Up Close & Peculiar

More than 100 years ago, the globetrotting Robert Ripley began collecting artifacts from his journeys around the world, which today form the heart of the greatest collection of oddities ever assembled. Up Close & Peculiar brings the curious history of these pieces to a personal level as our very own, Allyson Iovino, explores the strange relics that lie within our Warehouse walls! Become a part of the story as we share pieces for every history buff, pop culture junkie, and oddities collector alike.

Today: Bigfoot  

Could Bigfoot be deemed real in our lifetime? Let’s investigate! 

Up first, we have an official letter from the FBI in regards to this alleged piece of Bigfoot hair. In 1976, an Oregon man named Peter Byrne wrote the FBI multiple times to request that they test a hair and skin sample that he had found during one of his Bigfoot searches. He wanted the record to be set straight, once and for all. Was Bigfoot was really wandering around the Pacific Northwest?

Now I know Bigfoot seems kinda far-fetched, but consider this. Cryptozoology is the study of creatures only known through anecdotal evidence. Your mind  might go straight to unicorns and Nessie, but many animals we know today were once considered cryptids!

Scandinavian folklore warned sailors of the Kraken, however, the creature was revealed to be a giant squid in 1853. We didn’t have footage of a giant squid until 2005! The komodo dragon wasn’t confirmed until 1910, and the gorilla was folklore until 1847. It’s estimated that over 15 million species live on our planet, but only two million are known to scientists. 

Listen, I’m not saying that Bigfoot is real but I’m just saying there’s a whole lotta animals crawling around the planet that we don’t know about! 

Anyways, back to the letter. In 1976, FBI Assistant Director Jay Cochran Jr. sent a reply back to Byrne saying that he agreed to examine the specimens he sent them. A few months later in 1977, this letter was sent out to Howard Curtus, executive vice president of the Academy of Applied Science in Boston. The Academy had a relationship with Burn’s Bigfoot group. Believe It or Not!, the academy had been the chief sponsor of a search for the Loch Ness monster in Scotland. 

As you can see here, Cochran writes that while testing the sample, he “included a study of morphological characteristics such as root structure, medullary structure and cuticle thickness in addition to scale casts.” Unfortunately for the Bigfoot truthers, Cochran ended his letter by concluding that the sample was actually deer hair. 

This conclusion isn’t stopping anyone’s Bigfoot search. If you have stepped anywhere near a forest-y area recently, you know every store within a fifty mile radius is selling obscene amounts of Bigfoot merch. 

Do you have evidence that Bigfoot exists? DM me personally with your Bigfoot pictures and I’ll let you know if I think it’s legit or not. See you later!


Discover hundreds of strange and unusual artifacts and get hands-on with unbelievable interactives when you visit a Ripley’s Odditorium!