The FBI’s Vault is a fascinating corner of the Internet, and a fantastic waste of time. The Bureau’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) library houses thousands of previously sealed or long-buried files on very famous-and very dead-celebrities, criminals, politicians, and other persons of interest. And they’re all on display for free public perusal, which is how you suddenly find yourself scrutinizing reports on everyone from Al Capone to Anna Nicole Smith for three hours one afternoon. No judging.
Now, the FBI usually doesn’t make such documents public until after the person dies, which makes the latest release from the vault-22 glorious pages concerning one Bigfoot-particularly notable for two reasons: It appears to be confirmation that a.) Bigfoot is dead, and b.) Bigfoot was real. Probably.
The mythical creature known as Bigfoot-or, if you prefer, Sasquatch, Yowie, Skunk Ape, or Yayali-has a long, murky history. People swear they’ve been seeing him for centuries, usually in the woods of North America and often in the Pacific Northwest. And the part-hairy ape, part-hairy human, part-hairy bear-thing has inspired such fervor among his fanatics that the fiercest devotees have even gotten the government involved in their pursuit of the truth.
Bigfoot’s official file, which we gleefully examined in full like the proud investigative journalists we are, mostly follows the correspondence between the Bigfoot Information Center and Exhibition (BIC) in The Dalles, Oregon and the FBI’s Scientific and Technical Services Division from 1976 to 1977.
In 1976, BIC director Peter Byrne requested the FBI test a strange hair sample. “We do not often come across hair which we are able to identify and the hair that we have now, about 15 hairs attached to a tiny piece of skin, is the first that we have obtained in six years which we feel may be of importance.”
In a letter back to Byrne, the FBI admitted its lab “primarily conducts exams for law enforcement agencies in connection with criminal investigations,” but eventually agreed to inspect the hairs after several newspapers, including the New York Times and Washington Star-News, brought light to Bigfoot’s possible existence.
Eventually, after several months of follow-ups, which are documented in the file, the FBI delivered the results of the test to both Byrne and the organization that supported his research, the Academy of Applied Science. Sadly, Bigfoot was a bust.
“It was concluded as a result of these examinations that the hairs are of deer family origin,” the FBI wrote, crushing the dreams of Bigfoot believers everywhere.
While this is a disappointing revelation, by no means is the case closed. For all we know, the FBI could have Bigfoot documents it isn’t showing us, and this is all just a clever ploy to throw us off his scent.
In the meantime, we’ll keep searching-and hold out hope that the FBI finally releases the Loch Ness Monster’s file to keep us occupied until then.
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