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Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Abdominable Snowman, Yeti - these are just a few of the more common names for one of the most interesting and compelling worldwide phenomena in the history of mankind.  Sightings of a large ape/man creature have been reported for thousands of years from every corner of the globe - and the similarities in the physical descriptions of the animal are amazingly similar.

As is the case with the Loch Ness Monster, no concrete, indisputable proof has ever been offered for the existence of Bigfoot, such as bones or a carcass.  However,  also as with the Loch Ness Monster, there may be valid explanations for the lack of such evidence.  Pursuant to this, please read on for a brief summary of what we really know and to learn the prevalent theory on what this fascinating creature might really be.

Description:  We have thousands, and probably even hundreds of thousands of reports of this creature spanning thousands of years, and the descriptions tend to be remarkably similar: 

Generally, this is a large, 6 - 12 foot ape-like creature, covered with brown or orange-brown shortish hair (occasionally dirty white or silver), but with hairlessness in the ape-like face, palms of the hands, and bottoms of the very large feet with 3-5 toes.  A cone-shaped head is common, as are very broad, powerful shoulders, a slim torso, long arms with ape-like hands (no thumb), long legs, and an unusual  loping stride.  Glowing red eyes in total darkness are a common report, as is a nauseating stench associated with the animal.

Behavior:  By far, the largest number of Bigfoot sightings occur at night - usually fairly late at night in deeply wooded areas.   Many reports indicate a benign animal that seems curious about human activities, but observes from a distance and retreats if confronted.  However, there are scattered cases of the animal becoming aggressive, showing it's teeth, growling and screeching, throwing rocks and ground debris, and giving chase to smaller animals such as dogs and chickens.  There are a few cases in which a Bigfoot is said to have given chase to retreating automobiles or human beings, but I am personally fairly skeptical about this -  there has never been one single report in all of history that indicates injury or harm done to any humans by a Bigfoot.

Reports of Bigfoot sightings overwhelmingly indicate a creature who travels alone - though occasionally a credible report of two or more together comes to light (no doubt they team up periodically for mating purposes, and younger individuals may stay together until after puberty).  They appear to be somewhat nomadic, not staying in the same place for very long, and seem to prefer traveling on relatively hard surfaces, making footprints difficult to find.  They give the impression of being somewhat intelligent - maybe even with an intelligence level approximating that of the higher apes, and though they do not appear to be particularly vocal, they do emit screeches, grunts, and screams occasionally.  In most sightings they appear to be moving about in search of food, much like any other wild animal. 

Theories on what the Bigfoot actually is abound - and range from the exotic theory that it is the missing link in evolutionary chain to the more mundane concept of it being a mistakenly identified large bear.   Credible eyewitnesses are adamant that it is not a bear and that it is unmistakably ape-like in appearance.   It is much larger than a gorilla, with somewhat different features, pretty much ruling out a renegade zoo escapee.  

The most  interesting and viable theory is that Bigfoot may be a gigantopithecus, an extinct ape who originated in Asia whose only surviving close relative is the orangutan.  Since there are no known ape species native to North America, it is thought that the gigantopithecus crossed from Asia into the Americas the same way humans did - over the ice bridge between Asia and Alaska.  Through the process of evolution, this may help explain the discrepancies in descriptions of the creatures from different parts of the world. Fossil remains of the gigantopithecus are very scarce, consisting only of some jawbones and teeth, but enough is known about their appearances to reconstruct a figure remarkably similar to reported Bigfoot descriptions.

To further bolster this theory, a look at orangutans in the wild reveals behavior that is markedly similar to reported Bigfoot behavior.  Physically, orangutans are also quite similar in description, allowing for the marked difference in size, and the fact that they do not naturally walk on two legs.  Orangutans are intelligent, with a natural curiosity about human activities.  They are not terribly vocal, but will occasionally emit screeches or howls, and will sometimes show their teeth aggressively.  They are capable of walking on two feet, but do so with their arms raised above their heads for balance, unlike Bigfoot, who appears to always walk with his arms swinging, much like a human.  Older male orangutans tend to be solitary, but younger individuals will often travel with a companion.   Some limited tool use has been reported, such as using large leaves as umbrellas and using sticks to accomplish various tasks.  The orangutan diet is primarily vegetarian, but they are known to ingest insects, birds, and small amphibians. 

All the above very closely resembles the reported behavior and activities of the Bigfoot, and as such, the theory that Bigfoot is indeed a giganthopithecus or close relative doesn't seem so far-fetched after all.  This is a big world, and although we are steadily encroaching upon our wild lands, there are still vast expanses of virgin forest and rugged mountain terrain left, with only a very small portion being visited by a few hikers and outdoorsmen, usually during daylight hours.  Is it so unbelievable then, that an intelligent creature such as this could survive and reproduce undetected over such a long period of time?  Even fossilized bones are rare, raising the possibility that Bigfoot is smart enough to bury its dead, or at least go to die in an unreachable spot. 

At this writing there are no full-time Bigfoot researchers on the planet as far as we can determine.  Expeditions all over the world have failed to produce a living specimen of this elusive animal, but the sightings continue globally, and the hastily shot pictures seem to be slowly getting better.  Our best evidence is probably from footprints, many of which are certainly hoaxes, but a few of which do appear anthropologically to point to the existence of an unidentified creature living deep within our forests.  

Until someone comes up the money for long-term, in-depth research, we are forced to rely on inexperienced campers, late night drivers, and surprised hunters for what sketchy information we can glean about the Bigfoot creature.  It therefore appears to be up to us little guys who go out into the woods recreationally or hunters who have a little bit of knowledge on the subject to come up with the hard evidence or indisputable photograph that will put the question of "what" the Bigfoot really is to rest.  In that respect, we hope that each and every reader of this page will become more aware, and make an effort to be prepared when camping out, hunting, or whatever - especially in the late night, deep woods.  Bigfoot sightings have occurred in every state in the U.S. except Hawaii and Rhode Island, and pretty much all of us have access to isolated wooded areas, including state parks, which due to their large areas and protected status have understandably served as the origin of many credible sightings. 

The rest of this section of Mystical Blaze will be devoted to the most recent sightings of Bigfoot in the United States.  We are monitoring newsgroups and papers worldwide and we will post new information as it becomes available, so do Bookmark and return often.  If you have a story of a strange related encounter, we would love to hear it - do send us a message via the message board below or privately via e-mail.....


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