June 13, 2012
Amid the towering ancient redwood trees and sequoias that dominate the landscape of Northern California is the small town of Willow Creek. Called the gateway to Bigfoot country, the starting point of The Bigfoot Scenic Byway, home of the Bigfoot Collection at the Willow Creek-China Flat Museum, and Bigfoot hotspot, Willow Creek is the home of the best evidence for the existence of Bigfoot ever collected. The existence of Bigfoot is still hotly debated, but Willow Creek is littered with clues to the existence of Bigfoot. Even the most skeptical needle peepers traveling on Northern California’s Highway 299 will be confronted by a most unexpected sight—Bigfoot, or at least inferential evidence of Bigfoot.
Willow Creek, a small mountain town in Humboldt County, has a population of about 1,700 people, and based on the services that seem geared toward human’s hairy cousin, nearly as many Bigfoots. Humboldt County is where the term “Big Foot” was coined, and is also where the most famous film of a Bigfoot was taken. Since logging slowed down, the town’s main industries are marijuana and Bigfoot. The approach to Willow Creek on Highway 299 is littered with Bigfoots and references to Bigfoot right along the highway.
Willow Creek is speckled with services that seem to infer the presence of Bigfoot. On Highway 299 there is a small motel exclusively for Bigfoots, the Bigfoot Motel. Just up the highway a couple of blocks, Ace Hardware has a mural facing the highway that depicts Bigfoot’s contribution to human society, starting before native American populations until present. Between the motel and the mural is a Patriot Gas station with a large Bigfoot statue, which seems to indicate a Bigfoot-friendly establishment. It is just a short jaunt from the gas station to Bigfoot Ave and the Bigfoot Golf Course. The visitors’ center has a carved Bigfoot right out front and hundreds of references to Bigfoot. The Early Bird restaurant has a Bigfoot Burger that is so ridiculously large it would be unreasonable for a single human being to eat one. The Del Loma RV Park has a huge Bigfoot with a fishing pole, beckoning them in to fish. The bewildering Bigfoot Rafting company is either a company that takes Bigfoot on rafting trips, or lets human beings ride a Bigfoot as a raft. There is even a Bigfoot podiatrist who makes house calls.
The most scientific-ish evidence confirming the existence of Bigfoot is kept in the small town museum. Nearly half of the small Willow Creek-China Flat Museum is dedicated to The Bigfoot Collection. The Bigfoot Collection is made up of local Bigfoot sightings, plaster casts, references to hunters, and mythology surrounding the creature. There are cryptozoological references to long extinct species, doctor’s notes, topographical maps, and artists renderings of Bigfoot.
Plaster casts of over twenty-five foot prints of various shapes, sizes, and clarity are kept in about a dozen display cases and are sure to make an impression. At about a foot long each, if they were laid out end to end, they would stretch almost all the way to the other side of a room. Disappointingly, almost all of the footprint casts are behind glass and about three feet above the ground, so to compare one’s own foot to any of the casts, one has to be willing to rip off their shoes and strike a ballerina pose. It makes understanding the scale challenging. There is even an extra bonus Bigfoot handprint, er, handblob cast.
The Bigfoot Collection is a bit follicle frenzied. There is a letter from Sterling Bunnell, MD, written on March 19, 1993, in which he explains that he cannot identify the hairs sent to him by a man named Darryl Owen. “I have examined the hair specimen you provided from Dalmatian Creek and by light microscopy under direct and transmitted illumination with human, chimpanzee, gorilla, orang [sic], and Pygathrix monkey hair. It is clearly related to the human-chimpanzee-ape group but is distinguishable from each of these.”
On the opposite side of the museum is a letter whose authorship is unclear in a plastic bag with black hairs. In it the author explains that he consulted a local taxidermist who said it was not bear hair and a zoologist who said it was bear hair. The author explained, “I personally don’t believe it is from a bear.”
Much of the museum is dedicated to the people who dedicated themselves to finding evidence of Bigfoot. Local hunters Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin, who filmed what is probably the most famous Bigfoot footage ever, are featured throughout the museum along with “Pioneer Bigfoot Investigator” Bob Titmus. There are pictures of them measuring, and then more pictures of them measuring, and a few more measuring pictures. There certainly is no shortage of evidence that Bigfoot investigators exist.
The crown jewel of the Bigfoot Collection is the diorama of Bigfoot in the wild. In it, a plastic Bigfoot is standing in a clearing, atop a ridge, surrounded by mountainous moss.
Willow Creek is a wooded Disneyland for skeptics. Fantasy abounds and there is a chance to come across giant hairy creatures—or at least across statues of them.
Willow Creek – China Flat Museum
More Willow Creek Bigfoot Pictures
Bluff Creek Patterson Video: