A Nitpicker's Guide to the Patterson/Gimlin Bigfoot Film by Davy Russell
POSTED: 16 January 99
Author Phil Farrand is known for his "Nitpicker's Guide" books exposing the errors,
flaws, plot discrepancies, and production oversights for television series including the
X-Files and Star Trek. It appears now that another film has fallen under the scrutiny of
nitpickers...but not Mr. Farrand. Instead, Cliff Crook and Chris Murphy, two bigfoot
enthusiasts, claim they have found evidence to support the famous 1967 Patterson/Gimlin
film as a hoax.
They base this claim on findings by Chris Murphy in 1995 when he used a photocopier to
duplicate a frame of the footage and became increasingly suspicious as he zoomed in on a
"bottle opener" shaped object at bigfoot’s waist. The object appeared in four consecutive
frames and seems to be moving with the fleeing Sasquatch. Murphy theorizes this object
is geometric and man-made....a fastener keeping the bigfoot costume in place. Bigfoot
researcher, Cliff Crook, supports Murphy’s idea that the film is a hoax. Interestingly, the
X-Project Magazine, along with many of our readers, have cast a skeptical eye on a
famous photograph published by Crook in 1995, showing an alleged bigfoot in a swamp.
This is not the first time that the famous minute of 16mm film footage, showing a female
Sasquatch escaping into the woods of Bluff Creek, California, has suffered skeptical
claims of fakery. Strange Magazine editor Mark Chorivinsky conducted a one-year
investigation into claims that the famous Patterson bigfoot was actually a man in an ape
suit fabricated by sophisticated Hollywood make-up and special effects.
Unconfirmed rumors suggest Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers was involved in
creating the fleeing man-beast. John Chambers is credited with several cinematic
costume/make-up projects including "Planet of the Apes", "Outer Limits", and "Lost in
Space". Chambers is believed to be the only person who had the knowledge and skill to
create such a realistic bigfoot in the Patterson film at the time. (For more on this, click
Among the other criticisms of the Patterson/Gimlin film is the fact that Patterson
conveniently ran out of film, providing a safe reason for ending the taping...perhaps to
limit the likeliness that other production flaws would be discovered, as some suggest.
Nevertheless, the Patterson bigfoot is the standard for many researchers who compare
plaster casts of tracks against the creature. Much information on bigfoot’s behaviour and
anatomy has been taken from analysis of the film as well.
Crook’s and Murphy’s claims are probably not going to have a very devastating impact on
the Patterson bigfoot film, as it has avoided concrete evidence of fakery over the last 30
years of its existence despite similar claims from others. We will just have to wait for the
next observation that once again sheds controversial light on an already controversial