Posted by ESC on December 07, 2002
Thursday, Dec. 5, 2002
SEATTLE (AP) - The man who used 16-inch feet-shaped carvings to create tracks that ignited the "Bigfoot" legend has died. He was 84.
Ray L. Wallace's family admitted his role in the creature myth after his death Nov. 26 from heart failure.
"The reality is, Bigfoot just died," his son, Michael, said.
In August 1958, a bulldozer operator who worked for Wallace's construction company in Humboldt County, Calif., found huge footprints circling and then leading away from his rig.
The Humboldt Times in Eureka, Calif., coined the term "Bigfoot" in a front-page story about the phenomenon.
Family members said Wallace asked a friend to carve the wooden 16-inch-long feet that he and his brother Wilbur wore to create the tracks.
The nation - fascinated by tales of the Himalayan Abominable Snowman - quickly bought into the notion of a homegrown version.
"The fact is there was no Bigfoot in popular consciousness before 1958. America got its own monster, its own Abominable Snowman, thanks to Ray Wallace," Mark Chorvinsky, editor of Strange magazine, told The Seattle Times.