Most people are wrong about Bigfoot this week—both the believers in Sasquatch and the people who are sure there’s no such thing. The coin is still in the air, and has yet to come up heads or tails.
The hairy cryptid is back in the news after Facebook user Shannon Parker posted a video of a humanoid figure skulking around Colorado. On Oct. 8, Parker was riding on a train from Durango to Silverton when she spotted a mysterious figure among the scrubby plants and rocks. She pulled out her camera and captured a short video of a…whatever it is. Check it out.
This isn’t a video of Bigfoot. Probably.
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Even where there is evidence in the form of photos and videos, “is it Bigfoot?” is an unanswerable question. Like all existing photographic evidence of Sasquatch (including the iconic Patterson-Gimlin film), Parker’s video doesn’t provide enough information to answer the question. It looks like a Sasquatch, but a guy in a gorilla suit looks like a Sasquatch too.
Common sense suggests this is a guy in the gorilla suit. A local wag dressing up as Sasquatch to troll the a train full of tourists is a more reasonable explanation for this footage than the discovery of a new species of primate. And if yeti are real, but have remained hidden in the wilds of Colorado all these years despite the number of people with smartphones searching for them, they probably avoid train tracks. If someone wanted to create a Bigfoot hoax though, a spot along a tourist railroad is the perfect thing: People are looking out the windows, camera phones at the ready, but are not able to stop, take a closer look, and possibly reveal the deception.
Then there’s the matter of the Sasquatch Expedition Campers. This Silverton, Colorado company sells off road campers for outdoorsy people, and they’re located near the train tracks. After the Bigfoot sighting went viral, they posted a Facebook update that reads, “We’d like to address some recent rumors…” accompanied by a picture of someone wearing oversized fake feet. It’s not an admission, exactly, but it’s close enough to close the case on this particular sighting with reasonable certainty.
But: The existence of hoaxes and fake footage doesn’t really say anything about whether Bigfoot is real or not.
Why there could really be a Bigfoot
About 13% of Americans say they believe in Bigfoot, while 70% of us believe in angels. But Bigfoot, unlike angels, vampires, or ghosts, doesn’t require the supernatural to exist. Bigfoot, if he’s real, just hasn’t been discovered, but we still discover new animals all the time.
Until the mid 1880s, Gorillas were mythical creatures, at least to Westerners. Before the first gorilla remains were identified, they might as well have been Bigfoot. There were anecdotal reports of encounters with hairy, man-like creatures in Africa dating back to the 5th century B.C., when Greek explorer Hanno wrote of the “gorillai” he encountered, but there was no solid evidence that the creature was more than a myth until bones were discovered in 1847. And it was another decade before any Westerner actually saw a live gorilla.
The Komodo dragon wasn’t “real” until 1910. Sailors’ stories about sea monsters were often dismissed as myth until 1857 when the Giant Squid was first detailed, and we didn’t have an actual specimen to study until one ended up in a fisherman’s net in 2004. This species of sloth was discovered just last year.
All of these creatures were hiding in hostile-to-humans parts of the world— mountains, jungles, the bottom of the sea, etc. There may be fewer of those places left in 2023, but there are still locations that could be hiding a secret colony of primates.
Maybe the real Bigfoot lives in our hearts—or Siberia
An undiscovered colony of large primates in Colorado, Northern California, or any other state in the continental U.S. (Bigfoot sightings span the nation) seems like a stretch—there’s just too many people with cameras around, looking for them. But the Kamchatka Peninsula in Siberia could hide a Bigfoot. The frozen 104,248 square mile area hasn’t been fully explored. Bigfoot might be right across the Bering Strait from Kamchatka, on one of Alaska’s remote Aleutian Islands. Maybe Vietnam War troops’ hundreds of reports of “rock-apes” are on-the-level. G.I.’s even named a hill there “Monkey Mountain” because they saw so many, and there were reports of the creatures among Viet Cong soldiers too. Yeti could be hanging out near the border of Bhutan and Tibet—maybe on Gangkhar Puensum, the highest mountain in the world that has never been climbed. That’s where stories of the abominable snowman originated, and it’s anything but fully explored.
Ultimately, we don’t know if Bigfoot is real, but there have been enough anecdotal reports of creatures that roughly fit Bigfoot’s description to not dismiss the idea entirely—you have to keep an open-mind.
Also: We need Bigfoot. There’s something so lovable about a goofy creature playing an endless game of hide-and-seek with us that he should exist. So until everywhere that could hide him has been fully explored, I’m going to go with “Bigfoot is real, at least in my heart.”