In 1967, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin were riding through Bluff Creek, California, looking for Bigfoot footprints. They got more than they ever expected when a furry figure walked through a clearing in the distance. Patterson captured some footage of the creature on a rented 16mm Cine Kodak camera.
The final 59.5-second film, which the men would airmail back home to be developed, would soon become the world-famous Patterson-Gimlin film—arguably one of the most scrutinized pieces of video footage ever made. It is the cryptozoological equivalent to the Kennedy assassination’s Zapruder film. The film met immediate criticisms accusing Patterson and Gimlin of being master pranksters who simply filmed a man in an ape suit and laid fake footprints in the mud.
The film tore Patterson’s and Gimlin’s friendship apart. Patterson partnered with his brother-in-law, Al DeAtley, to take the film on a national tour as a way to raise funds for a full-fledged expedition back at Bluff Creek. The three took equal shares in the film, but soon Gimlin felt edged out, and sold his share of the rights for less than $10 to another Bigfoot researcher.
After five years estranged, Patterson and Gimlin made amends in 1972 as Patterson lay on his deathbed, dying of cancer at age 38. Patterson apologized for ousting Gimlin, pleading with him that when he recovered that they would go back to California and catch Bigfoot. He died the next day.
That left Gimlin as the go-to guy for Bigfoot enthusiasts, and it ruined his life. He was the target of harassment from cynics. If he talked about the experience, people would consider him a lunatic. If he didn’t, they’d think he was a con artist. At the same time, true believers considered him a guru -one that wasn’t helping by keeping silent. He didn’t talk about the experience publicly until 2003. Read the story of Bob Gimlin at Outside Online. -via Digg
(Image credit: Erin Wilson)