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Vancouver Island British Columbia Sightings

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Tofino News Article by Adrian Dorst

Sasquatch: Living Legend or Figment of the Imagination?

by Adrian Dorst, Tofino

for TofinoTime Magazine, October 2005

Sam, an ex-patriot American who had fled the draft in the late 60s, was camped on a small beach on an island in Nootka Sound. It was a summer evening in 1970 and he had turned his canoe upside down to use as a shelter. As he lay comfortably cocooned in his sleeping bag, enjoying the sound of ocean waves gently lapping at the shore, a rank odor drifted in on the breeze. Thinking that a dead animal must have washed ashore, he craned his neck from beneath the overturned boat to identify the source of the smell. Instead of spotting a dead seal on the beach, as he expected, he was astonished to see a large human-like figure, entirely covered in hair, squatting on a driftwood log. For a brief moment, the two stared at each other, then the mysterious figure leapt to its feet, and in a few graceful strides, disappeared into the woods.

After vanishing, Sam could hear strange sounds emanating from the forest. When I queried him about the nature of the sounds, he hesitated for a moment, then added that they approximated the sound you make when you blow into the end of a bottle. Hearing this description, what came to mind immediately was the native masks that depict Tsonaqua, or "Wild Woman of the Woods," which show a fierce face with deep-set eyes, and lips that are pursed, as if making an OOOOh sound. Did he feel any fear? "No," he told me, "because it was obviously afraid of me." That may not have been the only reason. Sam spent two summers entirely on his own, exploring the west coast's hidden coves and islands, and on one occasion rounded Estevan Point in mountainous seas — in a canoe. Estevan, for you non-mariners, is notorious for its dangerous seas. This last feat earned him the title, Estevan Sam. Clearly, the man was fearless.

More typical is the response by Jason (not his real name), who, in the beam of his flashlight, one night in September of 2002, saw a large upright figure covered in hair, running across the highway between Tofino and Long Beach, directly in front of his bicycle. So shaken was he, that he dumped his bike in the ditch and ran. For days after the event, a family member told me, he had trouble sleeping.

Overwhelming fear is a common response to close encounters with these animals. The vocalizations they emit when they wish to frighten away an intruder, are reported to make even the toughest man quake in his boots. Said one local, hard living man who used to be a trapper in Canada's boreal forest, and who once had an animal scream at him from behind a screen of bushes, "So powerful was the noise, I felt like a mouse." His face told me he was dead serious. He had not even told this story to his family or closest friends, he confided.

Locally, there have been sightings and vocalizations from Meares Island, Vargas Island, Flores Island, Catface, Ursus River, Sidney River, Kennedy Lake, Grice Bay, Long Beach, Radar Hill, and Portland Point. There is even one reported sighting from the golf course. The year 2002 was a banner year with at least 8 sightings and a similar number of vocalizations reported from a variety of locations in our area. All occurred in late summer and fall, at a time when drought prevented salmon from swimming upstream.

So what are we to make of these reports? Most scientists confidently inform us that no such creature exists, if and when they even deign to comment on such a preposterous notion as a large, bipedal ape running loose in the woods of North America. The thinking seems to be that everything of significance has long ago been discovered, so don't bother me with any evidence. The problem is that if these animals don't exist, then how to explain the many hundreds of anecdotal reports. Are they all fantasies, outright lies and hallucinations? One would think that this phenomenon itself would be a subject worthy of study. And equally difficult to explain is the fact that the animal is recognized by more than 60 North American native languages. The earliest written mention of this animal in British Columbia may actually originate from near the spot where Sam had his encounter. In 1799, the Spanish naturalist Jose Mozino, on his visit to Yuquot in Nootka Sound, recorded native stories about an animal he called the "Matlox." His book Noticias de Nutka, published in 1782 says,

"I do not know what to say about the Matlox, inhabitant of the mountainous districts, of whom all have unbelievable fear. They imagine his body as very monstrous, all covered with stiff black bristles; a head similar to a human one but much greater, sharper and stronger fangs than a bear; extremely long arms; and toes and fingers armed with long curved claws. His shouts alone (they say) force those who hear them to the ground, and any unfortunate body he slaps is broken into a thousand pieces."

Another written account from the west is found in the journal of the explorer David Thompson. When, on January 7th, 1811, he and his men came upon a line of tracks in the snow, in the Rocky Mountains, near present day Jasper, he wrote,

"I saw the track of a large Animal — has 4 large Toes abt 3 or 4 In long & a small nail at the end of each. The Bal of his foot sank abt 3 In deeper than his Toes — the hinder part of his foot did not mark well. The whole is about 14 In long by 8 In wide & very much resembles a large Bear's Track. It was in the Rivulet in about 6 In snow."

By comparison, the tracks of a very large, male grizzly bear reaches a maximum of 12 inches by 6 inches, plus they have long claws, not small nails. Thompson and his men would have been quite familiar with the tracks of grizzlies. In later years he elaborated on these strange prints, adding that when he had questioned his native guides as to whether the tracks could be those of a very large bear with the claws worn down, they would not hear of it and were afraid.

The first magazine articles about Sasquatch were published by MacLeans as early as 1927 and in Liberty in the 1940s. These were written by J.W. Burns, a teacher at the Chehalis Reserve, under such incongruent titles as, My Search for B.C.s Giant Indians, and were centered around Harrison Lake.

The modern era of Sasquatch investigation can be said to have begun in 1958, when a bulldozer operator discovered very large footprints clearly revealed in the soft earth beside a logging road at Bluff Creek, in northern California. In the resulting publicity, someone coined the term "Bigfoot," a word still in popular use in the usa today. The second event occurred not far away in 1967, when Roger Paterson emerged from the bush, with a short segment of film of a large, hairy creature on two legs. To this day, that film remains perhaps the most compelling evidence for the existence of this animal, though it falls short of being indisputable evidence.

What scientists want, of course, is hard evidence. So far, that which comes closest to fitting the required criteria is a plaster cast of a footprint. One of a small number of scientists giving this subject the attention it deserves, is Jeff Meldrum, an associate professor of anthropology at the Idaho State University. Meldrum has a collection of about a hundred casts, out of more than 700 that have been collected in North America. Foot size varies considerably, but most are in the 15, to 16 inch range, with the largest reaching 22 inches in length. Sasquatch feet are remarkably like human feet, except for the fact that they lack an arch, and are broader and longer.

But how does Meldrum know they aren't faked, for example, someone carving a pair of large wooden feet and then creating tracks by attaching them to their own? Enter Jimmy Chilcutt of the Conroy Police Department in Texas. Not only is he an expert on fingerprints, he has also studied the dermal ridges of numerous primates, and in this capacity is often consulted by the fbi. Chilcutt offered his expertise to Jeff Meldrum, expecting to expose a hoax. Out of the 100 casts he subsequently examined, he found only a handful of high enough quality to show dermal ridges. However, these were unique in that the ridges ran lengthwise along the foot, rather than across, as in humans, plus they were twice as thick, just as one would expect from a larger animal. The fact that these casts were consistent with one another, even though they were cast by different people, in places hundreds of miles apart, only added to their credibility. Chilcutt concluded that the tracks were indeed made by a living animal. A second expert on fingerprints, Doug Monsoon, of the Lakewood, Colorado, Police Department Crime Lab, came to the same conclusion on similar evidence.

Currently, scientists are trying to extract dna from purported Sasquatch hair and from scat. Two labs in the us recently succeeded in doing this and are currently analyzing it. No word yet on the results. Its beginning to look as though, if this animal really exists, its days of living unbeknownst to science are numbered. In the event that irrefutable proof is found, expect to see many red faces in the scientific community, where there has been a great deal more scoffing than inquiry.

So if it exists, what is it? The preponderance of opinion among investigators is that this animal is a bipedal forest ape descended from an ancestor known to have lived in South-east Asia about 400,000 years ago, called Gigantopithecus. It is known only from fossilized teeth and jaw bones found in caves, but scientists have recreated models of this animal, and it is believed to have stood up to 9 feet tall and was very robust and muscular. Based on hundreds of reports and descriptions of Sasquatch, a remarkably consistent profile of this animal emerges. Height varies considerably, but the majority of reports describe an animal ranging between 6 to 8 feet tall. Large males may be even taller. They are described as powerfully built, with wide shoulders and a barrel chest. Males are sometimes described as massive. Two Tofino residents who saw one sprint across a highway in front of their car, were particularly impressed by the musculature in the legs, and compared it to that of Olympic runner, Ben Johnson. They also commented that it looked terrified at having been discovered.

The head sits directly atop the body with little or no neck, and is often described as dome-shaped, or oval, indicating the presence of a sagital crest. A sagital crest is associated with powerful jaw muscles. The arms are proportionally longer than those of a human and reach to the knees. Although most individuals are described as either black or reddish brown, some have been described as dark brown, tan, gray and even white. This is not surprising. Black bears, for example may be black, cinnamon brown, grey or white (as in "Spirit Bear.")

The animal's gait is often described as "fluid" or "graceful." This is because it does not lock its knees when it walks, as humans do, but instead walks with legs slightly bent at the knees. Length of stride is, of course, much longer than that of a human, and its speed can leave an observer in awe.

Ears are not prominent. The nose is broad and somewhat flat. Eyes are deep-set and dark, and lack white, as in humans. At night they usually reflect amber or red. This is an indication that these animals have night vision and are primarily nocturnal. This is supported by the fact that most sightings occur early and late in the day, or at night.

Vocalizations are variable, but are unlike those of any other animal. Their roaring screams, or screaming roars, are apparently terrifying when heard in close proximity, and the volume is said to be overwhelming. Or, to repeat the words of the Nuu-chah-nulth of Friendly Cove, as told to Jose Mozino, "His shouts alone force those who hear them to the ground." Such vocalizations are probably intended exactly for the result they produce — fear and the desire to vacate the area. Wood rapping is a means by which these animals communicate with one another.

Sasquatches may also engage in throwing rocks, pieces of wood, or other objects from a hidden position when they wish to intimidate. Years ago, near Quait Bay, two locals watched in amazement as a stove pipe was hurled over the water from behind a screen of vegetation. In another case, two men hunting near Kennedy Lake had sizable stones thrown in their direction from an unknown source. In a third case, an unseen animal responded to a stone thrown at a "bear" to scare it away, by hurling the stone back. "The **** bear threw the stone back at me," was the indignant response.

The fact that these animals go to great lengths to avoid being seen, indicates they are well aware of the danger presented by firearms. It should be stressed that Sasquatches are not dangerous to humans in normal circumstances. At no time, in any of the hundreds of accounts, was a person injured. Dogs, on the other hand, have not been so lucky, and there are stories of them being killed. It appears that intimidation towards humans is intended purely as a means to scare an intruder out of an area, or as a defense when threatened. Mock charges have been recorded on occasion. Mostly, though, these animals are exceedingly shy and avoid humans.

As with bears, Sasquatches are believed to be omnivorous. That is, they eat a wide variety of food, both vegetable and animal. On Vancouver Island, young leaves, roots, berries and salmon probably form a principle part of their diet, but in some regions of the continent they are also reported to take deer. This could explain the story, if true, of a party of Ahousaht hunters being chased by "Bookwis" in the Ursus Valley in the mid 90s. The hunters responded by abandoning part of their elk kill, which was likely the intended outcome. Several similar incidents are reported to have occurred elsewhere.

A question commonly asked is; if these animals exist, how have they managed to avoid detection? The answer, of course, is that they haven't. There are now many hundreds of documented reports of these animals in North America. What is lacking is proof of the absolute kind. If you still don't believe that a mammal can elude us for so long, consider for a moment the case of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, a conspicuous black and white bird the size of a Raven with a flaming red crest. After apparently being extinct for 60 years, it was rediscovered recently in Arkansas. If a flamboyant species that flies can elude all efforts to find it for more than half a century in the heart of America, then just maybe a nocturnal forest ape can do so as well. Or, perhaps, the skeptics are right, and the Sasquatch exists only in the imagination of those, who, like myself, who find it hugely gratifying to believe that we have a large and hairy relative living wild and free in our forests and mountains, beyond the reach of Revenue Canada and those who collect camping fees. But I wouldn't count on it.

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Finally, a thread about island sittings!

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Hi all, BC Cryptid has made the sasquatch JUMP to the new board.

Please post all legit Vancouver island sightings (meaning, you have interviewed the witness yourself, or with another investigator, this is a BFRO or other Org report, or this is a media article you have found. Please try to post location information as I am an investigator on this island)

TANX!!!! :)

BCCryptid,

Not sure if you are aware, but Mangani, a member of the BFF started a project years ago that maps all BFRO, IBS, TBRC, WRSA, OSR, Tirademan's newspaper articles and most other BF sightings databases into Google Earth.

It is an outstanding contribution which required a LOT of work and I commend Mangani at every opportunity. You can download the Google Earth layer from his project web page here. Simply install Google Earth, double click on the file and BAM! all sightings are pinned geographically with a link to the corresponding report.

The layer also sorts the sightings by date. There's a "slider" control which allows you to set the range of dates you are interested in and Google Earth displays them accordingly. This enables one to look for migration patterns (if they exist) and such. You can create an animation based on dates and play it back showing the progression, etc.

It really is an invaluable resource.

Hope this helps!

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BC, great report about the family sighting! Too bad it is so old though. Any knowledge as to whether the witness revealed the location to a serious researcher for follow-up investigation? Sounds like it could be "the one" that provides conclusive proof if they are still around.

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BCCryptid,

Not sure if you are aware, but Mangani, a member of the BFF started a project years ago that maps all BFRO, IBS, TBRC, WRSA, OSR, Tirademan's newspaper articles and most other BF sightings databases into Google Earth.

It is an outstanding contribution which required a LOT of work and I commend Mangani at every opportunity. You can download the Google Earth layer from his project web page here. Simply install Google Earth, double click on the file and BAM! all sightings are pinned geographically with a link to the corresponding report.

The layer also sorts the sightings by date. There's a "slider" control which allows you to set the range of dates you are interested in and Google Earth displays them accordingly. This enables one to look for migration patterns (if they exist) and such. You can create an animation based on dates and play it back showing the progression, etc.

It really is an invaluable resource.

Hope this helps!

Yep, got it on my GE! I add my own sightings as well on Van. Island to GE, it's my number 1 investigation tool for new sightings.

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BC, great report about the family sighting! Too bad it is so old though. Any knowledge as to whether the witness revealed the location to a serious researcher for follow-up investigation? Sounds like it could be "the one" that provides conclusive proof if they are still around.

Well, I thought the BFRO reports of the nest blocking the hiking trail, and group of hostile sasquatches guarding it, was "the one", and if we could only find the nest we would be shooting the definitive videos (dodging rocks no doubt) so I led an expedition to that area, with detailed instructions left as to where to find my body should I not return.

We didn't find a dang thing, no nest, no tracks, no tribe of hostile wookies, no signs whatsoever. I think the location instructions in the report were deliberately modified to hide the true location, which I suspect is up on Mt. Benson somewhere, which is the closest mountain to this sighting you are talking about, btw.

The Nanaimo Lakes region is a well-known hotspot on the island. Just give me two weeks paid leave and a team and I'll go in there!

If your investigating sasquatches on Vancouver Island, I really can't suggest a better area, really. Watch out for weed grow ops though, avoid tresspassing back there, and go in a small group.

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BFRO REPORT 27847

http://www.bfro.net/GDB/show_report.asp?id=27847

Daylight sighting and possible vocal warning on Vancouver Island outside Duncan (Show Printer-friendly Version)

YEAR: 2010

SEASON: Summer

MONTH: June

DATE: Sunday, 06

PROVINCE: British Columbia

COUNTRY: Canada

LOCATION DETAILS: This sighting was on Mt.Sicker just outside duncan B.C. The clear cut area has been cut for a few years but they have recently started logging areas nearby. (Specific directions omitted upon request.)

NEAREST TOWN: Duncan

NEAREST ROAD: Highway 1

OBSERVED: A friend and I were 4x4ing up in the back woods just outside of Duncan. We pulled up onto a look out on the top of a mountain in a clear cut area. The area is full of rolling ridges and hills. As we were sitting there I was looking out over the area and right near a bit or a ridge about 300-400 feet I saw a figure walking. It looked like it was on 2 feet approx...8 mabey 9 feet, kind of hard to tell at that distance. As soon as i realized i was seeing something i watched as it dropped down the ridge and dissapeared (this was around 9:30 pm) Jokingly i said to my friend "i think i saw a SAMSQUATCH"....quite often youll see a stump and go "hey is that a bear" but this thing didnt move like a bear. It looked like it was between 8-9 feet, his shoulders seemed slumped and draped in long black and brown hair, his arms seemed to hang lower than his waist and his head was a long oval again draped in hair... and then he was gone.

So we had out little laugh ya know, im seeing things.. 10-15 minutes later we were sitting there talking and my friend heard a noise at about the 2 o'clock position from the front of my jeep, we didnt pay to much attention but as we sat there we kept hearing it... Like a low deep grunt. We kept hearing the noise but only when we weren't really paying attention. Finally we got out of the jeep figuring mabey we will hear it better.. Needless to say i picked up some rocks and i started throwing them into the bush at first i through them towards the 5'oclock position and and then towards the 2 oclock. That got no results so my friend started yelling random things towards the bush making an echo... still nothing... we then moved back towards my jeep we were standing near the passenger side door when all of a sudden we heard that loud deep grunt again but this time it was coming from the 5'oclock position no more than 20 feet away from us. We heard no crashing through the bush even though the noise moved from the front of the jeep to the back of the jeep. This noise was like nothing i have heard before... the only way i can desribe it would be like 10 dogs in perfect synchronization letting out 1 short grunting bark at a time... It had so much bass that it just cut through the air... Instantly the hair was standing on the back of our necks and we ran back into the jeep. We then spun the jeep around to try and see anything with the headlights... with no luck, so we got out of there for about the next 3-5 kilometers driving down the mountain (about 15 kmh) it felt like we were being watched it was creepy. Its like whatever i think i saw travelled through the bush in front of us beside us and then up behind us.

ALSO NOTICED: There was a small black and white bird that kept squawking around us the whole time we were there. As the big noise that was close to us happend he was swooping around right around us..

OTHER WITNESSES: Me and my friend. We had just driven up to the lookout spot and hadnt been there more than 5 mintues

OTHER STORIES: Not in the same area, but more in the cowichan valley.

TIME AND CONDITIONS: I saw the creature at about 9:30 it was clear (we were above the clouds)and still bright.

The sounds started 10 minutes after that and proceeded untill about 10:10 when the noise was heard 20 feet behind us.. by this time the light was dissapearing and headlights were starting to be needed.

ENVIRONMENT: Top of the mountain in a clear cut area with rolling hills and ridges surrounded by pine and fir trees in behind us.

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BCCryptid,

Did ya like Robs or mine better ? If ya liked mine, then I'm glad ta hear it.

I liked yours better. For example, the one with the squatch gathering water plants in shallow water and eating it. It looked more appropriate and thoughtful of sasquatch activities.

Did you do the one with the bicyclist near Ketchikan? The eyes on the cyclist looked appropriate......... :lol:

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I liked yours better. For example, the one with the squatch gathering water plants in shallow water and eating it. It looked more appropriate and thoughtful of sasquatch activities.

Did you do the one with the bicyclist near Ketchikan? The eyes on the cyclist looked appropriate......... :lol:

I agree, I can still remember the one of the sasquatch gathering plants, it was gorgeous!

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I agree, I can still remember the one of the sasquatch gathering plants, it was gorgeous!

Appreciate the heads up on the bicyclist sighting. The 1st chapter is free in Google docs, looks like a heck of a read.

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We (our group) spent three and a half months on the island last year worked with several islanders and a group from the Vancouver BC

Area. We helped them with some equipment and they put us in to some great areas.

We spent a lot of time doing night observation from several boats with bait stations, BC do you have any stats on the number of sightings at the shore line?

We met a good group of people and down to earth as well. Some of us will be returning in march to continue our work.

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We (our group) spent three and a half months on the island last year worked with several islanders and a group from the Vancouver BC

Area. We helped them with some equipment and they put us in to some great areas.

We spent a lot of time doing night observation from several boats with bait stations, BC do you have any stats on the number of sightings at the shore line?

We met a good group of people and down to earth as well. Some of us will be returning in march to continue our work.

Hardly any I'm afraid. There are far more shoreline sightings in Alaska, for example. Most sightings on Van. Island are highway crossings or hunters/hikers on trails/logging roads.

What areas did you get into?

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Tracks Report - Mt Arrowsmith

Submitted November 4, 2006

"Hello....my name is Anne Charlton. I live in the area of Mt. Arrowsmith foothills [near Nanaimo, Vancouver Island]. I am not usually a believer in the Bigfoot as such but I wanted to share what I saw last week in the area where I walk my dogs behind my rural home....

When I first saw the footprint, my first thought was...why was someone out here bare feet in this kind of weather and terrain???...then I looked closer...the sun was low so showed up the print perfectly...it was on an old logging road in the sandy top soil...this is what I observed....I lined up my running shoe with the print to have an idea of how big it was...it was approximately four inches longer than my shoe which I measured when I got home...this measurement was approx. 15-16 inches in length...the width of the front of the ball of the foot was approx. 7-8 inches...the print was of a left foot which was slightly curved inwards not unlike a baby's foot with only the outside of the foot making an indentation. It had a fairly pronounced heel - it also only appeared to have four toes, which were about two inches or more in length. I then realized that perhaps this could be a bear print....checking what rear bear footprints look like, this was nothing like them....after seeing one footprint I looked for more and found a second almost identical print a few feet forward of the first one. I did not find any more however as the prints led into the forest - this area is adjacent to a magnificent, steep, jungle-like ravine leading down to the Englishman River with old growth forest...

Please let me know what you think..."

src: http://www.ufobc.ca/Supernatural/Bigfoot/vancouverisland2006_v2.htm

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Sasquatch Sightings on Vancouver Island

By Graham Andrews, Alberni Valley Times

13-Nov-2002

The West Coast rumour mill is abuzz as several people have reported sightings of huge creatures resembling the legendary Sasquatch.

People claim to have seen the creatures on the highway between Port Alberni and Tofino, on Radar Hill and Long Beach, and to have heard them howling in Indian Bay.

Arnold Frank and his nephew Patrick Frank claim to have seen one of the creatures twice. The first sighting for the men allegedly occurred as the two men were out walking in the woods, Arnold said. They heard heavy footsteps crashing through the forest, he said, and then saw a part of the creature.

"We just saw some real big orange eyes, real high off the ground," Arnold said.

A few nights later, the two men were driving along the highway at about 10:30 p.m. when they pulled over at a rest stop.

Arnold said he saw the creature dashing into the woods. But he¹s certain that it wasn¹t a bear.

"We both figured it was too big to be a bear," Arnold said. "And bears don¹t walk on two legs."

Frank estimated that the creature was between seven feet and eight feet tall, walked on two legs and had brilliant orange eyes.

He added that he was scared each time he saw the creature. "To see something that big would scare anybody," he said.

Arnold¹s brother, Alex, also claims to have heard the creatures howling around Indian Bay. "There's a weird howling sound going on around Indian Bay during the day," he said.

Another elderly woman claims to have seen one of the creatures crossing the road in front of her car. The gigantic biped allegedly stopped in front of her car, and looked directly at her before disappearing into the bush.

While tales of Sasquatch-like creatures are an international phenomenon, concrete proof of the beast's existence is rare and usually subject to scrutiny from the disbelieving majority.

But Sasquatch also has a place in the history of Nuu-chah-nulth people. Jessie Hamilton, an elder with the Hupacasath First Nation, recalled a story of one Hupacasath ancestor who went up into the mountains where he encountered the creature.

"One of our ancestors came across one in one of the mountains," she said. "He saw it and didn¹t know what it was."

As the story has it, the man attempted to hide from the beast by wrapping himself in a blanket. While wrapped in the blanket, the man was allegedly picked up by the great creature, and twirled around before being set back down.

Hamilton said that sightings of Sasquatch, or cacuuqhsta as his name is in the Nuu-chah-nulth language, are not unheard of, but are usually confined to the west side of the island.

"He was seen by different tribes on the other side of the island," she said. But it surprised her that the creature has been spotted so low in elevation. She speculated that the beast may have been driven into lower elevations by a lack of precipitation in the mountains over the past couple of months.

"It surprises me that he was seen so low," she said. "He may be looking for water."

src: http://www.ufobc.ca/Supernatural/Bigfoot/albernivalleysasquatch_v2.htm

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The 'Tale' of Muchalat Harry

Whether you accept Muchalat's story or not, it holds a central place in the legends of the sasquatch on Vancouver Island. The area this is from is still an excellent investigation area today, close to Nootka Sound, Ursus Valley, Meares Island, all reported locations.

"According to the Indians, there was once a large number of Bigfoot living on Vancouver Island, a large island, 12,408 square miles in area, off the west coast of British Columbia. The Indians knew about them, feared them, and respected them, but granted that they were harmless. One of the Indians of the Nootka Tribe, who lived at Nootka in 1928, claims to have been carried off by them and held captive for some time.

The story, told to me by Father Anthony Terhaar of Mt. Angel Abbey in Oregon, is a curious one. Father Anthony, a much-loved missionary priest who traveled the west coast of Vancouver Island for many years, was living at Nootka at the time of the story and he knew Muchalat Harry very well. Muchalat Harry was a trapper and something of a rarity among his fellow tribesmen. He was, according to Father Anthony, a tough, fearless man, of excellent physique.

In the course of his trapping; he was wont to spend long weeks in the forest alone, something that the average Indian did not do in those days, The Indians of the coast were apparently a rather timid people and they seemed to regard the deep forest as the home and territory of the Bigfoot. When they went into the deep inland forest for any reason, they never went alone. Muchalat Harry was different from other Indians. He went in the forest alone and feared nothing.

Late one autumn Muchalat Harry set off for the woods, with his traps and camping gear. His plan was to set out a trap line and stay in the woods for several months. He headed for his favorite hunting area, the Conuma River, at the head of Tlupana Inlet. From Nootka he paddled his own canoe to the mouth of the Conuma. There he cached the canoe and headed upstream on foot. Approximately twelve miles upstream he made his base camp and, after building himself a lean-to, started to put out his trap line.

One night, while wrapped in his blankets and clad only in his underwear, he was suddenly picked up by a huge male Bigfoot and carried off into the hills. He was not carried very far, probably a distance of about two or three miles, at the most. When daylight came he was able to see that he was in a sort of camp, under a high rock shelf and surrounded by some twenty Bigfoot They were of all sexes and sizes. For some time, they stood around him and stared at him. The males to the front of the curious group females behind them and young ones to the rear. Muchalat Harry was frightened at first and his fear grew to terror when he noticed, he said, the large number of bones lying around the campsite. When he saw these he was convinced that the Bigfeet were going to eat him.

The Bigfeet did not harm him in any way. Occasionally one came forward and touched him, as if feeling him, and when they discovered that his "skin" was loose — it was in fact his woolen underwear — several came forward and pulled at it gently.

While they looked at him and examined him, Muchalat Harry sat with his back to the rock wall and did not move. He was cold and hungry, but his thoughts were only on escape. Some time in the late afternoon, curiosity on the part of the Bigfeet seemed to slacken and with most of the Bigfeet out of camp, probably food-gathering he thought, there came the opportunity that he needed. He leapt to his feet and ran for his life, never looking back. He ran downhill, toward where he guessed the river to be and sure enough, he soon came to his campsite. In what must have been blind panic he bypassed his camp and ran for twelve miles to where his canoe was cached at the mouth of the Conuma.

Father Anthony describes the story of Muchalat Harry’s arrival at Nootka as follows. It was probably three in the morning. He and his brother Benedictines were asleep and the village was quiet. Suddenly there was a series of wild cries from the waters of the inlet. Lights were lit and he and others hurried down to the water's edge. There, near-frozen and exhausted in his canoe, lay Muchalat Harry. He was barefoot and clad only in his wet and torn underwear and he had paddled his canoe through the winter night 45 miles from the mouth of the Conuma River.

Father Anthony and his companions carried the almost lifeless form up from the water's edge. It took three weeks to nurse Muchalat Harry back to sanity and good health. Father Anthony, who took him into his own care, did the nursing and he told me [Peter Byrne] that during the course of these three weeks, Muchalat Harry's hair turned to pure white.

The story of the kidnapping came out slowly. At first Muchalat Harry would talk to no one. Then he told Father Anthony what had happened and, later, others. When he was fully recovered to health he was asked when he planned to go back to collect his belongings, the camp equipment, his pots and pans, his trap line and above all, his rifle, at the lean-to on the Conuma. In 1928 a trap line and all of its pieces must have been worth a great deal to an island Indian. A rifle alone would be regarded as a highly prized possession. But Muchalat Harry never went back to the Conuma. Not only did he never return there; according to Father Anthony, he never left the settlement at Nootka, never went in the woods again for the rest of his life. He preferred to lose all of his valuables and probably hard-won possessions rather than risk another encounter with the Bigfeet.

Late in 1972 I had occasion to visit Vancouver Island. I was on a routine investigating trip and when I found myself at Nainimo, not too far by road from the west coast and the scene of Muchalat Harry's adventure, I drove there. I stopped in Gold River and obtained from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police some maps and instructions on how to get to the Conuma River area. Nowadays there is a logging road that runs all the way down to the mouth of the river, and one Sunday morning, with the logging trucks out of the way, I drove there and made camp on the Conuma. I spent several days there, walking the riverbed and exploring. I tried to make a rough determination of where Muchalat Harry might have had his lean-to and I found a place that offered a good campsite, twelve miles from the mouth of the river on the edge of a series of high bluffs. The salmon were running in the Conuma while I was there and all night long I could hear them splashing up the shallow waters of the river. In the morning black bear worked the river, getting the salmon that had come ashore in the night or had become tangled in the limbs of fallen trees that lay in the river. I counted six bears in several days.

The country was generally wild and deserted and the actual mouth of the Conuma, where it flowed into the salt waters of the inlet, was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Some of the forest close to the river had been logged off, but the logging work had moved on west and while I was there it was quiet.

The days began with morning mists on the river and then warmed to the clear crispness of perfect autumn weather. Evenings were cool and damp and nights bright with starlight that provided almost enough light to read. I found no sign of Bigfoot on the Conuma, nor any sign of Muchalat Harry's trap line or lean-to. I hardly expected to find anything of the latter, after forty-odd years. But even though Muchalat Harry was long gone, the river and the forest remained unchanged, The splashing salmon, the cold, clear water of the Conuma, the moss-covered banks, the shallow pools in the forest that the Conuma drained, that were the breeding places of the salmon, the river birds, the plodding bears, the deep silent waters of the inlet, all were as they must have been forty years before, when Muchalat Harry cached his canoe and made his camp there.

The story of Muchalat Harry is not discussed much these days. Loren Coleman, in his book Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America, theorizes this may be due to two factors. First, the number of sasquatches reported by Harry, an amazing twenty of different genders, sizes, and ages, makes the account just too much for many to swallow. Second, the native origins of the story may have caused it to be mostly ignored in the years immediately after the incident allegedly occurred. Certainly, it is possible these factors were, and maybe still are, at play. My theory on why the story is not well known is simpler. It is due to what I call the "Silver Medal" factor. Allow me to explain. Typically, people do not remember who finished second in an athletic contest. You can probably recall the gold medal heroics of Olympians like Muhammad Ali, Jesse Owens, Mark Spitz, and Carl Lewis. More recently you may have watched Michael Phelps, Lindsey Vonn, and Shaun White win gold medals. Can anyone out there remember the names of the silver medalists? Probably not. It may be that Muchalat Harry's abduction tale has simply been deemed to be the second most interesting sasquatch abduction story behind Albert Ostman's account. In other words, Muchalat Harry gets the "silver medal" and, therefore, less attention.

I find the story fascinating. It is, of course, impossible for me to know if Harry was telling the truth about what happened to him in the wilderness near the Conuma River in the Autumn of 1928. What is not up for debate is that whatever happened changed Muchalat Harry forever. By all accounts, Harry was a fearless man who would spend weeks to months at a time in the forest alone. This, as was pointed out by Byrne, is in stark contrast to his fellow tribesmen at the time. If the missionary, Father Anthony Terhaar, is to be believed, Muchalat Harry's hair turned stark white over a period of only a few weeks and he never again entered the forest. Harry did not even go back to retrieve his rifle, trap line, and other possessions. The equipment Muchalat Harry left behind would have been worth quite a bit to an island Indian. The decision to leave it all in the woods indicates there was real fear in Harry.

There seems to be little doubt that the main players in the drama were real people. Father Anthony Terhaar was interviewed directly by Peter Byrne. Byrne seemed to have no doubt that Muchalat Harry had been a real person. While Harry was never interviewed by Byrne, his tale was well known among his fellow tribesmen who heard the story directly from his lips. Even had this not been the case it would seem Father Anthony Terhaar would have no reason to make up such a tale. Everything I've read about the good Father has been positive. He was respected and well thought of by those that knew him. Certainly, there was no financial incentive to share the story.

I believe something truly terrifying happened to the Nootka tribesman called Muchalat Harry. Whether the events played out exactly as described to Peter Byrne by Father Anthony Terhaar is something each person will have to decide for themselves. Many have a problem with the almost super human effort Muchalat Harry allegedly exerted to get away from the band of sasquatches. If the story is to be believed, he sprinted from two to three miles to the river near his camp site, then ran approximately twelve miles to the mouth of the river where he had cached his canoe, and then paddled forty-five miles back to his village. This is something a normal human could not have done according to many. I'm not so sure. Modern athletes today compete in "Iron Man" triathlons where they swim five miles or more, ride a bike for 100 miles, and then run a full twenty-six mile marathon. If this is within the realm of human ability then Muchalat Harry's escape seems possible. Byrne himself wrote that Harry was an exceptional physical specimen. When you add the fact that the man felt he was literally running for his life it seems more plausible. Fear and adrenaline are a powerful combination. It is no wonder it took three weeks of bed rest for Harry to recover from his ordeal.

Why a sasquatch would kidnap a human is another question all together. Was Muchalat Harry right? Did the sasquatches intend to make a meal of him? It seems unlikely. If that had been the intent why wouldn't the sasquatches have dispatched him once he was brought to their "camp?" Why would the males and most of the mature females leave him unattended if he were considered prey? Nourishment and calories are too precious in the wild to be treated so carelessly. Was Muchalat Harry merely a curiosity? Something along the lines of a sasquatch show and tell item? One can only speculate.

In any case, the tale of Muchalat Harry is, in my opinion, truly one of the sasquatch "classics." It is a story that is hard to believe in the light of day. Like many such tales, however, it gets a lot easier to believe when out in the woods alone at that certain time after the campfire has died out and dawn is still hours away."

src: http://texascryptidhunter.blogspot.com/2010/03/sasquatch-classics-tale-of-muchalat.html

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