At Jesse Brown’s, we love the month of October. It brings cooler weather, the leaves begin their change high in the mountains & spend the entire month creeping down into the Piedmont. And, of course, there’s Halloween.
The older we get, we spend a lot of time focusing on the first two subjects but not a lot on October 31st. It brings myths, ghosts & legends to a head for children of all ages. It’s this story of “outfitting” that gives Halloween even more interest and intrigue!
48 years ago this month one of the world’s most famous, wildlife films was taken in the mountains of Northern California. It was less than two minutes in length but captured the attention of the world. Two filmmakers who were working on a docudrama in the National Forest at Bluff Creek, CA, unexpectedly captured the shocking image of a brisk walking……..Yeti, Sasquatch or BIGFOOT. It is known as the Patterson-Gimlin film, named for the two that made it, Roger Patterson & Robert Gimlin (see link above).
However, many told a different story. One of which includes a costume designer/maker that lived & ran his business in Charlotte: Philip Morris, of Morris Costumes. Mr. Morris told the story of one of the greatest hoax’s of all-time. One that he didn’t begin telling until the death of Roger Patterson.
In the mid-1960’s, Patterson purchased a gorilla suit from Mr. Morris. It was a mail order purchase for $435, plus shipping, for the costume made at Morris Costumes. Of course, Morris had no idea that it would be used as a Bigfoot costume. He thought it was being used in a popular skit or routine at the time.
All of this according to Morris, he would talk about it “at costume conventions, lectures, magician conventions” in the 1980s, but first addressed it in public on August 16, 2002, on the home of the Carolina Outdoors, radio station, WBT-AM & later the story was in The Charlotte Observer. Morris claims he was reluctant to expose the hoax earlier for fear of harming his business. Giving away a performer’s secrets, he said, would be widely regarded as disreputable. His wife, Amy, corroborated his story claiming that she helped frame the suite. However, no other evidence was ever given to support his account.
Is it one of the most famous wildlife films of all-time, or a Charlotte-made costume that contributed to one of the greatest hoaxes ever? You decide.
Bill Bartee, Co-host of the Carolina Outdoors on WBT-AM & owner of Bigfoot’s favorite store in Charlotte – Jesse Browns!