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PROVO — A video purporting to show a Bigfoot-like creature near Squaw Peak in Provo Canyon has gone viral, garnering more than five million views and attracting international attention to Utah County.
The YouTube user who uploaded the video goes by the name “Beard Card,” which is a nod to the permission cards required for students to grow beards at Brigham Young University. It’s been humorous to watch national and international news outlets, unaware of this local term, refer to the YouTube user as “Mr. Card.”
In a previous article on KSL.com, Beard Card gave some context to the video. He says he and his friends were camping near the Little Rock Canyon Overlook when they noticed some deer on the hillside and went up to get a closer look. According to him, they saw what they initially thought was a black bear, which eventually stood up on two legs and looked at them. As the video depicts, the group left its camping gear behind and fled in panic.
Bigfoot is often described as a large, hairy creature, between 6 and 10 feet tall and weighing at least 500 pounds. Footprints alleged to be Bigfoot's have been as large as 24 inches long and 8 inches wide.
Although stories about a Bigfoot-like creature were around before the mid-20th century, it was in the 1950s that the legend entered into popular consciousness.
In 1951, Eric Shipton photographed what he described as a Yeti footprint. The photograph allowed the idea of a Yeti to enter popular consciousness.
In 1958, Gerald Crew found large footprints in California and eventually had the prints cast in plaster to help his credibility. The story gained international attention upon being picked up by the Associated Press.
Since that time, numerous Bigfoot sightings have been reported, although none have been proven. Scientists largely discount Bigfoot as a myth.
I sent the video to Bigfoot experts from around the country and asked them to analyze it based on their experiences. Here are their responses:
K. Steven Monk, director of the Georgia Bigfoot Society, feels the video is compelling evidence of Bigfoot’s existence. While some viewers have identified the creature in the video as a bear, he disputes that theory:
"The only thing that can be determined for sure from that video is that it most definitely isn't a bear. This is evidenced when the creature stands up and reveals the very long, primate-like arms. Unfortunately, the very brief, approximately one-second duration of the video, doesn't really give the viewer the opportunity to determine much more than that.
"I think that much more could have been learned about the creature in the video if the cameraman had kept filming instead of taken off running. However, the fact that he did take off running in frenzied flight tells us a lot about his perception of what he saw than if he had simply continued filming. Evidently he was more frightened by what the creature turned out to be than he was of a bear, which is what he thought he was filming in the first place. It lends credence to the fact that the creature he was filming was in actuality a large, upright animal that he had never encountered before."
William Dranginis, from Virginia Bigfoot Research, claims to have personally encountered a Bigfoot creature. Here is his take on the video:
"From what I can tell by watching the video, I think it's possible the subject could be a real Bigfoot creature. I'm basing my opinion on a combination of things. The brush pile provided a good observation location. The reaction of the witnesses was a good indication they were scared. Thinking it could be a bear but when the subject stood up and walked away, the witnesses didn't anticipate such a large creature so they panicked and ran away.
"I wish I could have had the chance to interview the witnesses and visit the sighting location. There's a possibility the subject used that observation area before, so there could be evidence still there like hair or possibly scat. I would also place cameras higher up on the hill to continuously monitor the location for months. The subject could return at a later date
Usually the Bigfoot creatures are very stealthy and they are not discovered by people passing by. The area behind the brush pile was not very densely wooded, so it didn't provide a very good location to retreat into after being seen.
–- William Dranginis, Virginia Bigfoot Research
"... Usually the Bigfoot creatures are very stealthy and they are not discovered by people passing by. The area behind the brush pile was not very densely wooded, so it didn't provide a very good location to retreat into after being seen. That is unusual to me, as they want to remain hidden as much as possible. The camera was zoomed in on the subject, so only the person capturing the video could really see and understand that it was not a deer or bear but yet, it seemed everyone started running at once as far as I can tell. If the people behind him could not make out what it was at such a great distance, why did they immediately start running?"
Rhettman A. Mullis, Jr., is a Bigfootology expert in the Pacific Northwest. He feels that the video has many of the hallmarks of a hoax:
"Bigfootology constantly receives photo and video to evaluate and about 95 percent of what we receive is inconsequential and inconclusive. In the case of the Provo footage it falls within that 95 percent. Here are some concerns. There is no way to have a height and size reference based on what is present in the video. There is not enough information nor any frame of reference for pertinent analysis.
"The adolescents filming the subject obviously know the subject is there, zoom right into it, then we see some movement behind the bare trees and fall foliage. At the 34-second mark the subject stands up and appears to begin walking up the ridge away from the filmers. This is where the biggest problem occurs. It appears that the subject is turning to move up hill and then the film goes blurry. Then for a brief point at the 36-second mark it is clear again and the subject appears to not have actually moved. Then the filmers run away.
"Running away is a panic mode, but the runners are not yelling, screaming, or reacting authentically to being scared by a Bigfoot that is actually supposedly walking away from them, which would imply a non-threatening motion. Why would the filmers run away if a non-threatening subject is moving away from them and why would they not react verbally at all, which is contrary to the way females respond to panic situations?
"My opinion is that this film is contrived — a nice way of saying it is just another hoax. Barring further information, it is at best inconclusive."
Ron Losey, who has been featured on the Animal Planet’s "Finding Bigfoot" series, suspects the video is a hoax:
"The video is like a lot of others taken. ... It’s what we Bigfooters call a 'blobsquatch.' When videos like this one come up I am cautiously optimistic, but after watching it several times it doesn’t look real promising. They were 'in the right place at the right time.' I guess, but it’s awfully convenient they had the camera on it as it got up and walked away. My best guess initially is that it’s a hoax. If those kids pass a polygraph, I would be satisfied they were being honest. I haven’t spoken with them so I can’t offer an opinion as to the truth of their claims."
Tom Biscardi, director of Searching for Bigfoot, Inc. has spent decades tracking Bigfoot. He claims to have personally seen the creatures on several different occasions and shared this analysis of the video:
"My first impressions are that there are a lot of tree limbs and bushes in the way to clearly see what they are filming. I personally have seen a creature unobscured. ... Whatever they were filming seems to stand up. It looks similar to the creature. That leads me to believe that the film may be a prank or hoax."
So what is your take on the video? Is it a terrifying Bigfoot encounter or an obvious hoax? Make your opinion heard by posting on the comments board.
Grant Olsen joined the ksl.com team in 2012 as a contributing writer. He covers travel, outdoor adventures, and other interesting things. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.