We regard Sasquatch as Bigfoot and in turn Bigfoot as Sasquatch. They are the same. It is single-o the only cryptid. The ultimate cryptid. The hunt for Bigfoot is the “ultimate hunt.”
Perhaps it is the ultimate cryptid. Perhaps it is the ultimate hunt. But the idea that there is some single-o giant anthropoid is a bit of folklore that evolved rather recently. In truth, the Indians of the Pacific Northwest always insisted there were two tribes of “Sasquatch.” One could speak something akin to the Douglas dialect. The other? Well, that was a bit confusing. It had a long, narrow foot and was huge by Indian standards. It couldn’t speak. It was nevertheless quite humanoid.
J.W. Burns was faithful to the White Man in retelling the Indian stories of these mountain giants. He was the Indian agent for the Chehalis Reservation in British Columbia. Deep, very deep inside this district the mountainous and seldom tread area was called by the Indians Saskahaua (also Saskakaua). The wild giants or “Giant Hairy Indians of the Mountains” were called George. George was common amongst the Brits. Almost everybody was George. Everything was By George! Indians thus called British troops King George Men. England was King George Illahe (island). Sometimes the Indians called Whites “George,” like we would call someone Joe or, now, Guy. (It might truly have meant “foreigner” to the Indians because they also insisted that the Sasquatch were foreign). The “Hairy Wild Indians of the Mountains” were the Saskahaua Guy. The Saskahaua George. But with their heavy accent the Indians pronounced it “Chotch.” Saskakaua Chotch. J.W. Burns made is a little easier for us– Sasquatch.
Little of this was qualified back then, and White Man found it hard to understand what the Sasquatch were. Burns didn’t help with the first paragraph of his groundbreaking article in MacLean’s magazine in April 1929. “Are the vast mountain solitudes of British Columbia, of which but very few have been so far explored, populated by a hairy race of giants– men– not ape-like men?”
A bit confusing what Burns means above, but he did qualify that they were about 6 foot to 6 and a half foot tall– giants to the shorter Indians. Indian stories also presented the Sasquatch as hairy all over like apes. They made eerie howls.They were a very primitive tribe. Both tribes were. The two tribes hated each other.
Despite all this, White Man really couldn’t figure it out. Instead Sasquatch was becoming a legend. Despite Burns first article having been published in 1929, by as soon as 1934 Whites thought Sasquatch were 8 foot tall cavemen type Indians. This mistake became crucial. In this year Harrison Hills and the settlements on the Chehalis were terrorized by what the Indians insisted were the Sasquatch. Their nightly eerie howls caused Whites and Indians alike to jump from bed and arm themselves with guns, axes or picks. Morning revealed fences down, storehouses broken into and lots of vandalism.
What indeed had happened at Harrison Hills?
The belief that the Sasquatch were a primitive tribe of Indians was so dominant that the Whites armed themselves and formed a vigilante posse. Indians acted as guides into the deep, mountainous country. The Whites were determined to bring these marauders to book for what they had done. But no trace could be found, and the deeper in they went the more often the Indians deserted.
Nothing like the vandalizing of Harrison Hills would happen again. After this incident Whites openly questioned the existence of such a tribe. How could giants leave no trace? If the vandalizing was done by the Sasquatch, it was the last hurrah of a primitive tribe now extinct.
Not all became doubters, but what exactly were they searching for? After Harrison Hills’ vandalizing was reported in North American newspapers (including California newspapers), the first true Sasquatch investigators got interested. The Blakeney brothers of USC were two such men. Another was a San Leondro (San Francisco Bay Area) man, Arch Buckley. Yet another was deputy sheriff Joe Dunn of Washington State.
The Blakeney brothers were the first to mount an expedition. Their objective: the hitherto unexplored Morris Mountain. According to the Indians (via Burns) Morris Mountain was the center of Sasquatch country. The two tribes, constantly at war, met there every year for a powwow. The Blakeney brothers met with J.W. Burns. They got directions. They were gone several weeks and then when they returned, Burns wrote how they didn’t get near the heartland of Sasquatch country. The land was too dense, too rugged. They returned emaciated and fatigued.
The first expedition failed.
And, quite frankly, the Sasquatch continued to fade into folklore. The Indians refused to speak about them because Whites were openly skeptical now.
In 1940, J.W. Burns’ last significant article came out in The Wide World magazine, a periodical for the entire British Empire. He expressed his lament that Sasquatch were probably all gone except for a few deep inside the district. (In 1929 already he had clarified that it had taken him 3 years of “plodding” to find any Indians who still claimed direct contact with them.) In the introduction, however, it was clarified that the “mysterious Sasquatch” were primitive creatures “covered from head to foot with coarse hair.”
With time Sasquatch became a charming cultural symbol. Under Burns auspices Sasquatch Days festival was a big yearly event around Harrison Hills. Whites eventually just kept their image of the tall ogre caveman Indian with long hair on his head.
When the Sasquatch was reborn, it was because of something far away in northern California. Something equally obscure. It was but a big footprint. It was a flat, enlarged human print. Locals didn’t know what to make of it. There was no such legend and, indeed, there could not be since Sasquatch, contrary to popular belief, was not strictly an Indian word and was one that was most definitely limited to the Saskahaua area of British Columbia.
When the two were equated by a very slipshod Vancouver Province article “New Sasquatch Found” it began the snowball of misperception that Sasquatch and Bigfoot must be the same and that they have enlarged human feet.
A big foot print, however, does not give us a physical description of its owner. This too slowly had to evolve.
Due to the centenary in British Columbia in 1958 there had been much interest in cultural symbols to use and celebrate in the festivities. Sasquatch was one of them naturally. Reports were coming in, however, that did not match White Man’s legends. Instead they were like the Himalayan Yeti– hairy all over like an ape man. Local newsman John Green was interested. After some digging and interviewing he started coming to the conclusion that the Sasquatch was real and was some giant Yeti-like anthropoid. When this idea had first been put to him by a man named Rene Dahinden, he had brushed it aside. Now he was beginning to see it could be the only answer. When the Province reported the news about Bluff Creek, Green ventured there. Soon he and Dahinden would get involved in Tom Slick’s expedition to find the truth in northern California. Through Green and Dahinden’s influence, the Yeti like image would eventually become the American image of “Big Foot” and, ironically, even of the Sasquatch.
Until that image finally took hold, “Big Foot” remained a nebulous troglodyte. The significant moment came in 1967 when another early Bigfooter, Roger Patterson, filmed what appeared to be a bipedal Yeti with a cone head near Bluff Creek.
While many Bigfooters today no longer believe in this film, they still believe in “Bigfoot.” Yet what is truly ironic is that our only image of Bigfoot comes from the Patterson Film, and Patterson was clearly inspired by the nonsense that Bigfoot was a cone-headed Yeti.
Without believing in the film, we are left we no image of “Sasquatch.” What we are left with is a massive amount of progressive data which I collated and used as the basis for Recasting Bigfoot. What this tells us is that the Indians never described Sasquatch as having a cone head. They seldom described him as bigger than 6 and a half feet tall, and Sasquatch most certainly does not have a flat enlarged human foot. Sasquatch has rather a long, elongated foot with toes that are almost even across.
John Green originally did admirable work in uncovering Sasquatch’s foot. Piqued by the reports in British Columbia (prior to Bluff Creek’s Bigfoot) Green uncovered the Ruby Creek Incident. This had occurred in 1941. The encounter had been so remarkable that deputy Joe Dunn went to check it out. He was led to the location by local, Gustaf Tyfting. What they encountered and documented was remarkable. Joe Dunn also traced the clearest Sasquatch print. Green was later able to locate Dunn’s son who allowed him to trace the tracing.
This is the Sasquatch foot as recorded at Ruby Creek, British Columbia, 1941, long before the hype of Bigfoot at Bluff Creek, California, 1958.
The foot is not that of a human being, but it is humanoid. It is also not the foot of “Big Foot” at Bluff Creek. Apparently, this is one tribe of the Saskahaua George. Jeannie Chapman, who with her children witnessed the Sasquatch at her farm at Ruby Creek, described it as a tall hairy man 7 and a half feet tall with a man’s face and a small head for its size. Of the investigation, Gustaf Tyfting said that they followed the prints and found the “Sasquatch had merely stepped over a Canadian Pacific Railway fence.” This is 43 inches tall, so that the creature had at least an inseam that long. This was no waddling ape. Yet it was no giant human either.
This is the Sasquatch.
Ironically yet again, it has never gotten any clearer. Indian artwork doesn’t really show any such thing clearly either. There is the Dsonoqua, but as I show in Recasting Bigfoot and at Meet the Dsonoqua this artwork can clearly be linked to a controversial and long suspected native American primate. There is the vicious bukwas, the wild man of the woods. That may or may not be a representation of Sasquatch or it may be a composite of more than one entity.
One thing is certain. Indian artwork shows some very apelike masks and very different kind of human masks. It is equally certain the Indians said Sasquatch was more than one thing and that one was human. From collating all the early accounts it is also certain that the Indians did and do mix descriptions so that Sasquatch, bukwas and Dsonoqua are mingled. It seems the human tribe is often mingled with these as well. But Indian masks are rather clear, and these are the most astounding proof that one tribe of Saskahaua George is, in fact, a very unique looking human.
Therefore any hunt for Sasquatch is a hunt for at least 2 different entities: one a type of anthropoid we know little about. He is known only by a long, humanoid foot. He does not have a cone head. It is also a search of a human which in all appearance seems like it is straight out of a Edgar Rice Boroughs novelette. Perhaps he is Neanderthal. I do not know. We must explore those possibilities later.
I have thrust the search back to the early days and rekindled the original excitement that the quarry may indeed be the ultimate hunt– a very unusual human and something very, very unknown. You think this would make me loved. Well, perhaps I write this while a bit tongue-in-cheek. Rather I am The Man Bigfooters Love to Hate. Why? Because I said Bigfoot is false but Sasquatch is not and both are not the same. In truth, Bigfoot is real. But he is not the fantazised image of modern folklore with flat enlarged human feet.
It is finally time to Meet Bigfoot.