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In the Beginning..

J. W. Burns

Rene Dahinden

Bob Titmus

John Green

Bob Titmus

The British Columbia Classics

Sasquatch Country

 



J.W.Burns 1946
[ Picture is property of Ralph Burns ]

The name Sasquatch was coined in the 1920's by J. W. Burns, through ..what is believed to be.. a mis-pronunciation of an indian word, and for the most part is used primarily to describe our Canadian cryptid . Many indigenous peoples have varying terms for the wild ones and the forest fathers..but it was through J. W. Burns writings and articles about the creature that this particular name has become known world-wide. The name Bigfoot first appeared in the October 5, 1958 copy of the Humboldt Times, as a headline to an article written by the paper's editor Andrew Genzoli on a local man named Jerry Crew who had shown up at the paper's office with a plaster cast of a footprint found in Bluff Creek Valley.

British Columbian stories about encounters and footprints have been recorded by indians and settlers alike going back over 100 years. But an oral history of Sasquatch encounters by BC indians goes back much further!

J.W. Burns spent many years as a teacher on the Chehalis Indian Reserve beside the Harrison River about 60 miles east of Vancouver, B.C. He wrote numerous articles and stories, which were published in the Vancouver newspapers of the day. He was keen to write about the encounters which local indians were stated to have had with the hairy giants, including an article in a major national magazine in 1929. ( MacLean's Magazine, April 1 issue )
While those stories certainly did not convince non-Indian society that such creatures actually existed, they did make "Sasquatch" a household name!
So much so, that they even named a local inn after the creature!

Introducing B.C.'s Hairy Giants
J. W. Burns

A collection of strange tales about British Columbia's wild men as told by those who say they have seen them. Are the vast mountain solitudes of British Columbia, of which but very few have been so far, explored, populated by a hairy race of giants-men-not ape-like men? Reports from time to time, covering a period of many years, have come from the hinterlands of the province, that hairy giants had been occasionally seen by Indian and white trappers in the mountain vastnesses, far from the pathway of civilization. These reports, however, were always vague and indefinite; for the reason that no person could be found, or, at least, nobody came forward with the information that they had obtained a close-up view of these strange creatures.

Persistent rumors led the writer to make diligent inquiries among old Indians. The question relating to the subject was always, or nearly always, evaded with the trite excuse: "The white man don't believe, he make joke of the Indian." But after three years of plodding, I have come into possession of information more definite and authentic than has come to light at any previous time. Disregarding rumor and hearsay, I have prevailed upon men who claim they had actual contact with these hairy giants, to tell what they know about them. Their story is set down here in good faith.

Peter Williams lives on the Chehalis Reserve. I believe that he is a reliable as well as an intelligent Indian. He gave me the following thrilling account of his experience with these people.
Peter's Encounter with the Giant

One evening in the month of May twenty years ago," he said, "I was walking along the foot of the mountain about a mile from the Chehalis reserve. I thought I heard a noise something like a grunt nearby. Looking in the direction in which it came, I was startled to see what I took at first sight to be a huge bear crouched upon a boulder twenty or thirty feet away. I raised my rifle to shoot it, but, as I did, the creature stood up and let out a piercing yell. It was a man a giant, no less than six and one-half feet in height, and covered with hair. He was in a rage and jumped from the boulder to the ground. I fled, but not before I felt his breath upon my cheek.

"I never ran so fast before or since through brush and undergrowth toward the Statloo, or Chehalis River, where my dugout was moored. From time to time, I looked back over my shoulder. The giant was fast overtaking me a hundred feet separated us; another look and the distance measured less than fifty. pushed my boat into the Chehalis and in a moment the dugout shot across the stream to the opposite bank. The swift river, however, did not in the least daunt the giant, for he began to wade it immediately.

"I arrived home almost worn out from running and I felt sick. Taking an anxious look around the house, I was relieved to find the wife and children inside. I bolted the door and barricaded it with everything at hand. Then with my rifle ready, I stood near the door and awaited his coming."
( Peter added that if he had not been so much excited he could easily have shot the giant when he began to wade the river. )

"After an anxious waiting of twenty minutes," resumed the Indian, "I heard a noise approaching like the trampling of a horse. I looked through a crack in the old wall. It was the giant. Darkness had not yet set in and I had a good look at him. Except that he was covered with hair and twice the bulk of the average man, there was nothing to distinguish him from the rest of us. He pushed against the wall of the old house with such force that it shook back and forth. The old cedar shook and timbers creaked and groaned so much under the strain that I was afraid it would fall down and kill us. I whispered to the old woman to take the children under the bed."
( Peter pointed out what remained of the old house in which he lived at the time, explaining that the giant treated it so roughly that it had to be abandoned the following winter.

"After prowling and grunting like an animal around the house," continued Peter, "he went away. We were glad, for the children and the wife were uncomfortable under the old bedstead. Next morning I found his tracks in the mud around the house, the biggest of either man or beast I had ever seen. The tracks measured twenty-two inches in length, but narrow in proportion to their length."
( The following winter while shooting wild duck on that part of the reserve Indians call the "prairie," which is on the north side of the Harrison River and about two miles from the Chehalis village. Peter once more came face to face with the same hairy giant. The Indian ran for dear life, followed by the wild man, but after pursuing him for three or four hundred yards the giant gave up the chase.
Old village Indians, who called upon Peter to hear of his second encounter, nodded their heads sagely, shrugged their shoulders, and for some reason not quite clear, seemed not to wish the story to gain further publicity.
) On the afternoon of the same day another Indian by the name of Paul was chased from the creek, where he was fishing for salmon, by the same individual. Paul was in a state of terror, for unlike Peter he had no gun. A short distance from his shack the giant suddenly quit and walked into the bush. Paul, exhausted from running, fell in the snow and had to be carried home by his mother and others of the family.
"The first and second time." went on Peter, "I was all alone when I met this strange mountain creature. Then, early in the spring of the fellowing year, another man and myself were bear hunting near the place where I first met him. On this occasion we ran into two of these giants. They were sitting on the ground. At first we thought they were old tree stumps, but when we were within fifty feet or so, they suddenly stood up and we came to an immediate stop. Both were nude. We were close enough to know that they were man and woman. The woman was the smaller of the two, but neither of them as big or fierce-looking as the giant that chased me. We ran home, but they did not follow us."
The Indian house that was wrecked by Peter's giant. One morning, some few weeks after this, Peter and his wife were fishing in a canoe on the Harrison River, near Harrison Bay. Paddling round a neck of land they saw, on the beach within a hundred feet of them, the giant Peter had met the previous year.
"We stood for a long time looking at him." said the Indian, "but he took no notice of us that was the last time," concluded Peter, "I saw him."
Peter remarked that his father and numbers of old Indians knew that wild men lived in caves in the mountains had often seen them. He wished to make it clear that these creatures were in no way related to the Indian. He believes there are a few of them living at present in the mountains near Agassiz.


Page Two !

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