America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation has released its official file on Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, the West’s version of the elusive Yeti – the search for whom dates back to earlier than the 1950s.

The FBI’s vault is a fascinating place in itself, with records on everything from UFO sightings to civil rights cases and files from WWI, including those which belonged to Adolf Hitler. This particular document outlines all of the FBI’s research and communication on the legendary “ape-man”.

The file outlines the correspondence between the Bigfoot Information Center and Exhibition in Dalles, Oregon and the FBI’s Scientific and Technical Services Division dating from 1976 to 1977.

In 1976, the FBI tested “15 samples of hair and tissue”, suspected to be Bigfoot hair. The agreement followed several requests submitted by Bigfoot Information Centre Director Peter Byrne. In months of follow-ups and assertions, Byrne insisted “that this is a serious question that needs answering,” and attached pages of news reports with information on Bigfoot sightings.

Finally, in December 1976, while admitting that “the FBI primarily conducts exams for law enforcement agencies in connection with criminal investigations,” FBI Assistant Director Jay Cochran agreed to examine the samples for the purpose of “research and scientific inquiry.”

The final report, dated February 1977 quashed all hope of the existence of Bigfoot, though. “It was concluded as a result of these examinations that the hairs are of deer family origin,” it said, ending that line of investigation.

Yet, forty-three years since, that same Peter Byrne, now 93, told CNBC that he still hasn’t given up hope. “Bigfoot is a real, if exceedingly rare, creature,” he said.

Sightings across the US

Said to be a big, hairy ape-man, above seven feet in height, Bigfoot is said by some to be the missing evolutionary link between the ape and humans. While several scientists have dismissed the existence of such a being, claims of sightings, mysterious giant footprints and fur have kept the curiosity alive.

One of the most popular videos is footage from the Yellowstone National Park in Ohio, USA, where viewers claim to have spotted a whole Bigfoot family wandering by next to bison (video, top).

Posted by YouTube user Mary Greeley, the video has over 1.7 million views, as countless viewers try to spot what is said to be “three Bigfeet disappearing behind a small fir tree”. A zoologist who examines the video on request of National Geographic, said it was implausible that the creatures were Bigfoots.

Yet the legend carries on, with Washington, California and Pennsylvania leading the number of Bigfoot sightings.

Another popular video, reportedly of a January 2019 sighting in Provo, Utah.

In 2013, Pennsylvania state university doctoral candidate Josh Stevens even mapped out every bigfoot sighting between 1921 to 2012, concluding somewhat expectedly that sightings were more frequent in areas of sparser population.

Stevens’ map was created using data compiled by the Bigfoot Field Research Organisation, an actual body that collects and archives purported images, sounds and footage of the ape-man. Using data from the organisation, in March, the Travel Channel even compiled a list of the eight best US states to go to if you want to meet Bigfoot!