Monthly Archives: January 2015

Twisted Trees. Shelters and Other Claims

I have noticed, especially since the wide-spread use of the internet, that claims of structures, nests, shelters, twisted trees and many other things have been put forward by many in the Sasquatch field as an established fact.

I, myself, have come across many such strange things out in the bush while searching for evidence.  Their existence I cannot deny, however what I have NOT found is any evidence, whatsoever, that the Sasquatch had anything to do with them.  Personally, I think that when an idea or possibility is repeated often enough, and over a length of time, many start to assume such possibilities as established facts, even though there really has been no evidence to support such assumptions.

The twisted tree theory goes way back to its origin in Northern California during the Pacific Northwest Expedition.  The late Robert Titmus first made the suggestion when he noticed the tops of small trees broken off, and wondered if Bigfoot was the cause; perhaps a marker of some kind?  He was never really convinced of this, he just wondered at the possibility.  And yes, I did know the late Robert Titmus, and had discussed this issue with him on a number of occasions.

However, over the years, the suggestion took on a life of its own.  Over time, due mostly to others finding such damaged trees, it led to documentaries and docudramas on television.  As well, a number of attention seekers breaking and twisting things on their own, while claiming Sasquatch was responsible.  The result is within the research community as a whole, many now think of this as an established fact.  In reality it isn’t.

The same holds true for so-called nests, shelters, stick structures, etc., etc., all of which have came about as just possibilities suggested, but over time have morphed into a reality in the minds of many researchers who have accepted the connection without a thought.  I don’t deny the possibility that perhaps the Sasquatch could be responsible for some type of nest, or damaging trees in ways or for reasons we do not yet understand.

However, in the 37 years I have been involved with this, I have talked and interviewed well over 100 people who claim to have seen a Sasquatch (not even counting obvious hoax attempts); I have talked to many people who have come across twisted or broken off trees.  But I have never heard of one witness (at least reliable) who watched a Sasquatch twist or break a tree.  The same holds true for shelters, nests, stick structures, etc.  That is not to say that such activity does or never happens, I am just saying that so far I have seen no evidence of it.

Thomas Steenburg

Out and About

Today, January 25, 2015, a group of us went out to an old stomping ground for me; a location in the lower mainland which none of my friends had been before.  I myself had not been back to this area for over a year.  New logging and hydro projects, cutting too many trees for my liking, were ongoing so this particular Forest Service Road (FSR) had been put on the back burner for a while.  Also, being January, I did not really expect that we would be able to to get very high in elevation, as deep snow would prevent us going any further.

But with this being one of the mildest January’s in recent years, we were able to get much further than expected.  I was pleased with some new course changes that had been made on the road in general.  One rock strewn, steep climb which was always nerve-wracking at the best of times, is now bypassed.

It was a good day condition-wise; a bad day footprint-wise!  Not only were there no Sasquatch tracks found, but no tracks of any kind were found in some of the best conditions here in a long time!  Deep snow, about 12 kilometers in, stopped us in our tracks.

I look forward to returning to this FSR in the near future, to find how far the new bypass will go before reconnecting to the old road.  If it goes to where I think it does, then this will be a good place for some of our future trips and expeditions.

Thomas Steenburg

Credible Witnesses

I was informed that an individual on another site (the BFF Forum) had posed a question to me: if I personally had any friends and colleagues who claim to have seen a Sasquatch, whom I believe? 

I found the question myself and tried to answer on the BFF site, but found that my spell-checker no longer corrects things for me there.  Having the spelling skills that a grade 5 student would laugh at, I decided to try and fix the problem before making any more posts on their website!

But as we were out and about in the Bush during one of the warmest January’s I can remember, it was decided to try and answer the question right then and there.  So, here you go, Terry, I hope this answers your question!

A quick note: In hindsight, I noticed I did not mention the late, Bob Titmus in the video.  I knew him for many years and as he claimed sightings on two different occasions, he then should also have been added to the list.  Once again, I have to state that if the Sasquatch does indeed exist (something I do believe, by the way!) then these men saw one.  If I am wrong, and the Sasquatch does not nor never did exist, then these men have had very good examples of mis-identification of common animals or humans.

Thomas Steenburg

REMEMBERING RENE DAHINDEN

Rene was Rene. That really, in a nutshell, was the only way to describe the man.  We were good friends – I loved the guy.  So, when I was asked about him during a recent outing, the memory came back of two trips with Rene, in the same general area that we were now standing.  I was much younger then and at times my inexperience would show.  Something Rene would never, and I mean NEVER, fail to point out!

Rest in peace, my friend – I miss you.

SCAVENGING SASQUATCH

On my youtube site someone asked me if I had ever heard of any reports of Sasquatch observed in or around public garbage dumps?  That got me thinking, as I have noticed a change in such reports since the 1980s.

I have spoken to witnesses who claimed to have seen a Sasquatch rummaging through human garbage but every story that I am aware of is now at least 30 years old.  There are a few more recent ones where the subject was observed rummaging through people’s garbage cans but these too have been few and far between.

So I wondered, ‘Why have reports of this creature in garbage dumps stopped?’  The answer became clear, at least here in Western Canada (Alberta and BC).

In the early 1980s, various levels of government decided that the long standing practice of open pit dumps would end.  The main reason for this decision at the time was the increasing number of what was officially known as ‘spoiled bears’.  Bears that became so used to easy picking of human food in the dumps that such scavenging had become the norm.

A spoiled bear can quickly become an aggressive problem bear when that food source is cut off.  This became a huge issue in 1980 when a large, problem Grizzly, which was a known garbage feeder, killed one man and seriously mauled another in Banff National Park.  The National, and later the Provincial Parks, led the way in shutting down the open pit dumps – a rule communities soon followed suit.

There was a period of time for the bears to go though a sort of, ‘No easy pickings, withdraw’, but today nobody even remembers the outcry.  Remember when suddenly one could  just drive to the local dump and drop off a bag or two for free?  Or going to the dump in the early hours of the morning to do some bear watching?  This was the norm.  So, of course, there were a few reports of other creatures seen in and about the dumps, too.

Today, the dumps are like little forts!  High fences all around; steel containers; everything separated for recycling; or everything trucked in or out; staff there almost ’round the clock to keep an eye on things.  And the biggest change of all: trash is now weighed and you have to pay to leave it there!  No bears anymore – just ravens, crows and seagulls.  At least that is the way of it here, where I live, in Mission, British Columbia.

So, to conclude, I feel even though there were a few reports in the past of Sasquatch in and around community open pit garbage dumps, that has indirectly become a thing of the past – like the dumps themselves, for the most part.

Thomas Steenburg

ALONE OR A GROUP – WHICH IS BEST?

I have done a great deal of both during my years of research and I have found advantages and disadvantages with both.  The best advantage to going into the bush alone is the ability to remain quiet.  Logic would suggest you are more likely to see wildlife this way though I must admit that coming across large animals, like deer and bear, have occurred as often in the company of other researchers as it has on my own, with the exception of the one good sighting I had of a cougar in the Alberta Rocky mountains in the early 1990s.

The biggest disadvantage of going alone is the safety factor.  I have often thought, looking back at all those times I was by myself, nobody knowing where I was, if something unforeseen would happen well, needless to say, the jig was up.  A reality which hit too close for comfort during the summer of 1986! That is a tale for another day…

However, sorry to say, I didn’t really learn my lesson and continued to just go into the back country on a whim when the urge to look for evidence hit me – and it still does, too often for my own good.

Researching with others of a common interest has mutual benefits as far as personal safety is concerned.  This goes without saying.  But the greatest advantage of searching with others is simple and straight forward – more eyes continuously scanning the immediate surroundings makes it less likely that something will be missed.  It won’t guarantee it, but in my opinion it does tip the odds a little more in the researchers favor!

Thomas Steenburg

HOW IT ALL BEGAN FOR ME

I have often been asked, “What was it that got me interested in the Sasquatch mystery in the first place?” Well, it was in early childhood (mid 1960s), I think I was about 6 years old. My folks bought a hard cover education book put out by Readers Digest; it was a large thick text book which had chapters on all aspects of our natural world in it.  Wonderful color photographs and diagrams on everything from tornadoes and hurricanes to Volcano’s, wildlife from elephants down to soldier ants and about 300 pages thick.

As a impressionable young lad, I had spent many an hour just skimming through it and asking questions.  Well, one of the chapters in the back of the book was on the age of the Dinosaurs; lovely drawings of T-rex standing straight up, dragging its tail of the ground as was thought back then. Most sauropods up to their belly’s in swamp water as it was claimed they were too heavy to spend much time on dry land, etc, etc.  Well, right in the middle of this beautiful, full color chapter suddenly there were two pages with three black and white photos of something in some kind of body of water.  The title of these two pages were ‘The Mystery Of Loch Ness’.  The three photos being the Surgeon’s photo, the castle photo, and the 3 humps photo of something called the Loch Ness Monster.   I must have read those two pages over again about twenty times.  Cryptozoology was implanted in this boys young mind and I drove my parents nuts with questions.   I still can remember my father telling my mother, “Don’t worry, he will grow out of it.”

Searching for other books in stores and the school and the public library, I realized very early on that I was never going to move to Scotland, so my attention for the most part started to concentrate on this other monster in Canada, called ‘The Sasquatch’. Finding books on lake monsters often included chapters on other mysteries as well.  But what really did it was, not too much time after getting that Readers Digest book, I for some unknown reason woke up in the middle of night and I could hear my folks down stairs watching the late movie on our old black and white television set.

Walking into the living room my folks were watching a movie with the lights out, only the glow of the TV screen providing any light at all.   I remember hearing my father saying something like, “Lets let the lad watch, he is interested in this stuff.”  My mother protested, “No he will have nightmares, blah, blah…”  Well, fortunately for me, and I am sure much to my folks’ later regrets, I was allowed to stay up and watch this movie with them.  It must have been a weekend for this would never have been allowed on a school night.

What they were watching was the old Hammer Film staring Peter Cushing ‘The Abominable Snowman Of The Himalayas’.  From this day on, Sasquatch dominated my thoughts.  Books by John Green, Ivan T Sanderson, were read over, and over again. And I still would read Tim Dinsdales book on the Loch Ness monster.  I do not remember any of the public attention concerning the P/G film in 1967, as in Canada, Expo 67 dominated the media and ,of course, that was the last time the Leafs won the Stanly cup.  Readers Digest did do an article on the film and I still possess that issue.

A couple of years later, in 1972 the movie, ‘The Legend of Boggy Creek’ played in our local town theater.  I snuck in to watch it about 5 times; myself and another boy knew a way in through the vent system and fortunately, we never got caught.  I did pay the first time. but I wasn’t about to let the lack of money keep me from seeing it again and again.

Growing up, I did several school presentations on the Sasquatch, and other crypto subjects.  One high school presentation on the Loch Ness Monster so impressed my teacher that she gave me a mark of 110 out of 100 and had me redo it for the other classes. Something that annoyed me at the time, as I recall.  Later, as a young man doing my military service, when our time was our own and my buddies all went out to chase women and alcohol, I would head into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta to look for evidence of the Sasquatch, and I have never looked back.  My serious research commencing in September of 1978, this in a nut shell was how I got started – I never grew out of it!

Thomas Steenburg

P.S.  I find it interesting that one of Thomas’ earliest triggers for his interest in sasquatch was a Reader’s Digest when many years later, he himself is featured in a Reader’s Digest article!  The article can be found here:

http://www.readersdigest.ca/magazine/searching-sasquatch-curious-lives-cryptozoologists?page=0,0

The original article can be found here:

http://maisonneuve.org/article/2014/02/20/trail-ignored-beasts/

Happy reading,

Webgirl

 

HIBERNATION

I have been asked many times in the past what I felt on the issue of Hibernation and whether I felt that this may be an explanation for the sharp decrease of reports during the winter months.  This short interview was recorded by Jason Cain on a recent winter outing, Sunday January 18, 2015 and expresses my own views on the subject.

Thomas Steenburg

TURN ON THE COMMON SENSE SWITCH

We are flooded with claims of encounters today which sound too incredible to be true. With the internet making it so easy for the tellers of wild yarns to make false claims so readily available to a ever increasing numbers of the gullible, so-called researchers are more interested in attention than whether or not such a creature exists.

“IVAN MARKS SYNDROME”. To the public in general it must seem that the community of Sasquatch research more resembles an Asylum being run by the inmates!  And this tragic situation seems to be getting worse rather than better.  In this mess, what advice can an old timer like me give to a young guy or girl who really wants to become involved with doing their own research?  How does one advise how to avoid the BS?

Well, you can’t. All honest researchers have to learn how to spot this stuff on their own. The best way to do this is when you are investigating a claim from a witness or on going claims from other researchers, take in all the information you can, stand back and turn your common sense switch.  View everything with a healthy dose of skepticism. Skepticism is the best quality a researcher can have.   After all, we are researchers trying to find an answer to a mystery; we are not some kind of religious leaders trying to push a faith.

Thomas Steenburg

SASQUATCH AND LARGE GAME?

This is a short video interview by Jason Cain. He along with myself and Brad Trent, spent  Sunday December 14, 2014 up Statlu Creek FSR.   Jason wondered how I personally felt on the issue of the Sasquatch being a big game predator.  Here is what I had to say on the subject.

The rest of the day was spent searching along the roadsides and the creek and river banks looking for tracks.  Unfortunately, other than a lovely rare sunny day in December in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, nothing of any real interest was found.