Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Bigfoot Discovery Project

Last Sunday Trev and I visited the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is an exceedingly interesting place and well worth a visit. I was a little overwhelmed. The most exciting thing to me was a first-edition copy of Roger Patterson's Do Abominable Snowmen of America Really Exist? That's the academic in me: I was so taken with the sight of book that I ignored the casts from the Patterson bigfoot site on the shelf just below. No bigfoot hunter I! Anyway, it's impossible to overstate the fascination that the Patterson-Gimlin film and the story of its making have had for me over the years. Robert Michael Pyle's wonderful book Where Bigfoot Walks has a good overview, and this Wikipedia article goes into more loving depth--including the tidbit that Bob Gimlin, who will be in Felton for the BDM's festival next Saturday, acknowledges that the film might have been a hoax, though he was not in on it. Anyway, read the whole article and see if you don't get obsessed.

While we're on the subject of me being a dweeb who misses the bigfoot for the book: I see on the BDM site that they have mitigated the singular / plural problem I've always wondered about. Supposedly there are many Bigfoots, or bigfeet, or whatever, but "Bigfoot" suggests that, like the Highlander, there can be only one. However the BDM uses a lower case "b," and seems to employ "bigfoot" as a collective noun that's the same as its singular form, like "deer." Problem solved; and in the process the monster is converted to a more-or-less regular forest critter. (I suspect certain style guides have already instituted this preference. When I published my article in Tin House, I noted in my bio that I was writing a novel about Bigfoot--and the editor, lc'd the "b." At the time I thought it was a mistake, but it turns out they were ahead of me.)

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