Last night, I was able to watch this season’s opening episode of Finding Bigfoot (filmed last June 2015) in which I was personally involved behind the scenes. I was contacted weeks before by the producers of the program and agreed, somewhat reluctantly as I am not a great fan of the show, to provide names from my own files on recent cases which I had investigated; quite a bit of e-mail back and forth then went on. This was the second time the program had contacted myself for assistance, as they had planned to come to Canada a year before but for reasons I am not at liberty to disclose, the earlier planned episode for British Columbia had to be cancelled.
The premise for this episode was a silly affair based on a bet between Cliff Barrackman and Bo Bo, (James Fay) which area was, as they put it: Squatchier, British Columbia or Washington State. Entertaining for the television audience no doubt, but just silly useless nonsense for those who take this subject seriously and have devoted our lives to finding an answer as to whether a large primate does in fact exist in the forests of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
I have long been critical of the show as I have always felt that it made serious research into this ongoing mystery look foolish in the eye of the public, as well as portray researchers as nothing but a collection of oddballs who only like to go out at night and howl at the moon like idiots. But, I also realized that the show is exactly that – a television show. Despite the motives of the cast members, three of which I have known since long before the program first aired. The main purpose of the programs’ producers is not really to find an answer to the Sasquatch question, but to entertain their viewing audience, achieve the goal of maintaining a loyal following to the point of justifying continuing seasons, and to keep people working. These goals seem to have succeeded beyond the shows wildest dreams, as I cannot remember any other program of this nature lasting so long.
Also, I know through personal communication with some of the cast members that, even though they do and act out scenarios they normally would not do by themselves, they have had to put their foot down a couple of times in years past as activities from behind the cameras by the staff were out right hoaxing attempts to make a particular episode more interesting than things were turning out to be. To their credit, the cast has made it clear they are not interested in hoaxing and some people have been let go as a result. With this in mind, one has to wonder, when the editing process is done, what is the purpose of saying things happen in a certain way when they didn’t? Example: Matt and Cliff go and interview two witnesses, Maria Muller and Robert Baily, concerning their sighting at Weaver Lake, which occurred at 10:30 am, August 21, 2014 (Steenburg File #10191).
They interview the witnesses at the location and do an on-site investigation, just as myself and Brad Trent did 24 hours after this alleged encounter occurred. Both Matt and Cliff concluded it was probably a Sasquatch, unlike myself. I still think it may be a man in a dark hoody that Robert photographed, but I certainly do not rule out the possibility that it could be a Sasquatch. Matt pointed out that the trail head was there where the figure was seen but for some reason didn’t mention the bear-proof trash containers at the trail head as well. It is possible that the trash bins have been moved since the day of the sighting, but they were there when it happened. But what struck me, was the show gave the impression that Matt and Cliff took a scenic route to get there and you see them in a nice speed boat on Harrison Lake, and the viewer is given the impression that they took this boat to the dock at Weaver Lake to meet the two witnesses? I don’t think so. Weaver Lake and Harrison Lake have about five kilometers of mountain forest between them, so unless Matt and Cliff portaged that speed boat, there is no way they got to the location that way. So why do they edit the program like this? Who knows…just a way to get footage of the two men in the speed boat into the program, I guess?
A number of times both Matt and Cliff made the statement that this was the first time any researcher had done any investigation on the Chehalis Reserve? Well I, personally have been there doing research over the last three decades more times than I can remember. Rene Dahinden had also been there many, many times, as well as John Green, not to mention J.W. Burns, who coined the the name Sasquatch to begin with? They must have known this, so why they state that this is the first time researchers have been on the reserve? I have no answer. I could pick at little details like this for hours but I will just finish up by saying that I had a long meeting with both Matt and Cliff at the Sasquatch Inn after hours were spent at the town hall meeting (a lot of filming for a few minutes of show). But that is how these programs are made, so I expected it.
And I expressed my opinions about how certain things were done and of course I realize that, which they both concurred, the main purpose of the show is to entertain, and to perhaps generate some thinking to the general public, most of whom don’t give the Sasquatch mystery 15 minutes of thought a year. If they did things my way the show most likely wouldn’t last one season for the general public would find it boring. So, I will end this with this statement: Finding Bigfoot is entertainment. It is not a serious study of the Sasquatch question. Also, If I was in charge Bo Bo would have lost three points for dressing up in drag – I laughed for five solid minutes watching that bit.
Here is a recent investigation which came to my attention just a couple of hours after it happened. Both witnesses were interviewed close to the location over a cell phone they had in the car with them.
B.C. FILE # 10195
LOCATION: Highway 5, 26 km s south of Avola, British Columbia.
TIME: Approx 10: 19 am.
DATE: August 12, 2015.
REPORT BY: Thomas Steenburg
I received a phone call, approx 12 noon on August 12, 2015 from a woman whom just had a possible sighting and was still in a quite an exited state. She informed me that she and her mother have been driving home from BC to their homes in Alberta. They were approaching the small community of Avola, BC on Highway 5, when the driver, (caller’s mother; main witness) called her attention to a figure ahead crossing the road, left to right; driver side to passenger side. The caller had been in the back seat feeding her 5 month old child, and looked forward in time to see the figure leave the road and disappear down a steep roadside embankment into the thick tress between the highway and the Thompson River not far away to the south (Highway runs east west at this point).
The ladies didn’t know what to say ;or what to do? The Driver at first thought it was a man whom jumped out of an approaching car on the road ahead of the figure walking across the highway (passing car in opposite lane). But only for a moment, as the reality of what she was looking at sunk in. The banter between the two women at this point was one of great excitement. They did turn the car around and went back to the spot where the figure disappeared over the high embankment. The driver did a search of the roadside and did find one possible track in the area. The other woman took a few cell phone photos of the track which she later sent to me via e-mail.
The two ladies then got back in the car and traveled as far as the pull out outside of Avola, BC where the driver phoned her husband whom informed them to contact myself. It was while there I did a quick interview from both witnesses. The two ladies requested to remain anonymous, so their identities have been withheld from this written report.
What color was it?
Dark. As I said at first I thought it had clothes on.
You thought it had clothes on?
Yeah. When I first noticed it, I was coming around the bend, there were a couple of cars coming toward us, between us and it, I thought someone was crossing the road, at first. But as I watched it cross the yellow line and down the bank, I knew by that point it wasn’t a man.
Did it cross the highway directly, or was it at an angle?
From what I could tell it was almost a straight line. Well, a bit of an angle.
Was it hairy?
No. Well yes. The only time I could really tell was when I passed by it so quickly.
When you passed the spot, could you still see it?
It hadn’t disappeared yet, I could just see the top of the head. I am trying to get a really good look because I am thinking: Was that a person?
Do you wear corrective lenses?
No, I don’t.
Do you need them?
No. Well just a little bit for reading.
Just reading glasses?
May I ask your age?
I just turned 52.
Oh, you’re just a young girl, I’m 54.
Why, thank you.
You and your daughter were traveling north, heading for home, which is Wadamun, Alberta? Not sure if I pronounced that right?
Yeah. You did good.
What was your first impression when you saw it?
Well, when I first saw the oncoming cars I thought they were pulled over because it appeared to me, us, someone walking across the road behind them.
You thought the oncoming cars were parked?
At first yes, but I quickly realized they were moving towards me. There was some distance right, but I soon knew they were moving towards me in the other lane. And behind them was, what I thought was, a human being walking across the highway. And I said to my daughter, “What the heck is he doing walking out on to the highway for!” When I realized what it might be I said out loud to her, “Here comes your critter you might want to look!” She started to play close attention, she saw it as it reached the edge of the road and she too saw it step down, she also saw the dark color, the head and shoulders, but I will let her tell you her story.
Did it stand and walk upright?
Yes! It was always upright. That’s why I thought at first it was a person.
Did it ever go down on all fours?
How tall do you think it was?
I thought it was about 6 feet.
Did it appear heavy or light?
You know at first glimpse, not so heavy, or tall, but as I got closer to it it appeared bigger.
How long did you see it for?
How long what?
How long did you see it for?
10 to 20 seconds, if that long. You know traveling at 100 kms a hour, a distance of less than a quarter of a mile.
Was there a clear area between the roadside and the tree line?
A clearing, what do you mean?
It’s not a solid line of trees right up to the edge of the road?
Oh, yes it is. Oh, yes it is. It is very treed. You can see the river through some of the areas. And spots where it seems animals have left trails on the ground. You know if you are a man and you drop off that cliff (referring to steep embankment where subject left the road), you could get pretty hurt.
Did it see you?
Um. No. Can’t really say for sure?
Could you tell if it was male or female?
I assume you didn’t hear any noise?
Did you smell anything before, during or after?
What did you smell?
STEENBURG NOTE: Witness here gives a long answer about pleasant forest odors and the smell of cinnamon she detected long after the sighting while she was searching for footprints along the road side. I am of the opinion the odors she noticed had nothing to do with what she saw.
You did check for footprints?
Did you stop right then and there or did you return?
Probably about. Oh, I don’t know?
Where you found the possible footprint was that located right where it crossed the road, or did you find that somewhere else?
Yes, that was right there. That’s where it went in.
There is a drop off there?
Did you report this to any one?
My husband, then you. My husband first (she phoned her husband and it was he who told her to contact myself by phone).
There is a second witness in this case?
My daughter, yeah.
You reside in Wadamun, Alberta?
Yes, that’s right.
Your daughter resides in Edmonton, Alberta?
You were on your way home from?
My daughter’s memorial. And a girlfriend in Kamloops.
STEENBURG NOTE: The witness lost her other daughter recently.
So, it was a long hot day in the car?
Now the footprint photo you sent to me, was there just one or was there other tracks?
Well, I wanted to look more over (steep embankment), but my daughter wouldn’t let me. Because it was scary, and it was quite a drop down. She wouldn’t let me go down there.
STEENBURG NOTE: This witness would give long drawn out answers to many questions which to my mind was distracting to the subject at hand. She contacted me from the road, and was in a very exited state. Something she herself pointed out a number of times. A few days later I did call her again at her home in Alberta, where we went over many of the details again. By this time she had calmed down quite a bit. I did interview the second witness during the original phone interview.
Hello (name with held), I was just talking to your mom, Can you tell me how all this was brought to your attention that something strange was going on?
I was just sitting in the back seat, my daughter was kind of being grumpy, so I came back here to feed her. I was just feeding her and my mom and I just drove around this bend in the road and she said, “Whats going on here.” “ Why is that person crossing the road?” There’s wildlife here so I am looking at the side ditch and not looking ahead. I was looking at the side ditch when she said, “What is that?” Then I looked out toward the front through the passenger side of the windshield, and this tall, tall dark figure just stepped over, off the highway, and he was kind of in the ditch, like basically where I took that picture (track photo), is where I saw him, like he was standing right there, and I was like, “Holy,” as I can see that he is super tall! Stocky, and he didn’t have a neck. He was built, he was stocky. And he just dropped down (steep embankment), and he was just gone.
How tall do you think the subject was?
Over 6 foot for sure.
Could you tell if it was hairy?
Yeah. It had hair.
What color was it?
Were you close enough to see any detail concerning the face?
How far away was it when you saw it?
When I saw it. Maybe 30 feet.
STEENBURG NOTE: I thought 30 feet was close enough to at least see some facial details so I discussed this with her for a bit, but her explanation of short time duration and profile angle of the subject seemed reasonable explanation in my opinion.
Was it still visible when you passed the spot?
No, he wasn’t visible. He had dropped down (other witness said she could still see the top of the subjects head?).
The photos of the possible footprint are actually yours?
Yes, they are mine.
Thank you for them by the way.
No problem. I hope you can make something out of them because I have a hard time seeing it when I look at them. (LAUGHS).
When your mother was searching the area did you notice any odor at all?
No. But I stayed in the car most of the time because of my daughter was with us and I wasn’t going to leave her alone in a car along the highway.
How old is your daughter?
She’s 5 months.
She was in the back in the baby seat?
You were feeding her?
When you saw the subject was it crossing the road left to right or right to left?
You mean to us or the cars coming the other way?
It was on kind of an angle. (It did cross left to right)
An angle? Towards you or away from you?
Towards us. But I really still couldn’t see the face? I could see the outline of it, but not any details of it. It was just so dark colored.
Could you see any skin?
No. He was just so dark. That is what caught my attention really, because every time we come to BC, I get a little upset because we don’t see much wildlife anymore, so when my mom said something I looked up and she said, “What is that!”. That is what really caught my attention was his dark features, how dark he was, and the fact he didn’t have a neck, he had a big head. He was really stocky.
STEENBURG NOTE: When I talked to the first witness, (mother) again after a few days she too remarked on the fact that the subject did not seem to have a discernible neck.
Your mother mentioned that you stopped at the ‘Welcome to Avola’ pull out. It was before you got there this happened?
Yes, it was before the pull out.
How long before the pull out?
10 or 15 minutes, if that.
Any man-made landmarks visible at the spot?
There was an ad sign maybe 5 minutes after the spot with the words ‘HANDCRAFTER ‘ something or other written on it? It was a big sign and it had Handcrafter written on it? There were other things written underneath it but that’s what I remember. A sign for a shop on the side of the highway type thing.
STEENBURG NOTE: At this point she asked if I wanted them to drive back to the spot in question? This interview was over the phone while they were still traveling back to Alberta some 60 minutes after it happened. Both ladies were willing to go back but I told them not to interrupt their trip. They said it would be no interruption and they would call me back later that night. She did. She informed me that the sighting location was 41 kms up Highway 5 from the town of Clearwater. I did a Google map check and found that Clearwater was 67.1 kms south of Avola. So, I simply subtracted 41 kms from 67.1 kms and concluded that the sighting location was 26 kms south of Avola. Give or take.
The two ladies I am convinced did encounter something odd on Highway 5, 26 kms south of Avola, BC at 10 : 19 am, August 12, 2015. The photo included with this report does show possible characteristics of a possible footprint but not distinctly so. Now a hoax being perpetrated on the two ladies can not be ruled out but the circumstances surrounding this incident at least in my opinion make a hoax seem very unlikely. The only other possibility at least in my mind is they did indeed witness a Sasquatch crossing the road.
Most of this past long weekend (Victoria Day in Canada), I spent interviewing a man who had an incredible story to tell. This gentleman who was brought to my attention by fellow researcher, Cliff Barackman, (cast member of TV’s Finding Bigfoot) made a written report to Cliff’s internet page, where he briefly went over what he said to have witnessed in early October 2007. Cliff forward the report to me, as he thought I might be interested in following up on the matter. He was right.
Now, the gentleman did not request to remain anonymous, however, for now I will keep his identity a secret until I have some more questions answered and I have had the opportunity to share what I since learned with Cliff.
The witness in this case had spent many hours traveling, and the matter was not helped much when he realized he had taken a wrong turn and was quite a few miles driving in the wrong direction.
It was approximately 2am in the morning of October 5th, 2007, and the witness had just driven through the small town of Hudson Hope, BC on Route # 29, heading south. He was admittedly tired, and when he spotted a road side pullout just before the bridge which crosses the Peace River, he pulled in and came to a stop just yards from a large sign showing a map of the local area. Shutting off the engine, he used his jacket to cover himself and then went to sleep.
He was awakened by sounds which reminded him of small rain drops striking the car windshield. He looked about in the darkness but saw nothing, nor were there any raindrops on the car windshield or hood. He tried to go back to sleep again but those sounds kept reoccurring and also at one point, he felt his car shake a bit.
This time he spotted what he took to be a small black bear passing by his side of the car which looked up at him as it passed, walking on all fours toward the large map sign in front of him. He thought it was a bear, but the head of the thing seemed wrong to him. That’s when he spotted a second figure just ahead of the map sign, a little larger than the first one; only this one was standing and moving about upright. He also noticed that the lower windshield and hood of his car was now covered in small sticks.
These two figures, whatever they were, seemed to be amusing themselves by throwing small sticks at the car and shaking the car at one point. He was sure they were playing a game with him. As he watched, the figures would move here and there, fading beyond his vision in the dark to return from another angle to throw more sticks. The larger of the two was seen by the witness to throw the sticks, while the smaller one, on all fours, was observed at one time to hand off some sticks to the upright one. He did not see the smaller one actually throw any sticks. The witness was not afraid by what he saw but was just flabbergasted.
It was while looking around from inside the car, trying to spot the little pranksters again, that he saw behind him, walking down the along the northbound lanes, a third figure approaching. This figure was much bigger; estimated to be at least 7 feet tall, walking with purpose, but not really fast, towards the pullout. The witness now felt intimidated.
He started the car engine, turned on the lights and started pulling back onto Route #29. Looking back, the large figure slowed its approach but it didn’t really stop. Just before the entrance to the bridge, he brought the car to a halt, got out to look back and to try and take a photo of the large one with his flip phone camera, which was all he had at the time. But as the saying goes, it was not to be, as the combination of darkness and no flash, it was revealed later that his images showed nothing but blackness.
While the witness was standing outside the car trying to take the photos, he did observe the larger upright of the two small ones walk up to the 7-footer, however, he never saw the smaller all-four walker again.
The 7-footer at this point made a loud noise, witch he described as a loud HUFF, in his direction and the witness felt this was a ‘Get away from here’ signal which he wasted no time complying with; jumping back in the car and heading across the bridge.
This is where the encounter ended. It was much more detailed but I am just writing a short version here to save space.
We talked for a long while and I did not get the impression by his telling of the story that he was seeking attention, or trying to hoax me in any way. Which, of course, could simply mean he is a very good yarn spinner, perhaps?
So much more I could write about this fascinating claim. However, I do have red flags so I will be asking many more questions.
Just thought you’d be interested in the latest printed article on Thomas dated April 22, 2015.
It can be found in The Georgia Straight : In Search of the Sasquatch near Harrison Hot Springs, BC (by Rachel Sanders).
This is a blog interview which was aired Dec 4th, 2014. The program is called, ‘Spaced Out Radio’ and is hosted by Dave Scott. I think I surprised him with some of my answers? Enjoy…