51 year ago today, the world of Cryptozoology moved into the zeitgeist. Whilst the discipline was already in the early stages of its development, notably due to the Shipton photo and the work of Ivan Sanderson, John Keel and Bernard Heulvemans, it was the Patterson- Gimlin film that brought this wonderful weird subject into the public consciousness.
Almost overnight, the footage became world famous and Patti, as the creature became known, entranced and intrigued millions around the world. Bob Gimlin still maintains the story of the famous day and despite continual sceptics claiming it was simply a man in the suit, many believe it to be true. Yet they’ve never flinched from unrelenting criticism over the film, having his and Roger Patterson honesty and integrity questioned and ridiculed year after year.
The video has been dissected, analysed and forensically examined and once again, the experts are split. We’ve had people claim they were in the suit, they own the suit or the made the suit. No one can produce the suit. Others claim it was simply special effects, yet Planet of the Apes was released the following year, clearly looking like men dressed as monkeys. We’ve never seen anything comparable until at least 30 years later.
Despite rumours to the contrary, the story never changed. Patterson until his death of cancer in 1972 continued to say it was true, Gimlin spoke rarely until 2005 and is now a well known personality in the Cryptozoological field and a familiar sight at Bigfoot conventions in North America. He has never waivered.
Until someone can categorically repeat this footage using the tools of the time, I will continue to believe that the footage is compelling evidence of the existence of a large hominid in North America, so Happy Birthday Patti.