Meet the Sasquatch
Book Review By Daniel Perez
Murphy, Christopher L. (in association with John Green and Thomas Steenburg). Meet The Sasquatch. Hancock House Publishers, 1431 Harrison Avenue, Blaine, Washington 98230-5005. 239 pages; July 2004 publication; leatherbound (25 available; $540):hardbound (500 available; $75) and paperback ($39.95) : ISBN: 0-88839-573-6 (paperback trade edition). Extensive color and black and white pictures. Illustrations, bibliography, maps, graphs, photo index and general index. Telephone: (800) 938-1114. Website: www.hancockhouse.com. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet The Sasquatch, written by Candian Christorpher L Murphy, a retired British Columbia Telephone Company (now Telus) is a phenomenal book on an equally phenomenal subject: Sasquatch, Bigfoot or call them what you will. Publisher David Hancock may have said it better, “Meet The Sasquatch is a milestone in the publication of sasquatch information. While the last chapter on sasquatch has yet to be written, here is the full story of what we know about the creature to date. The author and his associates (John Green and Tom Steenburg), all active sasquatch researchers, produced the work to accompany an extraordinary exhibit at the Vancouver Museum, Vancouver, British Columba in the Summer of 2004.”
Meet The Sasquatch will not disappoint for it is loaded with many never before seen photographs in addition to twelve movie frames from the both famous and forever controversial Patterson-Gimlin film. The reproduction of those 16-mm film frames comes directly from cibachrome transparencies taken directly from the original movie which resulted in crystal clear images. The best reproductive results are shown on page 55 and the likelihood of the subject being a costumed person appears extremely far fetched. Equally far fetched is the idea the filmed subject actually represents a gigantic unknown primate. With hunters all over the United States, I should clarify, it is hard to imagine they have missed a target of Bigfoot’s gigantic dimensions: 8-feet tall, hairy, smelly and 800 pounds to boot!
Author Christopher L. Murphy traces his Bigfoot involvement with a meeting with the late Rene Dahinden in 1993. From there his interest grew and Meet The Sasquatch is a culmination of his years in the Bigfoot research and investigation. Noted Mr. Murphy in a recent letter to me, “the idea to create a book of this nature goes back to my boyhood. At about age 13, I found a book entitled A Pictorial History of World War II. Because there were so many photographs and illustrations, I had no trouble understanding and associating with a very complex subject.” We can only hope young lads may be further inspired by the Bigfoot mystery with Murphy’s penning of this excellent volume.
The book’s size, 8.5” X 11” inches, and glossy pages make it an excellent coffee table work and its organization appears to be logical and easy to follow. Chapter 1 starts with “First Nations Sasquatch References,” which is apt but wanting; to refer to them as North American Indians would be perfectly acceptable and less confusing. However, it has been pointed out the term “Indian” in Canada is socially unacceptable and considered derogatory and the preferred terminology is “First Nations.” “Early Written Records,” (chapter 2) makes it crystal clear, whether there is a Sasquatch or not, there is a long record, in writing and oral tradition, of manlike or apelike beings in North America prior to 1900.
In chapter 2 Albert Ostman’s alleged abduction by a Sasquatch in 1924 is briefly recounted. Ostman’s story is now one of the all time classics in Bigfoot literature. Also in this chapter J.W. Burns is mentioned briefly, although he was responsible for bringing into wide circulation the term “Sasquatch,” with his magazine articles on the subject. Burns’ “My Search For B.C.’s Giant Indians,” from Liberty magazine, 1954, is reprinted and it should be noted for the record Mr. Burns’ was writing about the topic in periodicals such as MacLeans as far back as 1929. The late newspaper reporter, Andrew Genzoli, who more or less broke the “Bigfoot” story to the world in 1958 is also noted. Without Genzoli, the long saga of “Bigfoot” may have been just some forgotten legend from the forests of the Pacific Northwest.
The core of this book is in the outstanding chapter 5, “The Patterson/Gimlin Film,” loaded with pictures, diagrams, notes and measurements made on the historic Bluff Creek, California filmsite. Author Chris Murphy takes us to another level in discussing details of this famous filmstrip. In reference to frame #352, the most widely used still frame of the subject, Murphy writes, “for example, there is very little difference between frames 351, 352 and 353. Frame 352 was simply judged to be the best by two people.” The “piece of wood,” (as the late Rene Dahinden called it) collected from the P-G filmsite, in which the subject either steps directly on it or next to it, is discussed in detail and, to the best of my knowledge this is the first time in a book that the artifact is written about. That piece of wood was collected by the chief investigator of the film, Rene Dahinden, and because it was in the same focal plane as the subject (Bigfoot) it was later determined this piece of wood could be used to calculate the height of the subject.
Yvon Leclerc, a Canadian artist for the book, provides technical illustrations of the facial area of the P-G subject, and this further enhances this already highly impressive book. In this fantastic work, Leclerc has taken a profile of the frame #339 from the P-G film and zoomed in on the side profile of the face; then went about the business of inserting skulls of various primates into the face. What he found was the female gorilla’s cranium and the fossil jaw of Pithecanthropus fit nicely into the side profile of the face, and those enchanting terms “ape-man” or “man-ape” are used in conjunction with this discussion.
The debunking issue of the P-G film, as described in the recently released, The Making Of Bigfoot, by Greg Long, is mentioned on page 89 and it would appear to this reviewer Long’s claim of a man in a costume are baseless and have little merit.
Bigfoot, the skeptics have long stated, is fine folklore and campfire chat but chapter 8, “The Physical Evidence And Its Analysis” proves difficult to ignore as there is a whole section of the foot tracks and castings of Bigfoot. Footprints in the ground, whether real or faked, are facts. They are undeniable facts with no satisfactory explanation. In respect to the foot tracks left behind by the big footed Sasquatch, one can only ask; could they all be fake over such a long period of time and covering a massive land mass, North America? When the length of the foot tracks is graphically plotted, by contributor Dr. Wolf Henner Fahrenbach, the scientist noted, “the distribution is bell-shaped, meaning that it came from a biological population rather than being the result of forgery.” Anthropologist Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Idaho State Universtiy in Pocatello, also noted, “a pronounced flexibility in the midtarsal joint” of Bigfoot tracks and one might speculate it would be inconceivable that hoaxers would go to such trouble in adding subtle details to the tracks.
The Skookum Bigfoot body cast, from September 2000, is covered with some depth and how the discovery came about. Alleged Sasquatch hair, beds and sounds are also discussed.
Chapter 9 provides some wonderful insight on those, past and present, who have waded the Sasquatch waters, and found them inviting. Bob Titmus; John Green: this reviewer; Tom Steenburg; Dr. Grover Krantz; Rene Dahinden; Richard Noll (Skookum cast); Robert Alley, Matt Moneymaker, Ray Crowe and Bobbie Short are profiled. A glaring omission to this distinguished group is Peter Byrne and Loren Coleman, both who have brought enormous publicity to Bigfooting.
The Russian Snowman and the Himalayan Yeti are in the closing stages of this book and the author, Chris Murphy, concludes with, “If sasquatch are ‘out there’ what else might there be?”
Two thumbs up for Meet The Sasquatch! This is a serious and excellent treatment of a simply fascinating topic. For the true Sasquatch fan, this book has earned a spot in your library.
Copyright Daniel Perez, 10926 Milano Avenue, Norwalk, California 90650-1638. eviews
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