Bigfoot, Sasquatch, tedious old hoax – call it what you like, but the hairy beast remains one of the world’s most beloved and enduring mysteries.
For centuries, sightings of the evasive forest-dweller have been reported across North America and, since the advent of portable cameras, there’s been an endless stream of “snapshots” and “footage” of the monster.
One such video has recently been doing the rounds on TikTok, after it was shared by an influencer known as The Paranormal Chic.
In a clip captioned “Bigfoot is real”, the TikToker told her followers that she was posting the footage because she “firmly believe[s] it's one of the best recordings of what looks to be like a Bigfoot caught on camera.”
She explained that it was filmed using a drone by a Vermont-based YouTuber called Kens Karpentry, who was “looking for a mama bear in her cubs when he encountered this unidentified creature” at the end of last year.
The video shows the camera gliding over a snow-strewn forest as Ken’s voice can be heard gasping: “What in the world? What is that?”
As he continues to gush: “That’s incredible,” a tall, furry figure (which, to us, looks not dissimilar to a man in a gorilla costume) can be seen walking through the trees.
“No way. Are you serious?” the aghast-sounding Ken goes on, as he zooms in on the creature whose footsteps can clearly be heard crunching through the snow.
And yet, if you check out the original video, posted to YouTube, Ken makes it pretty clear it was all a light-hearted prank.
When one viewer wrote: “That's a KenSquatch! A very rare breed!” He replied simply: “Indeed.”
And when another said: “Ken, for years and years I've been a harsh critic of those who believed in Sasquatch, castigating and criticizing any who believed in such foolishness. But clearly your evidence is both irrefutable and unquestionable!” He wrote back: “Haha thanks for watching.”
Still, there has been renewed interest in the mythological man after authorities in New Mexico issued a “Bigfoot warning” to residents.
Earlier this month, the Taos County Sheriff’s Office shared a post to Facebook “reminding” its community of the “do’s and don’t’s when encountering Sasquatch”.
The instructions included: “Do not chase Bigfoot; do not yell at Bigfoot; do not feed Bigfoot,” but also, interestingly: “Do take pictures.”
Taos County Sheriff's Office/Facebook
And yet, for all of the jokes and hoaxes surrounding the legend, there are some important reasons why some people still genuinely believe the beast exists.
As journalist Ben Crair wrote in a 2018 article for Smithsonian Magazine: “The hunt for Bigfoot emulates an earlier mode of discovery, when new knowledge was not the product of advanced degrees and expensive machinery but rather curiosity, bravery, patience and survival.
“In the 19th century, the American landscape revealed its majesties to ordinary settlers pushing westward into territory unmapped by Europeans. To track Bigfoot today is to channel that frontier spirit (as well as to appropriate Native American traditions).”
He added: “Bigfoot also embodies other less romantic but no less enduring American traits, like gullibility and a hunger for attention.”
Crair pointed out that the quantity of fake Sasquatch “footage” had been exacerbated by social media, with one expert telling him that whilst he believes there is legitimate evidence of the creature’s existence, it's almost impossible to sort the wheat from the chaff.
“Technology has ruined the old cryptozoology,” Loren Coleman, founder of Portland’s International Cryptozoology Museum, told him.
“[Loren's] complaint echoes concerns in more mainstream American life, where technologies that promised to build consensus have, in fact, made the truth more difficult than ever to discern,” Crair continued.
“On the internet, Bigfoot has found a habitat much more hospitable than North American forests. It turns out that Bigfoot does not need to exist in order to live forever.”
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