|A Closer Look At Ivan Marx|
Many Bigfoot enthusiasts and advocates are very familiar with Ivan Marx. Some consider him a prominent pioneer of Bigfoot research, others look down on Marx's contributions to Bigfoot research as deceptive and fraudulent. Considering Marx's suspiciously phenomenal success at finding and filming evidence of Bigfoot, it is not unreasonable to take sides with those who are skeptical of Marx's unmatched prolific success, and it will be the purpose of this article to substantiate that skepticism.
An exhaustive approach toward Marx's life will not be taken here; his "Bigfoot activities" and association with other Bigfoot research pioneers will be sufficient for this article. Still, it may be of later interest to nevertheless point out that some of the people who knew Ivan Marx claim that he did some work with Disney studios, assisting with animals in some of Disney's nature shows. They also claim that his wife, Peggy, sewed costumes for Disney studios. Also of interest is the fact that Ivan Marx was part of the Tom Slick Northwest Expedition in 1960, which is likely where he picked up some of the skills and knowledge he would need for his future escapades.
Ivan Marx was born in Illinois in 1921, and later lived in Burney, California with his wife Peggy. In the late 60's, he moved to Bossburg, Washington. By all accounts, Bossburg was something of a ghost town at that time, leaving one to wonder why Marx would move to that location. In his movie, "The Legend of Bigfoot", Marx simply states that he had run out of money while searching for Bigfoot in Northern California, and had found work in Bossburg, but I could find no record of him holding any kind of job there, nor could I find any statements about him working in Bossburg in any capacity. This by no means proves that Ivan Marx did not have work in Bossburg, but all accounts that I could find of his activities in Bossburg strongly indicate that he had all the time in the world to do as he wished, when he wished.
That Ivan Marx would leave a well established home in Burney to take up work, which doesn't seem to have existed, in a North Washington ghost town makes little sense. There is no record that he knew anyone in that area who could have informed him of any work, or any indication that he learned of work up there. All accounts, including Marx's own, simply say he went there, and then found work. One can only speculate on Marx's reasons for blindly moving to a ghost town, which, in light of the events associated with him there, leaves one reason to speculate suspiciously.
Among Bigfoot Advocates, when mentioning the name Ivan Marx, what usually comes to mind is the Cripplefoot trackway, to which Marx is most popularly associated. To say that the Cripplefoot tracks were the first Bigfoot tracks found in Bossburg would not be entirely accurate, and yet, not necessarily incorrect. Author Kenneth Wylie in his book "Bigfoot" claims to have heard a BBC interview in which a gentleman named Ray Pickens confesses to having faked Bigfoot prints around Coleville, a town southeast of Bossburg. One source has the interview possibly occurring in 1968, and another source claims the interview took place in 1971, the same year that Pickens had confessed his hoax to several newspapers. Either way, since the Cripplefoot tracks were discovered in 1969, the Pickens hoax would have been too early or too late to have any nefarious association with the Cripplefoot tracks. Because the newspaper interviews took place in 1971, I am inclined to believe the BBC interview also took place in 1971; and so I feel comfortable stating that the Cripplefoot tracks are most likely the first recorded alleged Bigfoot tracks in that area of Washington.
The first tracks were reportedly found shortly after Marx's arrival to Bossburg by a Coleville butcher named Joe Rhodes, who, according to the majority of reports, appears to have told no one but Marx about his discovery. Marx's association with Rhodes is blurry at best. A few anonymous sources claim that Rhodes gave meat scraps to Marx's hunting dogs, to explain their acquaintance. While it is not unlikely that Marx would own hunting dogs, I could find nothing that verified him owning hunting dogs in Bossburg. A few anonymous sources, claiming to quote newspaper articles, state that Marx was training hunting dogs. A more reliable source mentions only one dog owned by Marx in Bossburg, and it was not what anyone would normally call a hunting dog. More about that later.
I combed the internet as well as my personal library of Bigfoot books and could find nothing that elaborated on the initial discovery of the cripplefoot tracks. Most reports say only that Joe Rhodes found them near a garbage dump, and then informed Ivan Marx. Some of the reports speculate that Rhodes told Marx first, because he was a known Bigfoot researcher. Without detailed information, we can only speculate on the details of the initial discovery, and, after you have read this article, you will see that we have justifiable reason to, again, speculate suspiciously.
On November 24, 1969, Apollo 12, the second manned mission to the moon, splashed safely down in the Pacific Ocean, U.S. Army officials announced that 1st Lt. William Calley would be court-martialed for the premeditated murder of 109 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai, the United States and the Soviet Union ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Joe Rhodes, a butcher from Colville, discovered large human-like bare footprints near a garbage dump in Bossburg, Washington.
While there are numerous records on the Apollo 12 splash down, the Calley court-martial, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, all offering pages and pages of corroborative details which absolutely confirm the events and the date of their occurrence, there is very little documentation about the discovery of evidence that could possibly lead to what would be no less than an astounding zoological and evolutionary breakthrough for science. The little documentation that can be found is greatly lacking in detail, inexcusably uncorroborated, and so carelessly recorded that one cannot even be sure of the alleged date of the initial discovery ... or the discoverer.
The reasons for the sparse and spotty documentation of the Bossburg events will be discussed later. Right now, it is only necessary to point out that the date of the initial discovery and the person who made the discovery, as it is reported in so many books and internet sites (if it's reported at all), may not be entirely accurate or correct.
Before I go into the question of exactly when the initial discovery took place, I would first like to dwell a bit on the man who allegedly made the discovery. One would think that as big a deal as the Bossburg prints are to Bigfoot enthusiasts, that there would be a substantial bit of information on the man who first discovered them. Yet all we know about him from the reports are his name, his occupation at the time of the discovery, and where he worked. Nothing about how he came to discover the prints, his opinion about them, or anything else that might have been pertinent to the discovery. It's as if the mere discovery of the prints made them real, and that's all that mattered.
Being the skeptic that I am, and considering that Joe Rhodes is only superficially mentioned in the whole Bossburg affair, I suspected that he might not even exist, and was only a fabrication of Ivan Marx, who made Rhodes the initial discoverer to divert any possible future suspicion that he may have hoaxed all the tracks, in light of what he seems to have planned later on. But I learned that Joe Rhodes was a real live human being who worked as a butcher in Colville, Washington, just as all the reports stated. However, I still suspect that Joe Rhodes may have been used as a hoaxing tool. but whether or not Ivan Marx is responsible for all the reports pointing to Joe Rhodes as the initial discoverer remains a matter in question.
I went searching through newspaper archives, that didn't require my credit card number, to see what I could learn about Joe Rhodes. Unsurprisingly, there was very little. A blurb in the Spokane Daily Chronicle written September 4, 1952 reports that Joe Rhodes, who had a wife and two children (which would later be four), sold his house in Colville to Mr. and Mrs. Albert Barth after being transferred from the Safeway Market meat department in Colville, where he had worked for two years, to the Safeway Market meat department in Chewelah, 25 miles away. Apparently, Rhodes avoided the commute, believing he was going to make roots in Chewelah. But according to Rhodes' obituary, he returned to Colville shortly after moving to Chewelah. In the end, Rhodes was returned to Chewelah, to be interred in the Chewelah Memorial Park Cemetery.
From his obituary we learn that Joe Franklin Rhodes, a resident of Colville, Washington, was born November 7, 1930, and died July 18, 2002. He worked for the Forest Service, probably for the summer, after graduating from high school in 1949, and then in 1950, began working in the produce and meat departments for Safeway Market. The obituary states that Rhodes worked for Safeway for five years, which would be until 1955, and then did some work in home construction for a while, but it also states that Rhodes worked for various markets as a meat cutter from 1952 to 1968. The obituary skips Rhodes' life from 1969 to 1975, simply saying that he did some work as a building contractor, and then states that in 1976 he worked as a mill carpenter until retiring in 1991.
If the obituary is correct, Rhodes only worked as a butcher until 1968, leaving one to wonder if some of the Bossburg reports about him being a butcher at the Colville IGA store near the end of 1969 are accurate, and if not, how was Rhodes actually employed at that time? The obituary makes no mention of Rhodes' discovery of the Bossburg footprints. Apparently those who wrote the obit didn't see the discovery as a highlight in Rhodes' life. Or, perhaps Rhodes didn't really make the initial discovery.
Many of the reports I read simply state that Joe Rhodes made the initial discovery, without specifying when or where. Three sites that quoted René Dahinden have the discovery occurring in October of '69, while many other reports give the discovery date as November 24 of the same year. An article found on page 10 of the Spokane Daily Chronicle, issued December 6, 1969 also gives the discovery month as November, but earlier than the 24th.
In the article, the owner and manager of a Colville radio station named Norm Davis (who would play a large part in the Bossburg episode) claimed that his wife, Carol, had received a phone call on the 20th of November from a newsman telling her that Ivan Marx had discovered tracks that he believed were made by Sasquatch. Whether the newsman learned of the discovery that day, or earlier, is unknown. It is also unknown how long it may have taken the newsman to get wind of the discovery after it had been made. All we know for sure is that it is highly unlikely to have occurred as early as October, and that a news article written near to the time of discovery has it occurring earlier than the oft quoted 24th of November. Basically, nobody truly seems to know the precise day that the initial discovery occurred.
Later in the article, Davis states that Ivan Marx became acquainted with Joe Rhodes when Rhodes, in the capacity of a butcher, gave Marx meat scraps for his cougar farm. I found several reports from anonymous sources stating that the meat scraps were for Marx's hunting dogs, as I mentioned earlier, but this is the only source stating that the scraps were for Marx's cougar farm. In fact, there is no mention of a cougar farm in anything else I read about Ivan Marx. Davis goes on to state that Rhodes told Marx about a woman who claimed to see a huge animal as she was driving down a highway. The woman reported the sighting, but according to Davis, the Sheriff's department simply dismissed it as a bear. Davis states that despite law enforcement's lack of concern, Rhodes told Marx he should keep his eye open for unusual tracks while he was hunting. Davis then states that Ivan Marx, not Joe Rhodes, discovered tracks near the dump in the early fall, about 100 yards from where the woman claimed to see a huge animal. To support Davis's statement, in Marx's film, "The Legend of Bigfoot", Marx takes full credit for finding all the Bossburg tracks. If this is true, it adds more weight to the tracks being hoaxed. As a note: If René Dahinden was told that the initial discovery occurred in early fall, that may explain why he is quoted as saying that it occurred in October.
So, according to statements made by Norm Davis in a news article written just a month after the discovery, it was Ivan Marx who initially discovered the footprints, and not Joe Rhodes. Is it possible that Norm Davis simply got the story wrong? Absolutely, but it's important to note that most of the testimony I read came from people who arrived days or weeks after the initial discovery, while Davis, unlike the others, was actively there during the initial discovery. I believe that's enough to cast doubt on who truly made the initial discovery of the footprints.
Davis continues, in the article, to claim that he and his wife accompanied Marx and Rhodes to the dump to look for more tracks, which they found. He does not say who was leading the group, or who first spotted the tracks. He claims they found six prints, with the left print measuring 17˝ inches, and looking very human. He also claimed that the stride was measured at 57 inches. This is the only reference to the length of the stride in any of the Bossburg tracks. There is no mention of the method used to measure the foot and the stride length. Strangely, there is also absolutely no mention at all of the right foot being deformed. In fact, in all the reports I read, very few mention a cripplefoot in the initial discovery. Nevertheless, Davis claims they made casts of a pair of the six footprints, and there is a photo of a wildlife agent (whom Davis called) posed next to Marx, looking at those casts, and one of them is unquestionably the cripplefoot.
In summary, not only do we not know the exact date of the initial discovery, we also do not know precisely who made that discovery. It is easy to say that Davis simply got his facts twisted, and that it was indeed Joe Rhodes who discovered the footprints, but then we have to ask ourselves why Rhodes was not also in the photo with the wildlife agent, or what Rhodes was doing twenty three miles from home at a dump in Bossburg on a Monday. Sure, he could have been there for any number of valid reasons, and opted not to be in the photo, but it still seems more likely from all my research that it was, in fact, Ivan Marx who made the first discovery, as well as every other discovery thereafter, and not Joe Rhodes, who didn't even get credit for it in his obituary.
Nobody questions the fact that Ivan Marx is the one who later discovered the Bossburg tracks that extended to about half a mile. That is, if you don't include an unknown number of unidentified people, according to René Dahinden, who had parked their jeep in the area where Marx discovered the tracks. Dahinden claims that he was later able to locate the occupants of the jeep, and learn that they had seen the tracks and then fled. There is no mention made as to whether they had discovered the tracks before Marx, or had seen them shortly after Marx rushed back to the vehicle to excitedly tell the others what he had just found. But, since Marx is given the credit in many publications, then for the sake of this article, I shall also give him the credit.
Two other men were with Marx the day he discovered the trackway: René Dahinden, and a young local man named Jim Hopkins. They had searched several areas around Bossburg, including an area where Dahinden had scattered meat scraps earlier. Near a railway crossing, Marx stopped the group so he could check a meat cache. It was there that he made his discovery. The discovery that some say keeps them on the fence between skepticism and belief, and that many say largely contributes to their belief in Bigfoot.
As we evaluate the track way, it should be noted that it was near a road, allowing for easy discovery, that the tracks just happened to be in the area of a meat cache that Marx wanted to check that day, and that it conveniently ended on hard surfaces where the tracks could no longer be followed. But those facts are often overlooked or dismissed in favor of three other items that many people find the most important and compelling evidence of the trackway discovery.
First, there are the 1,089 "definable" prints that Dahinden claims he counted, which most Bigfoot advocates claim is ridiculously extreme for even the most ardent hoaxer. Then there is the forty-three inch high, tightly strung, five-strand wire fence, crossed four times, that fails to deter the path of whatever (or whoever) made the prints, which, according to many Bigfoot enthusiasts, would be extremely difficult, if not impossible for any hoaxer to do. And finally, there is the deformed right foot, which most Bigfoot advocates, including a few anthropologists, believe would be very unlikely to fake by an unlearned man ... like Ivan Marx.
The deformed foot will be looked at closely later in the article. Right now, I would like to focus on the claims insisting that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to hoax half a mile of tracks and get past a barbed-wire fence wearing big phony feet.
Over and over again, I have read internet posts, or heard in a discussion, that no hoaxer in his right mind would leave half a mile of prints. They claim that it would simply not be worth it to any hoaxer to spend such an excessive amount of time and effort on a hoax. I have to wonder how many people who make such claims have actually walked in shallow snow. I have seen men in their eighties cover a mile in six inches of snow in less than an hour. Knowing this, I cannot see how Ivan Marx, if he were to perpetrate this hoax, being a man as accustomed to the woods as he was, would not easily be able to walk around in "Sasquatch feet" for about half a mile in far less than an hour. Surly, a mere half hour or so of planting phony prints in the snow would be well worth a hoaxer's time, if he had an agenda. In fact, you might even say the conditions were ideal for hoaxing a lengthy track way. The snow was shallow enough for ease of walking, but deep enough to make good tracks; and the ground was frozen, excusing a would be hoaxer from having to pound the prints deep into the ground to effect Bigfoot's alleged great weight.
As for it being too difficult, if not impossible, for a human with phony feet attached to his boots or shoes to get over a forty-three inch high, five-strand wire fence ... well, that's just foolish nonsense. During the summers that I worked on a farm, getting to the other side of a barbed-wire fence was as easy as breathing. And the tighter the fence was strung, as they say the Bossburg fence was, the easier it was to cross over. When we needed to cross over a barbed-wire fence, and it was strung tight, we would simply walk up the strands like a ladder or stairs, and fall to the other side. I saw more than a few farmers and farm hands come down on the other side on one foot, and keep on walking as though the fence hadn't even been there. It was second nature to us, and I'm sure that many men experienced at crossing a fence like that could have easily done so with phony feet on, or even swim fins, for that matter.
Ivan Marx was no stranger to the woods, or barbed-wire fences. That anyone believes that he, or any other experienced woodsman could not easily leave half a mile of tracks, and negotiate a simple barbed-wire fence makes little sense.
As a final note, though the tracks of the initial discovery were said to have an unusually large stride, no such comment was made about the track way, as far as I have been able to learn. If there is, in fact, no record of the track way stride being measured, it could mean that measurements were indeed made, but not recorded, or no one bothered to take measurements, or the stride of the track way prints was not unusually large, and did not merit notice. If the third possibility is true, it would strongly indicate the probability of a hoaxer who carelessly, or lazily, failed to take wide strides for about half a mile.
While I have not proven that the track way was unquestionably hoaxed. I believe I have shown with simple common sense that it could easily have been hoaxed, and that it is far from out of the question for Ivan Marx to have been the hoaxer. Even those closest to Marx spoke of the probability of him being a storyteller and a hoaxer, which is something I'll be discussing a bit more about, later.
The news of the Bossburg tracks quickly spread among the Bigfoot research pioneers, and they began converging upon the area to do their own discovering and investigating. During this opportune gathering, a local prospector named Joe Metlow devised a devious little scam.
Without going into detail, as it has little to do with Ivan Marx, it is only necessary to note that Joe Metlow announced that he had captured a Bigfoot, which got the immediate and rapt attention of the "Bigfoot group." Metlow dodged all requests to see the body, and changed his story with each dodge until everyone finally figured out that he had been lying through his teeth about having a body or body parts.
René Dahinden claims that he figured Metlow was lying, after his second dodge, to avoid producing a body. Dahinden was dismayed that the others did not also see it, and became disgusted with their irrationality in the whole matter. Dahinden expressed his disgust that the others' only interest in Bigfoot was borne of financial gain and greed.
An important point to note from the Joe Metlow episode is that it inadvertently served to bring out the true colors of Bigfoot research pioneers. The "Bigfoot group", which had been working together up until the time that Metlow announced his alleged capture, began vying for ownership of the nonexistent body. The battle for ownership divided the "group" into two camps, each outbidding the other for ownership. One camp was basically run by René Dahinden, and the other by Roger Patterson. The division, and childish bickering that occurred as a result, strongly contributed toward discouraging mainstream science from taking such researchers seriously. Only two Bigfoot research pioneers appear not to have taken a side; Ivan Marx, and John Green.
According to René Dahinden, Green was bouncing back and forth between camps to see which would offer him the best advantage to gaining access to the body. Ivan Marx, on the other hand, showed absolutely no interest at all in the claim made by Joe Metlow. Ivan separated himself from it all, declaring his neutrality, and continued to discover tracks all around the area.
Though Marx never claimed that he didn't believe Metlow's story, he did not jump on the opportunity to get his hands on an alleged body, as everyone else had. One could say that Marx showed definite signs of someone who didn't really believe there was a creature. Whether the apparent disbelief came from mistrusting Metlow (which Marx never implied), or from not believing in the existence of Bigfoot, can only be speculation. But it's an interesting point to ponder.
The Joe Metlow episode would be a lesson about greed and gullibility that would be repeated again and again by hoaxers and those who remain blindly hopeful. The only ones who aren't taken in, are those who know it's a lie, or are careful, or are skeptical, or just don't care. I wonder which could be applied to Ivan Marx.
Captured on Film
So far, I've shown how Ivan Marx's involvement with the Bossburg tracks has appeared suspect. But his suspicious actions don't end with the tracks. In fact, with his next move, Marx becomes even more suspect by leaps and bounds.
Near the end of the Joe Metlow scam, Marx told René Dahinden that he had filmed a crippled Bigfoot. According to Dahinden, a message was left at the Marx's home by an unidentified man while Marx and his wife Peggy were away. The message stated that an unknown creature was hit by a car or a train. A less reliable internet account gives a little more detail to the message, stating that the creature raced across the tracks to beat an oncoming train, but failed to see the truck, (driven by the man who left the message), on the other side of the tracks, which struck the creature, knocking it down. The report then alleges that the creature got up and ran into the side of the moving train.
Dahinden further states that Marx claimed to find the creature with the assistance of his dog. Though many accounts about Marx's life speak of him owning a pack of hunting or tracking dogs, the only mention of a "Bigfoot dog" comes from John Green who states that Ivan Marx owned a Chihuahua named Finky that Marx would work up by pretending to wind his tail, and then sic him on an imaginary Bigfoot in his house to entertain guests.
Dahinden also states that Tom Page offered Marx $25,000 if Marx would confirm the authenticity of the film, but Marx would not confirm the authenticity. Failing to confirm the film's authenticity was not the only thing Marx did to cast strong doubt on the film being of an authentic unknown creature.
According to both René Dahinden and Peter Byrne, two boys, who were present for the viewing of the film (being the sons of Don Byington; a man who assisted Ivan Marx), claimed that they recognized the area in the film as being on their father's land. Earlier, Marx told everyone that he filmed the creature in an area located far from Byington's land. At first, no one gave any heed to the boys' claim, but Byrne later had one of the boys take him to the area in question. There, Byrne saw that the boys were correct. Byrne publicized this discovery, and Marx retaliated by saying that Byrne had fixed up a part of Byington's land to look like the area in his film, but he refused to show anyone the area where he claimed to have actually taken the film.
Before Byrne discovered the fraud, he made a deal with Marx for the film, and sent what Marx said was the original film to an office for safe keeping. When he realized that Marx had been lying, he opened the container holding the film and found a few feet of Disney cartoons. When confronted with this fact, Marx simply told everyone that he didn't trust Byrne.
Another factor condemning the film's authenticity is that Marx was seen purchasing fur pieces shortly before allegedly filming the creature. René Dahinden, at first, dismissed the fur pieces as inconsequential, saying that the pieces were too small and of varied colors to make a believable suit, but later accused Marx's wife, Peggy, of making a suit out of fur pieces, but not necessarily out of the pieces he saw Marx purchase.
When the whole fiasco got a bit too hot for Ivan Marx, he fled back to Northern California. Some, who believe Marx is telling the truth about everything, say they don't blame him for leaving the area. But most wonder why a man who had such unprecedented success finding an incessant amount of Bigfoot evidence, as he did, would ever want to leave under any circumstances.
As a simple point of observation, I find it notable that when Marx fled, so did Cripplefoot. No further Cripplefoot tracks were found in any area around Bossburg, or anywhere else, for that matter.
Another observation, that many have made before me, is how incredibly phony Marx's film appears. The alleged creature hobbles around more like a circus clown than an injured animal. One could even argue that the film's subject is "acting" for the camera.
It doesn't require a great deal of observation to see that Ivan Marx is much more likely a Bigfoot hoaxer than a Bigfoot researcher. And that's just with what I have presented so far. There is a bit more that strongly contributes to the likelihood of Marx hoaxing everything he claimed to have discovered about Bigfoot, which I'll be discussing a bit later.
There is, of course, the argument that he would not, or could not have created the "crippled" track that makes the Bossburg discovery so unique. But that is simply not true.
People I have communicated with over the internet and in person about the Bossburg tracks have generally accepted that a hoaxer could indeed leave over a thousand prints, and be able to cross over a relatively high barbed wire fence, but almost all of them have refused to even remotely believe that a hoaxer could possess the knowledge necessary to fake the clear pathological defects in what is unquestionably a deformed or crippled foot. Their refusal to concede that a hoaxer could pull off such a stunt is not so much from their own deductive powers, but more from the statements of three anthropologists renowned in the realm of Bigfoot: John Napier, Grover Krantz, and Jeff Meldrum.
It doesn't seem to matter that mainstream science strongly disagrees with all three men, or that Napier and Krantz disagree with each other; all that seems to matter is that their statements support a need to believe, and that appears to be good enough for the Bigfoot advocate, who rarely reads anything about Cripplefoot beyond what those three had to say. As the saying goes; ignorance is bliss. On the occasions that they do read skeptical remarks, they are quick to say that they would rather take the word of cryptozoologically active scientists than the drivel of scientist-wannabe armchair-skeptics, despite the fact that the skeptics are often quoting or paraphrasing reliable scientists. Most of the Bigfoot advocates never stop to think that they, themselves, are gullible scientist-wannabe armchair-wishful thinkers, who, more often than not, are simply quoting unscientific nonsense.
Advocates argue that Krantz emphatically stated that no hoaxer could possess the knowledge to fake a disfigured foot that was so anatomically correct without possessing a strong knowledge of foot pathology. And advocates often refer to Napier's oft quoted, "It is very difficult to conceive of a hoaxer so subtle, so knowledgeable-and so sick-who would deliberately fake a footprint of this nature. I suppose it is possible, but it is so unlikely that I am prepared to discount it." Meldrum, to some extent, defends the statements of both men.
That Napier doubts that a hoaxer would be "so sick" as to deliberately fake a "footprint of this nature" shows his lack of deductive reasoning, even when the obvious deductions are right in front of his face. He condemned Marx's film of a crippled Bigfoot as a fake. Yet, after seeing that a man would be "so sick" as to deliberately film a crippled Bigfoot, he was still "prepared to discount" the fact that a hoaxer could be "so sick" as to deliberately fake a crippled or disfigured foot. Granted, he most likely examined the Cripplefoot prints before seeing the film, but he never recanted or changed his statement, if he in fact made the statement before seeing the film.
As for the claim that a knowledge of foot pathologies are required to fake a print like that of the cripplefoot, well, sometimes you have to wonder how some men become scientists. According to anthropologist David J. Daegling , who taught lower limb anatomy at the California College of Podiatric medicine, all that is needed to fake a print like Cripplefoot is a knowledge that foot pathologies exist, and the ingenuity to create enlargements of such pathologies. I have already shown in previously that Marx had just such ingenuity, and access to the required talent.
What seems to convince advocates more than anything else that the prints were made by a genuine creature is the reconstruction of the skeletal anatomy made by Krantz. But not because they know his reconstruction is correct, so much as it just looks correct, and further enforces their desire for the prints to have been made by an actual Bigfoot. However, Daegling points out that "...the inference of foot anatomy from a mere imprint of its plantar surface (the sole of the foot) is, in reality, a losing proposition." Daegling then goes on to show from his podiatric knowledge, as well as the observations of others, that Krantz's reconstruction and assessments cannot be correct.
Meldrum dismisses all skeptical approach to Krantz's reconstruction, basically saying that the skeptics don't know what they're talking about. Meldrum defends Krantz's reconstruction by stating that, "Krantz's placement of the tibiotalar joint was based not only on the cripple foot casts, but derives from his observations of the Patterson-Gimlin film subject as well." Incredibly, Meldrum is defending Krantz's reconstruction, in part, based on Krantz's observation of what is very likely a man in a suit. Daegling is challenging Krantz's assumptions based on scientific knowledge, while Meldrum is defending Krantz's assumptions based on even more assumptions. Gee, I wonder which is more reliable.
Another scientist who disagreed with Krantz was Napier, but only to the point that Napier believed the prints were human-like. Napier appears to be alone in this assessment, as it appears that everyone agrees with Krantz that the prints aren't human-like at all. The general consensus is that the prints are far too wide, especially at the heal, to be compared to anything human-like. For this reason, many advocates insist that the Bossburg prints could not have been made by simply enlarging a man's footprint. Daegling agrees that the prints could not have been created that way, but is not convinced that the prints could not still have been designed from a human source.
Daegling points out that the foot of an infant, or small child, appears proportionately wider than an adult foot; especially at the heel. So, even though it is unlikely that the prints could have been made from an enlarged foot of an adult, it is not out of the question that they could have been made from the enlarged foot of a small child.
Some scientists, including Jeff Meldrum, agree that the condition of the cripple foot could be from a birth defect known as Metatarsus Adductus. Due to the fact that the defect corrects itself over time with normal use of the foot in most cases, other assumptions have been made, but in my opinion, under the suspicion that the prints were indeed enlarged from the feet of a small child, Metatarsus Adductus is spot on. All that would be required to make the phony feet is a photograph, which could easily be found in any number of medical magazines, journals, books, or textbooks located in any nearby public or school library.
I typed " Metatarsus Adductus" into Google and the first thing that popped up was a photo, which appears to have been taken in the fifties or sixties, of the bottom of a child's feet. Such a photo could easily have been used to design Cripplefoot's feet. In fact, the similarity of the child's feet to the footprint casts is uncanny.
I'm going to guess that many advocates would say that Marx, a simple mountain guide and trapper, would lack the ingenuity to design such feet. They might be right, but someone designed and made the suits in his "Bigfoot" films that he claimed were of genuine creatures. In my opinion, anyone who can do that, can make a couple of feet from a picture.
Though this article does not definitively prove that the Cripplefoot tracks are fake, I believe, in light of everything else I've presented thus far, that it casts a huge shadow of doubt on the entire Bossburg incident. Even John Green, who initially lauded Marx's film as that of a genuine creature, later, after reevaluating the situation, and taking a close look at Ivan Marx, stated, "I tend now to write off the whole Bossburg episode to entertainment."
Final Remarks About Ivan Marx
Up till now, I have discussed:
That alone should be more than enough to cast a dark shadow of guilt on Ivan Marx as a Bigfoot hoaxer, and yet....
- Marx's ambiguous move from Northern California to Bossburg, Washington
- The likelihood that Marx was the sole discoverer of all the tracks
- Marx's suspicious disinterest in an alleged Bigfoot body despite the overwhelming interest and vicious contention of all his colleagues
- The relative ease with which over a thousand footprints could have been hoaxed, even while crossing a barbed wire fence four times
- Marx's film of an alleged injured Bigfoot. A film clearly coated with lies
- The dubious appearance of the tracks with Marx's arrival, and the sudden discontinuance of the tracks with his untimely departure
- The fact that Marx was both sufficiently capable and resourceful to hoax the crippled/deformed foot
The Bossburg film is not Marx's only success of capturing Bigfoot with a camera. It seems that just about every time Marx went out to film Bigfoot, he succeeded. There is even one shot of Bigfoot that Marx captures as he's filming from a small plane flying by in Alaska. His success is simply phenomenal. But then, Marx insisted that he had learned the secret of being able to locate Bigfoot. A secret he could have used to obtain a type specimen for science. And yet he never did. Gee, I wonder why.
As a note, I would like to point out that anyone who would go to all the trouble of positioning someone in a costume in the wilds of Alaska, and hiring a pilot to fly by that area so he could film "Bigfoot" in the "middle of nowhere" would be more than capable and willing to plant a half mile of phony tracks. It's laughable that many Bigfoot advocates insist that no one would go to such lengths to perpetrate a hoax.
Finally, considering all the success Ivan Marx had at locating Bigfoot and his tracks, I don't believe it's unfair to ask where all the corroborating evidence supporting all those discoveries can be found. Evidence such as hair, urine, scat, blood, etc, because according to Marx's testimonies, he encountered all those things, and yet failed to gather any of it for scientific evaluation. A few anonymous sources state that Marx sent hairs to England for analysis that reportedly could not be identified as belonging to any known animal, as well as finding fecal matter that contained "unknown" parasites. I could find nothing to support the statements about the hairs or fecal matter. What I did find, however, is a statement by Ivan Marx where he claims to have shot a Bigfoot that was charging his wife while she filmed it. The film shows the creature holding wounds in its hip and shoulder, which would indicate a lot of bleeding. Despite that fact, Marx failed to obtain even the tiniest blood sample. Does anybody really need to ask why?
If after reading everything I've written about Ivan Marx, people continue to believe he was a genuine Bigfoot research pioneer, more power to them. As for me, I'm convinced more than ever before that when it comes to anything Bigfoot, Ivan Marx is purely a hoaxer, nothing more, nothing less. Still, when it comes to hoaxing, no one can say he wasn't one of the best.
Sources for this article:
"Sasquatch" - Don Hunter with René Dahinden
"The Life and Times of a Legend: Bigfoot" - Joshua Blu Buhs
"Bigfoot Exposed" - David J. Daegling
"Sasquatch - Legend Meets Science" - Jeff Meldrum
"Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America" - Loren Coleman
Many Bigfoot-related forums throughout the internet