Bob Gimlin says the world-famous Bigfoot footage made his life miserable.
It’s the most famous alleged Bigfoot video ever shot. By now you likely know the story. In October 1967, Roger Patterson convinced his friend Bob Gimlin to go out into the northern California mountains in search of a legend.
The 59 seconds of grainy footage they brought back are world-famous and have fallen under much criticism over the years.
In a recent interview with Outside Magazine, the now 84-year-old Gimlin talked about the impact of the famous footage, for better or for worse.
“It ruined me,” Gimlin told the magazine. At the time they shot the footage, Gimlin was 35. He told the magazine he’s been dealing with ridicule and criticism as a result of the film ever since. “My wife was a teller at a savings and loan institution,” Gimlin told the magazine. “Of course, she was sitting right there and the public would come in and make smart remarks.
“This went on and on and on until she came home crying,” Gimlin said. “She’d say, ‘I’m not tough enough.’ A couple times we were going to split over this.”
The ridicule was not limited to his wife’s workplace either. He also described the late-night mocking drive-bys of vehicles. “They’d come driving in my driveway all times of the night and go ‘Bob! We want to go out Bigfoot hunting!”
The negative attention caused Gimlin to quit talking about the incident in the years that followed. Especially after Patterson died in 1972 and Gimlin was left to face the criticism alone. It was enough that Gimlin told Outside Magazine he’d wished he’d never gone with Patterson on the expedition to find the legendary beast.
While Gimlin has denied a hoax for almost 50 years now, that hasn’t stopped others from coming forward and claiming otherwise. In 2004, costume maker Phillip Morris claimed to have made the suit and sold it to Patterson and another man named Bob Hieronimus claimed he was the one that donned the suit.
Many saw this as the end of the story. Other believers claimed they, along with author Greg Long who wrote a book on the claims, had nothing but circumstantial evidence. “I consider Bob Gimlin a liar,” Long told Outside Magazine. “I think he’s a con artist.”
To this day Morris and Hieronimus have produced no other evidence other than multiple eyewitness testimony to the events leading up to the filming.
It wasn’t until 2003 that Gimlin finally finally started talking more openly about the incident at Bigfoot conventions. Outside of the conventions, he lives a quiet life as a retired rancher.
And his mostly quiet life is, to me anyway, has always said more about the incident than any one of the speeches he’s given.
I’ve always felt if Gimlin is lying, it makes no sense for the guy to continually defend what he saw that day over and over and over again in the face of unrelenting ridicule for the past 50 years. Why risk something like his marriage for a joke? I don’t know about you, but if I were a part of a huge hoax, I would have cracked under the pressure years before. Even it meant being charged with fraud in the process.
You know something? I believe Bob Gimlin. Or rather, I believe that he believes in what he saw that day. I’m not saying the film is real. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But I’ve wondered before if maybe Gimlin was just an unknowing pawn brought in as an extra witness to Patterson’s story. Maybe he’s just another victim of the world’s greatest hoax. It would be a rotten thing to do, but who’s to say that didn’t happen?
Until someone pulls a dusty old gorilla suit out a California attic and can definitively tie it to Patterson or Gimlin, I say we at least give Gimlin the benefit of the doubt. After all, it’s been 50 years, hasn’t he been ridiculed enough?
Besides, it may seem silly at times, but who doesn’t enjoy a good monster story once in a while?