THE BIGFOOT FILES/Chapter Thirty-One: The Red Book

The brazenly titled short story, The Red Book: The Final Word on Sasquatch, by Jill Hedgecock, employs a fictitious journal to reveal the truth behind the iconic Patterson-Gimlin film.

Shot in October 1967, the Patterson-Gimlin film allegedly shows a female Sasquatch walking along Bluff Creek in Northern California. It’s the most famous image of Bigfoot and remains a source of controversy more than 50 years later.

A Bigfoot enthusiast herself, Hedgecock expresses her personal doubts about the film in the framework of her story. She also shares what she thinks is the most compelling evidence proving the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot is fake.

Published by Goshawk Press in June 2020, The Red Book starts with a man named Cole cleaning his deceased grandfather’s cabin in preparation to sell it. While reminiscing alone, Cole finds a box with a Bible and a red, leather-bound scrapbook/journal. He starts reading a note wedged between the two books as well as the journal and a letter addressed to him all written by his grandfather.

“Before opening the red book, please place your right hand on the Bible and state the following: ‘As God is my witness, I will not speak of the facts documented herein until after the death of all of the implicated parties.’ … I have lived a lie and it has weighed heavy on me. … What I did, what I agreed to, has made for a difficult life.’”

Concerned but intrigued, Cole dives into the journal, which chronicles a chance encounter at a gas station in Orleans, California, between his grandfather and Roger Patterson around the time the Patterson-Gimlin film was shot. Patterson approached Cole’s grandfather about a role in a Hollywood film. Standing six-foot-eight, Cole’s grandfather was a prime candidate to don the infamous Bigfoot costume.

The journal details Patterson’s plot for filming the Bigfoot footage. Hedgecock is well-versed on the subject and effectively includes actual reports linked to the Patterson-Gimlin film.

After reading the journal, Cole wrestles with the moral dilemma sparked by the remarkable admission of his late grandfather. In the end, Cole makes his decision about what to do with the journal, understanding Bigfoot will remain real to the true believers even if the Patterson-Gimlin film is fake.

The Red Book reimagines the controversy of the Patterson-Gimlin film, and I think Bigfoot enthusiasts will enjoy the short tale as well as the Author’s Note at the end.

NEXT UP: Chapter Thirty-Two: “The Oregon Sasquatch.” I review the 2011 segment on Episode 3 of the Syfy show Paranormal Witness.