Before the entire seven episodes of Finding Bigfoot were even aired, it was pretty clear that we were going to go onto season two. The ratings were really high, and the network was very excited about doing a bigfoot show. They were so excited that they decided to do a two-hour Halloween special in addition to ten regular episodes that would be the second season.
When I heard that the two-hour special would be centered around Bluff Creek, CA, I was thrilled. I have been bigfooting in and around Bluff Creek since 1994, and I know that area very well. Not as well as Bobo, who has been working that area even longer, but very well nonetheless.
The episode would have a new feature that would continue into the rest of the season: one of the Finding Bigfoot team would spend a few nights out in the woods with just a camera person. Not just any camera guy, either. A bigfooter with a camcorder, doing the bigfoot thing as authentically as possible. I was tapped to be the one who got to go solo in Bluff Creek, and I am so thankful. For my camera man, I chose Craig Flipy, who luckily was available.
Obviously, any trip to Bluff Creek would have to include a look at the Patterson/Gimlin Film. I have been going to the film site for well over a decade, and have been there more than a dozen times. However, I had never been there with Bob Gimlin. He was there back in 2003 when the International Sasquatch Symposium happened, and they used his return visit as part of an episode of Mysterious Encounters, the first all-bigfoot television program.
Our trip was to be Bob's second return to the film site since he obtained the film back in 1967, but it was the first time he rode horseback to the site. Bob is a friend of mine, which is cool enough, but to go horseback riding to the film site with the man himself was beyond cool. It is a dream that I would think every bigfooter would have, and this one was coming true for me.
Bob and the Finding Bigfoot Cast
Recreating the film at the actual film site was challenging, but much less so due to the various maps made of the filming event by Ranae Dahinden, Grover Krantz, and Bob Titmus. We knew the distances from the camera to the subject (“Patty”) for all of the key frames, as well as the general route of travel.
The difficult part was that the film site is no longer a wide open sand bar as it once was. The great flood of 1964 wiped the area clean and deposited a thick layer of silt and sand over the entire area. This sand bar is still there, but the forest has reclaimed it. The entire area is thickly wooded and impossible to see through. The creek has worn its way down to the bedrock, but in 1967 it had not yet done so. Bob noted that there were no really big rocks in the creek at the film site in 1967. The biggest rocks were about softball size. He also noted that the berm between the creek and the top of the sand bar was only about three feet tall, whereas now it is about six or seven feet. It was clear that the creek has eroded the bar significantly.
Bobo's walkthrough had to be done at a slightly different place than where Patty herself walked due to the changes in the location, but I think it still provided some insight on some things. First of all, Bobo's gait does not resemble Patty's on anything more than a superficial level. Even though Bobo has done that walk literally thousands of times in his 25+ years of bigfootiness, he could not duplicate it on the uneven terrain and wild environment he walked through. Also, Bob's comments that the creature seemed to walk slower, yet cleared far more distance than Bobo was also very enlightening.
I was honored to play the part of Roger Patterson while filming the recreation. We had the same model camera that Roger used that day, and that alone was super cool. It is far larger and heavier than I expected. Heaving that bulky think around while running across the sandbar really gave me a deeper appreciation of Roger and Bob's accomplishment that day.
Cliff Barackman holding the Kodak K-100 camera
More to come in the second installment of the Afterbirth of a Legend... Check back soon.
A look at Cliff through the viewfinder of the Kodak K-100.