A sense of wonder is requisite before entering the Bigfoot Discovery Museum. Off the beaten track, this unique California roadside attraction is housed in a little red shack off of California Highway 9 in Felton, CA. Wooden sculptures of various sizes made in the image of the elusive creature beckon visitors in. Stop in for twenty minutes or more and you may never gaze into the California forests the same way again.
Entering a space the size of small kitchen galley, Bigfoot memorabilia line the glass cases and shelves harkening you back in time. Still photos from the 70's TV show The Bionic Woman (wherein Lindsay Wagner battles Bigfoot, or a man dressed up like him) to a Bigfoot board game to toys and Scooby Doo comic books; the museum has collected and displayed it all for viewing. Observing all the 70's era tchotchkes one wonders if Bigfoot had his fifteen minutes of fame and peaked. Look closer and you are reminded of his comeback in the 80's with the Harry and the Hendersons (circa 1987) memorabilia co-mingled with the Bigfoot action figures. The lighter side of Bigfoot lingers down the hall while reading the headline "I Had Bigfoot's Baby" from a Weekly World News back issue encased in plastic wrap. These Bigfoot byproducts were clearly created by the pop culture media machine. But don't let the kitsch fool you. This museum, albeit small in size, is big on belief. And its curator is ready to educate on the science behind the myth.
Round the corner and therein lies the source of the 70's Sasquatch craze. A running loop of the Patterson-Gilmin film plays non-stop. A 16 millimeter film made by Bob Patterson and Robert Gilmin in 1967 purports to capture a Bigfoot crossing a dry stream bed into a forest located about 25 miles northwest of Orleans, CA. As Dave, the museum's co-founder will attest, this running loop allows you to understand how the gait of the creature in the film differs from the gait of a human. The museum has even taken a still shot from the film and enlarged a photo of the creature into a life-size poster, allowing you to imagine how you would measure up (or not) against a Bigfoot should you happen upon one.
The true bonus of the museum is the conversation. There is ample opportunity for discourse on Bigfoot, with either Dave the co-owner (if he happens to be working that day) or anyone working in his place. Well versed in the Patterson-Gilmin footage curator and staff can lecture at length on its history, the making of, and the filmmaker Patterson. Neither reluctant nor hesitant to discuss, Dave easily refutes any and all of the theories put forth that the film was a hoax. Take the time and be enlightened on Bigfoot theories, migration patterns, and reasons why both the scientific community and the government are unwilling to acknowledge the presence of Bigfoot. If you can maintain that sense of wonder referenced earlier, Dave might share his own sighting of a Bigfoot when he was a child. Maybe he'll even play audio recordings of a Bigfoot's call heard just miles from the museum's door.
In this age of Google Earth and GPS it would be a thrill beyond measure to discover something which has yet to be found. Until then, maintain a sense of wonder and take a visit to the Bigfoot Discovery Museum.
For more information about The Bigfoot Discovery Museum, go to its website at: http://bigfootdiscoveryproject.com/ or call (831) 335-4478. The museum is free but a $2.00 donation is appreciated.