For many years Bigfoot has been known as one of the greatest mysteries known to mankind. All throughout history there have been stories and legends about a hairy, ape-like being roaming around in some of the deepest parts of the woods all over the world. Bigfoot is described as a large beast with ape-like features believed to be significantly larger than the average human being. For centuries there have been a plethora of theories surrounding the origins of Bigfoot and evaluating if the creature even exists. In order to evaluate the mystery behind Bigfoot, one must look at the depth of the evidence provided, the credibility of the source, and the logic behind the theory. Although there are a host of theories surrounding the mystery of Bigfoot, the most intriguing ones describe it as an extraterrestrial being, a mythical forest creature, or even a species of primate while others equate the legend of Bigfoot to nothing more than an elaborate hoax.
One of the implausible theories is that Bigfoot is an extraterrestrial being. Linking UFOs and Bigfoot together comes from a 1988 meeting between cattle ranchers and a group of Native Americans in Humboldt County, California. The Native Americans led the rancher into a “cave where he saw a creature that had long, dark hair” (Ruehl). The Native Americans claimed there were three “Crazy Bears” that came down from the sky in a small moon, and once it landed the “moon ascended back into the air” (Ruehl). One hundred years later another UFO instance was reported in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1973 a woman named, Reafa Heifield, woke up in the middle of the night and noticed a beam of light that was “shaped like a huge bubble umbrella” shining down (Ruehl). Off in the distance, Reafa reports seeing an ape-like creature wandering toward the beam of light, and within a few minutes, both the creature and the UFO had disappeared into in the night. A year later on December 9th, 1974, William Bosak of Wisconsin, almost ran into a UFO while driving home late at night. William claims to have seen an ape-like creature standing “inside the visible transparent dome”, and as he drove by, the UFO quickly arose and then vanished (Ruehl).
While one could argue that there may perhaps be a connection between Bigfoot and UFOs due to the said ape-like creature being present one second then gone then next, there is a lack of evidence that degrades the credibility of this theory. Looking back at the UFO reporting’s from the 1970s neither Reafa nor William mention anything about seeing unusual footprints near their location. Although it is clear that both sources present similar details when describing both the ape-like creature and the UFOs, it is possible that those descriptions could be the same based on the stories and legends that have been passed down over time. Throughout history, there have been numerous stories and claims of Bigfoot and UFOs, however, neither has ever been captured and examined to verify its authenticity. The elusive nature of both factors contributes significantly to the believability of this theory. One would think that in the history of mankind, there would be at least one documented case study of both or either in which proof of existence was validated beyond a reasonable doubt. As a result of the aforementioned factors, this theory is one of the more improbable theories related to the existence of Bigfoot purely based on the lack of empirical evidence and scientific research available to support the theory’s claim.
Another less likely theory behind the mystery of Bigfoot is that it is a mythical forest creature whose roots stem from ancient and indigenous folklore. Native American legend describes Bigfoot as a tall, hairy, and foul-smelling creature that lives in the woods (“Native American Bigfoot Figures of Myth and Legend”). Bigfoot creatures are also said to communicate amongst each other seemingly using their own language which consists of making grunting noises or whistling, and there have also been stories of male creatures that are “able to mate with human women” (“Native American Bigfoot Figures of Myth and Legend”). In some legends, Bigfoot is said to have supernatural powers such as turning invisible (“The Native American Bigfoot Figures of Myth and Legend”). Although Bigfoot is the most commonly used and widely accepted name used by people in today’s society, there have been several different names describing this man-like creature in Native American tribes and indigenous societies throughout history. For example, the Coast Salish and Halkomelem tribes refer to this man-like creature as Sasquatch. Sasquatch is described as being a powerful supernatural creature who looks like a “large, hairy wild man” (“Legendary Native American Figures”). Another example of a man-like creature is the Wood Man, which is known by the Koyukon and Ahtna tribal people. They describe the Wood Man as being “a hairy Bigfoot-like wild man of the forest”, and is said to be silent and “rarely reveals himself to humans” (“Legendary Native American Figures”). Like Bigfoot, it is said that Wood Men will sometimes try to mate with humans.
The theory of Bigfoot being a mythical forest creature relies solely on the stories and legends that have been passed down throughout history. Although these creatures are said to be able to mate with humans, this is highly unlikely. This is due to the fact that there is no real evidence or genetic testing to support these claims. In all of recorded history, there has never been one verifiable claim of a Bigfoot primate mating with a human being. One issue with Native American Folklore is that a lot of it based on mysticism and the passing of stories from generation to generation. This poses a problem due to the fact that details and described events can either be excessively added to or taken away from each sharing of a story.
A more plausible theory is that Bigfoot is a species of primate. This idea stems from an extinct primate called Gigantopithecus blacki (“Beyond Bigfoot”). This species existed is was primarily located in Southeast Asia and it is said to be “closely related to modern orangutans” (Wayman). Gigantopithecus is described as being around ten feet tall and weighing more than one thousand pounds (Wayman). To further support this theory, in a documentary film called Discovering Bigfoot, Todd Standing mentions he believes there is a species of primate that exists in North America, known as Bigfoot. The first piece of evidence supporting this theory is when Todd Standing saw a creature that looks to have been around nine to ten feet tall standing behind a tree in the distance (Discovering Bigfoot). The second piece of evidence is a video still of the species he caught on camera. The species was dark and hairy, and closely resembled a species of primate. The third piece of evidence presented was the conifer tree snaps in the area where Todd Standing claims Bigfoot activity is prevalent. The trees are snapped at a height of eight to ten feet tall and in some instances, those structures are dispositioned, making it highly doubtable that it was staged or caused by any other known mammal (Discovering Bigfoot). The last piece of evidence is the footprints that were found by the displaced tree structures. The footprints were much larger than Todd Standing’s foot, and while observing the footprints his shoe sank further into the ground. This is possibly the result of a footprint that came from a large species such as Bigfoot (Discovering Bigfoot). With this evidence presented, in terms of size and appearance, it is clear that Gigantopithecus blacki and Bigfoot share similarities.
Having said that, there are some discrepancies with this theory. The first being that there is not enough sufficient evidence to support that the ancient Gigantopithecus blacki species or other primates, in general, are even remotely close to being related to Bigfoot. Furthermore, there has never been any conclusive DNA samples that prove the existence of Bigfoot. Additionally, no fossils of such a beast that have not been disproven to be a hoax or mistaken for another similar species have ever been recorded to substantiate the claim of the described creature. As a result, to believe that Bigfoot is a species of primate is illogical from an anatomical and scientific perspective.
If Bigfoot is not an extraterrestrial or mythical being, and there is not enough factual evidence to support that this creature is a species of primate, the most reasonable theory could be that Bigfoot is nothing more than an elaborate hoax. All of the evidence that has been brought forward and examined has either been deemed a hoax, come back inconclusive, or is linked to other animal species. For example, one of the first widely publicized set of footprints discovered in 1958 by Ray Wallace was revealed to be a sham many years later by his son Michael Wallace (Martelle). To date, there has not been one confirmed DNA sample that has proven the existence of the described ape-like creature roaming the woods. According to Benjamin Radford, hair samples have been identified as either elk or bear hair and blood samples have been revealed to be transmission fluid (Radford). Moreover, the most popular Bigfoot image taken in 1967 by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin has been deemed a hoax all together (Radford). To expand on that piece of evidence further, Benjamin Radford mentions in his article “Bigfoot: Man-Monster or Myth?” that many “people have admitted faking Bigfoot prints, photographs, and nearly every other type of Bigfoot evidence.” One would think if Bigfoot were real then there would be no reason to create fabricated evidence.
The theory of Bigfoot being an elaborate hoax seems most reasonable. This theory as a whole explains why there is a lack of factual evidence towards Bigfoot’s existence. Footprints, DNA samples, and images of the creature have overwhelmingly been considered false or inconclusive on several different occasions. Could it be that the allure with Bigfoot draws people into wanting to believe that the creature actually exists? There are numerous websites, documentaries, organizations dedicated to proving the existence of Bigfoot, however, none of them have been able to prove its existence to date.
Throughout recorded history, there have been many theories behind the mystery of Bigfoot. Some of the theories are far-fetched and somewhat unrealistic such as Bigfoot being an extraterrestrial being or mythical forest creature. Conversely, some of the theories are more believable such as Bigfoot is a species of primate or an elaborate hoax. The most logical theory behind the mystery of Bigfoot is that the creature simply does not exist. Regardless of a person’s physical location worldwide, the legend of Bigfoot is a timeless mystery that will continue to captivate both believers and nonbelievers alike.