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J. W. Burns

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John Green

The British Columbia Classics

Sasquatch Country

 

Sasquatch at Ruby Creek

Until the Harrison Sasquatch Hunt hit the headlines I had never heard of this incident, although Ruby Creek is only twelve miles up the Fraser River from Agassiz. But with all the publicity going on, the subject of Sasquatches tended to come in many conversations, and it did so when my wife and I were visiting Jack Kirkman, game guide at Harrison Hot Springs, and his wife Martha, who is an Indian.
Martha Kirkman told us the story of the Sasquatch at Ruby Creek as it had been told to her by her cousin Jeannie Chapman, (not Chadwick), the woman who saw the creature. Mrs. Kirkman also said that when she was young there were places, in the woods the children were not allowed to go because the Sasquatches were there. She did not say that she herself believed such creatures existed, but she did impress on us very strongly that Mrs. Chapman was serious in telling her story, and indeed had suffered a shock that changed her whole life.
On the same weekend, Bill Rae, a printer who worked for me, was told the same story by Esse Tyfting, the head custodian of Agassiz High school, who had lived at Ruby Creek at that time. He had not seen the creature itself but was one of many local people who had studied the footprints it left behind, and had found that the tracks confirmed Mrs. Chapman's account of the creature's movements.
Thoroughly intrigued, I went to see, Mr. Tyfting, who repeated his story and drew an outline of the footprint for me on the floor of a room he was building. His story, and the size of the print he drew, were impressive. He was a man whom I already knew, and whom I knew to have a good reputation in the community. When he said that he had actually seen these huge footprints I had no grounds to doubt him. Through him, I was also able to locate half a dozen more people who had been present at that time and had seen the prints. Their recollections varied considerably, but all but one agreed that the prints could not have been made by any man or known animal. The lone exception insisted it must have been a bear, but he agreed with the others that it had walked on its hind legs and had stepped over a four-foot fence. I also went to see Mr. and Mrs. Chapman, and talked to them on two occasions, and I visited the Chapmans' house - which had stood abandoned since that time.
Mrs. Chapman told me that one of her children hid come to the house shouting about a "big cow coming out of the woods." She looked out the window and saw a manlike creature about eight feet tall and covered all over with fairly dark hair. It was walking across a field towards the house. She did not see its face from close up, but she was sure it had a flat nose not a snout like a bear
. Bears were very common around Ruby Creek At that time, and she was thoroughly familiar with their appearance
. Although terrified, Mrs. Chapman was still able to think clearly. She took the children and led them out the front door, keeping the house between her and the creature. They crossed a stretch of field and got down to the river, where a high bank shielded them from view. She didn't know if the Sasquatch saw them but it did not try to follow. The tracks later showed that the creature had circled the house and entered a shed where there was a barrel of salt salmon. He sampled this - there was some disagreement about whether he had lifted and dumped it, but in any event there was torn fish scattered around. Then he went down to the river, perhaps to wash the salt out of his mouth, and returned to the mountain
. I did not consider her story reliable as to detail, particularly as it was not entirely consistent, and I have since read accounts in which she is quoted as having said things that do not agree with some of the things she said to me.
I have noticed since that time that some people with scientific training tend to reject an entire story if they can find fault with something in it - even a detail that has nothing whatever to do with the subject at hand. Several years as a reporter covering court cases have given me a more realistic view of the average person's ability to remember. No two witnesses, however impartial, ever have the same recollection of details of the same event, and it is rarely that a witness who is testifying at any length gives precisely the same information at the trial that he gave at the preliminary examination.
On the other hand most people (some politicians excepted) do not lie very convincingly under questioning, and I was quite certain Mrs. Chapman believed what she told me.
Later I talked to a son of the late Joe Dunn, a deputy Sheriff of Whatcom County in Washington, who had investigated the Ruby Creek incident at the time. Apparently Sheriff Dunn was already interested in the subject through experiences of his own. At his home I found a report written by him generally confirming what I had learned myself and was able to copy a tracing of a footprint. By that time I had also been in touch with William Roe and Albert Ostman, and had heard two or three more reports of sightings of something that was more like an erect ape than the giant hairy Indians of the Sasquatch stories.
Interviewing people and gathering facts is my regular occupation, and if I were being fooled very often my readers would be bringing it to my attention. These stories rang true to me, but I took the additional step of having them legally sworn to. In the case of Albert Ostman. and the people involved at Ruby Creek, I even had them cross-examined by the local magistrate, formerly a trial lawyer of considerable reputation. I took what I had gathered to the University of B.C., expecting that scientists would want to investigate the matter. I still had a great deal to learn.
From: On the track of the Sasquatch; John Green (Agassiz, British Columbia: Cheam Publishing Ltd. 1969, p. 1-8.)


John Green

Thomas Steenburg

Chris Murphy

Dr. John Bindernagel

Hancock House

British Columbia Scientific Cryptzoology Club

 

 

GC's interview with John Green

GC's interview with Chris Murphy

GC's interview with Thomas Steenburg

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