Friday, September 30, 2016

"Twice as Big as a Man" an excerpt from "On the Track of the Sasquatch" by John Green

Eight feet seems to be about right for a monster. It's big enough to be impressive but not so big as to cause much controversy. A gorilla with manlike legs could be that tall. A few men have been even taller. Science rejects the idea that there is such a thing as a Sasquatch at all, but doesn't raise much objection to an eight-footer as a structural possibility.

From "On the Track of the Sasquatch" by John Green from

It would be comfortable, therefore, if one could assume that a full-grown Sasquatch is eight feet tall and let it go at that. For years that's about what has been done. From time to time someone will claim to have seen something like a Sasquatch that was 10 feet tall, or 12, or 14, but everyone just assumes that they are mistaken. I have even encountered references to a supposedly well-known tendency people have to overestimate the size of things they see out of doors. Is there really such a tendency? I would be very interested to see the report on what studies have been done on the subject, if any. My own impression is that most people are fairly experienced at judging the height of erect bipeds, within anything like human range, and the suggestion that they would tend to turn an extra two feet into four or six is not too convincing.

I also reflect that Christmas trees cut in the woods are invariably too tall to put up in the house until some of the bottom end is cut off.

Another thing I have learned in the Sasquatch investigation is that almost everyone tries to bring estimates of weight within limits that seem reasonable by human standards, even when there is ample evidence to the contrary. Looking at a footprint twice as large as your own and six times as deep, the obvious conclusion, if not necessarily the correct one, should be that whatever made it is 12 times your own weight—in other words that the maker of an ordinary California "Bigfoot" print as seen on a damp sandbar weighs about a ton. But no one ever does figure it that way. Guesses usually run between 400 and 800 pounds, or even as low as 300.

The reason for all this speculation about size estimates is that there are two recent reports in which people have given estimates of heights well in excess of 10 feet, and in each case more than one person was involved and they had both the time and the means to work out what amounts to a measurement rather than a guess. The first instance has already been described, when the two prospectors sat down and studied a Sasquatch only "a stone's throw away." They scaled it against the trees where it was standing and decided that it was twice the height of a man. One thought it was from 10 to 12 feet tall, the other from 12 to 14. Their means of checking the height using the trees is a lot more precise than it might seem. Evergreens put out one set of branches each year, marking off the gain in height made the year before. This growth would vary from species to species and from place to place, but it is likely that the trees where the Sasquatch was would have grown about the same as those where the men were. They would make a pretty good measuring stick.

Besides, the creature had left fresh footprints two feet long and a foot wide, more than twice the area of a California "Bigfoot" print.

The other report of an oversize Sasquatch is even more extreme. It comes from east of the Rockies, in the valley of the North Saskatchewan River—the place David Thompson intended to cross the mountains when the Blackfeet turned him back. In September, 1968, Indians living in the valley found some big footprints on a creek bank. These were photographed. That year and in 1969 several of them told of seeing one or more huge hairy people.

No one took any notice, of course. Then on August 23 something appeared on the high riverbank about half a mile from where five men were making a foundation for a pump at the construction site for the Big Horn Dam, about 20 miles west of Nordegg, Alberta. Harley Peterson, of Condor, Alberta, was the first to notice a dark upright figure on the bank, apparently watching what was going on at the damsite. It looked like a large man. He kept glancing at it from time to time, and it stood there for about half an hour. Then it sat down for about 10 minutes, stood up again for another 15, then walked along the ridge of the riverbank and disappeared in some trees.

During this time the number of men watching the creature increased to five. The thing was on the same side of the river as they were, but across a deep bend which put two widths of the river and a sand bar between them, so that they could not approach closer to it. They tried waving, but the figure did not react.

They had neither a camera nor binoculars. One man went to the camp to get a transit from the engineers, but got into a discussion as to why he wanted it, and finally rushed back without it for fear the thing would disappear while he was gone.

Realization of the true size of what they were looking at was delayed until two of the men went over to the place where the thing had been, while the others watched from below. As the figure had walked off they had noted its height in relation to trees in the background, and they were now astonished to see that the men in the same place appeared only about one third as high. At the place where it had sat down it had rested its back against a bump on the ridge, with its bead still showing against the skyline. Now they discovered that a man in the same position was no higher than the bump when standing up.

After making these comparisons they decided that it must have been at least 12 feet high, probably 15 feet. Indeed even the latter figure is well under three times the height of an average man.

I went to the site about a week after the creature was seen and looked the area over as well as talking to two of the men. The bank where the creature had walked was bard packed and grass covered. There were a few patches of loose sand where footprints could have been made, but no one had found any. By the time I got there everything had been trampled many times. There were also planes flying over looking for the creature.

What interested me most was the fact that the land sloped down again from the riverbank, so that the thing must have walked right on the edge of the bank or its feet and legs would have started to disappear behind it. This meant that the creature and the men must have walked the edge—in fact there was a trail there—so both were exactly the same distance from the observers and the background trees when their heights were compared. This should leave little margin for errors in the comparison. If the thing looked to be three times as high as the men against the trees, then that's how high it was.

Later I watched from the pump as two men walked the edge of the bank, and found that their appearance confirmed a lot of what I had been told. They were indeed just dark figures with arms and legs that could be seen moving, but it was too far away to really tell that they were clothed, and they were less than half as high as some of the trees the giant had over-topped.

I would have liked to get details from the Indians about the earlier sightings. Usually Indians will discuss these things far more matter-of-factly than most other people, and these Indians were quite matter of fact in their own way. They didn't want the Sasquatch disturbed, and since I spend my time hunting for one the Indians were not inclined to assist me with any information. What they did say a few days earlier to a reporter from the Edmonton Journal is reproduced here:

Hairy giant stories abound in foothills 

Of The Journal 

NORDEGG—A band of hairy giants may be roaming the Rocky Mountain foothills west of here.  
This is the opinion of many town residents, workmen and guides in the area and Indian families in bush camps. 
And George Harris, 54, a retired Nordegg bulk-fuel businessman, is planning an expedition to track them down.  
Mr. Harris has taken photographs of 17- and 131/2- inch-long footprints he found in the sand at Windy Point, near the Big Horn dam site. "I believe they belong to a male and a female of the species."  
Since five workmen announced blandly a week ago that they had seen a mysterious figure "at least twice as big as a man," many mom people have some out into the open with reports. Edith Yellowbird, 16, living with a band of Indians who left the Hobbema reserve, said she saw four strange figures about two months ago.  
"Again it was near Windy Point," she said at her home, a tent by the highway six miles from the spot.  
"I think they had caught something. Two were bending down and the other two were just walking about nearby. They were as tall as good sized spruce trees on the mountainside on which they were standing."  
Edith was with three other middle-aged women who confirmed her story. Her father, Mark Yellowbird, 62, says he too sighted a figure in the same area, in March this year.  

"The late chief Walking Eagle, of the Big Horn reserve, knew every twig in this area. He told his friends of these things, but he didn't mention them to anybody else because he knew he would be laughed at." 
One day recently Alec Shortneck, 50, was clearing bush for the dam when be turned to see a figure watching him only 50 yards away. "I didn't know what to do," he said. "I just went on chopping wood. It disappeared. I thought it best to just go about my business."
The five construction workers who spotted a figure together say it was about twelve-feet tall.  
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology student Guy L'Heureux, 19, of Rocky Mountain House, was working on a pump house with Harley Peterson, 17, a cement finisher from Condor, when they saw a figure on a point above the dam site. 
They were joined by Harley's father S., 46, back-hoe operator Floyd Engen, 46, of Eckville and University of Saskatchewan education student Dale Boddy, 21, of Ponoka.  
"The figure sat for about 15 minutes," said Harley. "Then it stood up, looked around and walked off.

"It looked enormous. Its head was bent slightly forward and it looked very hefty. We watched it for about three-quarters-of-a-mile as it made its way round a ridge."  
It was too tall and its legs too thin for a bear," said Dale Boddy. "And a bear couldn't have walked that far on its hind legs-and not at that speed. It looked as if it was taking six-foot strides and covered the distance in less than two minutes."  
Said Mr. Engen: "I just didn't believe it. I had heard all sorts of stories and just didn't believe them.  
"I took off my glasses and looked again. But there it was. I knew I was wide awake. I jumped up on a tractor and waved my hat at it and yelled. It didn't seem to notice."
Men went up to try and find tracks the next day—but said the ground was too hard.
Mr. Harris who has been compiling information for his search, believes the Indians who moved onto the plains from Hobbema settled right where the strange tribe live. 

One of the Indians, Vern Saddleback, 28, said: "Many people have seen the tracks. They have come within a couple of hundred yards of our camps. People take them for granted." 

Guide and trapper Gunter Schug, 31, of Nordegg, has offered to go out with Mr. Harris on his expedition. "A friend of mine shot an elk late one day and went back the first thing next day to get it," he said. "It was gone. It had been lifted bodily away. A bear wouldn't do that. He would drag his prey." 

There was, as is usual, a lot of talk about expeditions to film this creature, but as usual little materialized. The area is particularly attractive because the tree cover is fairly sparse and I was assured that it was possible to track an animal from the air. Also the clearing for the area to be flooded for the dam promised a good place to look for tracks. Rene Dahinden spent some weeks there later on, but it was a huge area and he could not cover much of it. It would be an ideal place to follow tracks in the snow, but last fall and early winter there was no snow. By the time it did arrive Rene was in Bossburg.

Click here to buy "On the Track of the Sasquatch" from to finish reading this amazing book!

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