention? And, why do so many people believe in the creature? First of all, Bigfoot is deeply entrenched in popular culture. The creature became popular due to a famous video (the Patterson-Gimlin Film) made in 1967. The video, as grainy as it was, fueled public fascination with Bigfoot. With the release of the video, different groups popped up to either support the idea of Sasquatch’s existence or to debunk the myth.
Despite the lack of physical evidence like bones, Bigfoot believers are legion. Footprints, unclear photos, and other such evidence abounds, but most of the footprints are from other creatures (often bears), and the photos in existence don’t provide indisputable evidence.
To illustrate the divide between believes and non-believers, let’s use the lack of bones as evidence. Believers say it is due to Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) burying their dead. While that makes sense, non-believers would argue there aren’t any bodies because Bigfoot isn’t real.
Where does Bigfoot live?
Believers maintain the creatures exist. And the beasts aren’t confined to the Pacific Northwest or even North America. In Florida, you have the skunk ape (although the US Park Service views this as a hoax). The Yeti inhabits the Himalayas, while the Yowie is Australia’s version. Mongolia has the Yeren and Japan the Hibagon. With all of the different versions of the creature, it’s no wonder belief runs deep. In addition, the stories about the creatures have been around since at least the 6th century (St. Brendan allegedly encountered one during his visit), so we have centuries for the stories to become ingrained in our psyche! We even have road signs!
And that belief has spawned an industry and is worth big bucks! Animal Planet produces Finding Bigfoot (6 seasons and going strong)and Discovery Channel devoted a special to Bigfoot. We even have an organization devoted to scientific research about the creature – The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization! All of this translates into money for the networks, donations for research, and fuels the mythology and legends.
Bigfoot and the Media:
Bigfoot also is an advertising, TV, and movie staple. The Messin’ With Sasquatch commercials from Jack Link Jerky come to mind, as does the TV show Harry and the Hendersons. There are tons of others, including the series and special mentioned above.
I know I haven’t answered the question about Bigfoot’s existence. I can’t and, in spite of years of tales and legends, no one else can either. Similar to UFOs, there is no definitive proof Bigfoot exists, yet believers in both abound. As with many paranormal and conspiracy theories, you have to make up your own mind. Or, to quote the X-Files “the truth is out there.”
What do you think about Bigfoot? Real or legend? Are the sightings just hoaxes or is there a species wandering the forests successfully evading capture and hiding its existence? Leave me a comment and let me know!