Ad campaign puts out call for Alberta sasquatch sightings
Group reaches out to witnesses worried about ridicule
EDMONTON - If you've seen any hulking hairy beasts or unexplained gigantic footprints lately, a group of sasquatch seekers wants to hear from you.
The Western Canadian Sasquatch Research Organization hopes a newspaper advertising blitz this summer will help sniff out reports from witnesses who have encountered the legendary hairy giant.
"Many reports are not brought forward because many people who have a story to tell do not want to be ridiculed," said Roman Forczek, a Lacombe welder who specializes in conducting field research for the sasquatch group.
"We do receive a lot of stories that you just have to dismiss. That is unfortunate, because we do treat the research seriously." The sasquatch group has already collected nearly 700 accounts dating back to the early 1800s of footprints, sasquatch sightings, strange animal vocalizations and suspicious physical damage in the woods.
Its researchers, which include a Calgary chemist and lab owner, have analyzed hair samples, shot photographs and video and travelled to secluded sasquatch hot spots in their quest to prove the legendary creature exists.
The group was founded in 1999 under the name Central Alberta Sasquatch Research. It now has 33 members and covers Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
"We are trying to unravel this mystery," Forczek said.
"We don't claim to have any concrete evidence or indisputable evidence." But Forczek hopes that proof isn't far off.
Already, about a dozen people have responded this summer to the group's advertising blitz in community newspapers, mostly in towns along the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Ads have appeared in Jasper, Grande Cache, Rocky Mountain House, Edson and Coleman, and the group is organizing more ads in Alberta and B.C.
Strange bedding That advertising caught the attention of an avid hunter and outdoorsman, who told Forczek on Monday about a shelter and strange bedding he found 20 years ago in a remote cave in the Rocky Mountain foothills.
"This fellow strongly believes this bed that he found inside of the cave was not made by bear or deer or any such creatures," Forczek said.
"It is in an area that has had numerous sighting reports over the past 30 or 40 years." Calgary organic chemist Brian Baillie can't wait to set up a sasquatch search in the area sometime over the next month.
"The best chance of us getting more evidence is someone coming forward and saying, 'Hey, I saw one,' or 'I saw some tracks,' and us getting out there to see what we can verify.
"We've got hidden cameras that we set up in trees and all over the place. We haven't been lucky enough yet. We've got lots of pictures of deer and things like that," Baillie laughed.
There has even been sasquatch evidence around Edmonton, with reports of giant footprints along the river valley and sightings near Hobbema, Baillie said.
In 1969, numerous unrelated witnesses reported a spate of sightings near Nordegg, including five construction workers who reported seeing an enormous creature at the Big Horn Dam.
The brother of one of those workers recently contacted Baillie as a result of the sasquatch group's ad campaign. Baillie interviewed the man and went through his brother's sasquatch scrapbook.
"His brother, to his deathbed, swore that is exactly what he saw." Field trips Neither Baillie nor Forczek has seen a sasquatch. However, both said they have seen evidence the creatures exist during separate field research trips to verify earlier sasquatch reports.
Forczek said he heard cracking branches, guttural grunting and high-pitched screams outside his tent in the middle of the night during a sasquatch research trip southeast of Big Horn dam in August 2005.
A search the next day failed to turn up any physical evidence.
And Baillie said he saw massive, human-like footprints from a creature with a huge stride in April 2005, when he checked out a forestry road north of Nordegg where a man had reported seeing a sasquatch two weeks earlier.
The research group is serious about weeding out hoaxes, Baillie said. There certainly have been some unbelievable reports and at least one crazy request, he added.
Quite a few years back, one woman wrote to the group "looking for love," Baillie laughed.
"She was looking for a sasquatch because she wanted to mate. We never got back to her."
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