Mapping 92 Years of Bigfoot Sightings

Caitlin Dempsey


On the hunt for Bigfoot?  Joshua Stevens, a PhD candidate in Geography at Penn State, has stumbled across a treasure trove of Bigfoot sightings.  

Stevens discovered that the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization has catalogued Bigfoot/Sasquatch sightings in the United States and Canada stretching back to 1921.

The database hosted by BFRO contains thousands of geocoded and timestamped logs describing sightings of the mythical beast.  Stevens consolidated a total of 3,313 sightings from 1921 to 2013.  

He then mapped and graphed out the sightings to look for patterns:

Right away you can see that sightings are not evenly distributed. At first glance, it looks a lot like a map of population distribution. After all, you would expect sightings to be the most frequent in areas where there are a lot of people. But a bivariate view of the data (right) shows a very different story. There are distinct regions where sightings are incredibly common, despite a very sparse population. On the other hand, in some of the most densely populated areas sasquatch sightings are exceedingly rare.

Geography of Bigfoot sightings in the United States

The map shows areas where Bigfoot sightings are more frequent such as the Pacific Northwest and Florida.

Stevens graphed out sightings on a timeline at the bottom of his map poster, noting a few milestones such as the first footprint photo in 1951 which gave rise to the name bigfoot, the emergence of the Bigfoot Hunting culture in 1958, and the release of the Patterson–Gimlin film purportedly showing a female bigfoot mid-stride.  

Bigfoot sighting reports increase gradually with the first decade of the 2000s showing the largest increase.  It would be interesting to understand what triggered that significant increase (increased access to GPS and smartphones, perhaps?) and why the rapid decline starting around 2010 in reports.

Unfortunately, the database only contains reported sightings for the United States and Canada, so sightings of Yeti, Ban-manush, Hibagon, and other ape-like cryptids are not mapped out.

Map of 3,313 Bigfoot/Sasquatch Sightings from 1921-2013 by Josh Stevens.

More: ‘Squatch Watch: 92 Years of Bigfoot Sightings in the US and Canada

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.

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