Tom Steenburg: An Article, The Man and His Books

Bigfoot: A Passion of a Canadian Investigator
by G. Fawcett

Water Valley, Alberta Canada (Associated Press) --- It's not that Tom Steenburg is fanatical about the Sasquatch, a hairy manlike creature American's call "Bigfoot."

He's merely obsessed. How else to describe a hobby that consumes all of his spare money? "It's been an obsession since I was a kid," said Steenburg, a 40-year-old hospital maintenance employee. "My parents hoped I'd grow out of it." It isn't easy being Alberta's unofficial hunter of the Sasquatch, which hundreds of people claim to have seen in the Pacific Northwest.

Scientists generally reject the idea of such an animal and the lunatic fringe makes it hard for a serious researcher to be taken seriously. Steenburg said he spends as much time and effort debunking false sightings and hoaxes as he does in search of the elusive beast. "I don't believe in it 100 percent because I've never seen one," he said. "You have to be skeptical to do research."

On the other hand, Steenburg said, he has never seen a wolverine during years of wandering the magnificent western Canadian wilderness in the foot of the Rockies. Yet wolverines exist.

"There is definitely something out there and that something leaves huge human-like footprints," he said. The Sasquatch comes from Indian legend. Its name is the English version of the Salish word for "wildman or hairy man." White travelers heard the legend, then hunters and settlers began telling of footprints and sightings.

According to one of three books on the subject by Steenburg, "The Sasquatch in Alberta" the first white man to find evidence was David Thompson, a fur trader and explorer. He recorded in his diary finding huge footprints in the ice while crossing the Rocky Mountains near what is now called Jasper, Alberta in January 1811.

Steenburg has investigated more than 100 sightings and interviews each witness with a standard questionnaire, including a few curves to weed out the nuts. "When I know there is an obvious fake, I say so," he said. "I try to disprove the sightings, explain them away. It is the ones I can't disprove that are exciting." From all accounts, the Sasquatch walks upright like a man, has huge arms and a covering of hair. It is between seven and nine feet tall with large head; little or no neck and a face somewhat like that of a gorilla.

"If the Sasquatch is real, it will be a major scientific discovery," Steenburg said. "If it doesn't exists, it has to be studied anyway because it is an important part of Canadian folklore.

In a small, map-covered office at the back of his log house, Steenburg marks sightings and footprint locations with colored pins. He has a shelf filled with plaster castings of footprints and a cabinet stuffed with carefully classified files, interviews with witnesses and a folder labeled "lunatic fringe."

Most of the lunatic fringe is in the United States, he said, holding up a Montana tabloid newspaper headline reading "First Bigfoot Captured." "Ridicule is the biggest problem," he said. "I think less than half the sightings are reported. They [witnesses] are told they are crazy, so they don't want to talk about it." Most Ranger Stations and Royal Canadian Mounted Police offices have his card and call him about sighting reports.

© Gaston Gazette - Gastonia, North Carolina
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In addition to his published book "The Sasquatch in Alberta" by Hancock House, Thomas N. Steenburg is the author of a second book titled "Sasquatch Bigfoot, The Continuing Mystery." Hancock House, revised 1993 and a new book by the same publishers titled "In Search of Giants, Bigfoot/Sasquatch Encounters." 2000.

Steenburg is now online, and his books can be ordered through David Hancock Books 1431 Harrison Avenue, Blaine, WA, U.S.A., 98230-5005
Telephone: 1-800 938-1114 or Fax: 1-800 983-2262

Steenburg's Bio:
Born in Ontario, Canada in 1961, Thomas Nelson Steenburg has been actively interested in the Sasquatch since the age of 5. In 1980, he enlisted in the Canadian Army with the Princess Patricia's Light Infantry, First Battalion stationed in Calgary, Alberta. Since 1979 he has actively gone into the rugged outdoors in search of the elusive Sasquatch. Having interviewed many eyewitnesses and investigated many reported sightings, he is even more determined to pursue and answer the question: is the Sasquatch real or simply folklore? It is his hope that someday-hard physical evidence will be found to once and for all, solve this mystery.

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