Tag Archives: sasquatch

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

Upcoming Local Event

An evening with Thomas:
Location:  Mission Library
                       33247 Second Avenue, Mission, BC
Tel (604) 826-6610
Date: February 25, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM8:30 PM PST
Event Description:
“Since 1978, local Mission resident Thomas Steenburg has been researching the elusive Sasquatch throughout British Columbia, Alberta and Washington. Thomas will spend the evening educating us on this fascinating or fictional creature.”
For more information:

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

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

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

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

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

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