Bigfoot is Real!

January 19, 2022 ·

In 1958, journalist Andrew Genzoli of the Humboldt Times highlighted a fun, if dubious, letter from a reader about loggers in northern California who’d discovered mysteriously large footprints. “Maybe we have a relative of the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas,” Genzoli jokingly wrote in his September 21 column alongside the letter. Later, Genzoli said that he’d simply thought the mysterious footprints “made a good Sunday morning story.” But to his surprise, it really fascinated readers. In response, Genzoli and fellow Humboldt Times journalist Betty Allen published follow-up articles about the footprints, reporting the name loggers had given to the so-called creature who left the tracks— “Big Foot.” And so a legend was born.

There are various wild man myths from all over the world. In western Canada, the Sts’ailes First Nation have the “Sasq’ets,” the supposed origin of the word “Sasquatch.” However, the modern U.S. concept of bigfoot can be traced quite directly to the Humboldt Times stories in 1958. People later go back and dig through old newspapers and stuff and find scattered reports of a wild man here, a wild man there,” Genzoli says. “But it doesn’t coalesce into a general discussion until the ‘50s. Eventually, the story spread to newspapers all over the country, and the TV show Truth or Consequences offered $1,000 to anyone who could prove the existence of Bigfoot.

Once Bigfoot’s story went public, it became a character in men’s adventure magazines and cheap trade paperback novels. In these stories, he—for Bigfoot was definitely a “he”—was a primal, dangerous creature out of the past who lurked in the modern wilderness. By the 1970s, pseudo-documentaries were investigating his existence and films were portraying him as a sexual predator.

In the ‘80s, Bigfoot showed his softer side. He became “associated with environmentalism, and a symbol of the wilderness that we need to preserve. One big example is the 1987 movie Harry and the Hendersons, which portrayed Bigfoot as a friendly, misunderstood creature in need of protection from John Lithgow and his family.

The Bigfoot legends have been around for more than 60 years. Technology has allowed many more posts of sightings and will hopefully lead to a ‘big reveal’ one day. Although, given man’s track record, Big Foot may continue to remain elusive to us. The creature leaving us to our grainy videos and photos as our only connection to its wonder.

In category:Urban Legends
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