Monday, January 25, 2016

Sasquatch History...Pre-Patterson / Gimlin Film


by Scott Harper - In the summer of 2014, my wife, our daughter—who was still a baby at the time—and myself took a trip to Willow Creek, California for their annual Bigfoot Days celebration. While there, we paid two visits to the famed Willow Creek/China Flats Museum. While the museum isn't dedicated fully to Sasquatch, a lot of the displays there are. That's what the museum is known for.

One larger section of display focuses on the Patterson-Gimlin video footage. This piece of video was filmed by Roger Patterson, in the presence of his working partner/travelling companion Bob Gimlin, in Bluff Creek, California in 1967. For many, the Patterson/Gimlin film is the definitive piece of evidence supporting the existence of Sasquatch. Many researchers working in Cryptozoology in general, or looking into the subject of Sasquatch in particular, were convinced that Sasquatch are viable, living creatures by that video footage. It is, arguably, the single most important piece of evidence that we have today to support the reality of these beings.

The Patterson-Gimlin footage did not, however, result in the first-ever sighting, or report of a Sasquatch. Why do I feel the need to make that point so blatantly? It's because of something I overheard during the first visit my family and I took to the museum while in Willow Creek.

We were standing near the Patterson-Gimlin display, but not directly at it. Two women approached the display. The older of the two began to excitedly point out still photos taken from the footage, and plaster casts—a mixture of originals, and replicas— from the location where the footage was shot. She then proceeded to tell her younger friend, "That was the first time anyone had ever seen one of those things!" Her friend asked, "Really?" To which the older woman instantly replied, "Yes! No one had ever seen one before. It's lucky those guys had a camera with them!"

In actuality, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin had been in the area for several days. They were shooting footage for a Sasquatch-themed film that Patterson was producing. His interest in the subject had began years prior, in 1959, when he read a magazine article by Ivan T. Sanderson on the topic. Between then, and shooting the famous film in Bluff Creek, Patterson had also self-published a book on Sasquatch. These beings didn't simply turn up, abruptly real, in 1967!

Human history is rife with descriptions, and accounts, of such creatures. "The Epic of Gilgamesh" is roughly 4,000-years-old. Although it's unknown how much of it is purely fantasy, there are descriptions of beings in it that certainly fit the typical description of a Sasquatch—tall, muscular, very hairy, and incredibly strong. Some researchers are of the firm opinion that those characters were, in fact, based on real beings which existed then, and still exist in the world today.

In the Unites States, we find accounts in nearly every Native American tribal culture—if not every; I've not yet found one lacking this belief—of such beings. These reports go back centuries. They're found in tribal cultures spanning from Florida to Alaska. All told, there are dozens of names in Native American cultures for these beings. A large percentage of those denote the creatures as something special, beings to be respected and revered, or feared and avoided. Physical depictions of them are also common. Very typically these take the form of totem pole carvings. Again, their positions on the totem poles very often mark these beings with great respect. And they appear right along with eagles, deer, fish, and other wildlife that mainstream science has long since accepted as real. This is further testament of the reality of such beings to Native Americans.

Sasquatch aren't a recent phenomena in our world, and human cultures. Every piece of evidence that we have points to them having been here for as long as humans have. Quite possibly, Sasquatch, as a race, are older than Humanity. Many accounts from Native Americans talk of how, in the past, Humans and Sasquatch lived side-by-side. According to these accounts, Humans and Sasquatch had, if not a close relationship, at least something more cordial than exists as a whole today. As time has gone by, and modern Humans have mostly lost touch with nature, and inflicted so much damage on nature, Sasquatch apparently want less to do with us. They've withdrawn almost entirely from contact with us, and become a very stealthy, low-key presence. That, however, doesn't mean they aren't still with us. We have ample evidence in myriad forms to tell us that!

What a lot of people in our modern times seem to have forgotten, though, is that Sasquatch didn't simply pop up out of nowhere a few decades ago. These beings have lived beside Humanity for centuries—if not longer. Are they a barely-known Human ancestor? Are they an offshoot of Humanity; or an entirely separate race? We don't know. What we do know, thanks to a great many stories handed down from generation to generation, is that Sasquatch have been with us for a very long time. While the Patterson-Gimlin footage may have been the first time a Sasquatch was captured on video, it most certainly wasn't the first time a Sasquatch had been sighted by a Human.

Tales of Sasquatch throughout human history is a topic that can easily provide the basis for a good many articles such as this one. Given the propensity for Native Americans to keep quiet about the subject of Sasquatch with anyone outside of their own tribe, it makes me think that the general public only knows about the tip of the proverbial iceberg in this matter. Many Native tribes view Sasquatch with a religious reverence. This makes them very cautious about speaking regarding such things with anyone they view to be an outsider to their tribe, and/or belief system. How many accounts of Human interaction with Sasquatch in years, decades, or even centuries past do Native tribes keep entirely to themselves?

Still, given the small number of existing accounts of such past sightings of, and interaction with Sasquatch, we know more than enough to know that these beings aren't new. Be they harmless, threatening, or somewhere in between, they've been here for a very long time, woven into human history

About the Author:

Scott Harper is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 30 published short stories, and several novels. Harper grew up in Ohio, and graduated from Marysville High School in 1993, and began screenwriting in 2007, after the publication of several short stories and novels. He has worked on projects for James Tucker Productions, and 11th Dimension Films. He is currently involved with several projects, covering literature, film, and comic books. He was also a contributing writer for "Nuclear Winter Entertainment" for several months before that site shut down. Scott is very happily married to bestselling paranormal author Desirée Lee. Together, they have a wonderful little girl, and are working jointly on several projects. Those projects include multiple books, as well as the hit webcomic "MoonWraith."

More information about his work can be found on his website: www.scottharper.net

NOTE: Scott submitted Growing Up With Sasquatch - Marysville, Ohio in 2010. Here is an exclusive sneak-peek at Scott and Desirée's most recent collaberation - Hidden Tribe...Lon

Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot

The Bigfoot Book: The Encyclopedia of Sasquatch, Yeti and Cryptid Primates

When Roger Met Patty

Bigfoot, Yeti, and the Last Neanderthal: A Geneticist's Search for Modern Apemen



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