“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
-Mark Twain, popular misquote
“Don’t let them bury me, I’m not dead.”
-Dennis Alan, The Serpent and the Rainbow
I’ve been fascinated by mysterious creatures like Bigfoot since the day I brought home a library book on the Loch Ness monster and had my mom read it to me. The search for and discussion of unrecognized, out of place, and out of time animals is termed “cryptozoology”. It’s one strand in a larger web of mysteries known variously as unexplained/paranormal phenomena, high strangeness, and Forteana, which also includes such topics as ghosts, hauntings, spontaneous human combustion, psychic powers, religious miracles, objects falling from the sky, loud hums, UFOs, alien abductions, time travel, parallel dimensions, astral projection, and shadow people. Anything outside the understanding of mainstream science. I’m open to pretty much all of it. I’d describe myself as a Bigfoot hopeful, someone who wants to believe, à la Fox Mulder, but admits there is little to no solid proof. I just enjoy reading the stories, watching the videos, and letting my imagination run wild. Was Albert Ostman really carried off and held captive by a Bigfoot in 1924? Did Roger Patterson really film one, dubbed “Patty”, in 1967? I don’t know, but it’s fun to think so.
I used to swear by the Patterson footage. YouTube analyst M.K. Davis has done a remarkable job over the years of enhancing and stabilizing the film, building a strong case for its authenticity. However, some videos betray his hard work, revealing a horizontal rectangular bulge on Patty’s right thigh, what looks like an object under her skin. Once I saw it, I couldn’t unsee it or rationalize it. This caused me to rethink everything. Now, I’m 60/40 in favor of Patty being a bloke in a costume. I’m not talking about the bulge lower down by her knee that Davis would have you believe is a gunshot wound. He maintains that Patterson, riding buddy Bob Gimlin, and others were hunting Patty that day. He calls it the Bluff Creek Massacre.
For such creatures to exist, there would obviously need to be a breeding population of hundreds, if not thousands of them, yet they’re commonly referred to as a single, male individual. I’ve always found this odd because Patty, the most famous depiction by far, has prominent breasts (anatomical jargon for tig fuckin’ bitties). I wonder if people with no interest in Bigfoot think we think there’s only one immortal specimen. I assure you, nobody thinks that. What would the plural of “Bigfoot” be anyway? Bigfeet? Bigfoots? Eh, let’s get to the point, shall we?
I was browsing the cryptozoology subreddit the other week, as I often do — for the record, I shave my neck — when I scrolled past a post titled “Addressing the Controversy Over the ‘FFF’ Documentary About Bigfoot”. I didn’t know what that meant, so clicked on it. All it was was a YouTube video. In the video, a man explains how a documentary film crew interviewed him on and off for two years and the project was finally released via Tubi TV as “Foot Finding Feats: Bigfoot Found or Fraud”. That’s a comical amount of alliteration. I don’t like getting F-ed in the mouth that much. The man, Zbigniew “Biggy” Winzig (pronounced Zuh-big-new Vin-zig), claims he received tons of negative feedback as well as concern for his mental health across multiple platforms regarding pictures of Bigfoot he supplied for illustrative purposes, that were never meant to be taken seriously. He created these pictures, he says, by holding a model in front of his TV. Here is one of them:
Winzig expresses dissatisfaction over the way he feels he was portrayed. The production was stressful, he argues. He lost it for a while, but stands by what he said and is on medication. In the comments of the Reddit post, one user writes “No one knows who you are”. Another adds “AKA we don’t care”. They’re not wrong, but, damn… they could have been nicer. Gotta love social media.
The promise of a new Bigfoot doc mired in controversy piqued my curiosity, so I fired up the old moviola-majig. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, stop reading now. The best way to watch it is cold. Many twists and turns lie ahead. I’d hate to spoil them for you.
I could tell right away from the cheap production company logos and amateur editing that FFF:BFoF — Christ, what a mouthful — was going to be very low-budget. It’s also extremely long at two and a half hours. I’m fine with that, just pointing it out for your benefit. Text informs us the filmmakers were looking to produce a Bigfoot documentary and were put in touch with Winzig, a self-professed expert based out of the Harrison Lake region east of Vancouver, British Columbia, a purported Bigfoot hotspot.
It says they were sent one of his YouTube videos, which you can view here. A slightly condensed version plays. It shows him setting up a trail camera then cuts to what it captured — a hairy, black hand grabbing the camera from behind.
Note: I’ve seen it suggested that Bigfoot can sense the infrared light emitted by trail cameras and purposely avoids it. A handy excuse.
Like everything else, Bigfooting is a business. There is no shortage of conmen willing to prey on the gullible. This vid alone was enough to convince me that Winzig is one of them. I stuck with the movie out of morbid curiosity, to see if his evidence got more ridiculous. Also, to see if the filmmakers called him out on his bullshit and how he responded.
The next thing we’re shown is footage of the filmmakers’ first meeting with Winzig. He comes off as a paranoid mess. He’s wearing a facemask, sunglasses, & hat, and doing a bad German accent, all to obscure his identity. He’s very concerned about “OpSec”, a term I think he made up meaning “Operation Security”. Basically, he doesn’t want anyone knowing who he is or encroaching on his research area. Why agree to be interviewed then? He quickly drops the facade, volunteering his precious info anyway. The interviewer’s voice has been replaced with an Asian female text-to-speech voice in some parts and removed completely in others, making it seem like Winzig is talking to himself. Tubi lists “Jade Ay Rhenium” as the director.
The movie is broken up into many titled chapters. There is a heavy use of text to explain things. Winzig is handed an NDA, which he comically mistakes for DNA results. He states his intention as a researcher is to obtain irrefutable proof of Bigfoot, leading to its legal recognition and protection. Noble, right? Well, Todd “Fraud” Standing wants the same thing and he’s been exposed as a hoaxer more times than I can count. He even took it so far as to (unsuccessfully) sue the Canadian government. Here’s a link to a great PDF thoroughly debunking two of his photos.
Early on, it becomes apparent that Bigfoot is not the subject of the documentary, Winzig is. Most of the runtime is him seated talking to the camera. Though he frequently butchers the English language, I get the sense that he’s very intelligent. He idolizes local Bigfoot historian John Green. He takes an authoritative and condescending tone. One of the first things he shares with us is that Bigfoot is repelled by cooking smells, especially meat. This mentally transports him back to a crash where he witnessed a woman burning alive. This revelation, in my opinion, is bad acting. I can’t tell what his motive is just yet for making up such an obvious lie. He states the following as fact about Bigfoot. It:
- is curious of people
- is afraid of machinery and technology
- can smell gunpowder from a mile away
- is very territorial
- is not an ape
- is Gigantopithecus blacki, an extinct species of ape (this is a popular theory)
- lives all over the world
- eats fruit, salmon, trout, and possibly deer
- likes cherry Pez
- hates mushrooms
- is nearsighted
After forty minutes, he finally takes us into the woods. He explains an arrangement he has with local nature photographers. They send him GPS-tagged pictures of any footprints they find and he goes and casts them. He then shows off his gifting technique. “Gifting” is the practice of leaving food out for Bigfoot, often with the goal of establishing sustained interaction, known as “habituation”. A major criticism of gifting is that everyday animals such as squirrels and raccoons could be eating the food. Many people who do this end up claiming that Bigfoot speaks to them telepathically (“mindspeak”). When pressed for evidence, they tend to say things like “I know it’s true and that’s all that matters”. The belief that Bigfoot possesses paranormal or supernatural abilities is referred to pejoratively as “woo”. There are two camps in the Bigfoot community — habituators/wooists and the science-minded folks tracking flesh-and-blood creatures.
The original woo peddler, as far as I know, was Jack “Kewaunee” Lapseritis. A big one now is Matthew Johnson. Winzig name-drops him toward the end. Johnson is a licensed psychologist who in 2014 supposedly observed a Sasquatch step out of a portal guarded by two Ewok-like creatures. I’m not against such an occurrence in principle, however, Johnson raises a bunch of red flags. He claims to hold all the answers. Be wary of anyone who does this. He’s extremely self-righteous and petty, exhibiting not only a deep-seated need for attention, but authority. He deletes all skeptical and/or even remotely negative comments from his YouTube videos, creating an echo chamber. He reminds me of a cult leader. I can’t tell if he’s consciously hoaxing, or really believes all this stuff.
According to him, there are three kinds of Bigfeet… Bigfoots? — Xanue, Treykon, and Xuxiko. Xanue are invisible light beings. A family of them appears to him regularly. He doesn’t even have to go out in the woods anymore. After Johnson’s top-secret habituation area was located by archenemy Steven Streufert, the family conveniently began to appear in his living room. According to his website, they “are able to cloak, read through memories, engage in mind speak (i.e., telepathic communication), immobilize and heal people, shapeshift, transform from flesh and blood into orb form and vice versa, and so much more.”
The Treykon are extraterrestrials that were brought here as slave miners by another, more advanced race of extraterrestrials. This is a spin on the “ancient alien” theory advanced by Erich von Däniken, Zechariah Sitchin, Lloyd Pye, and others. In the version I know, Bigfoot is the natural evolution of man, whereas we were gene-spliced from their DNA and alien DNA to mine gold that was crushed into tiny flecks and used to repair the aliens’ ozone back home.
Lastly, the Xuxiko are malevolent, supernatural beings, the opposite of the Xanue. It’s basically angels, Bigfeet, and demons with extra steps. Johnson suffered a traumatic brain injury many years ago, which explains a lot. For me, it’s not the demons that are scary, it’s the fact that Johnson is still seeing patients. You can watch his insane videos at TeamSquatchinUSA on YouTube.
To Winzig’s credit, he seems more concerned with collecting hair and saliva samples than developing an intimate relationship with Bigfoot. He leaves cherry Pez at his gifting sites, wrapper and all, as a reference to Stand By Me. Despite his efforts, he obtains little actual evidence. At one point, he finds a “bezoar”, or wad of undigested material similar to an owl pellet, but from something much bigger. He never sends it for analysis, though, citing cost as the issue. I’m with you, man. Shit’s expensive these days. Beyond that, he holds various DNA results and declassified FBI documents up to the camera, but that’s about it.
At fifty-five minutes, it tells us the crew lost contact with Winzig for two months. During this time, they received an email from a hacker representing Anonymous. Or something called “Irregular”. The hacker claimed to have accessed private content (mostly videos) on Winzig’s website, bigfootfinder.ca, proving he hoaxed footprints and sold castings on the dark web. I don’t get why Winzig would document the whole process. A month later, the hacker sent them an image of a missing poster with Winzig on it. The team called the number and a day later received a voicemail from Winzig’s concerned mother stressing that he needs to be taking his meds.
Shortly after the two parties reconnect, Winzig starts to unravel. He says he’s been tentatively diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. Every time we see him he looks different. Shaggy hair, short hair, full beard, goatee, clean shaven, glasses, no glasses, a variety of hats. Intentional or not, the constant change in appearance feeds into the idea that he has multiple personalities. He denies hoaxing anything. He later drunkenly admits to fudging some of his evidence. He starts making really wild claims. For example, there is a coordinated effort to discredit him. The videos of him hoaxing are deep-fakes created by YouTube researchers, Reddit goons, and/or a contract killer. He’s in the witness protection program because he witnessed a murder and testified against the gunman. The text-to-speech voice whispers “Liar, liar, pants on fire.” Winzig totally no-sells it. What is going on?
He now believes most conspiracy theories, even ones that contradict the rest. A nearby government research center is doing something nefarious with Sasquatch DNA. All the giants from mythology were based on Bigfoot. Skeletons sent to the Smithsonian are hidden away “like the end of the Indiana Jones movie”, as part of some grand coverup. Bigfoot is an extraterrestrial who got stranded here on Earth. The Ancient Greeks built him the Antikythera Mechanism to help him get home. The Antikythera Mechanism is a real artifact recovered from a shipwreck often deemed too advanced for its time. It’s one of those ancient mysteries akin to the pyramids and the Nazca Lines. Conversely, Bigfoot was placed here to keep an eye on us.
Next, Winzig brings werewolf lore into the mix. There are human-Sasquatch hybrids running around Quebec with a rare gene disorder called “rougarou”. Upon consuming human flesh, they transform into full-on beasts. He even manages to tie in rhnull blood, the rarest blood type, shared by forty people. He momentarily mistakes The Planet of the Apes for reality (!), but catches himself.
After an especially uncomfortable interview session in Winzig’s home, the movie tells us three crew members were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning! Hold up, he’s trying to kill them now? That’s a bit hard to swallow.
I made the mistake of researching the film partway through. If I’d hung around til the end, my questions would have been answered. I noticed that Winzig created his website in November of 2020, a YouTube channel in April of 2021, and a Facebook page in May of this year. There’s no record of him online as a Bigfoot researcher or otherwise prior to that. His website is littered with Amazon affiliate links, so he’s clearly trying to profit off this. Production of the documentary commenced in April, 2021, meaning he’d only been involved in the field a few months by the time he was contacted. I have to question this. I don’t see how the team would have known about Winzig or why they would have chosen someone with so little experience. I went through his post history on Reddit. This was very revealing.
There is no Jade. There is no crew. There isn’t even a Winzig. It’s all a performance by one man. This put things into perspective for me. It allowed me to see the movie as a parody of the journey of a Bigfoot researcher. What happens to some of them, I think, is that they have a genuine, unexplainable experience that changes their whole perception of things. They spend years trying and failing to produce evidence of what they know to be true. Eventually, they resort to hoaxing, and finally descend into madness.
Winzig also posted this hilarious image of Todd Standing in a camo jacket with a store security tag on it. Did he steal it, like he does people’s money? What a fucking clown.
As the movie goes on, Winzig tumbles further and further down the proverbial rabbit hole, weaving more and more conspiracy theories into his worldview. He literally wears a tinfoil hat at one point. He gets into his history of mental illness. He says he became socially withdrawn in the 90s and stayed inside his apartment for an entire year. He also experimented heavily with drugs. At an hour forty-eight minutes, he describes telltale signs of schizophrenia.
“It’s weird how it creeps up on you slowly. First, it’s some weird noises you hear at random. Over time, you hear a knock or a doorbell. And then you hear your name. And then you hear a phrase. And then you hear a sentence. And then you’re answering. And then it’s telling you things you should do. It happens so slowly you don’t notice it’s not normal.” There are eerie sounds underscoring the dialogue. It’s funny, I know it’s fake and I still feel sorry for the guy. He must be a good actor.
My favorite scene comes toward the end. It’s this movie’s version of the chalkboard scene from Back to the Future Part II. It takes a cool, complicated idea and explains it in a fun, understandable way. Winzig compares time to a vinyl record. He asks us to imagine that the point the needle is touching is the present. Everything before that is the past. Everything yet to be played is the future. He then asks us to imagine that the record extends forever horizontally, all the way around. That’s our universe. Now place an infinite pile of records on top. Those are alternate universes. He calls the sum of these alternate universes “alternity”. He warns us that Bigfoot and aliens can step into any point in the stack they so choose. They are “sidesteppers”. He’s hit bottom. He’s in Wonderland now. He gets really worked up and chants a mantra to calm down. Tubi translates the Latin words to “Our monster, our god, Bigfoot.”
The last half hour or so is footage recovered by a family member of him camping in the woods. He injures an ankle and is pursued by three Bigfeet. There is a single lousy “effect” of a Bigfoot teleporting. It’s one of his dolls superimposed over the image. Besides that, nothing is shown. You have to use your imagination. This is followed by another shot of his missing poster, implying he died. The final moments are clips of him from every interview segment announcing to the camera that… “It was just me with a bunch of cheap cameras and a laptop talking to myself alone.”
What I assumed was a straightforward Bigfoot documentary turned into an exploitation of mental illness, ended up as a found footage horror movie, and upon closer inspection is a mockumentary. What a ride. It kept me guessing, kept me on my toes. It’s not a “great” movie by any means, but it’s quite impressive considering it was made by one person. By the sounds of it, this was just a project he started during Lockdown that grew from there. I didn’t accomplish shit during Lockdown. Then again, I still went to work everyday.
Looking back, this means the initial video I saw of him addressing the dolls was done in character. The fact that he had to address them at all is disappointing. I thought it was obvious, given the twists at the end, that Foot Finding Feats is a work of fiction. There’s even a notice in place of credits that explicitly says it is. I messaged Winzig to set the record straight.
“Biggy, just wanted to let you know I enjoyed the film.” I wrote. “Am I correct in thinking this is a character you play and that the film is a mockumentary? Do you also consider yourself a legitimate Bigfoot researcher, or was the website and such just part of the experience, leading into the film [like an ARG]?”
“It started as an interest in Bigfoot because of where I live.” Winzig replied. “The mockumentary happened next. I’m not legit. Just a filmmaker who enjoys the world of Bigfoot. But I did do two years of tracking and learning to make plaster casts, so I guess I’m an amateur? Thanks for your kind comments.”
There you have it.