Sasquatch seeker...Toba Woman in Bigfoot Documentary
By Joyanne Pursaga, staff reporter for the Winnipeg Sun
Sunday, January 7, 2007 -- One Manitoban's lifelong fascination with the mystery of Bigfoot has landed her a role in an upcoming documentary.
Fisher Branch-area resident Michelle Baril has collected stories about sasquatch sightings as a hobby through most of her life.
"Some people like to golf and I like to listen to sasquatch stories," said Baril from her home, located about 125 km north of Winnipeg. "It has always intrigued me."
Baril, 38, said the History Channel and White Wolf Entertainment aim to stage re-enactments of the sightings to create a documentary on unknown animal species.
Somewhat of an expert on the large, hairy creatures, Baril has been asked to lead producers to locations noted in some of the two dozen Interlake area sasquatch stories she's heard over the past 25 years.
COVERED WITH FUR
Filming dates aren't yet set but Baril will host a community meeting to drum up new stories at the Fisher Branch Ukrainian Hall on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
She believes the Fisher Branch area's thick bush and wildlife management status is key to frequent sightings.
"I'm speculating it's because there is no hunting and it would be more of a safe haven for them," said Baril.
Baril said the creatures stand seven to 14 feet tall, with large, human-like hands covered in red, brown, black, white or grey fur.
Although she's never seen a sasquatch, Baril is convinced they exist due to stories from close friends and family.
"I've spoken to too many honest people and some family members and good friends to believe it's a lie," said Baril.
"Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not there. This creature is highly intelligent and a master at hiding."
Baril believes the fact the creatures' bodies have yet to be discovered by scientists may be linked to an act of burial by the animal.
She said one sasquatch was spotted at her property by her daughter Madison.
"She was walking down a cattle trail and ahead of her the bushes were rustling. My daughter saw from the elbow up a large human-looking hand in a dark grey/blackish colour pushing its baby into a tree," said Baril.
A Flin Flon resident reported spotting the creature while on a fishing trip this summer.
There are thousands of sasquatch stories muffled by doubt among the mainstream science community, said John Bindernagel, a wildlife biologist in Courtenay, B.C.
Bindernagel, the author of North America's Great Ape, a sasquatch book, believes there is less evidence to support theories sasquatch viewings are a hoax aided by people in costume than the mysterious animals' existence.
"There's nothing wrong with skepticism," said Bindernagel. "I have to keep emphasizing that it's when we get this absolute closed-mindedness that it gets difficult."
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