Cleanse The Bigfoot Database: Cast Out The Hourglass Casts
by Loren Coleman ©2013
Cliff Barackman image.
In the last part, “When A Cryptic Bigfoot Cast Opens A Can of Worms,” the above alleged Bigfoot track was the source of some confusion. It also serves as an example of a group of supposed Bigfoot tracks and casts that probably should no longer even be in the database.
I am not the only one with a problem with certain tracks and casts we continue to find in the Bigfoot/Sasquatch database. Several have questioned these kinds of tracks/casts, one authority did so even long before Ray Wallace was a household phrase. Let’s go back to the 1970s, to John Napier’s esteemed book Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality (New York: E P Dutton, 1973).
Who was John Napier? Before there was a Grover Krantz and a Jeff Meldrum on the scene, one of the most famed anthropologists to be involved in Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Yeti research was John Napier, MRCS, LRCP, D.Sc. (1917 – 29 August 1987). He was a British primatologist, paleoanthropologist, and physician, who was notable for his work with Homo habilis and OH 7 (the type specimen of Homo habilis discovered on November 4, 1960 in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, by Jonathan and Mary Leakey). He also was a well-known authority on human and primate hands, feet and taxonomy.
Napier examined, in depth, all the information available by the early 1970s on Bigfoot prints and casts. In the midst of his discussion, he came to a typological conclusion in his book:
There seem to be two distinct types of Sasquatch track, and the differences between them appear to go beyond the range of normal variation expected within a single species of mammal. This in itself is bound to make one rather suspicious.
It is unthinkable that Sasquatch of north-western America, if it exists at all, should consist of two distinct families or even genera. The only alternative to such a travesty evolutionary principles is that one of the two Sasquatch footprint types are man-made artifacts.
The two types of footprints [were illustrated in John Napier's Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality (New York: E P Dutton, 1973)].
The first, which I call “hourglass” by reason of its waisted appearance, has been seen in the Bluff Cree-Blue Creek areas of North California. The second – the “human” variety – has been seen and photographed in Washington State.[P. 117]There are three alternatives in the interpretation of Sasquatch footprints. Either both types of footprints are fakes, both are real, or one is real and the other is faked.…Unlikely…that both are real.[P.118]The hourglass type is intrinsically consistent but, I suspect, functionally inadequate. The “human” tracks are convincing….In view of the real, biologically unacceptable, differences between the hourglass and the “human” types, the conclusion is inevitable: one must be real and the other must be fake.…Of the two challengers my money is on…the “human” type in my classification.
If the Bigfoot/Sasquatch track cast database is to be cleansed, we have to start somewhere.
One of the simplest revelations we must constantly acknowledge is that Ray Wallace did hoax footprints that were said to be made by hairy, unknown giant forest primates (Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Oh-Mah, or whatever you wish to call them).
“Debunking Skeptics” continually are incorrect in stating that the first trackway was made of Wallace fakes. The factual reality is that the Jerry Crew 1958 Bigfoot tracks were entirely different; the first set of Wallace fakes were found concurrently and/or after the Crew set, first in 1958 and then again in 1959.
These early fakes, especially the ones that have taken on a familiar iconic symbolism in Bigfootery, have a shape that is recognizable at a distance. These are often called “hourglass” in configuration. They remain in the database.
It is becoming clear, despite the entrenched stance of some recognized authorities in hominology and Sasquatch studies to the contrary, if a Bigfoot print/track/cast is sharply “hourglass” in appearance, it was made with one of the Ray Wallace tool fakes or a copy of same. As is being realized, some commercially available copies of Bigfoot casts are being used in hoaxing or similar situations. Some of these, needless to say, are therefore Wallace hoaxes recycled into further fakery.
The Recasting Bigfoot author thought this was significant:
The other type of foot appeared at the same time and would become predominant in the area, being found off and on for 10 years. This other foot was ‘hourglass’ in shape and had a noticeable groove in the ball of the foot, and five well formed human toes. It was so predominant at Bluff Creek that Dr. John Napier of the Smithsonian dubbed it The Hourglass Print and exclusively associated it with Bluff Creek. It was never found anywhere else.
In 1962 these same type of hourglass prints set the stage for the “flap” of sightings in 1963. Then again in August 1967 these same prints caused the Blue Creek Mountain spate of tracks near Bluff Creek. Bigfoot was so hot again that two months later Roger Patterson would film his Bigfoot at Bluff Creek. Its feet, remarkably, would be patterned on the “hourglass” shape. Source.
In Mark A. Hall’s “The Real Bigfoot and Genuine Bigfoot Tracks,” originally published in Wonders for December 2002 (Vol. 7 No. 4) pp. 99-125, the long-established researcher and Bigfoot author detailed an in-depth understanding of the extend of the Wallace hoaxing:
Two people who attached themselves to Bigfoot were Rant Mullens and Ray Wallace. Both claimed to have hoaxed tracks: Wallace to his relatives and Mullens with a public display of his carving of a foot. He tried for years to get someone to pay attention to his claims. Mullens succeeded in 1982 with a news story that gave him headlines all over America. Following up on that story, William Overend of the Los Angeles Times went to Toledo, Washington. He detailed a long-standing feud between Mullens and Wallace. [William Overend, “Bigfoot Legend Engenders a Feud,” Los Angeles Times, 4 June 1982.]
At least three types of funny feet have been turned up. None of them would be responsible for the Jerry Crew tracks.
The first set.
Rant Mullens in 1982, credited to Michael Dennett (in Bates’ Cryptozoology art book).
The Oregon Wallace kin display the fake feet in late 2002, which were kept by the family and claimed to be used in
Ray Wallace Bigfoot pranking. David Carkhuff Photo, used with permission.
The first set looks identical to the handiwork of Rant Mullens. At the end of 2002 they were in the hands of Wallace’s Oregon relatives (directly above), [David Carkhuff, “Bigfoot Feat,” Blue Mountain Eagle (John Day, Oregon), 25 December 2002].
Mullens claimed to have correspondence with Wallace about these feet dating to early 1958, [Rant Mullens, letter to editor, Frontier Times, October-November 1979, 4-5]. Wallace paid Mullens fifty dollars for them. They were one of a half dozen sets, according to Mullens, that he had been carving for years as tools for pranks. But Wallace was not paying good money just to play a joke. He had a practical use in mind according to one of his former employees who was still around in 2002.
According to John Auman, a 71-year-old retired logger in 2002, Wallace had a common problem in those early days. His work sites were being looted at night. He said Wallace schemed to scare off vandals by depositing tracks to frighten them away. He brought it up to Wallace and they laughed about it. But Wallace admitted nothing at the time, [Associated Press, Seattle Times, 9 December 2002]. To admit to the ruse would only ruin the effectiveness of it.
Leaving strange tracks to scare off trespassers is not an idea unique to Ray Wallace. To show how old this idea is, an example is Ranger Arthur Woody who was in charge of the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia in the years 1918 to 1945. To discourage poachers he deposited tracks of a huge bear paw on trails and roads. He found “that bear track was just about as effective as three game wardens,” [Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 7 March 1976, p.3a].
Wallace had no illusions about the quality of Mullens’ work. William Overend of the Los Angeles Times interviewed him in 1982 about the feud between Mullens and Wallace. Wallace told him: “Those things would never fool anybody. Some of the smartest people in the world study Bigfoot and Rant’s feet are almost like square blocks,” [William Overend, “Bigfoot Legend Engenders a Feud,” Los Angeles Times, 4 June 1982].
He gave the Mullens feet to his relatives in Oregon. They have said they used them in later years, [David Carkhuff, “Bigfoot Feat,” Blue Mountain Eagle (John Day, Oregon), 25 December 2002].
The second set.
Dale Wallace displays Ray Wallace’s Bigfoot wooden fake feet. (David Rubert Photography – used with permission)
The Wallace wooden fake tools to make Bigfoot tracks. (David Rubert Photography – used with permission.)
The second set (above) of false feet was displayed by Dale Lee Wallace in December of 2002. Their first appearance dates to November 2, 1958 when they turned up on a sandbar in Bluff Creek. Where did they come from?
When Jerry Crew found large footprints in August and then early October of 1958, Ray Wallace responded by hiring two men to find out who was making those tracks. He paid Ray Kerr and Leslie Breazele (identified in some accounts as Bob Breazele) to devote their time to tracking whoever or whatever was making those large footprints in the area of his construction site. This is not the action of someone who had been leaving those very same false footprints at night at his own construction sites. But it makes sense that Wallace wanted to know who else was creating a sensation at his work sites by scaring his employees.
If one accepts at face value the account presented by Elwood Baumann in Bigfoot [Elwood D. Baumann, Bigfoot: America’s Abominable Snowman (NY: Franklin Watts, 1975)], Ray Wallace and his brother Wilbur were beside themselves with anger at the nuisance that was causing their workers to quit and causing nighttime havoc by tossing tires, oil drums, and sections of culvert into ravines.
Kerr and Breazele were reported to have found tracks. Breazele had four hunting dogs that they used during nighttime vigils. Their experience on 12 October became the next big news story to follow the Crew story. They were driving along at night when something large and hairy crossed the road in their headlights. Large tracks were found at the scene. But the particulars of what they found in the way of tracks when in Wallace’s employ were not reported to the public. Their findings were naturally reported to Ray Wallace. The tracks at the scene of the sighting were simply said to resemble the Crew tracks. Their dogs also disappeared while searching for Bigfoot. Four dead dogs were later found by Curtis Mitchell, [Sanderson, Abominable Snowmen, 131-2; Patterson, Do Abominable Snowmen, 38, 40-42; Baumann, Bigfoot, 8-11].
When those two hunters departed the scene, the fake tracks began to appear. On November 2nd the imprints of the crudely carved alder-wood feet appeared for the first time. They were found on a sandbar in Bluff Creek. They were used in subsequent years to make more prints along Bluff Creek. [The same tracks measured at 15 inches long are noted in John Green, The Sasquatch File (Agassiz, BC: Cheam, 1973), 22, as having been found and cast on 2 Nov 1958, 16 Aug 1959, 30 Aug 1959, and 1 Nov 1959 along Bluff Creek.] They were detected to be fakes in 1960, but that knowledge was not widely shared.
The display of the foot forms in December of 2002 has removed all doubt about who was behind the making of the tracks. That was Ray Wallace and possibly some relatives. Knowing that the Mullens feet were so crude as to fool very few people, Wallace had his own feet made up. As a model he had the tracks that were found by Kerr and Breazele. In this way he put into this work exaggerated features of something that was found in the California forests.
Fortunately the shape of this wooden foot is distinctive. (See above.) Its size, squared-off toes, and exaggerated bumps on the inside of the foot make it recognizable in the many photographs that have appeared.
At the very time that Kerr and Breazele reported their sighting, Wallace was called into the Humboldt County sheriff’s office because it was rumored that he had been frightening his own workers with fakes, [Humboldt Times, 14 Oct 1958, in Patterson, Do Abominable Snowmen, 38. 40]. Whether he ever actually planted false prints at his own work sites is unknown, but if he had, he was only trying to protect his equipment that was not being protected by law enforcement. But to admit this would have been to ruin the effectiveness of the ploy.
We will never be sure of the motivations that caused Ray Wallace to start leaving prints on sandbars in Bluff Creek. We are now only certain that he did. It might have been just for the fun of it. He might have been tweaking the authorities for dragging him into their offices instead of protecting his property. Or both. He might even have been getting back at the nuisance that Bigfoot had become to his work. And he might have been launching himself on a long term strategy to make money from the presence of the real Bigfoot that had just taken the world by storm in October of 1958.
Over time the fake tracks were a big success. When Wallace tried to follow up with other enterprises with a Bigfoot theme he was not successful. He told William Overend, for example, “I’ve got film of the Bigfoot you wouldn’t believe. I’ve got his screams on tape too. One of these days, one of the networks is going to want to buy this. I’ll tell you one thing right now. I think they’ll pay me $50 million for it once they see the film,” [William Overend, “Bigfoot Legend Engenders a Feud,” Los Angeles Times, 4 June 1982].
Wallace was wealthy from his businesses, so he didn’t need the money. But he clearly needed the attention. There are many stories from Ray Wallace, too many to reference them all here.
The third set.
Ray Wallace was not shy about showing his fakes to some local newspapers.
Ray Wallace made fakes in a wide variety of configurations. Part of the “Toledo Collection” photographed in the 1980s by Ron Schaffner. Used by permission.
A third set of foot forms exists. Grover Krantz noted that such 18-inch-long casts were fake and that “copies of these were widely distributed in western Washington many years ago,” [Grover Krantz, Big Footprints (Boulder, CO: Johnson, 1992), 33].
There is no doubt that Wallace possessed sets of these. He was photographed for the Los Angeles Times with two sets of them in 1982. There has not been a specific admission that Wallace was behind these fakes. Whether they were actually used to make imprints to be found by others is unknown. But duplicates of these casts helped meet the demand for ownership of a Bigfoot cast. For an example see the photograph opposite page 128 in Bigfoot All Over the Country by Marian T. Place, [Marian T. Place, Bigfoot All Over the Country (NY: Dodd, Mead, 1978)].
On March 4, 2007, I wrote: “I, for one, question the reality of all hourglass Bigfoot tracks. I have yet to see any good counter-arguments to convince me otherwise.”
Part One: ”When Southern Bigfoot Casts Are Really Western.”
Part Three: “When A Cryptic Bigfoot Cast Opens A Can of Worms.”
In Part Four, “Cleanse The Bigfoot Database: Cast Out The Hourglass Casts.”
In Part Five, “Fake Footprints Fill Bigfoot Books.”
In Part Six, some proposed systematic approaches to the cast database and changes are put on the table.