Tag Archives: Chehalis

A Special Lady

A very dear lady to me lost her battle with cancer on May 30th, 2017.

I first met Vera after herself and another dear friend of mine, Christina, came to my home to tell me of a strange creature Vera had encountered just outside her home on the afternoon of September 21st,  2011.  She had come outside to see why her next door neighbors’ dogs were barking so much when she caught sight of something strange just behind the tree line which separates her home with the railway tracks.  The details of this encounter I have already published (Steenburg File# 10173).

After the two had stared at each other for about 30 seconds, which seemed much longer to Vera, the subject simply walked away from her down the rail line towards, what was locally known as, Crazy Creek.  She never saw it again.  She then contacted Christina and told her about what she saw, and it was Christina whom told her to talk to me; which we did the following evening.

At first Vera didn’t want any word of her account getting out and, in fact, when I went to investigate at the sight, she told the locals that I was there to look into a Mountain Lion she had seen.   At the time she was a foster mom and was afraid that if word got out that she had seen a possible Sasquatch that might be used against her.

But over the years as we got to know each other she relaxed a bit over the whole affair and took part when I asked in radio and television documentaries on the the subject and had even come along with me on few day expositions.  One such Radio show was titled ”Footsteps’ and aired in 2015.   Some of the TV programs were: ‘BC is Awesome’ which aired in 2016; ‘Finding Bigfoot’ when they filmed up on the Chehalis Reserve in 2015; and ‘Red Earth Uncovered’ which was filmed in the fall of 2016 and is due to air in 2018.  It is a program of First Nation perspective, and Vera being of First Nation birth herself, I felt was a natural choice for their Sasquatch episode.

Vera tells of her encounter at my home Sept 22, 2011
The spot where the Sasquatch was seen by Vera on Sept 21, 2011
Crew for TV program Red Earth Uncovered at the location of Vera’s encounter. Myself second from left, Vera is fourth from the left in the middle.

Vera lost her battle with Cancer on May 30, 2017 passing away at the Mission General Hospital with her family there with her.

I will miss her.

Thomas Steenburg

 

Red Earth Uncovered

On Monday, September 19, 2016, I was paid a visit by the host and film crew of the new documentary program, Red Earth Uncovered.  They filmed and asked questions on the subject of the Sasquatch for 4 hours.  We went into great detail.

They also talked to Sasquatch witness and researcher, Brad Trent, who came up to my place from across the river . Tomorrow, they plan to go into the field with Bill Miller up the east side of Harrison Lake for some more filming.   They will end their visit after talking to three witnesses from my files.

Film Crew from, 'Red Earth Uncovered'. Visits Thomas Steenburg at his home and study. Sept 19, 20116
Film Crew from, ‘Red Earth Uncovered’. Visits Thomas Steenburg at his home and study. Sept 19, 2016.

They also plan to interview the tribal elders on the Chehalis Reserve, where the name Sasquatch was first used and  introduced to the non-native community in British Columbia on April 1st, 1929.  This program looks at the world through the eyes of Canada’s First Nations. So it is only natural that they should devote an episode to the Sasquatch question.

This program will air sometime in 2018, I believe.

Thomas Steenburg

Mystery Valley

Yesterday, May 8, 2016 myself and Brad Trent took a trip up through Mystery Valley which lies between Harrison Lake and Lake Chehalis.  I had heard, third-hand, about loggers reporting the finding of 18 inch footprints in and around their timber operations a week earlier.  No details or names, and a very vague location was given but we decided to head up for a look around, any way.

Last year, the west side of Harrison Lake was devastated by an enormous forest fire; the area of which we had to travel through to get to Mystery Valley.  This was my first chance to take a look at the damage with the winter snow gone.

On our way up, at the 9 kilometer point, the forest service was fighting another fire with men and helicopters with water filled sling bags. This time they seemed to have gotten control of things before it got too big.

We stopped at the spot of my  own possible sighting of a Sasquatch in 2004 which I thought was very revealing with all the thick under brush now gone due to last years fire? See photo below…

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Site of possible sighting by Steenburg in 2004?

The upright figure I spotted in 2004 crossed this cut line right at the top of the ridge, to disappear in the trees on the right hand side; it was about 5 seconds in duration.

In this May 8, 2016 photo the trees are burnt due to the forest fire of 2015 and all of thick under brush is gone. Yet, already the green is starting to return as nature repairs herself. Every time I past this spot I wonder: what was it I saw in 2004?  Large man or a Sasquatch? It had to be one or the other.

Going through Mystery Valley, I stopped to check out a drainage area where in the past I have found many wildlife tracks, as well as human.  No Sasquatch prints yet but checked it out any way – just in case.  This time still no Sasquatch tracks but did find the pug marks of a large black bear.  See photo below…

Black bear prints
Black bear prints

Near the north end of Chehalis Lake, we followed along a logging road which was recently reopened.  I had been down this road before but it was so overgrown and neglected that only a few kilometers could be explored.  Today, we got about 12 kilometers in before reaching the end of the line due to an old bridge which was washed out.  See below photo…

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Bridge and road gone!

We did meet two loggers who were filling large water tanks from a creek but they  had no knowledge of any strange footprints being found by any of their guys in recent times.   All in all it was a nice trip.

But once again no prize at the end of the line.

Thomas Steenburg

 

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

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

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

Sounds In the Night

Strange noises in the woods are simply that, strange noises in the woods – unless you saw what made them.  Too often researchers, and the public in general, assume they are Sasquatch-related for no other reason than they just failed to recognize them.  Or they make their skin crawl.

Now we have a fair number of researchers who spend almost all of their time howling at the moon, or call-blasting over loud speakers; assuming that whatever is out there is calling back, or simply responding to the activities in alarm, must be Sasquatch?  To my thinking, this is wishful thinking gone amok.  Just because you cannot fathom what else may be out there making some strange call, does not mean a Sasquatch is responsible.  You will be surprised by what strange, and even frightening, animal vocalizations turn out to be from the most mundane and common wildlife.

In 2006, I was deeply involved in the investigation which has become known as the Chehalis Sounds; a collection of audio recordings by frightened residents in an area known as the Chehalis Flats.   This area lies just south and outside the Chehalis First Nation Reserve on the Harrison River, in the lower mainland of British Columbia.  These recordings were amazing, to say the least, and were identical to a number of well-known recordings from Washington and northern California, which many – including myself – were sure in the end would turn out to be Sasquatch in origin.

Many hours were spent, by myself and in company with others, trying to find an answer to the cause of these incredible cries.  On April 5th 2006, in the early morning hours, myself and Gerry Mathews were out on the Chehalis Flats again. This time, we personally heard the vocalizations ourselves and witnessed what made them Coyotes.  I was shocked as I thought I knew every sound a coyote made having lived with them all around me most of my life.  This was something different.

But when we publicly announced our findings, I was surprised at the reaction, and at times hostile reaction, from other researchers who simply did not want to admit that these sounds, as well as other famous ones which were the same, could be anything other than Sasquatch in origin.  They just didn’t want to hear it. This revealed a good deal more as to the mentality of many researchers than whether or not a Sasquatch was responsible for these recordings, in my view.  Sounds in the woods are simply that – sounds in the woods – unless you see what is making them; as evidence they are useless, even if it was a Sasquatch.

Thomas Steenburg