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How Not to Plan a Hoaxed Filming
By Roger Knights

There are many obviously objectionable points associated with the Patterson/Gimlin film.  Some skeptics have seized on these as handy sticks with which to pummel it.  But one could turn their case on its head and argue the opposite:  that even rudimentary planning would have eliminated such predictably problematic stuff.  To wit:

  • “Red-flag” behavior by Patterson, Gimlin, or “Patty”;
  • Bells & whistles—these are costly & troublesome.  (Keep It Simple, Stupid.)

Thus, the very fact that so many easy-to-foresee red flags and unnecessary complications were involved implies a lack of foresight, which implies a lack of planning, which implies the absence of a commercially motivated hoax. 

Suppose you’re planning how NOT to film a successful Bigfoot hoax.  You’d be well advised to incorporate these red-flags and risky/costly bells-and-whistles:

  1. Don’t buy the camera you use. (Although it’ll become a valuable artifact.)
  2. Allow the rental period on the camera to be exceeded, and be jailed for not returning it on time.  (That’ll add to your credibility!)
  3. Use a better-than necessary (16 mm) camera that reveals objectionable details, like uniform hair length, too long-foot length, etc.  [Thanks to Bigfoot Forums (BFF) member “Toe Toe.”]
  4. Ask along a second witness, greatly complicating things (if he is unwitting), or adding to the expense (if he is “witting”).
  5. Ask along two third witnesses (ditto).  (Track Record #35, p. 4, and #97, p. 2.)
  6. Boast that you’re going to film a Bigfoot, making your encounter seem non-accidental.
  7. Use horses.  (They complicate the story, could fail to rear, and add expense.)  [Thanks to BFF member “HarryHenderson”]
  8. Have the two witnesses disagree on many details, such as the creature’s smell, stride, and height, and whether or not Patterson’s horse fell on him, or he slid off it (according to Gimlin).  (See Barbara Wasson’s Sasquatch Apparitions, p. 68.)  “Let’s get our stories straight”— someone amongst every group of plotters utters that classic line, both in countless popular thrillers, and in the real world.  Virtually all commercially motivated plotters rehearse. But not P or G—so perhaps they plotted nothing.  (Note—the differences in P & G’s stories were not forced out of them cross-examined separately, which is the way suspicious contradictions emerge in the tales of conspirators, but popped up the first times they were asked merely to tell their stories by interviewers (e.g., on radio interviews together).  Nor were they about minor aspects of the tale they hadn’t anticipated being asked about, but were about its central aspects.)
  9. Estimate the creature’s weight at half of what would be a reasonable guess, and a few years later revise your estimate, causing skeptics to accuse you of unreliability.
  10. Don’t photograph a human or stick to provide scaling.  (Doubt is the result.)
  11. Stage the event at a site with the reassuring name of Bluff Creek. 
  12. Film in a location near a road, where someone might stumble on the crew.
  13. Film in an awkward, out-of-the-way part of the country, and hang around the site for over two weeks before the shot—a waste of resources and time.
  14. Include characteristics in the suit that scientists are sure to object to, such as:
    • Features not encountered among female apes, such as a sagittal crest, large hairy breasts, a bulky, heavily muscled torso, and a bold, dominating stride. 
    • A human-like stride, not the “lumbering” gait friendly scientists expected, and not different at first glance from the walk of an actor in an ape-suit.
    • A foot length that doesn’t agree with the length of stride for a human. 
    • No strong directional grain to the hair and little irregularity in hair-length.
    • A light-colored foot-sole, wrapping slightly up around the edges of the foot.
    • A rear-projecting heel.
    • An unlikely, half-human face, like nothing in art or nature.
    • Any type of face. (Showing it would only raise objections, and in any event would be difficult to make realistic. [Thanks to BFF member “Cochise” for the last point.])
  15. Fail to contact scientists who believe in hominids, like Boris Porshnev.
  16. Add oddities like a hernia on the thigh and a large skin tag (or tumor) on the breast.
  17. Claim a Friday filming, making it impossible to process the film over the weekend.
  18. Claim to have done so anyway.
  19. Be penny-wise and have the film developed by an unnamable moonlighting camera-shop employee.  (Although a “clear chain of custody” is a must.)
  20. Show the film on Sunday, an almost-impossibly short time-line, despite the lack of any need for a speedy showing.
  21. Show the original print repeatedly to visiting BF buffs, so it will get scratched and scuffed, instead of making viewing copies of the film immediately.
  22. Put the priceless film in the mail, instead of hand-carrying it to a developer.
  23. Don’t invite the press to the dramatic first showing, or to the film’s processing.
  24. Forget the filming speed. (Another gold star on your credibility score-sheet.)
  25. Lose the original copy of the first reel, and also all copies of the second reel.

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Revision History
This article was originally published in Bigfoot Times, March 2004 and Bigfoot Co-op, April 2004. Items 19-24 were added for this version.

 
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