Searching for Sasquatch

The facts and Legends surrounding North America's most elusive creature

A special report by Sarah A. Zimmerman and Craig Battle
The Terrace Standard, July 4, 2001

(UFO*BC thanks Sasquatch researcher Larry Sommerville of Terrace for sending us this newspaper clipping and for his over 30 years of dedication to the field.)

Great apes in our woods?


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 wildlife behaviour.

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 their reports.
When Bindernagel started investigating reports of Sasquatch sightings in 1975 he was met with considerable resistance from the scientific community.

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 Sasquatch

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 trees.

“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 Sasquatch.

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.”

Tsimshian call it Bowis


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” Bolton.

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 Sasquatch lore


WHAT could possibly possess a man to devote years worth of free time to researching and relating Sasquatch sightings?

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 is research.”

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 breasts.

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 stop.

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.

Terrace, 1997

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 ankle-deep snow.

Two days later a similar sighting was made in Usk, about 12 miles east of Terrace.