Great apes in our woods?
By SARAH A. ZIMMERMAN
DR. John Bindernagel wants to
make the world safe for reporting Sasquatch sightings.
Bindernagel holds a Ph.D. in
wildlife biology and has over thirty years of field experience researching
As a man of science he knows all
too well the ridicule that comes with associating oneself with Sasquatch
research. While in a wildlife management class at the University of Guelph
in 1964 Bindernagel brought up a recent and widely reported Sasquatch
sighting and wondered if it was worth looking in to.
“My colleagues laughed, they made
fun of me," he recalls. “They wouldn’t even talk about it.”
He says that many people who have
seen the animal are too afraid of ridicule to come forward publicly with
When Bindernagel started investigating reports of Sasquatch sightings in
1975 he was met with considerable resistance from the scientific
Scientists are not the curious
people we like to think they are,” he says. “They are not particularly
welcome to things that are radically different or don’t fit their theory.”
In the early days of his research
Bindernagel himself was unsure whether the animals actually existed but
thought it was a valid line of inquiry nonetheless.
Reports have come in from
throughout northern B.C. of possible Sasquatch dens, feces, shrieks,
rock-throwing, and footprints.
Wildlife biologists routinely use
tracks to confirm the presence of animals like bears, wolves and coyotes,
so it’s not such a stretch to use footprints to confirm the existence of
Sasquatch, says Bindernagel.
And so far, footprints provide
the bulk of physical evidence that Sasquatch exist.
Plaster casts of extremely large
feet ranging in size from 14-18 inches have been made from all over the
world and are said to belong to the elusive creatures.
In fact some of the earliest and
best footprints were found in the Skeena Valley in 1976.
The tracks — about a dozen of
them 15.5 inches long and 6.5 inches wide — were found by some children
near a slough in the Terrace area. According to researchers they had a
walking stride of just over seven feet.
A Sasquatch researcher named Bob
Titmus lived in the area at the time and made plaster casts from the
footprints that were left in the hard clay. Dr. Bindernagel now has a copy
of those casts.
Either there is a worldwide
conspiracy of people creating the tracks as a hoax or something very
human-like is out there leaving those tracks. And Bindernagel feels that
whatever is out there is deserving of study. “Why the denial? Why the
skepticism?” he asks.
Bindernagel himself made plaster
casts from Vancouver Island in 1988 of feet 18 inches long.
His own discovery along with
hundreds of reports he’s received over the years have led him to believe
the creatures do exist.
“I have heard enough, I no longer
have any doubt myself,” he says. And he has developed a theory that the
Sasquatch are actually large upright apes living in the woods. “This thing
doesn’t just look like a great ape,” says Bindernagel. “It is one.”
Just this year he received a
report from a man who saw something unusual on a tributary of the Skeena
River. The man assumed it was a very big human being wearing a hooded
sweatshirt because it had a pointed head. But Bindernagel says that the
pointed head could indeed have been a sign that this was no human.
“There seems to be a saggital
crest in the males,” he said. A saggital crest forms where the skull meets
in the middle forming a pointed ridge, much like a male gorilla.
Bindernagel says that detail was
enough to make him think it may have indeed been a Sasquatch sighting.
With numerous reports of Sasquatch sightings coming from the northwest
Bindernagel says they could well
live in our neck of the woods. Until the body of one of the animals is
found or until more physical evidence is recorded, the Sasquatch remains
for many a thing of myth. “We’re lacking sufficient evidence,” he said.
Bindernagel lives on Vancouver
Island and continues to investigate Sasquatch behaviour, anatomy, how they
spend the winters and their responses to human presence.
New Aiyansh man spots
The following is an account of a
Sasquatch sighting in New Aiyansh in the fall of 2000. The name of the man
who told the story has been withheld at his request.
“MARK MILLER” is not a man who
ever believed in Sasquatch. A skeptic by nature he never believed in
anything for which there is no proof.
The stories he heard about
Sasquatch when he was growing up in New Aiyansh (100km N. of Terrace BC)
were told as cautionary tales to keep children from wandering into the
forest unattended. But late last fall the unbeliever saw something that
simply didn’t fit into any category of animal he’d ever seen. “I’m not one
of those kind of people,” he says of enthusiasts who try to seek out the
Sasquatch. “The evidence has to be pretty damn strong for me to believe,
but I just couldn’t pass this off as being anything else.”
At eight o’clock in the morning —
in broad daylight — Mark was getting ready for work. As he looked out his
back window towards a forested area that borders his and his neighbour’s
property, Miller saw a man walking toward his house.
The first thing Miller recalls is
that the man was wearing a shirt the same dark colour as his pants. There
happened to be road construction underway just beyond his property and he
assumed that it was one of the workers dressed in overalls.
The man was average height, maybe
5’5”, walking upright just like a normal person would. But when the man
got closer, 200 feet from Miller’s window, he realised that what he saw
was neither human or animal. The creature came into the clearing between
his house and his neighbour’s and searched out for a branch on one of the
“I just thought it was a person.
It’s arm went down to the branch and pulled the branch down and I saw that
his arm was hairy,” he said. “I saw the hair very clearly it was really
kind of freaky.”
The hair was dark and thick
except under its armpits and along the side of its body where it was
lighter and more sparse. Its chest looked like that of a gorilla though he
says the rest of the creature appeared remarkably human. Its body
resembled that of a fit, young body builder with a V shaped torso, thick
neck, defined muscles, broad shoulders, thin hips and even nipples on its
chest. “You really got the sense that it was a human creature,” he says.
It crouched down onto its haunches like a backcatcher while it looked
toward Miller’s neighbour’s property. It put its fist down on the ground
to steady itself as Mark watched transfixed. “I didn’t even want to accept
what I had seen,” he says.
After about six seconds the
creature turned to face the window where Miller was watching it. It froze
for a split second, turned towards the wooded area and disappeared into
the woods. “It was as scared as I was,” says Miller.
Being a skeptic, Miller didn’t
want to accept that what he had seen could have been a Sasquatch. He tried
in vain to get the image of the creature out of his head. An experienced
hunter and outdoorsman Miller racked his brain trying to convince himself
he had seen some sort of an animal. But as time went on there was no
denying that what he had seen was so human-like that it had to be a
After word spread that Miller had
seen this creature elders told him that it was a blessing, but Miller’s
not so sure. “Some people say ‘I’d love to see that,’ but when you do see
it you wish you hadn’t,” he said. “I’m still kind of traumatized by it.”
call it Bowis
By SARAH A. ZIMMERMAN
THE HAIDA call it Gogit, the
Kwakiutl call it Bukwas but a local Tsimshian man recalls elders calling
the mysterious Sasquatch-like creature Bowis. “I used to sit amongst
elders and would listen to them talk about it,” says Orlando “Bossy”
The Bowis was said to look like
small gorilla that lived in the bush. It was known to steal food, throw
rocks and whoop or shriek at night. Though Bolton says the animals haven’t
been seen in some 70 years or so, the stories remain fresh in his mind.
The creature was most frequently seen stealing food from gardens and
sheds. “In those days they had dried meat and dried fish and dried clams,
whatever they liked that’s what they used to take,” he said.
The most common sightings says
Bolton were along the coast where clams are plentiful. Though many
anthropologists describe native stories about Sasquatch-like creatures as
being part of superstition Bossy says the Bowis are very much living,
breathing creatures and not the things of myth. “This was a real thing
just like you talking to me,” said Bolton. “The elders said they walked
around just like humans.”
Like so many other reported
sightings of the mysterious creatures, Bolton vividly recalls the elders’
description of the animals. They describe the Bowis as having long brown
hair, a rank smell, flat faces and human-like footprints. “I used to
figure they were small monkeys,” said Bolton. “But my grandmother said no,
they were bigger ones, about four or five feet.” he said. Bolton says the
animals would holler out loud with their heads tilted back with their hand
pressed to their throats. They reportedly could never stand still and were
constantly in motion. “That’s why they call someone who is crazy is a
Bowis,” said Bolton.
Local man compiles
By CRAIG BATTLE
WHAT could possibly possess a man
to devote years worth of free time to researching and relating Sasquatch
Well, as local Sasquatch
enthusiast Larry Sommerfield says it, the answer may surprise you.
“Simply an interest in what goes
on around us,” he says.
Sommerfield began his interest in
Sasquatch in the late 1960s, upon seeing two large plaster cast footprints
in the window of a local veterinarian clinic. The veterinarian, Dr.
Proctor, was also interested in the Sasquatch and hoped the display would
bring in more information. And it worked, for Sommerfield at least.
Over the past 30 years
Sommerfield has kept his eyes and ears open to Sasquatch stories from
people all over the northwest and compiled the information in an detailed
report. “Even if the stories are fantastic I don’t dismiss them,” he said.
“I write them down exactly as I heard them. I don’t change anything. This
Here, in chronological order, is
a small sample of the sightings collected — some names and locations have
been withheld — as told by Sommerfield himself.
Lorne Creek, 1974
“Jim,” a man who lived across the Skeena River from Lorne Creek, was used
to seeing moose in the area, but this time he had seen something different
in the woods - a moving patch of brown.
Curious as to what it may be, he
sneaked closer. It appeared to be a brown-coloured bear that had its back
towards him and was standing up on its hind legs, eating Saskatoon berries
and using its front paws like hands.
Jim wanted to stay hidden, and
the last cover was 50 feet from the creature. From this point he realised
the paws were hands and this was not a bear, but some kind of hair-covered
humanoid a little over six feet tall. Also it had a very strong odor that
reminded him of camel smell when he once worked in the circus.
After about 10 minutes the
creature sensed that something was near it. It turned sideways, spotted
Jim and trotted off. Jim believes the creature was female, as it had
Williams Creek, 1980
Two men were driving to Kitimat one morning. Coming down the airport hill
they could see a ground fog over the Williams Creek flats.
As the car came around a slight
bend at the bottom of the hill they could see arms waving in the fog ahead
of them. Thinking that someone had gone off the road they prepared to
When the car was still several
car lengths away from the figure, the passenger saw that it was not human.
It was a very tall hair-covered, human-like creature standing in the water
on the edge of the grade.
When the car came to a stop they
were alongside the creature. The creature’s head was level with the
occupants in the car and about five feet away.
After a brief moment the
creature’s eyes and mouth opened wide in terror. It threw its head back
and covered its face with its arms, as if warding off a blow by a club.
The creature then turned around and dashed into the swamp, leaving two
stunned men in the car.
A local landfill worker returned to the dump at about 2 a.m. to pick up a
set of keys left in a piece of equipment.
As he was walking past the area
where the last dumping was he saw a figure crouching amongst the garbage.
He called out with a “Hello there, what are you doing in the dump at this
time of the night?”
The figure stood up and the
worker, who was about 100 feet away, was amazed at its huge height and
size. It stood at over 10 feet tall.
The creature turned and looked at
the worker, then just walked out to the bush at the rear of the landfill,
looking back several times to see if it was being followed.
When it was a safe distance away
the worker went to the spot where it was first seen. The footprints were
five feet apart, farther than the worker could spread his legs. Also it
walked through two feet of snow as easily as a human could walk through
Two days later a similar sighting
was made in Usk, about 12 miles east of Terrace.