Based on a study of more than 1,000 reported sightings of manlike
monsters, this article presents a statistical survey of the
characteristics of the beings seen and of conditions under which they
were sighted. The author notes similarities between these sightings and
those contained in Russian studies. He concludes by making inferences
from the sightings concerning the nature and distribution of the
Whether a real creature is responsible for the many eyewitness reports
of giant hairy bipeds in North America has not been established, and
that may remain the case for many years. It can surely be assumed,
however, that if such a creature does exist, then a substantial
proportion of the reports involve genuine observations of it, and from
them, if they prove consistent, an accurate picture of it can be drawn.
It is my contention, based on the study of approximately one thousand
such reports, that a consistent picture does exist and that it is not
the one which is usually presented to the public. The reports portray
not a semi-human, but an upright ape; not an endangered remnant of a
species, but an extremely widespread and secure population; not a
fearful monster, but a remarkably inoffensive animal.
If all the old and new information that has been assembled refers only
to imaginary beings, then there should be no limit to the attributes
with which those imaginary beings might be endowed by their creators.
They could describe animals, or men, or something in between, or they
could picture something or a variety of somethings entirely different.
In that case anyone faking an interest in the subject is free to make of
the Sasquatch whatever he chooses. There are no limitations.
But suppose that there actually is a living creature involved. If that
should be the case, then it can surely be assumed that most of the
stories of encounters with such a creature have a factual rather than an
imaginary basis and that the information contained in the stories does
in fact describe the creature. It follows that if we are in fact
compiling information about a real creature then we cannot make of it
whatever might suit our own fancies. It has to be the creature that the
We are dealing with reports of something that walks upright like a
human but is entirely covered with hair and is usually much larger than
a human. I have no way of knowing how many reports about such creatures
there may be, but from North America alone I have more than a thousand
on file, plus several hundred more concerning footprints of a suitable
size and shape for the animal described. With such a volume of reports,
even allowing for the fact that an unknown number of them are
manufactured or mistaken, some validity must be assumed for those
attributes and actions that are frequently described, and consideration
should also be given to those that are not described at all. There
should be enough information to tell us not only what the creature is,
but also what it is not. The following is a digest of some of the
significant points that I have been able to glean from careful study of
- Sasquatches are significantly larger than humans, and not only in
height. Small hairy bipeds are reported fairly frequently, but only nine
per cent of the reports involve creatures described as being smaller
than men, while seventy-four per cent involve creatures larger than man-
sized. Since the standard of comparison is the largest type of human,
the adult male, it seems reasonable to assume that all Sasquatches are
consistently taller than humans of comparable age and sex. The average
of all the height estimates is more than seven and a half feet. In
California and Oregon the averages exceed eight feet, and nowhere are
they significantly less than seven feet. Perhaps more significant is the
heavy build described. Compared to an average man, fifty-seven per cent
are described as "very heavy" and thirty-four per cent as "heavy," with
only six per cent "medium" and three per cent "slim." Viewed from the
front, seventy-eight per cent are described as "wide" compared to an
average human, and sixty-eight per cent are described as "wide" from the
side view also.
- They are solitary creatures. Only five per cent of reports involve
more than one individual, and only one per cent involve more than two
- Their hairiness is of the animal, not the human, sort. Only eight per
cent of observers thought the hair was longer on the head than elsewhere
on the animal, and descriptions of long head hair or of bodies only
partially covered with hair do not constitute even one per cent.
- The proportions of their limbs are more humanlike than apelike.
Compared to a human and in relation to the general build, leg length is
noted as "medium" in fifty-five per cent of descriptions and arm length
as "medium" in fifty per cent.
- From the shoulders up there is less resemblance to the average human.
Shoulders are termed "wide" in more than ninety per cent of
descriptions. Seventy per cent of necks are "short" and twenty-five per cent have "no
neck." Flat faces, large flat noses, sloped foreheads, and brow ridges
are noted in nearly all descriptions resulting from close observation.
- They are omnivorous. Gordon Strasenburgh describes such animals as
herbivorous, but that cannot be supported1. Of sixty-four reports that
I had by 1977 mentioning things apparently taken or carried for food,
exactly half involved some form of meat.
- They are largely nocturnal. In spite of the fact that there are far
more human observers around in the daytime and that humans see very
poorly at night, almost half of the sightings reported have been at
night. The time when tracks were made is not generally known, but when
it has been almost ninety per cent have been made at night.
- They are not active in cold weather. Everywhere except in Florida
there are only half as many reports in winter as in summer or fall, and
tracks are rarely found in snow. Less than nine per cent of the reports,
including tracks and sightings, mention snow. Oddly, there are also few
reports in spring, and consistently less in May than in April. At my
most recent count, out of 804 sighting and track reports for which a
specific month was known only thirty-nine were in May, compared to
fifty-three in April and fifty-six in June. There were forty-two in each
of February and March. Leaving out the Florida reports there were
thirty-six in February, thirty-seven in March and thirty-seven in May.
- Sasquatches make considerable use of water. I have six reports of
tracks ending in bodies of deep water, five reports of Sasquatches
swimming, and a dozen of them standing or walking in bodies of water. In
one survey I did of 289 track reports, eighty-three were beside water.
Of twenty-eight reports located near towns in four states east of the
continental divide, seventy-one per cent of the towns were right beside
a stream or lake large enough to be shown on an ordinary road map. A
sample consisting of all the towns in two counties chosen at random in
each of those states indicated that on the average only fifty-one per
cent of towns were beside water.
Almost all of the foregoing observations involve substantial numbers
of reports, although the numbers vary from several hundred down to a few
dozen. The one exception concerns details of the face and head, which
are based on as few as a dozen observations. There are in addition a
number of significant observations that have been reported only a few
- The only time Sasquatches have been reported sleeping they were in
the open, although it was snowing and there were trees close by.
- I have six reports of running Sasquatches being clocked by people in
cars. Speeds reported were thirty-five, forty-five, fifty to sixty,
seventy, and eighty miles per hour. None of those reports were from west
of the continental divide, and I have not talked to any of the
- I have six reports of Sasquatches shaking or hitting vehicles, five
of them jumping on vehicles, and five of them pushing at or damaging
- I have eight reports of Sasquatches seen to throw things at people,
without hitting anyone, and seventeen of them chasing people, without
catching anyone. Five people have reported being rushed in what appeared
to be a bluffing action. Reports of Sasquatches looking in the windows
of houses and even vehicles are fairly common, but it is far more usual
for a Sasquatch encountering a human to leave, often hurriedly.
- Three people have reported being grabbed at while in their vehicles,
and four have reported being picked up and dropped, but none have been
much hurt. All reports of people being killed by Sasquatches, of which I
have seven, have been very indirect or very old, usually both. There are
perhaps a dozen reports of Sasquatches being seen to kill animals, but I
have never been able to talk to any eyewitness.
- Reports specifically identifying females and young are very rare. I
have only nine substantial and specific descriptions of females and only
three of young animals seen with adults.
- One observer has reported two incidents in which it seemed that a
Sasquatch did not have an opposable thumb, or at least did not use it in
that way. I have no specific report of a Sasquatch using the thumb in
There are also a number of things about Sasquatches that seem to me to
be significant because they have not been reported:
- I have no report of a Sasquatch throwing anything overhand or in a
- Although the creatures have been reported making sounds in almost
nine per cent of sightings I have only one report of anything that could
be considered a possible form of speech. By far the most common sounds
- I have no report of a Sasquatch using fire.
- I have no report of a Sasquatch using any object as a tool and only a
very few and indirect reports of one carrying anything that could not be
- I have no report of a Sasquatch having a home, even in a cave.
- Although I have talked to people who say they have shot at
Sasquatches I have no concrete evidence that anyone has ever killed one,
and I have no reports indicating that they have learned to fear guns.
Those are the observations that I wish to make based on my own
research. In addition, there is a collection of Russian observations
published by the late Professor Boris Porshnev2. He notes the
"Height five to six feet, but with great variations; bodies covered
entirely with hair; neck appears very short with head right on top of
trunk; teeth like a man's but larger; bridge of the nose usually flat;
thumb less opposed than a man's, objects often grasped between fingers
and palm; toes and fingers have nails, not claws; creatures capable of
running as fast as horses and of swimming swift currents; breeding pairs
remain together, but males range over wider territory; no permanent
homes; they do not make tools, but can throw stones; both meat and
vegetables eaten; they are active mainly at twilight or at night; in
northern regions they sleep during the winter; they avoid leaving tracks
by walking on hard ground; towards man they are not usually
I do not think that anyone could fail to note that except for the size
of the creatures there are not many points of difference between the
reports studied by Professor Porshnev in Russia and those that I have
been summarizing, while on the other hand there is exact agreement on
many specific points. It should be noted, however, that the difference
in size alone puts the two creatures in very different relationships to
their environment. The Russian creatures are literally man-sized. There
is no mention that they are any bulkier than men, and they are no
taller. A six-foot man of substantial build weighs about two hundred
pounds. An eight-foot creature of propertions one-and-a-half times as
large would weigh about one thousand pounds, and a nine-foot one would
weigh fifteen hundred pounds.
I have given the information from my own files in order to draw
conclusions from it about the nature of the animal described. The
Russian information, even though it may refer to a different species,
will generally support the same conclusions:
- The Sasquatch is not normally a dangerous animal.
It has the size and appearance of a monster, and it might frighten to
death a person with a weak heart, but there is nothing in its record to
suggest a species that preys on humans or tends to attack them for any
reason. In fact if those people who tell of being grabbed or picked up
are telling the truth it is a creature that makes very restrained use of
its strength in its infrequent contact with humans. It is not uncommon,
however, for humans to disappear in wild areas and never be found, so
one might bear in mind the possibility that a lone human attacked by a
Sasquatch might not be able to return to tell the story.
- The relationship between the Sasquatch and Homo sapiens has not been
proven to be any closer than that between our species and the other
great apes, except in shared posture and means of locomotion.
The physical attributes that we do share will make the Sasquatch a
very important animal in man's quest for knowledge about himself, but it
is not likely a "missing link" in his evolution or a "near human." With the
exception of his upright posture and loss of hair, man's differences
from other primates are mainly in his brain, and those differences
obviously result from a radical departure, a very long time ago, from
the normal primate lifestyles. While all other species have relied on
physical abilities and on instincts to hold a place in a competitive
world, man has shifted his reliance to his brain. Millions of years ago
he learned to use objects to increase the effectiveness of his muscles,
and from that developed the making of tools and weapons for specific
purposes. He also relied on the co-operative effort of many individuals,
and somewhere along the line he learned to increase greatly the
effectiveness of that co-operation through verbal communication of
ideas. The precise manipulation of objects with his hands and of sounds
with his throat and tongue, repeated through countless generations, have
been the keys to the development of his tremendous brain. At the same
time he has ceased to rely primarily on physical strength, with the
result that pound for pound he has only a fraction of the muscular
strength of his primate relatives.4
The creature described in the Sasquatch reports has obviously taken an
opposite route, although by no means the same one as the other apes.
Unlike them it has learned to swim, to see in the dark, and to survive
in a wide variety of climates. As a result of its greater versatility it
has become a highly suecessful species, able to establish itself, if all
the reports refer to a single species, all over the world. In that
respect it is like man, but unlike him its adaptions have been entirely
physical. It does not need or appear to desire the company of its
fellows, so it would obviously never have needed to develop
sophisticated vocal communication, and there is no indication that it
has done so. Its size and strength have plainly proved to be sufficient
both for protection and for obtaining food without reliance on tools or
weapons, and it has never even learned to throw things effectively. Hard
though it may be to accept, there are reports indicating that it has
developed speed of foot sufficient to flee from or to catch almost any
other animal. Certainly it has never lost its fur coat and is able to
get along in cold weather without either clothing or fire.
There is simply nothing in its lifestyle that would ever have put
pressure on it to develop its brain, and it obviously has not done so.
Some suggestions have been made that its elusiveness in relation to man
is proof of intelligence, but in fact Sasquatches are reported seen
quite frequently, almost certainly more often than cougars would be if
they could not be hunted with dogs. In short, if upright posture is what
makes an animal a human, then the reports describe a human, but if it is
his brain that distinguishes Home sapiens from his animal relatives,
then the Sasquatch is an animal--an upright ape and nothing more.
- The Sasquatch is not an endangered species in most of its range.
On the mountainous western slope of the continent there are many
hundreds of thousands of square miles of suitable habitat for it in
which pressure from humans is minimal. In fact there is far more
territory available for the Sasquatches than there is for the humans,
and the volume of reports from every area where there are humans to do
the reporting indicates that virtually all that territory is occupied.
East of the mountains there is a wide area of level, open country that
the Sasquatch apparently does not occupy, but there is nothing to
suggest that it ever did. In the vast area drained by the Mississippi
and its eastern tributaries as well as along the east coast there is
presumably a great deal less forested area suitable for Sasquatches than
was once the case, but there are plenty of reports to indicate an
established population throughout the area.
There is room for disagreement as to how many animals would be
required to occupy all of that territory, but considering that the
number of grizzly bears, which require large territories and occupy a
much smaller area, is always estimated in multiples of ten thousand, the
Sasquatch population must surely number at least in the thousands. It
would appear that the "skunk apes" in Florida may be endangered by the
destruction of their habitat to provide land for housing, and there may
be other specific areas where populations of Sasquatches are threatened,
but if man does threaten Sasquatches in any way it is obviously the land
developer who is responsible, not the hunter. There is no record of man
ever successfully hunting a single one.
1. Gordon R. Strasenburgh, Jr., "Perceptions and Images of the Wild
Man," Northwest Anthropological Research Notes 9, no. 2 (1975): 281-98.
2. The work of Porshnev is discussed in my Sasquatch: The Apes Among
Us (B.C.: Hancock House, 1978, pp. 137-45). Russian research is
presently centred around the Hominid Research Seminar which regularly
meets at the Darwin Museum in Moscow. Other Russian investigators (works
are listed in the general bibliography) include Dmitri Baianov and Igor
Bourtsev, who have worked extensively on the Roger Patterson film, and
Marie-Jeanne Kofman, who has carried out field investigations in the
3. Boris F. Porshnev, "The Problem of Relic Paleoanthropus," Soviet Ethnography 2 (1969): 115-30.
4. See John E. Bauman, "The Strength of the Chimpanzee and Orang," Scientific Monthly (April, 1923): 432-39.
© Manlike Monsters On Trial: Early Records and Modern Evidence,
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of British Columbia Press, 1980
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