A very good timeline has already been published by Guy Edwards of Bigfoot Lunch Club, who was also one of the track witnesses. He and Thom Powell were at the scene the next day after my visit.
For me, the story started on Wednesday, February 14th. Toby Johnson excitedly called me for advice on how to deal with three footprints that had been reported to him. I gave him the appropriate advice, and later that night found out that he had located a fourth footprint at the scene. These prints were reported to be 17 inches in length, and found just off of a logging road outside of London, OR. Toby and a friend spent that night casting the four prints before going home early that morning.
The 17 inch print later cast by Toby Johnson.
Photo credit: Max Roy
Photo credit: Max Roy
The next day, I had a speaking engagement at the school where I used to work to kick off their science fair. (I spoke on how I use the scientific method in my work.) After my presentation, I checked my voice mail and found that over 100 footprints had been found nearby the other prints. I immediately left the school and headed down to London without even going home first.
By that time, Toby had contacted Chris Minniear, a bigfooter based just east of Eugene. I called Chris and arranged the purchase of 200 pounds of Hydrocal white, which he would transport to the scene where we would meet.
I arrived at the scene shortly after 4 pm. I was shown where the 17 inch prints were cast the night before, and then pointed in the direction of the other footprints nearby. I was stunned by what I saw. There was a long line of footprints impressed into the silty shoreline of a lake. The track line was estimated to be about 120 yards in length. I took GPS measurements of the track way and carefully counted all of the visible tracks. There were 122 in all.
A still from the daytime video.
I started video taping the tracks when I received a phone call from Chris. Apparently, the bigfooting Murphy's Law had struck again, because I learned that Chris' car inexplicably broke down about 35 minutes to the north. I finished filming the track way and headed out to pick up my friend and the casting material he was transporting.
When I returned to the tracks, it was after dark. Chris and I again videoed the track way and took detailed measurements of the perhaps the first dozen or two tracks. Each track varied slightly from the last, but in general we were finding the measurements to be very consistent in that they were right around 14 inches for the length, with a ball width of six inches, and a heel width of four inches. The step length (not stride, which would be two steps) was right around 41 or 42 inches each time. Knowing that we had a very long night ahead of us, we started casting the prints.
Cliff Barackman measuring the step length
between two tracks
between two tracks
I first chose a couple of interesting sections of prints here and there to cast. I think I cast a couple in a row at one point, and then six in a row at another, but I'd have to check my notes to be sure. The hunter who was with Toby when he cast his larger prints nearby had been on the scene earlier in the day and cast four prints at one point in the track way. Starting immediately after this man's castings, Chris and I cast 64 consecutive footprints in a row until we ran out of plaster. In all, we cast 72 footprints that night.
Two other local bigfooters found us on the shoreline that night, having heard about the event from their cousin, the hunter who accompanied Toby the previous night. They helped Chris and I pull the casts and gently load them into my vehicle for the ride back to Portland. I dropped Chris off at his home, and made my way north to arrive back at my house at 5:20 am.
The casts have not been cleaned as of this writing. One should not clean fresh casts for about two weeks after they are poured because they continuously leech out water until they are bone dry and rock hard, but this takes some time. Cleaning casts off before this means that you run the risk of either damaging the cast, or accidentally introducing artifacts, such as scrape marks or brush marks, into the casts. I will not be able to clean the casts off until April, as I am leaving very soon to film season three of Finding Bigfoot. In the meantime, the casts have been moved off-site to a private and secure location to keep them safe.
The floor of my garage before moving
the prints to a secure location
the prints to a secure location
In April, I will clean the casts and start the documentation process of these interesting pieces of data. I plan to pair up the photographs of the casts with the pictures and video stills of the prints in the ground. All of my data will eventually be made public for peer review.
Other bigfooters also have bits and pieces of data taken from this important find. Thom Powell and Guy Edwards cast between 25 and 30 prints, and have agreed to share their data for my report. Toby Johnson has four casts of a larger individual found at the location, and his partner has four casts of the smaller individual. I will try to get copies, or at least photographs, of these prints.
Autumn Williams was at the scene on Friday morning and cast one footprint. Interestingly, she found large impressions coming down an embankment on the other side of the nearby road leading to the place where the larger individual was standing. These impressions discovered by Autumn matched the size and shape of the larger prints, but lacked any detail, such as toe imprints.
I have been in ongoing and close contact with Dr. Jeff Meldrum of Idaho State University about this track find. He has agreed to assist me in writing up my report, and we currently have plans to have him study the casts first hand upon my return from filming season three of Finding Bigfoot.
Video of the footprints, as well as video of actually casting many of them with Chris Minniear, will be released later this year, probably towards the end of summer. It will be one of the segments in a collection of bigfooty things I have been working on that will make up a collaborative DVD release filmed and edited by Craig Flipy and I. More information on that will be forthcoming.
The ever-heroic Craig Flipy
In the meantime, I think it's probably safe to say that the London Footprints are the most significant footprint find in the last 40 years. They certainly represent the largest collection of data ever retrieved from any single bigfoot site, ever. To my knowledge, over 100 footprints were cast representing two individuals, at least three videos were taken, scores of photographs, and dozens of measurements were obtained. All of this will take some time to be collected and put together, and in the meantime I have to hit the road for a while to film a TV show. Please be patient with me regarding this most important event. All of my information will be made public in time.
For now, allow me to leave you with this thought... To my knowledge, over 12 bigfooters and several laymen were involved in this event to varying degrees. Those bigfooters represent a wide array of perspectives on the nature of sasquatches, from the "ape" camp to the "human" camp, and from "flesh and blood" to the so-called "paranormal." This event would not be what it is today without all of them, despite our diverse perspectives. Disagreeing on the nature of the phenomenon did not, and should not, preclude working together for the greater good and increased understanding of these amazing creatures. It will be interesting to see what can be learned from this singular event, but perhaps there is another good that might emerge from it. I hope this event stands as a symbol of what can be accomplished if we, the bigfoot community, put down our perceived differences and work collaboratively for the greater good of the species, rather than continuing the posturing and infighting that so often pollutes our dialogue.
Here are some photographs of some of the many impressions found at the scene. No scale item happens to be in these photos because casts were made of most of the prints pictured here. I later went back and took more photographs with scale items of the prints that were not cast by me that night. Enjoy.