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My chat with Thomas Steenburg
August, 2005
Mission, B.C., Canada

GC: On the charm of verbatum witness reports,.... there are many who would disagree with your critics. In 2004 Sasquatch got its own coffee table book....


Meet the Sasquatch, a collaboration between Chris Murphy, John Green and yourself. Who approached you to join in this effort and how did it come about?

Meet the Sasquatch' was Chris Murphy's baby from the word go. He wanted to do an almost school 'tex book' on the subject that could be used as a guide at secondary and post secondary level. At the time Chris was busy trying to put an exhibition on the sasquatch at the Vancouver museum. The book was intended to released in conjunction with the exhibits opening. But as always publication delays prevented this from happening.
Chris approached myself and John hoping we would be willing to help out with the project.. he had a prepared presentation on what he was trying to do and why, and I felt he was on to something good here. He also asked me to trouble shoot and edit the book. I spent most of the winter working on it. When I was first handed part of the manuscript I thought, Oh boy!!! Names and dates wrong, facts which needed correcting and such, poor Chris I think turned grey trying to get this project off the ground. That and dealing with the politics of the Vancouver museum, and of course dealing with the colorful personalities of the Sasquatch field trying to keep everybody happy, which of course is impossible with a book like this one.
At times he must of felt like the U.N. stuck between ragging war lords. Not all my suggestions ended up in the book nor did everything John wanted. But Chris had the final say and I think the end result speaks for its self!

GC: What evidence keeps you going in this search? Or does evidence matter in that regard? There is so much good and bad evidence. Is there more to this mystery then even the evidence has thus far shown us? Were talking instinct and logic I guess..

Only two kinds of evidence is in existence. Circumstantial and hard evidence Everything collected so far amounts to circumstantial, intriguing, strong in some cases but circumstantial never the less. Hard irrefutable evidence has yet to be collected.
The creature its self, a body or peace of a body. Nothing else will convince the powers that be that these creatures exist, live, and reproduce in the back country of this land. That more than anything keeps me going, the fact that something physical and irrefutable still remains to be collected Both instinct and logic tells us that

GC: We all have those who we look up to in this field, for various reasons. Tell us about some of your heroes..so to speak?

When I started looking into this mystery back in the mid 1970s two men stood out from all others. John Green, and Rene Dahinden. John for his logical approach and gathering of data. Rene for his drive and take no prisoners altitude. I was fortunate enough to get to know and became good friends with both these men. and did research with them as well. And I think I earned their respect for my views as well. At least I hope so?

GC: I missed out on meeting one of the landmarks in this field, who passed away in April of 2001. And no discussion of Sasquatch will ever be complete without the mention of Rene Dahinden. You had the good fortune to know this man for a number of years. Tell us about how you met and your friendship developed?

I have to admit for the first 5 years or so I avoided him like the black death, mail correspondence only. I had known John, Vladimir and Bob, from the start and I had heard some horror stories.
When I first meet Rene in 1983 he was camping in Banff National Park for the weekend, I think he was slowly working his way home from Edmonton and for some reason he gave me a phone call, I guess he wanted to feel this newcomer out. So I took a trip out to meet with him He was staying in the Lake Louise camp ground.
I walked up to his green truck and called out, "Mr. Dahinden are you in?". A voice answered "Ja,,who's that?". I replied "Thomas from Calgary", The voice answered followed by a low laugh, "So vhat??". I spent most of the night with him taking about the sasquatch, mostly he talked and I tried not to sound to stupid.... one thing he said to me was, "If you won't to be somebody in this business don't go running around all over hells half acre trying to find sasquatch. Stay here in Alberta, try to become an expert on every report here".
To this day I don't know if he was trying to establish myself as the researcher in Alberta, or was he trying to keep me from his territory in British Columbia? With Rene both could be possible. But I did stick to the Alberta side of the rockies for 23 years.
Rene was a man with a mission in every sense of the word. Driven, take no prisoners kind of style, though for many years especially in his later years I think he was a disappointed and sad man. I would stop by and see him every time I was on the west coast and we went in the field together.. four times in total.
Not to many people know this Rene didn' t like it in the dark, I think he felt very vulnerable and at a disadvantage at night. Perhaps this is one major reason he never saw what he spent so much time looking for? Rene spent a great many years studding the P/G film. He disliked Roger Patterson . And I think his mission at first was to debunk it rather than prove it's authenticity. Of course he came to believe in its authenticity without question.
It is said Rene researched the sasquatch for 44 years... one wouldn't be to far off the mark if he said Rene studied the sasquatch for 10 years followed by studying the P/G film for 34 years. He never let up or slowed down, he was Rene.....

GC:Lets talk about investigators ...


Should they practice their research running after sightings up and down the map? Or might they be better off staying in an area of proven multiple sightings over the years?

Both. If they can afford to do it. Not many can of course. Myself, if I hear of something happening down in Washington state I will call a colleague who is closer and let him or her follow up on the matter. Hopefully they will do the same if they hear of something close by me.

GC: What,in your opinion,is the most important thing an investigator.. or researcher ..can possess when dealing with others in this field?

Hopefully it will be common sense. A lot of people in this field have very strange ideas on all aspects of this research. You cannot let such thoughts or ideas from others to cloud your own common sense .

GC: To the general public..this question might be an oxymoron, but.... Would you say that a Sasquatch researcher's greatest ally is his credibility in dealing with others, who might be described as his/ her peers? I imagine that without it. [ credibility ] a researcher would find their sources of information drying up quickly?

In dealing with ones peers in this field your credibility is vital but only to a point. you know as well as i do there are individuals in this field with no credibility at all, except in their own heads, and yet others with similar delusions ride on their every word, The lunatic fringe is full of examples of this.
Others spoil it by doing to much to fast and end up looking foolish by putting their foot in their mouths. There have been a few examples of this recently.
The public on the other hand are almost totally ignorant on the whole Sasquatch question and wouldn't recognize a good researcher from a bad one. Because they have no way of knowing if what you are telling them is fact or garbage from ones own head. Thus the lunatic fringe grows and the public in general thinks we are all nuts.

GC: Seeing you brought it up....this is quite a time we are living in..this new millennium.. Hoaxers are seeking air time on T.V..streaming video on the internet, sold off in blocks Seems many people are bending over backwards to make a buck from Sasquatch. Even the more mainstream researchers are not above trying to make a large buck off of Sassy's back What does this say, Thomas? Are these just rats scavenging a sinking ship..trying to get what they can before someone comes out with proof how Sasquatch tracks can be made..blowing the whole subject out of the water?

Money and publicity does strange things to some people. Some people in the past even though they started out with good intentions have been seduced by the fame, and in some cases money. Especially in the U.S. In Canada we don't seem to have that problem to the same extent. Not because Canadian researchers are more strait forward than our American counter parts, but due to the fact { I think }, that the temptation of the dollar does not present it s self.
My books sell more in the U.S. than in Canada. Bigfoot seems to grab the publics attention and interest in the U.S a lot more than sasquatch does in Canada. In the states a lot more people would say, "Bigfoot documentary on T.V. tonight, that's interesting"! In Canada it's "Sasquatch documentary, ah,,,,so what, the hockey game is on".
Of course theres the individuals who started out with dollar signs in there eyes. They come with the territory and they will always be there. This occurs in every walk of life not just cryptozoology . If somebody is able to get funding of some kind and uses that funding for real research then I say all the power to them. I've never been able to get any, and I won' t begrudge someone who does. However if it appears that somebody is just pocketing the funding and not doing the work, than they need to be exposed for the frauds they are!

GC:Why do you think there is a lack of interest about Sasquatch in Canada, by the general public, politicians and the scientific community, as compared to the USA...or even the countries which made up the USSR? Or, is there no such gap?

Canadians are a apathetic lot I find. The government keeps screwing us and telling lies which only a moron can't see through, yet Canadians keep taking it over and over again. It's not really a lack of interest as it is theres more important things to worry about right now. High Taxes, outrages fuel costs, Hockey lock out?? As for politicians and the scientific community. Well that's the same story everywhere in north America, the difference is in public perspective. I can't really comment on the former Soviet Union as I ve never been over there.

GC: Do you feel that symposiums and conventions in this field will suffer as Canadian attendance and Canadian outlook will be heard to a lesser degree for lack of hosting here in Canada, and the political situation abroad which will make it harder to gain access into the USA?

Yes.

GC: What do people interested in solving this mystery need..in order to get the job done? Is it a situation which can be solved by throwing money at it? Is it a matter of being determined? Will being relentless win out in the end? What would you like to see happen?

Both and nether. Funding would sure help out my own research, but funding to the wrong person is just wasted if the researcher is a fraud! And of course if another Tom Slick came along how in hell would he know if his money is being spent on solving the mystery or just paying for parties in the back country?
What is really needed in my opinion is three to five dedicated researchers who are well equipped and financed who would be willing to spend at least 5 years living in an area where history shows an ongoing record of reports. and they would search 24/7 until conclusive evidence was found . Would 5 years be enough ? I don't know . But the relentless will win out in the end, unless of course theres nothing out there to find.

GC:You are a wonderfully skeptical individual, as everyone should be. Now, not too long ago you heard something unexplainable, something which gave you great pause up in the hills on the north side of the Fraser River. How did you feel during and after the incident?

You have to have a skeptical to be a researcher. You have to accept the possibility that we may be wrong. If not than you are not really a true researcher, your just a cheerleader for the existence of the sasquatch. Last year I personally heard what was for the first time an animal cry in the hills which I could not place in the known animal lists, and I know there was no member of the B.F.R.O call blasting that night in the area. Nor was Sebastian.
It occurred in an area where over the last 5 years local people have reported screaming cry's coming from the mountain? The sound I heard was at 4:30 a.am. It was heard only once, there was no answering call and it did not repeat. To me it sounded very similar to the Wiliford recordings of 1979. But am I willing to state that it was a sasquatch ? Of course not, I didn't see it.

GC: Which is more important to you personally...is it the possible end reward. or is it the trip and all of the fine people met along the way? Which in the end will give you the most comfort. On a personal level?

As far as I'm concerned there won't be an award of any kind. If I'm the one who brings the creature in the only reward is having my life turned upside down for a year or two until all the rhetoric calms down. All the fine people I've met along the way and worked with, well friends are friends for life I hope. The only real satisfaction I will personally get, the day the sasquatch is added to the accepted species list, is the fact I knew I was right and so many others were wrong and now have a lot of explaining to do. There explanation of course will be. "We really thought they were there all the time". I have yet to see one. I just want to know?

GC: If you were fortunate enough to come face to face with Sasquatch.....what do you suspect about him? What do you expect to see when the moment arrives? What will the eyes of the Sasquatch reflect? A cunning animal instinct- or maybe- understanding....or even a hint of ..knowing? .....and if knowing....I wonder what he would see reflected in your eyes?

I expect to see a creature totally designed to survive in it's environment. I expect to see only animal intelligence reflected in the eyes, chimp or gorilla like. perhaps fear Induced hostility. Hopefully a certain fortune teller will be proven wrong and it won't be the last thing I see. I suspect the only thing to go through its mind will be, I've been spotted, time to leave, and it will walk away perhaps to turn and watch from out of sight. hidden in some thick bush.

*Good as place as any to stop..break out a couple of long necks and put some buffalo meat on the bar-b....:)*
Thank you Thomas for this....!


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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