Bigfoot video surfaces in Manitoba
It may be the break that Bigfoot aficionados have been waiting for. On April 16, 2004, ferry operator Bobby Clarke was crossing the Nelson River in Manitoba, Canada, when he saw a shadowy figure moving on the far shore. Using his camcorder, Clarke captured tape of the figure walking along the riverbank. According to those who have seen the tape, the two-and-a-half-minute clip shows a tall, shadowy, human-like creature that many in the small community of Norway House Cree Nation think is the legendary Bigfoot, or as Canadians know it, the sasquatch. “It’s not a bear or human walking around,” said John Henry, Clarke’s father-in-law. “You can tell by the features,” he told CBC News.
As of this writing, only a few neighbors and friends have viewed the tape. They report that the figure is about nine feet tall and fits past descriptions of the legendary monster said to roam the woods near this northern Manitoba town, located twenty-nine kilometers north of Lake Winnipeg. CBC-TV video journalist Mychaylo Prystupa viewed the tape and is unconvinced. According to a story in the Winnipeg Free Press, the reporter watched thirty seconds of the tape, which she says shows a “dark, shadowy figure in the distance.” She said the “shaky” video would need slowing down and enhancement to be “interesting.”
That may happen. Clarke sold his video clip to Fox Television’s show A Current Affair, after considering bids from media organizations from Florida to Toronto.
In the meantime, residents of Norway House and interested Bigfoot researchers can only speculate about the tape’s contents, because Clarke has stopped showing it. That hasn’t impeded sasquatch fans from using the incident to bolster their long-held claims that large, hairy creatures roam the woods of Manitoba. Bill Borody, who calls his house the Manitoba Sasquatch Research Centre, told reporters there have been more than 300 sasquatch sightings in the past three decades in the area. Michelle Baril, another Bigfoot researcher, told the CBC she’s confident the sighting is the real thing because she’s investigated many such incidents over the years.
Several reputed films and videos of Bigfoot have surfaced over the last forty years. The best-known (and most contentious) of these was shot in Bluff Creek, California, by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin in 1967. It has been the subject of several SKEPTICAL INQUIRER articles, including “Bigfoot’s Screen Test” (May/June 1999) and “Exposing Roger Patterson’s 1967 Bigfoot Film Hoax” (July/August 2004).
To date, none of the films have been authenticated–and in fact several have been proven hoaxes. None of that seems to have affected the enthusiasm of sasquatch fans in Canada. Bill Borody told reporters that he’s sure sasquatches inhabit the woods of Manitoba, whether this particular tape turns out to be authentic or not. Asked why scientists have yet to find proof of the large mammal’s existence, Borody said the answer might lie in native lore that suggests the Bigfoot is a “shape-shifter,” a creature capable of transforming itself into other animals. “I think this thing goes well beyond our logic,” he told Free Press reporter Patti Turenne.
Paul Benedetti teaches journalism at the University of Western Ontario. He is the co-author of the book Spin Doctors: The Chiropractic Industry Under Investigation (Dundurn Press, 2002).
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