Bigfoot in Tooth and Claw

Loren Coleman. Bigfoot: The True Story of Apes in America. Paraview Pocket Books, 2003. 

In this round up of Bigfoot encounters and lore, Loren Coleman pursues a relentlessly euhemistic course. Bigfoot is a real, live animal, and various folklore about wild giants is inspired by such creatures. Thus the wendigo, the great cannibal spirit of the wild, is not a symbol of ultimate wilderness and a myth which is concerned with the possibility that human beings can fall out of the world of human society and culture, and be transformed into something far wilder than any natural animal - no, its just another account of our old friend Bigfoot.

Though Coleman concedes that the stories which launched the modern Bigfoot saga are likely hoaxes, and other well known ones aree at least iffy, this does not dent his faith, which extends even to the Patterson film and the notorious Minnesota iceman, which surely never haunted even the wildest bar in Canby. The latter has been the subject of all sorts of anti-Neanderthal racism, not least by Ivan Sanderson and Bernard Heuvelmans.

Coleman has now joined his former writing partner Jerry Clark in denouncing their own book Creatures of the Outer Edge for its presentation of stories which suggested that Bigfoot may be more a creature of the human imagination than any future menagerie. It's not clear however that the 'witnesses' in those cases were any less 'sincere' than those for the authorized stories.

Coleman is quite open about the immense emotional pull that the Bigfoot has had on him through much of his life. This suggests that whatever else it may be, it is a symbol of something very powerful in the human imagination, perhaps an icon of the wilderness, and a vision of a "natural" humanity outside the boundaries of bourgeois civilization. -- Peter Rogerson, review originally published in Magonia 82, August 2003.


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