Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 31st, 2009
July 29, 1934
Are they the Last Cave Men?
British Columbia Startled by the Appearance of “Sasquatch,” a Strange Race of Hairy Giants
By Francis Dickie
It is peculiarly in keeping with the topsy-turvy year of violently varying weather, universal human unrest, droughts, grasshopper plagues and other phenomena that there now comes from various eyewitnesses the report of seeing some of the “Sasquatch,” those weird hairy men reported for twenty years to dwell in the tremendous and unexplored mountain region of British Columbia, Canada.
Their reported return is particularly in keeping with this unusual year, as remarkable for the number of appearances of various startling monsters sighted from Scotland to the Caribbean, from the Pacific to the Mediterranean, the reality of which is affirmed by scores of eyewitnesses. Moreover, the statements of some of these people, in so far as curious denizens of the oceans are concerned, have been borne out, for within a short time of each other, at a dozen places on the European coast, the remains of incredible monsters of the deep have been cast up.
Of all these mysterious earthly visitants, perhaps the “Sasquatch” is the least known, by reason of the rarity of their appearance and the reluctance of those who have seen them to talk.
THE existence of a troglodyte race inhabiting the mountains of British Columbia in many of the vast caves is a tribal legend among the Chehalis Indians and those of the Skwah Reservation, near Chilliwack, in the Harrison Lake district, about a hundred miles east of Vancouver. Among the Indians the race has been known for centuries by the name “Sasquatch,” or hairy men.
But reports of these creatures being seen frequently at various times over a period of the last twenty years, and more frequently in recent weeks, have caused a number of people to raise the question if these strange creatures may not be more than an Indian legend of the past, and that some of this race of cavern dwellers are still living in the unexplored fastness of British Columbia.
The Sasquatch have been seen, according to the statements from both white men and Indians. The wild, hairy men have mostly been reported in the Harrison Lake district, but also as far east as the mountainous region of Yale, on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The repeated reports of eyewitnesses of seeing one or more of the huge hairy men in recent years, and more particularly in the last month, and the mounting number of the reports of eyewitnesses now seem to point strongly that the old tribal legend, long contemptuously flouted by the white man, is true, and that at least a few of this mysterious race may still inhabit the solitudes nearby where once they were numerous. The possibility of this is further borne out when it is recalled that the remains of a giant race of men recently have been unearthed in the mountainous region of Mexico.
The chief difficulty, in fact the whole task of an investigator, in matters of such phenomena as Sasquatch or sea serpents, is, of course, the credibility of the witnesses. If untruthful, what motive lies behind their story? In the case of the Sasquatch, the element of credence is heightened because in most cases the witnesses have been reluctant ones, some of them not revealing their stories for years.
From a careful comparison of all eyewitness statements to date, all are closely in agreement as to the following facts: The Sasquatch are gigantic men, varying from six and one-half to seven feet in height. One, and only one, witness states the nose of them to be very broad, and the arms long, reaching below the knee. All but one are agreed as to the hideousness of the face.
However, as in most instances the Sasquatch were not seen close up, it is natural the descriptions remain very general. Those people who have been close were so terror-stricken that their accounts are vague. Yet, aside from one of the most recent happenings, in only two other cases have the Sasquatch shown themselves hostile.
THE fact that some of these strange people have just been reported close to civilization at this time accurately compares with dates noted by the Chehalis Indians. The Indians have oral records covering three generations. According to them, members of the tribe have seen in the Springtime every fourth year the light of a great fire on one of the highest peaks in the Chehalis Range. The fire burns for four nights, riding in a very high, thin column. Sometimes it is suddenly extinguished, to rise again a little later. That this is some periodic mark of a return to a certain place of worship at some ancient shrine, or a communication with members in some remote mountain fastness, are possible conjectures.
These periodic returns to some ancient gathering place do bring these people close to what are now civilized areas.
A few days ago, a middle-aged Indian, Tom Cedar, was trout fishing from his canoe on Morris Creek, a tributary of the Harrison. He was near a rocky terraced bank. Suddenly a large rock struck the water so close to his canoe that he was drenched by the splash. Looking up, he saw with amazement a huge hairy man above him just as he threw another rock. This also barely missed the canoe. Cedar paddled rapidly upstream to the settlement.
By way of noting an odd coincidence, this particular stream, now called Morris Creek, was known as Saskakau when the white man first arrived, and is so called on old maps. Nearby are caverns which were investigated by Captain Warde, forty years a resident in the district. He states they bear evidence of habitation. Upon the walls are some crude drawings. In this region, according to the Indians, two large bands of Sasquatch fought a long time ago until both were brought almost to extinction.
THE other evidence of hostile intention of some of these creatures dates back twenty years and consists of the statements of two Indians, Peter and Paul Williams, of Chehalis. The following is very much a condensed resume:
“On an evening in May,” states Peter, “I was about a mile from the reserve, near the foot of the mountain, when what I at first took to be a bear rose up in the underbrush. It was between six and seven feet tall, covered with hair. I turned and ran through the underbrush to my dugout. The hairy man came after me. I paddled across the stream, which is not very deep, and the man waded after. I reached the house where my wife and child were inside. I bolted the door. Presently the hairy man arrived. It was growing dark. He prowled around, grunting and growling, but after a little while went away.”
About the same time Paul was chased from a creek where he was fishing. But the giant did not run after him very far, and apparently the action was only to drive the man away to get the fish he had taken.
On another occasion in the next year, Peter and another man came upon two giants so close as to distinguish a man and a woman. Though the Indians ran, they were not pursued.
Charley Victor, now living at Chilliwack, relates that he and a little group of companions, while bathing in a mountain lake near Yale, suddenly looked up to see a huge man, naked and hairy, looking down upon them from among the trees.
“His big eyes looked very kind, and I was about to speak to him when he drew back into the trees,” related Charley.
Here we have the only witness who gives a favorable reaction to sight of the mysterious race.
This took place many years ago and at a point about a hundred miles from where the majority of the Sasquatch have been reported seen in recent times.
THE next account of which any fully recorded evidence is now to be seen deals with September, 1927, near the little mountain town of Agassiz, which is very near the points at which all the other Sasquatch have been reported. A party of hop-pickers were picnicking here. On their way to this[,] a man, named Herbert Point, and a girl, Adeline August, were walking when they saw a strange creature approaching. “He was twice as big as the average man, with hands [arms?] so long they nearly touched the ground, and his nose seemed spread all over his face. His body was covered with hair like an animal. He stopped within fifty feet of us. We ran away as fast as we could.” The lines in quotes are excerpts from a letter written by the man in answer to a query of what he had seen.
Within recent weeks Emma Paul and Millie Saul, two other members of the Chehalis Reserve, saw one of the Sasquatch near their home on the fringe of the woods. Several nights later he was heard prowling around the home of Millie Saul, and one rubbed his hand over the window frame.
To date, the last report was from Harrison Mills, a small hamlet on the Harrison River.
The woman, on hearing a humming noise, looked up to see a big man covered with hair on the edge of the clearing. She was frightened. Taking a backward step, she fell into one of the half-full laundry tubs at which she had been working. When she had extricated herself and looked again, the man had disappeared.
Such, in brief, are the legendary and eyewitness stories regarding the Sasquatch.
THE scientific board connected with the Museum of Vancouver is skeptical regarding the existence of any such remnant of a race that once might have roamed the forested regions.
An objection that the climate is too rigorous for a naked race, no matter how hairy, might be answered by pointing to the Fengians, who live in a much more inhospitable one.
The eyewitness reports have always been reluctantly given. There may be many more. The chief objection among the natives to telling white inquirers is fear of ridicule. This sensitiveness is much stronger among natives than whites.
Here, for the present, the matter must rest. Perhaps further witnesses may be heard in the future. Remembering, however, in judging the possibilities of the existence of the Sasquatch, how many people have seen sea serpents and that remains of strange creatures have been recently washed on various shores. It is quite within the bounds of probability that just as there are unknown forms of life in the boundless depths of the ocean, equally so may there be in the enormous wilderness stretches of British Columbia wild hairy men roaming.
Thanks again to my colleague Jerome Clark for sharing this archival item.