January 26, 2017

Flash Forward: A Vision of our Life with Sasquatch, 2067

We remember the whole thing with amusement now, those early days. Discovery seemed to promise certain and explosive progress. There came successive waves of optimism about a new “Anthropology,” a lucrative mother lode for a discipline long in decline, having withered away as fewer and fewer human societies remained that had not been studied to death.

In the early 2020s, researchers fell all over each other to establish independent institutes and university Departments of Sasquatch Studies, only to find out what the habituators could have told them right away: Sasquatch are not willing to be studied; they are the only researchers here, the true anthropologists.

Nowadays, that initial academic gusto seems so quaint. Sure, we did bug their forests and collect enough speech to eventually rough out some shallow syntax based upon frequency and position of phonemes—la dee da. All these projects soon died on the vine because no direct translation proved possible; nobody could live among them and the hoped-for liaison never emerged from the forest to lay linguistic flash cards on the table for us: “This means ‘root’ and this means ‘baby’ and this means ‘death’ and this means “weasel’…”

By far the greatest leaps took place not in the field but in the genetics lab. The stubborn idea of a “missing link” had been dim-witted from the start, of course—evolution is an intricate weave, not a linear chain—but now it could be destroyed permanently, along with several other simplistic myths.

We once believed that our direct ancestors, Homo sapiens, fifty thousand years ago, had to contend with only a couple of thuggish and inferior contemporaries—Homo neanderthalis and Homo heidelbergensis. Then came Homo floresiensis in 2003, Homo denisovans in 2010, Homo argeninsis and Homo moraviansis in 2019, and eleven more since then, along with the recognition—forced on us by whole genome analysis—that back in the day, we all hopped from cave to cave, sharing our DNA like the common cold.

The wide array of surviving hairy kinfolk—Almas, Orang Pendek, Sasquatch, Yeren, Yeti, Yowie, and so on—emerged from this bubbling Homosphere like mutts from an unchaperoned dog park. Or, to elevate the imagery a little…we now understand that each distinct woodland variety represents its own winning chord in the ancient mixed chorus.

And so do we.

But just try telling that to the smug, entitled throng! What occurred during the 2020s and early 30s resembled the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, except for one thing—the oppressed party never showed up, making it tough to lobby for their cause, or even to claim oppression. Stirring battles did rage among factions on our own side, though, pitting the various shades of open-hearted Homo-egalitarianism against the arrayed forces of exceptionalism, of sapio-centric bigotry.

Within the latter camp, ambitious engineering projects came and went, various versions of the Sasquatch Sanctuary concept, fueled by a thinly veiled nostalgia for Native American reservations. The walls these folks went and erected made the one on the US/Mexico border look like a rabbit fence.

Trouble is, no matter how lavish your construction budget, you simply cannot build fast enough. Now perhaps if the areas could have been enclosed not in six weeks but in less than twenty minutes… Even thousands of guards armed with tranquilizer guns and deployed along the perimeter, sleeping in shifts, are no tight and trusty barricade in the wilderness. “We have absolutely no idea how they got through, sir.”

Furthermore, the very notion of a “sanctuary” eventually lost currency anyway in the marketplace of ideas, due to the one bothersome fact that, beyond legal protection from bullets, Sasquatch needs nothing from us; the world is their kingdom. They are not an “endangered species” or even on the decline, so far as we can tell.

There were isolated exceptions to this safety, such as the elite black market in body parts flowing out of Russia and Kazakhstan—hands, feet, penises, and especially heads—that become fetish items for the super rich. This trade would dry up for long periods and then flow again as another group was ambushed and slaughtered, Dyer-style, in the lawless mountains.

Uncle Sam got into the act as well, in the name of science. Of the three specimens that were successfully tranquilized and captured by the Department of the Interior, the two males never spoke a word and died within a week—the first after bashing his head against wall and floor every time his sedation wore off, the second from asphyxia due to breath-holding. They were never named. Later, the female was restrained long enough for her to sink into a clinical depression and lose the will for self-harm; she was called Patty II. Thrillingly, she did vocalize, though just one word, again and again, impenetrable, quickly annoying: “Kumantu.”

We inseminated her with sperm preserved from one of the males but…no go, and then, after twenty-two months, Patty II was released back into the Olympic National Forest, ostensibly in response to public outcry but actually because she wouldn’t stop saying, “Kumantu.”

Her body was discovered three weeks later in a suburban Tacoma park, mutilated and smeared with Sasquatch feces.

When it comes to civilization, it has been clear all along that while we—over here on this side—crave “progress,” they—over yonder—prize only the status quo, where quo = ancient. But what took us most of these past fifty years to get through our thick skulls is the sheer totality of the mismatch. Our longing to know them, to commune with them, to “take things to the next level,” has been a humiliating, lopsided affair; they just don’t “want more” from the relationship; they don’t like us like that.

And yet, there we were for years, dancing about beside bonfires in our Sasquatch: You Complete Me T-shirts, hearts racing toward The Great Reunion. But this dream simply did not survive experience. Even if they ever did come near to observe us during such displays, it was probably in order to remind themselves, and to teach their young, how little we deserve attention. “Where is the dignity?” they must have wondered. “Exactly who do they think we are?”

Yes, many of us felt frankly jilted and in some circles a spirited “screw them!” movement sprang up: no fires, no T-shirts, offerings or seductive singing, no knocking or howling or drum circle ceremonies, no camping at the edge of the yard, no soft voices aimed through trees—in other words, a general cold shoulder, but somewhat exaggerated and insincere, as if to lure the difficult lover. Then, when it seemed maybe they’d “suffered” long enough, it was back to the dance floor for us, spilling past our mowed perimeters, romancing the hollow night, exposing again our lush and bleeding hearts…until our next pouting goodbye.

This vacillation eventually exhausted itself and was replaced, in the late 40s, by a much more steadfast forgetting that has lasted, in the main, to this day. Still, though, at habituation sites, they visit as ever, still they pester and play with us and make their mischief, like a fond old habit, an occasional dose of entertainment…a visit to the local zoo.

So where does this leave us? We have learned, at least, that wildness can be a choice, a daily commitment, rather than an innate fixity of nature. We know that they could come across and join us any day, if what they saw over here appealed to them. We know from their brief visitations that they can act just like us, talk like us, wave to us, play peek-a-boo, trade with us, communicate with and tease us. But always and forever, the decisive withdrawal, that magisterial No Thanks.

And surprise, surprise—civilization is a choice as well, just one among many, not some preordained march to glory. Our countless cultural breakthroughs, sedimented through the eons, are certainly impressive, but only when seen through our lens.

All 8.5 billion of us, after ten millennia of industrious world-building, could stand shoulder to shoulder for our satellite group photo and fit into less than half the state of Massachusetts. Smile. Wave. Click. That’s it, right down there—science, computers, books, art, energy, cities, law, commerce, education, transportation, the Internet, machines, research, companies, industry, television and movies, engineering, architecture, scholarship, government/military, health care, music.

Want to include those, too, who made human cultures possible, the pivotal minds from Plato forward? Gather up their bones and carpet another Massachusetts county.

Sasquatch might even enjoy seeing us like this and construct—with trees, boulders, and woven branches—a sturdy sanctuary wall around us.

“Perhaps,” wrote novelist Molly Gloss, “they have grown beyond poor Homo sapiens and understand the world well enough that they have no need to construct a civilization upon it.”


Christopher Noël

Christopher Noël About Christopher Noël
Christopher Noël is the author of Sasquatch Rising 2013 and editor of the newly released anthology How Sasquatch Matters: Writers Respond to the New Natural Order. Christopher Noël holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy from Yale. Noël is a freelance editor (ChristopherNoel.info) and lives with his daughter in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

Filed under Bigfoot, Cryptozoologists, Cryptozoology, Sasquatch, The Sasquatch Listening Project