(Investigator 88, 2003 January)

Ray L. Wallace, 84, who died on November 26 in a nursing home was the creator of Bigfoot — America’s answer to the Himalayan Yeti or "Abominable Snowman".

Upon his father's death the son, Michael Wallace, explained that his father created the giant footprints in 1958 using wood carvings of large human-type feet. He planted the footprints as a joke and was afraid to come clean after people took it seriously.

Jerry Crew, a bulldozer operator for Wallace Construction, saw the giant 16-inch footprints around his rig in August 1958. The Humboldt Times of Eureka, California, reported the story and coined the word "Bigfoot". Subsequent decades led to thousands of alleged sightings, numerous books and even UFO connections with reports of Bigfoot emerging from a flying saucer!

Although reports of sightings of big, human-like, furry creatures go back to the early 18th century, they weren't called "Bigfoot" and it's only from 1958 that the myth became a national phenomenon.

The celluloid images we've all seen — of someone in a monkey-suit striding away — were filmed in October 1967 by rodeo-rider Roger Patterson.

Wallace claimed he had told Patterson where to find Bigfoot — near Bluff Creek in California — and that's where Paterson then supposedly found Bigfoot. Wallace had nothing to do with the film and called it a hoax. (The Advertiser, 2002, December 7, p. 58)