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The first Bigfoot discovery is often credited to British explorer David Thompson in 1811
British explorer and fur trader David Thompson traveled more than 60,000 miles by canoe, horse, and foot during his travels of the western part of North America. On Jan. 7, 1811, he recorded a curious set of footprints at the mouth of the Whirlpool River in Alberta, Canada. The prints were eight inches wide with claw marks on each toe. Thompson reportedly puzzled over the tracks until he died. Twitter
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Bigfoot might speak a primitive language
For decades, recordings of howls, growls, whooping noises, and screams heard deep in the woods and attributed to Bigfoot have intrigued researchers. Some witnesses have even claimed to have captured what sounds like the creature speaking its own language.
The gold standard for this theory is the Sierra Sound recordings, which were captured in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the 1970s and feature screams and garbled mumbles that could sound like primal talking.Flickr/Ben Cumming
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Bigfoots communicate through tree knocks
Some Bigfoot investigators believe the creatures communicate with each other — and even with humans — by knocking on wood with their fists or possibly with a club or stick. This bears similarity to gorillas, who have been shown to clap their hands in warning during instances of alarm.Flickr
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Jane Goodall is entirely open to Bigfoot's existence
In 2019, renowned primatologist Jane Goodall said she's entirely open to Bigfoot's existence. "Too many people from all over the world have reported these encounters for there to be nothing afoot." Goodall added that it might be a relic population of Neanderthals and that she primarily just hopes the stories are true.
"I guess I'm romantic," she said. "I don't want to disbelieve."CBS/Getty Images
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The Patterson-Gimlin film has never been fully debunked
Filmed by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin in Bluff Creek, California in October 1967, this notorious 16 mm footage shows a bipedal ape-man walking along a creek. Many are convinced the film is a hoax and likely depicts nothing but a man in a suit. Nonetheless, several experts claimed that the intricate musculature and limb ratios on display in the video are too precise to have been forged. The authenticity of the footage itself thus remains contested to this day.Twitter
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The director of the Primate Biology Program at the Smithsonian Institute believes in Bigfoot
Though the former Director of the Smithsonian Institute's Primate Biology Program, John Napier, concluded that the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film was an impressive forgery of a man in a costume, he is still a believer in the beast.
"I am convinced that Sasquatch exists," he wrote, "but whether it is all it is cracked up to be is another matter altogether. There must be something in north-west America that needs explaining, and that something leaves manlike footprints."Twitter
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It is illegal to kill Bigfoot in the state of Washington
Skamania County in Washington state passed a historic ordinance in 1969 that made it a felony to kill Bigfoot. As such, Washington became the first American state to grant the creature legal protection. While this statute has yet to see anyone jailed or fined for doing so, it's certainly a huge win for Sasquatches in the area.Twitter
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Bigfoot was investigated by the FBI
In 1976, Peter Byrne of Oregon's Bigfoot Information Center and Exhibition sent "about 15 hairs attached to a tiny piece of skin" to the FBI. He claimed that his own lab was unable to identify which species the sample came from and hoped that the FBI could shed light on any potential previous Bigfoot investigations. Jay Cochran Jr. of the FBI didn't answer the latter question, but revealed that "the hairs are of the deer family origin." This incident was only declassified in 2019.FBI
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Vladimir Putin claimed To have seen a family of Yetis in Siberia
In 2016, Vladimir Putin claimed to have witnessed three Yetis while flying over a remote Siberian landscape in a helicopter. The region is purportedly famous for these sightings. National park wildlife expert Dmitry Ivanov, who accompanied Putin and his men, said:
"He and his entourage saw an adult male and female, and a smaller child Yeti, at a distance of about 150 meters. At first the creatures stood and watched, then took big strides into the trees. Briefly, they reappeared as if curious about the presidential group, but then vanished again. They were covered in thick grey colored hair and took giant steps, far bigger than a man."
The Yeti is commonly believed to be a different beast than Bigfoot, but there are some who insist that they are regional takes on the same legend and belong to the same species. Wikimedia Commons
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Most Bigfoot sightings occur in the Pacific Northwest
The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) compiled all reported sightings across the United States and found that Washington, California, and Oregon ranked highest. Naturally, these statistics merely indicate where and how many encounters were reported — and not how verifiable they might be.Flickr/brewbrooks
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More people believe in Bigfoot than trust Hillary Clinton
A 2013 poll found that 14 percent of Americans believed in Bigfoot while an NBC News poll found only 11 percent found Clinton trustworthy.Flickr
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Bigfoot erotica has become an industry of its own
Printed tales of romantic Bigfoot encounters date back to the 1970s. The 1977 paperback Nights With Sasquatch, for instance, described itself as an "explosive ordeal of rape and revenge." Meanwhile, a 1981 porn called The Geek, features a group of hitchhikers spending the night in Bigfoot's company. The internet has seen a massive boon to this niche, as viewers of Bigfoot porn are allegedly drawn to the creature as "the ultimate alpha male." Amazon
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There are at least 12 different kinds of Bigfoot just in the United States
According to Appalachian Investigators of Mysterious Sightings (AIMS), there are more than 12 different types of Bigfoot, ranging from the more human-looking Grass Man (rendered here) to the vicious, eight-foot-tall Midnight Whistler of Iroquois legend.
Other Indigenous North American cultures have their own version of Bigfoot. In the Himalayas, the Yeti (Abominable Snowman) bears a striking resemblance to Bigfoot, although there's disagreement among believers as to whether or not they belong to the same species. YouTube
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Bigfoot legends go back at least 3,000 years
Native Americans have their own reported sightings of Bigfoot that predate modern accounts by millennia. These come from several tribes, including the Iroquois and Shawnee. The Cherokee legend of Tsul 'Kalu (a.k.a. the Cherokee Devil) states that the beast married a young girl and was blamed for all of the tribe’s misfortunes thereafter.Flickr
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Bigfoot has psychic powers
Cherokee legend also has it that the Tsul 'Kalu had the power to read people’s minds. Present-day witnesses have claimed to lose time after spotting Bigfoot, similar to the effect reported by those who claim to have been abducted by aliens: Hours pass in the blink of an eye, and the victim is left unable to recall what happened to them. And sometimes, apparently, Bigfoot uses its mind power to make people strip naked and go crazy. Flickr
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Bigfoot has a ruthless streak
The most aggressive Bigfoot in Appalachia is ominously called the Wildman. Alleged to be eight feet tall, 500 pounds, covered in jet black fur, and unafraid of people, the Wildman is a close relative of the Iroquois' Midnight Whistler, but with an even worse temper. In the 1700s, the Shawnee claimed the Wildman was responsible for the deaths of seven members of their tribe.Twitter
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The original Bigfoot makes a sound like a steam engine
The aforementioned Midnight Whistler is thought to be the first type of Bigfoot to venture into the world. It is believed that before, these creatures hid in cave systems, but then used Appalachian waterways to spread throughout the country and eventually evolved into the different Bigfoot clans reported today.
The Midnight Whistler is said to weigh 400 pounds, have jet black fur and glowing green eyes, and communicates with a booming whistle that allegedly resembles a steam engine.Flickr
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These Bigfoot prints from 1958 led to the beast's nickname, but were faked
A 1958 article in the Humboldt Times coined the "Bigfoot" moniker. After a crew of loggers reported 17-inch footprints near Bluff Creek, California, readers and locals alike grew curious — with an entire nation to follow. In 2002, however, it was revealed by the children of Ray Wallace that their father had faked the tracks himself. They even had the plaster cast set of feet he used to prove as much.Dave Rubert
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It's possible that Bigfoots bury their dead
One suggested reason for the lack of evidence of Bigfoot’s existence is the idea that these creatures bury their dead. There have been several reports of the discovery of Bigfoot burial grounds over the years, and while most come from less than reputable sources, it would perhaps explain why no one has ever stumbled across a Bigfoot carcass in the wild.YouTube
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Bigfoot and Chupacabra allegedly work together to hunt their prey
In Appalachia, Chupacabras are referred to as West Virginian Vampires, thanks to the local belief that they suck on the blood of woodland creatures. AIMS believes that Bigfoot may use Chupacabras the same way hunters use bloodhounds, with the Chupacabras catching the prey and the Bigfoots swooping in to retrieve the body. In return, Bigfoots act as muscle for Chupacabras, protecting them from traps when curious monster hunters get too close. As you might expect, no evidence currently exists to support this theory.Flickr
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Bigfoot likes apples
An apple a day does not keep Bigfoot away, apparently. According to AIMS’ investigations, one Bigfoot type called a Yahoo has surfaced in the orchards of West Virginia’s rough country, where Golden Delicious apples are abundant. The Yahoo, they claim, is 10 feet tall and weighs up to 1,000 pounds, with scat as large as an apple pie. According to at least one news source, Bigfoot also enjoys blueberry bagels.Flickr
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One man claimed to have caught and killed Bigfoot
In January 2013, Bigfoot hunter Rick Dyer claimed to have found the creature and killed it a year earlier. He said it weighed 800 pounds and stood eight feet tall and announced a nationwide tour to charge audiences to inspect its corpse. After refusing to release DNA results that would prove it, however, it was revealed the entire thing was a stunt — and the Bigfoot corpse was made out of clay. Pinterest
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Bigfoot might be a surviving member of a presumed-extinct race of ancient apes
Some believe that Bigfoot might be a member of a race of massive apes that crossed the Bering land bridge from Asia and into the United States. However, no fossil evidence of this species has been found in America, yet. Flickr
Astounding Bigfoot Facts That Delve Into The Legend Of The Notorious Ape-Man
While deeply embedded in modern American culture, the legend of Bigfoot originates long before the 21st century. Indigenous tribes across Northwestern America have spoken for centuries of a furry, bipedal beast that stole from fishermen and lived in isolation.
But Bigfoot as modern Americans have come to know the creature first took newspapers by storm in the early 1900s, though the actual name "Bigfoot" was only coined decades later in a 1958 Humboldt Times article concerning 17-inch-long footprints found in Bluff Creek, California.
Then, in 1967, documentarians Bob Gimlin and Roger Patterson released a short film that seemed to feature the beast itself. Though often brushed off as a hoax, the iconic film nonetheless spawned a collective quest to find Bigfoot.
Ever since, scholars, anthropologists, and self-described Bigfoot experts claim to have learned everything there is to know about the creature, from its diet and hunting habits to its paranormal abilities. Explore some surprising ⏤ though unverifiable ⏤ Bigfoot facts in the gallery above.
Facts About Bigfoot's History
Before it was called "Bigfoot," the mysterious beast was referred to as Sasquatch. This term was an Anglicization of sasq'ets, or sésquac, a word from the Halq-emeylem language of the First Nations peoples in parts of southwestern British Columbia.
TwitterA still of Bigfoot's gait from the infamous 1967 Patterson-Gimlin video.
According to Idaho University professor Jeffrey Meldrum, Sasquatch generally referred to the various behaviors of the creature, like shaking trees or eating clams.
Meanwhile, several tribes across the North American continent have their own name for the beast, with most of them describing the creature as a "wildman of the woods."
One of the first documented Bigfoot sightings was reported in California's Antioch Ledger in 1870, concerning a terrified hunter. He alleged that he had returned to his campsite one night to find it in tatters — with enormous footprints nearby.
He hid within viewing distance of the site, hoping that the perpetrator would return. When it did, the man was horrified to see that it was a bipedal ape-man.
Then, there was that shocking Humboldt Times article. Years later, however, the children of the man who'd spotted the massive prints admitted that their father told him he'd made the whole story up. No matter, the legend of Bigfoot was already cemented in common knowledge, and the name nonetheless stuck.
The notorious Patterson-Gimlin film of Bigfoot, stabilized for clearer viewing.
Besides, loggers, hunters, and unsuspecting campers continued to report seeing the elusive beast in forests across the country. Perhaps the most famous sighting remains the Patterson-Gimlin film of 1967.
It spans less than a minute and shows an ape-like man walking on two legs along the banks of a remote riverbed in Washington state. Although the video is considered a clear hoax to most, numerous experts have deemed the musculature and limb ratios of the beast too precise to be forged.
While some experts scoff at the idea of Bigfoot and gesture to hoaxes like the one from 1958, primatologists as renowned as Jane Goodall are open to its existence. Even the FBI once waded into the subject of Bigfoot when it received a small piece of skin with 15 hairs on it that an obsessive researcher wanted them to identify.
The results were finally declassified in 2019 and showed that "the hairs are of deer family origin."
Ultimately, Bigfoot continues to live in a netherworld between debunked conspiracy and yet-unproven fact.
Common Beliefs On The Behemoth
Oregon Historical SocietyA cast, allegedly of a Sasquatch foot, that was taken on Mount Saint Helens in 1974.
Over the last several decades, many reported sightings of Bigfoot have come with visceral descriptions of his stench. Witnesses claimed that the beast emitted a foul odor comparable to that of a skunk.
Others have reported tree trunks ripped from the ground or broken in half at heights too tall for a person to reach. Based on this information, it's estimated that Bigfoot averages around six to nine feet tall. Its footprints have been rumored to measure as long as 24 inches.
Some believe Bigfoot is a singular creature, while others are confident that there are thousands of Sasquatches roaming America and even the Himalayas. The Yeti, for instance, is considered by some to be a snowy version of Bigfoot — although others insist that they're different beasts. In Floria, the "Skunk Ape" also bears a resemblance to Bigfoot.
Still, others have claimed that Bigfoot is actually a species of early modern human that has thus far gone largely unknown to us.
To that last point, witnesses claim to have captured recordings of unnerving whooping sounds in the dead of night, as well as unidentifiable languages. However, none of these recordings have been conclusively tied to a creature like Bigfoot.
Yet, the intrigue continues. "Interest in the existence of the creature is at an all-time high," said paleontologist Darren Naish, even though "there's nothing even close to compelling as goes the evidence."
Today, there's no shortage of Bigfoot merchandise, podcasts, and reality television empires. Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot spanned 11 seasons without actually making good on its title and on April 20, 2021, Hulu will release the documentary series Sasquatch, which will follow one investigative journalist's quest to find the elusive beast.
Though many have tried to attach science and reason to the study of Bigfoot, any information on the creature remains speculative. But we can enjoy some of the most intriguing Bigfoot facts, unverifiable as they might be, in the gallery above.
A staff writer for All That’s Interesting, Marco Margaritoff has also published work at outlets including People, VICE, and Complex, covering everything from film to finance to technology. He holds dual bachelor's degrees from Pace University and a master's degree from New York University.