The Making of Bigfoot: The Inside Story
2004, Prometheus Books
Long has put an enormous amount of research into this “unmasking” of the Patterson film, but in the end is not very convincing. He does a good job of pointing out problems with the accounts of Patterson and Gimlin, and shows convincingly that the events were not well investigated by cryptozoologists who were too quick to embrace the film. There is no convincing explanation, though, of the contradictory stories of the man who claims to have made the suit and the man who says he was in it. Cryptozoologists have pointed out errors in dates and locations that seem very odd for a book of such depth. In the end, sasquatch escapes, battered but not yet dead.
In a nutshell, Long goes in search of the truth about Roger Patterson and his famous Patterson-Gimlin film of 1967 that he contended showed a female adult Bigfoot/Sasquatch striding across a creek bed. The book was mostly an array of interviews with major and minor characters in the saga of Patterson’s Bigfoot explosion. It would have been better (and shorter) if not for the extraneous travel log details about popping open diet sodas and eating burritos and chocolate donuts. There was a good bit of what seemed like superfluous details about rockabilly bands. The hard-hitting part of the story were the various statements made by witnesses that shed light on Patterson and his life. Was he a cheat and a crook? Yes, that seems clear. He skimmed off other people and didn’t feel very guilty about it. Was he talented? Yes. In many ways. I think he was perfectly capable of pulling off a hoax. The story of the film is laid out as a contrived money-making venture. Bob Heironimus’ story sounds plausible. But, no story is air-tight. It’s been a long time and memory is fallible. The kicker for me is the connection to the William Roe story: Long mentions it as “the script” to the Patterson film. And, indeed it is. Patterson and Gimlin are portrayed in a poor light but the story has inconsistencies, loose ends and tangents. In the end, the book falls short because the true bottom line is not clear — there is no Bigfoot suit. Worth a read but annoying in many parts. I want to see the damn suit.