On Sunday, Shannon Parker and her husband Stetson were travelling through the isolated San Juan National Forest when they spotted what appeared to be a large, hairy creature lumbering on two legs through the scrub.
Some might say in a remarkably human-like fashion.
Nevertheless, a fellow passenger began filming the beast – for a surprisingly short period of time given the potentially monumental find, making little attempt to keep the creature in shot as the train rumbled along.
Shannon has since posted the footage and several pictures on Facebook, where the video was spotted and reposted on X, formerly Twitter, by tourism company OutThere Colorado.
‘It’s story time y’all!’ wrote Shannon. ‘On Sunday, October 8, 2023, Stetson Tyler and I took the Narrow Gauge train ride from Durango to Silverton.
‘After leaving Silverton and heading back to Durango, I asked Stetson to help me look for elk in the mountains. As we are passing by the mountains, Stetson sees something moving and then says “I think it’s Bigfoot”.
‘Brandon, the guy sitting next to Stetson on the train, grabs his phone and starts recording. Meanwhile I am trying to get a photo on my camera.’
The footage shows the creature taking five strides through the scrub before crouching down and alternately looking around the ground and up at the train.
‘Out of the hundreds of people on the train, three or four of us actually saw, as Stetson says in the video, the ever elusive creature Bigfoot,’ said Shannon.
‘I don’t know about y’all but we believe!’
Unsurprisingly, the posts have attracted a lot of attention, from both those who believe, and others who are more skeptical.
‘That’s pretty good footage, it’s bent over with hunched shoulders, arms are longer than normal,’ wrote one X user. ‘Need more video scrutiny by folks with the software to do so.’
Another said: ‘Was a little skeptical about this, until I saw the length of the arm. The hand was all the way down to the knee. Clearly a bigfoot.’
It was also noted how inaccessible the area was, only reachable – to humans – by canoe or kayak, made more difficult with a costume in tow.
However, most fell into the non-believers camp, noting the human action and, most commonly, the glorious shine of the creature’s hair.
‘Bigfoot needs to share his conditioner secrets for that shiny hair,’ said one user.
Another added: ‘They are elusive because they take their costumes off after you get your shot.’
Speaking to Newsweek, Mrs Parker said some people thought the sighting was staged by the train operator for publicity.
It would not be the first time the public has been caught out by a Bigfoot hoax, but time and again sightings are thoroughly debunked – especially as technology improves.
Modern smartphone footage, even when shot from afar, is of infinitely better quality than the grainy footage of the early days of Bigfoot, while social media allows such sightings to be shared, and analysed, widely.
The myth of Bigfoot has spanned generations and continents. Arizona State Museum suggests the likely origin stems from the Native American story of Tsonoqua, a ‘giant, hair-covered ogre who steals children and food’.
However, Bigfoot, or Sasquatch as it is also known, went mainstream in 1958 after Ray Wallace, a road contractor working in northern California, made plaster casts of huge footprints found near where he was working.
Mr Wallace reported further sightings and even recorded Bigfoot sounds, helping stitch the myth firmly into modern American history.
Was it a Gigantopithecus, the last surviving member of an otherwise extinct species of giant ape from southeast Asia? Or a hitherto unknown species of human-like ape?
In this particular case, it was a hoax. After Mr Wallace’s death, relatives found large, wooden cutouts of feet among his belongings, used to create the footprints.
Nevertheless, many still believe Bigfoot wanders the forests of North America – even after the most famous sighting, captured on camera by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin in 1967, was thoroughly debunked.
The video, taken alongside a creek in northern California, appeared to show a large, dark brown or black-haired ape-like creature striding confidently across the landscape.
However, recent analysis of the film which stabilised the shot clearly shows a man in a gorilla costume.
It is not only in North America where such myths and stories circulate. In the Himalayan mountain region tales of the Yeti, or ‘glacier being’ abound, often better known as the Abominable Snowman.
The 2018 film Smallfoot appeared to conflate the two ‘creatures’, playing on the Bigfoot name but starring a family of yetis…