Bigfoot Encounters

By IOGANES JOHNSON for STAG Magazine, 1956

Sasquatches are hairy giants, between 7 and 8 feet tall. They have the high cheekbones of Indians.

The recent glimpses of that strange and prehistoric looking creature, called Sasquatch, tend to confirm the belief that the missing link is still living!

DO prehistoric giants live in Canadian Arctic?

This is a question, which fascinates more people north of the seventieth parallel than is generally known. While the rest of the world may wonder about the abominable snowmen, people of the Northwest are far more interested in Sasquatches.

The abominable snowman is a topic, which frequently pops up. The pages of SIR (Magazine) bared the first world-shaking scoop on this subject, and recently other publications ran extensive stories on it.

The topic of the giant Indians of Northern British Columbia is probably news to most people in the United States but not to British Columbians. I have heard parents in the logging camps around Harrison Lake tell their children to be good, or Sasquatch Annie would come and get them. The Sasquatches are a tribe of wild Indians of the Canadian Northwest reportedly over eight feet tall.

Some fifteen years ago, two fishermen on Harrison Lake were suddenly startled to see a hairy, naked giant emerge from among the Douglas Firs on the shore and start heaving large boulders at their canoe.

The terrified fishermen made their escape, but their reports were taken with a grain of salt. This was in spite of the fact that anyone living within fifty miles of the Harrison Hot Springs-Mission area in the Canadian Rockies is familiar with dozens of legends of the Sasquatches.

In 1946, I was going to work in a logging camp, which was located on Harrison Lake. Since there was only one little motor launch making two trips a week up and down the fifty-mile-long lake, I had to spend the night in the village, called Harrison Hot Springs, at the southern end of the lake.

I was sitting on the porch of my hotel after supper, leafing through some old magazines, when in walked a character who looked much like some pictures of Buffalo Bill I've seen, only much older. He seemed to be around a hundred years old and his shoulder-length hair was snow-white. He wore an Indian-made fringed buckskin jacket.

Having nothing better to do, I listened in on the conversation, which soon brought out the fact that the oldster had been the first white settler on the lake and still lived in a cabin some distance from the village.

Naturally the talk soon got around to the Sasquatch giants and I became interested when the old boy blandly asserted that the stories were true and that he had seen many Indians over eight feet tall when he first moved up the lake some sixty years ago.

"They were peaceful then," he said. "There was one big fellow in particular who used to come and trade with me. He never said anything, just gave me the creeps the way he'd suddenly appear out of the bush with a deer on his shoulder.

"The deer were always killed with an arrow. He would put the deer down on the grass before my cabin and would just stand there looking at me. I would go to my cabin and come out with a bag of salt, which is what he wanted.

"Once I offered him a smoked salmon trout but he only shook his head and grunted and slapped his belly to show he had all the fish he wanted. I saw this big guy kill a cougar with a club he broke off a tree...”

"How did that happen?" somebody asked.

The oldster continued. "I was out in my canoe fishing just in front of my cabin when a cougar—and this area was full of them then— attacked my dogs and they ran yelping to a little wharf I had built with the cat hot after them.

"The dogs kept right on going and hit the water which was the best thing they could have done. The cougar was perched on the wharf spitting and snarling at the dogs when this big Sasquatch came out of the bush with a club and killed the cougar like it was a pussycat.

"Almost' wrecked my wharf too because his first swipe missed and broke the planks on the wharf. The second time he didn't miss."

Somebody asked what had become of these big Indians. "Why they just went up North when the loggers came in," the old fellow explained.

"How far north?"

"If I know them they went far enough so they won't be bothered too much," the old boy said.

THE following year I was in Vancouver when the Headless Valley stories broke in Canadian papers.

The valley is situated halfway between the sixtieth and seventieth parallels not far from where the Liard River meets the Mackenzie, which eventually flows into the Bering Sea. This area is called the District of Mackenzie—and Headless Valley is about halfway between Fort Nelson and the Great Bear Lake.

The stories about the valley began with a report that another prospector, and a tough one at that, had been found without a head on the fringes of the valley.

Shortly afterwards, there was another similar case and then yet another, all the bodies being found with heads missing.

Some people blamed bears, others desperate criminals hiding from the Mounties, and some said bad Indians. The few individuals who knew anything about the valley spoke of hot springs in middle of the Arctic, of tropical vegetation around them, of fabulous veins of gold in the rocks and of prehistoric caves lining the shores of the river. They also spoke of hairy gents living in the caves.

A great deal of attention was focused on the valley. A party of American parachutists announced they would jump into the valley next summer. Others planned to use amphibian jeeps.

Interest was at its top when a Vancouver newspaper hired a famous bush pilot to fly one of their reporters into the valley after a stop at Fort Nelson.

The reporter who was no stranger to the Arctic wrote of a valley that might have hot springs, gold and caves. He was, however, not much interested in venturing far from the plane and soon departed. With his return, the story died for the time being.

Last year, I talked with a prospector friend of mine who had been to Headless Valley or Liard Valley as he called it.

When I met him, he was drinking a mixture of rye and beer and singing, "There's a husky, dusky maiden in the arctic." This reminded me of the giant Indians and I asked if he had seen anything.

"I have seen some footprints," he said, "in the snow."

"Big?" I asked.

"Oh," he said, "about twice the size of mine." I glanced at his feet. Size twelve.

Later I was looking through some Vancouver archives when I came across a newspaper report, dated 1905.

The story described a harrowing experience of a hunter some two hundred miles north of Harrison Lake along the old Caribou Trail that was used by prospectors going to Yukon in the days of the great gold rushes.

The hunter had shot at something he thought was a brown grizzly bear moving in the bush. He was horrified when the creature, which was as tall as a man, broke into human-sounding howls of pain. The bullet, however, evidently caused no serious wound.

Immediately there was an answering cry from the bush, and the hunter was frozen with terror when another much bigger creature emerged from the forest and evidently in great concern gathered the still howling smaller creature in its arms.

The hunter, in describing the scene, stated he could swear that the huge creature was a female resembling a human being well over eight feet tall and that the smaller creature was her child. She stood facing the hunter for a long moment making consoling sounds at her child and staring at the hunter with an expression "of great anger and sadness." Then she half-carried her giant child into the bush.

Badly shaken, the hunter ran to meet his camp mates, and the following morning all of them returned to the scene of the shooting. Their dog was evidently afraid to follow the tracks, which were visible. After a brief effort the party gave up trying to follow the trail, which "led towards the north in direction of Liard River."
- ---

Credit: Jack Kewaunee Lapseritis. Month of Stag Magazine issue not indicated.
By way of Dmitri Bayanov August 1, 2006
Uploaded on Bobbie Short’s Bigfoot Encounters website August 7, 2006

Back to Stories?
Back to Bigfoot Encounters Main page
Back to Newspaper & Magazine Articles
Back to Bigfoot Encounters "What's New" page

Portions of this website are reprinted and sometimes edited to fit the standards of this website
under the Fair Use Doctrine of International Copyright Law
as educational material without benefit of financial gain.
This proviso is applicable throughout the entire Bigfoot Encounters Website.