Bigfeet

1 August 2015

Some of my extended family live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. On a recent visit, having driven for miles through the dense and spindly forests, my cousin shared the lore of Sasquatch. The Bigfoot.

 

Like any urban legend, Sasquatch abounds with odd traits apart from the physical: tall, hominid, hairy, etc. From what I hear, it’s common for Sasquatch to turn branches upside-down to mark its territory. Leaves are mysteriously absent on trees at 10-feet from the ground. An odd echo reverberates through the forest as the beast taps branches against trunks. Large footprints appear in loose soil. In the bulk of Bigfoot stories, these motifs flourish.

 

Les Stroud, known as Survivorman and one of the few credible TV survivalists, has been researching Sasquatch. In a six-part series, he lays his reputation on the line in search for this cryptid beast. Whether or not this Bigfoot creature exists is only a small part of Stroud’s micro-series. What he cares about is the legend—is it really just an elaborate hoax or is there a kernel of truth? As an icon of the north, the Sasquatch is a part of the regional culture. Curio shops are filled with magnets, statuettes, bumperstickers, and postcards bearing this creature. While the topic could be dismissed by most, some become fixated. For this reason, I try to answer an important yet neglected question: what is the plurality of Bigfoot?

 

With so much hype around this creature from multiple regions—Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Pacific Northwest, and Northern Rockies—it’s difficult to imagine that Bigfoot is singular. One beast, if it did exist, could not make multiple appearances in so many regions for so many years. Unless there’s a supernatural force that enables a different plane to coincide with ours, I think it’s safe to assume that Sasquatch is a species, not a single creature. Bigfoot could exist or merely be a culture creation, but the referent language of the beast must be dissected.

 

In The Dark Knight trilogy, the power and appeal of Batman came not from Bruce Wayne, but from the symbol itself. Multiple people could have been The Batman, but the referent language would have remained singular. Not “The Batmen,” but the strong and singular “Batman.” I’ve noticed this trend to exist when pertaining to the unknown. A single entity seems more powerful and tangible than the plural. Likewise, the Loch Ness Monster is singular—a sea monster that lives in a Scottish loch named Ness. Sasquatch and Bigfoot are also singular in name, but there’s no way they’re singular as a species. So I ask, is Sasquatch, as a plural, “Sasquatches” or a collective “Sasquatch,” like deer?

 

I prefer “Bigfeet.”