This is Phoebe Zimmerman.
And this is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program EXPLORATIONS. Many people in America’s Pacific Northwest believe in the existence of an animal that is half human and half ape. Other people have reportedly seen a huge creature in a famous lake in Scotland. Today we tell about these and several other mysterious creatures.
In nineteen-fifty-eight a young man named Jerry Crew was on his way to work. Mister Crew worked for the Wallace Construction Company in Humboldt County, northern California. Mister Crew drove large construction equipment for the company. It had rained for the past several days and the area where the construction vehicles were kept was very wet and muddy.
As Jerry Crew walked toward the vehicle he would drive that day, he saw something extremely unusual. What he saw frightened him. There, in the mud, were footprints –
footprints that were almost ten times larger than a normal human foot.
Newspaper reporters found out about the huge footprints. They talked to Mister Crew and took pictures of the footprints. They published stories all over California. One newspaper story called the creature that made the prints “Bigfoot.”
In nineteen-sixty-seven a man named Roger Patterson used a small movie camera to take pictures of an ape-like creature moving from a clear area into a forest. Many people said this proved Bigfoot was real. The movie pictures showed a large ape-like creature walking on two large feet.
Over the years, books and magazine stories were printed about Bigfoot using photographs from Mister Patterson’s film. Large groups of people spent their holiday time searching forests for Bigfoot. Many people worked long hours in an effort to prove that Bigfoot exists.
In two-thousand-two a man named Ray Wallace died of heart failure. He was the man who owned the Wallace Construction Company where the mystery creature’s foot prints first appeared. Soon after Mister Wallace’s death, his family told reporters that Mister Wallace had invented Bigfoot. They told how he had made huge feet out of wood and tied them to his shoes. They said Ray Wallace left the footprints that Jerry Crew found. They said Ray Wallace had done this as a joke.
The Wallace family said the joke became bigger and bigger. They said Ray Wallace just could not stop. He was having too much fun. For example, in nineteen-sixty-seven he dressed his wife in a monkey suit with large feet. Ray Wallace and Roger Patterson filmed her walking into the woods. That film became famous among people who really believed the creature existed.
Our story about Ray Wallace and his joke should end here. But the Bigfoot story has not died with Ray Wallace. Many people say the Wallace family is lying. They say Ray Wallace never made the footprints. They say there really is a Bigfoot creature. They say someday someone will find the creature. These people plan to continue their search for Bigfoot. Several organizations of people are still searching for the creature. If you have a computer that can link with the Internet, you can find many stories about Bigfoot.
People have always been afraid of large areas of water, sometimes with good reason. Crocodiles and alligators have attacked people in rivers and lakes. That still happens in several areas of the world.