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The Peckatoe Journal

“RUBY CREEK INCIDENT”

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  The “Ruby Creek Incident,” as it later became known, is one of the most significant but, paradoxically, glossed over cases in the search for Sasquatch. It occurred near the Fraser River in British Columbia on October 21, 1941. On that mild Fall day Jeannie Chapman was working about her small cabin. Her little daughter Rosie was playing outside in the garden.  Thus, she was the first to see ‘it.’ She rushed into the house and said “Mommy, a big cow is coming out of the woods.” Mrs. Chapman went outside and was amazed to see a tall hairy naked “man” walking across the field and coming to the house. Estimating by field poles as it passed, she believed ‘it’ was a whopping 7 and a half feet tall! It was as hairy as a beast but walking on hind legs like a man. She was sure this was a living example of the Indian “legend” of ‘Sasquatch men,’ a tribe of wild tall Indians that lived in the mountains and were noted for their violence.
   Wisely, she quickly gathered her children and blocked any sight of them from the ‘Sasquatch’ by holding up a blanket. She shooed them around their small cabin and to the river, using the cabin as a guard as well, shielding them from the sight of the ‘Sasquatch’ until they were down the river and out of harm’s way.
   So far as it goes that was her and her children’s experience. Her husband George, however, was not home. When he arrived later he found his homestead abandoned. It didn’t take him long to see the huge footprints. They circled the cabin and then stopped at the outshed, where he then found  that  a large  barrel  of  salted  salmon had been broken into. There was some question whether the barrel had been busted in by a mighty fist or picked up and thrown against the outshed wall. Whichever case, it took Herculean strength.
     Now he was doubly worried over his children and wife. But being a good Indian brave, he found their tracks and followed them down the river. They had taken refuge at another farm. When George arrived, Jeannie reiterated what she had told their neighbors— a ‘Sasquatch’ had come to their little farm.
   There had been an impressive private investigation done at the time by a US deputy Sheriff by the name of Joe Dunn. He had heard about  the incident because it rated a couple of newspaper articles, one denouncing it as a 10 foot tall bear (hastily getting the Chapman name wrong as Chadwick). The ‘Sasquatch’ had  actually come back to the farm. For over the next week it came back 3 times, rustling around looking for food. This was unusual. The ‘Sasquatch’ were seldom met with and usually staid in their mountain lairs.    His appetite whetted and in hopes of coming across the fabled giant, Joe Dunn proceeded to Ruby Creek with 2 others, there finding that the Chapmans were moving. Jeannie would have none of the place anymore with the prowling giant about.
   Dunn could see the evidence for himself. Along with Gustav Tyfting, he followed the tacks of the ‘Sasquatch’. The footprints were 16 inches long, but strangely elongated and narrow for their size. In the potato patch, they were 2 feet deep, the great weight of the ‘Sasquatch’ having crushed the buried potatoes. 
   The most alarming evidence was found when they traced the footprints to the edge of the property. They discovered that the ‘Sasquatch’ had merely stepped over the Canadian Pacific Railway fence. One 16 inch print was on this side of the fence, the other was on the other side. This meant the ‘Sasquatch’ had a higher inseam than 43 inches (the height of the wire fence). Being 7 and a half tall, this meant it was shaped like a human, with its legs almost half its overall length.
     No news story, unfortunately, came about from Dunn and Tyfting’s discoveries. But their investigation served to prove something very strange did indeed visit Ruby Creek. Newspapers had preferred to attribute ‘Sasquatch’ to Indian fables, and the Vancouver Province quickly wrote it off as one of the biggest bears known. Dunn went silently back to Washington State with the most valuable piece of evidence: a tracing of the footprint.
   In 1957 a local Canadian newsman, John Green, who had recently moved to the area of Agassiz, about 12 miles down from Ruby Creek, became very interested in the reality of Sasquatch.
   The Yeti was the most captivating mystery in print in the 1950s’. It had broken onto the world stage in a dynamic way in 1951 when famed Everest mountain climbers Eric Shipton and Michael Ward came across strange footprints that fit no known creature. They photographed them and the picture headlined the world news as proof of the “Abominable Snowman.”
   Was there truth behind the old Indian stories of a hairy, ghoulish mountain Indian? Was the Sasquatch actually something like the Yeti? Like the Yeti, Sasquatch was largely dismissed by White Man as Indian legend; and even in legend there was no concise image of them. They were only known as “hairy giants of British Columbia.” Nobody knew that  for 16 years Dunn had had that footprint tracing!

     THE FIRST INVESTIGATION

John Green was determined to find the truth. Having bought the small town Agassiz-Harrison Advance newspaper, he had heard much of Sasquatch, but it was evidently jumbled. Green lived in the very heart of Sasquatch country, the Chehalis District, known before this by its Indian name of The Saskahaua— “Place of the Wild Man.” But he knew very little of what they were. It was his impression the Indian legends spoke of a tribe of giant Indians with long hair on their heads “like hippies.” This false impression was possible because since the 1930s the proud Indians refused to speak about it anymore. They didn’t care for the skepticism of the White Man.
   The truth was held in old and dusty magazines and newspaper articles written by the retired Indian Agent for the territory, J.W. Burns, the very same man who popularized Sasquatch as a term amongst his fellow Whites. His articles had made it plain that the Sasquatch were hairy all over, beast men who spoke a dialect near that to Douglas. The last remnants, he had written, were said to live near to Morris Mountain, which lorded over the unexplored interior of British Columbia.
     Green actually did an admirable job of backtracking the incident, making it the first true investigation of a ‘Sasquatch’ sighting and incident. Green located the Chapmans and got the story straight from them. Then he hooked up with Gustav (“Esse”) Tyfting, whom he had already known (but didn’t know he had helped investigate the incident back in 1941). Tyfting confirmed that the footprints were those a biped and that Jeannie Chapman had described ‘it’ as a big hairy man. He also told Green about the evidence at the fence. It was unbelievable but true; the ‘Sasquatch’ had merely stepped over it.
   This should have signaled a warning to Green. This could not be a Yeti. Yeti was said to be the size of  a 14 year old boy and to be only partially bipedal. It also had a tall cone head and a very unique foot, and the Sherpas insisted it was an animal. On the other hand, the ‘Sasquatch’ was so manlike the Indians said they were people. Also, no ape nor anything with an ape-like body with short legs could step over that fence.  

Tyfting

Tyfting appeared on the 1971 Documentary: Bigfoot: Man or Beast?

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Pointing to the CPR fence wire.

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The rail road tracks at the Chapman farm

Ruby Creek

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The falls along Ruby Creek

   Green’s investigation would soon uncover the most valuable piece of evidence so far collected. He found out Dunn’s son still had his father’s tracing (Joe Dunn had unfortunately already passed away). He hooked-up with him, read his father’s report and more than this he was able to see the tracing of the ‘Sasquatch’ foot from Ruby Creek. This he also traced. Thanks to Green’s relentlessness, we have the footprint of the ‘Sasquatch,’ at least in outline. It is an odd foot, that is for sure, and certainly not the Yeti’s foot. It is also  not a  human footprint.   It  is unusually long, with a long narrow heel like monkeys have. 
   Dunn’s and Tyfting’s investigation confirmed that the ‘Sasquatch’ was habitually bipedal. But it also proved something White Man hadn’t suspected: it wasn’t an actual human being. Although Green and Tyfting never made the following conclusion, it seems clear that the footprint is also not that of an ape or anything in-between like the fabled apeman. It is more of something in-between a monkey and a man.
   The ‘Sasquatch’ also must have been incredibly swift. Its trail went over the CPR tracks and then up a large mountain man could not climb so easily.

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The Ruby Creek Print

     Unlike the Yeti Print, the ‘Sasquatch’ Ruby Creek Print would not become so famous. In fact, it would almost be erased by an incident that would happen soon after John Green concluded his investigation. This was at Bluff Creek, California, in 1958, when more large tracks were found, this time remarkably different.
   Although this critter at Bluff Creek   was   dubbed  “Bigfoot,” there was really no reason to assume there was any similarity with the Sasquatch, considering the footprint was merely that of a flat enlarged human foot. Americans didn’t even know what to make of it until John Green came down and looked at them. He made the connection: “Sasquatch.” 
     For some reason, Bigfoot made world news. Perhaps it was the popularity of the Yeti. In any event, others started investigating. In 1959, well-known TV guest and naturalist Ivan Sanderson talked to the Chapmans. He discovered to his surprise that the three children they had by 1941, including little Rosie, were already dead. The boys had drown in the river and little Rosie died on the sick bed.
     George and Jeannie were the only witnesses left and, sadly, they were soon to die. A month after he spoke to them, they too drown in the river. But before they died they had given Sanderson a valuable piece of evidence. Not only did they confirm a suspected height of  7.6 feet tall, they said the ‘Sasquatch’ had an unusually small head for its size. Jeannie, however, didn’t know if it was male or female because of its thick hair.
   The Ruby Creek Incident is one of the most interesting in the journals of the frontier. Although the incident has become obscured, it is one of the rare examples were accurate information has been left for future posterity and where even a critical bit of tangible evidence was carefully preserved— that strange, long footprint.
   Two things bear uncannily upon the incident. One is an encounter in 1869 in California with two hairy “What are they?”, an account of which the hunter would write in the Antioch Ledger. He described them as something between man and animal but having an unusually small head for their thick and broad chest.
   The other was also written down long before Ruby Creek. It was by J.W. Burns himself, the Indian Agent for the Chehalis Reservation. In his first article (MacLean’s Magazine in 1929) there is the account of Brave Peter Williams. After being chased by a growling ‘Sasquatch,’ who even waded across a river to get at him, he was saved only by slamming his cabin door just in time. The ‘Sasquatch’ then proceeded to shake the cabin apart. Williams declared: “Next morning I found his tracks in the mud around the house, the biggest of either man or beast I had ever seen. The tracks measured twenty-two inches in length, but narrow in proportion to their length.” And  in  describing his assailant, “Except that he was covered with hair and twice the bulk of the average man, there was nothing to distinguish him from the rest of us”— the two things repeated at Ruby Creek.
   Both contradict the entire legend of Bigfoot as it exists today. It opens the door, however, on something far more interesting—

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Williams’ tortured home

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The Peckatoe Journal: as investigated and kept by Gian J. Quasar. Content Copyright Bermuda-Triangle.org and PNE&S