Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 1st, 2011
Who penned what may be the first Sasquatch April Fools’ joke in history?
The answer: John Green.
In his 1978 book, Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us, John Green remembered the minor incident, with these words:
In 1954 I bought the newspaper at Agassiz, which serves the Harrison area, and the following year wrote my first Sasquatch story, an April Fool’s Day special about a beautiful guest at the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel being carried off into the mountains by a hairy monster. At no time did I have the slightest idea that there was anyone in the community, or anywhere else, who didn’t think the whole business was a joke. In 1956 Rene Dahinden came to my office looking for information that might assist him in actually finding a Sasquatch. An immigrant from Switzerland, he had been told about them while working on a farm in Alberta, and swallowed the whole thing. His visit made a good story, but I felt rather sorry for him. John Green, 1978, page 49
John wrote me about the incident, in 2003:
I did not start collecting Sasquatch information until 1957. Prior to that all I did was include a made-up Sasquatch story in a 1955 April Fool edition of my paper. I never met William Roe, although I wrote to him later on and he sent me the drawing and a sworn statement. John Green
John Green did not take Sasquatch reports seriously until the Harrison Hot Springs’ council was considering what fun they wanted to have with some of the government’s grant money. The village council had received the funds to celebrate the 100th birthday of British Columbia, and they wanted to have a Sasquatch hunt in 1958. They finally did vote to approve the Sasquatch Hunt, and Green wrote about it.
What is little realized by most modern Bigfoot researchers is that the classic stories of Sasquatch encounters – Albert Ostman, 1924; Ruby Creek, 1941; and William Roe, 1955 (see Roe’s directed drawing done by his daughter, above) – all were developed by John Green after the publicity from the provincial Centennial Committee’s decision-making about the Harrison Hot Springs Sasquatch Hunt of 1958.
J. W. Burns, the man who coined “Sasquatch” in 1929, is shown in a 1946 photo.
Yes, J. W. Burns’ interest in Sasquatch stories pre-dated, by many years, the Harrison Hot Springs’ hunt. But the context is that the 1958 Sasquatch publicity events and interest in British Columbia came immediately before the explosion of Bigfoot media activity and intrigue in northern California, which took place at Bluff Creek from August through October, 1958.
Before 1958, few remember that John Green’s interaction with Sasquatch was as a joke he pulled in 1955. In a coincidence, it was that same year that William Roe would state he had his remarkable sighting of a female hairy forest hominoid. But Roe only talked about it three years later, in 1958, when Green publicized that case, as Green did with the other old ones of the Chapmans at Ruby Creek and Ostman in the mountains behind Toba Outlet.
Above, John Green photographed Rene’ Dahinden interviewing Albert Ostman. Below, John Green questions Ostman in an image taken by Dahinden.
For more on John Green’s Tribute ~ The Sasquatch Summit, upcoming April 8, 9, 10, 2011, please click here.
P.S. This just in…April Fools’ Day in Portland, Maine: