Our Hairy Origins
On a hot summer day in 1949, while camping in Humboldt County, a curious young boy named Michael Rugg strayed from his family. Walking through a tall thicket, Michael happened upon an enormous primate-like creature the likes of which he had never seen. But before he could even speak the hairy creature had vanished. Shaken by the encounter, Michael became convinced that the only feasible identity of the creature was the famed Sasquatch, an elusive primate that is rumored to wander the Pacific West. From that day on, Michael became determined to prove the existence of bipedal primates in California.
His passion for bipedal primates would earn Rugg a full scholarship to Stanford University in 1964. There amidst the dusty stacks and microfiche Rugg delved deep into primate research. In March of 1967, he produced a paper for an anthropology class (at that point, a culmination of 16 years of study) that argued the “Abominable Snowman Question” deserved serious scientific research and further argued that Bluff Creek could be a habitat for these "unknown” primates in California. Unconvinced by his argument, the professor gave him the “C” that he had promised when Rugg first told him the paper’s intent. Unimpressed with academia and the closed-mindedness of his would-be mentor, Rugg left Stanford and opened an art studio next to his brother’s wood-shop in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Coincidentally, the infamous "Patterson/Gimlin film" was shot just seven months later right where Rugg's research paper had predicted.
Build It and They Will Come: The Museum
Following careers in dulcimer production and graphic design, in 2004 Michael Rugg shared his lifework and extensive collection to the world by establishing The Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton, California.
From the start, the mission of the Bigfoot Discovery Museum was thus:
1. To attract and educate the public with the facts of mystery primates across the globe, free of charge.
2. To establish a research center for discovery science and bipedal primates.
3. To create a safe place for folks to share their own experiences, thoughts, and beliefs surrounding mystery primates.
4. To highlight the importance of wildlife and habitat conservation in California.
5. To seek proof of the existence of Bigfoot through investigatory field research and forensics.
6. To keep Santa Cruz weird.
Guided by these principals, over the years the Bigfoot Discovery Museum has attracted thousands of visitors, supporters, and believers from the farthest reaches of the world. Always behind the counter ready with knowledge and charm, Michael Rugg has in his own right become a force in the Bigfoot research community and a cultural icon of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
But Then Along Came an Illusive Foe...
But due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing health problems, and the continuous struggle to keep the Museum as a non-profit, our beloved museum is itself on the verge of extinction...
Do You Believe?
We recognize we have set a lofty goal of $92,000. This total was calculated to cover the balloon mortgage payment on the Museum property that is due August 2020 ( UPDATE: Mike was able to get a new loan, and now needs to keep raising money to cover his costs). If we are unable to collect enough donations to save the property, the remaining funds will be allocated to reinvent the Museum as follows:
1. By digitizing the museum's collection so that it may be fully publicly accessible online.
2. To enable Michael to share his knowledge in the form of an official book.
3. To launch a comprehensive online store.
4. To keep Santa Cruz weird.
In these uncertain times we truly understand how tough folks have it. We would graciously accept anything you can afford to give to help save the Bigfoot Discovery Museum and to keep this piece of Santa Cruz history alive.
Michael Rugg and the Bigfoot Discovery Museum