Is There Actually A Difference Between Bigfoot And Sasquatch?

Robert Frost told us that "The woods are lovely, dark and deep," which if you're lost and panicking in the forest in the dead of night is kind of a contradiction. Because who knows what sort of things are out there in that deep dark? And how hungry they are? Maybe (mountain) lions. Or tigers (if you're in Oklahoma). Or bears. Oh, my. And what about Sasquatch? (No, not the character from Marvel.) Or Bigfoot? Or both?

The good news is, you might run into both Sasquatch and Bigfoot, though the odds are slim to none. But if you do, your vocabulary gets a rest (other than, maybe, the words that involve screaming) because they're one and the same, according to How Stuff Works.

There were legends about big, hairy, bipedal wilderness creatures long before Duck Dynasty. In the Himalaya region, they're known as Yeti, as Newsweek tells us, and the stories go back a few hundred years, at least. There, the creature appears (when it does appear) covered in white fur. From the same geography comes stories of the Abominable Snowman, also fearsome, unless your frame of reference comes from the Rankin/Bass holiday TV special Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer, so possibly toe-may-toe/toe-mah-toe.

A guy in a suit? Or something else?

The same principle applies to Sasquatch v. Bigfoot. "Sasquatch" as a name seems to originate from the Salish tribe of Native Americans who inhabited the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver Island. Their legends describe a creature anywhere from 6-15 feet tall. Also silent. Except when emitting "a high-pitched cry." Cue the screaming. Central California has pictographs, thousands of years old, which show what's possibly Sasquatch, with a family.

"Bigfoot" didn't actually get applied to the thing until about 1958, when the term was coined by a newspaper columnist, who thought it scanned better. Some claim Bigfoot inhabits a larger range of territory, including much of the woodlands of North America. Nobody's ever captured one. According to Mental Floss, hunting them is illegal in Washington State, among other places. (In Texas, on the other hand, it isn't a problem.) The famous Patterson-Gimlin film from 1967, purporting to capture a few seconds of a Bigfoot/Sasquatch on a stroll, is still debated more than 50 years later, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Sasquatch/Bigfoot is technically classified as a cryptid — defined by Merriam-Webster as "an animal ... that has been claimed to exist but never proven to exist." Maybe so, maybe no. Those woods are deep. And oh-so-dark.