Date of Discovery
If we listen to the theory of Bigfoot being part of the genus of gigantopithecus, or giant ape, then they are believed to have been in existence when homo erectus first came into being. This means that they have existed for roughly two million years. However, there have been modern reports that date back as far back as 1818, when the Exeter Watchman reported having seen an “animal resembling the Wild Man of the Woods,” near Ellisburgh, New York.
Bigfoot is possibly the most common name given to the gigantopithecus of North America–a genus of giant ape, that is said to have gone extinct around one hundred thousand years ago. Bigfoot also goes by the identifying name of Sasquatch, Skunk Ape, Skookum, Fouke Monster, Momo, Mogollon Monster, Yowie, Ban-Manush, Tornit, Honey Island Swamp Monster, Wild Man, Wauk-wauk, Saskehavis, and Grassman in the United States as well as other parts of the world. The name of this widely distributed creature varies based on the cultural influence of the region it was discovered to inhabit.
Bigfoot’s general appearance is more primitive than that of Neanderthal Man, standing between six to nine feet, and weighing between four hundred and one thousand pounds. They have a ruddy dark complexion, generally are known to have black eyes, with dark fur covering all of its bodies except its hands, the soles of its feet, as well as its upper facial region.
The villagers of the Caucasus Mountains have legends of this apeman going back for centuries, as do the Tibetans living on the slopes of Mount Everest. These are the first human accounts of Bigfoot being a creature that had been undocumented, but if sticking with the theory that Bigfoot is in fact a gigantopithecus then they have been around since man’s ancient ancestors first stood upright. From the Native American myths and legends, we have gotten a rich body of tales about hairy, manlike beasts that roam the forests; depending on the tribe, they have often been considered cousins of creatures such as the Wendigo, Tornit, Strendu, Chenoo, Oh-Mah, Skookum, the full list is exhaustive. Bigfoot may well be the most widely known and farthest-reaching cryptid across the world.
Mythology and Lore
Possibly the earliest and most notable report of Bigfoot was made by Theodore Roosevelt in his 1893 memoir, The Wilderness Hunter–his account came secondhand by a hunter and trapper by the name of Bauman. Bauman was trapping with a friend in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho and Montana when they noticed that there was something raiding their camp every time they went to check their traps. One evening after the two men fell asleep, Bauman awoke to a large, dark shape standing outside of his lean-to, without hesitation Bauman fired his gun at the shape. Over the next few days, the men often felt as if they were being watched from afar, that they were being followed as they went about their business, with something hiding behind the thick brush and trees. Eventually, the two men became so unnerved that they made the decision to leave the mountains entirely. In order to leave as quickly as possible, Bauman went to collect their traps while his friend packed up their camp. Upon returning to their camp, Bauman found that his friend’s body had been horribly mutilated and he fled as quickly as possible.
These creatures are apparently recorded to have had aggressive behavior well into the early twentieth century. Fred Beck reported that he and three other miners had been attacked by “mountain devils” whilst working their claim near Mount Saint Helens. They had continuously heard whoops, hollers, and screams from these unseen creatures for several days until one day Beck saw the unidentifiable creature staring at him from across a small canyon and immediately began firing his weapon.
The creature I judged to have been about seven feet tall with blackish-brownish hair. It disappeared from our view for a short time, but then we saw it, running fast and upright, about two hundred yards down the little canyon. I shot three times before it disappeared from view.Fred Beck
As a result of Beck’s aggression towards the creatures, the miners reported that their cabin was attacked and at least three large, hairy creatures circled the cabin, pounded on the walls, tossed rocks, and jumped on the roof. Beck even recalled that at one point a hairy arm reached through a notch in the wall and attempted to grab one of the men’s axes–throughout the entire assault on their cabin the men alternated between being frozen in fear and firing their guns at the walls and roof.
Modern Pop-Culture References
Surprisingly, Bigfoot is a fairly popular topic when it comes to media references. When it comes to fiction and supposedly non-fiction material, there is a wealth of information both for entertainment and research purposes.
Books & Literature
- Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us (1978)
- The Klamath Knot: Explorations of Myth and Evolution (1983)
- Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide (1995)
- North America’s Great Ape: The Sasquatch (1998)
- Bigfoot Sasquatch Evidence: The Anthropologist Speaks Out (1999)
- Raincoast Sasquatch (2003)
- Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science (2006)
- Anatomy of a Beast: Obsession and Myth on the Trail of Bigfoot (2009)
- Searching for Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads, and Cryptozoology (2011)
- The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)
- Blood Beast of Monster Mountain (1975)
- Creature from Black Lake (1976)
- Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot (1976)
- Harry and the Hendersons (1987)
- Abominable (2006)
- The Shrieking (2008)
- Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes (2012)
- Exists (2014)
- Skookum: The Hunt for Bigfoot (2016)
- The X Species (2018)
- The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot (2018)
- Bigfoot: Path of the Beast (2020)
- Is It Real? (2005 – 2007)
- Monster Quest (2007 – )
- Finding Bigfoot (2011 – )
- Mountain Monsters (2013 – )
- 10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty (2014 – )
- Expedition Bigfoot (2019 – )
Is there anything we missed about Bigfoot? Let us know in the comments section below!
Author. Artist. A little bit Alaskan. Mary lives with her dog in a rural cabin outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. They explore the bounty of the Alaskan wilderness during the summer and cozy up in their log cabin during the winter.