The Legendary Bigfoot of North America and Canada

Written By Jason Kim

Writing stories of mythical proportions.

The stories of Bigfoot reach far back in time, spanning the globe. In North America, especially the Northwest, people share stories of seven-foot-tall hairy beings. These creatures, known as Bigfoot, have frightened campers and hikers. They are found predominantly in the mountainous West of North America. Here, they are often referred to by names like Sasquatch or, by the Algonquin, Witiko or Wendigo.

Various Amerindian nations also tell stories of similar beings. They believe these creatures are beings with unique powers and characteristics. The Ojibway especially considered the Rugaru to appear in dangerous times. They saw this hairy figure as a warning, urging people to change. North American settlers began reporting sightings in the late 1800s. They described footprints, occasional encounters, and presented a few blurry photos and videos. Amidst all this, Bigfoot became a symbol. The Western Air Defense Sector, part of the Washington Air National Guard, uses Bigfoot as its symbol. This shows Bigfoot‘s enduring influence in over 70% of the United States and Canada.

Key Takeaways

  • The legends of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, have a rich history spanning many cultures across North America and Canada.
  • Bigfoot is known by various names, including Witiko, Wendigo, and Rugaru, depending on the indigenous traditions of the region.
  • Reported sightings of Bigfoot date back to the late 1800s, with footprints, photos, and videos adding to the ongoing mystery.
  • The Western Air Defense Sector of the Washington Air National Guard has adopted Bigfoot as its mascot, further cementing the creature’s presence in popular culture.
  • Bigfoot continues to captivate the public’s imagination, with the legend remaining a unique and enduring part of the cultural landscape of North America and Canada.

Origins and Folklore of the Bigfoot Legend

The Bigfoot legend comes from the myth of the European “wild man.” The Sts’ailes First Nation in western Canada has the “Sasq’ets.” This is where the term “Sasquatch” comes from. The idea of Bigfoot we know today largely began with stories in the Humboldt Times in 1958.

These stories mentioned loggers in northern California finding big footprints. Andrew Genzoli wrote a story based on a reader’s letter about this.

Indigenous Cultures and Mythical Hairy Beings

Native American traditions often included tales of hairy creatures. These stories came long before today’s Bigfoot reports. They described such beings as living in forests.

These stories varied by location and family but were common in the Pacific Northwest. This region is especially famous for its Bigfoot lore.

Early Accounts and Sightings

Early on, there were accounts of strange beings. For instance, Spanish explorers spoke of the “Dark Watchers” in the 16th century. They were figures that observed travelers from a distance.

In 1721, a Jesuit priest wrote about forest creatures that screamed and stole animals. These reports came from his time with the Natchez people.

Bigfoot of North America and Canada

Physical Descriptions and Characteristics

Many stories about Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, paint a picture of a huge and strong creature that walks on two legs. It’s said to be up to 9 feet tall, and some say it can even reach heights of 15 feet. It’s interesting to note that some people say it looks more like a person in the face than an ape. They talk about its wide shoulders, long arms, and a head that seems to sit directly on its shoulders.

Some critics say these details match up with how bears look when they stand up. They think people might mistake bears for Bigfoot. This could explain why Bigfoot doesn’t have a neck in some stories.

Geographic Range and Habitats

People think Bigfoot lives in the wild areas of North America, especially the forests. The Pacific Northwest is known for having many reports of Bigfoot sightings. Enthusiasts are interested in the big footprints that have been found. These prints are sometimes said to be 24 inches long and 8 inches wide.

But many scientists doubt the existence of Bigfoot. They say there isn’t enough solid proof. They might point out that the footprints could have been made by bears instead. Despite this, people continue to share stories and evidence about Bigfoot.

Bigfoot habitat

Eyewitness Accounts and Alleged Evidence

Fans of Bigfoot in North America and Canada often present weak evidence to back their claims. This includes stories about seeing the creature, photos, videos, and more. A group in The Dalles, Oregon, said they saw a huge ape in 1971. One witness mentioned he had it in his rifle’s sights but couldn’t fire. He said it seemed too much like a person.

Footprints and Casts

Bigfoot believers often point to large footprints as proof. Some prints measure up to 24 inches long and 8 inches wide. But, critics say these tracks could be from common animals like bears.

Photographs and Videos

Several photos and videos claiming to show Bigfoot exist, including the famous Patterson-Gimlin film from 1967. Yet, many experts doubt the truthfulness of these images and videos.

Scientific Skepticism and Alternative Explanations

The scientific community largely does not believe in Bigfoot. They say most evidence is false. This evidence comes from stories, mistakes, and fake claims rather than a real animal. Skeptics say people often see things like bears and think they are Bigfoot. They also point out no real Bigfoot body or clear evidence means many scientists are not convinced.

Misidentification and Hoaxes

Many reports of Bigfoot are believed to be mistakes. For example, people might see a bear walking on two legs and think it’s Bigfoot. The scientific community thinks a lot of the pictures and videos of Bigfoot are tricks or not solid proof. Since no one has a real Bigfoot sample, it’s hard for most scientists to believe in Bigfoot.

Lack of Conclusive Physical Evidence

People who think Bigfoot is real have found footprints, hair, and sounds they say are from Bigfoot. But most scientists do not see these as strong evidence. They think these things are either fake or cannot fully prove Bigfoot’s existence. Without a real Bigfoot to show, scientists remain doubtful.

Bigfoot of North America and Canada

Bigfoot in Popular Culture

Bigfoot is now a big part of our culture. It’s in books, movies, and even has its own fan group. Since the 1950s, Bigfoot stories have been everywhere. Back then, people thought of Bigfoot as a wild and scary creature from ancient times. It was a common character in adventure stories and cheap novels.

In the 1980s, things changed. Bigfoot started to represent caring for the environment and the beauty of the wilderness. This change was seen in the movie “Harry and the Hendersons.” Today, Bigfoot is still popular in storytelling and research. There are places like the Bigfoot Discovery Museum that really dig into the topic, looking for proof that Bigfoot is real.

Books, Movies, and TV Shows

The legend of Bigfoot has led to many books and films, from small novels to big movies. Books like “Sasquatch” and “The Wildman of the Navidad” tell exciting stories about Bigfoot. In the movies, “Willow Creek” and “Exists” have put the legend on the big screen. Meanwhile, the TV show “Finding Bigfoot” has become a favorite with viewers as it tracks the search for the mysterious being.

Cryptozoology and Bigfoot Organizations

Bigfoot has a group of passionate fans who study and try to prove Bigfoot’s reality. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization and the Bigfoot Discovery Museum are just some of the groups. They gather reports, study evidence, and support research on Bigfoot. These organizations help keep the Bigfoot story alive and interest new people in exploring nature’s unknowns.


The Bigfoot stories from North America and Canada have fascinated us for years. They come from tales of the indigenous people and myths from Europe’s “wild man.” This large, hairy creature wandering the woods captures our imagination.

The scientific world doesn’t fully believe in Bigfoot. Yet, many claim to have seen it, and there’s lots of supposed proof. This has made Bigfoot a big part of our culture, seen in books, movies, and TV.

Is Bigfoot real or just a mix of stories, mistakes, and lies? Even with doubts, Bigfoot’s story remains important to our cultural history. People keep being drawn to the mystery, wanting to know what’s out there.

The story of Bigfoot deeply impacts North American and Canadian culture. It proves how strong myths and our imagination can be. Even as we learn more about nature, Bigfoot’s legend will stick around, keeping us wondering for years.


What is the origin of the Bigfoot or Sasquatch legend?

The Bigfoot legend comes from the old European myth of the “wild man.” The Sts’ailes First Nation in western Canada called this creature the “Sasq’ets.” This name is the likely origin of “Sasquatch.” Many Native American tribes have stories too about hairy, forest-dwelling creatures. These legends are very old, much older than the first Bigfoot reports.

How is Bigfoot typically described physically?

Bigfoot is often described as a large, strong creature that walks on two legs. It looks like a mix of a human and an ape, with dark hair all over. People who claim to have seen Bigfoot say it can be as short as 6 feet or as tall as 15 feet.It usually has broad shoulders, a short neck, and long arms. Some say its face is more like a person’s than an ape’s.

What types of evidence have been presented to support the existence of Bigfoot?

Many Bigfoot believers have shared stories of seeing the creature. They’ve also shown photos, videos, and audio recordings they say are of Bigfoot. There are even hair samples, footprints, and casts.The footprints and casts are key pieces of evidence. They can be as big as 24 inches by 8 inches. But, skeptics say these could just be from bears, not Bigfoot.

What is the scientific consensus on the existence of Bigfoot?

Scientists widely agree that the evidence for Bigfoot is probably not real. They think it’s more likely people are mistaking bears or other animals for Bigfoot. Without a body or skeleton to examine, they can’t say for sure that Bigfoot is real.

How has Bigfoot become a cultural icon?

Bigfoot’s story became popular in the 1950s. People read about it in adventure magazines and novels. It started out as a scary, wild creature from the past.In the 1980s, Bigfoot’s image changed. Now, many see him as a friend of the environment. He’s a symbol of the wilderness we should protect.

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