Monday, January 7, 2013

Today in Bigfoot History | JAN 07 | First Documented Mystery Footprint

Postage stamp commemorating David Thompson's Life and reputation as a mapmaker
Today in 1811, marks the first recorded account of an overly large foot print in North America by a non-native person. The honor goes to David Thompson, a British-Canadian fur trader, surveyor, and map-maker, who was known for keeping detailed records. On January 7th, 1811, Mr. Thompson found curious animal tracks in the snow near Jasper, Alberta. He described the tracks as 14 inch long footprints (see T.C. Elliott, "Journal of David Thompson", Oregon Historical Quarterly, 15 March-June 1914) Some years later, a book of Thompson's, David Thompson's Narrative of His Explorations of Western America, based on his journal, was published. In it he says:
I now recur to what I have already noticed in the early part of last winter, when proceeding up the Athabasca River to cross the mountains, in company with.... Men and four hunters, on one of the channels of the River we came to the track of a large animal, which measured fourteen inches in length by eight inches in breadth by a tape line. As snow was about six inches in depth the track was well defined, and we could see it for a full hundred yards from us, this animal was proceeding from north to south. We did not attempt to follow it, we had not time for it, and the Hunters, eager as they are to follow and shoot every animal, made no attempt to follow this beast, for what could the balls of our fowling guns do against such an animal? Report from old times had made the head branches of this River, and the Mountains in the vicinity the abode of one, or more, very large animals, to which I never appeared to give credence; for these reports appeared to arise from that fondness for the marvelous so common to mankind: but the sight of the track of that large a beast staggered me, and I often thought of it, yet never could bring myself to believe such an animal existed, but thought it might be the track of some Monster Bear.
For all you rational, critical thinkers who took Santa Claus away from us at 6yrs old. Yes, we know snow melt distorts prints and we don't know how long the tracks were laid before they were discovered. We are also aware that 8 inches is rather wide for a 14 inch print. Prints 8 inches wide are usually at least 17-18 inches in length. So even with the obligatory caveats listed in the previous sentences, we still love adopting David Thompson's mystery creature into the Bigfoot lore. After all, we are the same blog that thinks historically, werewolves are potentially misidentified Bigfoots.


  1. That was great Guy. I believe Audubon had a 'Bigfoot like' experience, but i can't remember where it was referenced (Washington's Eagle is pretty cool though).

  2. John James Audubon had a Bigfoot experience?! I would love to find that! It would be a great irony too, because Benjamin Radford has a list of reasons why Bigfoot is Bunk. #7 is bird enthusiast never report Bigfoot sightings.

    Thanks for the comment!!

  3. Teddy Roosevelt told a story of a mountain man/trapper who had a Bigfoot like encounter. It is a pretty scary story. This tale often is often taken out of context to include Teddy as a witness. I can't find the audubon encounter, but i think it was a similar story. Some jeremiah johnson type told him a story that sounds like a Bigfoot. I'll keep looking for the audubon tale though, I would love to beat Radford, with the king of all birders!. I wonder how he is so sure there are not reports from birding...? Also, birders are not typically birding at night (owls excluded). Birds the word ;-)

  4. I think that Benjamin Radford is completely unaware of the fact that not all Bigfoot eyewitnesses report their sightings. There could be numerous birders who have had Bigfoot sightings, but decided to keep it to themselves, in order to avoid ridicule.

  5. From 1811 to 2013, Amazing how much controversy This foot print has caused in the past years...Just my opinion.

  6. ok so whats the latest on the DNA story?


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