This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ghost Fest 4 Expo: Philip Morris and the Bigfoot Mystery

         On Sunday September 19, 2010, I dropped in at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California to visit Ghost Fest 4 Expo .  This was a paranormal event that featured seminars presented by experts in the field, an exhibit hall with vendors of products and services related to psychic activities, a museum display, and special haunted tours. 

        The event was kicked off on Friday the 17th and included a live broadcast of George Noory's Coast to Coast radio show.  The weekend included a world premiere of a movie called The Dead Matter.  There were also other stage presentations and special events.

       Due to other commitments I was unable to attend most of this event, but I did make it for the final hours.  I was accompanied by my daughter Angelina and her significant other, Ray.  Most of the crowds had dispersed by the time we arrived and actually the Sunday attendance was much less than the previous two days had been.  When we got inside things were a bit dead (excuse the pun).

       We were greeted by an exhibit hall filled with fortune tellers, clairvoyants, psychics, ghost hunters, and other paranormal professionals.  There were very few attendees in the hall and most of the exhibitors were visiting with each other.  Tarot card readers and palm readers tried to lure me into their booths to tell me my fortune.  I'm not sure why they couldn't foresee that I wasn't going to be interested and that certainly didn't add to their credibility in my eyes.  They all seemed to be very nice people though.

          I asked one psychic where I could find the speaker I came to see and she graciously led me to one of the event information stations where the representative could answer my questions.   I would have thought she could have just psychically known where I should go.  But I guess I may be running this joke into an early grave. 

         I was told that Philip Morris, the speaker whom I had come to see, would be speaking down in the Boiler Room--shades of Freddy Krueger!  Our group headed into the bowels of the great ship Queen Mary to see if we could find Philip.
          Let me digress a moment to explain the Queen Mary for those who don't know what I'm talking about.  The Queen Mary is the grand English ocean liner that was first put into operation in 1936 and stayed in operation until 1967 at which time she was retired to Long Beach and opened as a tourist attraction.  The docked ship now has a hotel, restaurants, and convention facilities, as well as having portions open for the public to tour.  One of the featured draws is the supposed haunting of the ship with frequent ghost sightings and supernatural occurrences having been reported. 

         The three of us found Philip Morris on the second level of the ship waiting for his slated lecture to begin.  I have been friends with Philip for over forty years and have worked for him for most of those years.  Philip is the founder and owner of Morris Costume Company in Charlotte, North Carolina. Morris Costumes is the largest U.S.distributor of costumes and other related supplies.  I had not seen Phil for well over a year and it was good to catch up on things with him.

From left to right: Philip Morris holding Bigfoot costume, Arlee Bird with ghostly light shining upon him, Angelina, and Ray.    (Photo taken by Whit "Pop" Haydn) 

          Philip gave a presentation about the most famous reputed Bigfoot filmed sighting which was in 1967.  The legendary creature was captured on film in the wilds of Northern California by one Roger Patterson.  The film caused a sensation throughout the world as the evidence of Bigfoot's existence.  There was one problem according to Morris--the film was a hoax.

          Phil tells how he was specializing in gorilla costumes in the early days of his costume business.  Patterson had gotten word of this and contacted Morris Costumes about buying a suit.  After he had purchased the suit and gotten some advice from Philip Morris, Patterson made some modifications to the suit to make it appear like he would imagine the legendary Bigfoot might look.  With the help of a local man hired to wear the customized suit, Patterson and a friend went out into the wilds and filmed the short episode.

        The story has been featured on television specials and in numerous articles.  Also, Greg Long, a paranormal researcher, wrote a book called The Making of Bigfoot which includes Morris's version of what happened.   A Google search will turn up numerous references to the Morris connection to the Patterson film.  

          There are many who dispute the claim made by Morris, including many Bigfoot advocates who really want to believe that the film is real.  Several witnesses have stepped forward to concur that they were aware that the film was a hoax.  The evidence that Philip Morris offers in his presentation is very convincing.  The arguments against the evidence are speculation.

           As Phil states, "I've been talking publicly about this for years now and haven't been sued yet."

           Philip Morris certainly now has his name attached to legendary film, which by the way is not taken very seriously by the scientific community, but the controversary rages on and may never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. 

             It was good to see Philip Morris.  He is one heck of a storyteller and could entertain you for hours.  Our visit was far too short, but we all had things to do and places to go. 

          While visiting Phil I met "Pop" Haydn, a Los Angeles magician who has also been friends with Phil for forty some years.  Since I had forgotten my camera, Pop graciously consented to take the picture you see above with Philip and me, my daughter, and her beau.   I hope to have a feature in the near future about Pop Haydn, who sounds like another interesting fellow.  Whit "Pop": Haydn is pictured below posing with Philip Morris and a replica of the infamous Bigfoot costume.  You might enjoy visiting his website.

             Before leaving I had Philip sign my copy of The Making Of Bigfoot.  Phil didn't write the book, but his contribution to the hoax is highlighted in the final chapter of the book.  If you would like to purchase a copy of this book you can follow the above link.  Phil will autograph your copy as well if you like.  Sounds like a pretty nice Christmas present for the Bigfoot fans in your life.

             Have you seen any of the Bigfoot television documentaries?   Have you read the book by Greg Long?   Had you heard the story about the Philip Morris costume?    What is your opinion of the controversy?

               Tomorrow's debate will deal with the existence of Bigfoot type creatures.  I hope you stop in to leave your views about that.


  1. I have not read the book but know the film to be a hoax. :( Glad you got to meet up with old friends though and it sounds like a cool expo.

    I'll save my comments on Bigfoot for the debate :D
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  2. oh wow... that was quite a neat visit with your friend... I have seen part of the film on TV, yes, actually on a show about Bigfoot. I knew it was a hoax but I would have never thought I would learn all all these details about Mr Morris. I enjoyed the pictures very much. You daughter is beautiful!

    Thanks for this great post.

  3. I too will save my comments of Bigfoot to debate,
    Must say I liked the pics of you,
    Most interesting day you had.

    Have a good day today.

  4. Sounds like you had a great visit. How exciting. Big foot. Hmm. Yes I've watched documentaries. They are very interesting. I believe in everything I can't explain. :)

  5. I've never watched the documentaries or read the book; I might though, just to see what people are so fascinated with.

  6. Over the years I've seen documentaries on Big Foot. Now that you have educated me further, I want to see them again

  7. Oh, I wish I had a chance to experience a cruise on Queen Marry!

  8. I haven't not seen any of the documentaries, nor have I read the book, I have read in the paper years ago about the hoax. I do not think there is any "big foot creature."

  9. Jules -- I don't know how "cool" the expo was, but it was kind of weird. Looking forward to your thoughts on Bigfoot tomorrow.

    Doris -- Thanks for your kind words. I agree about my daughter!

    Yvonne -- I'll also be interested in what you have to say tomorrow. Are there Bigfoot type creatures in the U.K.?

    Teresa -- I believe in everything I can't explain --- I'm sure someone could poke holes in that logic, but I like it.

    Golden Eagle -- Let us know what you find out from your research.

    Liza -- These types are always interesting to speculate about.

    Dezmond -- It was quite the ship in its day, but I guess the newer Queen Mary which is still on the seas is far more lavish and modern.

    Gregg-- But Gregg, you are right up there in the heart of Bigfoot country. How can you not believe in them? Aren't there a few in the government up there?

  10. Hi there! I found you from Elizabeth Mueller's blog. Great post. I'd love to see Big Foot. I never get to have any fun! LOL I'm a follower!

  11. I really wanted to go to Ghost Fest, but couldn't swing it in my budget.

    I am fascinated with the Big Foot legend. I don't really believe any of the videos/photos that have been brought forward, but I've heard a few stories that have left me scratching my head.

    I still think it's funny that we can find ice crystals on Mars but nothing concrete to prove the existence of Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster or the Jersey Devil, etc, and people are convinced they're out there.

  12. I think we've discovered every large and small creature that lives in North America. There is no Big Foot. Now there may be undiscovered monster lurking in the seas, but honestly, we probably would have found those by now too.

    Stephen Tremp

  13. Always knew it was bogus footage. Morris just provide me with proof!

  14. The Ghost fest 4 expo sounds like the perfect setting for a whodunit!

    I think I have seen bits of the clips of the Yeti movie but not the whole thing. It reminded me of old sci-fi movies where the special effects are obviously fake, but it was still fun to watch. Some people are going to believe what they want to believe - evidence and the truth will never sway them.

  15. Melissa -- Thanks for the follow. I too would like to see a Bigfoot, but probably not too up close and personal.

    Karen -- Maybe the Fest would have been better on Friday and Saturday, but you would have been disappointed in Sunday. I'm not going to say those creatures aren't out there, but I would need some proof to really defend their existence.

    Stephen Tremp -- I think you are probably right, but it's a big world out there and I guess new things are always being discovered. I not going to say for sure that they're not out there.

    Alex -- But there are still a lot of people who would argue Philip Morris' claims and would probably be equally convincing.

  16. Jane -- I think Ghost Fest would be a good who dunnit setting as well. In fact someone could probably get a very lenghty Queen Mary series of books. There is so much around it--the shipyards and docks, city of Long Beach, and the depots for Catalina Island and so much more. Wow, what a diverse setting and the ship itself is pretty creepy. And it never goes anywhere. You've got my imagination working.
    People will especially believe what they want if the evidence given is not totally indisputable.

  17. Sounds like you had a lot of fun at that paranormal event. Great pics, too. And I definitely don't think much credibility was earned by the psychics and fortune tellers, either.

  18. No Bigfoot?

    Next you're gonna tell me there's no Santa!

  19. Jeffrey -- It was fun seeing my friend Phil and being with Angie and Ray. I guess the rest of it was okay.

    Larry --- I know there's a Santa because I see him at the mall every year. Hope you toss out your opinion in tomorrow's debate.

  20. Hi Arlee .. I don't think I have heard of this before - but great to hear the story and meet Philip and Hayden -

    Thanks - Hilary

  21. I never knew of Long's book or of Morris' association, but I have seen numerous documentaries on the subject over the years. It is fun to think that a creature such as Bigfoot exists. It is a fairly common legend in many cultures but called by different names. Does it really exist? All possibilities, I guess.

  22. Hilary -- Thank you for stopping by.

    Paula--Philip Morris is listed as a consultant on a couple of the TV docs that I've seen. It is a nearly universal legend.


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