Mapping out the famous Patterson–Gimlin film of bigfoot

Originally published at: Mapping out the famous Patterson–Gimlin film of bigfoot | Boing Boing


i know about dyaltov pass and recent understandings of what happened but which national park disappearances do you mean?

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Am I remembering correctly that the guy who was in the bigfoot suit has publicly admitted that he is the guy who was in the bigfoot suit?


For an entertaining fictionalized version of someone trying to reach the place the Patterson-Gimlin film was taken, there’s Willow Creek, a found-footage horror film directed by Bobcat Goldthwait:


There’s both a guy who admits he was in the bigfoot suit (Bob Hieronimous IIRC) and 2 costume makers who say they were involved in making a suit for Patterson. If I’m remembering it right Patterson had also been stumping for funding for a fictional feature film about Bigfoot in the lead up to the “discovery”.

There are some conflicting details and a lack of documentation, but I think one of the costume guys actually has a receipt for the purchase. Enough that believers can dismiss it as relating to some other hoax, misinformation or relating to the feature film rather than the TOTALLY UNCONNECTED Patterson-Gimlin footage.

But on weight it’s been a proven hoax for a very long time. I think costume info came out in the 80’s.


I know a retired ranger from a well-known National Park, whom, after a night of many drinks, strongly alluded to people going missing was the result of local law enforcement helping that process along.

Tens of thousands of acres of no-witness, nature-assisted body disposal.

He even mentioned the best places for someone to “fall off a cliff”.


Bob Heironimus did come forward and claim to be “Patty”, most people accept it, but I’m not sure it’s 100% confirmed, nor could one ever confirm it absolutely. His descriptions of the suit have problems. He took a lie detector test and passed, but so did Patterson. Gimlin has said for years it was all real, and only later qualified that with ‘it could have been a hoax but it fooled me and I was there.’ Ray Wallace has also claimed to be involved but there are lots of problems with his accounts. Basically you can question the motives of almost everyone involved since they all were trying to make a buck off the footage, including Heironimus.


While on the set of Return of the Jedi, Peter Mayhew aka Chewbacca needed special protection on location to avoid being shot by hunters thinking he was Bigfoot


Who turned out to be a far better director than he was an actor/comedian.


A legitimately creepy movie, even if one doesn’t like found-footage flicks.

I’ll also recommend this one, from the makers of The Blair Witch Project:

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Aww, I love his standup. But yes, he did turn out to be a really good director. I recommend anyone who just knows him as a comedian check out his “other” career, there are some really good films there.


I honestly believe it’s generally accepted that Philip Morris was “the costume guy”. An older friend of mine was really close to Philip Morris and his family. He definitely had some great stories to tell.


I know some people involved in the Gilgo Beach serial killer task force.

Gilgo Beach is a pretty popular and trafficked state park, right off a busy highway and near a populated area.

When bodies started turning up it turned out the dune area between the highway and the beach was something of a body dump. They found multiple missing persons associated with potential mob killings, as well as crimes unrelated to either that or the serial killings.

You’d be surprised how things can disappear right out in the open if they’re in a spot no one usually goes poking around.

No need for conspiracy.

But as a bartender I also met a lot of cops and government employees who swore up and down that they knew for sure that the investigators knew the killer was that Cannibal Cop guy but were covering it up. Claiming inside knowledge.

Most of these were regular patrol officers, not involved with the investigation, from departments not involved with the investigation. Who had never even heard of the people actually on the task force. There’s no way they would know anything, and they weren’t allowed to know anything.

A couple of them were park rangers. From unrelated parks.

These people are just about the worst gossips I’ve ever met.

Polygraphs as lie detectors aren’t real. Even if they did work all they would tell you is a person believes what they’re saying. But they’re very easy to game, all one really needs to do is hire a polygraph technician that’ll give you the results you’re after.

Heironimous’s account is consistent and lines up well enough with the timing and geography. His description of the suit is off, but there’s also indications that there was more than one suit and more than one attempt to produce footage. Heironimous’s account is corroborated enough to show involvement with Patterson and knowledge of what he was upto.

In terms of the separate suit info. The only suit that’s been shown doesn’t match the footage, and I think Heironimous has said wasn’t the suit he wore. Though it is closer to his description than the footage. The receipt/invoice out there is dated earlier in a way that makes it tricky to tie directly to the film. And I believe it lists the costume as a gorilla suit.

But there are other 3rd party accounts of Patterson having different “Gorilla suits” and using them for shoots, various projects and hoax sightings.

All of it is entirely consistent with a guy who was regularly shooting bigfoot footage, improving suits overtime like you would for that kind of film project, and a “real” footage hoax to generate funding and interest.

Supporters rationalize all this by claiming it is connected to the earlier attempts at a feature film. Heironimous was involved in a different shoot for camera tests. The suits were multiple cheap gorilla suits with basic alterations intended for the move, Patterson had them but there is no connection to the famous footage etc.

You know what I always forget about that guy.

And that’s the thing. Two credible claims for suit performers. At least two suits confirmed to exist and to have been ownef by Patterson. Multiple accounts of sweet sweet suit action on Patterson’s part along with the publicly documented and acknowledged movie projects.

Not every detail needs to line up, the overall line is pretty clear. It seems like proponents don’t even try to poke holes in this stuff anymore. Just acknowledge it but claim it’s a separate thing.


after watching the motion-corrected footage just now, my exact words were “that looks fake as fuck.” “that” meaning the way the bigfoot was moving. IMO, this is not the walk of a creature who has ambled through forest terrain from birth. it looks like the walk of a man who has walked on clear, flat surfaces from birth. spine perfectly upright, hips straight. now, of course, maybe a bigfoot happens to walk perfectly upright and my mental image of bigfoots is tainted by assuming bigfoots walk similar to apes or some exaggerated walk from a movie or tv depiction. but the footage definitely looks like a human walking and maybe swinging its arms a little extra.


One in particular that sticks with me is Stacey Ann Arras. As I recall, she and her family were visiting a campground in the woods. She walked off with her grandad to take photos in the large open clearing nearby. He got tired and sat down and watched her puttering around taking photos. At a significant distance, a few hundred feet, she walked behind the treeline but didn’t emerge from where one would expect her to. Never seen again. The grandfather was always within view of the family at the camp; Stacey was always within view of the grandfather.

The obvious plain reason is she turned into the woods, got lost and that was that. But there’s just something weird about it all.


thanks for that. i’ll take a look at the links you’ve given.

i’ve heard of one or two mysterious disappearances, judge crater being one, but i didn’t immediately recognize the national park reference. thanks again.


A problem with these cases is they’re old and obscure (Arras doesn’t even have a wikipedia page) so the discussion (and likely my recollection) is freighted with decades of amateur investigative journalism. The national park stuff in particular has one guy, David Paulides, who is deep into the conspiracy stuff.


I’ve always been sort of mystified by claims of incredible detail in the footage. Muscle and bone structure, individual hairs, hidden facial features to be revealed.

Near as I’ve ever been able to tell the footage was shot on color reversal 16mm film. There’s a source out there identifying it as a Kodak motion picture emulsion.

And we don’t even have the original film or complete spool. Just copies of the pertinent part from no one knows how many generations down the line.

I have a film degree, and I’ve shot color reversal mp film in 16mm in similar conditions. I’m hardly an expert but I got that there basic photography 101 explanation of how chemical film physically functions.

There is no way that film could record that level of detail. There is no hidden detail in the light and dark portion of the image to be revealed. Those areas are blank. No information encoded.

Even the simple point that you can’t see a zipper or seams. Of course not, you wouldn’t be able to see a zipper or seams on that stock, the way it was shot, and at a distance.

A lot of people don’t know how film photography works at base level. And they’ve never seen the original (ish) unstabilized, uncropped version of the footage. If you think the most recent “enhanced” version of the footage looks dodgy check out an unaltered version.

Most of the claims that a human couldn’t match the movement, or scale of the subject. Or that they don’t match Morris or Heironimous. Are rooted in trying to match things to exactly those sorts of details that can’t be in the footage.


i also note that the article you pointed to has links to other national park disappearances so i can easily get my fill of the topic now. thanks again.


don’t get lost now