So this article is a little different. This is not a site you can go visit or an activity you can try. But – Sasquatch is something you can certainly keep an eye out for anytime you are out in the outdoors.
Recently we attended a talk, “Sasquatch 101: The Basics” presented by Scott Taylor, a BFRO (Bigfoot Research Organization) Field Investigator. BFRO was started in 1995 by a guy named Matt Moneymaker. People can submit their story about seeing or hearing Sasquatch online and the investigators will call the ones they feel may have legitimacy. The researchers then do a field survey, go out where the person said they had the encounter, look for evidence, make the report and if it meets qualifications, it will then be published on the BFRO website. They always protect the identity of the witness and the location.
There are about 150 active investigators and around 40,000 reports online. Scott is an interesting fellow. Very down to earth, didn’t seem the least bit “out there”. He presented his information in a very matter-of-fact way. He said he has proven to himself that Sasquatch exists, he doesn’t need to prove it to anyone else. Scott, who grew up in northwest Oregon, has been research with BFRO since 2006. He typically investigates about one story a month, with his most recent one in Ocean Shores, Washington. This is not a paid gig, it’s just something he is interested in and he likes to do presentations because people simply like hearing about the subject. You can check out their site at http://www.bfro.net/.
So here are some of the highlights of what he had to say. Scott said that mainstream science says there is no evidence, yet they are always finding evidence but scientists are afraid of losing their reputations or their funding. It was also suggested that if Sasquatch was determined as real, the impact to forestry would be devastating. If the Spotted Owl shut down so many forestry operations, imagine what would happen if forests were designated as Sasquatch’s home. He also commented that in a court of law eyewitness testimony is allowed every day, yet in the case of Sasquatch, eyewitness testimony is never believed. A woman named Melba Ketchum, a veterinarian in Texas, has studied 109 DNA samples (30-40 were from the Pacific Northwest) but her work has not been peer-reviewed or verified.
There are six types of evidence:
1) Eyewitness testimony
2) Tracks, impressions, track-lines
5) Audio recordings
Then he talked about the famous Patterson film taken in northern California in 1967. Some have said it has been proven to be a fake. He said that it has been determined that it is not a hoax through sophisticated technical analysis of the film by a man named Bill Munns in 2009. Other things he said that showed it wouldn’t be a fake was that it appeared to have a herniated thigh muscle, and the angle that she (it was determined to be a female because it had breasts) lifted her leg was a 74 degree angle where humans have a 53 degree angle. The video with Munn’s analysis can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKUwdHex1Zs.
In the Pacific Northwest there are two physical types. One is darker and stockier and one is slimmer and lighter. Both are completely covered in hair. But the smell is the most memorable thing about a Sasquatch. Apparently it is like a mixture of skunk-ammonia-dead dog-horse. Sounds lovely.
There are two types of witnesses. One who accidentally runs across or hears a Sasquatch, and the other is called “habituation” meaning they encounter Sasquatch around where they live. These witnesses and Sasquatch are neighbors and those encounters may be sounds like wood knocking, or noises, and they may also find that their outside freezer or chicken coop has been raided. But sometimes their neighboring Sasquatch will leave a gift such as a rock/feather artwork or mice wrapped in leaves.
We learned about the difference between tracks, impressions, and track-lines. Tracks are rare as they think Sasquatch tries not to leave any. But a track is a single foot-print and shows a lot of detail such as toes, ridges, creases and scars. There is no arch, which is a big difference from a human track. A track-line is several tracks in a row, allowing researchers to figure out the stride of the Sasquatch. A Sasquatch’s stride is about 50-72 inches and in a line, where a human’s is 24-36 inches and off to the side of each other. From the stride, they estimate that the females are about 7 – ½ feet tall and the males are around 8 feet tall, even going up to 11 feet.
An impression is a simple print in the ground without much detail. The researchers really don’t even try to make a cast of an impression since it doesn’t have enough detail to be helpful.
There have been recordings of sounds, one called “Sierra Sounds” by Ron Morehead. It was recorded in the 1970’s at a hunting camp. http://www.bigfootsounds.com/the-recordings/
Other signs that a Sasquatch has been around are when trees are twisted together like a barber pole or trees twisted into loops.
So why are there so few pictures of Sasquatch? For one thing, they seem to know what cameras and guns are so they avoid them. Scott said if you ever encounter a Sasquatch and are worried, just get out your camera and they will disappear. Also, they will crouch down when they think they are spotted, they will freeze in place, they appear to have the ability to know when a human is going to move, then they will move quickly away. They will climb trees and can swim. They have entered camps when people were asleep or out, checking things out and putting them back.
But he says not to worry. They seem curious about humans and have been known to help people who are injured or children who are lost. They are shy and don’t like to interact with humans. However, there is no known case of them ever injuring a human.
One audience member asked if it was legal to hunt and kill a Sasquatch. Scott responded that there is actually a law on the books in Skamania County that says it’s illegal, but there is another important thing to think about. If a person killed one, and it was discovered that Sasquatch had mostly human DNA, the person would be charged with murder. A prosecutor would love to make a name for themselves prosecuting the first person to ever kill a Sasquatch. Plus, they figure where you see one Sasquatch there are more, so if someone killed one, they could be the first person to be hurt or killed in retaliation. And who could blame them?
The discussion ended with a few rules about manners if you ever encounter a Sasquatch. Don’t make eye contact, leave if they start yelling, don’t shine bright lights at them, respect their home, and don’t shoot. Then simply enjoy the encounter, knowing you are experiencing something that not everyone gets to experience!
Do I believe in Sasquatch? Maybe. I have an open mind. I don’t think you can prove something doesn’t exist. But I have to say after listening to the presentation I am more convinced than ever that it is extremely possible that they exist. So I am looking forward to spending some time this summer out in the woods, hoping that now that I know what to look for and what to listen for, that I will have my first encounter with a Sasquatch. I’ll let you know!