The Bigfoot

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The presence of monsters, especially tales of large hairy monsters, is a global anthropological concern (Burgan, page 2). Stories of massive and tall hairy monsters are popular among North Americans, especially in the Northwest Pacific, where such creatures are said to have been seen by people in the wild forested areas. Bigfoot is a giant and gigantic humanoid figure who is said to have lived in North America's forested and wild regions. The monster is also known as Sasquatch, a term anglicized from the Halq'emeylem language name Sasq'ets, which means "wild man" (Cartmill, page 3). People who believe in the existence of Bigfoot or purport to have seen one describe them as hairy bipeds with the features of an ape and about eight feet tall. The creatures have corresponding large foot palm that leaves behind large footprints. They are described as nonaggressive animals that are shy with humanlike intelligence and elusive in nature that makes them hide in most cases. Hence they are rarely seen. However, some travelers of the wilderness claim to have smelled Bigfoot’s stench and heard their whistles and screams. The social claims and biological evidence that assert the existence of Bigfoots is the basis of this paper.

The term “Bigfoot” was established in 1958 after finding large apelike footprints in the county of Del Norte, California. The word is filled with controversy to non-believers of the existence of the Bigfoot phenomenon. However, to both believers and non-believers and even those who are just interested in observing, the term refers to a huge and tall hairy creature with an apelike shape. The mental visual impression that is created when one hears the name is usually the same among many people. The number of people claiming to have seen the creature has increased and is now in thousands which imply or points to the possibility of the existence of Bigfoot on the earth surface. The mysterious creature has attracted the attention of filmmakers in the reality television to make the creature one of the key characters in highly budgeted films. Such movies have attracted many fantasy movie lovers, creature-seekers and monster hunters with each of them hoping to bag a Bigfoot.

A handful of anthropologists like Grover Krantz of Washington State University and Jeff Meldrum from Idaho State University have adopted the biological approach to establishing the existence of Bigfoot. Their approach is based on a morphological analysis of the acclaimed footprints of the 1967 film footage claimed to be of a Bigfoot from Klamath Mountains in Northern California (Cowley & Cox, page 13). Some of these footprints were found to exhibit a ridge similar to the ones found in the 1980s by an employee of the US Forest Service in the Blue Mountains in the northeast of Oregon. However, the majority of scientists have remained skeptical and dismiss the Bigfoot phenomenon as a mistaken identification of elaborate hoaxes or unknown animal with prints which have been planted cleverly to deceive and cause confusion.

Over the years, tales of Bigfoot have become part of oral traditions as part of regional folklore. The historical trace of Bigfoot began in 1904 with descriptions of a "wild man" with a hairy body which later was to be the first account by settlers of the Coastal Range along the Sixes River. A similar account that followed later after several decades is traced to hunters and miners. Miners on St. Helen Mountain claimed to have been attacked by “giant apes.” It was in 1924 when this incident was reported, and it was covered so widely by the press in Oregon. The locals in the area used the event to openly discuss their knowledge about the mysterious creatures of the woods some of which they called “wild Indians” and tsiatko as documented by George Gibbs, an ethnographer in 1865.

After 1958, woodworkers in the eastern and western sides of Cascade Mountains reported having seen creatures and discovered their gigantic tracks alongside the logging roads, and it was at this point that public recognition of the name Bigfoot began. Witnesses who observed these humanoids reported that they saw them crossing roads at night and strive sneakily through the forests and mountains. Sometimes, they say they saw these creatures dig or eat ground squirrels from piles of rocks. Since then, Bigfoot become an occupational culture to loggers, as serious stories, fabricated prints, jokes, chainsaw sculptures or as playful pranks to some people. In the 1970s, Peter Byrne, a former Yeti- Hunter established the Bigfoot Information Center to document the testimonies of eyewitnesses and the footprints purported to belong to a new species of the primate family (Webb, page 16). Other people have followed the efforts of Byrne to search for more footprints in dirt and snowy places to ascertain the existence of such creatures.

Native Americans living in Oregon have continued to situate Bigfoot in their traditional beliefs. They identify Bigfoots with an in-depth cultural significance. Many tribes on the Oregon coast related Bigfoots with the ancient “wild men” tales recorded by Clara Pearson as creatures who lurked near people’s residence and left behind massive tracks. Some members of the Plateau tribes particularly those living on the Warm Springs Reservation, describe Bigfoots as “Stick Indians.” This version of the Bigfoot phenomenon describes Bigfoot as hostile creatures that stole salmon and confused people with their whistles, causing people to get lost. Slightly different but related stories and sightings have continued to go on reserve up to date to represent spiritual connections to the ancient past and cultural heritage.

In the modern days’ culture, Bigfoot have developed into sports mascots’ entertainment for children and even television reality shows. Tales about Bigfoots have been promoted into national celebrations and legislation. Some politicians in Washington and Oregon proposed bills aimed at protecting the creatures from hunters and the hairy humanoids believed to be Bigfoots have on several occasions served as state mascots such as the 1989 Washington’s Centennial as Harrison Bigfoot and the 2009 Oregon’s Sesquicentennial. Several writers have thoughtfully reflected on the traditions in literature which explore the shifting attitudes on the natural world. Through science and fictional writing, many writers have depicted Bigfoot as charismatic fauna that emerges in the modern environmental imagery as icons of enchantment and endangerment. These creatures are employed to outline connections between the humankind and the wild in regions with redeemable landscapes.

People should not only confuse North America to be the only home to Bigfoot. There are several other places on the planet that are or are claimed to have been inhabited by Bigfoot. For instance, according to Redfern, the vast wilderness in the mountain ranges of Russia that are covered with thick forests are said to be home to the beast type of the Bigfoot. They are known to the locals as Almasty (Redfern, page 11). According to the locals living in the villages near the ranges, “wild men” with pelt-covered bodies live in the mountains, and the “wild people” have nothing in common with the other human beings. The descriptions given by the locals match those descriptions given by the eyewitnesses in Oregon. Sightings of a cryptid apelike man similar to the tales from the Oregon are very widespread across Canada implying a possible habitation of Bigfoot in Canada (Redfern, page 45).

Conclusion

The existence of Bigfoot on the planet lacks a biological evidence, but the social and cultural perspectives give different but related accounts of eyewitnesses who claim to have seen Bigfoot. With in-depth documentaries on the subject matter by researchers such as Byrne in place, we cannot refute the existence of such creatures on the planet. Bigfoot is an essential resource with which most Oregonians and other residents in the Northwest define their identity in the natural world.

Works Cited

Burgan, Michael. The Unsolved Mystery Of Bigfoot. 1st ed. North Mankato, Minn.: Capstone Press, 2013. Print.

Cartmill, Matt. "Book Reviews: Bigfoot Exposed: An Anthropologist Examines America's Enduring Legend book Reviews: Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 135.1 (2008): 117-118. Web. 2 Feb. 2017.

Cowley, Stewart and Greg Cox. Searching For Bigfoot. 1st ed. New York: Rosen Central, 2012. Print.

Redfern, Nicholas. The Bigfoot Book. 2nd ed. Canton: Visible Ink Press, 2016. Print.

Webb, Stuart. Bigfoot And Other Ape-Men. 1st ed. New York: Rosen Pub., 2013. Print.

October 20, 2022
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Monster Fairy Tale Myths

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