[Note: The following article demonstrates how a presentation and in-depth research can be misquoted and misused by the media. It is reproduced here as a sort of cautionary tale about how some cryptozoological theories can be abused by the press for a newspaper’s own ends. Needless to say, the lecture never stated, nor did the research support saying, in essence, no “Bigfoot ever walked in Bluff Creek.” The lecture was about one episode, not an overall indictment saying the Sasquatch-Bigfoot phenomenon, in general, is a hoax. The article is riddled with errors of fact and errors of omission, and not really about most of the lecture or the majority of the article written on this matter. A detailed report on the findings regarding the “beginnings” of modern Bigfoot reports — which also includes more awareness of the overall reality of Bigfoot than given in this sensationalistic news item — can be found in The Anomalist: 2. For researchers and critics interested in an open-minded assessment of part of what might have happened at Bluff Creek in 1958, refer to The Anomalist article, not this news item. The event took place in a context the London paper wishes to ignore.]
Daily Telegraph | London | April 24, 1995
LONDON — The existence of “Bigfoot,” a yeti-like humanoid creature whose giant footprints were said to have been found in America, was probably an elaborate hoax, according to new research.
The tracks, measuring 40.5cm by 18cm, could have been made by a “foot” carved from wood, suspended from cables and pressed into mud. The Bigfoot phenomenon, which spawned a commercial culture in America that includes Bigfoot pizzas and special snow skis, began in October 1958 when a team of road builders took a plaster cast of a footprint they claimed was found at Bluff Creek, 32km north of Klamath, California. Photographs were published around the world and several crypto-zoologists — people dedicated to researching the existence of such creatures as the Abominable Snowman — began detailed investigations.
However, Professor Loren Coleman claims Bigfoot was a prank played on the men by their boss, Ray Wallace. In a paper presented to the Fortean Times UnConvention 1995 at the University of London, he said previously unpublished letters from researchers threw doubt on the theory a Bigfoot ever walked in Bluff Creek.
Another Bigfoot hoax was aired in 1982 when retired Washington State logger Rant Mullens claimed he had spurred the legend of the Bigfoot of Mt. St. Helens by carving wooden feet to leave large footprints.
Professor Coleman, a professor of child welfare at the University of Southern Maine, said the circumstances of the Bluff Creek discovery had never been seriously examined before.
Zoologist Ivan T. Sanderson, who spent much time researching Bigfoot, interviewed all parties concerned in the find. While never publicly expressing doubts about the authenticity of the footprints, he did in private letters.
The Bigfoot legend was born when construction worker Jerry Crew discovered the footprint and took a plaster cast to his local newspaper office. Men working at nearby Mad River said they too had seen the prints. Later, it was discovered these workers were also employed by Mr. Wallace. Hair and droppings purportedly from Bigfoot were later proved to be from a moose.