Bigfoot Encounters

Book Review by Roderick Sprague

The Sasquatch and Other Unknown Hominoids
By Vladimir Markotic and Grover Krantz

For reasons that should become evident, this will be an unusual review, one filled with parenthetical footnotes, but no citations.

I once refused to review this work for another journal for several reasons: first, because Grover Krantz, the Associated Editor - - I am not sure how that differs from an Associate Editor and I edited two different editions of another Sasquatch book in 1977 and 1979 (The Scientist Looks at the Sasquatch, The University Press of Idaho). Secondly, Vladimir Markotic, the Editor of the present work, reviewed that volume in Cryptozoology. Thirdly, the book under review was originally conceived as a collection of those papers given at the 1978 University of British Columbia (UBC) Sasquatch conference in Vancouver, but which were not included in the subsequent UBC Press volume, Manlike Monsters on Trial, published in 1980, a work that was later reviewed by Grover Krantz, also in Cryptozoology. And, finally, to complete these incestuous relationships, my paper at that conference was one of those that were published in the UBC Press volume. However, because I am the review editor of a national journal, and thus know the problems of getting books reviewed, I have considerable sympathy for your Cryptozoology Editor. Also, I am on sabbatical leave this year (at the Inner Mongolia University, People's Republic of China), and have more time than usual; for the same reasons, however, the reader will have to excuse a lack of detailed citations, as I am without my library, or even a good substitute.

In a community as small as that of the serious Sasquatch researchers, it is difficult not to have personal and/or professional relationships with most of the other researchers. Such is the case with many of the authors in The Sasquatch and Other Unknown Hominoids. In addition to my above-mentioned editing of a book with Grover Krantz, I have accepted, as co-editor of Northwest Anthropological Research Notes (NARN), at least six articles by Krantz, four of which dealt with Sasquatch. As to other authors, Jay Miller and I have conducted ethnographic and archaeological research together, and co-authored a report on that work, and two articles by Miller have been published in NARN.

Strasenburgh and Bayanov have both also published on Sasquatch in NARN. In addition to the above, Dahinden, Green, Keddie, and Markotic are all friends and correspondents. I also feel honored to have met the late Carleton Coon at the Vancouver conference.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, an active investigator of Sasquatch sightings. My original interest came from my observation of the similarity in the various Plateau Indian descriptions of a Sasquatch-like creature, combined later with John Green's challenge for a reasonable place to publish scientific Sasquatch studies, and the resulting opening of the pages of NARN to the topic.

Just as Krantz's academic career has suffered because of his Sasquatch work, in retrospect I think NARN has probably suffered (except financially) for truly following the scientific method.

It has never been mentioned in print before, but when the first edition of The Scientist Looks at the Sasquatch was published in 1977, review copies were sent to Science, American Scientist, and American Anthropologist. None of these journals even listed it in their "books received for review" sections. At that time, the review editor of American Anthropologist was one of my former graduate
professors, one I highly respected for his sense of fair play. Yet, no acknowledgment has` ever been received. For this reason alone, I see a real need for a journal such as Cryptozoology.

As just an editor or facilitator of Sasquatch research, I have tried to keep a neutral position and a low profile. However, Krantz blew my cover when he placed me on the "positive" side in his review of Manlike Monsters on Trial. My chapter in that volume was written to elicit comments and reactions. The only reaction (negative) was from my long-time friend, B. Robert Butler, who had loaned me
prints for one of the illustrations, and his reaction was prior to publication. I would have to agree with Butler that some of the "ape heads" represent female mountain sheep in estrus-when their lips are pulled back exposing the teeth. Krantz notes that the positive articles in the Manlike Monsters volume are shorter, perhaps, because we came to the point and did not dance around the issue. It could have also been because all the positive articles -- that is, those that were not completely eliminated-were cut to pieces, as mine was, with all of the interesting historical data taken out. Perhaps more to the point is the distribution of rank. It would appear to me that full professors with tenure were not concerned about what they said, while those in the lower ranks were more cautious; the case of Grover Krantz was there clearly for them to see.

With my biases and annoyances out of the way, we may now begin the review of what I consider to be an excellent book. I would agree with the introduction that the word Sasquatch is unquestionably preferable to the California-coined (and sounding) Bigfoot. But I wonder why the capitalization of Sasquatch when we do not capitalize other animals like deer, elk, wolf, etc? The lack of capitalization for the American Indian culture area, Northwest Coast, is even more difficult to understand.

Chapter I, The Monsters in General, begins with Jay Miller's "American Humanity and Other Monsters: A Structuralist Analysis of Frankenstein, the Mummy, Dracula, and the Wolfman." In my opinion, the greatest contribution of Miller is his ability to utilize Claude Levi-Strauss, to explain how he uses him, and to come to some logical conclusion. Concerning this conclusion, I would suggest
that the opposite of the monster profile does not just define the ideal male, but that the monster profile can also define the monster within the typical American male who desires to be nocturnal, out of control, libidinous, immature, extraordinary, impractical, areligious, and animalistic. The degree to which Miller's attributes of the monsters fit the Sasquatch depends on where you are
on the California continuum, from Hollywood to the back-to-nature freaks. Another approach for future research might be the "beauty and the beast" theme, with Sasquatch compared to the popular ape-beast of Hollywood.

Grant Keddie's contribution, entitled "On Creating Un-Humans," is a well thought-out addition to the growing literature on Northwest Coast monsters, but happily gives little support to the Sasquatch cannibal woman concept so popular among the "true believers."

Loren Coleman and Mark Hill in "From 'Atsen' to Giants in North America," continue in a highly readable but somewhat disorganized way the position taken by John Green several years ago that the stories by American Indians of large, smelly, hairy creatures are part of the American Indian natural world, and not part of their mythology as categorized by anthropologists. They admit that their "survey is not exhaustive" (p. 31), which it is not; but why not? Is this volume for popular consumption, or is it to report scientific research?

Chapter II, The Believers and the Skeptics, is introduced with Carleton Coon's discussion of "Why There Has to be a Sasquatch." His discussion of believers and non-believers is long overdue. It has long been my contention that the terms "believer" and "non-believer" as used for Sasquatch researchers reduce the discussion to a level of religious fervor, and are not appropriate terms in
scientific research. This brief selection is a pleasant and upbeat summary of the thoughts on the subject by a world-renowned, and at times controversial, physical anthropologist. Those who knew Carleton Coon well will find this chapter worth the price of the volume. (Surely the fourth word from the end of the first paragraph of this selection must be "word," not "work.")

Hans Biedermann's errors of fact and interpretation when discussing work outside of Europe are so frequent that even the Editor was compelled to point them out in the introduction to "Sasquatch, Yeti, and Similar Beings." The article's greatest contribution to Sasquatch research is the inclusion of many German language references unknown to North American researchers. The position that
such a widespread belief around the world is an argument against the reality of such a creature can be turned around and just as well be used as an argument for the existence of such creatures.

Grover Krantz, in "Sasquatch Believers vs. the Skeptics," fully intended to insult both the "scientific" skeptic and the true believer. If the scientific community were to read his chapter, they would be insulted, but, unfortunately, they already have all the facts and will not read it. On the other hand, the true believers will read it, be insulted, and go on their merry way ignoring Krantz's message.

It is Krantz's willingness to openly investigate the unknown that has cost him the respect of many colleagues as well as timely academic promotion. Likewise, his unwillingness to be a fanatical believer in a religious sense has alienated him from most of the non-academic investigators. Like the Man Without a Country, he is cast afloat, awaiting the day of discovery-when he will "enjoy seeing a lot of people eat crow." It is no accident that Krantz and I edited a book together. Not because we are good friends or close colleagues, which we are not, nor because we both originally believed in the existence of Sasquatch, which I did not, but because we both believed, as scientists, that the phenomenon known as Sasquatch should be studied, and such studies should be published. To call the study of Sasquatch "like the study of little green men from Mars," as one of Krantz's former university administrators once said, could be called as anti-intellectual as the Spanish Inquisition.

Chapter III, Reports, begins with Dmitri Bayanov's "Hominology in the Soviet Union." This excellent review brings the reader up-to-date on Soviet research, but, as always, he is far more trusting of his informants than are the more jaded North American investigators.

Marie-Jeanne Koffmann's paper has the long title of "Brief Ecological Description of the Caucasus Relict Hominoid (Almasti) Based on Oral Reports by Local Inhabitants and on Field Investigations." This report should leave skeptic and believer alike asking, if the Almasti are that well known and available, where are the specimens (or at least the pictures, which we all clearly realize will not satisfy the skeptics)? I, for one, remain a skeptic concerning this paper.

John Green, with "The Search in China for Unknown Hominoids," has done all of us a service by bringing the Chinese reports up-to-date. (The References Cited are correct, but some over-zealous copy editor added commas between the surnames and the given names of all of the Chinese authors in the volume's Bibliography.) I wish I could share the stated optimism about the offical position in China toward Wildman studies. In 1984, at a small banquet in Beijing hosted by the
Vice Minister of Forestry, who, among other duties, is responsible for endangered species, he agreed to answer a few informal questions. I asked what was being done about protecting the Wildman. He responded, in no uncertain terms, that "these are the beliefs of ignorant peasants and not worthy of further comment."

Bayanov's second contribution, entitled "The Case for the Australian Hominoids," is largely direct quotes from Graham Joyner's 1977 work on the Australian Yahoo or Yowie, plus some more recent reports. He closes with some free-thought-wanderings on remotely related cases. Truly interested researchers would do well to obtain Joyner's original volume. Bayanov takes the positive point of view, as opposed to Biedermann and Krantz, proposing that more cases on more continents
indicate greater statistical likelihood of Sasquatch and related hominoids existing.

Krantz's summary paper, "Research on Unknown Hominoids in North America," is one of the highlights of the entire volume. In this well written section, his points are logically argued, and they would be difficult to refute. His point that the ecological zone of the Sasquatch is utilized by man less today than it has been for thousands of years can be verified by any U.S. Forest Serice archaeologist, who would state that the most remote areas are filled with prehistoric and historic human refuse. (I myself would suggest that the Great Depression was probably the high point in the utilization of the Sasquatch ecological zone by man.) This section is really the summation of all of Krantz's major points on Sasquatch from his well delivered and highly popular public speaking
engagements. It is Krantz at his best: logical, articulate, and not hampered by footnotes and references.

The last of the regional reports, Loren Coleman's "The Occurrence of Wild Apes in North America," makes two major contributions. First, his References Cited section is virtually all new material to the western North American Sasquatch researcher. Secondly, he has collected all of the southeastern United States data and proposed an hypothesis for why the footprints look different, and why the reported heights of such creatures are less than those reported for the Sasquatch. The introduction of Dryopithecus into the New World without any fossil continuum is a weak point in an otherwise well developed argument.

Chapter IV, The Biological and Psychological Aspects of the Sasquatch, begins with "Eyewitness Reports and Footprints: An Analysis of Sasquatch Data." In this section, Dmitri Bayanov, Igor Bourtsev, and Rene Dahinden present still another well reasoned and logical argument for the acceptance of the evidence at hand for Sasquatch. It is unfortunate that, since Krantz was a contributor and Associated Editor, he did not comment on the dynamic vs. static theories of the
functioning of the double ball of the Sasquatch foot. The continued insistence of the Soviet researchers to draw comparisons between Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Sasquatch, in my opinion, only weakens their arguments, and, in general, weakens the case for the North American Sasquatch. To put it more bluntly, the concept of a relict Neanderthal is, to this reviewer, quite
unlikely, but to suggest that the physical profile of the Sasquatch represents H. neanderthalensis is the least likely of all the hypotheses presented in this or any other responsible work.

Archie Buckley writes in "Report on Sasquatch Field Findings" with a folksy style that is completely out of place in this volume. His often illegible photographs do little to support his arbitrary conclusions, which seem based on personal opinion rather than logical and scientific reasoning.

While the deletion of Buckley's section would not have affected the value of the volume, the deletion of James R. Butler's "The Theoretical Importance of Higher Sensory Perceptions in the Sasquatch Phenomenon" would have helped it considerably. Such speculative nonsense does not help the cause of serious research on the Sasquatch or other unknown hominoids.

Chapter V, The Patterson-Gimlin Film, has only two sections. The first section is the second part of the Bayanov, Bourtsev, and Dahinden report entitled "Analysis of the Patterson-Gimlin Film: Why We Find it Authentic." It is by far the best and most thorough discussion of this classic film. What would be appreciated now would be a response from the strangely silent primatologist, William Montagna. With time, proponents seem to be building a psychological profile of those anthropologists and zoologists who are quick to condemn Sasquatch evidence and research-as well as evidence in other areas of cryptozoology. A discussion of this profile, and what it reveals about such individuals, would make an interesting article in itself.

Gordon Strasenburgh, a long-time supporter of Australopithecus robustus as the fossil representative of Sasquatch, writes on the relationship of the Patterson-Gimlin film to this discussion in his "The Crested Australopithecus robustus and the Patterson-Gimlin Film." His argument is generally well reasoned, but at times becomes convoluted. The central theme centers on the presence of a sagittal crest on females, while tending to ignore the severe problems detailed
by Reed in the same volume. He does not speak to Krantz's suggestion that the pendulous breasts of a supposed female could actually be laryngeal sacks of a male. He also does not bother, and rightly so, to refute the Soviet position on Homo sapiens neanderthalensis because he has done so previously in print-a point on which the previous section by Bayanov, Bourtsev, and Dahinden is strangely silent.

Chapter VI, Europe of Old, also contains only two sections. The volume Editor, Vladimir Markotic, presents "The Great Greek God Pan -- An Early Hominid?" and pursues the Pan-as-relict-form theme much further than anyone ever has before. This work represents one of the really new pieces of research in Sasquatch studies found in this volume. It is suggested that Pan is, in reality, not a
minor god but a very old and extremely important god whose true identity has been lost. This old and important god is unique among the gods in that, like relict hominids (or hominoids), he dies. It is unfortunate that the vast majority of researchers in classical mythology will miss this provocative work.

Little can be said about the stories collected by Zvonko Lovrencevic under the title "Creatures from the Bilogora in Northern Croatia," except to hope that more such folklore will be collected. Again, as with the growing body of such information from all over the world, we can take two opposing positions: 1 ) such stories are worldwide, and thus support the existence of hominoid forms
worldwide; 2) such stories are worldwide, showing the basic need for such beliefs in terms of man's world view, and thus have no reality. In addition, if we accept Krantz's view, it is unlikely for there to be an unknown series of hominoids. These arguments aside, any folklore that is being lost as rapidly as Lovrencevic indicates should be collected.

Chapter VII, The Problems of Origins, again has only two sections, and one suffers by comparison to the other. In "Possible Ancestry of Sasquatch and Its Eurasian Kin," Charles A. Reed gives what is by far the best overall logical analysis of all possibilities, including New World evolution, which Reed discounts. The number of times he adds parenthetically after Sasquatch, "if they exist," gives the impression that he "doth protest too much." In spite of a long list of things we do not know about Gigantopithecus, Reed considers this the most likely candidate for the fossil ancestor of Sasqualch, but, unlike other researchers, he considers Gigantopithecus bilaspurensis, for a number of reasons, as more likely than G. blacki. The previous arguments by Strasenburgh, reiterated in this volume, for Australopithecus robustus as the Sasquatch ancestor, are refuted by Reed. The Soviet view of Neanderthal's taxonomic position, and the abundant evidence against such a position, is mentioned, but unfortunately is simply referred to as "too numerous to list here" (p. 285). On archaeological evidence alone, I am in total agreement with Reed on the status of Neanderthal, but it would have been useful to have all of the evidence referenced in this landmark volume. Perhaps it is because he expresses his position so clearly, and it is a position I tend to agree with, that I find Reed's selection to be one of the most valuable in a generally valuable
collection. It is also one chapter that I have recommended to interested advanced students.

The final section by Krantz, entitled "The Origins of Sasquatch," illustrates one of the annoying traits of this volume: the lack of communication between authors prior to publication. Krantz lists the possible fossil ancestors of Sasquatch, including his own favorite, Gigantopithecus blacki. Yet, in the previous chapter by Reed, G. bilaspurensis is suggested as more likely, a point to which Krantz does not even allude. Krantz's discussion of Neanderthal seems to hang in space, as if he needed to express publicly his view that Neanderthal was less than human. The Clan of the Cave Bear may be good fiction, but is it good anthropology? This selection is not up to Krantz's usual level of writing; he should have stopped with his other two excellent selections. It is almost as if he is hedging his bets prior to his more recent pronouncement, in NARN, that Gigantopithecus blacki is indeed Sasquatch.

The compilation of all of the References Cited into one complete Bibliography is a real service to the serious researcher, and should be emulated by more multi-authored works. A bibliography of recent sources not found elsewhere in this volume, or the UBC Press Manlike Monsters volume, has been added under the strangely inaccurate title of "Some Recent Bibliographies." This is a highly useful tool, and a needed update for the serious Sasquatch researcher.

The several References Cited sections, however, suffer from editorial inconsistency. For example, Krantz 1972a is presented in four different ways on pages 184, 200, 247, and 317. The problem with Chinese names has already been mentioned. Most of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin references would be impossible to find without the aid of a documents librarian unless one
already knows the references.

Editorial inconsistency is apparent also in the text. Some authors repeat the same reference each time in a series, others use the anthropologically shunned ibid., and one author used "same." Superscript numbers were used both for true footnotes and for endnotes. Typographical errors are not flagrant, but common enough to indicate that the page proof needed one more reading. Franz Boas suffered on pages 24 and 40. Singular data were utilized on the lower half of pages 129 and 244.

Other errors obvious even to this very poor speller are found on pages 73, 80, 160, 189, and 329. The missing apostrophe in Hudson's Bay Company on p. 34 and the lack of the conditional "were" on p. 293 are the kinds of errors that make the difference between a good editorial job and an excellent editorialjob. The "black area" on page 146 varies from pure white to dark grey on my copy. I have a very strong personal aversion to the use of the utterly redundant "see" when reference is made to a figure. (If the writer did not want the reader to see the map or illustration, then why even mention it or include it?)

The (table of) Contents is not an accurate rendering of many section titles, or, in some cases, even the full names of the authors. Future referencing of an single author's work would have been easier if the "chapters" had been called "sections," or at least parts and each author's contribution to a chapter. The separation of figures into "figures," "plates," and "maps" is an archaic and confusing practice that has been discouraged by the better presses for many years.

The Glossary by Krantz is a useful addition for the professional and amateur alike. It has been done with an obvious effort to give fair and unbiased definitions. The only bias to show up is in the interlocking definitions of Gigantopithecus and Sasquatch. Likewide, the Notes on the Contributors is a useful addition, especially in a field where anyone can, and often does, claim expertise. However, there are some obvious omissions of pertinent information --for example, Jay Miller's academic degrees.

All of these minor objections aside, The Sasquatch and Other Unknown Hominoids is certainly more of a major contribution to the study of Sasquatch than the 1980 UBC Press volume Manlike Monsters on Trial. The work under review was originally seen by some as a "spite" volume, directed against the UBC Press volume. Happily, it took a positive approach, and it has become an important work on its own merits. It is unfortunate that it did not receive just a little more detailed editing, judicious pruning, a more attractive cover, and the publicity of a larger press. Of course, the reasonable price is related to the lack of some of these factors.

If there is just one volume that will bring the interested layman up-to-date on Sasquatch, it is this book. If the serious researcher is attempting to maintain a good library on Sasquatch, or Old World unknown hominoids, then this volume is an absolute necessity. Markotic, Krantz, and their colleagues are to be congratulated on bringing together so much detailed information and several
astute summaries in one coherent form.

Review by Dr. Roderick Sprague for the ISC Journal Volume 5, pp. 99-108

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