Posted by: John Kirk on June 6th, 2006
While I was looking for some info on the Harrison Hot Springs website I came across this article on our favourite hairy hominid – Sasquatch:
Mystery of The Sasquatch
The Sasquatch (sesxac) occupies a unique niche in the traditions of the Indians of Harrison Lake and River. White Anthropologists feel quite safe in classing them as one of the "slalakums", strange unnatural creatures inhabiting the deep forests, mountains, and certain bodies of water, such as the cannibal woman, the two headed snake and the bear that lives under the water.
There is a difference, however, in that the Sasquatch are still seen, by white people as well as by the Indians, and that they leave huge footprints that can be photographed and cast.
In the old stories women were often kidnapped by the Sasquatch – hair covered giant men, often overeight feet tall. Some escaped and told of having met friends abducted years before who would no longer leave their Sasquatch husbands and children. The giants were sometimes in a murderous mood. One story tells of the slaughter of a whole group of women, camped at the foot of the mountain on the left as you enter Harrison Hot Springs.
In the 1920’s and 30’s there were many reports of the monsters being seen in the Chehalis-Harrison Mills area. They received contintent-wide publicity through the writings of the school teacher at Chehalis, J. W. Burns, and the Sasquatch Inn at Harrison Mills was named for them. Often a giant would follow someone keeping pace with them in flight even though he did not break out of a walk himself, or would raid a garden or store-house.
Capture of a small Sasquatch by a train crew at Yale is described in the July 4, 1884, edition of the Victoria Colonist, and newspaper files in various B.C. Centres contain numerous accounts by white people of encounters with them, the most recent being within the last year or so.
The subject came into prominence in 1957, when Harrison Hot Springs Village council proposed to launch an expedition in search of the creatures. Publicity for this project resulted in a number of people volunteering information about encounters with Sasquatch. One man, Albert Ostman, of Fort Langley, described in a sworn statement how he was held captive by a family of them for several days. The past years since have seen many such reports originating all the way from California to the Kitimat area on the northern B.C. Coast. These, with casts of footprints, have even awakened some interest among zoologists. There have been expeditions, and the Sasquatch has taken its place along with the Abominable Snowman as an unbelievable monster that may actually exist.
This is the first time I have heard about the massacre of a group of women at the bottom of that mountain. I sincerely hope that this tale is actually from the realm of myth as it is totally contradictory of the behaviour of sasquatches seen in the Harrison area over the last 100-odd years or so. They tend to be reticent about being near people and tend to depart the scene immediately upon contact. I do not think that sasquatches are a murderous bunch at all.
In fact in BC we have reports of humans being aggressive towards the sasquatch tribe and here are a few stories – as yet unsubstantiated – of humans killing and shooting at sasquatches.
The oldest I have found was a 1905 report dug up by another BC researcher that claims a sasquatch was killed in the vicinity of Gardner Canal on British Columbia’s central coast, approximately 50 km northwest of Bella Coola and 120 km southeast of the town of Kitimat. There are no further details of what happened to the shooter or the sasquatch.
In February 1967, two local inhabitants – both believed to be male – sighted a Sasquatch on an island in Hartley Bay and then commenced to open fire on the creature. Apparently, the sasquatch let out a loud scream and promptly left the scene. The humans tried to track the sasquatch, but no trace of the creature was found, thus indicating the sasquatch probably escaped with its life.
At Khutze Inlet in 1969, another sasquatch was fired upon by three hunters who witnessed the hominid in the local woods. Like the sasquatch at Hartley Bay, this sasquatch also went tearing into the woods and screamed loudly as it did so.
On May 25th, 1997 fromer corrections officer Mike McDonald had a chance to bag a sasquatch when he had it squarely in his gun sights. Here’s McDonald’s story as it appeared in the Vancouver Sun that year:
(McDonald) didn’t believe in Bigfoot. That was, he says, before he saw one of the legendary creatures while hunting near Spuzzum. "I don’t even know where to start," McDonald, 33, nervously told the crowd gathered at the fifth annual International Sasquatch Symposium in Vancouver on Sunday.
He was hunting brown bear, he said, and believing he had found one, set the sights of his gun on it. The creature had its back to McDonald, so he waited and watched through the gun sight for the bear to turn around and give him a good shot. "Six or 10 seconds later it stood up and it was definitely not a bear," he said. "My heart started pounding. I was so scared." He waited until the creature left, then ran to his truck for his camera. When he returned, the creature was nowhere to be found.
On the way home, McDonald stopped to phone his girlfriend and tell her of the experience, but told no one else until Sunday.
"I thought, who do I contact?" he re-called. "Do I call the police? No – they’re going to call me a nut. I would have thought that before, too."
That was the last incident of a B.C. hunter confronting a sasquatch that I know of. As you can see, nothing in any of these instances of human-sasquatch confrontation indicates sasquatches are murderous toward humans.
That should put paid to the mythical tale on the Harrison Hot Springs website and restore the tarnished reputation of these reportedly gentle giants.
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.