The North American Sasquatch
Map of North America
|First Sighting||In the 8th century by Leif Erikson, 986 AD|
|Country||All of North America|
The Sasquatch is a type of Bigfoot said to inhabit areas of North America. The term Sasquatch was first used in 1920 by British Columbian school teacher J.W. Burns. It is an anglicized version of the Halkomelem word sásq'ets, which translates to "wild man."
Stories of an ape like creature roaming the forests of North America have been around as long as some of the Native Americans tribes started in certain areas, due to the finding of cave painting of Sasquatches. However, the earliest written account was made in 1811 by David Thompson, who was mapping regions of Canada and the United States of America during the time.
"(Spokanes) believe in a race of giants which inhabit a certain mountain off to the west of us."
Thompson spoke to the Spokanes, a local Native American tribe in Washington State. According to Thompson, the Spokanes told him of a race of hairy giants that lived in one of the nearby mountains (Possibly Mt. Saint Helens or the Cascade Mountains) that would steal salmon and people while they were asleep (similar to the Ostman story in 1924). This was also the first time a foot-print was mentioned for a Bigfoot. Thompson said that the "giants" left footprints one and a half feet long.
In 1957, a man named Albert Ostman reported being "stolen" in his sleep by a Sasquatch, similar to the stories of giants told by the Spokanes.
He claimed that in 1924, when he was searching for gold, he felt that someone was carrying him while he was sleeping. Ostman claimed when he woke up he could see eight feet tall Sasquatches with long arms and hairy body except for the padded feet, which lacked hair. Ostman also stated that the Sasquatches appeared to live a family, like modern apes.
This situation is similar to modern accounts where baboons have reportedly stolen infants while they were sleeping. It is unknown why primates preform such behavior, however it may be related to the Ostman account.
In the summer of 1924, prospector Fred Beck and four others reportedly shared a nightmarish encounter with a tribe of ape-men in a Washington mountain range near Mt. Saint Helens. This area is now known as "Ape Canyon."
The group had been prospecting for six years in the surrounding area and had found several large tracks, the largest measuring nineteen inches, by creek beds and springs -- tracks not made by any animal known to these seasoned outdoor enthusiasts. Though apprehensive, they carried on.
Working on a gold claim in Ape Canyon, the prospectors shared a sturdy pine-log cabin they had built. Every evening for about a week, the prospectors could hear strange sounds around them, like whistling, or a "thumping" like something hitting its chest.
One day, Fred, accompanied by his friend (given the pseudonym "Hank" in his first-hand account) headed to get some water from a nearby spring. It was here that Hank spotted a hairy humanoid creature, about seven feet tall with blackish-brown hair, hiding behind a pine tree on the other side of a small canyon. Hank raised his rifle and fired, and even one-hundred yards away Fred Beck claimed to see the bark fly from the pine tree. The large animal disappeared down the canyon side, three bullets, fired by Beck, flying close to it but missing their mark. The two brought water and their bizarre story to the rest of the group, who unanimously agreed to head home, but they would wait until the next morning to avoid being caught out in the Canyon come nightfall.
Nightfall came in the Canyon with the five prospectors sound asleep. Their sleep would last until midnight, when a "tremendous thud" against the cabin wall startled them awake. Hank was on the floor covered in chinking knocked loose from the wall. Squinting through the space left by the chinking, he saw three ape-like creatures like the one they had encountered by the creek. These creatures, called "Mountain Devils" by Hank, hurled rocks at the cabin and attempted to break through the door, which was braced with a pole scavenged from a bunk bed. A notable event occurred when one hairy arm reached through the gap left by the chinking and grabbed an ax by its handle, though it was unable to get it out.
Every prospector was armed, however Fred and Hank were the only two who fired, the rest gripped their rifles in the corner. The two would stop shooting when the creatures would quiet down, hoping they would understand that, should they desire, they could leave peacefully.
"If you leave us alone, we'll leave you alone," Hank said, "and we'll go home in the morning."
The attack lasted until sunrise, and as soon as the prospectors were sure it was bright enough to see they eased out of their ravaged cabin. Not long after, Fred noticed one of the "Mountain Devils" on the edge of Ape Canyon, about eighty yards away. He fired his rifle, and this time didn't miss. The animal collapsed and tumbled down the gorge, four-hundred feet below.
Fearing there was no better time to escape, the group retreated from Ape Canyon, bringing only what little they could fit in their packsacks.
"It's better to lose them," Hank said, "than our lives."
Fred, a claimed clairvoyant, believes the creatures were of supernatural origin and, because of this, a body will never turn up. Similarly, the body that supposedly fell four-hundred feet down the gorge was never found. The cabin built by the prospectors, according to beck, burned to the ground many years later.
An explanation offered by investigators is that the "Apemen" were actually youth group members of a nearby YMCA camp who were throwing rocks down the canyon unaware they were not alone. The darkness, combined with the narrow walls of the canyon, may have distorted these youths into something frightening.
On a fall day in 1967, Bigfoot enthusiast Roger Patterson and his friend Robert Gimlin set off on horseback to investigate claims of the creature roaming the nearby woods of Orleans, California, where footprints were supposedly found.
Not far from Orleans, the two filmed what would become the most iconic footage of Bigfoot ever taken. The Sasquatch in the film has come to be known by many as "Patty."
The 59-second clip shows a hairy humanoid figure, notably female, walking through the woods of Bluff Creek. Halfway through the clip, the creature gives Patterson a "look of disgust," but continues through the forest without halting. Though pursued distantly on horseback, the Sasquatch was lost in the heavy undergrowth.
The duo brought plaster later that day and made casts of the footprints before leaving in hopes of recruiting a search party. The two planned to return to Bluff Creek to search for their Sasquatch that day, but warnings of heavy rain changed their minds, fearing their exit may be flooded, thus trapping them in Bluff Creek.
Could this be footage of a real Sasquatch? Many researchers believe so. Analyzing the film, it was figured by some that it could not be a man in a costume. The joints of a man could simply not line up with the creature on film and still move in a similar fashion. If you look closely, you can also see what appears to be muscle movement, along with a tumor of sorts, on the right leg.
On the opposite spectrum, there are many skeptics who adamantly believe this is like a classic case of Scooby-Doo, and what we see in the short clip is nothing more than a man in a gorilla suit.
Patterson stated to his grave that the creature was real, and Gimlin still tells the world that he was never involved in any hoax.
For more information on the Patterson-Gimlin Film, visit its own page on this wiki: Patterson–Gimlin Footage.
Arguably, the biggest form of evidence we have of the Sasquatch are the "tracks" they leave across North America. They are typically 15 to 17 inches long and about 30% wider than typical human footprints.
The first documented discovery was in the cold winter of 1811 in Alberta, Canada, when David Thompson discovered a large set of footprints in the Rockies, impacted deep in the snow. Thompson was convinced the tracks he found did not belong to a bear.
Footprints were discovered almost daily in the logging area of Bluff Creek, California, during the 1950s. It was here that the first Sasquatch footprint was cast and "Bigfoot" was brought to the media. However, Bluff Creek wasn't the only place these tracks were found. By 1980 there were over 200 reports of footprints from Northern California alone.
In 1969, a trail of over one-thousand footprints leading through the snow was discovered in Bossburg, Washington. The tracks were 17 inches long and gave researchers the indication that there was a crippling deformity on the right foot. This analysis has given the Bossburg Sasquatch the name "Cripple Foot".
In 1982, prints were discovered by the U.S Forest Service in the state of Washington that appeared to possess dermal ridges (fingerprints for the foot) and sweat pores. The footprints were found similar to that of a primate. After much analysis, many researchers have concluded that these could not have been faked.
Sasquatch footprints are still being discovered everyday across North America.
The Sierra Sounds
In the early 1970s, Al Berry, Ron Morehead and several friends camping in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Eastern California experienced what they believed to be a close encounter with the Sasquatch species. Throughout the course of several months, strange sounds were heard that carried throughout the vast wilderness surrounding their deer-hunting lodge. These sounds, recorded by Al Berry with a portable tape-recorder hung on a tree branch, are thought to be Sasquatch vocalizations, possibly a language.
Trying desperately to discover the hoax, Berry searched the camp, and though he found no indication of a hoax, he did discover a set of large footprints in the snow and pine mat. The freelance journalist went home stumped, still reluctant to believe that he wasn't a part of a big joke.
Though the creatures were heard clearly, none were ever seen. Al Berry passed away believing that what he heard in the California mountains, known as the Sierra Sounds, was the language of a very intelligent species.
DescriptionBased on sightings, the Sasquatch is a bipedal humanoid that ranges from 8 to ten 11ft tall with long arms, a coat of brown or reddish fur and, as the name "Bigfoot" would suggest, very big feet, although in much earlier sightings the Sasquatch was reportedly more bear-like.
Based on early sightings of the Sasquatch, the profile of the creature was thought to be more ape-like with a prominent brow ridge, an undefined nose and a prognathous face. It wasn't until a sketch by Roger Patterson, titled "Old Woman", was released that the Sasquatch would adopt its flat-faced, almost man-like image observed in most representations of the creature today. The Sasquatch in Patterson's famous clip also possesses such a flat face.
The overall disposition of the Sasquatch seems to be peaceful, though in some instances (such as the Ape Canyon incident) acts of hostility have been documented.
Many witnesses have claimed the Sasquatch appeared to be floating or gliding across the ground. This is because of the creature's stride, called its "complaint gait", which, while being quite different from the stride of a human, has been seen in some primates. Unlike a human's stiff-legged walk, the Sasquatch walks bent-legged, as if snow-shoeing, suppressing the bobbing motion of the upper body during each step. With each leg rise, the creature's shins are almost parallel to the ground, the head tilts forward and the foot is oriented vertically. Though this style of walking was thought by some to be impossible for a human to replicate, it has been reproduced by select healthy individuals with practice. Even then, though, the stride becomes difficult to execute over extended periods. The Sasquatch can be seen exhibiting the "complaint gait" in many clips, most notably the Patterson-Gimlin film.