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Abominable Snowmen, Legend Come to Life

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Christian Kielbasa
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« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2008, 12:20:14 pm »

Abominable Snowmen:
LEGEND COME TO LIFE
p. 1

1. A Certain Unpleasantness

Upon the detection of an unpleasant odor most people move off, while everybody wishes that it would go away. Nobody wants it around, yet it is seldom that anybody tries to determine its origin.

In 1887, a major in the Medical Corps of the British Indian Army, Lawrence Austine Waddell, LL.D., C.B., C.I.E., F.L.S., F.A.I.—i.e. Doctor of Laws, Commander of the Bath, Commander of the Indian Empire, Fellow of the Linnean Society, Fellow of the Anthropological Institute—was meandering about in the eastern Himalayas doing what that rather remarkable breed of men were wont to do: that is, a bit of shooting, some subdued exploring, and a certain amount of "politicking." Like many others of his ilk, he wrote a somewhat uninspired and uninspiring book about it, uninspiringly named Among the Himalayas. The Major was a normal sort of chappie and a sportsman, but his hunting was not of the feverish ninety-one-gun-in-closet variety of today; quite the contrary, he would take a few birds of types he considered to be legitimate game for his pot or to keep his eye in for grouse-shoots on his next home-leave in Scotland, and he banged away at "tygarr" whenever the local natives could rustle one up. But he was not scrambling about the Himalayas primarily for what we nowadays call "sport." He was just puttering—that lost 19th-century British art—because he had some time off, and official sanction to make use of it as he would.

Despite the limited intelligence attributed to 19th-century British-Indian Army colonels, they were really a most remarkable breed—almost a mutation—for, from some hidden depths of their public-school educations, and the remoter recesses of their ancient family traditions, they dredged up a wealth of

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wisdom, and they often developed an extraordinarily keen interest in the world about them wherever they happened to land. Most of them were sort of mild philosophers; many turned out to be brilliant linguists and great scholars; and they were often both leaders of men and students of animal life. They have been grossly maligned by almost everybody, laughed at as super-Blimps, and neglected as historians. But if you will just read their maunderings carefully, you will garner therefrom a trove of both literary and factual gems.

Take this Major Waddell, for instance. While pounding over one of the unpleasanter bits of Sikkim, in vile weather, he came upon a set of tracks made by some creature walking on two legs and bare feet that, he says, went on and on, over the freezing snow, not only taking the line of least resistance at every turn but marking out a course in conformity with the easiest gradients that brought whoops of admiration even from the Major's mountain-born porters. He remarks almost casually upon this remarkable achievement and wonders vaguely not what manner of man, but what sort of creature could have made them, and why it should have decided to cross this awful pass in the first place. The Major did not realize when he penned this thought just what he was starting; though "starting" is perhaps not the exact word to describe his remarks, for what he recorded was already ancient history when Columbus sailed for the West Indies. It just so happens that, as far as popular recognition is concerned, his was one of the earliest mentions to appear in print in the English language, in what may be called modern times, of what has latterly become known as the "abominable snowman." *


p. 3

At that time nobody in what we now call the Western World paid the slightest attention to this extraordinary report —at least as far as we know. It just went into the record as a statement; for one could hardly, in that day and age, call any pronouncement on the part of anybody with such notable honors a lie, or even a "traveler's tale." It was therefore assumed that some religious chap must have preceded the gallant Major over that particular route and somehow managed not to die of frostbite, sun-blindness, or starvation; and it was remarked that he had done a dashed good job of negotiating the pass. There the matter rested.

Major Waddell's book was one of many written about the end of the last century when the Western World was complacently sure that it knew more or less everything about all countries, with the possible exceptions of Tibet and the holy city of Mecca which, it was then considered, were rather unsporting in that they did not welcome civilized Englishmen. All sorts of sporting gentry went wandering about the fringes of "The Empire" with rod and gun and later wrote about their experiences. Their effusions were read by both the previous and the upcoming generations of colonial pioneers, but by few others. What they said was not taken too seriously by the general, nonempire-building public. However, many of these gentry also submitted official reports on certain less publicized aspects of their activities to their superiors; and these were taken very seriously.

Unfortunately the great body of such reports are not published and many of them are either lost in some archive or truly lost forever. There are others that are still top-secret and unavailable, so that their very existence is often conjectural. Yet every now and then one stumbles upon such a report that is extremely tantalizing. Tracking down the original is a frightful chore and one of the most time-consuming and frustrating experiences. One is balked at every turn but not, I would stress, by any deliberate or organized defense on the part of authority. Official archives are preserved for the benefit of all and are open to inspection by all, and even the topmost secrets are in time released as mere historical dejecta. The trouble is

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simply that the original reporters, and more so those reported to, did not lay any store by or place any specific value on esoterica, or anything other than the primary matter at hand, which was often of a diplomatic or political nature, so that the items that interest us most were never indexed or catalogued. You just have to plow through mountains of material quite extraneous to your particular quarry and hope to stumble upon casual asides that are pertinent to it. But one does occasionally so stumble.

Now I should state, without further ado and quite frankly, that I am prejudiced in favor of official as opposed to any other form of reports and for the following reasons. In this country we do not, let's face it, have much respect for the law or its potential until we have recourse to it or it requires our submission. Until we have been on a witness stand, almost all of us believe that perjury—which is simply a legal term for lying in the law's presence—should be the easiest thing in the world, but even those of us who say that laws are made only to be broken, soon find that it is not. Few think twice about telling a fish story in the corner bar, but there are very few, even congenital idiots, who won't think before telling it in a court of law. When, therefore, somebody voluntarily makes an official statement, when there is no profit motive involved, I have always felt it reasonable to assume that it is quite likely true. The British happen to have a particular respect for their law, and British officialdom, despite what has been said about its colonial policies, has always been remarkably altruistic. British consuls and other officials just did not report a lot of rubbish to their service headquarters. Even paper was scarce in minor British outposts and the field officers did not clutter up essential reports with bizarre trivia unless they considered them to be of real import. We approach, therefore, the following official report with a certain quota of awe.

It appears that in 1902 British Indian officialdom was concerned with the stringing of the first telegraph line from Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, to Kalimpong, Darjeeling in Bengal Province of India just south of the Sikkim border (see Map 11).

p. 5

[paragraph continues] The job entailed, first, going into Tibet and then stringing the cable out. When the crew reached a pass named Chumbithang near a place called Jelep-La on the Tibet-Sikkim border, an incident occurred that prompted an official report. A dozen workers failed to return to camp one evening and a military posse was sent next day to search for them at the scene of their operations. No trace of the missing men was found, but the soldiers during their wide search for them found a remarkable creature asleep under a rock ledge—or so the report goes. The soldiers were Indians, not Ghurkhas or mountain folk, and this is of significance because had they been they would doubtless have acted differently. The Indians had no qualms about shooting this creature to death immediately. It proved to be human rather than animal in form, though covered with thick hairy fur. Up to this point the report is official. Then it becomes unofficial but for one minor aside to the effect that a full report, together with the beast, was shipped to the senior British political officer then resident in Sikkim, who is correctly named as one Sir Charles Bell.

The unofficial sequence I take from an extraordinary book only recently published by a Mr. John Keel entitled Jadoo. This is the more startling in that it even mentions an incident apparently lost and certainly forgotten over half a century before, yet states that the information therein given was obtained firsthand. The author states that he met in 1957 in Darjeeling a retired Indian soldier named Bombahadur Chetri, who claimed that he was among the party that killed this creature, and that he personally examined it. He is also alleged to have said that it was about 10 feet tall, covered with hair but for a naked face, and that it had "long yellow fangs." Further, Mr. Keel says that Bombahadur Chetri told him that the carcass had been packed in ice and shipped to this same Sir Charles Bell, but that he did not hear anything further of it. Nor, apparently, did Mr. Keel; and nor have I, though I have spent a lot more time and energy than the item might seem to warrant in a fruitless endeavor to trace further reports, official or otherwise. This is the more aggravating since it is the earliest report that I have found on the actual (or even

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the alleged) capture of any form of what we shall henceforth be calling an ABSM—i.e. "the abominable snowmen," by what we must, also for lack of any established over-all name, call the "Western World," in the Oriental Region. *

Nevertheless, it is by no means the only such report, nor actually the earliest on record, for as we shall presently see, it was preceded in two if not three other continents by just as definitive statements and in some cases official ones at that.

And this brings up another point that I should endeavor to clear up forthwith.

I would have preferred to start this story where all stories should begin, which is to say at the beginning. However, despite a chronology that I have compiled over the years, such a procedure would be open to at least two serious defects. First, it is almost daily, and now with increasing tempo, being added to almost all along the line, while its origins are regressing ever farther into the recorded past; second, it would be extraordinarily dry and overformal in the eyes of any but extreme specialists. I have felt, therefore, that the history of this whole ABSM business will be much better understood if it is unfolded upon the chronology of its discovery and progress: a sort of history of a history. This is, further, herein recorded deliberately from what we called above the "Western" point of view, in that it is a chronological record of how the matter was brought to the attention of the Western World. In this, it will soon be seen that a greater part of the discoveries made have come to light in reverse. For instance, it has only been within most recent years that the earliest accounts have come to light, and the further research workers probe into the whole matter, the farther back the origins of the whole ABSM affair recede, while the wider does their distribution


p. 7

become both in fact and in report. Thus, in treating of the history of this matter, we must bear in mind that what appear to us to be discoveries are more nearly revelations, because the majority of the world—which is, of course, non-Western—has, to some degree or another, known all about the business for centuries, while we have remained completely oblivious of and to it.

For these reasons, I divide our chronology into five stages and call these as follows: (1) the ancient period, prior to the 15th-century expansion of Europe, (2) the dark ages, from 1500 to 1880, (3) that of the Explorers, from about 1880 to 1920, (4) that of the mountaineers, 1920 to 1950 and (5) that of the searchers, from 1950 to the present day. All of this, however, applies primarily and most essentially to the Himalayan area of the Oriental Region wherein this business was primarily unfolded for us. The same periods, of course, exist in time elsewhere, such as North America, but they cannot be founded on the same criteria or named after the same classes of entrepreneurs. Behind this chronology and everywhere lies an immense period of what I call native knowledge. This trails off into the dim mists of the extreme past and into folklore and myth; an area which is only just now being taken into account as serious history rather than mere make-believe. Thus, in other parts of the world our story has often jumped straight out of the "native" period into that of scientific study.

While ABSMs were not only reported but also reported upon, and even officially, in other parts of the world—vide: Canada—long before the travels of Major Waddell, and while specimens (as it now turns out) are alleged to have been captured or killed long before that, we of the West became cognizant of these happenings or alleged happenings only very recently. Also, it now transpires, detailed and more properly critical information on the subject was even being published in eastern Eurasia centuries ago—for instance in Tibet, China, Mongolia, and Manchuria—and some reflections of this had filtered through to Europe as early as Renaissance times, as is exemplified in certain curious statements in the works of Marco Polo. Millions of people were then taking all this as a

p. 8

matter of course but, the whole thing being completely foreign to European conditions or even thought, it made no impression upon what we now call the Western World until our fourth period—namely that of the mountaineers.

Just how foreign it was prior to that period is clearly demonstrated by the reception, or lack of it, given to a report published in a scientific journal (Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London) in the year 1915, and the brief comments upon it made at the time. The report was read before the society by a very well-known botanist and scientific explorer named Henry J. Elwes, and consisted of portions of a letter received by that gentleman from a Forestry Officer by the name of J. R. O. Gent who was stationed in Darjeeling. This read as follows:


I have discovered the existence of another animal but cannot make out what it is, a big monkey or ape perhaps—if there were any apes in India. It is a beast of very high elevations and only goes down to Phalut in the cold weather. It is covered with longish hair, face also hairy, the ordinary yellowish-brown colour of the Bengal monkey. Stands about 4 feet high and goes about on the ground chiefly, though I think it can also climb.

The peculiar feature is that its tracks are about 18 inches or 2 feet long and toes point in the opposite direction to that in which the animal is moving. The breadth of the track is about 6 inches. I take it he walks on his knees and shins instead of on the sole of his foot. He is known as the Jungli Admi or Sogpa. * One was worrying a lot of coolies working in the forest below Phalut in December; they were very frightened and would not go into work. I set off as soon as I could to try and bag the beast, but before I arrived the Forester had been letting off a gun and frightened it away, so I saw nothing. An old choukidar of Phalut told me he had frequently seen them in the snow there, and confirmed the description of the tracks.

It is a thing that practically no Englishman has ever heard of, but all the natives of the higher villages know about it. All I can say is that it is not the Nepal Langur, but I've impressed upon people up there that I want information the next time one is about.


This report, which would today probably cause quite a stir in certain circles, though for various and quite opposed reasons,


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seems hardly even to have been commented upon. It would probably have been dismissed altogether—and, most likely not published in the Proceedings—had it not been read by such a person as Elwes. As it was, the general impression left was that perhaps a new species of monkey had been found and some local folklore embellished. But, unexpectedly, Henry Elwes then saw fit to make a statement of his own to the effect that in 1906 he had himself seen the same or a similar creature in another part of the Himalayas. Most aggravatingly, he either did not give further details or they were not recorded at the time, and after he died his notes were lost while no mention of the incident was to be found in any of his published writings. Zoologists were apparently quite impressed at the time because of the standing of Elwes, but the matter never got further than the closed confines of professional zoology.

It was, moreover, not until 1920 that the English-speaking public, outside of the limited audience earlier served by the writings of travelers in the Orient, was in any way made aware of this whole business, and, as is so often the case, it was even then more by accident than by design. This part of our story is most intriguing as well as being a sort of turning point in Western thinking, and not only upon this but upon many other matters. But before telling you the details of this little comedy, I just want to diverge a moment to impress upon you once again the fact that what then took place, while a revelation, was more particularly so to the Anglo-Saxon world. A decade before (1907), a certain then young zoologist named Vladimir A. Khakhlov started an extended survey of similar matters throughout central Eurasia and submitted a long report on it to the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Russia; Netherlands authorities had been pestered with annoying (to officialdom) reports of a like nature emanating from Sumatra; the French had undergone the same in Indo-China; and the Brazilians in their country; while even in British Columbia both the courts and the Crown itself had long been bothered by citizens seeking to make depositions on closely related matters. Thus, in retrospect, the happenings of 1920 lose a great deal of their import if not of their impact.

p. 10

In that year an incident occurred that was impressive enough but which might have been either wholly or temporarily buried had it not been for a concatenation of almost piffling mistakes. In fact, without these mistakes it is almost certain that the whole matter would have remained in obscurity and might even now be considered in an entirely different light or in the status of such other mysteries as that of "sea-monsters." This was a telegram sent by Lt. Col. (now Sir) C. K. Howard-Bury, who was on a reconnaissance expedition to the Mt. Everest region.

The expedition was approaching the northern face of Everest, that is to say from the Tibetan side, and when at about 17,000 feet up on the Lhapka-La pass saw, and watched through binoculars, a number of dark forms moving about on a snowfield far above. It took them some time and considerable effort to reach the snowfield where these creatures had been but when they did so they found large numbers of huge footprints which Colonel Howard-Bury later stated were about "three times those of normal humans" but which he nonetheless also said he thought had been made by "a very large, stray, grey wolf." (The extraordinarily illogical phrasing of this statement will be discussed later on, but it should be noted here that a large party of people had seen several creatures moving about, not just "a wolf," and that it is hard to see how the Colonel could determine its color from its tracks.) However, despite these expressions, the Sherpa porters with the expedition disagreed with them most firmly and stated that the tracks were made by a creature of human form to which they gave the name Metoh-Kangmi.

Colonel Howard-Bury appears to have been intrigued by this scrap of what he seems to have regarded as local folklore, but, like all who have had contact with them, he had such respect for the Sherpas, that he included the incident in a report that he sent to Katmandu, capital of Nepal, to be telegraphed on to his representatives in India. And this is where the strange mistakes began. It appears that Colonel Howard-Bury in noting the name given by the Sherpas either mistransliterated it or miswrote it: he also failed to realize

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that he was dealing with one of several kinds of creatures known to the Sherpas and that they, on this occasion, apparently both in an endeavor to emphasize this and for the sake of clarity used as a generic term for all of them, the name kang-mi, which was a word foreign to their language. This is a Tibetan colloquialism in some areas, and is itself partly of foreign origin even there, in that kang, is apparently of Chinese origin while mi is a form of Nepalese meh. The combination thus meant "snow creature." His metoh would better have been written meh-teh, a name of which we shall hear much, and which turns out to mean the meh or man-sized teh or wild creature. However, the Indian telegraphist then got in the act and either he dispatched this word as, or it was transcribed in India, as metch.

The recipients in India were unfamiliar with any of the languages or dialects of the area but they were impressed by the fact that Howard-Bury had thought whatever it might be, important enough to cable a report, so they appealed to a sort of fount of universal wisdom for help. This was a remarkable gentleman named Mr. Henry Newman who has for years written a most fascinating column in the Calcutta Statesman on almost every conceivable subject and who has the most incredible fund of information at his finger tips. This gentleman, however, did not really know the local languages or dialects of eastern Tibet and Nepal either, but this did not deter him from giving an immediate translation of this metch kangmi which, he stated categorically, was Tibetan for an "abominable snowman." The result was like the explosion of an atom bomb.

Nobody, and notably the press, could possibly pass up any such delicious term. They seized upon it with the utmost avidity, and bestowed upon it enormous mileage but almost without anything concrete to report. The British press gulped this up and the public was delighted. Then there came a lull in the storm. During this time, it now transpires, a number of eager persons started a fairly systematic search for previous reports on these abominable creatures, and they came up with sufficient to convince their editors that the story was not just a

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flash in a pan, but a full-fledged mystery that had actually been going on for years.

Thus, the "birth" of the Abominable Snowman per se may be precisely dated as of 1920. And once it was launched it gathered momentum. As we shall see later when we come to examine the actual reports from the eastern Himalayan region, almost everybody who went there, and notably the mountaineers, reported either seeing "snowmen," their tracks, or hearing them; finding cairns and other objects moved by them; or relating information secondhand that they had gleaned from the native population. The business reached a crescendo in 1939 with the publication of several quite long accounts in books by well-known and much respected explorers such as Ronald Kaulbach. Then came World War II and the matter faded into limbo. But it did not by any means stop.

No sooner was the war over than the onslaught on Mt. Everest was resumed and along with this came a new approach to the ABSM affair. Everybody appears to have felt it incumbent to at least mention the matter even if he could not contribute anything new or material to the story. Yet, there were very few who did not have something concrete to offer and indeed, I am unable to name one who didn't. What is more, prior to World War II, this was an almost exclusively British affair, though there was a book on the first American Karakoram Expedition, entitled Five Miles High, that was most pertinent. It has now become international as a result not only of expeditions going to the area from many nations and of multinational composition, but also because of reports that came to light but which were originally made during the war. Also, for the first time, reports by what may be called native foreigners began to appear.

The whole subject of "natives" is a sorry one and it is rather muddling to Americans because, to them, it has several meanings, none of which is exactly synonymous with the term as developed and understood among the British. It was the declaration of independence by a number of Asiatic nations that brought confusion, in that, while these peoples were manifestly native to their own countries, they suddenly became

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no longer "natives" in the precise British sense, so that what they said had to be accepted and assessed in an entirely new light. Whereas, while anything stated by such people prior to the war could be passed off as a mere "native tale" or a story "by some benighted native," it had now to be treated with respect as a statement by a responsible citizen. What is more, an Indian traveling through Nepal to Tibet also became just as much a "foreigner" as any Britisher—and, in some cases, actually more so, because there were places where more Britishers had been living longer than any Indians. This proved extremely awkward to the British at first and it took about a decade even for their phlegmatic genius for compromise along with a fairly genuine common decency and belief in good manners, to gain the upper hand.

Despite the international scramble, it was again the British who attracted world attention to the matter of ABSMs and it was still their mountaineers who did this. The most notable was Mr. Eric Shipton who on still another reconnaissance of the Everest Bloc came upon a long set of tracks—not by any means for the first time in his life—and, after following them for some distance, noting they were definitely bipedal but negotiated almost impossible obstacles that would be hard for even an experienced mountaineer to do, took a series of clear photographs of them. These were published in the much respected Illustrated London News, not a publication given to elaboration, irresponsible reportage, or the mounting of international jokes. This time everybody had to take the matter seriously; and they did, but in a variety of ways. The public, as is its pragmatic wont, took it at its face value. The press literally howled. The explorers cheered a bit. But the scientists flew into a positive tantrum; an altogether undignified performance, the effects of which have not yet worn off and will not do so for many years. This was in 1951 and it marked the next turning point in the history of ABSMery.

Up till then the matter had been primarily a "Western" and notably a British perquisite; it had also been a child of the popular press with a sort of minor cold war going on between the mountaineers and the zoologists. Now, however, a new

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agency entered the picture, a polyglot assortment of people of various bents that can only be termed "The Searchers."

Since the turn of the century there had continued to be outright explorers as well as putterers and sportsmen in the field and not a few of these continued to stumble upon ABSMs, or tracks and other evidence of their passing. None of these, however, had any prior interest in the matter and, like the mountaineers, had been in the Himalayas primarily for other purposes. On the other hand, the whole affair was, until Eric Shipton published his photographs, really nothing more than a news-gimmick though the press had had to tread warily with the reports made by prominent persons and especially the mountaineers engaged in the attack on Everest, which had official backing. The scientific world had not been quite so circumspect. At the outset, it denounced the whole thing as, first, a fraud, and then a case of mistaken identity, and it stuck to this story: and it still in large part sticks to it today, even to the extent of deliberately ridiculing such men as Shipton and Kaulbach. But after their completely unsuccessful attempt to set Shipton's 1951 findings at nought, which backfired with considerable public impact, a sort of revolution began within the ranks of science.

Some topnotch scientists—not just technicians and self-appointed experts who happened to be employed by scientific organizations—started to investigate the whole matter upon truly scientific principles. What is more, these scientists were primarily anthropologists [as opposed to zoologists] and this was of the utmost significance, for the latter had permanently closed the door on the whole question when they could not prove that it was a hoax, stating flatly that all ABSM tracks were made either by bears or monkeys. Also, there were anthropological expeditions actually going into the field and these too began to report discoveries similar to those of the mountaineers. Notable among the fieldworkers were Dr. Wyss-Dunant of a Swiss expedition, Professor von Fürer-Haimendorff of the School of Oriental and African Studies, and in particular Prof. René von Nebesky-Wojkowitz. Among those not engaged

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in fieldwork were Dr. W. C. Osman Hill of the Zoological Society of London in England, Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans, Belgian zoologist, in Paris, and latterly a whole group of Russian scientists led by Prof. B. F. Porshneyev.

It was the press, however, that was in the end first in the field with an expedition aimed primarily at the ABSMs. This was organized by the Daily Mail of London and went to the Himalayas in 1954. It was a curious outfit and it was not very successful but it initiated a new—and, to date, the last—phase in the history of this mystery. It was led by a reporter, Ralph Izzard and had among its members a professional zoologist, Dr. Biswas of Calcutta and also a man named W. M. (Gerald) Russell, whose experience was of great significance though nobody seems to have realized it at that time. However, it was once again directed by mountaineers. The significance of this escaped everybody then and to a very great extent still does. The universal impression had been gained over the years that the Abominable (as then supposed) Snowman, whatever it might be, was a denizen of the snowfields and therefore inhabited the uppermost slopes of the Himalayas. As a result, its pursuit was looked upon primarily as a mountaineering job and was therefore given to the professionals and the experts in that field of sport. The idea of including a scientist and especially a zoologist, had never occurred to anybody previously. The idea of including a man with the particular skills and experience, as well as training, of Gerald Russell has not even yet, it seems, dawned upon anybody.

Russell alone among the whole army of investigators is really the only man qualified to tackle the problem, for he is a professional collector, which is something absolutely different from either hunters or sportsmen on the one hand, or research scientists on the other. Then again, no ABSM is a denizen of any snowfield—naturally; and as should be obvious to any sane person on a moment's consideration, for in such places there is nothing to eat. All turn out to inhabit dense mountain forests. Thus, just about the last persons suited to search for them are mountaineers (who have a positive passion

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for climbing mountains above all else, it should be pointed out), while sportsmen and hunters are little better for other and even more obvious reasons.

This is a somewhat sensitive question but one of first importance. The techniques developed over the ages for hunting are basically aggressive, be they noisy as in "beating," or silent as in "stalking." Further, the dog—which is not only a domestic but actually an artificial animal—has been extensively used in hunting. These methods obtain the quickest results, in the largest amounts, of what is specifically desired. Collecting, on the other hand, should best be almost entirely passive. Silence is one of its features in certain of its aspects but almost as much noise is permissible as in hunting in certain circumstances. To obtain animals not normally hunted, the less ground covered the better but the longer the collector must sit and wait for the animals to become used to his presence, the noises he makes, and the effluvia he gives off in the normal course of "living." As many artificial things as possible must be eliminated; and most notably dogs, metal (especially metal cleaned with mineral oils), and suchlike that are not indigenous to the wild. Given time, any wild creature, however timid, will come to investigate the collector, whereas it will fly before the hunter long before it is detected.

Even zoologists, unless they have had extensive collecting experience in the field, are little better, for they, poor souls, are hustled about by everybody else into and out of the least likely areas for proper investigation, and are in any case supplied in advance with a sort of `book of rules" that goes far to negating the search for anything that is not already known.

The Daily Mail expedition did, nonetheless, include among its ranks, and deliberately, a very experienced zoologist with field experience in the form of Dr. Biswas, and, quite fortuitously in the person of Gerald Russell, the first and only man on any ABSM expedition trained to tackle such a collecting problem. It also accomplished something else, in that it publicized the whole matter and served notice on everybody that the press was no longer overawed by what they had termed

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"scientific opinion," but from then on took the affair for granted as having graduated from the category of the "silly season filler." In fact, it pointed the way to some serious endeavor designed to try to solve the mystery. This challenge was taken up by quite a new type of operator.

The Daily Mail expedition returned in 1955, and in that same year an Argentine mountaineering expedition and another British party (of Royal Air Force alpinists) reported having encountered tracks and other evidence of ABSMs. The following year the young man, John Keel, already mentioned, made his trip through the country and, as stated in his book published in 1958, tracked and sighted an ABSM. At the same time, the Russians were conducting investigations and getting ready to make a concerted attack upon the problem. There were also quite a number of others in the field, while the few serious students at home began to bring to light all manner of related items from the past.

The busiest of these scientific sleuths and the most open-minded and best-informed was the zoologist, Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans, who had for long specialized in the collection and examination of evidence for the existence of any creatures as yet unknown to and unidentified by zoologists. It was he, moreover, who first brought the findings of the Hollanders in the East Indies, the French in Indo-China, and to a very considerable extent that of the South American explorers to light. The American edition of these findings by Heuvelmans, On the Track of Unknown Animals, was published by Hill and Wang of New York, in 1958. However, the most significant personality to enter the field was the prominent Texan, Mr. Thomas B. Slick.

Tom Slick, as he is known to everybody and all over the world, is a most remarkable man. To Americans he is probably best known because of the airline that carries his name, which is itself a natural advertisement with amusing connotations in the English language. Then, in the world of commerce he is widely known for his position in the mysterious world of oil and the very down-to-earth world of beef; but, his international reputation is based on his extraordinary efforts in

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the cause of world peace. Tom Slick has done many other things and is not only a patron of but a driving force in many purely scientific endeavors. He established the second largest privately endowed research unit in the world, in the form of the Southwest Research Institute near his home town of San Antonio, and adjacent to this another large organization for educational promotion. I am often asked to describe this man, and my response is invariably the same; namely, to say simply that, for all his activities and the vastness of his outlook and effort, he is less like the popular conception of a Texan than anybody I have ever met. Tom Slick does things and very fortunately he became intrigued with the business of ABSMs. Despite ridicule, especially among many of those closest to him, he set to work upon it with the determination that he, almost alone in the Western World it seems, was capable of and willing to apply. And, being a bulldog, he has kept quietly at it ever since.

I speak of Tom Slick at length because it is he, and he almost alone, who has by his quiet persuasion heaved this whole irksome business out of a sort of ten-ring, international circus, into the realm of serious scientific endeavor; while he has also stimulated others in England, France, Italy, India, and elsewhere who are working on the problem, by means of personal contacts and by the exercise of sympathetic encouragement. Finally, he did one more thing. This was to break out of the confined limits of the Himalayan area of the Oriental Region and direct attention and proper effort to other parts of the world, such as California, which are proving to be every bit as important in regards to ABSMs, if not much more significant than even the uplands of Eurasia. He began his own personal investigations by a trip to the Himalayan region in 1957.

In 1957, Tom Slick, together with A. C. Johnson, mounted the first full-fledged expedition to the Himalayas for the specific and sole purpose of investigating ABSMs. This saw the extremely fortuitous bringing together of Gerald Russell and the brothers Peter and Bryan Byrne, and was the happiest event that had until then—and still has been until the time of

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writing—happened to ABSMery. For the first time in history the leadership was not given to mountaineers or hunters, but to persons with collecting experience who believed that the quarry was real, was multiple in form, and that, in all its forms, it lived in the forests as opposed to on the upper snowfields. As a result, this expedition came closer to obtaining concrete results than any other before or since, and produced more straight evidence of the existence of such creatures than all other expeditions put together (for details see Chapter 12).

In the same year, however, the Soviet Academy of Sciences had established a special commission to co-ordinate the findings of several groups who had been working on the problem in countries within the Soviet sphere. These workers had brought to light the astonishing reports of Khakhlov made to the Academy in 1914, but which had been shelved; they had before them the current report of a Dr. Pronin, a hydrologist of Leningrad University who alleged he had seen an ABSM in the Pamirs, they had a wealth of material from the Mongolian Peoples' Republic and a lot from China; and they had decided to mount proper scientific expeditions to investigate. These were four in number and were put into the field in 1958 —one to the Caucasus where a creature named the "Wind Man" had been rumored for centuries; one to the north face of the Everest Bloc; one to the Mongolian region; and one to the Pamirs, which, for certain odd reasons they considered to be the breeding ground of the ABSMs. Meantime, they started the publication of their over-all findings in the form of booklets (see Chapters 13 and 14) and concurrently with. this, a series of studies on fossil men, and particularly the Neanderthalers. Also, a wealth of previously unpublished material, some historical and some current, appeared in certain Russian magazines—notably; Tekhnika Molodyozhi.

These Soviet. activities shed an entirely new light on the whole business, and also put it on such an altogether higher plane that Western scientific circles were obliged to change their attitude toward the matter quite drastically. No longer could they simply avoid the issue by saying that it had been explained or that its protagonists were merely a bunch of

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amateur enthusiasts pursuing a fantasy. At the same time, a certain nervous irritation was to be detected in their pronouncements, because the press just then began harping on the case of the Coelacanth fish discovered off the southeast coast of South Africa. This had at first been called a hoax but had finally had to be accepted as living proof of the fact that not everything about the life of this planet is known. Obviously, creatures confidently thought to have been decently extinct for tens of millions of years can still be around.

Further, it was the Russians who first stressed, though perhaps more by inference, something that those scientists in the West who had been taking the matter seriously had been harping on for some time. This was that the whole problem is an anthropological rather than a zoological matter. In other words, all the Sino-Soviet evidence pointed to ABSMs being primitive Hominids (i.e. Men) rather than Pongids (i.e. Apes) or other nonhuman creatures, thus linking them with known fossil forms such as Gigantopithecus, the Pithecanthropines, and especially the Neanderthalers. And, in doing this, they also emphasized another point.

That was the now very obvious but totally ignored fact that there is not just one creature called The Abominable Snowman, but a whole raft of creatures distributed almost all over the world, of very considerable variety, and of as many as three distinct types in the Tibetan-Himalayan area alone. This suggestion was of course not merely obnoxious but positively horrific to the orthodox scientists who were still vehemently denying even the possibility of the existence of even one such entity. Then, the final bombshell landed. At this point in my narrative I must confess to a considerable embarrassment since I must speak in the first person and I do this with much diffidence.

In 1958, I received a number of reports of an ABSM in California. At first, this sounded quite balmy even to us—and we are used to the most outrageous things—and got itself filed among what we call Forteana, which is to say those damnable and unacceptable items of the categories collected by the late Charles Fort. However, it so happened that I was privileged

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to spend the year 1959 touring the North American continent gathering material for a book on its geology, structure, vegetational cover, and wildlife. Before leaving, I had a research specialist—Stanley I. Rowe, with whom I had long been associated—prepare for me from his files, from ours, and from other sources, the details of any and all oddities and enigmas reported from this continent, by states and provinces. These I investigated as a news-reporter as I went along; and when I came to northern California I fell into the most extraordinary state of affairs that I have ever encountered in my life. This was no idle rumor but a full-fledged mystery and a straight-down-the-line, hard-boiled news-story.

This I tell in detail in Chapter 6, so suffice it to say here that I found there clear and most convincing evidence of the existence of a form of ABSM of most outstanding qualities. But worse was to follow for, prompted by this astonishing discovery, I went aside in British Columbia to investigate their long-renowned Sasquatch, only to find that it was just as definite, and apparently identical to these Oh-Mahs (or "Bigfeet") of California. Subsequent research has, what is more, brought to light a mass of other reports of similar things from Quebec, the Canadian Northwest Territories, the Yukon, the Idaho Rockies, Washington, and Oregon. *

This brings us up to the date of writing, except to note that a large Japanese expedition went in 1959-60 to the Himalayas specifically to search for ABSMs; while there were other expeditions in that area, in Sumatra, and in California, fitted out for the purpose. Finally, later this year (1960), Sir Edmund Hillary, backed by American sponsors and with Marlin Perkins, Director of the Lincoln Park Zoo of Chicago accompanying him as zoological expert, conducted an expedition to the eastern Himalayas with this pursuit as his second major objective. †




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Footnotes
2:* You will find that, by the time I have said all that I am able to say within the compass of this book, there remain only two sets of evidence for the existence of ABSMs. One is subjective—i.e. reports; the other objective—i.e. tracks. All the other evidence, and of all kinds—such as scalps, hairs, excrement, myths, legends, folklore and so forth—may be questioned and often seriously on one ground or another. The one item that both protagonists and skeptics have to explain is tracks. They happen also to be both the commonest items in ABSMery, and the ones most readily recorded and analyzed. The study of foot-tracks is called Ichnology and the principles of this, together with its particular reference to our subject, will be found in Appendix B.

6:* The term "ABSM" is coined from the best-known name for one kind of those creatures of which we speak, namely the Abominable Snowman. As is explained later, this term is incorrect, inappropriate, and misleading even in the case in which it was first applied; while it cannot possibly be applied to at least 80 per cent of the apparently most varied and quite different creatures involved, and now reported from five continents. The term "Western World" in this case has a cultural rather than a regional sense; but by the Oriental Region is to be understood a very precise geographical unit, as is explained.

8:* This is also the name of a known tribal group of people in a remote valley of the Himalayas. (For fuller details see Chapter 19.)

21:* These affairs in our Northwest were summarized in two articles in True Magazine for October, 1959, and January, 1960, and set a whole new phase of ABSMery in motion.

21:† The results of this effort are described in Appendix E.



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« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2008, 12:21:15 pm »

2. Ubiquitous Woodsmen

May we suggest that laughing at "Indians" is rather old-fashioned while calling a Paleface a liar can be a very dangerous procedure.

In my opening remarks in the previous chapter I said that I was going to tell this story according to the chronology of discoveries made by the Western World, starting about the year 1860, rather than according to straight historical chronology. Having briefly outlined these discoveries from that date up to this year, I landed up in the northwestern corner of North America. I now find that this is just the place where I have to commence my detailed reporting and for several reasons. By way of explanation I resort to a map (Map I); a procedure that, I am afraid, you will discover I nearly always do.

ABSMs have now been reported from several dozen areas scattered all over five of the continents. * At first sight this distribution does not appear to make any sense at all. This is a misconception but to go into the whys and wherefore thereof at this juncture would not only be exhausting but more or less incomprehensible. Nonetheless, one cannot just go barging off all over the world reporting on this and that, both in time and space, without some ordered plan. Skipping around and back and forth over oceans just to point out similarities would be altogether aggravating. Some orderly procedure is therefore called for; and very fortunately there is a ready-made one that will serve many purposes. This is to adopt the travelogue approach


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starting out from some specific point, visiting all the other necessary points, and ending up where we began. Doing this in the pursuit of ABSMs just happens to be most convenient, and for a number of reasons. If we take northwestern North America as our starting point, we will be able to dispense with a great deal of verbal garbage and duplication.

I therefore propose to take you on a journey starting from western Canada, south through the Americas to Patagonia, then back up to the southern edge of the Amazon Basin; then hop over the Atlantic to West Africa, proceed through or rather around the Congo Basin and over the eastern uplands to the forested coastal land of East Africa. From there, we will jump over the Indian Ocean to the island of Sumatra, proceed from there up the Malay Peninsula to the main body of the great Indo-Chinese peninsula, then turn sharp left in Assam and travel along the Himalayas to the vast Pamirs, and on southwest through Persia to the Caucasus. This will be a turnabout point from which we will return east to the Pamirs, on to the Kunluns, then to the Tien-Shans, Ala-Tau, Altais, and Sayans. From there we will go south through the Khangais and over the Ala-Shan Desert to the Nan-Shans and on to the mountains of Szechwan. Here will be another turnabout point from where we will go north again through the Tsin-lings and the Ordos to the Khingans. In this last lap on our way home we will be following a lot more than ABSMs, and in following these we will cross over the Bering Straits to and through Alaska and the Yukon back to our starting point in British Columbia and specifically to a small place named Yale, on the middle Fraser River.

It was near this place that something frightfully important happened in the year 1884; on the morning of July 3, as a matter of fact. The gorge of the Fraser narrows along this stretch so that rock walls tower on either side. Today, two railroads and the main west-to-east Canadian highway squeeze through this point and the little township of Yale clings to the bank of the river on one side, and is dotted about a narrow meadow on the other. Since I beg to be regarded exclusively as a reporter for the duration of the forthcoming journey, the

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Click to enlarge
MAP I. CENTRAL WESTERN NORTH AMERICA


MAP I. CENTRAL WESTERN NORTH AMERICA


This is an arbitrarily chosen area, designed to bring out a number of different physical features. It represents an area of some 1,900,000 square miles, of which some 1,650,000 are land. This is cut diagonally by the Great Barrier—here represented by the Rockies—that extends from the Arctic coast to Vera Cruz on the Gulf coast. To the east of this are lowlands covered, in the north, by the great boreal coniferous forests and, to the south, by the prairies. In the south lies the Great Basin, actually an upland, desert plateau covered with parallel ranges of modest mountains. Between the Sierra Nevada and the Southern Coastal Ranges there is the flat gutter known as the Sacramento Valley. The rest is subdivided into a series of mountain blocks as shown. Each is quite distinct in form, composition, flora, and fauna. It is around the peripheries of these that ABSMs have been reported. The coast, from the Olympics north, is mostly precipitous and without any coastal plain at all.

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best thing for me to do is to quote the original report on what happened there on that day. This goes as follows, as taken from the Victoria newspaper, The Daily British Colonist:


Yale, B.C., July 3, 1884—In the immediate vicinity of No. 4 tunnel, situated some 20 miles above this village, are bluffs of rock which have hitherto been unsurmountable, but on Monday morning last were successfully scaled by Mr. Onderdonk's employees on the regular train from Lytton. Assisted by Mr. Costerton, the British Columbia Express Company's messenger, a number of gentlemen from Lytton and points east of that place, after considerable trouble and perilous climbing captured a creature who may truly be called half man and half beast. "Jacko," as the creature has been called by his capturers, is something of the gorilla type standing about 4 feet 7 inches in height and weighing 127 pounds. He has long, black, strong hair and resembles a human being with one exception, his entire body, excepting his hands (or paws) and feet are covered with glossy hair about one inch long. His fore arm is much longer than a man's fore arm, and he possesses extraordinary strength, as he will take hold of a stick and break it by wrenching or twisting it, which no man living could break in the same way. Since his capture he is very reticent, only occasionally uttering a noise which is half bark and half growl. He is, however, becoming daily more attached to his keeper, Mr. George Telbury, of this place, who proposes shortly starting for London, England, to exhibit him. His favorite food so far is berries, and he drinks fresh milk with evident relish. By advice of Dr. Hannington, raw meats have

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been withheld from Jacko, as the doctor thinks it would have a tendency to make him savage. The mode of capture was as follows: Ned Austin, the engineer, on coming in sight of the bluff at the eastern end of the No. 4 tunnel saw what he supposed to be a man lying asleep at close proximity to the track, and as quick as thought blew the signal to apply the brakes. The brakes were instantly applied, and in a few seconds the train was brought to a standstill. At this moment the supposed man sprang up, and uttering a sharp quick bark began to climb the steep bluff. Conductor R. J. Craig and Express Messenger Costerton, followed by the baggage man and brakesmen, jumped from the train and knowing they were some 20 minutes ahead of time, immediately gave chase. After 5 minutes of perilous climbing the then supposed demented Indian was corralled on a projecting shelf of rock where he could neither ascend nor descend. The query now was how to capture him alive, which was quickly decided by Mr. Craig, who crawled on his hands and knees until he was about 40 feet above the creature. Taking a small piece of loose rock he let it fall and it had the desired effect of rendering poor Jacko incapable of resistance for a time at least. The bell rope was then brought up and Jacko was now lowered to terra firma. After firmly binding him and placing him in the baggage car, "off brakes" was sounded and the train started for Yale. At the station a large crowd who had heard of the capture by telephone from Spuzzum Flat were assembled, and each one anxious to have the first look at the monstrosity, but they were disappointed, as Jacko had been taken off at the machine shops and placed in charge of his present keeper.

The question naturally arises, how came the creature where it was first seen by Mr. Austin? From bruises about its head and body, and apparent soreness since its capture, it is supposed that Jacko ventured too near the edge of the bluff, slipped, fell and lay where found until the sound of the rushing train aroused him. Mr. Thomas White, and Mr. Gouin, C. B. E., as well as Mr. Major, who kept a small store about half a mile west of the tunnel during the past 2 years, have mentioned having seen a curious creature at different points between Camps 13 and 17, but no attention was paid to their remarks as people came to the conclusion that they had either seen a bear or stray Indian dog. Who can unravel the mystery that now surrounds Jacko? Does he belong to a species hitherto unknown in this part of the continent or is he really what the train men first thought he was, a crazy Indian?


Now, whatever you may think of the press, you cannot just write off anything and everything reported by it that you don't like, don't believe in, and don't want. Further, to a newspaperman

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this report is excellent, being factual, giving names that were obviously carefully checked even to titles such as the C. B. E. of Mr. Gouin, and hardly being at all speculative. In fact, it is really a model report and one that some present-day newsmen might well emulate. Then, the persons concerned were not a bunch of citizens with names only to identify them; they were mostly people with responsible positions who must have been widely known at that time throughout the area, for the railroad played a very important part in the opening up and development of lower British Columbia. The reporter, moreover, himself took a very common-sense view of the business when he inquired what manner of creature this might be and stated flatly that it was completely human but for being covered with silky black hair and having exceptional strength in its arms. The asinine opinions of others—such as, that the similar if not identical creature seen before might have been a bear or a "stray Indian dog"—are recorded "straight" and without facetious comment. The whole thing cannot, in fact, be lightly dismissed. It therefore has to be most seriously considered.

The story has been publicized for some 50 years now, so that aficionados of ABSMery can often almost quote it verbatim but, although I must here class myself among these reportorial limpets, I wish to put on record one thought about it that has always stayed with me. This stemmed from a comment made in another paper shortly after the original story was published, and which asked quite without facetiousness also but with a slight air of mystification, how anybody could suggest that this "Jacko" could have been a chimpanzee that had escaped from a circus. This little aside puts the whole affair in a remarkably vivid light, for we tend to forget that it was penned 75 years ago in a country that was then only recently connected with the rest of the world. Also, it was written before palaeontologists had demonstrated that true monkeys and, more so, the apes (i.e. Pongids), never have existed in the Western Hemisphere.

This creature was captured, and it is absolutely sure that it existed in "captivity" for some time (a reporter in 1946 interviewed

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an old gentleman in Lytton, B.C. who remembered having seen it): it was not human, yet it was more so than it was anything else; it had definitely been captured on the Fraser River; therefore, there had to be some explanation of how it got there and what it was. The standard answers to these questions today would undoubtedly be that it was (1) a hoax, or (2) a "cross"—though between what and what would doubtless not be suggested, (3) a throwback—and probably an "Indian" one, (4) a little boy who had been lost years before on a hunting trip and either managed to survive all on his own or been fed by wolves, (5) a mentally defective glandular case from an "institution," or (6), and most likely of all, an ape escaped from a bankrupt circus. Surprisingly, the locals and even hard-boiled newspapermen of the time did not indulge in any of these latterday foibles: rather, they asked a straight question and poo-poohed any outlander's suggestion that it was a chimp escaped from a circus. They even inquired as to whether it might be a very primitive form of human or an as yet unidentified species of great ape, and in either case indigenous to the area.

I may be properly accused of harping on this case, but I think that of almost all ABSM reports it is perhaps the most cogent. It took place just within the "age of reason" (today, perhaps, rather a misnomer) in a country then inhabited and being opened up by the most extremely pragmatic Westerners of predominantly hard-headed Anglo-Saxon stock, at a time when there was little call for phoney sensationalism. It was not just a report of tracks or other secondary items, nor even of an alleged sighting; it was a clear and definite account of a capture by known people with all the witnesses needed for confirmation. Quite apart from anything else, it alone sets at nought the constant refrain "Well, why haven't we ever caught one?"

This is by no means the only ABSM that has been caught, but it is the only one that I know of that was caught by what we must call for lack of a better phrase "Westerners," and it is this culture that is the most skeptical, the most stubborn, and at the same time the most interested. Of course, the more

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aggravating part of the business is that there is no proper end to the Jacko story, and no physical evidence of his existence has come down to us—at least as far as anybody so far knows. What actually happened is not recorded; the only inkling that I have traced being a remark by Mr. Stephen Franklin, staff writer of Weekend magazine, in his excellent article dated April 4, 1959, in which it is stated (and I quote) that "The editor of the Inland Sentinel inopportunely chose this month (the one in which Jacko was captured) to hump his newspaper and his presses up the canyon from Yale to Kamloops, and didn't publish an edition for several weeks."

This statement is itself a kind of non sequitur since the original reports come from The Daily British Colonist, of Victoria. I made somewhat extensive search for any series on the forlorn Jacko in a Yale paper of old, but was unable to unearth even the morgue of the Inland Sentinel which moved to Kamloops. Jacko, sad to tell, just "dropped out of the news" without apparently further comment; perhaps the most enigmatic figure ever to appear on the pages of history and potentially one of the most important.

Would that we could unearth the end of this story and learn what did happen to him, for he must have either (1) escaped, (2) died, or (3) been killed, and in the two last events it is possible that some part of him may have been preserved and be lying either in somebody's attic trunk, or even in a museum. And do not for a moment get the idea that the latter is impossible. (See Chapter 20.)

Jacko, however, is not just an isolated imp that suddenly appeared upon the scene and then disappeared. Before his capture either he or one of his species had been reported from the same area by Mr. Alexander Caulfield Anderson, a well-known explorer and an executive of the Hudson's Bay Company, who was doing a "survey" of the newly opened territory and seeking a feasible trade route through it for his company. He reported just such hairy humanoids as having hurled rocks down upon him and his surveying party from more than one slope. That was in 1864. Many years later, Mr. J. W. Burns (now retired and living in San Francisco) who had devoted a

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lifetime to the study of this business, unearthed an old Amerindian woman from Port Douglas at the head of Harrison Lake (see Map II) who alleged, and brought some seconders to confirm, that she had been kidnapped by one of these creatures in the year 1871, kept by it for a year, but finally returned by it to her tribal homestead because she "aggravated it so much" (though, she said, it had treated her with every consideration) . This old lady died in 1940 at the age of 86. When abducted she was 17 years old and was, she stated, forced to swim the Harrison River by the ABSM and then carried by him to a rock shelter where its aged parents dwelt. This account comes from Mr. Burns who had for years enjoyed the confidence of this retiring Amerind. It has been embellished in various ways by others to the effects that the girl had rosin plastered over her eyes by the creature; that she became pregnant by it; and that she subsequently gave birth to a half-breed that either was stillborn, died shortly after birth, or is still hidden by her people from the eyes of the white man. She never said any of these things to Mr. Burns but adhered to her straightforward story till her death. Nor is this woman's story unique. All the Amerinds of southern British Columbia Washington State, Oregon, parts of Idaho, and the Yuroks and the Hŭppas of northern California not only have similar tales to tell but a history of these creatures so complete and extensive that it would take a volume to tell in itself. The poor Amerinds have always been and still are regarded by Americans and Canadians as "natives," which indeed they are, but in the same light as the British used to regard the inhabitants of all countries other than their own or at least beyond the confines of western Europe. The stories told by, and the traditions of, Amerinds are not, therefore, regarded as of much worth or reliability. Nonetheless and despite the fact that these peoples did not previously write and have had even today little if any contact among themselves over any distance, their reports upon these local ABSMs are absolutely the same all the way from the Mackenzie Range of Alaska through the Yukon and British Columbia, down through Washington and Oregon to California, and back to

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the western flank of the Rockies in Idaho. There are traditions and folk-tales spread over an even wider area among these people, but this is another matter. I am here speaking of perfectly straightforward, up-to-date accounts of encounters with such creatures that have been made by them ever since the white man first got to speak with them and which have come in from one source or another annually every year since the capture of Jacko. I will interject some of these as I go along.

Before doing so, however, I must put on record that I do not share the old British or what seems to be the current American opinion of "natives" and never have. Further, as a working reporter, having now been privileged to travel extensively throughout just the five continents with which we are concerned in this story, I would state that I find the so-called "native" in some respects on the whole more reliable than the foreigner, and the white foreigner in particular. First, they seem to me to know their country better; secondly, those of them that are country folk are almost invariably consummate naturalists and know their local fauna inside out (and much better than we do); third, if they like you and feel that you are not going to laugh at everything they say, they are very pragmatic and are willing to tell you, straight, what is what in their opinion; fourth, provided one appreciates the very basic fact that to many non-Europeans there is a nonmaterial world that is just as real as the material one, one can readily distinguish between stories of one and the other, and may even without giving offense ask the teller to which category any story belongs. When my job was collecting animals for scientific institutions in out of the way parts of the world—a profession I pursued for two decades—I always asked the natives for information on their local fauna. While all people may display, and often do so, lapses or gaps in their knowledge, and so just do not know an animal that has always been right under their noses, what they do tell has, I have found, invariably turned out to be the truth. More than this, some peoples, such as the Mayas of Yucatan, are absolutely incredible "taxonomists" in that they differentiate, and have names for every type of animal, so that in one case I found out after long and patient

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recording phonetically that they even had the spiders of their country classified, all in just the same way as does our modern zoology. Then finally, I would also put on record that I have a particular respect for the nonprofessional American "Indian" as he is so incorrectly and lugubriously called.

My wife and I have lived with various of these peoples—and they are as varied a lot as "Europeans" if not more so—off and on for many years; we did so in rather exceptional circumstances in that we were neither their employers nor employees, were not interested specifically in their "culture," art, or anything else, but had several mutual interests with them in their crops, stock, local wildlife, and plants. My wife has an exceptional knack of learning languages by ear and under appropriate circumstances and in local costume she can look like almost any race on earth while I, as a "doctor" or "medicine person" was on the one hand unobtrusive and inoffensive to them while, on the other, having my wife with me I could browse around in the obscurer corners of life without giving concern to the elders or alarm to my male contemporaries. Thus, by simply living alongside these people—and going to their dances only for the fun of it, instead of to study their alleged implications, and so forth—we came to chat around the evening fire of many things. While I have found the African the most enjoyable company at such times of genuine relaxation, and the Malayan peoples the most informed (sometimes terrifyingly so to a European), it has been the Amerinds that I have found to be the most down to earth and pragmatic. Many of these peoples—and they are the first to admit it; roar with laughter at the fact; and will not be offended by a sincere friend saying so—love to drink alcohol and sometimes indulge in stimulants that we class as narcotics, and when they do so they can very readily become uproarious in all manner of ways. At these times they will concoct the most delicious imagery compounded of mysticism, ancient tradition, and personal whim, and, while there may be all manner of historical gems to be gleaned from such outpourings, none of it should be taken as "exact science." When, however, they are stone-cold "sober," in the strictest sense of that loose term, they can

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give out information of a caliber that would do justice to a Yale professor. Don't ever underestimate the Amerind or his knowledge! I shall not forget a remark made to a partner of mine, who has also lived with these people and likes them very much, so that they seem to like him. He was making exhaustive inquiries into this very matter of ABSMs, when an old gentleman—a doyen of his tribal unit and a pillar of the local church —suddenly burst out with "Oh! Don't tell me the white men have finally gotten around to that?"

Let us, nonetheless, ignore the Amerinds for the moment and concentrate on the unfolding of ABSMery in and about British Columbia as reported by "white men" or allegedly witnessed by them. This history is now just about 100 years old, starting with Mr. Anderson of the Hudson's Bay Company. During this period some paleface appears to have reported an ABSM incident almost every year and they are now doing so in droves, to such an exaggerated extent that even Chambers of Commerce (vide that of Harrison Lake, the leading resort area for the vast city of Vancouver) have gotten into the act, and one sees large cutouts of the creatures along highways advertising everything from motels and garages to bakeries, cleaning services, and speedboats. Most notable contributions to this tradition have been made in the years 1901, 1904, 1907, 1909, 1910, 1912, 1915, 1924, 1936, 1939, 1941, 1948, 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1959. And all but two of these were "sightings" or rather personal encounters, but usually confirmed by more than one witness—not just dreary footprints found in snow or mud, hanks of hair, overturned barrels, or piles of excrement. This is really a pretty astonishing picture and makes affairs even in Nepal look somewhat picayune. All of this centers around the lower Fraser River and notably around Lake Harrison. Therefore, I resort, as usual, to a map in order to cut down verbiage. All of these reports have been published before, and often so many times that there are those who feel that the process has been protracted ad nauseam. Nevertheless, I am, as I have said, myself reporting and I do not know of any one place where all of them have been brought together in chronological order. That anything like

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this could have been going on for a century right in our front yard—it being politically in Canada—is amazing enough but we are to get an even more profound jolt when we come to see that the very same thing has been going on in our own back yard—to wit, in Washington, Oregon, California, and, according to none other than Theodore Roosevelt, at one time at least, in Idaho.

The opening gambit was a sworn statement made by a highly respected lumberman who had also been most successful as a timber-cruiser and prospector, named Mike King. This gentleman had had to penetrate an isolated area in the north of Vancouver Island in 1901 alone, because his Amerindian employees refused even to enter it on any account but mostly because they said that it was a territory of the "Wildmen of the Woods." From other accounts of Mr. King it seems that he was not a man to be diverted from essential business routine by such stories, but that he had a profound respect for the local "natives" because they had guided him to a reasonable fortune on more than one occasion simply by their real knowledge of the country and the timber that grew in it. Some days after penetrating this wild area, Mr. King topped a ridge and spotted below a creature squatting by a creek washing some kind of roots and arranging them in two neat piles beside him, or her, on the bank. This should be compared with the specific remarks made by Mr. Ostman (Chap. 3) on the same subject. In my interview with Mr. Ostman, he stressed the collection of roots by the creatures and even named the plant most chosen, also the careful washing and stacking of these. Perhaps he got the notion from reading this account, but personally I doubt it. King's natural instinct was to raise his rifle and sight, for the creature was large, covered in reddish brown fur, and thus potentially dangerous. By the time the fact that brown bears don't wash roots and stack them up had penetrated, he realized that he had some kind of humanoid in his sights and he lowered the rifle. The creature took off, running like a man and, as Mr. King later reported: "His arms were peculiarly long and used freely in climbing and bush-running [i.e. scrambling on all fours through scrub]." King descended the

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slope and inspected the spoor left by the departed one, and noted that it was a distinctly "human foot but with phenomenally long and spreading toes." *

On reading the original account from an old clipping to a company of easterners some years ago, I heard somebody murmur, "And so endeth the first lesson." And so indeed! For, although that statement has been repeatedly recounted and Mike King has been repeatedly said to have elaborated, no further direct quotes appear to be extant. This is the way that unexpected things happen. I know from the few that I have experienced. You are not prepared for them; by the time you have managed to bring your senses to bear upon them, they are up and away; and you are left gaping, with a blurred impression all around a single vivid centerpiece. What more can you add unless you want to be a tattler? Mike King apparently had both the decency and the common sense to say what he had to say and then shut up.

The next lot to have a similar encounter (in 1904) were out hunting near Great Central Lake on Vancouver Island. Their names were J. Kincaid, T. Hutchins, A. Crump, and W. Buss, four citizens of Qualicum. They were apparently beating the bush, and put up what they afterward described as a boy ABSM that was covered with brown hair but had long head-hair and a beard. This is a very odd report in that it otherwise crops up only once or twice in all the accounts of ABSMs, and is, categorically, contrary to all the other reports by everybody who has alleged that he or she has seen these creatures at close range.

The third classic report is dated 1907 and was made by the Captain and crew of the coastal steamer Capilano on their return from a routine cruise during which they had called at a small landing named Bishop's Cove. There, they said, the entire Amerindian population had come charging aboard begging for asylum or outright emigration due to a huge monkey-like, human-shaped creature that had been clam-digging


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along their beach for a number of nights in succession, and which gave vent to most disturbing high-pitched howls. These people readily identified the creature but insisted that it had moved into their territory with its family, if not its whole clan, and that it would not brook any interference by a few poorly armed humans. The comments on this report are rather illuminating as they display a curious acknowledgement of the presence of such "Wildmen" and the fact that, while they are accepted as being basically peaceable and known to mind their own business, and while they avoid organized men in masses, they tend to adopt a nasty tone when it comes to hunting and collecting rights, and appear then to regard the Amerinds as interlopers and a nuisance. In 1907, however, the attitude of even the British toward real primitives was going through a peculiar phase; halfway between the concept of the "worthless native" and that of the "noble savage." The Amerinds had proved an unreliable labor force, while certain other non-Europeans had turned out to be far too civilized for rank exploitation. The idea of really primitive creatures had not yet been abandoned and everybody was still undecided just how to behave toward them. The thought that we might be dealing with sub-hominids did not, of course, occur to anybody professing any education (after all, Darwin was hardly cold as of then) but it remained in no way illogical to the uneducated, and it was played on by the press.

This may in some measure account for the solemnity with which a discovery made in 1912 was greeted. I got this report from Mr. Burns, mentioned above. It came to him from the principal, a Mr. Ernest A. Edwards, who states that he was residing at Shushwap, B.C., at that date, and that he and his wife had unearthed on the small island of Neskain a little way off the coast, a human skeleton that they found protruding from the bank of a river. The location was noted for its abundance of "arrowheads" of Amerindian origin. This skeleton is stated to have measured "from skull to ankel-joints-7 feet 6 inches, so with feet and scalp, the person must have been 8 feet tall." Mr. Burns received this information in a letter from Mr. Edwards in 1941, and this included the further comments

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that "I, together with my wife, examined the jaw. The teeth were of huge size, but in perfect condition—no cavities noticeable. The jawbone was so large it would span my face easily at the cheek bones. Together with the help of Indians, I crated it and shipped it to Rexham Museum, North Wales, England, where I believe it still is. In his acknowledgment, the Curator of the museum was greatly astonished, remarking among other observations, that it was hard to believe such jaws and teeth `existed' in human beings."

The receipt of such intelligence as this naturally prompts an almost fiendish "Ho-ho! what is this?" on the part of any reporter, so I wrote to the Curator of the museum specified and got the following reply from the Librarian of the town of Wrexham (not Rexham, there being no such town in Wales or anywhere else in Great Britain): "With regard to your query, I have checked the Minutes of this establishment [i.e. museum and public library] for the years 1912, 1913, and 1914, and there is no mention of the receipt of a skeleton. Yours sincerely, Clifford Harris, F.L.A."

Reports of the discovery of the skeletons of giant humans or humanoids are extremely numerous, and have been coming in from all over this continent for many years. They constitute a subject of their own which I have endeavored to pursue for a long time now but, I regret to have to say, without any success. One and all have just "evaporated" like this, but, I must admit, very often within the portals of some museum which had acknowledged receipt of the relic. There is the famous story of the forty mummified giants in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky; of the giants in giant coffins in some unnamed cave in Utah; of others dug up in a peat bog in West Virginia and allegedly shipped to the Smithsonian; and of others "preserved" in sundry small county museums in Nevada. I have voluminous correspondence on file on these items but I have never yet managed to obtain sight of any single bone. This is odd because human giants are not really terribly rare [I have seen it stated that there are several thousand men over 7 feet tall living today in the United States] whereas such persons in the past would probably have been regarded with some awe

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and might be expected to have been accorded rather special burial, so augmenting our chances of unearthing them. The matter of skeletal remains of ABSMs is, of course, of first importance and second only to the procurement of a whole living specimen. The chance of unearthing a skeleton of one is not quite so unlikely as one might suppose, for it now transpires that very primitive peoples indeed seem to have performed deliberate interments, if only to clear away refuse from a cannibalistic meal in a cave. Some ABSMs might well be or have once been at such a level of "cultural" development and it is constantly reported by the Amerinds in this area that their particular local variety indulge something akin to hibernation, or at least winter inactivity equivalent to that of the local bears, and that they do this in caves. This presents a dubious aspect of these traditions however, because, in the absence of limestone strata in the area, caves are rarities. Nonetheless, there are caves in volcanic rocks of certain kinds and some have been alleged to have been found in the mountains around Harrison Lake. There is one story of such that pertains to ABSMs. This again I got from Mr. J. W. Burns. It goes as follows and comes from an Amerind named Charley Victor, a resident of Chilliwack on the lower Fraser:


The first time I came to know about these people [the local ABSMs, now named Sasquatches], I did not see anybody. Three young men and myself were picking salmonberries on a rocky mountain slope 5 or 6 miles from the old town of Yale. In our search for berries we suddenly stumbled upon a large opening in the side of the mountain. This discovery greatly surprised all of us, for we knew every foot of the mountain, and never knew nor heard there was a cave in the vicinity. Outside the mouth of the cave there was an enormous boulder. We peered into the cavity but couldn't see anything. We gathered some pitchwood, lighted it and began to explore. But before we got very far from the entrance of the cave, we came upon a sort of stone house or enclosure. It was a crude affair. We couldn't make a thorough examination, for our pitchwood kept going out. We left, intending to return in a couple of days and go on exploring. Old Indians, to whom we told the story of our discovery, warned us not to venture near the cave again, as it was surely occupied by a Sasquatch. That was the

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first time I heard about the hairy men that inhabit the mountains. We, however, disregarded the advice of the old men and sneaked off to explore the cave, but to our great disappointment found the boulder rolled back into the mouth and fitting it so nicely that you might suppose it had been made for that purpose.

This story seems to me to have a certain ring of truth about it, and the idea of using a boulder as a door, either for protective purposes or for concealment of a breeding-chamber, is not in any way illogical or impossible, There is, however, it should be pointed out, a modern tendency to, as it were, chase anything elusive back into caves, and especially wild men; probably because of all that has been written, from archaeological texts to comic books, about "Cave Men." The majority of primitive hominids did not live in caves; simply, because the number of caves available was, except in a few special areas, very limited. [Further, they may have first entered them to get away from either heat or rain as much as from cold.] Yet, the remains of early men and animals are better and more readily preserved in cave floors than out in the open, while locating open-air camping sights is very chancy. The idea that men went through a cave-living phase, all over the world, has therefore gained wide credence. Sasquatches could just as well hole up in ice-caves made by themselves in deep snow, as some bears do. But caves should be searched most diligently for remains or other evidence of their occupation.

It was not too far away from this alleged cave site that the next encounter of which we have record and that is documented, sworn to, and witnessed by more than one person, took place in 1915. A Statutory Declaration of this was sworn to in September of 1957 by one of the participants, Mr. Charles Flood of Westminster, B.C. This goes as follows:


I, Charles Flood of New Westminster (formerly of Hope) declare the following story to be true:

I am 75 years of age and spent most of my life prospecting in the local mountains to the south of Hope, toward the American boundary and in the Chilliwack Lake area.


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In 1915, Donald McRae and Green Hicks of Agassiz, B.C. and myself, explored an area over an unknown divide, on the way back to Hope, near the Holy Cross Mountains.

Green Hicks, a half-breed Indian, told McRae and me a story, he claimed he had seen alligators at what he called Alligator lake, and wild humans at what he called Cougar Lake. Out of curiosity we went with him; he had been there a week previous looking for a fur trap line. Sure enough, we saw his alligators, but they were black, twice the size of lizards in a small mud lake.

Awhile further up was Cougar Lake. Several years before a fire swept over many square miles of mountains which resulted in large areas of mountain huckle-berry growth. Green Hicks suddenly stopped us and drew our attention to a large, light brown creature about 8 feet high, standing on its hind legs (standing upright) pulling the berry bushes with one hand or paw toward him and putting berries in his mouth with the other hand, or paw.

I stood still wondering, and McRae and Green Hicks were arguing. Hicks said "it is a wild man" and McRae said "it is a bear." As far as I am concerned the strange creature looked more like a human being. We seen several black and brown bear on the trip, but that thing looked altogether different. Huge brown bear are known to be in Alaska, but have never been seen in southern British Columbia.


This document brings up two questions that I should discuss briefly forthwith. The first is the matter of the Law. As I have already said, we in this country do not have much respect for this aspect of human organization and often tend to the observation that "laws are only made to be broken." This is not so in some other countries however, and the Canadians have an intense respect for their laws and for authority in general. Canadians will scoff at the suggestion that one of their countrymen is more likely not to lie before a justice of the peace than an American, but it is nonetheless a fact that a Canadian is more likely to make such a deposition if his veracity has been called in question and/or he wants to assert his sincerity. Also, he will think longer and more carefully about his statement if made before established authority because, should anything he say therein be mendacious and thereby cause any distress or harm to others, he will be held fully accountable. Thus, these sworn statements and others

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that follow have a rather strong implication. The other matter is the introduction of an almost classic red herring.

As I explain at greater length in Chapter 19, an inexplicably high percentage of all esoteric investigations turn up other unexpected and apparently unrelated matters that are often just as weird, if not more so, than the original object of pursuit. In this case, the matter of "alligators" is quite extraordinary and quite beyond my comprehension. Alligators, per se, are only two in number, one species being indigenous to the Mississippi Valley and around the Gulf coast to Florida; the other to the Yangtse-Kiang Valley of China. The term "alligator" has, however, become a colloquialism for all the crocodilians, and it is also applied in some countries to various lizards that spend most of their time in fresh water. Popular names are also very dangerous in that they become displaced in the most outrageous manner, such as the designation of a species of tortoise in Florida as a "gopher," when that is the name for a group of small mammals otherwise called ground-squirrels. Reptiles are, however, cold-blooded, and the existence of an aquatic one in even southern British Columbia would be unlikely, to say the least. Yet, there is a species of salamander [an amphibian named Batracochoseps] found in Alaska, and the giant salamander of the mountain streams of Japan is customarily iced in every winter. The mere mention of such a creature as an alligator in this story tends to cast doubt upon its other features, but then who is to say what can or cannot be. There is volcanicity in the area, and there might thus be hot or warm springs and lakes there. Also, at some time, one or other of the present-day species of alligator must have gotten either from China to the Mississippi, or vice versa. The only route for such an emigration is over the Bering Straits; thus passing through what is now British Columbia along the way.

This matter of volcanicity and hot springs brings us to another really quite fabulous item of Canadian ABSMery. This is the matter of the lower Nahanni area of the Northwest Territories. If you go to the western part of the Northwest Territories you will sooner or later be told about the place where

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banana trees have been grown. This sounds quite wacky but, if you pursue the matter diligently, you will learn that in the area of the junction of the Liard and South Nahanni Rivers (see Map I), lying against the vast mountain barrier which cuts our entire continent from the mouth of the Mackenzie River on the Arctic Sea to Vera Cruz on the Gulf of Mexico, abutting on to the central plains like a monstrous wall, there is a volcanic area where hot springs are found. There have been mission stations along the Liard for over a century and it is quite true that at these, magnificent vegetables are grown out in the open in the brief but intense summer. Also, they have been raised indoors, and among these vegetables have been a number of banana trees. However, this area, which lies at the south end of the vast Mackenzie Range, has long been one of myth and fantasy. The reports emanating from there cannot better be summed up than by quoting a column from a publication named Doubt, the periodical of the Fortean Society of New York. It was founded by the late author, Tiffany Thayer, in conjunction with several other notable persons such as Ben Hecht, in memory of, and to carry on the work of Charles Fort, that assiduous collector of borderline reports for so many years. This reads in part, when speaking of an expedition said to have been organized to visit the area:


This Valley, number one legend of the Northlands, has as its background, stories of tropical growth, hot springs, head-hunting mountain-men, caves, pre-historic monsters, wailing winds, and lost gold mines. Actual fact certifies the hot springs, the wailing winds, and some person or persons who delight in lopping off prospectors' heads. As for the prehistoric monsters, Indians have returned from the Nahanni country with fairly accurate drawings of mastodons burned on raw hide. The more recent history began some 40 years ago (circa 1910) when the two MacLeod brothers of Fort Simpson were found dead in the valley, and reportedly decapitated. Already the Indians shunned the place because of its "mammoth grizzlies" and "evil spirits wailing in the canyons."

Canadian police records show that Joe Mulholland of Minnesota, Bill Espler of Winnipeg, Phil Powers and the MacLeod brothers of Ft. Simpson, Martin Jorgenson, Yukon Fischer, Annie La Ferte, one O'Brien, Edwin Hall, Andy Hays, an unidentified prospector and Ernest Savard have perished


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in the strange valley since 1910. In 1945 the body of Savard was found in his sleeping bag, head nearly severed from his shoulders. Savard had previously brought rich ore samples out of the Nahanni. In 1946 Prospector John Patterson disappeared in the valley. His partner, Frank Henderson, was to have met him there, but never found him.

The "head-hunting mountain-men" are alleged locally [and for a great distance around, stretching to the limits of the mountain forest toward Alaska, * east to northern Manitoba, and south all the way to the lower Fraser and beyond], to be ABSMs of the Sasquatch type and with all its characteristics, such as winter-withdrawal, occasional bursts of carnivorousness, and so forth. I also have reports in the form of private letters of similar creatures from all across the Northwest Territories just south of the tree-line, and again in northern Quebec Province.

This is a somewhat irksome matter as I have been unable to obtain any casts of footprints or other physical evidence from these regions nor even sworn statements as yet. The reports are categoric and specific. Those from northern Manitoba are second hand only, and from Amerindian informants via white men who have hunted there for many years in succession. Those from Quebec have puzzled me for years. I have constantly heard about them but have only three pieces of paper to show for my exhaustive and prolonged inquiries and appeals. These are all letters from American summer visitors on serious hunting and camping trips by canoe, guided by professional Amerindian trappers and hunters. All three are substantially identical and all give somewhat similar accounts of events in widely separated places. One is from a lone man, a business executive from Chicago; one is from a party of four men of assorted professions who have hunted for years on their annual vacations together; the third is from the father of


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a family of four—three grown sons and a (then) teenage daughter.

In each case, a tall, very heavily built, man-shaped creature with bullet-head and bull-neck, and clothed all over in long shiny black hair, with very long arms, short legs and big hands, is said suddenly to have appeared on the bank of a river in which the party was quietly fishing. On one occasion, the creature is said to have carried off some fish left on a rock on the bank; on another it chased the Amerindian guide out of the woods and into his canoe and then waded some distance out into the water after him. The family party seem to have become fairly familiar with two of the creatures over a period of several days. They say they constantly prowled around their camp, and showed themselves among the trees whenever they went out in the canoes. One seems to have shown signs of chasing the girl on one occasion but, the father told me, they gained the impression that this seemed to be more through curiosity than menace. Two of the Amerinds are said to have asserted that they and their people knew the creatures quite well and that there were quite a lot of them in those forests. The other guide, who was chased, appeared to be scared almost witless and swore that the thing was some form of spirit or devil. However, it smashed branches and hurled stones, it is reported.

I am frankly stymied over these reports. Two of the writers asked that I withhold their names in perpetuo as they did not want the reports to become known to their business associates. The third man I never traced. It was many months before I could get to the places from where these people wrote and although I traced two of them, they all stopped answering my letters and I am left with nothing to follow up. This is an almost chronic condition of laborers in the vineyards of ABSMery. People almost all just dry up in time. Of course, many probably write in the first place by way of a joke or just to see how gullible the inquirer is; but not all are of this ilk. Many people also, I believe, take fright at the possibility of ridicule, or even become alarmed about their own sanity, after they have once gotten something so unusual off their

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chests. Others again, either consider the matter explained or just don't want it explained. It takes years of work to get at the facts and this is rendered almost futile when one is dealing with a new locale that is only just being penetrated by civilized people.

The ABSM tradition extends all across Canada but is concentrated in southern British Columbia; probably because that was the first area opened up and is still being probed from all around.


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Footnotes
22:* For the definition of the continents and their delimitation in accordance with the distribution of land-masses, as well as an explanation of the misconceptions about their identity, see Chapter 18.

35:* This remark, and particularly the word "long" used to describe the toes, rather than the whole foot, is most pertinent as we shall see when we come to examine the tracks of the Oh-Mahs.

43:* The dividing line between two major types of vegetation forms a great curve to the north close to this area, and then bends down to the south, and even southeast for a stretch, along the Pacific coast. The southernmost of these is a type of forest that grows far up mountainsides; the northern type grows only in valleys, leaving the upper slopes bare. ABSMs are reported from all over the former in the mountains but not from the latter. (See Chapter 18.)



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« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2008, 12:21:56 pm »

3. Further Sasquatchery

What are you going to do with a new story when you've got one? How do you know it is not an old one plastered over with new facts?

Just because I have skipped over some 60 years by the recounting of only 8 stories, is not to be taken to mean that these were the only reports current during that period. Quite to the contrary, almost every year somebody or some group of people in southern British Columbia stated that they had either run into a Sasquatch, been chased by one, shot at one, or seen its foot-tracks. Many of these accounts are from our friends, the Amerinds, and many of them are not specifically dated. They begin "Some years ago …" or "Early last year …" but fail to state which year, or how many years ago. A lot of these have become garbled because of loose reporting or because they were made to specialists in local languages, each of which has a different name for its local ABSMs. The very name, Sasquatch, now so widely disseminated and known in Canada, is actually of partially artificial construction and was first, I understand, coined by Mr. Burns in an effort to obviate some of this muddle and to draw attention to the fact that throughout a very wide area—from the Yukon to California—all the names refer to the same creature. This name is derived from the Salish Amerindian word for "wild-men of the woods" which may be transliterated as Te Smai'Etl Soqwaia'm, also written as Sami "Soq" wia'm, the form used by the Chehalis tribal group. Farther south among the Pugets, the name was Hoquiam, now the name of a flourishing small town on the Chehalis River south of the Olympic Mountains in Washington State. However, many of the locals had a habit

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of prefixing almost everything with a sibilant so that this name also came as S'oq'wiam. In the Cascades the name was See-ah-tik but down around Mt. Shasta it was See-oh-mah. In the Klamaths we note that it is still Oh-Mah among the Hŭppa, while the Yuroks call them Toki-mussi. On Vancouver Island, and north up the inlets of the mainland, the sound changes to something more like "Sokqueatl" or "Soss-q'atl" and it was from this that Mr. Burns derived the anglicized "Sasquatch," or "Susquotch" as Americans have usually written it.

I mentioned above that all these names refer to a single kind of creature. This is so, as far as the Amerinds are concerned; but, you may well ask as you read on, how come these creatures are stated to vary so much in appearance. On analysis, it will be noted that this variation is almost exclusively in two features—length and quality of hair and its disposal about the body, and color of skin and fur. Further analysis will also show that these differences seem to be due to age and sex. The young ones, like Jacko and the one shot by a local hunter and to be described in a moment, are said to have had light faces and yet black, shiny, straight, and apparently orderly hair all over (one imagines like that of a chimpanzee), but the adults are invariably said to have black faces and skin, and reddish-brown fur, often shaggy, and sometimes washed with white or silver-tipped. The matter of long head-hair is variable but most of the close-up sightings speak of very short head-hair, no beard, but a curiously forward, upward, and finally backward curl of longer hair all across the brow like that seen on certain Spider Monkeys (genus Ateles) . I reproduce a photograph of a sketch that I made under the direction of Mr. Ostman during our interview, that emphasizes this strange feature. (See Fig. 41.)

The growth and rearrangement of body hair with age is absolutely consistent with what is known among other mammals and notably primates and particularly apes. Further, the changes in color are exactly what we would expect and are very similar to those to be noted among gorillas and some gibbons. Baby chimpanzees often start off with faces and

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Click to enlarge
MAP II. BRITISH COLUMBIA


MAP II. BRITISH COLUMBIA


This represents an area of some 270,000 square miles. Ninety per cent of this is uninhabited, despite the enormous conglomeration of the City of Vancouver, the old capital of Victoria on Vancouver Island, and the somewhat extensive cultivated areas on that island and about the lower reaches of the Frazer River from Agassiz west. The coastal plains of Puget Sound add only 2 per cent. The whole of it, apart from Vancouver Island, the Frazer delta, and the Puget Sound area, is mightily mountainous and great parts are not truly explored, though there are now excellent large-scale maps resultant from aerial surveys. The Olympic Mountains and the coastal fringe northward around Vancouver Island and north of the lower Frazer River are clothed in an immensely tall, several-layered "Rain Forest" with conifers predominating (the largest trees in the world are found here) and choked with mosses, ferns, and a broadleafed undergrowth. The other areas are heavily forested but for their peaks.

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hands the color of those of white men but end up with complexions as dark as Dravidians or Wolofs. Some gorillas develop a distinct gingery tinge—the "black" of mammalian hair being only melanin, and really a very dark red—and almost all of them go silvery gray with age. Some gorilla families have bright red topknots just like some human beings. Some gibbons vary in a most bewildering way in coat colors. They may be black, gray, chocolate, white, or beige to start with and throughout life, or they may change from one color to another with age. Different races of the different species do all manner of different things in this respect. It is therefore quite consistent that these large ABSMs should start off with jet black hair and light skins, and end up hoary old black-faced creatures with silver-tipped reddish fur. The females might lack the gray and might be less shaggy. There may also be family likenesses to start with.

Let us assume that we are now chronologically at the turn of the year 1920 to 1921 but still in British Columbia. As I said in the brief historical review of world-wide ABSMery, this was a most important date in that it saw the birth of the term "Abominable Snowman" and really kicked off the whole

 

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thing. I have often wondered what would have happened if the Squamish word for these creatures in their country, instead, had happened to have been mistranslated as something equally fetching. I suppose we would then, in time, have witnessed a New York Journal American Expedition to Harrison Lakes, and Admiral Byrd flying skin-trophies to Chicago from the hamlets of the Alaskan panhandle. It is nothing more than a quirk of history and a series of harmless mistakes that has put Nepal instead of Vancouver Island on the map in this respect; though it has to be admitted that Mt. Everest has played its part.

It was about this time, moreover, that an incident is alleged to have occurred in this area that is in many ways perhaps one of the most fantastic ABSM stories ever told. It only came to light in 1957 but concerns happenings alleged to have taken place in 1924 in the mountains behind Toba Inlet, which is on the coast of British Columbia (see Map II). It came to light through a letter (written to John Green, owner of The Advance, published in Agassiz, a small town near Harrison, some 70 miles from Vancouver) by a retired prospector and lumberman of Swedish origin named Mr. Albert Ostman. This letter was a result of the publication by Mr. Green of an affidavit sworn to by a Mr. William Roe (now of Edmonton, Alberta) concerning certain experiences he had in the year 1955 on Mica Mountain on the Alberta border. (This latter statement is reproduced in full in the next chapter and concerns Mr. Roe's meeting with a female Sasquatch.) Reading this, Mr. Ostman apparently decided to break more than a quarter century of silence and relate what had happened to him. Mr. Ostman now lives at Fort Langley outside Chilliwack, and John Green, who for years has gathered information on the Sasquatches, sought him out and persuaded him to write his full story. This Mr. Ostman did—painstakingly, and in two large notebooks. John Green published this in his newspaper along with a photostat of a sworn affidavit testifying to its truth by Mr. Ostman.

I had the pleasure of meeting both gentlemen in company

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with a partner of mine, Robert Christie, who was traveling with me at the time, and a Mr. and Mrs. René Dahinden. He is Swiss; his wife, Swedish, as is Mr. Ostman. As I already had Mr. Ostman's story both on paper and on tape from an interview between him and a reporter from a local radio station, I confined my questions to trying to recall his memory about certain zoological or anthropological details. I fully admit to having loaded these questions with snares and abstruse technical catches, and to having been rather rough in my approach. I know that I thereby incensed John Green and the Dahindens, who not only have a very great affection and respect for Mr. Ostman but feel that, with his still slight language difficulty, outsiders such as I tend to rattle him. I do not agree, in that Mr. Ostman has the wisdom of age as well as long experience, and a sense of humor that cannot be downed; and I don't think that he was annoyed with me then, or will be hurt if he reads this. In fact, I felt that he was twinkling at me all the time; and I fancy that, if he ever thought of me after I left, it was simply as a "very funny fellow," as he might say. This is more the case since I went away a very puzzled reporter.

This story, when read cold, sounds utterly preposterous. If one has read a great deal on ABSMs in general and on the Sasquatch in particular it also, at first, appears highly suspicious because it seems to knit together just about everything else that has ever been published on the matter. In fact, given some firsthand experience of the country, I could have written just that story myself. The world is full of good weavers of yarns and some of them, who are not professional writers of fiction, can be so damnably convincing that they have fooled not only the press but governments and even peoples, if not the whole world. Fabrications, if well enough done, consistently adhered to, and big enough lies, can, as has so often been pointed out (e.g. the case of Hitler) be utterly convincing. However, in technical matters, and most notably in the bio- logical sciences, there are subjects that just cannot be imagined or thought up by anybody, unless they have learned of them

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specifically in advance and, what is much more important, their exact significance relative to a whole host of other technicalities is appreciated. Anybody can read everything that has been published on Sasquatches and yet still attribute to them some trivial biological character that really is impossible. In the case of ABSMs there are a large number of very abstruse matters of this nature that may be slipped in casually. Only one answer to these can be right, while an endless string of other answers will be wrong, and conclusively so. I put about two dozen of such, directly and unexpectedly, to Mr. Ostman and, of all those for which he had a reply, he did not miss once—not one impossible answer; not a single uncalled-for elaboration; and not one unrequested fact that did not have a possible and quite logical place in the general picture. What is more, when we got off on the sketching of the creature's head, there emerged several points that were not then in published Sasquatch literature, nor in that on any ABSM, nor even in textbooks of physical anthropology. Yet, subsequent to that interview, some of these points (such as the odd head-shape) have appeared in the last type of publication.

This is really rather alarming and has given me many sleepless nights. Some things I just cannot bring myself to take at their face evaluation; and, frankly, Mr. Ostman's story was at first one of these. Besides, he even included some gross fallacies such as that he became poisoned through eating a broody grouse—an old wives' tale, if ever there was one. But then, I have to admit to myself now, that this fact is still believed in parts of his home country—namely, that one does get poisoned by eating birds taken sitting on eggs—and that he probably believed this; while he was in poor enough condition at the time of his adventure to be made sick by almost anything. Also, I ask myself, why tell this story? Mr. Ostman is not an uneducated country bumpkin. He is well read, speaks three languages, has traveled quite a lot, lives very much in the world, and knows quite well what ridicule is, and all about its deadly efficacy. He is retired, owns his own property, has

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many friends, and does not need publicity; nor does he welcome it, though he is extremely long-suffering and most gracious in discussing his experiences with newsmen and others who call upon him. He never told his story in his youth for fear of ridicule, knowing what effects it might have. He doesn't care now: he is still sincerely puzzled; and he is eager to do anything he can to help clear up the mystery. Mr. Ostman is, in fact, sick and tired of skeptics.

After a strenuous year on a job, he decided to take a part vacation with some prospecting on the side. He chose a wild area at the head of this Toba Inlet which is the first substantial fjord north of Powell River. This is on the mainland opposite the middle of Vancouver Island. There was allegedly a lost gold mine thereabouts and he decided to take a crack at finding it. He hired an old Amerind to take him up the fjord and he says that he first heard from him on that journey of the existence of the giant hairy "Wild Men of the Woods." He had supplies for three weeks, plus rifle, sleeping bag, and other basic equipment. The local man left him alone on shore and he proceeded inland and found a good campsite.

This he fixed up very comfortably, making a thick bed of small branches on which to place his sleeping bag, and hung his supply bags well off the ground on a pole. The next morning he, nonetheless, found his things disturbed, though nothing was missing. Being a knowledgeable woodsman, he assumed that a porcupine was responsible, so the following night he loaded his rifle and placed it under his bed flap. The next morning he found, to his dismay, that his packsack still hung from the pole well off the ground but that its contents had been emptied out and some items of food taken. Strangely, his salt had not been touched. This surprised him not a little, because porcupines have an insatiable craving for salt and always go for it first. At the same time, he did not think that it was a bear because, although he admits to having been a very heavy sleeper, bears usually make a great rumpus and smash up everything. Albert Ostman did not like these events one bit, so he stayed rather closely around camp in the hopes

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of catching the marauder in the act. On the third night he took special precautions; intending to stay awake all night, he did not undress but merely removed his boots and left them at the bottom of his sleeping bag, put his geological pick to hand, and took his loaded rifle into the bag with him. But he did fall asleep.

The next thing he knew he was being picked up like a puppy in a paper bag, and felt himself heaved, as he at first thought, on to a horse's back. Bemused and half awake, he tried to get at his knife to cut his way out of his sleeping bag, but he was wedged down into the bottom in a sitting position and could not reach it. Then he felt his packsack bumping against him with the hard cans within clearly discernible by their sharp impact. As far as I was able to ascertain in my interview with him, he was completely in the bag, as one might say, and its opening was being held shut above his head. How he managed to breathe in such circumstances, and for over an hour, puzzled me until he explained that he was slung over the back of something walking on two legs and that its hand was not big enough to go all around the bag-opening. I never heard Mr. Ostman say that he was scared, but he admits that he was terribly hot in there and that his cramped legs were extremely painful. Don't forget, moreover, that he hadn't a clue at that time as to what was going on or what had got him.

He says that he was carried up hill and down dale, when he was dragged along the ground, and that his carrier even jog-trotted over level places. This is some going for anything carrying a man of Ostman's size plus a knapsack full of supplies and other equipment. But, this is by no means the strangest part of the proceedings; yet it is still at least possible. Another aspect seems quite impossible; namely, that Ostman estimates—and sticks to it—that this trip in the bag took three hours. In an interview with a commentator from a radio station (a tape of which I have), but made, of course, a quarter of a century later, he says thirty miles. Personally, I fail to see how he survived such an ordeal, stuffed up in a bag, but that is not so much the point: what is are the time, the distances

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and the speed of travel implied. These are not easy things to estimate at the best of times, and they are among the first to become exaggerated in the mind with the passage of time. I wish that Mr. Ostman had not tried to give any estimates at such a late date since it causes the eyebrows of all who read or hear his story to go up sharply.

Anyhow, at the end of what must have been an ordeal, however brief it really was, he was dumped unceremoniously on the ground. He heard some voices gibbering but not using true speech as far as he could ascertain. He apparently got his head out of the bag for air and then tried to crawl out, but his legs had rather naturally gone numb and it was some time before he could emerge and rescue his boots. It was still dark and starting to rain. He then tells, in various characteristic ways, what happened when it began to dawn and he could see the outlines of four large creatures on two legs around him. I don't know if his native Swedish wit got the better of him, but he says that when he could stand up he asked the somewhat banal question: "What do you chaps want with me?" I find this most refreshing.

He found that his captors consisted of two big ones (a pair), and two youngsters, also a male and a female. He stresses that the two latter seemed thoroughly scared of him, and that the "Old Woman," as he rather delightfully called the elder female, seemed very peeved with her mate for dragging such an object home; but, he then goes on to say—and this I find very interesting, if odd—that the "Old Man" kept gesticulating, and telling the others all about it. In other words, their gibbering was speech. All of them were hairy and without clothing; and Ostman estimates the "Old Man" to have been between seven and eight feet tall. When the sun was fully up, they all left him.

He says that he found himself in a ten-acre bowl high in the mountains, its edges so steep as to be unscalable, and with only one outlet—a V-shaped cut with walls about twenty feet high and about eight feet wide at the bottom. It is not quite clear why, at this point, he did not try to make a break for

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this gap, but this was possibly because of his still wobbly legs. Later on, he made several attempts, both frontally at speed and by subtlety, but the "Old Man" kept a weather eye on him and invariably cut off his approach, making "pushing" motions with his hands, and a sound that Ostman invariably describes as something like "sooka-sooka." However, when he first arrived, he moved over to the opposite side of the bowl and set up camp under two small trees. I find the inventory that he says he took of his possessions most interesting. Prunes, macaroni, his full box of rifle cartridges, and his matches were missing; so was his pick. Otherwise, all was intact. He had an emergency waterproof box of matches in his pocket but says that there was no dry wood in the valley, which seems to have been open and grassy with a few scattered junipers. All his cooking utensils had also been left, but he opened a coffee-can and went to look for water.

I will now complete the story as best I can from the various versions that I have heard, though I would stress that Mr. Ostman is remarkably consistent however many times he tells his story. Each interviewer, however, manages to ask a new question and elicit from him some scraps of information that the teller had not thought of or mentioned before. As I don't know the sequence in which the various versions were recorded, I have no way of differentiating between inconsistencies and mere additions. It would seem that Ostman made his first attempt to get out on the second day but was driven back by the "Old Man." The young male kept coming closer to him and he finally rolled his empty snuff box to him. The Sasquatch grabbed it, showed it to his sister, and then took it to his father. Somehow, Ostman got it back, because he used it later. During the next five days nothing much seems to have occurred except that the young male gave Ostman some grass with sweet roots to eat and got some snuff in return, which he chewed. The "Old Man" then also developed a liking for snuff; and this finally did the trick.

On the seventh day, as far as I can make out, the boy and the "Old Man" came right up to Ostman and squatted down

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watching him take a pinch of snuff. Ostman held out the box to him (the "Old Man") who, instead of taking a pinch in imitation, grabbed the box and emptied its whole contents into his mouth and swallowed it. In a few minutes his eyes began to roll, he let out a screech, and grabbed a can half full of cold coffee and coffee-grounds, which he drank. This made him worse; and, after rolling about some more, he charged off to the spring. Ostman gathered up his possessions and made a dash for the opening in the cliff. The "Old Lady" tried to intercept him and was very close on his heels, but he fired a shot at the rock above her head and she fled back again. Ostman found himself in a canyon running south, down which he made record time, as he put it. Then, he climbed a ridge and saw Mount Baker way off to the side, so that he knew which way to go to hit the coast. He was not followed.

He rested for two hours on the ridge, then started down again. That night he camped near heavy timber and shot a grouse sitting on eggs; he roasted and ate the bird. The next morning he was very groggy and stomachically upset, which he attributed to eating the grouse, since it was his belief that a broody bird was poisonous. Finally, he heard a motor running and made for it, coming out at an advance logging operation. The foreman, seeing that he was just about at the end of his tether, took him in and fed him and let him rest up for a couple of days. Ostman then made his way down to a camp on the Salmon Arm Branch of the Sechelt Inlet, where he got a boat back to Vancouver.

This is Mr. Ostman's story and you may make what you will of it. As I have said, there are some curious discrepancies in it but not even these are impossibilities, with the exception of the times and the distances as mentioned above. The grouse, broody or not, could quite well have upset his stomach. Mr. Ostman seems to be a straightforward and honest man. But, it is the facts that he gave me about the ABSMs themselves that go farther than anything else to convince me of the validity of the whole thing—unless, of course, as I have also said above, he read all of these elsewhere.

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His descriptions of the creatures are considerably detailed. What is more, the sexual and age differences he describes are very reasonable, and do not in any way insult such variations as found among men or other primates. Of the adult male, he says that he was about eight feet tall, barrel-chested, with powerful shoulders and a very pronounced and large "hump" on his back, causing his head to be carried somewhat forward. This is exactly in accord with the posture of some sub-hominids as deducted from the angle at which the condyles are set to the back of the skull. The biceps were said to be enormous but to taper to the inside of the elbow; the forearm to be disproportionately (to a human) long but well proportioned. The hands were wide but the palm long and curved permanently into "a kind of a scoop"; the fingers short, and the nails flat, broad, and "shaped like chisels." Mr. Ostman mentioned to me quite casually that they were copper-colored. This is most significant, as we shall see later (Chapter 14) . He estimated the neck to be about thirty inches around. The whole body was covered in hair, somewhat longer on the head; shorter but thicker in other parts. It covered his ears. Only the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, which had pronounced pads, were naked and a dirty dark gray in color. The "top" (i.e. bridge) of the nose and eyelids alone were naked. The big male's canine teeth were longer than the others but not sufficiently so to be called tusks.

The adult female he described as being over seven feet tall and weighing between 500 and 600 pounds. He said that she could have been anywhere between forty and seventy years old, using humans as a criterion; but, she was apparently very ugly, with an enormously wide pelvis that caused her to walk like a goose. She had long, large, and pendent breasts.

The young male spent the most time near Ostman and was thus most closely observed. Ostman says that he could have been anywhere from eleven to eighteen years of age, but was already seven feet tall and weighed about 300 pounds. His chest would have measured between fifty and fifty-five inches around and his waist some twenty-six to thirty-eight inches:

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and don't forget that Mr. Ostman was a lumberman and better at estimating the girth of things (like trees) than the average person. He had wide jaws and a narrow, sloping forehead. The back of his head, as in all of them, apparently rose some four or five inches above the brow-line, and was pointed. Mr. Ostman went to great pains to explain this, and to get the shape just right, as shown in the sketch that I made under his direction (see Fig. 41) The head-hair was about six inches long; that on the body shorter but much thicker in some areas.

The young female was very shy; she did not approach Ostman closely but kept peeking at him from behind the bushes. He could not estimate her age, but remarks that she was without any visible breast development and was, in fact, quite flat-chested. Like her mother, she had a very pronounced up-curled bang across her brow-ridges. This was continuous from temple to temple. Curiously, no amount of questioning would prompt Mr. Ostman to elaborate any further on this individual, which may in part be psychological since it seems to be his conviction that he had been kidnaped as a potential suitor for her, and I think he has a sort of subconscious and rather touching modesty about her shyness. Mr. Ostman maintains a delightful old-world delicacy about the proprieties and neatly turned aside some purely biological questions with such noncommittal phrases as "I wouldn't know about that." But he did tell us of a few most interesting observations on the behavior of the group.

First and foremost was this gibbering in which they indulged. As his story progresses, it becomes quite clear that he assumed in the end that they were actually communicating intelligently, since they made a variety of noises befitting special situations and seemed to discuss the objects they carried one to the other. There was also the delightful expression "ook" that the young male made on one occasion. Then, almost equally significant, was the fact that the old female and the young male went regularly to gather vegetable foods; the former going out of the gap and returning with armsful of

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branches, including fresh spruce and hemlock tips, grasses, and ferns. These, he told me, she washed and stacked up. She also brought quantities of a certain kind of "ground nut" of a kind that Mr. Ostman had often seen in abundance on Vancouver Island. (Shades of Mike King!) Inquiry elicited the fact that this is a root-nodule of a herbaceous plant related to the Hemlock of Europe (not the tree called by that name in this continent), one form of which grows such nutlike growths that are edible and, in fact, delicious. The young male used also to go every day and return with bundles of a kind of grass with a "sweet root."

Mr. Ostman stressed the incredible climbing ability of the male youngster and remarked on the form of his and his father's feet as having an enormous big toe. At one point he states that, in order to get a purchase in climbing, all he would need would be to find a resting place for this toe alone.

One of Mr. Ostman's observations is very peculiar, and is one which can be taken either as evidence that the whole thing is a wild fabrication or as glowing testimony to the recorder's veracity and powers of observation. It brings up some very fundamental matters with regard to the history of culture among early hominids—if it proves to be true, that is. This was that, according to Mr. Ostman, the four creatures slept and lived for the most part under a rock-ledge like the rock-shelters known to have been favored by many Stone Age men. In this, which was some ten feet deep and thirty feet wide, he says that they had regular beds of branches, moss, and dry grass, and that they had coverlets of woven strips of bark, forming great flattened bags, and stuffed with dry grasses and moss. However, I could not elicit from Mr. Ostman any facts as to whether he visited the shelter and examined these objects or, if not, how he knew so much about their construction and composition. This worried, and still worries, me.

Should such items have existed, combined with the primitive speech, the collection of food and its washing, we are faced with a pretty problem. Are we to suppose that, prior to

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the use of bone and horn tools (such as the little very primitive Australopithecines of South Africa are now thought to have used) and the discovery and control of fire, hominids (man or otherwise) went through a prior period of food-gathering but still knew weaving? This would seem not to be unreasonable or illogical, though even crude weaving calls for considerable dexterity. Be it noted at the same time that Orangs, Chimps, and Gorillas tie true knots when making their sleeping platforms on occasion, while some Gorillas do so regularly. Weaving in its most primitive form, moreover, is little further advanced than excessive knot-tying; besides, some birds do the most incredibly accurate jobs of weaving, even with different colored wools, on a piece of small-mesh wire. Also, animals, and particularly the primates, definitely do communicate. (I may say that even I can speak fairly good Rhesus!)

Thus, there is nothing really outrageous about Mr. Ostman's statements about these creatures nor about the whole concept of some of the Sasquatches (Neo-Giants, as we shall eventually come to call them) being food-collectors, with a primitive speech but lacking fire, clothes, and tools. And, it is even more interesting to note that Mr. Ostman states clearly that he never saw them bring to their camp, or eat, any animal food. The most primitive sub-sub-hominids were probably, like their close congeners (the apes), fruit- and leaf-eaters. Only when some of them were forced out onto the savannahs, scrublands, and deserts did they have to take up animal-hunting and become partially or wholly carnivorous, as, apparently, did the Australopithecines of South Africa. If the Great Apes, still living today, have continued to be pure vegetarians, there is no reason why some of the most primitive Hominids could not also have so continued to be. This gives us a somewhat new concept of our own background and of the possibilities for ABSMs.

This brings up several questions that, if it were possible, ought to be discussed concurrently with any straight reportage on the ABSMs themselves. The details of a report on any such

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alleged creature cannot be evaluated properly without prior knowledge or exposition of certain aspects, on the one hand, of vegatology and, on the other, of palaeanthropology, both physical and cultural. Our whole outlook on the last of these fields has undergone a complete revolution in the past two decades. The old idea was that sub-Hominids had bent knees, a stooped gait, ape-like faces and teeth and tiny brains, and no "culture" at all, in that they had no speech, no fire, no tools. Then, it was also previously believed, sub-Men came along that stood more upright and were bigger-brained and less apelike about the muzzle. These creatures were assumed to have invented tools by bashing at things with stones, which often cracked, giving them cutting edges. The usual idea was that they were hunters and lived in caves, and progressed steadily toward Man, though taking an inordinately long time about it. Finally, some of them developed such big brains and pushed-in faces that they became true Men.

Meantime, their tools got better and better, finer made, and more diversified. Also, the great growth in certain parts of their brains made cogent speech possible. Then, the theory went, they somehow got on to fire and its uses as opposed to its dangers, developed "society," developed the art of pottery, and finally realized that from tiny seeds tall grasses grow, so that they gave up hunting and settled down to agriculture. And, in time, came the wheel, writing, money, and all the other improvements that inevitably contributed to their downfall. Be that as it may, the development of Hominid mentality, as opposed to mere brain capacity and structure, was not much considered, being assumed simply to have advanced along with his gray matter, since, it was then believed, you could not be expected to assess the psychology of any extinct creature and especially one with a brain no bigger than an ape's.

The first real break through this massive theoretical structure was really made by a rather dubious antiquarian named . Mr. Dawson, who foisted upon science not only the now infamous Piltdown cranium, teeth, and mandible, but also a

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fraudulent tool that he himself appears to have made from a semi-fossilized bone of some elephantine. Piltdown Man never did look quite right but was fully accepted by physical anthropologists as a very early and primitive man-thing but with a very large brain. Thus, his grotesque tool was also accepted. Then, there was also some suspicion that tools had been found in the same strata in which Dr. DuBois found his genuine "Apeman" in Java, but the matter was rather hurriedly suppressed. Acceptance of tools along with sub-Humans finally came with the diggings in north China that produced Pekin Man. This was rather a rude shock, but did not grossly disturb the neat historical sequence then believed in. It simply meant moving tool-making back some way. The real shocker came with Dr. Raymond Dart's discovery of enormous quantities of bone and tooth tools most obviously and carefully worked, which had to have been made by none other than the little Australopithecines that were at first classed as Apes, and only grudgingly accepted as most primitive sub-Men after the discovery that they walked erect. Worse still, there was a strong plea made for acceptance of the fact that they used fire as well. It then was decided (by most, but not all, anthropologists) that the Hominids went through what is called an odontokeratic tool-making phase before they came to use stones.

This picture has now been considerably muddied by Dr. Leakey's discoveries of early Chellean Man in East Africa, an appalling-looking chap with positively immense brow ridges, but who made splendid hand-axes of stone. Nevertheless, it is only now slowly dawning on anthropologists that the first tools were more probably sticks, and otherwise wooden; for the earliest Hominids were definitely vegetarians and forest dwellers. The bone-tooth toolmakers were carnivorous. The use of wood implies pulling twigs and branches from trees and the discovery of the many uses of strips of bark. From this to primitive weaving is but a step. Thus, it is quite probable that the earliest Hominids were vegetable gatherers, using sticks and possibly the crudest weaving, and that they so

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equipped themselves long before they got around to breaking stones, using fire, or even developing a true language. It is therefore most interesting to note, as our story continues, that the only tools ever reported in use by ABSMs have been sticks.



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4. The Appearance of Bigfeet

If you want to find out how crimes are really solved, ride around with a police patrol for a few nights. The same little things, happening time and time again, always bring the culprits to book.

Mr. Ostman's story was related to Queen Elizabeth II when she visited British Columbia in 1959. The story is said to have been submitted to Her Majesty by an official, along with other Sasquatchery, in a remote vacation cabin at a lake near Kamloops on August 28. By coincidence, I was on that same day closeted in a small railroad shack with a charming Amerindian couple named Mr. and Mrs. George Chapman, at Jacko's old retreat of Yale, some miles lower down the Fraser River. I also was hearing a story, but firsthand, and in what turned out later to have been rather extraordinary circumstances.

We had crossed the log-filled Fraser in a small boat, rowing first away upstream, then very rapidly a long way downstream broadside, and then finally a long way back upstream again on the other side in the lee of a tall bank. Scrambling to the top of this we struck a railroad along which an Amerindian family were straggling in from the hills. By some strange quirk of fate, this turned out to be the Chapman family for whom we were looking. They hospitably invited us in to the freight office, behind which they had a small house.

That could have been a very tense or even profitless interview for several reasons. Here we were, two palefaces with locally odd accents—Robbie Christie, though born in New Jersey, has ranched in Colorado, wears a Texan-type hat, and has a vaguely British accent; while I talk a sort of bastardized Anglo-Saxon with an American intonation and a British accent

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neither of which are popular in Canada—who had met up with a reticent Amerindian couple, apparently quite by chance on a railroad track, and who now had suddenly demanded to hear the facts of a series of incidents that had happened to these good people 18 years before. Somehow, however, and perhaps due mostly to a kind of mild shock, we all got off on the right foot and within a surprisingly short space of time Mrs. Chapman was recounting those terrible hours with complete clarity, only every now and then being mildly corrected by her husband, or having her account augmented by details which she had not witnessed.

We had heard their story from several sources and had read it in several printed versions, but I wanted to get it firsthand and I wanted to be able to shoot my particular glossary of awkward biological questions at principals, who were alleged eyewitnesses of a living Sasquatch in daylight. It is just as well that we crossed the Fraser River just when we did, and so met the Chapmans, because about a month afterward they were drowned crossing at the same spot late one night. The irony and tragedy of this event upset me greatly for, as I have said, I have a great liking and respect for the Amerindian peoples and I not only found this couple graciously natural and friendly but they also impressed me, as very few other people have ever done, with their sincerity and honesty. The Chapman family at the time of the incident consisted of George and Jeannie Chapman and three children. Mr. Chapman worked on the railroad. They lived near a small place called Ruby Creek, 30 miles up the Fraser River from Agassiz. It was about 3 in the afternoon of a cloudless summer day when Jeannie Chapman's eldest son, then aged 9, came running to the house saying that there was a cow coming down out of the woods at the foot of the nearby mountain. The other kids, a boy aged 7 and a little girl of 5, were still playing in a field behind the house bordering on the rail track.

Mrs. Chapman went out to look, since the boy seemed oddly disturbed, and then saw what she at first thought was a very big bear moving about among the bushes bordering the field beyond the railroad tracks. She called the two smaller children

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who came running immediately. Then the creature moved out onto the tracks and she saw to her horror that it was a gigantic man covered with hair, not fur. The hair seemed to be about 4 inches long all over, and of a pale yellow-brown color. To pin down this color Mrs. Chapman pointed out to me a sheet of lightly varnished plywood in the room where we were sitting. This was of a brownish-ocher color.

This creature advanced directly toward the house and Mrs. Chapman had, as she put it, "much too much time to look at it" because she stood her ground outside while the eldest boy—on her instructions—got a blanket from the house and rounded up the other children. The kids were in a near panic, she told us, and it took 2 or 3 minutes to get the blanket, during which time the creature had reached the near corner of the field only about 100 feet away from her. Mrs. Chapman then spread the blanket and, holding it aloft so that the children could not see the creature or it them, she backed off at the double to the old field and down on to the river beach, out of sight, and ran with the kids downstream to the village.

I asked her a leading question about the blanket. Had her purpose in using it been to prevent the children seeing the creature, in accord with an alleged Amerindian belief that to do so brings bad luck and often death? Her reply was both prompt and surprising. She said that, although she had heard white men tell of that belief, she had not heard it from her parents or any other of her people, whose advice regarding the so-called Sasquatch had been simply not to go farther than certain points up certain valleys, to run if she saw one, but not to struggle if one caught her, as it might squeeze her to death by mistake.

"No," she said, "I used the blanket because I thought it was after one of the kids and so might go into the house to look for them instead of following me." This seems to have been sound logic as the creature did go into the house and also rummaged through an outhouse pretty thoroughly, hauling from it a 55-gallon barrel of salt fish, breaking this open, and scattering its contents about outside. (The tragic irony of it is that all those original three children did die within 3 years, while,

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as I have said, a month after we interviewed them, the Chapmans and their new children drowned as well.)

Mrs. Chapman told me that the creature was about 7½ feet tall. She could easily estimate the height by the various fence and line posts standing about the field. It had a rather small head and a very short, thick neck; in fact really no neck at all, a point emphasized by William Roe and by almost all others who claim to have seen one of these creatures. Its body was entirely human in shape except that it was immensely thick through its chest and its arms were exceptionally long. She did not see the feet which were in the grass. Its shoulders were very wide and it had no breasts, from which Mrs. Chapman assumed it was a male, though she also did not see any male genitalia due to the long hair covering its groin. She was most definite on one point: the naked parts of its face and its hands were much darker than its hair, and appeared to be almost black.

George Chapman returned home from his work on the railroad that day shortly before 6 in the evening and by a route that bypassed the village, so that he saw no one to tell him what had happened. When he reached his house he immediately saw the woodshed door battered in, and spotted enormous humanoid footprints all over the place. Greatly alarmed —for, like all of his people, he had heard since childhood about the "big wild men of the mountains," though he did not hear the word Sasquatch till after this incident—he called for his family and then dashed through the house. Then he spotted the foot-tracks of his wife and kids going off toward the river. He followed these until he picked them up on the sand beside the river and saw them going off downstream without any giant ones following.

Somewhat relieved, he was retracing his steps when he stumbled across the giant's foot-tracks on the river bank farther upstream. These came down out of the potato patch, which lay between the house and the river, milled about by the river, and then went back through the old field toward the foot of the mountains where they disappeared in the heavy growth.

Returning to the house, relieved to know that the tracks

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of all four of his family had gone off downstream to the village, George Chapman went to examine the woodshed. In our interview, after 18 years, he still expressed voluble astonishment that any living thing, even a 7-foot-6-inch man with a barrel-chest could lift a 55-gallon tub of fish out of the narrow door of the shack and break it open without using a tool. He confirmed the creature's height after finding a number of long brown hairs stuck in the slabwood lintel of the doorway, above the level of his head. George Chapman then went off to the village to look for his family, and found them in a state of calm collapse. He gathered them up and invited his father-in-law and two others to return with him, for protection of his family when he was away at work. The foot-tracks returned every night for a week and on two occasions the dogs that the Chapmans had taken with them set up the most awful racket at exactly 2 o'clock in the morning. The Sasquatch did not, however, molest them or, apparently, touch either the house or the woodshed. But the whole business was too unnerving and the family finally moved out. They never went back.

After a long chat about this and other matters, Mrs. Chapman suddenly told us something very significant just as we were leaving. She said: "It made an awful funny noise." I asked her if she could imitate this noise for me but it was her husband who did so, saying that he had heard it at night twice during the week after the first incident. He then proceeded to utter exactly the same strange, gurgling whistle that the men in California, who had told us they had heard an Oh-Mah (or "Bigfoot") call, had given. This is a sound I cannot reproduce in print, but I can assure you that it is unlike anything I have ever heard given by man or beast anywhere in the world. To me, this information is of the greatest significance. That an Amerindian couple in British Columbia should give out with exactly the same strange sound in connection with a Sasquatch that two highly educated white men did, over 600 miles south in connection with California's Bigfoot, is incredible. If this is all a hoax or a publicity stunt, or mass hallucination, as some people have claimed, how does it happen that

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this noise—which defies description—always sounds the same no matter who has tried to reproduce it for me?

A somewhat more colorful story was told by a well-known old Amerindian "medicine man" named Frank Dan. (This I reproduce by the kind permission of Mr. J. W. Burns.) This, he says, occurred in July, 1936 along Morris Creek, a small tributary of the Harrison River (see Map II). J. W. Burns writes of Frank's story:


It was a lovely day, the clear waters of the creek shimmered in the bright sunshine and reflected the wild surroundings of cliff, trees, and vagrant cloud. A languid breeze wafted across the rocky gullies. Frank's canoe was gliding like a happy vision along the mountain stream. The Indian was busy hooking one fish after another; hungry fish that had been liberated only a few days before from some hatchery. But the Indian was happy as he pulled them in and sang his medicine song. Then, without warning, a rock was hurled from the shelving slope above, falling with a fearful splash within a few feet of his canoe, almost swamping the frail craft. Startled out of his skin, Frank glanced upward, and to his amazement beheld a weird looking creature, covered with hair, leaping from rock to rock down the wild declivity with the agility of a mountain goat. Frank recognized the hairy creature instantly. It was a Sasquatch. He knew it was one of the giants—he had met them on several occasions in past years, once on his own doorstep. But those were a timid sort and not unruly like the gent he was now facing.

Frank called upon his medicine powers, sula, and similar spirits to protect him. There was an immediate response to his appeal. The air throbbed and some huge boulders slid down the rocky mountain side, making a noise like the crack of doom. This was to frighten away the Sasquatch. But the giant was not to be frightened by falling rocks. Instead he hurried down the declivity carrying a great stone, probably weighing a ton or more [sic], under his great hairy arm, which Frank guessed—just a rough guess—was at least 2 yards in length. Reaching a point of vantage—a jutting ledge that hung far out over the water—he hurled it with all his might, this time missing the canoe by a narrow margin, filling it with water and drenching the poor frightened occupant with a cloud of spray.

Some idea of the size of the boulder may be gained from the fact that its huge bulk blocked the channel. Later it was dredged out by Jack Penny on the authority of the department of hinterland navigation. It may now be seen on the 10th floor of the Vancouver Public Museum in the


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department of "Curious Rocks." When you're in Vancouver drop in to the museum and T. P. 0. Menzies, curator, will gladly show it to you. The giant now posed upon the other ledge in an attitude of wild majesty as if he were monarch of these forboding haunts, shaking a colossal fist at the "great medicine man" who sat awe-struck and shuddering in the canoe, which he was trying to bail out with his shoe. The Indian saw the Sasquatch was in a towering rage, a passion that caused the great man to exude a repugnant odor, which was carried down to the canoe by a wisp of wind. The smell made Frank dizzy and his eyes began to smart and pop. Frank never smelt anything in his whole medicine career like it. It was more repelling than the stench of moccasin oil gone rotten. Indeed, it was so nasty that the fish quitted the pools and nooks and headed in schools for the Harrison River. The Indian, believing the giant was about to dive into the water and attack him, cast off his fishing lines and paddled away as fast as he was able.

I include this story not so much for anything it might add to the general picture of ABSMs in the area—there is ample evidence of that in any case—but to exemplify the type of tale told by the Amerind that cause the white man to doubt his veracity. Frank Dan was an old and respected medicine man living by the precepts and beliefs of his ancestors. Thus, his interpretation of events had to be in accord with his position in the community. I believe that facts colored by these precepts may be readily spotted in his account and just as readily eliminated. If this is done, we are left with a pretty straightforward account; namely, that while fishing, a Sasquatch appeared, hurled some rocks at the old gentleman, and stank like hell. The induced landslide and the weight of the second rock hurled, or perhaps merely dislodged into the river, as well as the giant's implied curse, are pure embellishments. Even the mass exodus of the trout might well be perfectly true and due to a cascade of boulders rather than to a stink in the air that they could of course not smell in the water. Besides, Frank Dan's "medicine" came off second best and he had manifestly fled. He couldn't explain this fact away, so he just did the best he could so not to show up in too poor a light. As a matter of fact, Mr. Burns records that he gave up being a medicine man from then on, saying that his powers

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had been finally defeated. That would seem to be the act of an honest man.

During this decade the Amerinds of this area appear, by all accounts, to have suffered quite a spell with their Sasquatches. One by the name of Paull, in company with others returning from a lacrosse game, met one on the main road near Agassiz; another party only a few miles away ran into one on a mountain, and one of the men fired at it in pure fright, whereupon it pursued them to their canoe, in which they just managed to escape. Another local man, when dressing after a swim in a river on a hot summer day was confronted by one near a rock, and was just about to address it in his language when it rose to its full height and nearly scared him out of his wits. Still another group told Mr. Burns that they had watched one fighting a large bear for a long time and finally killing it by strangulation. In another place, an old man said that a party of Sasquatches used to watch loggers at work and then, after they had gone home for the evening, come out and imitate their activities as if playing a game. But, perhaps the most curious is an incident told to the same indefatigable investigator, Mr. Burns, by the same Charley Victor of Chilliwack already mentioned, and which I herewith reproduce with the former's permission. Charley speaks, and says:


I was hunting in the mountains near Hatzic. I had my dog with me. I came out on a plateau where there were several big cedar trees. The dog stood before one of the trees and began to growl and bark at it. On looking up to see what excited him, I noticed a large hole in the tree 7 feet from the ground. The dog pawed and leaped upon the trunk, and looked at me to raise him up, which I did, and he went into the hole. The next moment a muffled cry came from the hole. I said to myself: "The dog is tearing into a bear," and with my rifle ready I urged the dog to drive him out, and out came something I took for a bear. I shot and it fell with a thud to the ground. "Murder! Oh my!" I spoke to myself in surprise and alarm, for the thing I had shot looked to me like a white boy. He was ****. He was about 12 or 14 years of age.

[In his description of the boy, the Indian said his hair was black and woolly.]

Wounded and bleeding, the poor fellow sprawled upon the ground,


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but when I drew close to examine the extent of his injury, he let out a wild yell, or, rather a call as if he were appealing for help. From across the mountain a long way off rolled a booming voice. Less than half an hour, out from the depths of the forest came the strangest and wildest creature one could possibly see. I raised my rifle, but not to shoot, but in case I would have to defend myself. The strange creature walked toward me without the slightest fear. The wild person was a woman. Her face was almost negro black and her long straight hair fell to her waist. In height she would be about 6 foot but her chest and shoulders were well above the average breadth.

The old man remarked that he had met several "Wild Persons" in his time but had never seen anyone half so savage in appearance as this woman. The old brave confessed that he was really afraid of her and that he had fled.

This story does add some significant facts to the over-all picture because of the details given of the youngster's fur color compared to that of the female, and the curious statement about the length of her head-hair. The former agrees with the accounts of Jacko and some other reputed ABSM youngsters: the latter is, as far as I know, a completely unique item. I wonder about this latter because I have noted a distinct tendency, perhaps psychological, for people to assume that the head-hair of wild people would be of the Lady Godiva type. A good friend of mine, a well-known artist who has illustrated many scientific works and natural history books, once sent me his "impression" of a Californian Oh-Mah which greatly surprised me. Despite this man's extensive knowledge of mammalian anatomy and long experience in drawing animals to the specifications and approval of zoologists, he had depicted just a great big white-type man with long flowing hair and an immense beard. This seems, indeed, to be the popular conception of an ABSM; yet, everybody who claims to have seen one makes special mention of the small pointed heads, small round eyes close together and directed straightforward, extra long arms, and short head-hair, a naked face without beard and prognathous jaws but no lips (i.e. no eversion of the lips) . The picture given of all of them

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by those who claim to have seen them, is of creatures with several distinctly nonhuman characters, especially about the head and face. However, the same witnesses everywhere, and all natives who say they know of the existence of ABSMs—and this goes for the Central Asiatics, as well as Malays, African, and North and South Americans—insist just as vehemently that the creatures are human rather than animal. Quite where various people draw the dividing line between the two presents other puzzles, but the Kazakhs of the U.S.S.R. who caught one of their Ksy-Giiks, thought it was a man wearing a disguise, while the Soviet Army medical officer who examined a Kaptar, pronounced it so human that it should be released. Even the Hill Batuks of Sumatra, who are themselves just about at the bottom rung of the cultural ladder, call their local Orang Pendeks and Orang Gadangs by a name that denotes "wild men." The Malays of the same country, however, call even the Mias (their great ape), the Orang-utan (i.e. "hutan" *), which simply mean wild (utan) man (orang) . The Amerinds of our Northwest insist that the Sasquatches are very lowly forms of men, so lowly that they, Amerinds, do not want to associate with them in any way; preferring not to talk about them and especially about the possibility of mating with them. That would lead to contamination of their race, and, if the very idea got into the white man's head, it would lead to a further degradation of their status by the implication that they might be partly wild themselves.

The basic "humanity" of ABSMs is perhaps understandable as regards the pigmy and the giant types, for both leave what at first sight look exactly like either very small or very large human footprints, as most certainly do the Eurasian Almas. The man-sized Meh-Teh type, on the other hand, leave a most unhuman type of footprint (see Appendix B). Encounters with Sasquatches are really so common that they become boring in the telling. I could give dozens more, all


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of which were allegedly witnessed by more than two people and occurred between 1930 and 1960, but I shall refrain and confine my concluding remarks to three cases that for some reason created great stirs and which appear to have finally convinced the general public that something was going on.

The first would not appear to have been any more outstanding than dozens of others, but the personalities of the couple concerned played a considerable part in the formulation of public opinion. These were two young people named Adeline August and her boy friend William Point. They happened to be particularly popular and attractive, and were then attending the local high school. They had been on a picnic and were walking home along the Canadian Pacific Railroad track right by Agassiz when a large Sasquatch stepped out of the woods ahead of them. Adeline sensibly bolted, but young William stood his ground to cover her flight and grabbed up two rocks with which to defend himself. However the ABSM kept steadily advancing and when it was only 50 feet away William Point decided to retreat. He said that it was about twice the size of an ordinary, large, well-built man, covered with hair, and had arms so long that they almost reached the ground. William Point also said, "It seemed to me that his eyes were very large, and the lower part of his nose was wide, and spread over the greater part of his face." Locally, the account of this young couple was fully believed, and despite the fact that they were Amerinds.

This was in 1954. The following year the most outstanding of all Canadian cases occurred. This was related by one William Roe, mentioned above, and is succinctly and amply covered in the following affidavit:


Deposition by Mr. William Roe

From the City of Edmonton, Alberta. An affidavit by William Roe. To the Agassiz, Harrison Advance, Printers & Publishers, Drawer O, Agassiz, B.C.; Attention Mr. John W. Green. From the legal Department of Allen F. MacDonald, B.A., L.L.B., City Solicitor., H. F. Wilson, B.A., Asst. City Solicitor and R. N. Saunders, Claims Agent.


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Dear Sir:

Re Affidavit of Mr. William Roe, on August 26th, 1957. Mr. Wm. Roe approached the writer requesting the swearing out of An Affidavit in regard to a strange animal he had seen in British Columbia.

The affidavit was drawn up by a member of our legal department and sworn to in the usual manner by the writer.

I cannot state as to the creditability of the story.

We trust the foregoing information will be of assistance.

Yours truly,

(signed) W. H. Clark

Asst. Claims Agent

WHC:ek.

Affidavit.

I, W. Roe, of the City of Edmonton, in the province of Alberta make oath and say,

(1) That the exhibit A attached to this, my affidavit, is absolutely true and correct in all details.

Sworn before me in the City of Edmonton, Province of Alberta, this 26th day of August, A.D. 1957,

(signed) Wm. Roe and then

signed by Clark under a

numbering D.D. 2822

EXHIBIT A

Ever since I was a small boy back in the forests of Michigan, I have studied the lives and habits of wild animals. Later when I supported my family in northern Alberta by hunting and trapping, I spent many hours just observing the wild things. They fascinated me. The most incredible experience I ever had with a wild creature occurred near a little place called Tete Jaune Cache, B.C., about 80 miles west of Jasper, Alberta.

I had been working on the highway near this place, Tete Jaune Cache, for about 2 years. In October 1955, I decided to climb five miles up Mica Mountain to an old deserted mine, just for something to do. I came in sight of the mine about 3 o'clock in the afternoon after an easy climb. I had just come out of a patch of low brush into a clearing, when I saw what I thought was a grizzly bear in the brush on the other side. I had shot a grizzly near that spot the year before. This one was only about 75 yards away, but I didn't want to shoot it, for I had no way of getting


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it out. So I sat down on a small rock and watched, with my rifle in my hand.

I could just see part of the animal's head and the top of one shoulder. A moment later it raised up and stepped out into the opening. Then I saw it wasn't a bear.

This to the best of my recollection is what the creature looked like and how it acted as it came across the clearing directly towards me. My first impression was of a huge man about 6 feet tall, almost 3 feet wide, and probably weighing near 300 pounds. It was covered from head to foot with dark brown, silver-tipped hair. But as it came closer I saw by its breasts that it was female.

And yet, its torso was not curved like a female's. Its broad frame was straight from shoulder to hip. Its arms were much thicker than a man's arms and longer, reaching almost to its knees. Its feet were broader proportionately than a man's, about 5 inches wide in the front and tapering to much thinner heels. When it walked it placed the heel of its foot down first, and I could see the grey-brown skin or hide on the soles of its feet.

It came to the edge of the bush I was hiding in, within 20 feet of me, and squatted down on its haunches. Reaching out its hands it pulled the branches of bushes towards it and stripped the leaves with its teeth. Its lips curled flexibly around the leaves as it ate. I was close enough to see that its teeth were white and even. The head was higher at the back than at the front. The nose was broad and flat. The lips and chin protruded farther than its nose. But the hair that covered it, leaving bare only the parts of its face around the mouth, nose and ears, made it resemble an animal as much as a human. None of this hair, even on the back of its head, was longer than an inch, and that on its face much shorter. Its ears were shaped like a human's ears. But its eyes were small and black like a bear's. And its neck also was unhuman, thicker and shorter than any man's I have ever seen.

As I watched this creature I wondered if some movie company was making a film in this place and that what I saw was an actor made up to look partly human, partly animal. But as I observed it more I decided it would be impossible to fake such a specimen. Anyway, I learned later there was no such company near that area. Nor, in fact, did anyone live up Mica Mountain, according to the people who lived in Tete Jaune Cache.

Finally, the wild thing must have got my scent, for it looked directly at me through an opening in the brush. A look of amazement crossed its face. It looked so comical at that moment I had to grin. Still in a crouched position, it backed up three or four short steps, then straightened up to its


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full height and started to walk rapidly back the way it had come. For a moment it watched me over its shoulder as it went, not exactly afraid, but as though it wanted no contact with anything strange.

The thought came to me that if I shot it I would possibly have a specimen of great interest to scientists the world over. I had heard stories about the Sasquatch, the giant hairy "Indians" that live in the legend of the Indians of British Columbia and also, many claim are still, in fact, alive today. Maybe this was a Sasquatch, I told myself.

I levelled my rifle. The creature was still walking rapidly away, again turning its head to look in my direction. I lowered the rifle. Although I have called the creature "it," I felt now that it was a human being, and I knew I would never forgive myself if I killed it.

Just as it came to the other patch of brush it threw its head back and made a peculiar noise that seemed to be half laugh and half language, and which I could only describe as a kind of a whinny. Then it walked from the small brush into a stand of lodge-pole pines.

I stepped out into the opening and looked across a small ridge just beyond the pine to see if I could see it again. It came out on the ridge a couple of hundred yards away from me, tipped its head back again, and again emitted the only sound I had heard it make, but what this half laugh, half language was meant to convey I do not know. It disappeared then, and I never saw it again.

I wanted to find out if it lived on vegetation entirely or ate meat as well, so I went down and looked for signs. I found it * in five different places, and although I examined it thoroughly, could find no hair or shells or bugs or insects. So I believe it was strictly a vegetarian.

I found one place where it had slept for a couple of nights under a tree. Now, the nights were cool up the mountain, at this time of year especially, and yet it had not used a fire. I found no signs that it possessed even the simplest of tools. Nor did I find any signs that it had a single companion while in this place.

Whether this creature was a Sasquatch I do not know. It will always remain a mystery to me unless another one is found.

I hearby declare the above statement to be in every part true, to the best of my powers of observation and recollection.

Signed William Roe

Witnessed



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This priceless document was also unearthed by the indefatigable John Green of the Agassiz-Harrison Advance, upon whom the mantle of Sasquatch research, nobly worn by Mr. J. W. Burns for so many years, seems to have fallen. He published it in his paper and the results were electric. Not only did it bring Mr. Ostman's story to light; it got the whole neighborhood on its toes, including even the Chamber of Commerce of the resort town of Harrison which made moves to advertise a Sasquatch hunt as a come-on for its centenary celebrations! Fortunately, and decently, this idea was dropped but $5000 is said to have been offered for the capture of a Sasquatch. This was not, of course, collected but it brought forth another rash of encounter stories. Notable among these—and most noted in the world press—was a story reported by a Mr. Stanley Hunt of Vernon, B.C., a respected and widely known auctioneer, who, when driving at night along the Trans-Canada Highway near a place called Flood on the lower Fraser River south of Yale, on May 17, 1956, had to slow down to permit one of them to cross the road. It was immense and covered with "gray hair," and, waiting for it on the other side of the road, there was, Mr. Hunt relates, another one "gangly, not stocky like a bear."

According to C. S. Lambert, writing in 1954, the situation changed considerably in 1935 when:


After a series of alarming reports that these giants were prowling around Harrison Mills, 50 miles East of Vancouver, disturbing the residents by their weird wolf-like howls at night, and destroying property, a band of vigilantes was organized to track the marauders down. However, no specimen of the primitive tribe was captured, and many white people became openly sceptical of the existence of the giants.

According to Allen Roy Evans, in the Montreal Standard ("B.C.’s Hairy Giants"), the Indians are now very sensitive to any imputations cast upon their veracity in this matter. During the 19th century they were ready to tell enquirers all they knew about the Susquatch men; but today they have become more reserved, and talk only to Government agents about the matter. They maintain that the "Wild Indians" are divided into two tribes, whose rivalry with each other keeps their number down and so prevents them becoming a serious menace to others.


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Expeditions have been organized to track down the Susquatch men to their lair in the mountains; but the Indians employed to guide these expeditions invariably desert before they reach the danger zone. However, certain large caves have been discovered, with man-made walls of stone inside them, and specially-shaped stones fitted to their mouths, like doors. The difficulty in the way of penetrating to the heart of the Morris Mountains district is very great. The terrain is cut up by deep gorges and almost impassable ravines; it is easy to get lost, and hard to make substantial progress in any one direction for long.

In the fall of the following year large human-like footprints turned up overnight all over the place in this area. Throughout a hundred years of Sasquatchery, footprints are often mentioned casually, but nobody seems to have been particularly impressed by them or to have done anything about them. Suddenly they took over the front pages.


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Footnotes
74:* This is the correct spelling in Malay, and "orang" really means "person," not "man."—Author.

78:* [I add here the following note that I presume he is referring there to droppings or faeces of this animal of which he says he found evidence in five different places.]



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5. Footprints on the Sands of …

Some things people accept; some they reject. Others, they will accept as long as they have a ready-made answer, but—certain things they simply don't know what to do about.

If you look out of your window one morning to find that it has snowed during the night, you may be happy or you may be sad. If then, while contemplating this quite natural phenomenon, you perceive upon its pristine surface a number of marks of regular shape, forming a set of tracks, the sundry relays, feedbacks, and synapses in your brain may snap open or shut in ordered patterns, causing you to register almost subconsciously such concrete items as man, dog, car, snowplow, or suchlike. You may even go so far as actually to think, saying to yourself "That's funny, Mary went out already." Foot-tracks are commonplace, and quite logical, and we consider them as objects. Yet they are not even quasi-objects; they are entirely negative physically; are purely subjective concepts; and in almost all cases are ephemeral things. Nevertheless, they are quite acceptable, provided we have a ready-made answer for them, ranging from vague terms such as "dog," all the way to "Mary wearing a particular pair of shoes." When, however, a set of foot-tracks turns up on snow, or any other surface for that matter, to which people cannot immediately put a label, they become quite hysterical, and in their frantic efforts to explain this appalling thing, they will indulge in the most terrifyingly illogical actions. They also say the silliest things.

Simple logic demands that a foot or any other print must have been made by something, and something which must

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Click to enlarge
MAP III. NORTH AMERICA


MAP III. NORTH AMERICA


This continent should be regarded as reaching from the Arctic Ice-Raft to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. It is divided into three parts: first, into a western and an eastern, by the Great Barrier, the dividing line running roughly down the 110th Meridian. Secondly, the eastern half is sub-divided latitudinally about the 45th parallel; to the north being closed forest and tundra; to the south, open forest (parklands) and prairies. The midwest, southwest, and Mexico are arid and covered with scrub and desert. The rest is mountainous, and forested almost exclusively with conifers. In the Mexican Sierras there are some tropical forests. Along the eastern fringe of the continent lie the Appalachians, and there is another upland area in Labrador. The valley of the Mississippi and its tributaries form extensive, swampy bottomlands.

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have been at the point where the imprint was made. But sometimes, unfortunately for humanity, matters don't always work out that way, in either one or both of these respects. The second class of problems is the less awful. For instance, "How on earth did Mary get up on the barn roof?" may jolt you but can have all sorts of logical explanations. If one is sufficiently concerned about Mary's welfare, it is the common practice to investigate these in order of likelihood, starting by asking Mary, if she is around; and ending by calling in the long-suffering police if she has disappeared. Even in this class, however, there can be nasty ones. We once found a set of what looked like our tame porcupine's tracks, inside an empty cage, which was constructed of heavy wire in the form of a cube on all six sides, and had a firmly locked door. That took some investigation and it reduced a number of normally sane citizens to gibbering idiots in the meantime.

(Said porcupine had once been housed in that cage for an hour or so, while its own cage was cleaned and repaired, by an assistant who was not present when the bizarre discovery was made. The earth floor inside the cage had been wet at the time and the animal had left deep tracks in the claylike mud. This dried solid. The assistant had then, in accord with his routine duties, put a 2-inch covering of fresh earth over this. The night before the uproar there had been about 15

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minutes of torrential rain, which had washed all this top layer exactly off the old hardened one and the tracks had appeared looking just as if they were fresh and, of course, once again in damp earth.)

The more abominable class is that of individual prints or sets of tracks—and the two items are quite different and should be at all times most carefully defined by the use of the appropriate term—for which there is not a ready-made explanation. A print (or imprint) is an individual item such as that of one foot. A set of tracks (or a track) is, on the other hand, a series of prints, either interrupted as in animals, or continuous as made by wheeled machines, left by some moving object. There are quite a lot of reports of single prints being found both in such positions as may be explained—as in a small patch of mud on a rocky path—but on occasion in places that cannot be explained. These last are, of course, very unnerving.

Sasquatch imprints and tracks, along with those of their relatives or congeners, by whatever name they were known, were perfectly all right by the Amerinds because they had just such a ready-made answer, all of them, as they readily tell one, knowing perfectly well that they were made by the big, wild, hairy men of the woods: or by their wives and children. As the Amerinds gave up being Americans and started to become, or were forced to become sort of bogus Europeans, they forgot to tell their own children about these personages. The result was that in time we even have Amerinds becoming for a time slightly disturbed. [Amerinds never under any conditions become "hysterical."] When, however, white men first saw these large ABSM tracks they invariably went into a fairly advanced trauma. This habit was apparently universal among Europeans and people of European origin, right up until the time when a ready-made answer became disseminated—namely, Sasquatches, Oh-Mahs, etc.—whereupon a happy reaction set in. This was simply to say: "Oh, those! Don't worry, they're made by runaway Indians; they have huge feet, you know, and sometimes grow hair to keep out the cold." (Amerinds, I should point out here, are either

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wholly or substantially of Mongoloid ancestry, the group of the human race that is defined as being the most glabrous [almost without body hair], and having particularly small, neat feet.

It is rather interesting to note in passing that persons of African ancestry have behaved quite otherwise throughout. They possess ancestors who have always recognized a nonmaterial world just as widespread and as real as the material one. This is probably why they are such great pragmatists. What is more, according to them, entities in both worlds customarily muck about in the other, so that men's souls can range around "elsewhere" and chumbis—or what we in our innocence call ghosts, poltergeists, and spirits—can, in their estimation, quite well leave imprints and foot-tracks. Africans of the Negroid branch of humanity and their descendants are, therefore, the greatest skeptics throughout our story, they have never really been interested in or even much surprised about the matter, for they have a sort of built-in answer; and while they have always thought Europeans to be stupid for not carrying on with disembodied entities, they usually think the Amerinds quite batty for needing an embodied entity to explain these tracks. The few people of African origin whom I have met in the course of this business in North America, as well as in Africa appear, furthermore, to have accepted the physical appearance of ABSMs that they themselves have witnessed, with the utmost equanimity and simply as lucky or dangerous happenstances.

I bring all this up now because it has to be aired in any case sooner or later, and because from now on we are going to have all three major branches of the human race involved in the matter. Their reactions are indeed different, whatever anybody may say about generalizations. All three "races" are present in the United States, where our story now takes us, and since we are going to follow the foot-tracks of the ABSMs, clear through this country to tropical America, we are going to have to be prepared for some real surprises—both ways. You will see what I mean by this in a minute.

At this point I would ask you to glance at Maps III and XVI,

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before proceeding, because, without some idea of the facts of vegetational distribution, very little of what I have to say in this and the next chapter will make much sense. I know by experience that it is quite all right for me or anybody else to say almost anything about foreign lands, and the farther away and thus foreign they are, the more outrageous the claims may be. This is the reason why such a high percentage of "explorers" are found, on proper investigation (if that is possible, which it seldom is), to be phonies, even if only mildly and innocuously so. When, on the other hand, anybody makes even slightly unusual remarks about the country in which he is speaking and to citizens of that country, he is almost certain to be disbelieved, probably ridiculed, and oftimes harassed for his pains. This applies to statements as innocent as "You know, the hillbillies down there don't wear shoes." Try it sometime, down there, but don't wait to see what happens, for you'll have the local State Department on your back if you have published your statement, and you'll find yourself excluded from private swimming pools if you have merely said it in family circles.

Since I have a private swimming (duck) pond of my own, and seldom wear shoes indoors in winter or either in- or out-of-doors throughout the whole summer and early fall as well as, for other reasons that I will not go into, I have made a profession of saying things about the country I am in. I am, in fact and as I said at the outset, a reporter and as I don't give a damn whether anybody wears shoes or not, nor what their opinions are on that or any other subject, and am interested only in facts, I am constantly saying things that annoy people. What I have to say now is going to annoy some types very much. Moreover, if you haven't as yet glanced at these maps, you may be so annoyed that you will just stop reading. I don't want you to do this, but for purely altruistic reasons—namely that these facts are such fun. To keep you reading, therefore, let me just tell you that, if you do so, you are going to get a really good laugh, specifically at the expense of just those people whom you have always thought were idiots in

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any case. [Admittedly, this includes almost everybody other than yourself, which makes it all the more pleasant.]

Animals (and ABSMs) take no account of political boundaries even when they are physically erected by people in the form of barbed-wire fences or iron curtains. They do, on the other hand, not only take into account but conform absolutely to certain boundaries and dividing lines set up by Nature. No animal ever, it seems, transgresses such a boundary and these boundaries may often be so precise that you can stand with one foot in one great natural province and the other foot in another. There are animals that range over more than one and sometimes over half a dozen provinces. These are called catholic species; but most animals stay within the confines of just one province. Within the provinces, moreover, there are a number of natural niches or environments. Nature abhors a vacuum (as we have been repeatedly told) and she fills all her niches with an appropriate animal species. If any one dies out or is exterminated, some other animal will come in to inhabit its niche. As an example, the South American aquatic porcupine called the Coypu (Myopotamus coypu) the fur of which is called nutria, was introduced into North America 50 years ago and immediately started to fill up the niche previously occupied by the Beaver which had, at that time, been largely exterminated in this country by fur trappers.

Sometimes a species of animal will introduce itself into an area and do battle with the established occupants of the particular niche that it likes. Then again, men have introduced animals from one country to another and started virtual animal wars, usually with fatal consequences to one or the other party. In Australia introduced European animals, like the dog, cat, fox, and rabbit, have committed mass mayhem on the indigenous fauna: on the other hand, attempts to introduce the pheasant in certain parts of North America have repeatedly failed. The whys and the wherefores of these results have proved very puzzling in that there seemed to be no rhyme or reason for them. There is, nonetheless, a law governing the matter, and a very precise one. This is a botanical matter.

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The whole earth is portioned out into different types of plant growth—different in the way the vegetation grows (in height, density, and so forth) rather than in what particular types of plants it contains—and these form great belts around the earth regardless of oceans, seas, and mountains. These belts, which meander about and broaden out or wither down sometimes almost to nothing, are also subdivided into blocks or provinces going from east to west, like the cross-stripes on a banded snake. Each one of these provinces has its own history, climate, weather, soils, flora, and fauna. What is more, it has now been discovered that all faunas are wholly dependent upon vegetation but not so much upon the constitution of that vegetation as upon the way in which it grows. Human beings are animals and they conform to these general principles too, even down to national types. So it seems, do ABSMs. (For fuller details of all this, see Chapter 18.)

Man, however, is what is called an adaptable animal. He is also incredibly tough, and can survive in more types of vegetation and in a wider variety of environments than most animals, being surpassed in this ability by only a few other animals, such as the spiders and their allies, which live in water and in air, and range from icecaps to still hot lava flows, and to the tops of mountains where even plants give up. Nevertheless, when man comes to settle down and try to earn a living and breed, even he conforms to the old pattern. Hollanders gyrate to coastal flats, and Norwegians to warm, wet fiords. However, man can survive an ousting from his natural environment and he has often done so. The Neanderthalers appear to have been driven back into the hills by the folk of Cromagnon-culture; and the Jews were blasted all over the lot, and have survived.

ABSMs, it seems, have also been driven back into certain environments. By the time my story is told, you will see why I say this and why it happened. There is nothing mysterious about it. It is simply that ABSMs are Hominids or, just as every benighted native has always asserted, human rather than animal, and thus are endowed in one degree or another

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with human attributes, and most notably their powers of survival, their adaptability, their toughness, and their acuteness. The Pongids, or apes, on the other hand, though looking so like humans, are the lousiest adapters, are completely stuck with their special environments and in their particular provinces. They can hardly breed outside them, even with the very best and most modern human medical assistance—as witness the tiny number of gorillas born in captivity. In other words, about 50 million years ago, Nature started an experiment with a couple of Primate types now called the Hominid and the Pongid. The first made the grade, and mostly through the efforts and discoveries of ABSMs; the latter failed, and are doomed.

If there are ABSMs in North America, as well as Central and South America (as would appear from what follows), and they are Hominids, they must have come here from somewhere else, for we can say with almost absolute certainty that neither Man nor the Hominids was evolved in the New World. What is more, not so much as a single bone or other indication has ever been discovered suggesting that either the Pongids or any of the true Monkeys ever even got here. On the other hand, men got here, and at a rather early date. Bones of the animals he brought back from hunting forays have been dated certainly back to before the last ice-advance; some are claimed to be more than 40,000 years old. We have not yet obtained the bones of the earliest of these men themselves, but, if some anthropologists are right, there are some extremely old and quite primitive stone implements at the lowest levels, and we now know that a creature (such as East Africa's Zinjanthropus) was a toolmaker but most certainly would be called an ABSM if he were found running around today. Failure to find the bones of ABSMs is no cause for stating that they never existed. Tools of the types known as Chellean and Acheulian have been known from all over southern Europe and Africa since men started collecting such items, but it was not until the last decade that we found a single bone of the men who made them—if we have yet done so, as a matter of fact.

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However, ABSMs seem once to have roamed much of North America. Why, then, should those alleged still to do so, although really very hominoid in form, appear to be without tools, fire, or speech? We have to look at it this way. They were probably here in the purely "animal" stage of their development, and they kept coming in waves [over the Bering Straits, if you like] at ever increasingly efficient levels of toolmaking and development, until they were replaced by their cousins who were so "something-or-other" that we, upon digging up their remains, call them Men. [Lots of these came too, making ever better tools, until the misguided Amerinds made the mistake of tagging along. At this point we enter history and the domain of other specialities.] As brighter and better ABSMs turned up, however, the previous occupants had to move out into less desirable environments—nasty places like deserts and mountains—and by the time proper Men arrived, these places were getting quite crowded. At that point another factor became operative.

ABSMs, both here and all over the world, had been getting "better"—which is another way of saying more complicated or mixed up—and, thus, in certain ways less efficient again. The more complex their culture became—and don't think that they didn't have a culture for Nutcracker-Man (Zinjanthropus) of 600,000 years ago in East Africa made splendid tools but had a brain somewhat more paltry than the average chimp—the more dependent they were upon an easy environment, which means one where it was easy to obtain a living. Chased out into a rough one by still more cultured chaps, they began to find the going very hard. In fact, the more "cultured" they were, the worse they fared when pushed up into the mountains; and the more advanced they were, the more easily and rapidly they gave up and became extinct. Thus, we have the extraordinary spectacle of the more primitive surviving and the more advanced wilting away. Today, only the most primitive have apparently survived, and in the remotest and ruggedest places where any other ABSM less rugged could not get along; where Man, however tough,

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failed; and where even Modern Man, who has really got somewhere with his culture, finds it hard going. And just where is this?

The answer is very simple and absolutely definitive. It is what is called by botanists The Montane Forests. This is why I suggested that you take a look at the maps and see where such forests are, especially today, on our continent. From these you will note that their distribution coincides exactly with that of the reports of our ABSMs; as it does on all the other continents with their ABSMs. There is only one exception, from the botanical point of view, and this I would like to dispose of forthwith.

The last retreat on land of anything is a forest. In North America between those latitudes occupied by the United States, most lowland forests are woodlands, and anything unwanted in them has long ago been eliminated. [One can't speak of feral dogs because we introduced them.] In Canada, of course, such forests are still virtually impenetrable. There remain then the montane forests [which are not quite the same thing as mere forests on mountains] and one other type of vegetational growth. This is what are called technically the Bottomlands. By this is meant swamps at low level but mostly in river valleys and deltas, that are covered with a closed-canopy forest of some kind however short in stature, and which are either flooded all the time, seasonally, or from time to time, so that they are unpleasant for man to live in and a lost cause to try and clear, drain, and farm. It so happens that we have a very great acreage of just such country in the United States that is tacitly ignored by everybody and frankly unknown to most. This is concentrated along the Mississippi Valley and up the valleys of the tributaries of that great river.

The best road maps of the states that straddle these Bottom-lands look perfectly OK at first sight, being covered with roads of various grades, having names of counties, townships, and so forth scattered all over them and seeming, when viewed individually, to be quite consistent with all other road maps

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of our country. If, however, you look more carefully at them, take a pair of dividers, consult the scale at the foot of the map, and then select your areas carefully you can isolate almost endless parts of the map that look like this:


Click to enlarge
1050 square miles in Northern Louisiana


This you will not, of course, believe. It will also probably make you very annoyed. You might therefore assuage your fury by going out and buying or writing to one of the oil companies to obtain maps of such states as Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and spend a moment or two with a rectangle of the dimensions and the scale of the above. It will probably make you even more angry, but I said that I would name names, even if I am "down there."

The reason I bring this obnoxious subject up at this time is that, before we can get back to the main road of our travelogue, there is something that is really unpleasant that

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has to be taken care of. This is the "Little Red Men of the Trees." How aggravating can I get; and how far out on what limb can I wriggle? You would be surprised indeed; but I warn you in the most friendly fashion, please don't forget that I am a reporter and, as of now, nothing else. It is therefore my duty to report to you; so here goes:


Dear Sir,

My name is James Meacham, I read the article that you wrote for True Magazine. * I have been planning on going to California in the same area that your article was about. I was a little surprised to read about such a creature as an abominable Snowman living so close to where I intended to visit. I have always liked to explore places that other people care little about. I would like to know all you can tell me about this creature if you can tell anything more than you did in the article. I am sure a man of your standing must have more information about this subject than was in those few pages. I will gladly pay the postage on the information you can send. I cannot offer more because I am not working at the present.

I have met a few strange things in my life; as I am still young, there are many more I will probably see. I would like to know if you can tell me anything about a creature that looks like a small ape or a large monkey that has hair the color of fur a reddish orange color. I saw such a creature when I was 15. A friend was with me but did not see it. Whatever it was did not have a tail like a monkey but it did swing like one by its arms. This may sound like something that I thought I saw but really didn't which I would believe except for a few details.

I had a .22 calibre semi-automatic with me. I watched this thing for about 5 minutes so I have to believe it. I put fourteen .22 long-rifle shells into whatever it was. From where I was standing I couldn't have missed. We found 1 bullet in the tree trunk so 13 of them hit it. The part that sounds more impossible is that whatever it was, did not even move while 13 bullets went into it. If I had missed all 14 bullets would have gone into the tree trunk.

I have told many people about this but nobody believes it. We found a few hairs where I had shot, but nothing else except the bullet. There was not a trace of blood. My partner thinks it was a squirrel but no squirrel grows that big. If it had been one, 2 of those bullets would have stopped it dead. Whatever it was did not even move till I headed for the



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tree. It traveled through those trees like an express train. I could hear the leaves rattle but could not see it.

I searched for it for a long time after that but never saw it again. No one in that area knows anything about it or has ever seen it. It had a cry that was enough to drive a person crazy. That was almost 3 years ago [19571 and I still wake up in my sleep sometimes when that sound comes back to me. If you can give me any advice as to what it could have been I will greatly appreciate it. If I had not shot it myself I would not believe it, not being able to find any blood. I know you must receive a lot of letters about this sort of thing, but all I want to know is what animal in a marsh near Jackson, Tenn. could hold 13 long-rifle shells without even moving till you start to come after it? That is what started me looking for things most people think cannot possibly exist.

Yours truly,

James M. Meacham.


In 1954 a young Orang-utan escaped from a shipment of apes to a well-known Florida organization, took off into the woods, and has never been seen again. I refrain from giving further details because the valuable ape was paid for, but reported as DOA, a trade term for "dead on arrival," and someone still might get in trouble. The incident is fairly widely known in certain circles, and has been a perfect nuisance because when anything like the above is reported, even as far away as Tennessee, it is immediately dredged up by way of explanation. I suppose it is just possible that a healthy young Mia [a better name for what we call the Orang-utan] could survive a succession of mild Southern winters and it could travel an enormous distance by trees alone, but what it would eat during most of the year I don't know. Much more important is that a lost ape that has once been in captivity for even a short period would be almost certain to head for the nearest human habitation the moment it got hungry or saw anything novel that frightened it. In all the years that I had a zoo, I never knew an escaped animal [apart from local fauna, and even many of those] not to return voluntarily to its own cage during the night. Of course this "ape" might have escaped from some zoo much nearer the place where this correspondent said he saw it, but the loss of a $5000 specimen

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from a zoo would not go unnoticed; though, it must be admitted, it might well go unreported—to the Directors, that is. There is as much hanky-panky in the animal business as in any other. An escaped Mia is, however, I rather think, itself merely an escape mechanism as it is called, especially when we come to contemplate the following.

From Hoosier Folklore, Vol. 5, p. 19, March, 1946:


Another type of story that is of much more concern to us here in Southern Illinois nowadays is the "strange beast" legend.… Every few years some community reports the presence of a mysterious beast over in the local creek bottom.

Although it is difficult to determine just where a story of this sort has its beginning, this one seems to have originated in the Gum Creek bottom near Mt. Vernon. During the summer of 1941, a preacher was hunting squirrels in the woods along the creek when a large animal that looked something like a baboon jumped out of a tree near him. The preacher struck at the beast with his gun barrel when it walked toward him in an upright position. He finally frightened it away by firing a couple of shots into the air.

Later the beast began to alarm rural people by uttering terrorizing screams mostly at night in the wooded bottom lands along the creeks. School children in the rural districts sometimes heard it, too, and hunters saw its tracks.… By early spring of 1942, the animal had local people aroused to a fighting pitch. About that time, a farmer near Bonnie reported that the beast had killed his dog. A call went out for volunteers to join a mass hunt to round up the animal.

The beast must have got news of the big hunt, for reports started coming in of its appearance in other creek bottoms, some as much as 40 or 50 miles from the original site. A man driving near the Big Muddy River, in Jackson County, one night saw the beast bound across the road. Some hunters saw evidence of its presence away over in Okaw. Its rapid changing from place to place must have been aided considerably by its ability to jump, for, by this time, reports had it jumping along at from 20 to 40 feet per leap.

It is impossible to say how many hunters and parties of hunters, armed with everything from shotguns to ropes and nets, went out to look for the strange beast in the various creek bottoms where it had been seen, or its tracks had been seen, or its piercing screams had been heard. Those taking nets and ropes were intent on bringing the creature back alive.


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Usually * this strange beast can't be found, and interest in it dies as mysteriously as it arose in the beginning.… About 25 years ago, a 'coon hunter from Hecker one night heard a strange beast screaming up ahead on Prairie du Long Creek. Hunters chased this phantom from time to time all one winter. Their dogs would get the trail, then lose it, and they would hear it screaming down the creek in the opposite direction. It was that kind of creature: you'd hear it up creek, but when you set out in that direction you'd hear it a mile down creek.

And again:


Dear Mr. Sanderson,

I listened to you on Long John Nebel's program last Thursday and was very much surprised that you talked about such things as Abominable Snowmen in America. I am a housewife but I majored in biology, attended our state university and have an M.A. in plain zoology. My husband is an experimental chemist employed by … [company name withheld for obvious reasons: Author.] and my eldest son is a technician in the Air Force. I come from Mississippi but we have resided here (in Kentucky) for ten years now.

I wonder if you have ever heard of the Little Red Men of the Delta? Nobody thought anything much of them where I was raised except that one had better be careful of shooting one because it might be murder, or so the sheriff might think if anything came of it, but I was surprised to find that the folks hereabout know it too though they took some years to talk about it to me. My husband is a New Englander and these folks don't talk much. They are [the Little Red Men of the Delta] said to be about the size of a ten year old kid and able to climb like monkeys and to live back from the bayous. They talk a lot but keep out of gunshot range and mostly go into the water. They are people and the muskrat trappers say they often wear scraps of discarded lines [linens?] old jeans and such.

If you have heard about them will you talk about them on the air as it puzzles me that nobody has ever talked about them but everybody in some places seems to know about them. There was sure nothing in my biology course about them but there's a lot folks don't know or don't talk about …

Yours, etc.,
Mrs. V. K.


And you can say that again! Plain ordinary citizens just don't talk; they are born with too much sense. Ridicule is the


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most dastardly thing and can ruin one's whole life in one small jump. It takes real guts to come right out and say you've seen the Loch Ness Monster; and you'd better have private means, if you do. Otherwise, humanity at large will round on one and jump in unison, and they have a collective memory that can last for a century. Don't do it, brethren and sistren! [That's why I always ask specifically whether I may publish a name.]

I could go on quoting tidbits like the above for quite a long time and give transcripts of some tape recordings that I have but what, frankly, is the use? No one will believe either the stories or me. Nonetheless, I would be failing in my duty—which, incidentally, I take very seriously; and please make no mistake about that—if I did not put this outrageous matter before the public. Like many other things "reported" it needs, and can stand, a good airing. I am not saying that there is even so much as a word of truth in any of it but there it is, and it is no good just ignoring it. If people "down there" will persist in penning such tripe, we had better get on with the job of showing it up for what it really is. But just what is it? You tell me: I am merely reporting, and I have not yet had the time, money, nor opportunity to go to those particular places to investigate the matter. Since others apparently have not either, perhaps it would be better that everyone shut up. Meanwhile, however, I refuse to just discount everything anybody from the states listed above says. That would be tantamount to calling them all liars and idiots; and I know for a fact that they are usually neither. What is more, that is their country, and I am prepared to accept the fact that they know more about it than all of us, however whacky what they say may sound. And then there is the matter of the road maps. Just what is anyone prepared to swear under oath he knows about the Bottomlands? I have been a little way into some for brief periods and I must say that I am not prepared to give out much about them at all—they are far too vast, complex, and incomprehensible to any "foreigner." The geodeticists have surveyed them; let them tell us. Their maps are excellent—they are made from points 60 miles apart and from the air. They show everything!

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As a sort of parting shot, I quote a newspaper clipping of recent date:


MONSTER AROUND

Reform, Ala.—A mysterious creature is still roaming the woods around nearby Clanton. It eats peaches, makes sounds like an elephant, and leaves footprints like an ape.


This whole bit is really becoming very difficult because little squibs like this should not include so many splendid possibilities. Of course it would eat peaches, who wouldn't? And I must admit that a herd of elephants in a forest can sound exactly like a troop of chimpanzees having a ball. But who in Reform, Alabama [I like that name] is that good on the ichnology of the Anthropoidea? There is a sort of chatty approach about this story, giving the impression that among the citizens of Reform and Clanton there is a considerable understanding about this beast, and there is definite indication that its presence is not a new event. In fact then, are the Bottomlands full of runaway apes or do we have an indigenous and most particular abomination thereabouts? I could give an opinion but I shall refrain, for it would be even more loathsome.

Now, and with a certain sense of relief I may say, we can get back on the straight and narrow path, and pick up our foot-tracks again. These we first stumbled upon in southern British Columbia at the end of the Sasquatch trail. Thence, they went south over the border and, willy-nilly we have had to follow. This is going to get us into a most unpleasant labyrinth. It is, actually, a maze with several alternate correct routes, all of which cross each other and land us up in seemingly impossible predicaments. I follow the foot-tracks first.

In progressing in space we have first to retrace our tracks in time to even earlier than before—to the "49ers," in fact. It was about that date (1849) that Anglo-Saxon type Americans first descended upon the West in any substantial masses. It was, of course, the gold that did it. Actually, this area was the first to be penetrated and colonized by Europeans on this continent; the Spaniards having made some really astonishing

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advances north through it from Mexico. Few people realize that these intrepid savages in their clanking armor carrying little more than their lovely and holy crosses, actually got into what is now Canada through the mountainous third of our country. This area is still giving our bulldozer operators trouble in crossing from east to west. But, here again, is another story. The point is that the Spaniards later, and very sensibly, contracted into the more fertile and pleasant areas and just left the rest to the benighted Amerinds.

During this long period of some 300 years no less, things went along much as they had done since the last ice-advance in this area—outside the Spanish Missions. There were, however, some most agile-minded priests who interested themselves enormously in the land and took the Amerinds quite seriously. They left records of some of the legends of their flocks that make most interesting reading. I have to mention the fact of the existence of these now because they constitute the earliest sight of our trail, leading, as always, from the Northlands on toward the salubrious climes of tropical America. They [the records] speak of great wild men of the dry upland arroyos and massed pinon forests, that tramped lugubriously about at night scaring adolescent Amerinds and leaving monstrous footprints on the sands of that time all over the region. But, after these ecclesiastical indiscretions, there is a complete blank as far as I know until the 1849 Gold Rush. Then things began to happen in typically Yankee fashion.

This particular facet or phase of ABSMery has, like the overall picture, to be tackled in retrospect and in the order of its rediscovery. The alleged incidents in some cases occurred over a century ago but the records came to light only in the last few years. They had been lying buried in newspaper morgues. What actually happened—and this is quite apart from the reports on individual incidents—is that a whole mass of Easterners, unacquainted with the Far West, suddenly appeared on the scene and went barging off into the outlands looking for gold. Prior to their arrival there had been plenty of people along the coast and idly dotted about the inner belt of the West, but they had stayed literally around the water holes in

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the latter, while they had not gone back inland from the coast in the more northern and better watered areas—that is from the north end of the Sacramento Valley to Puget Sound. It was when the Easterners tried to penetrate these lands of mighty forests and seemingly everlasting mountain ranges, one behind the other, that things began to happen. Sometimes, they got a bit out of hand.

We are now back in the montane forests of which we have spoken so firmly, and we are going to stay in them for a very long time. Before we go any farther into them, though, I should state a few basic facts. Such types of forest—and there are actually about a couple of dozen of them between Alaska and Tierra del Fuego—are well-nigh impenetrable. That is why not only just substantial parts, but the greater part of them, even in our own country, are not yet "opened up." This is a loose term; so, to be more precise, let me give one example of the state of current affairs in what is just about the most accessible of all of them today. This is the 17,000 square-mile block of territory centered around the Klamath River area in northern California.

The extent, position, and boundaries of this area may be seen on Map IV. You may calculate its dimensions for yourself. This I beg of you to do, rather than writing to me about it.  * Please note also that it starts at the bottom about Clear Lake which is just 70 miles north of San Francisco, and it continues on north into Oregon. Actually it is confluent with a much vaster block in the Cascades, and is nowhere completely cut off (by farmland or nonforested land) from other lesser blocks in Oregon and thence on to Washington. I should explain that in delineating these wilderness blocks I do not consider a road, even a main blacktop, to be a boundary for it does not deter any living thing that I know of from passing from one side to the other, provided there is cover on both


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sides right up to its edges. This great area has been surveyed and there are maps of it down to very large scale in conformity with the best series published by the Coast and Geodetic Survey, National Forests, and other official agencies. There are neat county maps covered with names and a grid on a scale of 4/10 of an inch to the mile, that look perfectly splendid at first sight. However, I ran into a Federal agency surveying party when I was deep in the middle of this block in 1959, and spent several evenings with the Chief Surveying Officer who told me things and demonstrated certain facts that, metaphorically speaking, caused myself and my two traveling partners to lose our eyebrows—upward.

It transpired that this area has only once been "surveyed" and that was by unofficial surveyors under contract to the U.S. Government, in the year 1859! Further, the survey was ostensibly made on a 1-mile grid; that is to say the surveyor was supposed to walk a mile north, south, east, or west, take a fix and drive a stake, and continue doing this till he reached some previously selected line at the other end that linked up with the next survey. The original notebooks carried by these surveyors of 1859, and in which they recorded the facts and figures of their surveys in the field, a page to a mile, are on file in the Lands Office in San Francisco. They are a revelation. The surveyor whom we met told us that in one notebook he had found no less than 23 pages absolutely blank and without so much as a thumbmark on them, and he told us that all the books covering this area were like that. He stressed that this is no deprecation of the early surveyors as, he said, they actually did a remarkable job on the whole, managing to join up the surveys to the 60-mile triangulation made from mountaintops (and now corrected from aerial photography), but he pointed out that the greater part of the resultant maps are pure conjecture and most of them made by what surveyors call "camp-surveying." What, of course, happened was that the country was so rugged and impassable that the surveyors just went in as far as they could, then came back out, went around to the next possible entrance, and tried again. When they had enough fixes around the edges, they just ruled lines

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connecting what they had, adjusted a bit for error, and then ruled in the rest of the grid. And this, combined with names given to visible mountains, ranges, Amerindian settlements in accessible valleys, and logging operations, filled the whole thing out nicely, so that on paper it looks almost like the outskirts of San Francisco.

Actually, this great block of territory is quite unknown. Nobody goes into it much except a short way from its edges, and practically nobody has gone through it. I interviewed one experienced locally bred woodsman who took a 3-week summer vacation to attempt this. He did cut across the southwest corner of the square but was a week late getting back to work. A friend of mine working in there at the time of writing did come upon a lone and unknown prospector of the old school some distance in, and he had a mule in there. One "scientist" from a "university" in California wrote a furious letter after I had published my report on the ABSMery of this area, stating that he had "collected animals all over every bit of the area during several seasons" and adding gratuitously that "its entire fauna has for decades been well known." This is a point at which I find it very hard to remain civil.

The whole of this country is clothed in a particular kind of montane, closed-canopy, mixed deciduous-coniferous forest, of magnificent proportions and containing some of the finest timber in the world. It grows in three tiers with an undergrowth. The tallest trees such as Sitka Spruce, and Douglas Fir, run up to 150 to 200 feet and stand pretty close together. Under them on the upper reaches there is a closed-canopy of smaller conifers, in the valleys of deciduous trees such as maples, madroñes, etc., and beneath both of these there is usually another closed-canopy of large saplings and smaller trees of mixed constitution. Beneath this again is another layer that is almost impenetrable, being composed of bushes and the dead branches of the spruces and firs which are as strong as spring steel even when leafless, and which persist right down to the ground like a barbed-wire entanglement. It took me half an hour with a sharp machete to get far enough from the one road in the country not to be able to talk to my companions

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left on that road. I am a fair bushwacker, having been at it all my life, and I am pencil-thin and thus highly suitable for going through and under things.

But this is not by any means all. The whole of this country is constructed like a freshly plowed field on a monstrous scale. While its mountains and peaks are not high by Western standards they are immensely steep, and closely packed so that there is practically no horizontal ground throughout the whole country. The whole thing is a nightmare even to experienced woodsmen, and something much worse to road builders.

This is the real state of affairs throughout a huge block of territory within a hundred miles of one of our greatest cities, although almost everybody in that city would deny it positively, and even the majority of citizens of Eureka, a large and prosperous community right on its edge, have no idea of its true nature. Conditions are even more difficult in other montane areas but from now on I shall simply be saying of them, as we approach them, that they are either better or worse than the Klamath. This is going to relieve me of the necessity for a lot of verbiage. Readers may also find this useful in arguments; while it will give some sort of key to assess other forests in other lands. Actually, though, this Klamath forest is just about as difficult as I have ever run into, and that goes for the tropics too, but it, of course, pales before the British Columbian vegetation on the grounds of topography for, whereas we have here to deal only with little mountains, there we have enormous ones.

It was such topography, moreover, that was tackled by the greenhorns from the East looking for gold. They didn't get very far, but they did, according to the older Amerinds still living, and who got it from their fathers and grandfathers, cause the ABSMs to make a sudden mass withdrawal into the inner recesses of each of the blocks, at that time. This interesting information was first given to me by a Mr. Oscar Mack, doyen of the Yurok clans of the upper Hoopa Valley. The same statement has cropped up again and again during my investigations all over the Puget Sound to California area. If, moreover, you look at Map I you will note an extremely odd

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fact. This is that early reports (and of various types) came also from what is now Idaho in what is called more technically the North Montane Province. Some very funny things happened there in early days and they seem still to be happening. Most of them center round the real wilderness area about the upper Salmon River which flows into the Snake River as shown on that map. It was in Idaho also that the first foot-track scare took place.

This is an interesting story in several ways, and has naturally been received with whoops of joy by the skeptics. The story is from the Humboldt Times of January 3, 1959, and reads:


STORY OF CENTURY OLD BIGFOOT IN IDAHO ADDS COLOR TO LEGEND: by Betty Allen, Times Correspondent: Willow Creek—Mrs. Alvin Bortles, Boise, Idaho, discussed an account of a "Big Foot" who lived prior to 1868 in the wilderness of Idaho.

The mother of Kenneth Bortles, vice principal of the Hoopa valley high school, Mrs. Bortles said that mysterious tracks of a tremendous size and human shape stirred the residents of Idaho in the early days. Just as with the "Big Foot" tracks of Northern California's Bluff Creek area, some believed they were genuine, others saw in them a clever hoax.

The "Big Foot" lived in the remote wilderness of Reynold's Canyon now known as Reynold's Creek. A thousand dollars was offered for him, dead or alive. Here the likeness to the local "Big Foot" ended for the "Gigantic Monster," as he was called in Idaho, was a killer. The full extent of the depredations of this Big Foot were never known, for many robberies and murders were attributed to him which he probably did not commit. The sometimes wanton killings that were the work of almost superhuman strength both with stock and humans, brought about his downfall. A thousand dollars was offered for Big Foot dead or alive.

John Wheeler, a former army man, set out to collect the reward. In the year 1868, he came upon Big Foot and shot him 16 times. Both legs and one arm were broken before he fell to the ground. As he lay there he asked for a drink of water and, because of his great fear, Wheeler shot him, breaking his other arm before giving the water to the creature. Before he died, he told Wheeler that his real name was Starr Wilkerson and he had been born in the Cherokee nation of a white father. His mother was part Cherokee and part Negro. Even as a very small boy everyone had called him "Big Foot" and made fun of him. At the age of


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19 the white girl he loved jilted him for another. Gathering a small band of men about him he killed then, for the sheer love of killing. Later he killed the girl that he had loved.

The foot length of this great giant of a man was 17½ inches and 18 inches around the ball of the foot. His height was 6 feet, 8 inches, with a chest measurement of 59 inches, and his weight was estimated at 300 pounds. He was all bone and sinew, no surplus flesh. He was known to have traveled as far as 60 or 75 miles in a 24-hour period.

Adelaide Hawes gives an account of Starr Wilkerson or "Big Foot" in her book, The Valley of the Tall Grass, written in 1950.


I have other old stories from Idaho, mostly of sheep being torn apart and monstrous human-like footprints by water holes, but nothing ever came of them. There is one story, however, that has always impressed me. This is told by none other than Theodore Roosevelt in a book he published in 1892 entitled Wilderness Hunter. Teddy was not a boy to be taken in by anybody much, and he was a great skeptic and debunker, especially in the field of wildlife, being the originator of that most excellent expression of opprobrium, "Nature-Faker." This story seems to have impressed him not a little and mostly because of the still noticeable terror of the teller, half a lifetime later. He was an old man when he talked to Roosevelt and the incident had happened when he was young. His name was Bauman and he was born in the area on the then frontier, and had spent all his life as a hunter and trapper. Roosevelt's account goes as follows:


It was told [to me] by a grizzled, weather-beaten old mountain hunter, named Bauman, who was born and had passed all his life on the frontier. He must have believed what he said, for he could hardly repress a shudder at certain points of the tales.

When the event occurred Bauman was still a young man, and was trapping with a partner among the mountains dividing the forks of the Salmon from the head of Wisdom river. Not having had much luck, he and his partner determined to go up into a particularly wild and lonely pass through which ran a small stream said to contain many beaver. The pass had an evil reputation because the year before a solitary hunter who had wandered into it was there slain, seemingly by a wild beast, the half-eaten remains being afterwards found by some mining prospectors who had passed his camp only the night before.


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The memory of this event, however, weighed very lightly with the two trappers, who were as adventurous and hardy as others of their kind. … They then struck out on foot through the vast, gloomy forest, and in about 4 hours reached a little open glade where they concluded to camp, as signs of game were plenty.

There was still an hour or two of daylight left, and after building a brush lean-to and throwing down and opening their packs, they started up stream. …

At dusk they again reached camp. …

They were surprised to find that during their absence something, apparently a bear, had visited camp, and had rummaged about among their things, scattering the contents of their packs, and in sheer wantonness destroying their lean-to. The footprints of the beast were quite plain, but at first they paid no particular heed to them, busying themselves with rebuilding the lean-to, laying out their beds and stores, and lighting the fire.

While Bauman was making ready supper, it being already dark, his companion began to examine the tracks more closely, and soon took a brand from the fire to follow them up, where the intruder had walked along a game trail after leaving the camp.… Coming back to the fire, he stood by it a minute or two, peering out into the darkness, and suddenly remarked: "Bauman, that bear has been walking on two legs." Bauman laughed at this, but his partner insisted that he was right, and upon again examining the tracks with a torch, they certainly did seem to be made by but two paws, or feet. However, it was too dark to make sure. After discussing whether the footprints could possibly be those of a human being, and coming to the conclusion that they could not be, the two men rolled up in their blankets, and went to sleep under the lean-to.

At midnight Bauman was awakened by some noise, and sat up in his blankets. As he did so his nostrils were struck by a strong, wild-beast odor, and he caught the loom of a great body in the darkness at the mouth of the lean-to. Grasping his rifle, he fired at the vague, threatening shadow, but must have missed, for immediately afterwards he heard the smashing of the underwood as the thing, whatever it was, rushed off into the impenetrable blackness of the forest and the night.

After this the two men slept but little, sitting up by the rekindled fire, but they heard nothing more. In the morning they started out to look at the few traps they had set the previous evening and put out new ones. By an unspoken agreement they kept together all day, and returned to camp towards evening.

On nearing it they saw, hardly to their astonishment, that the lean-to


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had been again torn down. The visitor of the preceding day had returned, and in wanton malice had tossed about their camp kit and bedding, and destroyed the shanty. The ground was marked up by its tracks, and on leaving the camp it had gone along the soft earth by the brook, where the footprints were as plain as if on snow, and, after a careful scrutiny of the trail, it certainly did seem as if, whatever the thing was, it had walked off on but two legs.

The men thoroughly uneasy, gathered a great heap of dead logs, and kept up a roaring fire throughout the night, one or the other sitting on guard most of the time. About midnight the thing came down through the forest opposite, across the brook, and stayed there on the hill-side for nearly an hour. They could hear the branches crackle as it moved about, and several times it uttered a harsh, grating, long-drawn moan, a peculiarly sinister sound. Yet it did not venture near the fire.

In the morning the two trappers, after discussing the strange events of the last 36 hours, decided that they would shoulder their packs and leave the valley that afternoon.…

All the morning they kept together, picking up trap after trap, each one empty. On first leaving camp they had the disagreeable sensation of being followed. In the dense spruce thickets they occasionally heard a branch snap after they had passed; and now and then there were slight rustling noises among the small pines to one side of them.

At noon they were back within a couple of miles of camp. In the high, bright sunlight their fears seemed absurd to the two armed men, accustomed as they were, through long years of lonely wandering in the wilderness to face every kind of danger from man, brute, or element. There were still three beaver traps to collect from a little pond in a wide ravine near by. Bauman volunteered to gather these and bring them in, while his companion went ahead to camp and made ready the packs.

On reaching the pond Bauman found 3 beavers in the traps, one of which had been pulled loose and carried into a beaver house. He took several hours in securing and preparing the beaver, and when he started homewards he marked, with some uneasiness how low the sun was getting….

At last he came to the edge of the little glade where the camp lay, and shouted as he approached it, but got no answer. The camp fire had gone out, though the thin blue smoke was still curling upwards. Near it lay the packs wrapped and arranged. At first Bauman could see nobody; nor did he receive an answer to his call. Stepping forward he again shouted, and as he did so his eye fell on the body of his friend, stretched


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beside the trunk of a great fallen spruce. Rushing towards it the horrified trapper found that the body was still warm, but that the neck was broken, while there were four great fang marks in the throat.

The footprints of the unknown beast-creature, printed deep in the soft soil, told the whole story.

The unfortunate man, having finished his packing, had sat down on the spruce log with his face to the fire, and his back to the dense woods, to wait for his companion.… It had not eaten the body, but apparently had romped and gambolled round it in uncouth, ferocious glee, occasionally rolling over and over it; and had then fled back into the soundless depths of the woods.

Bauman, utterly unnerved, and believing that the creature with which he had to deal was something either half human or half devil, some great goblin-beast, abandoned everything but his rifle and struck off at speed down the pass, not halting until he reached the beaver meadows where the hobbled ponies were still grazing. Mounting, he rode onwards through the night, until far beyond the reach of pursuit.


Judged by the time of publication of this story and what the old man said, this must have taken place in the early 1800's. Conditions changed radically about those parts in the 1850's, but then, strangely, they lapsed once more into a form of oblivion and, despite the incredible advance of civilization and the complete opening up of the whole West, until it stands today as second to no other area in the Union, parts of it are really less known now than they were a hundred years ago. I have observed this strange progress of progress in action in other lands, notably in the Republic of Haiti. The population of that small Caribbean country is so enormous that the whole of it, and right up its towering mountains, is virtually one great garden-city. You can stand anywhere and spit in three directions and be sure to hit somebody's compound. When the troubles took place in the 1920's and the American Marines took over, they built motorable roads in a network all over the country. Then they left; but at the same time there came the commercial airplane. By 1940 you just couldn't find any of the roads made by the Marines, while a new network was being built that went roaring straight through the country from one important center to another. All in between had gone right

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back to conditions pertaining before the advent of the Marines, and in some large areas apparently to those pertaining before Columbus. So also with great pieces of our own country.

It was during this initial period of lapse, or collapse, that we once again pick up our tracks. The strangest story is that of Capt. Joseph Walker, an account of which lies in the files of a paper called the Eureka Daily Leader, dated February 14, 1879. This recounts that this gentleman, who was then a most renowned mountaineer, trapper, and guide, due to his many exploits in the Rockies, had recently returned from investigating a newly opened territory near the mouth of New York Canyon and had brought to the office of the Leader a slab of sandstone about 20 inches long and 14 inches wide and some 3 inches thick. "On the surface of this slab of sandstone was imprinted the clear form of a gigantic footprint [I am quoting here], perfect except for the tip of the great toe. The footprint measured 14½ inches from the end of the heel to the tip of the toe and was 6 inches wide across the ball of the foot. Captain Walker related how he had found the slab of sandstone formation under about 2 feet of sand."

This story has sundry rather odd features. First, a foot 14 ½ inches by 6 inches across the ball is hardly a gigantic foot compared to what is coming in a moment, but it has a plantar index of 2.42 which is much wider than a human foot and would give an impression of great size. The fact that it was impressed in a slab of sandstone might at first sound more than just suspicious because you can't impress anything into solid rock—you have to chip it out. However, and this should be borne in mind, sandstone can form in a matter of days under certain conditions. A surface of argillaceous sand may dry out under a hot sun and remain baked to the consistency of pottery for months. If then a flood brings down a layer of sand or other material and deposits this on top of it and also immediately dries out, you may get conditions similar to those that pertained in our Porcupine cage at my zoo. More drying, compression and the solution and percolation of, say, lime from the covering layer may then, in only a few years, solidify

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the bottom layer and turn it to a sandstone. I have seen car tire tracks in sandstone so solid you needed a cold chisel to chip it.

Captain Walker was not a man to be fooled either and he retained a high reputation so that Walker River was named after him by the Federal Government. He was, in fact, solidly on the right track!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Footnotes
93:* "The Strange Story of America's Abominable Snowman," True, The Man's Magazine, Vol. 40, December, 1959.

96:* This is a fun
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Christian Kielbasa
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« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2008, 12:26:51 pm »



MAP III. NORTH AMERICA

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