Is Bigfoot a sellout? The most famous cryptid in the world is so famous that you can see him everywhere. Specifically, you can see him on T-shirts, bumper stickers, garden art, tattoos, water bottles, baby onesies…
At what point does a cryptid like the Sasquatch become a cheap marketing ploy? Or worse, a joke?
The legend of Bigfoot is so thoroughly entrenched into our culture that it’s hard to imagine a world without him. Whether you believe this is just one creature a whole species of mountain ape-men, you can’t deny that Sasquatches have been around for a long, long time.
White settlers began recording stories about creatures that sound like Bigfoot in the nineteenth century; however, Native American legends date back much further. Despite the large geographical region and different cultures of these tribes, the descriptions remain eerily similar.
The first report to call this creature “Bigfoot,” incidentally, was written in the “Humbolt Times” in 1958. Ever since then, this cryptid has captured the public imagination like no other.
We all know what Bigfoot looks like by now. A hulking, muscular humanoid figure, covered in shaggy fur with features that bridge the gap between man and ape. Pop culture is saturated with images of Bigfoot. From Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” series to the “Jersey Devil” episode of “The X-Files,” he’s everywhere.
If you’re a long-time Bigfoot believer, you might be feeling a little frustrated right now. After all, you were into Sasquatches before they were cool. But hipster cred doesn’t mean much in the cryptid community. (Although now I’m picturing a Bigfoot with a man-bun and chunky black glasses. Can someone draw that for me, please?)
The fervent belief in Bigfoot defies all scientific evidence. “Interest in the existence of the creature is at an all-time high,” paleontologist Darren Naish stated, even though “there’s nothing even close to compelling as goes the evidence.”
Way harsh, Dr. Naish.
Despite decades of anecdotal sightings–including the infamous video below from 1967–we don’t have proof of Bigfoot’s existence. What we do have is the desire to believe in something wonderful.
As we become increasingly conscious of how human activity impacts the natural world, Bigfoot has become a kind of eco-folk hero. He stands for the lush, untamed forests that once covered our land. Without a doubt, he is the embodiment of the wild. He is a symbol of the wildness that resides in all of us.
That’s why Bigfoot perseveres despite all the merchandise and mascot costumes. Mankind will never stop yearning for the freedom and beauty of nature, even as we destroy it with plastic and other pollutants. And as Bigfoot’s legend continues to swell, with more and more people convinced that he’s out there somewhere, perhaps we’ll fight harder to preserve his natural habitat.