The excessively debated Roger Patterson film of an alleged Bigfoot has been volleyed about in so many ways by so many people who accept it or reject it, (or just plain have an opinion about it), for so long that an entire book could be written about the controversy alone. And though many minds have changed a little, and a few minds have changed a lot, and even fewer minds have changed completely; overall, in the last forty years, neither side has succeeded in changing the mind of the other as to whether the creature is genuine or a hoax.
The film has been analyzed, probed, enhanced, slowed, enlarged, scrutinized, filtered, stilled, etc, in an attempt to support the observations and interpretations of the opposing sides, but always in vain. Each side sees their own observations as proof sufficient to accept or reject the film while dismissing the observations of the opposing side for whatever reason. The tenacious stand of each side is a very strong indication that the Patterson film, in and of itself, is not going to settle the debate any time soon, if ever.
When the observations from film analysis of each side are rejected by the other, quite often they turn to supporting arguments to maintain their stand. Those who believe the film is a hoax will often state that "many scientists" believe the Patterson film is of a man in a suit. They rarely offer names to back this statement up, but doing so would be moot, because most of the opposing side is already well aware that the majority of mainstream science does not believe in Bigfoot, and regards the film as a hoax. Still, the opposing side tries to rationalize the rejection of mainstream science by pointing out that the majority isn't always right. While this is certainly true, the majority isn't always wrong either. In fact, (in present day science) the majority is right a great deal more often than it is wrong. A few of those who believe in Bigfoot will nevertheless demand to know who these "many scientists" are. Jeff Meldrum mentions a fair number of them in his book, "Sasquatch-Legend Meets Science", but all anyone really needs to do is look up the name of a reputable scientist, and realize that there's a 95% chance that whoever belongs to that name believes that the Patterson film is a hoax. Anyone who rejects or dismisses that fact is in denial or delusional, pure and simple.
I must fretfully admit that some skeptics make use of some incredibly ignorant arguments in an attempt to disprove the Patterson film, but I'm not going there; I'll let the "believers" point those arguments out if they wish. Instead, I would like to highlight the ignorant arguments of those who try to prove that Bigfoot is real and is in the Patterson film. While there are many such arguments, (a few of which I touched on in "Namedropping" and
), for the sake of brevity, there are only three upon which I would like to concentrate in this article.
The first argument I would like to bring up is the occasionally quoted 1969 interview of Disney executive Ken Peterson by John Green which is mentioned by Grover Krantz in his own argument to support the Patterson film. After viewing the Patterson film, Ken Peterson is quoted as saying, "that their technicians would not be able to duplicate the film".
Before going further, I would like to point out that this is a man who is quoting a man who is quoting a man; which has never been a reliable ingredient for accuracy. Still, let's give Dr. Krantz the benefit of the doubt, and treat the argument as if it is accurate; as far as I know, Ken Peterson never denied the quote, so it may very well be accurate.
Dr. Krantz uses this quote to support his argument by stating that if the Disney personnel, who were among the best special effects technicians at that time, could not duplicate Patterson's film, then it would have been very unlikely that Patterson could have faked it.
If the argument were water tight, the reasoning would be sound, but there are clear glitches in the argument which destroy its foundations: Ken Peterson is a businessman, not a special effects man or film technician; therefore his quote is clearly opinion, not fact. Also, he speaks for the technicians, but nowhere do we see any of them corroborate his statement. So, even if he was experienced enough to know what he's talking about (and I'm aware of nothing indicating that he is), it's still the word of one man that is in no way backed up by those for whom he's speaking. Additionally, in 1969 Ken Peterson produced a 24 minute documentary titled "Man, Monster, and Mysteries", which can be seen in the bonus material of the "Pete's Dragon" DVD. This leads to the possibility of one or two things:
1.) Ken Peterson had some kind of interest in Bigfoot, or "monsters" which, may have biased his opinion of the Patterson film.
2.) Footage from the Patterson film is included in the documentary, which means that, as a businessman, Ken Peterson may have envisioned financial potential in the film. A potential that would have crumbled had he said something like, "Oh yeah, our technicians could easily duplicate that."
Anyway you look at it, the possibility of bias is undeniably seen here. The argument is, therefore, so full of holes that it holds about as much water as a fish net.
The second argument I would like to approach isn't used as often as it once was. Common sense has prevailed over most "believers", but there are still a few who demand, "If the Patterson film is of a man in a suit, then show us the suit!" The demand is extremely ludicrous. There are, no doubt, those who would accuse me of blowing hot air and copping out by simply calling the demand ludicrous, but instead of explaining the obvious to them, I'll make them a deal:
"The Perils of Pauline" is a 1967 movie in which a man in a gorilla suit can be seen. The man in the suit was stunt coordinator Max Kleven (who also went by "Max J. Kleven" and "Max Klevin"). If you can find where that gorilla suit is today, and prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that it is indeed the suit that was used in the above mentioned movie, I'll grant that your demand to see the Patterson suit is not an entirely preposterous one. Just to be fair, the year of the movie is the same as the Patterson film, and if you click on the lobby card, you'll see all the IMDB information about the movie to help you on your way. And simply saying it's in such and such a warehouse, or in someone's personal collection, or some movie memorabilia museum, or destroyed, etc, isn't going to fly. I want absolute proof; just as you would demand absolute proof if I said I had the Patterson suit. If, however, with all the information provided by IMDB, you cannot locate the present whereabouts of the gorilla suit, or its fate, then you will understand why I believe the demand to see a suit with virtually no traceability is extremely ludicrous, not to mention stupendously idiotic.
The third argument I would like to tackle is the incessantly frequent demand to duplicate the film; the argument being that if the film is such an easily made fake, then why is nobody duplicating it to show how easy it is to fake.
Believers in the Patterson film contradict themselves with such a statement in the sense that they insist that just because Bigfoot hasn't absolutely been proven to exist doesn't mean it cannot exist, and yet they hypocritically make the opposite claim about the duplication of the Patterson film; it hasn't been duplicated, because it can't be duplicated. Their belief collides with itself with opposing logic. What is applied to Bigfoot must also be applied to the Patterson film.
And they should ask themselves; would a successful duplication of the film convince "believers" that the Patterson film is a hoax? No, absolutely not. A few might sway slightly in their beliefs, but the vast majority of "believers" would steadfastly cling to their cryptozoological Holy Grail. A duplication would be a huge waste of time, energy, and finances, and those talented filmmakers who believe the Patterson film is a hoax are fully aware of that. Especially when the "believers" emphatically state that a duplication can never be made, which is a clear indication that they have already made up their minds about what they're going to see, no matter how good the duplication might be. "Believers" aren't really asking why no one has made (or tried to make) an acceptable duplication. Instead, they're saying that no one can make a duplication that they will ever accept; so what would be the point?
Another problem I have with this argument is that the "believers" only give us half of it. They always demand duplication of the hoax, but never offer duplication of the Sasquatch. Don't demand repeatability if you're not willing to give it. But you can't give it, can you? In forty years, no one has filmed another Sasquatch with such a powerful and enduring effect. Perhaps it's because Patterson didn't film a Sasquatch either. If one can be filmed, so can another, and another, and another. The fact that it hasn't happened should cause one to rationally ponder substantial reasons instead of irrationally re-evaluating the usual empty excuses.
You want to see the Patterson film duplicated ... done! But it has to be a trade; you bring me a real live Sasquatch, and I'll give you a real live hoax.
There are many other supportive arguments for the Patterson film I have problems with, and most of them are attached to "maybes" and "what ifs", which, more often than not, kills the argument before it even has a chance to breathe. Perhaps I'll cover more of them in future articles.
It may be futile to argue against interpretation of analysis of the Patterson film, but all the supportive arguments for the film being of a genuine Sasquatch stand on the weakest of legs.