May 25, 2023

#08-313: Bigfoot

Could this be Bigfoot? From a trail camera capture (Wikipedia)

Note: "Bigfoot" is the subject of fairly recent urban legends, and was most likely born as a hoax, or a series of them. But that doesn't stop the true believers from truly believing!

Get Ready: Do you think Bigfoot exists? How about the Yeti ("Abominable Snowman")? Or the Loch Ness monster?

Most "American folk legends" go back to the 19th century. Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, and the others have been around awhile. But one American legend is quite new, with modern evidence dating back only to the middle of the 20th century.

I'm speaking, of course, of Bigfoot, known among the cognoscenti as "Sasquatch." He (or she) is a tall (1.8 to 2.7 meters, or 6 to 9 feet, but some say up to 4.6 meters, or over 15 feet) bipedal ape-like creature with black or dark reddish hair. He is muscular, and some reports say he has a human-like face. In fact, some have said he looks "more human than animal."

Although sightings of similar creatures have taken place virtually all over North America, the modern Bigfoot is most often associated with the Pacific Northwest where in 1958 a logger discovered footprints 41 centimeters (over 16 inches) long. When he told his coworkers, several attested to having seen such tracks previously. Because these tracks were the primary evidence, the creature came to be called "Bigfoot." Unfortunately for the legend, after one of the logger's colleagues died, his family confessed that he had perpetrated a hoax, and showed the carved wooden "feet" he had used to make the tracks.

But this did not discourage the "true believers." They found numerous stories among Native Americans from across the continent, as well as other modern "sightings." One Native group called him "sasq'ets," meaning roughly "hairy man"; from this we get the name "Sasquatch."

Other regional names include the Skunk ape, Grassman, Bushman, Treeman, Wildman, the Honey Island Swamp Monster, the Big Muddy Monster, the Old Man of the Mountain, the Wood Booger, and the Wood Ape.

Science, of course, pooh-poohs the whole idea. They say it's a bear or even a human seen from a distance; an ape escaped from a zoo; or a strange phenomenon called pareidolia, the tendency of the mind to take patterns and turn them into something, like when people claim to see a face burned into a piece of toast.

But the simplest explanation is that the footprints, fuzzy photos, and blurry videos are a series of hoaxes foisted on a gullible public for fun and (sometimes) profit.


Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. attested
  2. bipedal
  3. cognoscenti
  4. foisted
  5. gullible
  6. hoax
  7. logger
  8. perpetrated
  9. pooh-poohs
  10. virtually

  1. trick
  2. walking on two feet
  3. well-informed people
  4. certified; gave testimony
  5. basically; in effect
  6. easily persuaded to believe something
  7. dismisses; rejects
  8. committed a negative action
  9. imposed something unwanted (on)
  10. a person who cuts trees for a living

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for May 25, 2023

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. d; 2. b; 3. c; 4. i; 5. f; 6. a; 7. j; 8. h; 9. g; 10. e