A Seven to Nine foot tall man ape has been sighted in North America for centuries. The mysterious ape-like creature; also known as Bigfoot, is said to inhabit remote regions of the Pacific Northwest.
While most Canadians consider the Sasquatch a mythical creature, for the Cowichan People they are very real. Before the European invasion, Native Americans knew of the creature and gave him the name Sasquatch, which means “hairy giant.” The Cowichan People gave him the name Thumquas. One of the earliest recorded sightings of a Sasquatch by a white man occurred in 1811 near what is now Jasper, Alberta by a fur trader named David Thompson. Since then there have been hundreds of thousands of sightings of this mysterious creature in Western Canada, and in several states of the U.S.
There have been more than 700 footprints attributed to Bigfoot collected over the years, having an average length of 15.6 inches and an average width of 7.2 inches. Invariably, the sighting of a Sasquatch is accompanied by a very strong, very foul odour.
Daily Colonist, July 20, 1905. Vancouver Island, BC. He is still wild, the Cowichan Leader says: “The wild man of Vancouver Island has again been seen by a prospector while out in the mountains last week near Cowichan Lake.
He reports seeing what he believes was the much-talked-of wild man. He saw something through the bush, and at first sight thought it was a bear and raised his rifle, moving a little closer, when to his surprise a man straightened up before him. He immediately lowered his gun and shouted to him, but the wild man at once sprang into the thicket and was soon lost to view. The prospector tried to follow his track, but on account of the dense undergrowth was forced to give up the chase.”
Not many people have heard the lonely, chilling cries and howls of Bigfoot. But those who have, and know the sounds of the wilderness, say it’s an unforgettable sound like no other.
On the night of July 08, 1975, a Native Man camping at the “Barn” located beside the Cowichan River at the furthest end of Mission Road; also known as the “Power Lines” to the local Natives, reported a strange and unsettling occurrence to the local RCMP detachment.
“I made camp yesterday down beside the Barn, in the evening I cooked a few trout that I had caught earlier in the day. After eating, I was getting a little tired so I decided to turn in. I climbed into my tent and lay down on my bedroll. I let my dogs run around because they always stay close to camp.
I started to dose off to the crickets chirping when suddenly I woke up it was as if I had one of those dreams where you are falling. I could tell there was something very wrong. It was dead quiet – no crickets, nothing, and then my dogs came running into my tent whining and shaking. I quickly jumped up; these dogs were very aggressive dogs, I’d never seen them scared like that. I grabbed my knife along with a flashlight and stepped outside the tent. I couldn’t see anything, but I had that sensation of being watched.
I grabbed some more firewood and threw it on the embers left from the dinner fire. Then I heard some very heavy footsteps right behind me in the trees. There was also a very strange odour, almost like a cross between a skunk and something dead.
Then the stillness of the night was broken by an eerie sound. The kind of scream no cougar or bear could ever squeeze from their throat. Piercing, echoing, guttural; a single, horrible high-pitched-yet-throaty, inhuman, unnatural sound that makes your skin crawl. This thing circled my campsite all night long. I didn’t sleep all night, I sat there and waited for daybreak, and in the morning I packed my gear and left”.
06/16/2003. Original headline: “Tracks in strawberry patch left by Sasquatch”
Francis Joe kneels beside a trail of huge footprints crossing the strawberry field beside his home at the end of Boys Road. Francis Joe, 78, was born on the Native reserve south of Duncan and has never seen tracks like these before. He believes they belong to a legendary ape-like creature the Cowichan people call Thumquas and others call a Sasquatch or Bigfoot.
That’s not the tracks of an ordinary human. You could tell if it had shoes on,” he says. Something tramped across Joe’s fields sometime Sunday night, leaving a straight line of 15-inch tracks running north to south, three feet apart in soft soil. His fields are bounded by bush to the north and the Cowichan River to the south, likely ruling out a trespasser. Joe paid no mind to dogs yapping outside Sunday because they often “bark all night.” Local fishermen recently told him they’ve heard growling noises in the brush along the river.
The track also led to memories of when his three daughters saw what they think was a Sasquatch at the end of Wilseem Road about 30 years ago. “It was just getting dark and it was standing by a ditch just staring at us,” remembers daughter Jeanne Bob, who claims she saw a Sasquatch about 40 feet away. “It was really big, black and hairy, and had a very strong smell. I wasn’t kidding then and now I really believe it.”
John Kirk, president of the B.C. Scientific Crypto zoology organization, says the footprints in Joe’s berry patch are “a hoax or it’s the real thing.” The soil was too soft to reveal a double ball on the foot, an indicator some investigators believe sets real Sasquatch tracks from fakes. The double ball would be needed to carry the weight of an eight-foot creature, Kirk said. “Each foot print also has to be different because of walking mechanics. With fakes, every footprint is exactly the same.”
The footprints found in Francis Joe’s strawberry field are three inches deep, which Kirk says is very significant, because, “An imprint that much deeper than a human’s indicates a much greater weight”.
Is Sasquatch real? Like the cougar he’s rarely ever seen. Over the centuries the Cowichan tribe’s people who have witnessed it have become true believers of the existence of a species known to the Cowichans as Thumquas. One thing is undeniable; there is a substantial amount of evidence that supports the existence of such a creature.