10. Bigfoot scared construction workers in Bluff Creek, California, in 1958, and earned his familiar nickname
Bigfoot owes his nickname to a single man, Andrew Genzoli. His report on giant footprints scaring men working on the construction of Bluff Creek Road immortalized the creature as ‘Big Foot’. On August 27, 1958, tractor driver Jerry Crew found tracks measuring a whopping 18 inches in length and seven in width, made by a creature which apparently had a 50-inch stride. Crew’s astonished work mates suddenly remembered other strange events on the site; a 450 pound oil drum thrown down a gully and a 700 pound tyre flung in a ditch suddenly made sense. A giant creature was in the area.
One worker wrote to Genzoli, and on a whim he decided to publish the letter. The overwhelmingly positive reaction prompted Genzoli to visit Crew in October, who by now had taken a plaster cast of the prints (above), more of which had appeared since August. The Humboldt Times carried 18 stories about the newly dubbed Bigfoot that October, and whilst many were unconvinced about the veracity of the tracks, there were plenty willing to take them at face-value. And soon people were seeing the creature responsible, which Genzoli had speculated might be ‘a relative of the Abominable Snowman [Yeti] of the Himalayas’.
The story became a national sensation. But in 2002, the family of Ray Wallace, the owner of a logging company working in the area came forward. Wallace died that year aged 84, but claimed responsibility for the tracks, which were supposed to be a good-humored practical joke on Crew. Wallace had apparently fashioned a pair of wooden feet and simply stomped around the site. But fewer than 10 years after Genzoli’s article, a remarkable piece of footage was taken in Bluff Creek, so puzzling that it has led many to discredit the Wallace family’s admission as, itself, a hoax…