Category Archives: Research

Finding Bigfoot Season 8 Episode 1

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.

Thomas Steenburg

Sasquatch Slow Down

Well, it sure has been a strange and slow Fall in the Sasquatch field, so far.  Lack of reports, (credible sounding ones) at least…not much of interest seen on outings looking for evidence, etc, etc.

One has to wonder, why?  I have noticed that this is normal for this time a year, which flies in the face of what most researchers assume is the most active time of year: Fall.  Not so, according to my statistics.

I have had two odd reports recently.: one came to my attention when a man left a note on the windshield of my car with a small rock telling me that it was thrown by a Sasquatch which occurred up at Davies Lake, BC.  He also left his name and phone number on the note.  I did call, 3 times to be exact, but for one reason or another he has made no further attempt to contact and clarify the situation.  So, I have to assume he no longer wishes to talk about it? One has to wonder as to why he left the note in the first place?

The second was from a man who just lives south of me in Washington State who stated that his wife had recently seen a Sasquatch on the family property.  However, like the previous case, has not responded to messages for more information which I insist upon now before I investigate any further. This of course, could be a case of not clearing things with her before reporting the incident, after all many witnesses do not wish to be part of any investigation as their sighting is a personal matter they may not be ready to share with researchers.  That is understandable, too. I have encountered this many times over the years.

So far, the Fall of 2015 is turning out to be the same as so many before.  Slow and strange.

Thomas Steenburg

Sasquatch Research – An Investigation, Not A Religion

I am amazed at the irrational responses and comments sent into this Blog and on Youtube, concerning my posted videos, in which I talk of my own opinions and research since the late 1970s.

All of which simply confirm what I have been saying for a number of years; now that the Sasquatch research community more resembles an asylum which is being taken over by the inmates rather than serious researchers trying to solve an on-going and fascinating mystery.

So many comments are just the spouting of self-deluded individuals, whom are hiding behind the fact they can write what they want and remain anonymous.

I have no problem with debating with those who disagree with my views, as I am always willing to admit when I am wrong.  But stick to the the topic rather than going on a tirade of name-calling;  that only exposes the fact that the other person does not have a valid counter-argument, and is resorting to desperation.  So, from now on, any comment which has no validity, and denigrates to just personal insults will be deleted, at once, and repeated attempts will result in the banning of any further comments from those individuals.

Sasquatch research is an investigation, seeking an answer to a mystery.  It is not pushing a religious-type faith. This mystery will be solved by evidence and “sticking to the facts and never deviating from the facts”.  It will never be solved by those who draw conclusions based on personal faith and wishful thinking, with a heavy dose of self-delusion.

Thomas Steenburg

Old Stomping Grounds

On April 19, 2015, myself and colleagues again returned to an area which I have spent much time in over the years, with it’s long history of possible encounters as well as continued reports which come to light every now and then.

The Riverside Recreation area, where in 1986 one of the more interesting and amazing incidents occurred which I have personally investigated, was revisited again, and some filming was done for a future DVD documentary.

I am still amazed how much of the sighting location has changed since 1986.  Tracks which were found along a small creek bank (Buldbeard Creek) was basically an open area back then, is now filled with new-growth trees.  Only a few of the old growth which were there in 1986, as well as the rock slide area, now make the the spot even recognizable.  When filming at the campsite  itself, it was rather humorous to have the camp host walk up to our group wondering who we were, and finding out about our interest in the Sasquatch, immediately let out a tirade of “Oh, that’s only a legend”; “There is no such thing”; “The story about what happened here in 1986, never happened”; etc, etc.

When I identified myself as the fellow who investigated the incident in 1986, he calmed down somewhat but we sure didn’t change his mind on the subject at all.  Before this, we had drove up high above the Chilliwack River Valley, which gave us a great view of the area. The photo below is looking down the valley .

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Afterwards, we headed up the Nesakwatch FSR.   A very enjoyable day out in the forests of British Columbia but, again, nothing of real interest Sasquatch-wise was encountered.

Thomas Steenburg

Morris Mountain

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PHOTO taken of Morris Mountain – August 21, 2014

On the spur of the moment last night (March 21, 2015) I decided to do a late night run to an area of which I have visited a hundred times before: a large, old-growth covered hill just north of the Chehalis First Nation Reserve, which is named Morris Mountain.

This large hill has a place in Sasquatch history and lore as a place which, according to the Chehalis people, is where, in years past, the Sasquatch would gather and light fires, to look down upon the land they had lost to the Chehalis people in battle – generations before.  Mount Morris was for many years considered where semi-civilization ended and true wilderness began.

It is the location of another ‘Classic’ tale of the Sasquatch, the story of Serephine Long, who was a young woman of 17.  In the year 1871, it was said that the young 17 year old was carried off by a Sasquatch and taken to a cave on Morris Mountain.  After having her eyes covered with pitch, she was held captive by a number of the creatures but was mainly the possession of the large male who had kidnapped her.

Her story was not made known until she told it to J.W. Burns (whom coined the term Sasquatch in 1929) when she was a very old woman, during the 1930s.  She stayed with the Sasquatch family for about a year and, in failing health, had kept pleading with her captors that she wished to return home before she died.

I suppose the continuous nagging was too much, even for a Sasquatch, and the creature again put her over its shoulder and dropped her in the same area he had found her a year before.  When she was found by her people, she was said to be close to death, unable to tell of what happened to her and later that same night gave birth to a deformed baby which died soon after birth.  I have only seen one photograph of Serephine Long, taken in 1941, when she was about 87 years old.  She died not long after that.

Another Classic tale in an area of Classic history – a place of continued reports until this day.  In fact, I was on Mount Morris when a lady had her sighting at Weaver Lake, August  21, 2014 – only four kilometers away.  Having only found out about it after I returned home and heard her phone message on my answering service later that evening, I went to the scene the next morning with a colleague, Brad Trent, to investigate.

So Morris Mountain continues to be an area of interest to those investigating the Sasquatch mystery; every bit as much today as in the distant past.  Such thoughts kept going through my mind as I drove slowly over the mountain around midnight last night, through thick patches of dense fog, then no fog at all, then a second patch, wondering would this trip result in a personal sighting?

Stopping by a pond area where the frogs are like a choir with the chirping of hundreds; suddenly all going silent at the same time and me wondering: why?   After about 60 seconds one frog starts up, and in a few moments they are all going again, whatever it was which caused them to go suddenly silent, was no longer considered a threat.  After about 20 minutes, I went back to the vehicle still wondering what caused the sudden silence, as my movements didn’t seem to cause the same effect…

Like all my other visits to Morris Mountain, I come home having seen nothing myself but still having the thought that perhaps, just perhaps, a Sasquatch was watching me. I will be going back.

Thomas Steenburg

Where Are The Bones?

Indeed, this is the most interesting question about this ongoing mystery; and the one fact which keeps the majority in our society skeptical to the existence of this creature.  And a damn good point as well!  However, from my point of view, one which can be logically explained.

So let me begin by answering the question, “Where are the bones?”

The bones are out there – they, as of yet, have not been found nor identified.  There are a few stories of strange skeletal remains having been found, turned in to museums and other institutions but have either been lost, or misplaced, or been identified as common wildlife, or remains of missing people.  One has only to look in the basement and archives of the British Columbia Museum to find much more stored away in boxes and cases than on display upstairs: material the staff no longer has information on; where it came from; or even when.

It would not surprise me at all if the day comes and the skeletal remains of a Sasquatch are displayed out on a table for the world to see.  It won’t be a researcher or hunter, who found them in the bush, being responsible but some young student who stumbled upon them in some long-forgotten museum box or drawer someplace.

In all of my years searching the woods of Western Canada, I have yet to see the remains of a bear which had not been killed by people.  I have never seen the remains of a cougar, or wolverine.  I have seen the remains of deer and elk, but never in one piece.  Nature has a very quick way of cleaning up the dead.

So the quick answer to this most puzzling question is simple: the bones are out there. We just have to find them.

Thomas Steenburg

Searching And Searching And Searching

Tomorrow afternoon, myself and three like-minded colleagues will once again head into the back country with the hope and dream of encountering a Sasquatch; or finding evidence of the creature’s presence.

God only knows how many trips looking for evidence this will be for me, as I lost count years ago.  In all this time I may have had a possible, fleeting glimpse myself – only once.  I have seen possible footprints on six occasions; collected hair samples from sighting locations which, so far, turned out to be from other wildlife.

We recently had rocks thrown at us, or at least we assume it was rocks since we never saw them, just heard them ripping through the greenery.  Plus, the fact we never saw what or who was throwing them?

On another occasion, myself and Bill Miller were stumped at a tree line wondering what was the cause of a very unpleasant odor which assailed our nostrils.  I went into the trees expecting to find something dead, but found nothing, and even more puzzling was after a time this unpleasant odor dissipated rather quickly, leaving us more perplexed?  Was a Sasquatch responsible – who knows? The fact is that we never saw the cause.  So, even though the possibility is there, we can’t just assume it to be so – far too much of that going on in this research.

But it’s the possibility that keeps my interest alive.  So tomorrow, we try again.  But I am well aware of the fact that the odds are overwhelming that this won’t be the last time.

Thomas Steenburg

Sasquatch VS Bigfoot

In Canada, ‘Sasquatch‘ is the proper name for the upright-walking, gorilla-like creature which may or may not exist in our wilderness areas.  More and more when Canadians, not involved in any way with this mystery, ask me a question, they tend to use the American term: Bigfoot.

When I started, back in the late 1970s, this almost never occurred.  The power of media in a short time can change national culture without most people even realizing it.  The name ‘Sasquatch’ came about when a man named J.W. Burns, a teacher on the Chehalis Reserve, near Harrison Mills, British Columbia, heard stories about hairy wild-men from his First Nation hosts, then wrote an article published in Macleans Magazine on April 1st, 1929 entitled: ‘INTRODUCING BCs, HAIRY GIANTS’. This was the first time the term ‘SASQUATCH‘ had been used when describing the strange creature reported by many – but denied by most.

In Canada, the term Sasquatch, through time, overshadowed all the other names used up and down the BC coast.  Many newspaper stories on Vancouver Island before 1929 used the term ‘MOWGLI’ when describing the creature, but today its hard to find anybody who even remembers the name. Sasquatch was now the term imprinted on the public mind set in Canada and would remain so until 1958.

The year 1958 was the year the name BIGFOOT was born when describing this creature in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.  Gerald(Jerry) Crew had been photographed holding a large footprint cast by reporter, Andrew Genzoli of the Humbolt Times newspaper.  Mr Crew had been having a mystery on his hands concerning large footprints he was finding around his bulldozer as he worked on a new logging road by Bluff Creek.

Mr. Genzoli, the reporter, had never heard of the creature in Canada called Sasquatch, so he gave the creature a new name: BIGFOOT.  This name, with the help of the AP press, assured that Bigfoot would become a household word in the United States.

Now, in Canada, most television documentaries on this subject tend to be American-made; most internet forums tend to be American in origin; most books published tend to be American published.  So, it is no wonder the the American term ‘Bigfoot’ is surely pushing aside the Canadian term, ‘Sasquatch’, just as Sasquatch pushed aside most First Nation and local area names before it.

<sigh> Sign of the times, I suppose.

Thomas Steenburg

Sightings Becoming Trendy?

One of the most important things to remember as a researcher interviewing a witness, who claims to have had a Sasquatch encounter, is to not assume anything as to the truth of the claim, until you have all the facts.  The most important fact that must be kept in mind is the reality that this whole mystery is still ongoing.

The existence of this creature is still not accepted by society at large.  Their existence is unproven, unconfirmed, and hotly-debated.  Therefore, if the the Sasquatch does not exist – nor ever did – the undeniable facts are that every witness who claims a Sasquatch sighting is either mistaken, or lying.  If the Sasquatch does exist then it is safe to assume that a fair number of people who claimed to have seen one, did see one.

Unfortunately, false claims are only reduced a small percentage, if indeed the Sasquatch does exist.  With the internet and various other mainstream media programs now trying to cash in on this whole subject, claiming to have seen a Sasquatch does not necessarily evoke the dread it used to back when I started research in the 1970s.  Back then witnesses, for the most part, seemed to be more concerned with not having friends or family members questioning their sanity; or having fingers pointed at them.

Seeing a Sasquatch and going public had some social consequences attached.  This is still on some peoples minds today, however, I have noticed a strange shift in public attitude concerning this whole thing.  Today, it almost seems trendy to claim to have seen a Sasquatch, whether true or not.

I have been contacted by a fair number of people trying to tell me some of the most incredible stories hoping I would refer them to the ‘Finding Bigfoot’ television show.  One only has to listen to Coast to Coast Radio for a week to hear people claiming the most ridiculous things.  For these, and other reasons a serious researcher must, when interviewing any eyewitness’, maintain a healthy sense of skepticism.

Skepticism is the best quality a good researcher can have, so long as it is not accompanied with closed-mindedness.  Always remember: we are researchers trying to find an answer to an ongoing mystery – not religious leaders trying to push a faith.

Thomas Steenburg

Don’t Fear Admitting to A Mistake

Researchers in this field of study must remain on guard against developing an inflated ego.  When recognition for past work, for the most part, seems to be looked upon with favour it is too easy to become pigheaded, and develop a sense of ‘I am always right and others who disagree with me are always wrong’.

I have had a great many arguments in the past that I now regret, as I realize the person with whom I was arguing with, might have indeed had a valid point.  It is easy to fall into the trap of arrogance.  However, to realize you have made a mistake, yet continue to move in a direction you know is wrong, is by far, much worse.

One of my own cases was dealing with a well-known Sasquatch skeptic, the late Michael Dennet.  Mr. Dennet had always been very critical of so-called evidence brought forward by the late Paul Freeman.  In the early 1980s, I believed Paul Freeman and most of the evidence he brought forward, and defended him much longer than perhaps should have.  I also had a few long, drawn-out debates with Mr Dennet concerning Freeman’s findings and conclusions.

Well, over time – and looking into the matter – I studied the evidence, I talked to people involved and I learned things.  I can say, right here and now, that in the case of the late Paul Freeman, the late Mr. Dennet was right and I was wrong.

Being wrong is nothing to be afraid of.  We all make mistakes in the Sasquatch field, and admitting to them takes nothing away from a researcher’s credibility.  In fact, in my view, it improves it.

So, if there are any researchers out there whom may feel now, after much sober, second thought, that perhaps they had been taken in somewhat by, oh I don’t know, Todd Standing; or perhaps a researcher was a little to quick to jump on the Massacre at Bluff Creek band wagon, it is far better to admit to a mistake than carry on knowing you are wrong.  Or even just going silent on a particular issue hoping the whole thing just blows over.

Making mistakes is a learning experience.  I now always listen to what people have to say, even if I disagree with them.  I will always keep an open mind when doing so even though they’re wrong! 😛

Thomas Steenburg