Bigshoot: A TV Misadventure with “Bigfoot”

November 14, 2017

As one of several mysteries for the currently airing series on the Science channel, Strange Evidence, CFI video expert Tom Flynn and I were asked to look at a creature videotaped on a deputy sheriff’s dashcam. It was recorded on the night of May 16, 2009, in northern Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Park.

Tom and I examined the poor quality videotape sequence with its blurriness and lack of contrast but—even with enhancement—little could be determined from the imaging, which appeared to be at least one step removed from the original, certainly a bad copy. Nevertheless, based on the creature’s hulking movement, I thought it most resembled an upright-standing animal that, in moving quickly forward, was dropping to all fours at the end of the sequence. In the patrol car with the deputy, a Citizens Law Enforcement Academy ride-along could be heard on the accompanying audio saying that her first impression was that the creature was a bear.

When the segment aired (on Halloween 2017), I briefly appeared, exhibiting blurry stills and opining that the movement was suggestive of a bear. As the narrator explained, black bears are common in the region where the video was sh ot, and bears often stand and walk upright, even quite rapidly.

However the dashcam video sequence that actually aired was at a significantly higher level of clarity and contrast than the version supplied to us (which still bore an Animal Planet logo), and it may have been obtained from the original. Anyone—even I—could see that the creature’s stride was not that of a bear but was rather longer and perfectly consistent with that ubiquitous creature I like to call “Bigsuit.”

Indeed as the Lumpkin County sheriff himself related on the program, he had personally searched the general area after the “Bigfoot” incident. He had located two teenagers who possessed such a gorilla suit and who promised to end what had been a series of pranks.

Let me say that, with nearly half a century of media experience in paranormal matters, I always approach such involvement with trepidation. It is really someone else’s case, and producers may not be as careful of a guest’s reputation as they are mindful of entertainment.