Around here, we call him Bigfoot. He is also known as Sasquatch, an Anglicization of the name Sasq’ets, from the Halq’emeylem language spoken by First Nations peoples in southwestern British Columbia. Bigfoot is a cryptid: a creature that is reported to exist but without hard physical evidence that it does. For centuries, encounters with this tall, hairy humanoid have occurred in the Pacific Northwest, capturing the imagination of locals and visitors alike. Eyewitnesses describe the creature as a massive, bipedal ape-like being, covered in dark brown or reddish hair with heights well over six feet tall and with an unforgettable ‘stench’ or aroma. Low-arched footprints up to twenty-four inches long and with five toes have been found in areas Bigfoot are said to inhabit. They are said to have a lumbering gait but can move extremely fast when needed according to the stories.
Hotspots for Bigfoot activity include the remote wilderness areas of Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, Canada. The large expanses of forest with sparse human populations provide ideal habitation for these elusive creatures said to shun human contact.
Sasquatch tales date back to Native American oral and ‘pictograph’ history. Tribes like the Yokut, Lummi, and Skagit spoke of giant hairy men inhabiting the woods. They regarded the ‘wild men of the woods’ as a distinct species, neither human nor animal. Cliffs adorned with Native American pictographs of Bigfoot were discovered in California. These tall, apelike figures were hand-drawn images of sasquatches made centuries ago.
When European settlers arrived in the Pacific Northwest and California in the 19th century, they also told of spotting huge man-beasts while exploring the mountainous area. One of the earliest documented Sasquatch sightings was reported in 1811 near what is now the town of Bluff Creek, California. The sightings continued through the 19th and 20th centuries, with reports of loud vocalizations heard, and giant footprints found deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.
A surge of interest in Bigfoot came in the 1970s when the famous Patterson-Gimlin film emerged, claiming to show actual footage of Bigfoot walking through the California woods. The film shot in 1967 appears to show a female Bigfoot walking through a clearing. Debate continues over its authenticity.
The encounter reports still persist today. Whether they are glimpses of Bigfoot, hearing strange calls, finding footprints, or smelling a unique and pungent scent, something is out there. Is it an undiscovered primate species or a living piece of legend? Conclusive proof remains lacking, but the truth is out there somewhere. In the meantime, Oregon locals have fun with the Bigfoot legend. Special events, statues and pictures, books, and more bring people together to discuss their own experiences. There is even a fantastic museum devoted to Bigfoot in Oregon. Among other items of interest, they have recreated the Sasquatch ‘scent’ for visitors to sample. Visit https://northamericanbigfootcenter.com/ for their location and more information.
I’ve never seen a Bigfoot, but I love the inspiration he provides. I created calendars this year to help fund the local feral cat T-F-R (Trap, Fix, and Return) program. Oregon’s Furry Feral Friends Calendar was created with a mix of many different Artificial Intelligence programs. After all, I didn’t have a lifetime to sit in the forest, waiting for a Sasquatch to come by and pose for me!
Just so you’ll know, The Authors’ Billboard has released two box sets this month. Unforgettable Christmas Wonders is a collection of eight contemporary romance stories. My NEW story (only available in the set for now) is Kinky Boots and Me. No, it’s not a Bigfoot story, but is a story about a cute little hedgehog and how he helped his human pets.
Reclaiming Me is a set of five Women’s Fiction stories, including my book The Set Up. If you want to read about strong women and the challenges they have faced, check it out.