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.
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.
"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.
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