Bigfoot Encounters

Is Manimal more Man than Animal?   

Parts one, two, three and Dmitri Bayanov's conclusion: 

Back in the 1960s, Jim Mc Clarin dubbed sasquatch/bigfoot with the word "manimal". The neologism is at odds with the name applied to the creature by some leading investigators, as seen in the very titles of their books: "Sasquatch. The Apes Among Us",   "North America's Great Ape: the Sasquatch", "Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America."

Grover Krantz, in his fundamental "Big Footprints: A Scientific Inquiry Into The Reality Of Sasquatch", states categorically: "... the sasquatch is not an intermediate form at all. All available evidence points clearly to an animal status for this species in terms of its behavior and mental abilities. It walks bipedally, but so do chickens. It is highly intelligent, but dolphins are more so"(p.12). "It is not human, nor even semi human, and its legal status would be that of an animal if and when a specimen is taken"(p.173).

Accepting the theory of Boris Porshnev, I also believed all relict hominids to be less than human but more than any known animals which status I described as "super-animal." As for bigfoot, I wrote in Current Anthropology in 1976: "Judging by the available data, the American hominoids look more 'archaic' than their European counterparts". Since then available data concerning American homins has considerably increased, and my opinion has changed accordingly. Today I see big relict hominids of North America, Eurasia and Australia to be probably at the same level of evolutionary development. I exclude the orang pendek of Indonesia for which information is still rather scanty.

Sasquatch the Manimal can be taken to mean "semi human", a status rejected by Grover Krantz who explains his opinion as follows: "On a more serious level the status of sasquatch can be tested against the three most basic traits that distinguish humans from animals -- tools, society, and speech. (...) Unless the sasquatch carefully conceals its tools, society, and speech, we must assume that they are absent." (pp.171,172). In agreement with Porshnev, I accept only speech, not tools and society, as the most basic trait that distinguishes humans from animals. Let's note that humans are also manimals of sorts, because in all their biological structures and functions humans are totally animal. It is our intelligence that is not animal, or, let's say, not totally animal. A newborn human baby is in fact human only potentially, having intelligence at zero level. But a normal three-year-old child is human all right, being endowed with human intelligence. How do we know it? Just by speaking to the kid. If it can answer our questions and can put questions to us, we conclude the little one has human intelligence. Thus language is the "Rubicon of mind" (St. George Mivart).

Krantz again: "Humans spend a great deal of time mumbling softly to one another with coded symbols that convey meanings. Again, nothing like this human speech has been reported for sasquatch"(p.171). This is not exact, of course. At least two cases of talking sasquatches are registered in John Green's very books. One is in Green's reprint of two pages published by J.W Burns in 1929 and titled "Introducing B.C.'s Hairy Giants -- A collection of strange tales about British Columbia's wild men as told by those who say they have seen them". One strange tale mentions a wild woman who spoke "in the Douglas tongue" to an Indian hunter (John Green, The Sasquatch File, 1973, p.11). The other case is the famed Albert Ostman story which deserved only a little paragraph in Grover Krantz's book: "In 1957 a Canadian man, Albert Ostman, recounted a story of being captured by a sasquatch some thirty-three years previously. He told of being held with a family of four of them for six days before he managed to escape and return to civilization. His description of them agrees with that of other observers, but some points of behavior, particularly the capture itself, seem incongruous"(p.13).

Krantz placed this paragraph under the rubric Special Cases, and it is fair to say that of all special cases this one is the world's most special for the unique opportunity that the witness had to observe sasquatches right in their mountain home. Before his adventure really began, Ostman asked his Indian guide what kind of an animal he called a sasquatch, and the guide said:” They have hair all over their bodies, but they are not animals. They are people. Big people living in the mountains." The Ostman story is unique and incongruous because, if it is correct, then the Indian guide was absolutely right: Sasquatches are not animals. They are people, big people living in the mountains.

This conclusion is inescapable if the story is taken literally. The way Ostman was kidnapped and treated by the sasquatches is not the animal way. We don't know why he was kidnapped. Dahinden was told by Ostman that he "was taken for a mate for the daughter." If so, the aim was at least much nobler than the aims of kidnappings by modern terrorists. As remarked by Don Hunter, "Ostman wasn't with them long enough to find out whether his theory had any foundation".

The family communicated by means of a language and Ostman even remembered two of their words: "soka" and "ook". This means that Ostman's captors were definitely on the human side of the "rubicon of mind". There are two hints though that their minds and intelligence were less sophisticated than those of Homo sapiens, or at least of so-called civilized Homo sapiens. The first hint is that they did not bother to disarm the captive. The second is the ease with which the captive prevailed in the end over the captors by means of a ruse and made his escape. Incidentally, the motif of man getting by ruse the upper hand in confrontation with devils, wood goblins, etc., is well known in folkloristics and demonology.

The Ostman case is also instructive regarding the supposed paranormal abilities of sasquatches, such as their alleged power of mind reading, telepathy, etc. Either not all of them possess such abilities or these powers are active only under certain conditions, which were lacking in Ostman's case.

The first crucial questions are this: Is the story believable at least in general? John Green: "Albert Ostman is dead now, but I enjoyed his friendship for more than a dozen years, and he gave me no reason to consider him a liar. I have had him cross-examined by a magistrate, a zoologist, a physical anthropologist and a veterinarian, the latter two being specialists in primates. In addition to that all sorts of skeptical newsmen have grilled him. Those people didn't necessarily end up believing him, but none was able to trap him or discredit his story as a result of their questioning, although the magistrate in particular tried very hard to give him a rough time"( Sasquatch, 1978, p.110). To my mind, it's a good sign of Ostman's sincerity that he countered his doubters with the words: "I don't care a damn what you think"(Don Hunter with Rene Dahinden , Sasquatch, 1973, p.62).

So what did we think? Did we care a damn about the implications? What part has the Ostman case played in the development of hominology? Alas, virtually none at all. It seemed incongruous not only in North America, but also in Russia and around the world. John Green, Rene Dahinden and Grover Krantz continued to insist on the animal version, while in Russia, true to Porshnev's ideas, we believed that only Homo sapiens can have the power of speech. So Ostman's sasquatches remained in limbo, or as the current phrase goes, on the back burner. I remember trying to explain away talking sasquatches by supposing that Ostman, while in captivity, was under severe stress and thus his perception of the situation and his captors was not objective enough.

This does not mean that I was in full agreement with Green, Dahinden and Krantz regarding the nature of the beings we investigated and the methods to be used to prove their reality. In the 1970s I initiated a debate on the "kill or film" question, later described in my booklet "Bigfoot: To Kill or To Film? The Problem of Proof". My true ally then was the late George Haas, of the Bay Area Group in California. Today his words ring as cogent and relevant as they did 30 years ago. George said: "Most of us in our Bay Area Group feel that we are dealing with a creature that is more than a 'mere animal'. ... What we must not forget or overlook is that in Bigfoot (and in other forms of relict hominoids) we now have a totally unique opportunity to do something worth while before it is too late: to demonstrate our integrity and to save and protect all the individuals of what we all agree is undoubtedly a rare and unique form of life. ... It seems to me to be a little reckless to advocate and encourage others to shoot something before we really know what it is. In this connection, let me quote the little Himalayan folk tale from Odette Tchernine's book, The Snowman and Company, page 158: "One day as I was walking on the mountainside, I saw at a distance what I thought to be a beast. As I came closer, I saw it was a man. As I came closer still I found it was my brother."

Unfortunately, the voices of those who advocated a killing were much louder than the voice of George Haas. At the turn of the century, I learned of other supporters of the non-violent method and opponents of the ape misnomer. Quite determined among them is Bobbie Short, who had a sasquatch sighting of her own. Just the other day she declared worldwide: "I've been saying all along that sasquatches weren't apes..." Another most determined proponent of the hominid version is Will Duncan, who substantiates this idea in two important articles -- "What is Living in the Woods and Why it isn't Gigantopithecus" and "Predictability of Homin Behavior", published by Craig Heinselman in Hominology Special Number I, 2001, and Hominology Special Number II, 2002.

So I thought Will Duncan to be just the right man to investigate the Carter Farm habituation case in Tennessee when the relevant news reached us here in Moscow. The-human-version implications of the case struck this time with a vengeance. No matter how much prepared I had been by previous experience for the idea of "super-animals" and how persistently advocated the method of habituation, there was no end to surprise and bewilderment that overwhelmed me with the news gradually coming from Tennessee. On the whole, the Carter Farm habituation case is a hominological irony and paradox of global proportions. Robert I. Carter discovered and befriended a young bigfoot on his property, named him Fox and started to teach him English, back in the 1940s. Then followed half a century of "co-existence" with a family of bigfoots. This means that the Carter Farm bigfoot adventure was simultaneous with the world's snowman adventure, involving such countries as Nepal, Russia, China, Australia, America itself. Members of numerous expeditions in far-off corners of the world had no inkling that the objects of their dreams were comfortably idling away on a farm in Tennessee, USA. Can you imagine what could have happened had Robert Carter Sr. invited Tom Slick to visit the farm and introduced Fox to the millionaire? The science of primatology and anthropology would be different today.

But Carter did nothing of the sort, and not only because he was indifferent to science. His involvement with bigfoot was in fact contrary to science. He believed that bigfoots "are from God like we are and the true Edomites", "descendants from Esau of the Bible". Janice says that her grandfather "never called the bigfoot by the name 'bigfoot', he always called them "The People of the Wandering Spirit" ("50 Years with Bigfoot," p.171). So the hospitality accorded by Carter to big wild fellows on his property was not for him an experiment in habituation but a kind of religious service, nay, a feat of faith, considering the problems the family always experienced and big material losses suffered as a result of friendship with hairy "Edomites".

That was the answer to my first bewilderment upon learning of the Carter Farm case. "50 Years with Bigfoot" and not a single recognizable photograph of the creatures! Is that possible? Yes, since religion cares for icons, not photographs. Yes, if the People of the Wandering Spirit, while having a good time on the farm, did not feel the least inclination to be caught and fixed by photography.

My next bewilderment, that stayed long with me, was Janice's description of how the bigfoots buried their baby that was born dead. I had heard in the Caucasus a local say that almastys bury their dead but took it for just an opinion. According to Janice, the bigfoots dug a deep hole "mostly with their hands at first, then with pointed sticks they had chewed on". The unbelievable happened later: "They would take food to the grave of the little one they buried for a long time, laying it on top of the grave. (...) Sheba (the mother of the baby. - D.B.) sat on the grave and threatened the others to come near for a while thereafter too"(p.149).

Some relief came when I recalled seeing similar information elsewhere: "When he was working with Roger Patterson and headquartered at Yakima, Dennis Jenson saw a letter from a man who swore that he had watched three Bigfeet burying a fourth. They dug a deep hole, using only their hands as tools. After placing the body in the hole and covering it with earth they rolled huge boulders, each weighing many hundreds of pounds, onto the grave" (Peter Byrne, The Search for Big Foot, 1976, p.109)                                             

Part Two:

But the hardest stumbling block, which I painfully stumble against even today, is the unbelievable linguistic prowess of the Carter Farm bigfoots. The two sasquatch words of unknown meaning, remembered and brought from the wilderness to civilization by Albert Ostman, could easily be ignored and forgotten by hominologists, but how can you ignore and forget the published vocabulary of 223 bigfoot words and phrases presented by Janice Carter Coy, each word and phrase dutifully translated into English?

How did she manage to obtain and learn such a vocabulary? Listen to her answer: "... I went daily with my Grandfather Carter to visit and feed them where they would say something, and either my Grandfather, Fox or Sheba or one of them would have to translate the words into English for me. I took notes in a little note pad of the words I would hear them say out in the woods or fields and brought them to my Grandfather Carter when I got the chance. I would ask him what they meant. (...) This is the way I learned from Fox and his family how to speak in their bigfoot language. It is a practical skill, one might say. It is also very hard for a human to speak in bigfoot"(p.196)."The sounds of some of the words are carried out, yet other words are chattered so fast that it is hard to catch what is being said. (...) It took years for me to halfway understand them"(p.205).

And here is some light on the way the bigfoots talk to each other and to their hosts: "Fox and his family can communicate with each other in a language of their own"(p.196). Fox and Sheba "were chirping and chattering back and forth to each other. I don't know what they were arguing over"(p.92). "They mostly talked in old Indian and used chirps and whistles and grunts and growls and such when they talked to each other. They would alternate this with English when they spoke to us.  ... they would substitute an Indian word or a gesture or a grunt for some of the words when they talked to us"(p.157).

Here's how language lessons began on the Carter Farm: As reported by Janice's grandmother, "The two, bigfoot and man, were said to spend hours together at the barn or in the field learning each others' language"(p.57). Janice: "I always thought that my Grandfather Carter had taught Fox how to speak English, and that between Fox and Grandfather they had taught the rest of Fox's family how to speak English"(p.196).

So how did they speak English? Fox "could say words in English that Papaw taught him but not like human speech, as we know it. The sounds they make when saying words in English are not like the way humans speak"(p.15). "While all of the bigfoot here on our place could speak their own language fluently, they can only speak a mixture of broken English language. Sheba struggled with it a lot. Her English was very limited... Fox could speak much more clearly and used longer sentences than any of the rest of his family when speaking in English"(p.196).

An example of Fox's utterance in English given by Janice is his saying "Thank you" when she "scooped him up a pail of dog food" (p.65). As to his speaking in Bigfoot, she offers almost in the beginning of the book an example that left me gaping. Once, when Janice, her four-year-old sister Lila and another girl were playing in the wood, they were scared by the sudden appearance of Fox. Robert Carter intervened and told Fox off for scaring the girls. Janice writes that "he sure didn't mean to scare us, at least I gathered that much of it. Fox was not talking in English to Papaw (that's how Janice calls her grandfather. - D.B.), and Papaw was talking what I call bigfoot words to him. Fox looked right at Lila and said: "Yoohhobt Papi Icantewaste Mitanksi ... Posa ... Ka Taikay Kataikay Tohobt Wabittub". Translation by Janice: "Yellow Hair, be happy little sister. I naughty. Don't cry Blue Eyes". And her explanation: "Lila's eyes were blue when she was little and her hair was a yellow-red..."(p.24). In other words, Fox was apologetic, tried to console little Lila and used her traits in naming and addressing her. All that in a few touching words. Call him what you like -- bipedal ape, Australopithecus robustus, Gigantopithecus blacki, for me such an utterance, if it really happened, is the sure sign of a human being.

Some bigfoot words and phrases from the vocabulary compiled by Janice:

31. Nenepi = The malevolent little people (in reference to all humans, their word for human men).

80. Ella Cona = The Fire Rods of the White Men or Humans (Guns).

84. Hah-Ich-Ka Po-Mea? = Where is she going? (Asked twice to my Papaw about where I was walking off to). Papaw told me this one's meaning.

96. Me-Pe Mahtaoyo = Poor little one or little baby (Refers to what Sheba kept chanting over and over the time her baby died and they buried it and was sitting out there on its grave crying and chanting this).

99. Ob-Be-Mah-E-Yah = Get out of here; get out of the way, leave from here. (This is what Sheba said when she knocked my horse over with me on it, along with telling me to leave and get out of here in English).

129. Nanpi yuze Sni Yo = Take your hands off of me. (Sheba said this to the strange male bigfoot when he grabbed her).

130. Napi = God, The Lord God (It is also Sioux for Great Spirit).

132. Nicinca Tonape He? = Do you have children? (Fox asked me this and I asked him to repeat the question in English, as I didn't know what he asked me). In 1990 I was 25 and this is when he asked me this question. (Janice then did not live on the farm. D.B.)

146. Waste Ce Dake = I love you (Papaw and Fox said this to each other when Papaw was in the road that time right before he died. Papaw said it means I love you in Bigfoot).

197. Siyuhk = Soul (Bigfoot)

Well, it took me three years to get somewhat "habituated" to the idea that homins can be as eloquent as that. Still if feels like a miracle. Jonathan Swift's speaking horses, the Houyhnhnms, are not a miracle, because I know it is fiction. So why should speaking bigfoots be stranger than fiction? First, because this overturns my previous thinking. Second, because it confronts me with the incongruity between the bigfoots' human intelligence and their animal way of life. If they are so clever, why are they so wild? THAT IS THE QUESTION! Half a century of contact with civilization on the Carter Farm has not changed a bit their animal way of life. That is the conclusion I draw from "50 Years with Bigfoot".

Janice confided to me by email three instances of her telepathic communication with the bigfoots (she was not advised to include that in the book and it wasn't. But in her vocabulary you find under number 25: "Mookwarruh = Spirit Talker (What they call telepathic communications to each other and to people)". How about that? Believe me, I take this easier than their verbal skills, because telepathy doesn't clash with their wildness (who knows, maybe even supports it!), but language does. At least, in my present state of knowledge. (Thank goodness, she hasn't observed any Bigfoot-UFO connection).

I'll be grateful to anyone who can convince me that the Bigfoot language is fiction. Shall not be obliged then to revise the Porshnev theory which I accepted and spread for 40 years. I am in close contact with three people who have had long direct talks with Janice and investigated the matter on the spot. They are Mary Green, Will Duncan and Igor Bourtsev. All three believe the case is genuine.

Dr. Henner Fahrenbach has not been to the Carter farm but is in contact with Janice and examined some hair samples collected at the farm. He is also in touch with a woman in California who claims long-time observations of sasquatches on her property and being engaged in habituation attempts. Fahrenbach finds some observations by this informant and those by Janice to be "astoundingly identical", and this "has added immeasurably" to his confidence in the testimonies of both women, "because the coincidences exceed chance."

In May 2004, Dr. Fahrenbach analyzed hairs that Janice claims to have pulled from Fox's wrist, and the scientist's conclusion was this: "The morphology of this hair is clearly primate in character, all standard mammals of N. America are ruled out, and the remaining confounding variable - human hair - is not similar to this hair at all, in that the density of pigmentation far exceeds that of the blackest human hair. These observations provide a legitimizing underpinning to the factual details reported by Jan Coy (Carter) (as co-author) in the book by Mary Green, deviant interpretations thereof notwithstanding."

I haven't been to the Carter farm either, and want now to share with hominologists my opinion of the testimony by Janice Carter Coy, as published in the book "50 Years with Bigfoot". If she could have made all that up, she would sure be an illustrious winner of grand prizes in literature.  It is my conviction that no genius of belles-lettres or science fiction could compose what Janice has told and written. With my experience in hominology, I see that she knows what I know and also much much more. It is just the excess of her knowledge, especially its linguistic part that is so surprising and disturbing.

More than once I discussed the issue with Will Duncan, and this is what he wrote me in part in November 2004: "I have been investigating the Carter Farm for almost three years." "Janice's story is not consistent with models of what bigfoot is, as developed by many people over decades of investigation. However, it is consistent with both Native accounts and with the Ostman story. I can only conclude that either 1) portions of Jan's story (and the Natives', and Ostman's) are exaggerated, or 2) the prevailing ape-like model preferred by many long-time investigators is based on very limited observation of sasquatches in remote settings."

Remote settings... This reminds me of the little Himalayan folk tale, quoted by George Haas. Yes, most of our knowledge comes from observations at a distance, and it is Albert Ostman and Janice who observed the creatures at close quarters. As regards Janice, such closeness lasted not hours and days but years and decades, and this is the only logical explanation of her superior knowledge.

As for the thought of "exaggeration", it was my line of "defense" when I began and continued to receive information from Tennessee. But this "fortification" was getting weaker and weaker as I continued to note instances of sasquatch "linguistics" in reports coming my way from North America. As, for example, this one: "The sounds were all jumbled together and it sounded like whatever it was, was trying to put words of sorts together, like it was trying to communicate with us. (...) The individual sounds themselves sounded a bit like the sounds made by Tahltan Indians I used to hear long ago, but it wasn't any of the Native or white languages I have ever heard"(J. Robert Alley, Raincoast Sasquatch, 2003, p.197).

Or this item I received recently from Chris Murphy, quoting The Daily Colonist, September 24, 1972, by T.W. Patterson: An Indian hunter, following a buck, came across an animal that he believed to be a big bear. To his astonishment, upon taking aim at the animal, the creature looked up and spoke to him in his own tongue. "It was a man about seven feet tall, and his body was very hairy".

If we decide that our informants are exaggerating, we're back to the conspiracy theory. All right, the Natives may be exaggerating, in line with their mythology and beliefs, but what motive or interest could Ostman and Janice have had in so grossly exaggerating or conspiring with the Natives?  I see none at all. Since they faced disbelief and suspicion, one can expect them to belittle things, not exaggerate.

Some critics maintain that if what we have in Tennessee is true, then those creatures are not bigfoot/sasquatch, but something else. This doesn't make our problem easier: instead of one mystery we're getting two. Yes, in theory it is possible that some super animals have crossed the "rubicon of mind", while others have not. Let us note that Ostman's adventure, with its "accepted" bigfoots, took place in British Columbia, far away from Tennessee. Thus there is no ground at all to exclude the Tennessee adventure and its furry fellows from the bigfoot problem.

Part Three: (New Upload Sunday July 24, 2005)

In my book, In The Footsteps of the Russian Snowman, 1996, I told about a local teacher in Eastern Kazakhstan, named Mstislav Kushnikov, who "has heard stories about ksy-gyik (wild man) from the locals and personally saw huge footprints at the place of one sighting. He opened a regional museum and one of its paintings, done by a local artist, is an enlarged copy of a picture in a textbook of anthropology showing a Neanderthal in front of his cave. Once a young tractor-driver from a nearby village scrutinized that picture for a long  time and said: "I've seen a type of this kind, only female. She had dangling breasts and her skin was not as naked as in this one in the picture... her body was covered with long, shaggy, dark-brown hair."(p.104)

I recalled that episode when reading the following lines in Janice's story: "At that time in school we were studying the subject of prehistoric man. I made the crucial mistake of pointing out that we had a family of bigfoot on our place that looked a lot like Neanderthal man except much hairier. I will never forget the consequences for this slip of the tongue. My teacher told me I was a liar and my classmates made me out an outcast. (...) I ended up changing schools and attending another high school for two years thereafter."(p.171)

Thom Powell, in his book "The Locals," 2003, tells of the capture of a seven-foot hairy male during a forest fire in Nevada in August 1999, as reported by an anonymous witness (why anonymous is well explained there). The captive had "multiple burns to hands, feet, legs, and body". He was given medical care, "tranquilized and moved to unknown location". The witness mentions "human like arms and legs, face not like man or ape but mixed between". Witness "felt he was in the presence of a very human creature", said he "will always be a believer of their existence beyond any shadow of a doubt as seen with my own eyes, smelled with my own nose and heard with my own ears. His image is still as visible as it was then. No monster, no animal but a linage of native man. (...) Specifics, features, anatomy? Well, stand in front of the mirror and think of man's evolution." (pp.219, 224, 228)

So time to think of man's evolution and bigfoot's place in it. The pet theory of the "ape model" proponents is that bigfoot is the product of so-called parallel evolution. According to genetic findings, man and chimpanzees are more closely related than chimpanzees and orangutans. It is argued that bigfoots descend from the orangutan line of primates, and therefore genetically more different from man than chimpanzees. Why then are bigfoots bipedal? Just as a result of parallel evolution -- independent development of upright locomotion in a separate from man line of primates.

That is conceivable. Insects, birds and bats, for example, had mastered flying quite independently and each kind in its own way. Birds and our primate ancestors became bipedal as a result of independent causes. What about intelligence? It also develops independently and parallel in different kinds of animals. Crows and parrots are very intelligent, pigeons are not. Dogs, cats and rats are intelligent, rabbits are not. So it is conceivable that primates of a separate evolutionary line from ours could reach a very high level of intelligence. If they happen to be bipedal and show high intelligence, how can we know they represent a parallel line of primate evolution? By means of a biochemical analysis of their proteins, for example.

One such analysis is mentioned in Grover Krantz's book. On page 127 he tells that Dr. Jerold Lowenstein, a biochemist in San Francisco, analyzed a few hairs collected by Bob Titmus and supposed to be bigfoot. "Lowenstein was able to compare the protein structure and found it similar to human and African apes; it was less similar to orangs, thus eliminating them and all other animals from consideration. Differences in protein are better indicators of relationships than are visible structures because these are nonadaptive... Lowenstein's test was not fine enough to say "yes" or "no" to the closest matches (human, chimp, and gorilla), or whether it was a new type within this group."

As to visible structures of supposed bigfoot hairs, they have been analyzed under microscope by Dr. Fahrenbach. In this work human hair was for him the only "confounding variable". This means that in its structure bigfoot hair and human hair are variables of one type of hair, different from the hair of apes and other animals.

DNA analyses of supposed bigfoot hair and scat also show them to be "human," even without any variables The analysts tend to interpret these results as contamination of the material by human DNA from the people who collected those samples. Will Duncan, who initiated DNA analyses of such material from the Carter farm, thinks otherwise and refers to the opinion of an expert: "A scientist in Michigan began to independently suspect that the human DNA he was getting from various  purported BF hair samples was, in fact, not contamination but from BF". It is thought, writes Duncan, that our close relatives, and perhaps other closely related hominids of unknown types, "would have nuclear DNA matching the human pattern. Without having knowledge of what difference would be there, and at which point of the genome to look for them, we don't presently know how their DNA would differ from ours."

Thus there is no indication that bigfoots are the result of parallel evolution and only distant relatives of humans. On the contrary, there are signs of a very close relationship. If so, crossbreeding can be banked on. In Europe, Asia and Australia there are legends, as well as old and not so old reports, of crossbreeding  between "wild men" and normal humans. The Zana Case in the Caucasus is one of the best known of this kind.

Some years ago I learned that a similar case is on record in America, though never mentioned in the books of leading investigators. I came across it in S'CWENE'YTI AND THE STICK INDIANS OF THE COLVILLES, The Interaction of Large Bipedal Hominids with American Indians as reported by Dr. Ed Fusch, Anthropologist, 1992. The paper was sent to me by the late Don Davis, and I understand this material is posted on Bobbie Short's Bigfoot Encounters website.

The following are quotations from Dr. Ed Fusch's report:
"The "Old Timers" among the Spokane Indians had some very strong and unshakable beliefs about him: Belief number 1 -- and strongest of these beliefs was that S'cwene'y'ti was NOT an animal". "S'cwene'y'ti was accepted by the Indians as part of their environment, like the deer and bear. He was not considered an animal, but people". "Sasquatch was referred to by several different names but a common conceptual thread permeates all their beliefs. He was always considered a human being, members of their own species. Prior to the arrival of the white man, the only people known to the Indians were other Indians and Sasquatch. The Lake Band of Indians called him "Skanicum" which translates to "Stick Indian". "S'cwene'y'ti was known by the Spokane Indians to interact also with human females".  "Laura states that there are areas just south of Nespelem and about two miles north of the Columbia River where she can call Skanicum (in his language, she knows how) and he will answer. She believes that they live in the area. At one time she encountered a large male Skanicum on the highway near Nespelem. It tried to converse with her, making organized sounds, leaving her to believe that they have a language. She left quickly". "One girl was kidnapped by the S'cwene'y'ti people and not returned until she was grown woman." "While cooking dinner one of the women, a recent bride through bride-purchase, took a kettle and went off after water. Minutes later she was heard screaming. The men rushed to the scene but could only stand and watch as Skanicum carried her off. They knew that Skanicum was very vengeful and if harmed the captive may be injured and the mountains would not be safe for any Indian. (...) She was with Skanicum all summer, or at least a couple of months, when the men searching for her on horseback saw her gathering wild potato roots. Skanicum was asleep nearby. Upon seeing the men she emptied her lap of the potatoes, crept quietly to them, leaped on one of the horses behind its rider, and thus escaped. Upon return to camp all of the Indians immediately broke camp and hastily departed the area. During her stay with Skanicum the woman had gathered roots, etc., which they shared. Skanicum eats anything that other people eat but lives primarily on roots such as that of the thule (tooly) or cattail plant, which they gather, dry, and store in caves. They build fires with flint stone and steal hides from Indians, which they use for bedding and to cover the entrance to their cave. During her stay with Skanicum the woman became pregnant and bore a son named Patrick, who grew up on the reservation. Patrick's body structure was very different from that of other Indians as his arms were very long, reaching about to his knees. He was very short, about 5'4" tall (his mother was described as "tiny"), possessed a sloping forehead, very large lower jaw, a very large wide mouth with straight upper and lower lips, and straight protruding teeth. He was kind of stooped, or hump-backed. His ears were elongated upwards (peaked) and bent outward at the top. He had very large hands and long fingers, is described as very ugly although extremely intelligent. He attended school on the reservation, was "very smart", operated a ranch in the area, died at about the age of 30, and is buried on the reservation. (...) From his marriage to Laura's cousin were born three daughters and two sons." The oldest daughter, Mary Louise, "now about 65 years old .”” Mary Louise lives near Omak."

Believe it or not, according to Janice, bigfoots even have a word of their own for bigfoot-human crossbreeds. In the vocabulary she compiled, under number 112, we read: "Hanke-Wasichun = Half blooded (as in if a bigfoot and a human have a baby together)."

Legends? Well, I wish our North American colleagues would devote as much time and effort to verifying the Patrick legend as Igor Bourtsev has devoted to exploring the Zana legend.

Of all the questions raised in this discussion the question of bigfoot language is the crucial one.

No wonder then that Dr. Henner Fahrenbach hastened to send me a warning already: "Dear Dmitri, with all due respect to Jan's involvement and efforts with Fox and her other sasquatches, I would preach extreme caution about accepting any of her assessments of their language abilities".

He further explains his caution by her unacceptable assessment and interpretation of the sounds on the Sierra Sounds audiotapes. I am grateful to Henner for his response, and his advice is well taken. Yes, Janice's account regarding the bigfoot language sounds quite fantastic at our stage of knowledge and ignorance. I am impressed though by the way Janice describes how they speak. In theory it is expectable that pre-sapiens hominids should speak in the way Janice describes. How could she know that? And the notebooks in which she wrote down the alleged bigfoot words are real and still existing.

And this is what Will Duncan hastened to put in: "Hello Dmitri and Henner, from the perspective of three years' involvement in the Carter Farm situation, I presently am telling people this: We have absolutely no hard evidence of the language abilities of her BF. By this I mean we have no sound recordings, no videos of them talking (or otherwise) and so on. We do have anecdotal evidence that they may be able to speak or to mimic speech. Specifically, Jan says they can. Lila says they can, Gene and Michelle McCauley told me they heard Fox say "Hello", Paul Coy told me he heard Janice talking with Fox but couldn't understand him, and I personally heard murmuring vocalizations sounding like moderately deep human voices coming from the area of the main barn while I was in front of the house and there were no people around. (...)  I do not contend that any of this information is conclusive. But it is very suggestive and points to avenues for future investigation. It would be foolish to ignore it. If BF has human DNA it would make its purported language abilities easier to understand. Certainly Janice's story, as difficult as much of it is to swallow whole, indicates they are people of some sort rather than apes, just as Albert Ostman and many of the Native reports suggest."


It is said that the significance of a scientific theory can be measured by the time it impeded scientific progress. Let's hope the "ape model" theory won't go down in history as very significant in this respect. Still it plays a major part in causing the bigfoot research community to turn the blind eye to the Carter Farm case and the book "50 Years with Bigfoot.”

In my opinion, after this book business as usual is not on the cards for hominology. The idea that the North American homins may be people is coming full circle, from the reports of J. W. Burns and Albert Ostman of sasquatches in British Columbia to Janice Carter Coy's story of bigfoots in Tennessee. Should the idea be confirmed, all our books will turn into short introductions to the subject, while "50 Years with Bigfoot" will become the first text-book in hominology. Admittedly, its drawback and limitation are in the fact that the authors are lay persons, not scientists. Let's hope that a second or a third text-book will be authored by diplomaed hominologists. In the meantime many thanks should go to John Green for publishing Albert Ostman's story and to Mary Green for publishing the story of Janice Carter Coy.

While mainstream science is turning its back on hominology, primatologists lost no time in altering the meaning and taxonomic level of such useful terms as "hominoid" and "hominid". "When scientists use the word hominin today, they mean pretty much the same thing as when they used the word hominid twenty years ago. When these scientists use the word hominid, they mean pretty much the same thing as when they used the word hominoid twenty years ago. (...) If you're more confused now than you were before, you are just about where you should be. We scientists really need to clean up shop in this area" (Thomas M. Greiner, Associate Professor of Anatomy / Physical Anthropology, What's the difference between hominin and hominid?)

But this muddle of terminology doesn't concern the problem we're discussing here. And the banter about "naked apes" and "hairy apes", mentioned by Loren Coleman in his book, is good only for fiction, not science.

There are two notions and terms in science, which have not changed their meaning so far: "human primate" and "nonhuman primate". Russians and Americans are human primates, chimps and gorillas are primates nonhuman. The clear question, in need of a clear answer, is this: What kind of primate are such homins as bigfoot -- human or nonhuman? My answer is this: If they have a language as mentioned by Albert Ostman and described by Janice Carter Coy, they are definitely human (let us recall that back in the 18th century Linnaeus proclaimed two kinds of man: Homo sapiens and Homo troglodytes). I would hold this true even if the words of their language are largely borrowed from Homo sapiens. How this could have happened is another question and mystery.

If they don't have what can be called human language, then they must be nonhuman primates on the threshold of humanness. This judgment is based on the independent evidence of those who claim to have seen or even interacted with sasquatches, and dared voice their unpopular accounts and opinions even if they are at loggerheads with the prevailing opinions and theories of those who have never seen these hairy bipeds.

Hominology came into being in a no-man's land of science between zoology and anthropology. It has been shifting ever since from the zoological side of the area to the anthropological side. Accordingly, there is reason for hominologists to be shifting from cryptozoology to what could be called cryptoanthropology. Frankly speaking, I've always felt that the partnership between hominology and cryptozoology is a marriage of convenience rather than of love and mutual understanding. It has been good for cryptozoology and, under the circumstances, good for hominology, but for the latter NOT good enough. And this because the partnership relegated hominology to pure zoology, concealing its paramount anthropological and philosophic aspects. The International Society of Cryptozoology and its good journal let hominology down by completely ignoring hominology's major asset, the Patterson/Gimlin film, and one of its major problems, the Iceman. This was so because the Society and its journal were fully focused on "mere animals" and zoology, while the majority of academic cryptozoologists found it too risky for their reputations to plunge into hominology. What world science and humankind itself badly need, without realizing it, is The International Society of Hominology and its journal, Current Hominology.

Finally, let me remind you of these words by Grover Krantz: "It might be argued that we don't really know enough about sasquatch behavior to be absolutely certain about this judgment as to its animal status. But if we are in error, isn't it imperative that we find out as soon as possible?" ( Big Footprints, p.12)

Find out how? By killing one of them? No way! To find out the truth as soon as possible we would need a repeat of the Ostman adventure, but with an anthropologist, say Dr. Jeff Meldrum, in the shoes of Albert Ostman.

© Dmitri Bayanov
International Center of Hominology
Moscow, Russia

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