Page 20 - The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper - Jan/Feb 2018
P. 20

20                             The Man Who Created Bigfoot

             The Man Who Created


                  Continued from Page 18

                 Life, for Gimlin, continued on a normal
          course: he married, had children, divorced, then
          married “the sassiest thing I’d ever met”—his
          wife of 52 years, Judy. In 1967, Gimlin, then 35,
          was scraping together a living driving trucks,
          roofing, and riding and taming horses.  There
          was nothing significant about the day he pulled
          into a Union Gap service station and ran into his
          old rodeo pal, Roger Patterson.
                 Patterson was recovering from a bout
          with cancer.  As they spoke, Patterson told
          Gimlin of his interest in supposed Bigfoot
          sightings. “He said, ‘Let me show you
          something,’” Gimlin recalls. “He went over to
          the truck and brought out a plaster cast of a big
                                                          picks, and Band Aids.  There’s a Patty-shaped
          foot.” Patterson asked Gimlin if he would be    Chia Pet. Bigfoot even has a home on reality      REL-MAR McConnell Media Company
          interested in searching Mount St. Helens on     TV: Animal Planet launched Finding Bigfoot in           Is Pleased To Announce The
          horseback with him for evidence of a Bigfoot. “I  2011, starring  Washington’s Bigfoot Field                  Appointment of
          said, ‘Roger, I just don’t have time.’”         Researchers Organization (BFRO). BFRO                        MR. KAL KORFF
                 By the late 1960s, Bigfoot had been      members lead guided backwoods expeditions—                           As
          tromping through Northwestern lore for          with a price tag of up to $500—throughout the        EUROPEAN & ASIAN BUREAU
          hundreds of years. Several Native  American                                                                       CHIEF
                                                          U.S. where participants scour the forests for a
          tribes tell of looming, furry beasts reeking of
                                                          look at the fabled beast.
          scorched hair who stole trout from fishermen. In
                                                                 But looking back on the trip today,
          the early 20th century, newspaper articles      Gimlin wishes he’d said no. That he’d turned
          reporting sightings read like spooky stories to  away from Patterson that day at the service
          tell around a campfire. In one such report, from  station and never looked back.
          1924, a clan of rock-throwing ape-men                  That trip to California changed him.
          ambushed a group of miners on Mt. St. Helens.          “It ruined me.”
          The place is now called Ape Canyon. (Skeptics          By 1972, Patterson had died. Gimlin
          said the beasts were just  YMCA campers
                                                          alone faced the scourge of detractors that were
          playing a prank.) Ivan Sanderson’s 1961 book,
                                                          emerging around the country—some even
          Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life,
                                                          confronted he and his wife in their hometown.
          read like the stuff of a B movie.               Yakima was the place where Gimlin had
                 But there were few opportunities for     become known for his fearlessness and strength,
          Patterson to commune with other believers. So   and suddenly he was a seen as crazy. His word,
          he talked to Gimlin: the men formed a bond,     his handshake—currency around this part of the
          riding    horses    through     Washington’s    state—was in doubt.
          backcountry. Patterson continued to regale             “My wife was a teller at a savings and     Kal has been an  Analyst, Broadcaster,
          Gimlin with Bigfoot lore, playing him recorded
                                                          loan institution. Of course, she was sitting right  Commentator and Investigative Journalist
          testimonies of real-life encounters and lending
                                                          there and the public would come in and make       on or for such popular TV networks as ABC,
          him books on the topic, despite Gimlin’s
                                                          smart remarks,” Gimlin says. “This went on and    CNN, Discovery Channel, FOX, History
          insistence that he did not care. (Patterson self-  on and on until she come home crying. She’d    Channel,    MSNBC,      NBC,    National
          published a book in 1966, titled Do Abominable  say, ‘I’m not tough enough.’ A couple times we    Geographic and has appeared on countless
          Snowmen of America Really Exist?)               were going to split up over this.”                radio shows and in the newspapers,
                 Then, in  August 1967, Patterson told                          (Continued on Page 21)      including National Public Radio’s Science
          Gimlin about a logging road construction crew                                                     Fridays, Art Bell’s Coast-to-Coast AM, Dr.
          spotting tracks and having their equipment                                                        Seth Shostak of SETI, Jeff Rense’s
                                                                                  If you would like
          inexplicably disassembled deep in the Six                                                         Sightings,   Laura   Lee    Show,    Rob
          Rivers National Forest. He begged Gimlin to                            to have your radio         McConnell’s X-Zone Radio Show, Chip
          drive the two men and their horses to Northern                           show or podcast          Presher’s Mind Cemetery, San Francisco
          California to search. Gimlin was skeptical that                          on a broadcast           Examiner, Prague Post, Metropolitni
          anything existed, but he was intrigued, and he                            network that            Expres,  Washington Post, U.S. News and
          wasn’t the sort of man to turn away from a good                        reaches millions of        World Report, Phoenix New  Times, Daily
          adventure. “I wanted to see these footprints that                      people around the          Review,  Argus, Stanford Daily, San Jose
          these people talked about,” he says.                                                              Mercury News, Oakland  Tribune, Ohlone
                                                                                   world and cross
                 The film the men produced gave the                                                         Monitor, Omni, Skeptical Inquirer, Skepsis,
                                                                                  marketed thoug a
          murky myth shape: suddenly, Bigfoot was                                                           True, Saga UFO Report, Beyond Reality,
          manifested in flesh and blood. It had a loping                                                    Fortean  Times, San Francisco Chronicle,
                                                                                    company with            Frontiers of Science, LBC Radio, RTL,
          gait and, with the twist of its torso, it looked
          over its shoulder before disappearing again into                         over 31 years of         DW2, TV Nova, Radio Praha, Radio Free
          the wilderness. It even had a name: Patty.                                success in the          Europe,  YouTube, Scribd, Facebook and
                 Patty, arguably, created the Bigfoot                             broadcast / media         countless others. Here is a small sample of
          industry. Today, the apelike figure—frozen in its                       business contact -        his unprecedented, unique portfolio over the
          signature turn—adorns car air fresheners and                                                      decades. No other journalist doing the kind
          infant onesies that read, “Believe.” It looks back - or -                   of reporting and writing that Kal does, has
          from coffee cups, Christmas ornaments, guitar                   this distinctive and diverse background.
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