|Posted on March 13, 2011 at 6:12 PM|
SASQUATCH (BIGFOOT), YETI, MOMO, THE FOUKE MONSTER AND OTHER APE-LIKE CRYPTIDS - PART 1
The Woodwose, hairy wildman of the woods or simply wild man was the Sasquatch figure of medieval Europe, in Anglo-Saxon a wuduwasa. Images of woodwoses appear in the carved and painted roof bosses where intersecting ogee vaults meet in the cathedral of Canterbury, in positions where one is also likely to encounter the vegetal Green Man. The Woodwose was a link between civilized humans and the dangerous elf-like spirits of natural woodland, such as Puck. The wildman, pilosus or "hairy all over," was often armed with a rough club and survived to appear as supporter for heraldic coats-of-arms, especially in Germany (Wilder Mann), well into the 16th century.
Early engravers in Germany and Italy were especially fond of wild men, wild women, and wild families, with examples from Martin Schongauer, Albrecht Dürer and the "Master IB with the bird" (Giovanni Battista Palumba) among others.
Various spellings of the word have been used over the centuries, for example wodewose , woodhouse and wodehouse (pronounced "wood-house", with the accent on the first syllable, as in the surname of the author P.G. Wodehouse); wodwo, the Middle English version, appears (as "wodwos", the plural) in the 14th-century poem Sir Gawayne and the Grene Knyght; it was used by poet Ted Hughes as the title of a poem and, in 1967, a volume of his collected works.
Woodwoses and Christianity
The woodwose was unsettling to Christian writers. Augustine reports the Gaulish name of "Dusii" in City of God XV, ch. 23:
Et quosdam daemones, quos Dusios Galli nuncupant, adsidue hanc immunditiam et efficere, plures talesque adseuerant, ut hoc negare impudentiae uideatur — "Certain demons, whom the Gauls call Dusii, consistently and successfully attempt this indecency [intercourse with women]. This is asserted by many witnesses of such character that it would be an impertinence to deny it."
And perhaps the early 7th century encyclopedist Isidore of Seville has picked up Augustine's reference for his Etymologies book viii:
Pilosi, qui Graece 'panitae', Latine 'incubi' appellantur - hos daemones Galli 'Dusios' nuncupant. Quem autem vulgo 'Incu-bonem' vocant, hunc Romani 'Faunum' dicunt — "Satyrs are they who are called Pans in Greek, Incubi in Latin, these daemons the Galls call Dusi. What vulgarly are called "Incu-bonem", these the Romans name "Fauns".
Another variant of the Gaulish Dusi may lurk in the misunderstanding of fauni ficarii "fig Fauns" in Jerome's Vulgate translation of Jeremiah 50:39, describing the coming desolation of Babylon: "Therefore shall dragons dwell there with the fig fauns." Fig fauns exist nowhere except in dictionaries mentioning this passage. Is this a slip of the copyists for Jerome's fauni Sicarii ("fauns of the Sicarii", the ancient tribe of Gauls in Sicily)? Apparently, the King James' Version committee thought so, rendering the passage "Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation." No modern English translation of the Bible mentions dragons or fauns in this passage.
Other Early References
Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his Life of Merlin (ca 1150), describes the agonized mourning of Merlin after a bloody battle, when
"a strange madness came upon him. He crept away and fled to the woods, unwilling that any should see his going. Into the forest he went, glad to lie hidden beneath the ash trees. He watched the wild creatures grazing on the pasture of the glades. Sometimes he would follow them, sometimes pass them in his course. He made use of the roots of plants and of grasses, of fruit from trees and of the blackberries in the thicket. He became a Man of the Woods, as if dedicated to the woods. So for a whole summer he stayed hidden in the woods, discovered by none, forgetful of himself and of his own, lurking like a wild thing."
A woodwose is described in Konungs skuggsjá (Speculum Regale or "the King's Mirror"), written in Norway around 1250:
It once happened in that country (and this seems indeed strange) that a living creature was caught in the forest as to which no one could say definitely whether it was a man or some other animal; for no one could get a word from it or be sure that it understood human speech. It had the human shape, however, in every detail, both as to hands and face and feet; but the entire body was covered with hair as the beasts are, and down the back it had a long coarse mane like that of a horse, which fell to both sides and trailed along the ground when the creature stooped in walking.
The term wood-woses or simply Woses is used by J.R.R. Tolkien to describe a fictional race of wild men in his stories, called also Drúedain. According to his legendarium, other men, including the Rohirrim, mistook the Drúedain for goblins or other wood-creatures and referred to them as Púkel-men (Goblin-men). He allowed the fictional possibility that his Drúedain were the "actual" origin of the Woodwoses of later, traditional folklore. Both folklorists and cryptozoologists apply the term "wild men" to European woodwoses. "Wild men" has a wider definition than "woodwoses", it is also used for worldwide reports of hair-covered bipeds resembling Bigfoot, but tends to be most often applied to beings that seem more human than ape, or that have strong mythological or supernatural overtones.
JACKO THE SASQUATCH KID
One of the earliest recorded Sasquatch encounters comes from British Columbia and features a supposed juvenile Sasquatch named Jacko. Of course, there seems to be no way of substantiating the events described in the original newspaper article, although people have tried.
A Strange Creature Captured Above Yale —A British Columbia Gorilla (Correspondence of the Colonist) YALE, B.C., July 3rd, 1882
In the immediate vicinity of No. 4 tunnel, situated some twenty miles above this village, are bluffs of rock which have hitherto been unsurmountable, but on Monday morning last were successfully scaled by Mr. Onderdonk's employees on the regular train from Lytton. Assisted by Mr. Costerton, the British Columbia Express Company's messenger, and a number of gentlemen from Lytton and points east of that place who, after considerable trouble and perilous climbing, succeeded in capturing a creature which may truly be called half man and half beast. "Jacko" as the creature has been called by his capturers, is something of the gorilla type standing four feet seven inches in height and weighing 127 pounds. He has long, black, strong hair and resembles a human being with one exception, his entire body, excepting his hands, (or paws) and feet are covered with glossy hair about an inch long. His fore arm is much longer than a man's fore arm, and he possesses extraordinary strength, as he will take hold of a stick and break it by wrenching or twisting it, which no man living could break in the same way.
Since his capture he is very reticent, only occasionally uttering a noise which is half bark and half growl. He is, however, becoming daily more attached to his keeper, Mr. George Telbury, of this place, who proposes shortly starting for London, England, to exhibit him. His favorite food so far is berries, and he drinks fresh milk with evident relish. By advice of Dr. Hannington raw meats have been withheld from Jacko, as the doctor thinks it would have a tendency to make him savage. The mode of his capture was as follows:
Ned Austin, the engineer, on coming in sight of the bluff at the eastern end of the No. 4 tunnel saw what he supposed to be a man lying asleep in close proximity to the track, and as quick as thought blew the signal to apply the brakes. The brakes were instantly applied, and in a few seconds the train was brought to a standstill. At this moment the supposed man sprang up, and uttering a sharp quick bark began to climb the steep bluff. Conductor R.J. Craig and Express Messenger Costerton, followed by the baggage man and brakemen, jumped from the train and knowing they were some twenty minutes ahead of time immediately gave chase. After five minutes of perilous climbing the then supposed demented Indian was corralled on a projecting shelf of rock where he could neither ascend nor descend. The query now was how to capture him alive, which was quickly decided by Mr. Craig, who crawled on his hands and knees until he was about forty feet above the creature. Taking a small piece of loose rock he let it fall and it had the desired effect of rendering poor Jacko incapable of resistance for a time at least.
The bell rope was then brought up and Jacko was now lowered to terra firma. After firmly binding him and placing him in the baggage car "off brakes" was sounded and the train started for Yale. At the station a large crowd who had heard of the capture by telephone from Spuzzum Flat were assembled, each one anxious to have the first look at the monstrosity, but they were disappointed, as Jacko had been taken off at the machine shops and placed in charge of his present keeper.
The question naturally arises, how came the creature where it was first seen by Mr. Austin? From bruises about its head and body, and apparent soreness since its capture, it is supposed that Jacko ventured too near the edge of the bluff, slipped, fell and lay where found until the sound of the rushing train aroused him. Mr. Thos. White and Mr. Gouin, C.E., as well as Mr. Major, who kept a small store about half a mile west of the tunnel during the past two years, have mentioned having seen a curious creature at different points between Camps 13 and 17, but no attention was paid to their remarks as people came to the conclusion that they had either seen a bear or stray Indian dog. Who can unravel the mystery that now surrounds Jacko! Does he belong to a species hitherto unknown in this part of the continent, or is he really what the train men first thought he was, a crazy Indian!
He may be the best-known—and most elusive—of all cryptozoological creatures in North America. How good is the evidence for the existence of Bigfoot?
North America has its own monster. While Scotland has its Loch Ness sea serpent and the Himalayas has its Abominable Snowman or Yeti, North America lays claim to Sasquatch or, as he has been nicknamed, Bigfoot. Sasquatch—a 7 to 8-foot-tall man/ape—has been sighted in North America for centuries. Before the European invasion, Native Americans knew of the creature and gave him the name Sasquatch, which means "hairy giant." One of the earliest recorded sightings of Sasquatch by a white man occurred in 1811 near what is now Jasper, Alberta by a fur trader named David Thompson. Since then there have been many sightings of the creature in Western Canada, and in several states of the U.S., especially the Pacific Northwest, Ohio, and even as far south as Florida, where the swamp-dwelling beast is known as the Skunk Ape.
Is Sasquatch mere legend or a remarkably elusive reality? What's the evidence? Personal accounts of sightings are plentiful and deserve weight because of their numbers. Physical evidence, such as footprints and hair samples, is rarer, and recordings on film and video rarer still. Here's a look at some of the best—and always controversial—evidence for the existence of Sasquatch.
The term sasquatch, for the North American primate under consideration in this website, is an anglicized derivative of the word "Sésquac", meaning "wild man". The original word, in the Stó:lõ dialect of the Halkomelem language, is used by the Coast Salish Indians of the Fraser Valley and parts of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Indian tribes across North America have a total of more than sixty different terms for the sasquatch.
Bigfoot was a journalistic term generated in the middle of the last century during a rash of sightings in Northern California; its use is not unreasonable since the species has proportionally much bigger feet than those of human beings and, furthermore, the word has come to be recognized widely. A goodly selection of fanciful terms have been used by pioneers and later non-native inhabitants of North America for the occasional published and repeated encounters with sasquatches.
The description given here is derived from a compilation of thousands of eye witness reports from the entire continent, some of astounding length, detail, and corroborative evidence; the Patterson movie, taken in 1967, and a recent computer-based image analysis of it; and statistical analysis of a large database accumulated over the last fifty years, primarily by John Green. For the sake of brevity, the description will not be couched in the customary cautionary terminology with the usual "weasel words". Hence, the seemingly dogmatic style of the text is used only in the interest of terseness and it should be leavened by reference to the literature cited at the end of this article. This discussion refers to the state of knowledge as of February 2002.
The sasquatch is a large, hairy, bipedal non-human primate that is distributed over the North American continent to varying degrees of concentration. Its massiveness, deviation from human bearing and different gait leave no doubt in the mind of observers that they have seen a creature different from man or known animals.
Skin color ranges from the deepest black or charcoal to deep brown, "sunburned" reddish brown, and gray. Some areas, like the nose, appear at times in a shiny, oily black color. The palms are lighter in color, and the soles of the feet quite light, presumably as a result of thick sole pads composed, as in other primates, of fat and connective tissue. A few albinistic sasquatches have been seen, whose skin color was pink.
The sasquatch is covered with hair, not fur. Fur has guard hairs and an undercoat, while primate hair consists of one type of hair alone. The sasquatch, being a primate, does not molt its hair, but it is replaced one hair at a time, hence is not found in wooly batches.
Color of the hair ranges from black or dark (50%), through various shades of reddish-brown and gray to white. The body can have varicolored patches of hair. Older animals have increasingly grey hair, though color does not appear to change from childhood to adulthood. Hair is variously glossy clean and shiny, fluffy, or dirty, matted and unkempt ("angora goat dreadlocks"), probably a function of native curliness, age, or of recent immersion in water or lack thereof. Females have been reported to be cleaner than males.
Hair length ranges from 3" to around 2' (15" longest measured in hand, longer observed in the wild). There is no taper or color banding other than graying with age. Long hair covers the head and, almost invariably, the ears; very short hair on the face; occasional reports of heavy hairiness in male faces ("mustache" and "beard") vs. no facial hair in females; long hair across the top of the shoulders (once described as "bouncing like a cape" ); long hair on the forearms ("like a spaniel"); different orientations of hair on back; breasts in females hair covered (contrary to a mistaken claim in the literature); long hair on buttocks, sometimes overhanging them; groin with enough hair to obscure genitalia; and long hair on the calves (like "bellbottom pants" in a sasquatch observed standing in snow). The hair stood visibly on end in situations where the sasquatch appeared frightened.
The cortex has a uniform reddish tinge plus fine pigment granule distribution, whereas the medulla is absent. Intense efforts at DNA analysis of the hair have been uniformly negative, possibly a function of the lacking medulla. Most human hair has a medulla, if only fragmentary, but fine blond hair occasionally looks similar to sasquatch hair. Hence, there is no absolute distinction that can be made. Hair from other forest species, like rodents, carnivores, and ungulates can be differentiated without question.
Head and Neck
The head, though massive by direct comparison to that of man, has been described as "relatively" small for an animal of that size, indicative of a rather small brain. The head develops a sagittal crest in adult males as well as in females, probably bony, which sometimes produces the effect of a person wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Some animals, possibly younger, have a round head. Brain volume is probably close to or slightly above that of the gorilla.
There is a conspicuous brow ridge with a receding forehead, giving the eyes a deep-set look. The face is rather flat with prominent cheekbones, a square jaw, and the mouth region is only slightly protuberant. Deep brown eye color predominates, with a "red" component common (probably a bloodshot sclera). A white sasquatch was reported to have blue eyes. Night reflection from eyes varies most commonly between red and yellow and is probably dependent on pupillary size rather than true reflectivity.
The nose is near human in shape, though "pug" or flat, sometimes with forward directed nostrils. The mouth is often reported to be thin-lipped, with yellowish, square teeth with human appearance. When larger canines have been seen, they did not project substantially beyond the plane of the other teeth and would be subject to wear with time. Ears are almost invariably hidden under hair and have been reported to be either rounded or pointed.
Muscles from the back of the head flare out to the shoulders to obscure the neck. A result is that, as in weight lifters, the body is usually turned with the head when a rearward view is desired.
Overall, sasquatches seem to exhibit as much individual diversity in looks as do people, ranging from a typical ape appearance to one described as "an old Indian". The cause may well be the result of the animal not being subject to predation, its young being nurtured and protected into near adulthood, and differences in appearance not being a selective handicap. The same considerations apply to the diversity of coat colors.
The trunk is generally carried at a forward angle of about 15° ("hunched over"). This means that the species has not achieved a full upright stance, a difference from human beings, although at times the animals stand up straight. When ultimately a specimen comes to hand, the hip anatomy will be of telling importance to the evolution of an upright stance.
The shoulders are proportionately wider than those of man, measuring about 40% of the height in a sasquatch compared to 25-30% in man. Large sasquatches have been described as having four to five foot wide shoulders. They are barrel-chested, with a large respiratory tidal volume, often commented upon when their stertorous breathing has been heard. The Patterson sasquatch (filmed in the famous 1967 movie), a female slightly below the mean height of the population, has a chest circumference of about 60" (a value calculated from available images). This circumference would be about 65" for the average-sized animal and well above 75" for the largest individuals that have been seen.
Females have breasts, small and conical near puberty (10-12 years, see data below), rather heavy and pendulous during reproductive years and shrunken in old age. They are hair-covered except for the nipples and areolae.
The arms are massive and might exceed human length somewhat, frequently reported as hanging close to their knees, though accentuated by the slouching stance of the animals. They are particularly hairy along the forearms and end in very large and massive hands (once described as "the size of paddles").
The hand deviates in slight but significant ways from the human model (as derived from hand and knuckle prints.). Fingers are generally shorter, especially the thumb, and the latter is carried "farther toward the wrist" as compared to the position in man. The hand largely lacks the thenar pad (the mounded muscle at the base of the thumb), a corollary of the lowest opposability found in the higher primates. The hand is proportionately broader than that of man, palm width in adults measuring up to 8". Both finger and toe nails are deeply colored ("nicotine stained"), presumably a combination of dirt and thick keratin, though fingernails are light colored in some. There are no claws.
Young males have a V-shaped trunk, tapering from a wide chest to a narrower waist, whereas the female trunk has an overall barrel shape. Female hips seem to be broader than those of the male. Either sex rarely has a protruding abdomen (other than during pregnancy in the female). Genitalia in the female are hidden by hair, as are generally those of the male. The massive sexual swelling, observed in some female apes, has not been seen in the sasquatch.
Legs and Feet
He isn't called Bigfoot for nothing. There have been more than 700 footprints attributed to Bigfoot collected over the years, having an average length of 15.6 inches. The average width is 7.2 inches. That's one big foot. By comparison, the foot of a 7-foot, 3-inch basketball player—a rarity, to say the least—is 16.5 inches long but only 5.5 inches wide. They range in recorded length from barely walking infants at 4"-5" to known female prints and very large presumptive male footprints. The mean length of 702 prints (collected over nearly 50 years) is 15.6" with a range of 4" to 27", and a mean width of about 0.45 times that of the length. This proportion remains about the same with increasing length of the feet. Feet grow in excess of gain in height of the animals to compensate for the exponential increase in weight with linear dimensions. The foot does not have an arch, but retains the primitive primate midsole flexure of apes, called a metatarsal hinge. During running, often only the anterior half of the foot (anterior to the metatarsal hinge) contacts the ground. The toes are capable of substantial splaying in slippery terrain, especially abduction of the big toe. The sole is very thick and indents deeply over uneven terrain without harm to the animal.
Through 1958 and 1959, Bob Titmus and others found numerous bigfoot tracks in the area of Bluff Creek where the famous Patterson/Gimlin film was shot several years later. In 1988, wildlife biologist John Bindernagel of Vancouver Island found massive footprints in the snow and heard a "whoo-whoo whooop" call in the woods. His evidence includes 16-inch, human-like footprints found in Strathcona provincial park while hiking. In addition, Bindernagel said he heard a strange, apelike call at a friend's cabin near Comox Lake in 1992. Bindernagel said he knows of no other creature in North America that makes such a call, and he believes it was a Sasquatch trying to communicate with its own kind.
The legs are massive, especially the thighs, in one case reported to be the diameter of a "garbage can" (about 20"), but even in the (female) Patterson sasquatch about 15" thick. The calves are also unusually muscular, the gastrocnemius (calf) muscle being particularly prominent in rear views of the Patterson sasquatch.
Dwellings and Graves
Although by no means verified or authenticated, there have been claims of discoveries of Sasquatch dwellings and even burial sites: Dallas Gilbert says he has had several encounters with Bigfoot, but his most controversial claim is for that of a possible Bigfoot community and burial site. Gilbert's story is weakened by his reluctance to disclose the exact location of the site. However, he has told The Daily Times of Portsmith, Ohio, "There are places where you can see territorial markings and snaps that the creature has made in the trees. There are even canopies and bows made of trees for him to sleep under." The burial site is marked by a stone, according to Gilbert. "It looks like a tombstone almost," Gilbert said. "You can see the outlines of the creature's eyes, head and his teeth." No corpses or other remains have been recovered from the area, so all we have is Gilbert's word on these claims.
In 1995, Terry Endres and two friends were researching an area known for Bigfoot sightings for a local cable TV show. They chanced upon a large, dome-shaped structure constructed of branches and brush. It was large enough for three full-grown men to sit in and was obviously not a natural occurrence.
Not many people have heard the lonely, chilling cries and howls of Bigfoot. But those who have, and know the sounds of the wilderness, say it's an unforgettable sound like no other.
Outdoorsman Bill Monroe, a writer for the Portland Oregonian, recounted his experience in an article for the newspaper. Monroe was elk hunting when the stillness of the late afternoon was broken by an eerie sound. "The deafening screaming, choking, belching moan from the ridge was chilling." he wrote. "The kind of scream that sends mothers scurrying to find their children. The kind of scream no cougar or bear could ever squeeze from their throat... unless it was their last. Piercing, echoing, guttural; a single, horrible high-pitched-yet-throaty, inhuman, unnatural creation of Steven Spielberg that makes your skin crawl."
In 1984, Bruce Hoffman was prospecting for gold near the Clackamas River. He told investigator Greg Long this story: "I had to park a couple hundred feet from the river, and I had to walk a little ways back towards the small stream that was running into the river. And just before I got to the small tributary, I would say from one-eighth of a mile to a quarter of a mile away, down in the woods I started hearing this yell, or a call. The sound had a base tone, a muscular sound to it, and the sound got loud. You could hear how it went up through the trees and up to the sky. The sound traveled about three to four miles to the ridge of the mountains. You could hear the sound hit the mountain."
About 10-15% of close encounters are connected with an intense, disagreeable stench, comparable to the odor of smegma. Gorillas under conditions of distress exude a gagging, overpowering aroma, the origin of which is the axillary organ, i.e., the armpit with its apocrine sweat glands. The same anatomy probably pertains to the sasquatch.
Many reports refer to uneasiness of man or animals ("being watched") well ahead of any subsequent encounter. A pheromone effect has been suggested, meaning the release of a behavior pattern, "fight or flight", by an airborne molecule. Although this substance might originate from the same anatomical location as the odor, the two are not equivalent and should not be confused.
In June, 1988, Sean Fries was camping on the north fork of California's Feather River. "I made camp cooked a few trout I caught earlier. I was getting a little tired so I decided to turn in. I climbed into my tent and lay down on my bedroll. I let my dogs run around because they always stay close to camp. I started to dose off to the crickets chirping when suddenly I woke up it was as if I had one of those dreams where you are falling. I could tell there was something very wrong. It was dead quiet - no crickets, nothing, and my dogs came running into my tent shaking. These dogs were very aggressive. I grabbed my rifle and pistol along with a flashlight and stepped outside the tent. I couldn't see anything, but I had that sensation of being watched. I grabbed some more firewood and threw it on the embers left from the dinner fire. Then I heard some very heavy footsteps right behind me in the trees. There was also a very strange odor, almost like a cross between a skunk and something dead. This thing circled my camp site all night long."
Body Size and Weight
The height average for the sampled population is 7' 10", derived from a combination of eye witness estimates and scaling from footprints. Babies shortly after birth are small (and "ugly", as one eye witness commented) by human standards, but grow rapidly and evidently walk at an early age. Aside from infants being carried, small walking sasquatches, 3-4' tall, have been seen. The animals reach maturity at a height of 6'-7' and the largest, reliably estimated individuals exceed 10'. Males are taller than females, but seemingly by no more than about a foot at the median of the population.
Weight is difficult to estimate on sight and seems to vary from animal to animal as much as in people, but a tight, established relationship exists in primates between chest circumference and weight. Applying this formula, the average sasquatch can be estimated to weigh 650 lbs, the Patterson sasquatch 540 lbs, and the maximum (for a 24" or larger footprint) probably to exceed 1,000 lbs.
The sasquatch is a predominantly nocturnal animal and its night vision exceeds that of man substantially. It is probable that this increase in night vision is a function of a larger eye and pupillary size rather than a reflecting layer. The animals walk with ease in seeming total darkness, but forage during the day. An indication of their nighttime activity is the fact that they are seen as frequently during the night, if not more often, than during the day, despite the limited sight distance and detection by nocturnal observers.
In parallel with other large primates, sasquatch senses are acute but probably not more so than those of a human aborigine, e.g., American Indians before the deterioration of their senses by pollution and noise. They detect the approach of man by simply remaining still in forested environment, but there have been many occasions where a sasquatch failed to detect a resting person in full view, simply because the animal was preoccupied and the person did not move or make a sound. The sasquatch seems hardened to pain and discomfort, living in, to our perception, disagreeable climates and walking through blackberry thickets, Devil's Club, icy streams, and sharp rocks without deviation, though they seem to value on occasion the soft comfort of mole hills, moss or a freshly graded berm of a forest road, as their footprints testify.
Diet and Digestion
The sasquatch is an omnivore with a substantial carnivorous component to its diet. They have been observed directly to eat leaves, berries, fruits, roots, aquatic plants and other vegetable matter, catch fish, dig up clams or ground squirrels, and prey on poultry, deer, elk and bear. In addition, they eat other odd items, such as young evergreen shoots, crayfish, road kill, meat or fish from human storage sites, hunter-killed game animals (these sometimes snatched in front of the hunter), and occasional garbage. They take an occasional livestock animal, but not with sufficient frequency as to produce organized persecution.
They appear to kill large prey animals by a blow with the fist, rock or stick or by twisting their necks, sometimes to the point of decapitation. Liver and other internal organs are their first targets. The remaining meat is sometimes stored on the ground under a haphazard shelter of sticks or lifted into tree forks above ground. No compelling evidence exists that they store food in any substantial way beyond this; only rarely has a sasquatch been observed carrying a fish some distance from its origin, or a deer, presumably into hiding.
Caloric requirements per gram of living matter decrease as a function of total mass of the animal. Nonetheless, the nutritional needs of an average sasquatch can be calculated to amount to about 5,000 calories per day. This amount can only be fulfilled by rather constant searching for food and especially by intermittent predation. Sasquatches have been seen both with substantial girth as well as looking decidedly skinny.
Drinking has been observed by small animals dipping their faces into the water, while adults commonly drink out of a cupped hand, or resort to a cupped leaf or a dry, hollow stem of a weed.
Their feces are sausage-shaped, up to 4" inches in diameter and up to three feet long, forming a folded heap. They are replete with numerous intestinal parasites, including hook worms, as well as small bones, hair of prey and ample vegetal matter. A sasquatch has been observed to wipe itself with its hand and lick its fingers briefly, a decidedly simian gesture.
Growth and Reproduction
Mating has been observed primarily between May and June, mostly between established pairs, and there is a suggestion of the birthing time lying between February and May. The duration of pregnancy (probably near 9 months) is partly related to the average weight of the species. Birth has been (very rarely) reported to occur in the squatting position, with other individuals nearby. The spacing of offspring is presumably governed by lowered fertility in consequence of demand feeding as well as infant mortality. On two occasions, females were observed carrying a dead infant.
A sasquatch can hypothetically be expected to have a mean life expectancy of about 35 years, a number derived from a relationship that exists in mammals between body mass and length of life. Old animals have been seen to show all the signs of wear, i.e., "snaggle teeth", "worn dreadlocks", as well as thinned hair, deeply wrinkled skin and open sores. A dead animal, if unattended, can be expected to be consumed rapidly by various carnivores, the bones by rodents, the hair by moths and any remainder would fall prey to the acidic environment of the forests with no remnant left visible under seasonal leaf and needle fall.
Most sasquatches are observed walking, and the observer almost invariably comments on their smooth, long and fluent stride ("like cross country skiing" or "like riding a bicycle") with wide arm swings. This effect is produced by their so-called compliant gait, meaning that they do not lock their knees during a step but keep them bent and thereby suppress the up-and-down oscillations of the upper body that is so characteristic of the human gait. Part of the sasquatch gait is a high foot rise in back during the swing phase and a longer bipedal contact with the ground. Step length averages 5', an interval that is uncomfortable or impossible to duplicate or sustain for any distance by a would-be hoaxer. The gait has very little straddle, i.e., feet are put in line.
Running sasquatches constitute about 10% of all sightings. From observed walking cadence, step length and reports of animals running alongside moving vehicles, their top speed probably rivals that of a running horse (near 40 mph). The step length (measured from heel to heel) changes little whether the animal walks on the level or uphill. When standing still, the sasquatch will often remain totally immovable to escape detection, or at best slowly sway from side to side. They have been seen to assume the same sitting, squatting or lying positions that people do, frequently shown by worn areas on their hair coat. Quadrupedal gait is seen rarely in juveniles, although adults, on ascending dense slopes, frequently pull themselves up on adjacent trees with alternating arms.
In contrast to other higher primates, they seem to be powerful swimmers, as seen by their sporadic presence on otherwise uninhabitable small islands of the British Columbia coast and direct observations of animals in or under water, doing a frog-kick.
They sleep in mostly temporary shelters, padded with available vegetation. Caves and natural shelters seem to be used rarely. Padding consists of ferns, moss, bear grass, soft evergreen or rhododendron branches and leaves. Occasionally partial roofs are fashioned over their resting places from broken boughs. Once discovered, a nest is generally abandoned.
Their strength, especially upper body, is legendary. They seem to take "pleasure" in exercising this strength, for example, lifting basketball-sized rocks and throwing them in arcs to scare off intruders, lifting the edges of mobile homes, cars or trailers, lifting and throwing full 50 gal. drums (450 lbs.) or 240 lb rocks (weighed later), and spirally twisting the trunks of small trees, possibly as territorial or way markers.
Vocalization and Communication
On the whole, the sasquatch proceeds in silence. Patterned, repetitive knocking sounds, produced with rocks or thick branches hit against other rocks or dead trees, are apparently used as long distance communication or deterrence.
Since they are a nocturnal species, they seem to rely on vocalizations more than diurnal primates. They are capable of a complex collection of sounds, starting with whistling (produced in the throat), through moans, howls, hoots, grunts, extremely deep growls, roars ("like a lion from the bottom of a 50-gallon drum"), and chilling screams, rising from a low roar over several seconds. More rarely, they produce melodic and imitative sounds or complex vocalizations that give the impression of a primitive language, even of a "woman talking" without the "words" ever being intelligible.
The disturbing nature of the loud screams seems to lie in their perceived near human quality, though too loud, enduring and powerful to be attributed to any possible "real" person. Giggling, laughing and crying sounds have been heard, sometimes in response to appropriate events.
There has been little opportunity to study facial expressions of the sasquatch, which are apt to be different from human ones and might be misinterpreted. But very close observers reported a comical look of surprise, when a sasquatch was suddenly encountered at close range, evident curiosity, as well as a look of "sheer terror" of a sasquatch caught between traffic on a dark, rainy highway.
Social Behavior and Curiosity
Despite the rare observations of sasquatch groups, they appear to have more social cohesion than is generally assumed, moving at times in a group that suggests an extended family. Under undisturbed circumstances, the young play with each other and around and on the adults, and sometimes small groups forage together. Young ones are allowed to explore and be potentially visible in a context where the adults stay out of view. Adults seem remarkably indulgent of the infants, tolerating on one occasion an infant's temper tantrum without intervention. In a totally relaxed setting, the adults spend substantial time grooming each other. On a few occasions, two or more sasquatches were observed wrestling with each other with intermissions for rest. It appears that older siblings, or at least juvenile animals, sometimes care for younger ones. The need for large amounts of food for any one animal may lead to a fusion - fission type of social organization, in which individuals separate to forage and come together for social activities.
The more frequent sightings of single males over females may be due to these animals probing the terrain for new niches, food sources or mates. They most probably form the majority of cases in which curiosity lures an animal into plain sight. Such curiosity-evoking events range from a lighted window in a secluded house to barns with animals in them, unusual animals in outside corrals, cars or equipment being repaired in a remote location, loud noises like chainsaws or explosions, and especially the screaming of children at play. Repeatedly, sasquatches have watched in these contexts, occasionally for hours, and even attempted interaction in the play of children. Sometimes, a sasquatch seen in the open, will retreat into cover, but remain to watch his observers from (incomplete) hiding.
Two noteworthy facets of sasquatch behavior have been observed repeatedly. They seem to be rather "orderly", stacking rocks in cairns during searching and not tearing human food caches or backpacks apart randomly in the manner of bears. Secondly, they have a tendency to leave "gifts" in the same location in which food was deposited for them. These can range from little piles of stones, a dog skull, handfuls of evergreen shoots, to small live animals, like a goat kid, several live kittens, a turtle, all taken from elsewhere, either as a "gift" or possibly as shared "food".
Aggressiveness and Displays
Their responses to people vary from immediate withdrawal, the most common response, to lengthy inspection if no threat is perceived. They seem to react in a more relaxed fashion to women and children and avoid men, even in an accustomed setting, possibly as a function of human body language. All told, they are unaggressive to a fault, often leisurely retreating while being shot at. There is no documented case in the past 100 years of a sasquatch doing deliberate harm to a person.
Sasquatches seem to be indulgent of human children and small animals, like puppies, goat kids, and kittens. Several reports suggest that they may opportunistically retain small animals to use as live toys or pets as has been observed in bonobos. On the other hand, they reserve a special distaste for aggressive dogs, as do gorillas. They deal with these by slapping them (causing a 75 lb. dog to fly 40') or flailing them against trees.
While scaring people out of their territory, they often run alongside them, though out of sight, and only desist when the terrain would expose them to view. This effort is sometimes preceded or accompanied by tree shaking, pushing over of trees or snags with appropriate noise, or simply by repeatedly breaking large sticks or branches for the sound effect. The apparent sounds of chest thumping have been heard, but the behavior has not been seen. All these aggressive displays are also found in the great apes.
It would be ideal for a human observer, in an unanticipated encounter, not to stare at the animal, but to sit on the ground, scratch him or herself, "groom" a companion, or "eat" anything within reach in order to convey as benign an impression as possible. In one instance, in which this behavior was followed, the sasquatch tarried long enough to be "talked" to.
This trait of the human species is largely absent in the sasquatch. As mentioned above, they use branches and rocks to hit trees or other rocks and they throw rocks and other objects out of hiding to scare people out of their territory (as do chimpanzees). Only one case has come to my attention of a boy being inadvertently hit by such a thrown rock (though not seriously injured). Rare reports indicate the possibility of the sasquatch using sticks to kill birds or mammals or to dig in the ground with them.
On one occasion they were observed to fashion "straws" out of the stalks of dead weeds and to drink through them out of a metal tub. They are undoubtedly observant of human appurtenances, such as guns or obvious cameras, and may then take extra care to avoid exposure.
Injury, Disease and Death
Aside from eventual death after getting shot at or getting injured on highways, sasquatches probably die from dental disorders, infections, parasitic infestations and the rigors of exposure to the elements. From their prey, they would become parasitized with every type of intestinal worm as well as flukes. The absence of corpses is expected in the montane environment they inhabit, and it can profitably be compared to a similar absence of bears that died of natural causes. There are some minimal suggestions that sasquatches do not leave their dead unattended, a further factor that would confound such searches for a body.
The sasquatch is distributed across the North American continent, from high northern latitudes in Alaska and the Yukon to occasional sightings near river courses and forests in New Mexico and Texas. Their highest concentration appears to lie in Washington, Oregon and northern California, although the chances of potentially more sightings in the wilds of Canada are lessened by the lower human population density. Total numbers for the species in North America have been estimated by various approaches to be from a few thousand up to 10,000. By comparison, black bears number between 650,000 and 700,000 in North America.
Distribution of the sasquatch is presumably heavily influenced by the availability of water, prey, and of dense cover as afforded by northwestern rain forests, Sierra chaparral or the riparian margins of any bodies or courses of water. Since the latter provide secluded avenues throughout the continent, occasional sightings are explicable in relatively arid regions, though even there generally in the vicinity of stands of forest. Similarly, swamps and marshes seem to afford them the desired seclusion. Migration patterns, if they exist at all, have not been established other than possible vertical movement to escape severe winter conditions at higher altitude.
Sightings largely parallel the density of the human population, within reasonable limits. Daytime and nighttime sightings are almost equal in number despite the severely limited sight distance and coverage for observers at night, an indication of the much greater nocturnal activity of the sasquatch. Most sightings consist of chance encounters with single individuals, mostly males by default (identification made difficult by the hairiness of the species). It appears that the animals can be to a considerable degree habituated to the presence of a person. They are more likely to become "tamer" with a woman, over a long period, provided they are fed and not bothered, such as being illuminated at night. Under such long established circumstances, they allow themselves to be seen during their normal activities, even during daylight hours, but mostly at dawn. They are reported substantially less frequently during the late winter, but outright hibernation is not known to occur in primates, though torpor is a possibility. It is probable that in the winter the animals adopt a retiring life style with little activity in some protected niche, surviving on predation and some available vegetation.
Sasquatches of the size mentioned in this article would be expected to roam over a substantial territory to support themselves, possibly hundreds of square miles. Twisting off of small trees, nocturnal screaming and defecation in conspicuous spots have been suggested as possible territorial devices, all of these known from other great apes. In the predominantly forested terrain that they inhabit, footprints are seen with difficulty at best, and it would, at first sight, seem unlikely that they deliberately post or hide them.
There is no shortage of Bigfoot sightings, some being more compelling than others and sounding more authentic. Here are some examples, from experienced outdoorspeople, that lend credence to the legend:
Clayton Mack, a Native American of the Nuxalk nation, knows the Canadian wilderness and its creatures as well as any man alive. A reputable grizzly bear hunter for 53 years, Mack relates this tale: "I was fishing in Kwatna all my myself, in August. I had a 30-foot boat with a single-cylinder engine. I got to Jacobson Bay, about 15 miles from Bella Coola, when I saw something on the edge of the water. It was kneeling down-like and I could see his back humping up on the beach. It looked like he was lifting up rocks or maybe digging clams. But there were no clams there. I turned the boat right in toward him. I wanted to find out what it was. For a while there, I thought it was a grizzly bear, kind of light-color fur on the back of his neck like a light brown. I nosed right in toward him to almost 75 yards to get a good look. He stood up on his hind feet, straight up like a man and I looked at it. He was looking at me. Gee, it don't look like a bear, it has arms like a human being, it had legs like a human being, and it got a head like us. I keep on going in toward him. He started to walk away from me walking like a man on two legs. He was about eight feet high. He got to some drift-logs, stopped and looked back at me. He looked over his shoulder to see me. Grizzly bear don't do that, I never see a grizz run on its hind legs like that and I never se a grizzly bear look over his shoulder like that. I was right close to the beach now. He stepped up on those drift logs and walked into the timber. Stepped on them logs like a man do. I watched as he went a little higher up the hill. The wind blew me in toward the beach, so I backed up the boat and keep on going to Kwatna Bay."
In 1995, Paul Freeman, a veteran Bigfoot hunter, Bill Laughery, a former game warden followed the sound of odd screams that were heard in the Blue Mountains of southeast Washington state. Joined by Wes Summerlin, a local resident, they hiked to an area where Bigfoot tracks had been found. In a clearing, the men found several small trees twisted, broken, and dripping sap. Caught on the trees were large clumps of long black and brown hair (see below). They they caught sight of a seven-foot ape-like creature and heard the screams of two others. They observed the creature through binoculars at a distance of 90 feet, eating yellow wood violets. The trackers also found droppings two to five inches long, full of half-eaten carpenter ants, and fallen trees that had been pulled apart for the ants inside.