Editor’s Note: Jim McClarin was an early Bigfoot investigator from 1963 to 1972. He carved a well-known Bigfoot statue in Willow Creek, CA and was the person who walked Patty's trackway in John Green's 1968 comparison film.
Back in the early days, shortly after the Great Flood, there was a man named Ray Wallace who was full of Bigfoot stories -- and stunts. Among other wild claims he said he had 1,600 hours of film of "Bigfoots" that he had taken. He offered to show me a reel. It was a clear as a bell and in bright sunshine but was a pitiful fake, and I even figured I knew who was inside the suit, Ray's brother Shorty Wallace. I had seen enough of Shorty to recognize him in the film because of his signature way of moving his body. Ray never realized that I knew his brother. Anyway, Ray's Bigfoot had a tail about 16 inches long and stiff as a broomstick except at its base, causing it to wag limply whenever Shorty, er, Bigfoot shifted around.
Ray was said to have made footprints with wooden feet on the road construction site up Bluff Creek where the P/G film was shot. Whether he did or not I can't say but I was once contacted by a Mr. Rant Mullen (Mullens?) who sent me photos of some wooden feet he said he had carved from alder wood at the request of Ray Wallace. My guess is that some of the extremely flat prints in dust could easily have been made with such feet.
One of Ray's tales I recall reading was his witnessing a Bigfoot who had killed an elk with a club being suddenly confronted with a hungry grizzly who figured he would claim the prize. The Bigfoot wasted no time bashing the bear's brains in with his club and left the scene dragging both kills, presumably off toward his den. I'm guessing he told dozens of other equally amazing stories, never pausing to reflect on the concept of over-worked coincidence.
Ray's final stunt that I know of was to claim that he and his family had been involved in the Patterson/Gimlin film hoax. He died a few years afterward.
During all the years I was aware of his fanciful exploits I never declared that everything Ray ever claimed about Bigfoot was a lie, although I always suspected it. As a logging road construction contractor who had spent a great deal of time pushing paths into virgin timber, Ray was in an excellent position to have seen real tracks and possibly even a creature or two. He was right in the thick of it when the flurry of reports began issuing from Bluff Creek in the 1950's. I think he's mentioned in Ivan T. Sanderson's book.
However, given his penchant for spinning a new whopper every time you turned around, few took Ray Wallace seriously, and if they once did, they soon realized he was a pathological fibber. It could well be that we missed some factual accounts by discounting everything but that's life! We have to spend our time wisely.