Posted by: John Kirk on October 16th, 2006
This is a continuation of our series on how law enforcement methods we have seen on television and read about might help us in the search for cryptids and for sasquatch in particular.
2) What – This section deals with the activity the animal was engaged in when the contact with the witness took place.
To understand the habits of a sasquatch we must obtain a pattern of repeated behaviours which may lead us to understand how they conduct themselves in their habitat and what are their habituations.
Unfortunately most sasquatch sightings are brief and the animal is usually, walking across or along a road; standing still or just observing the witness through foliage or brush. There is not much to say about such activities, but if other behaviour is observed then the witness should be thoroughly questioned in considerable detail – if applicable – about each action of the sasquatch. For instance if the sasquatch was stripping leaves off a twig with its mouth, which hand was it using to hold the twig. The more detail gleaned from observation will allow us to – we hope – eventually see the bigger picture of how a sasquatch conducts itself.
If the sasquatch was carrying an dead animal asks if the witness noted anything about carcass. Was its neck broken? Could you see wounds? Was the animal disemboweled?
Sasquatches have been seen to be feeding on a number of occasions. Ask the witness to describe in detail the exact method of feeding, if as in the case of the 1967 sighting at Estacada, Oregon where a sasquatch was seen to be eating rodents, ask if the creature ate the animal whole, skinned, peeled, disemboweled or otherwise ate the animal. If the sasquatch ate vegetation did it make any effort to clean the vegetation? These facets of research are critical to the eventual establishment of the habits and behaviours of the animal.
There are reports of sasquatches throwing rocks, which hand did it use to launch the projectile? Any use of a tool or any activity whatsoever using the hands is very important to establish statistical data as to the preference for a particular hand by the animal. My reason for nitpickiness is that we actually know so little about the habits of sasquatch from properly documented sources that it is vital we begin keeping really good statistical data about the animal so as to better understand it and to devise ways and means of establishing further contact with the hominid.
3) Where – The precise location of a sasquatch sighting is very important to research as by having the location plotted with GPS coordinates, future sightings in the area can be compared with this location for the purpose of establishing whether the sasquatch is habituated to an area in general or one spot in particular and to allow us to understand habituation behaviour. This is like surveillance in the law enforcement world, the perpetrator may like a part of town, but if there is an establishment in particular he likes to frequent then we can establish why he goes there and know that this is a possible location for a take down.
You and I have heard so many times people say well it was on the hill, ridge, in the meadow, by the creek, on the sandbar, in the river, over here, over there, up there down there, in here and out there, you get what I mean. It is crucial to know exactly where the animal was so that we can investigate whether it left tracks, shed hair, bled, defecated or spat. Four of the five aforementioned activities consisted of actions that could result in the obtaining of DNA and the fifth may result in the collection of cast which may or may not produce dermaglyphs for the purposes of identifying a particular animal and possible repetitive behaviour. Mr Chilcutt will no doubt be very pleased if you brought him a casting of a track that contains dermal ridges. He in his capacity of one the foremost fingerprints experts on this continent would be able to compare your subject’s prints with those of others. It would be incredibly interesting if you brought in dermaglyphs from your subject and they matched those of tracks Mr Chilcutt has already examined. It is logical and reasonable to believe that no two sasquatches would leave the same dermaglyph, just as is the case with humans.
It stands to reason that if there are dermaglyphs on sasquatch feet, then there must be dermaglyphs on the their palms and fingers. Occasionally there may be a site where prints have been left on window glass or other surfaces. Simply dust with talcum powder until the prints is clear then lift off the tape by applying good transparent adhesive tape.
There are a welter of stories around that talk about there being definitive sasquatch DNA on file. If that were the case, it would have already been documented in a scientific journal and so far it has not been. We are still awaiting the collection and analysis of DNA. With the recent advances in scientific technologies, we are able to free people from jail or convict people of crimes by means of DNA analysis. Other than obtaining a carcass this is the only way we will know for sure if there is an unknown species of bipedal hairy hominid in North America.
Sasquatch researchers need to be aware of just how important DNA identification is to identifying a new species in the absence of a type specimen. We also need to be aware of the methodology for collecting and storing DNA. The use of rubber gloves without any coatings or powders is crucial to the collection of hair and tissue samples. Law enforcement agencies use special gloves for the collection of hair and tissue and so should we. Seek out a latex glove manufacturer whose product is just that – latex. No coatings of any sort should be on the glove as they can chemically cause problems with DNA and destroy samples.
Under no circumstances should hair follicle samples be collected without the use of gloves. Your human DNA can come into contact with the follicle and occlude the sasquatch DNA. If you are going to collect samples wear gloves and do not touch the portion which may contain the DNA. You must not breath on, sneeze on or in anyway contaminate the sample with your own DNA. For the same reason, don’t wipe or rub any part of your body with the gloves you are using to collect the DNA.
In the area of collecting fecal samples, also where gloves and wear a filter mask like those used in the handling of hazardous materials like chemicals. No one knows how toxic possible sasquatch fecal matter can be. If you inhale vapours arising from fecal samples that do or do not belong to a sasquatch you run the risk of contracting various illnesses if the leaver of the fecal sample is infected and ill. It is down right risky and unhealthy and you would never see a good forensics examiner subject him or herself to this kind of exposure.
The area in which the sample was found should be marked off with a wooden peg and string grid and each quadrant should be assigned an alphanumeric name. You can search more effectively this way and it is also useful for recording the location of the find for posterity. Unbeknownst to you, there may be more DNA that you are unaware of near a hair or dental sample you might have found. If a hair sample yields a DNA profile unlike that of any known animal, having the search area plotted and in grid schematic that will remain in place for an agreed period of time will allow any forensic scientist to more efficiently assist in locating further samples of potential DNA that could confirm the initial finding.
If you have found hair, teeth, tissue or bone that you wish to have identified make sure you have with you a glassine envelope like the type that you get at post offices in which you place stamps. These envelopes are excellent for storing hair samples and I know that
Dr Henner Fahrenbach, who has examined many hair samples and identified possible sasquatch ones, recommends their use. You can also use a regular envelope or paper bag which you should close but not staple. Do not use plastic bags for DNA collection as they can trap moisture which may degrade the sample Under no circumstances store any DNA in an alcohol based preservative medium as it will degrade the DNA. Today there are DNA collection and preservation kits available for $29.95 on the internet from companies like CATGEE and Whatcam technologies.
Any material that may contain DNA should be left to air dry and then be kept in a freezer.
In whatever you are doing, remember to photograph everything you do. Photograph the spot where the sasquatch stood, the background behind it so you can more effectively locate the site again, all hairs in the location where you found them, any tracks that were left, possible nail marks on tree bark, twisted branches, any vegetation that has been rooted out, large rocks that have been moved. Just about anything that is out of the ordinary should be documented because even if it might have no significance to you or you cannot interpret the data, someone else might be able to especially if they are a forensic or detection expert. My own personal methodology calls for a sequential photographic documentation of all steps of the investigative process. This should also be done with a video camera with a commentary of what the pertinent activity is about. If any errors or mistakes are made, and conversely any helpful steps are inadvertently taken, then you should be able to see this in the playback analysis if you have this on videotape. It is a great learning tool.
To be continued.
Part I is available here on Cryptomundo.
Part II is available here on Cryptomundo.
One of the founders of the BCSCC, John Kirk has enjoyed a varied and exciting career path. Both a print and broadcast journalist, John Kirk has in recent years been at the forefront of much of the BCSCC’s expeditions, investigations and publishing. John has been particularly interested in the phenomenon of unknown aquatic cryptids around the world and is the author of In the Domain of the Lake Monsters (Key Porter Books, 1998). In addition to his interest in freshwater cryptids, John has been keenly interested in investigating the possible existence of sasquatch and other bipedal hominids of the world, and in particular, the Yeren of China. John is also chairman of the Crypto Safari organization, which specializes in sending teams of investigators to remote parts of the world to search for animals as yet unidentified by science. John travelled with a Crypto Safari team to Cameroon and northern Republic of Congo to interview witnesses among the Baka pygmies and Bantu bushmen who have sighted a large unknown animal that bears more than a superficial resemblance to a dinosaur. Since 1996, John Kirk has been editor and publisher of the BCSCC Quarterly which is the flagship publication of the BCSCC. In demand at conferences, seminars, lectures and on television and radio programs, John has spoken all over North America and has appeared in programs on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, TLC, Discovery, CBC, CTV and the BBC. In his personal life John spends much time studying the histories of Scottish Clans and is himself the president of the Clan Kirk Society. John is also an avid soccer enthusiast and player.