Bigfoot Encounters

Tracks in strawberry patch left by sasquatch?

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2003

Francis Joe points to one of the tracks he discovered in his field Sunday.

DUNCAN (British Columbia, Canada Newspaper Group) - Francis Joe kneels beside a trail of huge footprints crossing the strawberry field beside his home at the end of Boys Road.

Joe, 78, was born on the Native reserve south of Duncan and has never seen tracks like these before.

He believes they belong to a legendary ape-like creature the Cowichan people call Thumquas and others call a sasquatch or bigfoot.

"That's not the tracks of an ordinary human. You could tell if it had shoes on," he says.

Something tramped across Joe's fields sometime Sunday night, leaving a straight line of 15-inch tracks running north to south, three feet
apart in soft soil.

His fields are bounded by bush to the north and the Cowichan River to the south, likely ruling out a trespasser. Joe paid no mind to dogs yapping outside Sunday because they often "bark all night." Local fishermen recently told him they've heard growling noises in the brush along the river.

The tracks also led to memories of when his three daughters saw what they think was a sasquatch at the end of Wilseem Road about 30 yearsago. "It was just getting dark and it was standing by a ditch just staring at us," remembers daughter Jeanne Bob, who claims she a saw bigfoot about
40 feet away.

"It was really big, black and hairy, and had a very strong smell. I wasn't kidding then and now I really believe it."

John Kirk, president of the B.C. Scientific Cryptozoology Club, says the footprints in Joe's berry patch are "a hoax or it's the real thing."

The soil was too soft to reveal a double ball on the foot, an indicator some investigators believe sets real sasquatch tracks from phonies.

The double ball would be needed to carry the weight of an eight-foot creature, Kirk said.

"Each foot print also has to be different because of walking mechanics. With fakes, every footprint is exactly the same."

The three-inch depth of the tracks at Joe's is also significant, he said. "An imprint deeper than a human's indicates a greater weight."

Tons of sasquatch sightings have been reported between Tofino, Ucluelet and Sproat Lake since last August, he said. "They're seen as often as a cougar."

Kirk's been chasing the bigfoot phenomena since 1987.

He and his group also study the cadborosaurus sea monster -- like those spotted in Saanich inlet -- and lake creatures. He says sasquatches are "flesh-and-blood biological creatures but the mystery is how they've avoided human capture for so long." "We've never found their bones either but bones decompose relatively quickly in the Pacific Northwest." However, sasquatch sightings are worldwide.

"Obviously there has to be a viable breeding population; their range is huge. "No one knows for sure what the sasquatch is," he said. "If anything, they're a man-like creature but not necessarily in the hominid family."

Proof positive about the bigfoot will happen if hair or flesh can be DNA tested, he said.

Meanwhile, Kirk advises residents to carry a camera "and don't shoot it, it's totally harmless."

British Columbia News Group

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