Go back to the Bigfoot Compendium.
In the spring of 2005 I was helping out the Seattle Museum of the Mysteries by manning a table they had set up at the annual science fiction convention. The table had various books for sale, including some published by Hancock House. I had also set out several early plaster test casts that displayed desiccation ridges. I got into an interesting conversation with a man who did plaster casting of figurines. As I spoke to him, a woman came up and began to look through Chris Murphy’s re-issue of Roger Patterson’s book, now re-titled The Bigfoot Film Controversy.
When I ended my conversation with this man, this woman suddenly spoke up. Mind you, she initiated the conversation, and I had no idea who this woman was. She opened the book to page 88, and pointed out this photograph to me:
For those who have not read the book, the photo on page 88 is of Roger Patterson, allegedly taken in Ape Canyon, which is on the south side of Mt. St. Helens in Washington. This was the site of a classic Bigfoot encounter in 1924.
Out of nowhere she tells me that the picture is a fake, and that she was there when the picture was taken! I was so taken aback that I asked her to write down what she had told me. Note that she puts Ape Canyon in California, probably due to our subsequent conversation about Patterson’s Bluff Creek California film.
Her note reads (with personal information redacted)
“Bobbie H. 509-***-**** #########@aol.com
p. 88 Bigfoot Film Controversy
I was there when picture was taken — South Fork of Ahtanum 20 miles west of Yakima. My mom threw gas on fire to make it flare up. NOT taken in California.
Niece of Jerry Merritt”
The Niece of Jerry Merrit! If true, it suggests Patterson engaged in Bigfoot related fraud before his Bluff Creek film.
I had always assumed that Bob Gimlin took the photo. At the Bellingham conference in late May 2005 I asked Bob Gimlin about going to Ape Canyon with Patterson. Surprisingly, Gimlin told me that he was not in Ape Canyon with Patterson! He told me he went to Spirit Lake with Patterson, but Spirit Lake was on the NORTH side of the mountain, and quite a distance from Ape Canyon.
So who took the picture???
Personally, I’ve always been more interested in physical evidence than anecdotal evidence. It’s possible that this gal is mistaken or is being deceitful. But part of the reason that I bring this little tidbit forward is to counter the claim that Greg Long set out to find witnesses that had a negative opinion of Roger Patterson. This information was VOLUNTEERED to me, and I asked no “leading questions” at all. This gal’s testimony is totally consistent with what the other witnesses in Long’s book relate about Patterson, and further it goes beyond what Patterson apologists claim about Patterson’s deceit, that it was not Bigfoot related.
I understand Dave Murphy (no relation to Chris Murphy) has been working on a pro-Patterson book. I advised Murphy of this woman’s story. We will have to wait and see if Murphy follows up on it.
UPDATE: July 14, 2010. It has been pointed out to me that the testimony of Bobbie H.’s mother, Florence Showman (née Merritt) is also recorded in Long’s book on pages 131 and 132.
From page 132: “I also remember taking pictures of Roger sitting around a campfire at Tampico. He was going to use them in his book or whatever. I took pictures of him in his western outfit sitting on his horse.”
I don’t know my Yakima geography, but I assume That Florence and Bobbie are referring to the same place and the same event.
Also, it’s been five years, and still no pro-Patterson book from Dave Murphy, as far as I know.