Posted by: Craig Woolheater on June 18th, 2011
Purported Bigfoot video that will be featured in this Sunday’s episode of Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet June 19, “Fishing For Bigfoot In Oregon.”
Before that day in June 2008, Caddis Fly owner Chris Daughters had guided his drift boat down the McKenzie River more than 2,000 times without seeing Bigfoot.
Nor did he notice a large, furry creature lumbering along the river banks on that particular trip.
But never underestimate the power of a mystery.
This Sunday, Daughters and his boat mate, Matt Stansberry, will be part of an hourlong “Finding Bigfoot” segment that’ll air at 10 p.m. on the Discovery Channel’s “Animal Planet” program.
Why? Because a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stretch of video taken of Daughters by Stansberry — neither of the two even noticed it until it was later called to their attention — shows what appears to be a Sasquatch-type creature on the far left side of the image.
If the Daughters-Stansberry footage hasn’t attained quite the same renown as the Patterson-Gimlin footage that triggered the Bigfoot debate in 1967, the pair’s YouTube segment has gotten more than 107,000 hits. In addition, Bigfoot-oriented sites that have attached the link have probably doubled that number.
“I think there’s something to it,” says Greg Hatten, a McKenzie River guide and winner of the 2008 McKenzie Two-Fly Tournament. “I can tell you this: I know guys who won’t run the upper McKenzie alone — and I’m one of them.”
“This one is reeeeeealllly interesting,” wrote someone at www.cryptomundo.com.
Others are skeptical. “There’s obviously another boat pulled up on the bank there with one guy standing by it,” opined someone else on the same site. “The other guy, ‘Bigfoot,’ is walking back to him from down the bank. They then begin speaking to each other. Bigfoot is even wearing a baseball cap.”
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so, it seems, is Bigfoot. But regardless of whether the video shows the real deal, the footage has only padded the McKenzie Valley’s burgeoning image as a Bigfoot hot spot.
All of which delights Daughters and Stansberry, who, at least off camera, remain skeptical that their video shows a bona fide Bigfoot but welcome the attention it brings to the McKenzie.
“Can’t hurt business,” says Stansberry, who maintains a fly-fishing blog (oregonflyfishingblog.com).
Wait, I suggested, some guides are already admitting they’re staying away from that stretch; couldn’t Bigfoot become to the McKenzie River what Jaws was to the tourist town of Amity — a reason to stay out of the water?
“If anything, more people will come because of it,” says Daughters, among the McKenzie’s most respected anglers and guides.
Like me, he’s a “ninety-five/fiver” on Bigfoot — 95 percent sure it’s a myth but 5 percent willing to be wrong.
“What surprised me was the number of people who, I realized, are highly interested in Bigfoot, like (UO golf coach) Casey Martin,” Daughters says.
Daughters, 40, and Stansberry, 33, were leading a group of other guides down the river on the day the video was shot. They were between Paradise and Ollalie campgrounds, on a Class 3 rapids known as “Fish Ladder,” when the camera caught the moving figure.
Not that either of them noticed it live or even after seeing the video. More than a year later a couple of guys at the Caddis Fly noticed the dark, moving image. The pair found a website for the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization and, almost as a joke, forwarded the footage.
Since then, the video has taken on a life of its own.
When first seeing the footage, “Finding Bigfoot” crew member Cliff Barackman of Portland found it “fairly compelling.”
The color seemed right — and so did the creature’s perceived lack of a neck. But after visiting the site and further analyzing the film, Barackman is more inclined to believe it’s a couple of guys, one of whom jumps up on a rock — perhaps to get a better view of the boat going through the rapids — and helps the other one up, all in two seconds, max.
“That’s the value of on-scene investigation,” says Barackman, who doubles as a sixth-grade teacher.
I reviewed the footage with Barackman’s insight in mind. I see more of a fleeting, dark figure than two guys on rocks, an image that — whether it is — certainly looks like a Sasquatch.
But, then, maybe that’s what darkens the shadows of the mystery, what perpetuates the Bigfoot debate: the uncertainty on both sides of the river.