Murderous Sasquatches of British Columbia

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.

John Kirk About John Kirk
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.

21 Responses to “Murderous Sasquatches of British Columbia”

  1. timi_hendrix responds:

    Very interesting John. Those are some good campfire stories. I’ve always wanted to travel to B.C. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to return with a story of my own. 🙂

  2. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Like with the tales of the “vicious” gorilla it seems that it takes time and study to put these tales to rest.
    However, that said, even the most gentle of creatures has the ability to turn hostile (especially if that creature is a mother and you are between her and her baby, accidentally or otherwise).
    It’s these extraordinary accounts of violence, of course, that are most vivid in our minds and that are continually shared around campfires despite the fact that, if true, they represent a real minority of actual encounters.

  3. J-Foisy responds:

    I agree with Jeremy_Wells “even the most gentle of creatures has the ability to turn hostile”.

    Let us not forget that rabies affects mammals. Even humans have not been immune to this danger. Wasn’t there also the case where some hunters claimed to have shot at one of the creatures and later that night their cabin was bombarded by rocks/boulders being thrown at it? If that report has any credibility then maybe in the possible massacre case there was some retaliation motive.

    I agree that the majority of reports are of a gentle nature. It is my hope that people who feel the need to shock and awe their readers would give both sides of the facts. Unfortunately violence sells.

    I also hope that this particular story is just a piece of myth.

    Thanks John for bringing this story to my attention.

  4. TemplarKnight21c responds:

    I remember reading an account several years ago, about two hunters, somewhere in the midwest, I believe. The details are fuzzy in my memory. But the jist of it is as follows: The two men were out hunting whitetail deer, when they were startled by what appeared to be a sasquatch standing up out of the brush. The sasquatch looked at them for a moment, then dashed off toward a nearby river. One of the man recovered from the shock of the incident enough to raise his rifle and shoot the sasquatch in the back as it ran. The creature howled loudly and stumbled into the river, carried away by the swift current.

    Naturally, the men looked for the body, but were unable to locate it. Hours later, they returned to their cabin, deerless and sasquatchless. They were both awakened in the middle of the night by howls and screams coming from the treeline. Shaken, they looked out the windows of the cabin to see large, dark shapes moving between the trees. As the account goes, the forms proceeded to hurl large rocks at the cabin, several of which fell with enough force to come through the roof. The men returned fire with their rifles, and after a short ‘firefight’, the creatures retreated, and the men left the area the next day, quite shaken by the experience.

    To my knowledge, this did not happen in British Columbia, but it’s an account worth noting nonetheless.

  5. fredfacker responds:

    I’ve read about the boulder-throwing-at-the-cabin incident in a book somewhere in the past. The book also had an account of a supposed sasquatch killing a guy’s hunting dogs, and an incident where a guy returned to camp to find his buddy dead beside the fire. I couldn’t even begin to try and remember what the name of the book was though. I read it YEARS ago.

  6. Tabitca responds:

    Human beings are the most violent creatures on earth. An animal will only attack for instinctive reasons,because it’s afraid, for protection, food or you are invading it’s habitat etc. Human beings will attack for kicks, for malice, or even just because they can.I’ve worked with violent offenders in the past.I am not saying that the stories aren’t true or that the sasquatch wouldn’t defend itself but I think we have to remember who it may think it’s defending itself from. we tend to shoot first and ask questions later.

  7. TemplarKnight21c responds:

    Humans are animals too, don’t forget. We just happen to be incredibly ignorant, as a species.

  8. One Eyed Cat responds:

    The cabin incident happened in the US state of California. And I believe there were more then two men in the cabin. Apparently there are several versions of the story. Believe it’s called the ‘Ape Canyon’ incident or some such name.

  9. jayman responds:

    Actually, the Ape Canyon incident allegedly took place in Washington, near Mt. St. Helens. Nos. 4 and 8 are evidently retellings, with the location and some details changed – in the original, I think the creature’s body fell in a ravine. It’s an interesting example of how stories change over time and how researchers in any field have to be careful with second-hand information.

  10. twblack responds:

    Until we find a BF and observe him for a period of time then we will have an idea if some of these stories are real or campfire spooky stuff for the kids. My Personal opinion if you intrude on them their reaction may be startling and more than likely defensive. And to think they have abducted humans to have children with or what have you. Not sure that is not more campfire story than real-life. Could be wrong though just mmy personal opinion.

  11. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Actually #8 was My mistaken rememberance of the state, I forgot it was so close to Mt St Helen.

  12. peterbernard responds:

    This is a good piece, however, I can describe lots of instances of humans being kind, that does not mean all of them are. I can describe scenes of murderers being kind or timid one day, killing people the next. Because a sasquatch ran from people shooting at him does not mean he is non-violent, it just means he doesn’t have a bullet-proof vest.

  13. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    RE #6 Tabitca Says:
    “June 6th, 2006 at 5:03 pm
    Human beings are the most violent creatures on earth. An animal will only attack for instinctive reasons,because it’s afraid, for protection, food or you are invading it’s habitat etc. Human beings will attack for kicks…”

    Animals only kill for food or defense and never for kicks? Ever watch a house cat with a mouse or a lizard?

  14. One Eyed Cat responds:

    “…Ever. watch a house cat with a mouse or a lizard? ”

    Or a cockroach. Though I must note Hymie never learned to kill. Still he gave me some dirty looks when I squished the roaches with my shoe!

    I miss that cat.

  15. Tabitca responds:

    I have owned cats(or rather they have owned me) for over 30 years. all my cats eat what they kill. yours must be too well fed 🙂
    they can’t go against their survival instincts which is to chase what moves and kill it.
    My oldest cat at the moment is 17 and a devil for catching birds and mice.He catches more than the young one.I don’t like it but have to accept it if I share my home with them.Unfortunately I can’t train them to use the vacuum cleaner to clean up the resultant feathers.

  16. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Hymie died in Feburary (sp?) he was 17 too. He Never went outside and I had to have him on a special diet due to bladder chrystals anyway. He only weight nine pounds.

    Miss him checking to see if I was awake.

  17. Tabitca responds:

    it’s hard losing a pet.people who don’t have pets don’t realise how attached you get to them.:-(
    Now if we could teach cats to hunt bigfoot we may be onto something! 🙂

  18. Mnynames responds:

    I had a one-eyed cat once, named Vergil, died of feline leukemia at age 17. I grew up with him, and oddly enough, he was a sort of father figure for me, or at least a steadfast protector. I still miss him and his successor, Homer.

    As sad as perhaps it is to say, killing for pleasure is an aspect of play in many animals- Cats and Killer Whales in particular. Both will toy with their prey, sometimes for many hours, merely to amuse themselves, and then abandon the carcass, uneaten, afterwards. Killer Whales greatly enjoy playing football with seal pups, most likely because it’s fun. Play, however, is a sign of intelligence, which is why you don’t find it in say, Dung Beetles or Sea Slugs, and play can be seen as a form of learning. Those sadistic Cats and Killer Whales will likely improve their ability to take down prey BECA– USE of their cruel actions. Humans may be an exception, because after all, it’s hard to see how incinerating ants or kicking puppies can improve their hunting skills, but Sasquatch likely exhibit occasionally cruel play behaviour as well.

    One thought- The article mentions “The Bear That Lives Underwater”, a possible reference to a Giant Beaver? They’re still seen in the Utah area, and even if extinct, Native Americans in the Connecticut area have legends regarding these animals living in an ancient lake, and how it dried up. Might be interesting to investigate the legends more…

  19. shumway10973 responds:

    onething we cannot be sure of is how they react when their females come into “heat”. we know how all the known primates react, but I also know that many other non-primate animals can smell or sense when a woman is on her period. if they fight in order to mate, then it could be possible (if the killings are true) that the big foot was highly aggitated or irritable, and a group of women screaming might be enough to set it off. but I will say that in my many years of researching big foot stories, the only one I have ever heard of a violent big foot came from a relative of mine, and the only victims of the creature’s wrath was logging equipment that got thrown around or turned over. The only “violence” towards humans directly was “screaming” and throwing of rocks to scare the people away, and that was because they entered its territory. That was on the gcbro website, someone from riverside, california

  20. TemplarKnight21c responds:

    That’s a very interesting observation, Shumway. That hadn’t occurred to me.

  21. khat responds:

    Maybe the bigfoot creature is close to an “unevolved” human. Which would mean that they do “play” with their food, (ie) to teach skills with hunting or play. Or maybe, they are closer to us than we think. The Ape-Canyon event was ongoing over a few days, the men were prospecting and obviously were paranoid with “Gold Fever”. They shot and killed one bigfoot and chased another through the woods that was watching them from behind a tree. After they killed the one, It’s companions returned to (supposedly) seek revenge. Now if this does not sound like “human” type behavior I don’t know what does.

    As for losing pets, I’ve lost a couple. And I feel for anyone who has had to go through this. So, here is my question: Does bigfoot with his human -type attributes have pets? And does he find human females attractive enough to steal them?

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