ARE WE THERE YETI?
I’ve chosen Bigfoot, aka Sasquatch, for my first monster blog, primarily because he will be the star of my sequel to Devil’s Bait, and I thought we should spend a few minutes getting familiar with him.
So, what, or who, is Bigfoot? The simple answer is that he is a cryptid, an animal whose existence has been suggested, but has not been discovered or documented by the scientific community. Cryptids often appear in folklore and mythology, leading to stories and unfounded belief about their existence.
By most accounts he, or she, are about 7 to 8 feet tall, completely covered with hair, not fur – hair, and their arms are very long and out of proportion with their bodies, they have large heads and their offspring have been described as looking like giant puppies. They make whistling or howling noises and their screams are loud enough to knock a person off their feet. Some reports even ascribe them with telepathic powers.
This is frame 352 of the film taken by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin on 10/20/67 in Northern California, allegedly depicting a female Bigfoot, known informally as “Patty”. The film’s authenticity has never been proven.
Reported sightings and stories about this creature have been occurring for hundreds of years, all over the world. Bigfoot, or one of his cousins, has been spotted on every continent except, maybe, Antarctica. Native American lore speaks of the creature as a different kind of people, rather than an animal, which commanded a special respect. In other parts of the world, there are ancient legends about hairy man-monsters that had supernatural strength.
In the U.S. there are different versions of the creature depending on the part of the country that you are in. The southeastern states use various names, Skunk Ape, Swamp Cabbage Man, Swamp Ape, Stink Ape, Louisiana Bigfoot, Florida Bigfoot, Myakka Ape and, my favorite, Swampsquatch. All reports of Bigfoot and his various cousins note a strong, unpleasant smell about them but, apparently, these southern swamp creatures are particularly pungent.
Pakistan has the Barmanou, “Big hairy One”; Central Asia and Mongolia have the Almas, “Wild Men”; India has the Mande Barung, Australia, the Yowie and, of course, there is the Yeti, aka the Abominable Snowman, which is generally found in Bhutan and Tibet. These are just a few of Bigfoot’s cousins found around the globe, all with their own unique attributes.
There have been stories about Bigfoot families kidnapping people and bringing them back to their lairs, but I wasn’t able to locate any reports where the creature actually harmed anything other than some cattle. In fact, in the late 1980’s a couple in Wisconsin insisted that they saw Bigfoot kneeling on the side of the road and holding a dead dog in his arms. According to their account, his eyes were remarkably human and it looked like he had just lost his best friend.
I found different possibilities as to how the terms, Bigfoot and Sasquatch, came to be. According to one source, Bigfoot was coined in California in the 1950’s. Jerry Crew, a road construction crewman kept finding large, unexplained, humanlike footprints and made plaster casts of the 14 – 16” prints. From then on the creature was called Big Foot.
Sasquatch is said to be a phrase that was derived by J.W. Burns in the 1920’s from indigenous words of the Chehalis Indian Reservation in British Columbia. They used soss q’atl, sokqueatl and several similar phrases to describe the creature and, from those, Burns coined the English version, Sasquatch, “wild men of the woods”.
So, the question is, are Bigfoot and his various cousins real? I find it hard to believe that there could be so many stories, from so many different parts of the world, and over such a long period of time, to not have some truth to them. How much, I can’t say.
With the world shrinking and leaving so little wilderness for anyone or anything to hide in, if Bigfoot is real, I think we’ll find out that out for sure in the next few decades. In the meantime, it might be nice if they would just take a few selfies and post them on social media so we can stop all the speculating.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or opinions on the subject.