Two of them were made from footprints found in 1969 near the town of Bossburg, in northeastern Washington's Colville national Forest. What makes these tracks so important is a crippling deformity found in the right foot. It has only four toes-the middle essay one is either missing or somehow raised above the other four, which have spread to fill the gap. More significant is the distortion of the entire foot, which is bent radically inward from the heel. Krantz calculated the natu- ral adaptations in foot structure and stride necessary to enable a large, heavy animal with such an anatomical deformity to walk. "It was right on he says. "Such an animal would have had to walk exactly as this one did: stride, angle of foot placement, distribution of weight-it was all exactly as it had.". These footprints, in fact, were what converted Krantz from a sasquatch skeptic to a believer.
He offers no explanation for this, just the numbers. "I'll leave it to someone else to say why man's need to imagine these monsters should mysteriously dry up where it doesn't rain he says. There is considerable evidence to suggest that indeed there might be something stomping around out there in the woods. The best of it has been collected by Krantz for scrutiny in his lab. A small network of Sasquatch enthusiasts scattered through ut the northwest supplies him with a steady stream of materials for study, and although the purported hair samples they send him sometimes turn out to be chunks of black moss, he looks at everything that comes. That, Krantz says, is what a scientist is supposed to do: examine and analyze the evidence available to him. Among the dozens of plaster footprint casts he has collected over the years, Krantz has only a few that carry any significant weight as evidence.
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We need the prayers of the church at home. John Green, a retired newspaper publisher who now makes his home in Harrison Hot Springs, bc, is an amateur Sasquatch researcher who has written five books on the subject. Although he has never seen resume one, green believes that these creatures exist. The reason that conventional science doesn't agree, he says, is that "scientists have never been willing to took at this thing with open minds. They just dismiss it as a quaint bit of Indian lore much as Elkanah Walker did in his letter nearly 150 years ago. For the past 25 years, Green has been keeping a systematic record of Sasquatch sightings and footprint discoveries in the United States and Canada.
He has files on more than 2,500 reported sightings, about half of which predate his record keeping and were found in books, old newspapers and other sources. Since the 1960s, Green has been classifying new reports by state or province of origin, as well as other geographic and climatic categories. Washington, with 347 Sasquatch sightings in the past 25 years, leads persuasive his list, followed by california, with 325, British Columbia, 274, and Oregon, 199. Perhaps the most intriguing of Green's statistical categories is the one dealing with precipitation. Eighty percent of the sight- ings and footprint finds he has noted have occurred in areas receiving more than 17 inches of rainfall annually. The northwest, of course, is widely known for its rainy climate, yet large portions of the region's interior are quite desert like. In such parched areas, Green has found, the sasquatch is rarely seen.
Puget sound tribes shared a knowledge of a race of hairy giants that came down from the mountains to steal salmon from their nets and drying racks. They called these creatures tse-at-ko. The Indians of the Blue mountain region of southeastern Washington told of the frightening stiya-hama-tall, smelly, manlike monsters that lurked deep in the mountain forests. The very word Sasquatch is an anglicization of sas-kets, the term used by the salish-speaking tribes of southwestern British Columbia's lower Fraser river Valley to describe the hairy, manlike giants they believed lived nearby and communicated among themselves with shrill screams and whistles. Perhaps the earliest recorded mention of Sasquatch can be found in a letter written in April 1840 by the reverend Elkanah Walker, a protestant missionary to the Spokane Indians.
Preserved today in the archives of the holland Library on the wsu campus, walker's letter offers a skeptical but detailed interpretation of the Indians' lore:.I suppose you will bear with me if I trouble you with a little of their superstition, which has recently come. They believe in the existence of a race of giants which inhabit a certain mountain off to the west. The account that they give of these giants will in some measure correspond with the bible account of this race of beings. They say their track is about a foot and a half long. They will carry two or three beams upon their back at once. They frequently come in the night and steal salmon from their nets and eat them raw. If the people are awake they always know when they are coming very near, by their strong smell, which is most intolerable. It is not uncommon for them to come in the night and give three whistles and then the stones will begin to hit their houses. The people believe that they are still troubled with their nocturnal visits.
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Krantz's estimate closely matches those of other scientists, and it fits the gigantopithecus into the general time frame associated by many with the evolutionary split that marked the beginning of man's rise above other primates. The most common theory on Gigantopithecus, however, is that it became extinct a few thousand years after this split occurred. Here is where Krantz deviates from the accepted thesis. The species did not die, he says. It has survived, evolved and migrated. At the contemporary end of this line, he maintains, is the north American Sasquatch. Whether it is descended from Gigantopithecus, as Krantz the- orizes, or sprang whole from the imaginative human mind, sas- restaurant quatch has made its presence felt here in the northwest for as long as man himself has inhabited this part of the world. Such a creature can be found in the tribal mythology of virtually every native people from coastal British Columbia to northern California.
The problem is, i have examined all of the evidence, considered the variety of possible explanations, and finally i have reached the conclusion that there is a valid scientific basis for this. Sasquatch is not an apparition from the bottom of a whiskey bottle. It is as real as you. It is the wsu professor's studied opinion that Sasquatch is a direct descendant of the gigantopithecus, a prehistoric primate that some evolutionary theorists have held out as an answer to the missing-link puzzle. Scientific knowledge of this creature, too, is sketchy, based on two skull fragments found in China. In the summer of 1982, Krantz traveled to China for a firsthand look at dear these ancient skull fragments. After carefully examining them himself and comparing notes with others, he has determined that these skulls encased the brains of primates that walked the earth between one and four million years ago.
beyond the pages of the supermarket tabloids has made him something of a loner in academic and scientific circles, where sasquatch gener- ally enjoys about as much credibility as the theory that Mars is populated. One wsu official describes Krantz's dogged devotion to the pur- suit of Sasquatch as "an embarrassment to the university." Many scientists say his theory has been bulk on hearsay and evidence supplied to him by kooks and crazies. Some portray him as a well-intentioned dupe taken in by a patently ridiculous hoax. Krantz himself is well aware of his isolation from the mainstream on this matter. The school supports his research "only to the extent that I have not been fired he says. Krantz admits that the professional slurs do sometimes sting, but they have not driven him from the creature's trail. "Believe me, this is not a distinction I sought Krantz booms, a sharp edge of irritation cutting through his deep voice. "My life would have been much simpler if I had just dismissed Sasquatch out of hand as everyone else does.
He would wear a size 28 shoe. But, quite frankly, so is this scientist and the subject to which he has devoted nearly two decades of profes- sional research. An associate professor of physical anthropology at wsu, krantz is a specialist in the study of human evolution. For the past 19 years, he has been working to scientifically document and iden- tify a creature that he believes may be the missing link between man and ape. There is no doubt in Krantz's mind that such a being exists. He is equally certain that it inhabits our own backyard. As evidence, krantz offers these plaster footprint casts proof, he insists, that a species of giant bipedal primates dwells undetected in the mountainous internet wilds of the pacific Northwest.
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One by one, the strange-looking pieces of plaster are removed from evernote the shelves of a specimen cabinet and laid ever so gently on a nearby tabletop. There is a mysterious sort of drama to all of this, a solemn formality with which these objects are presented that seems to demand a hushed respect, as if the Shroud of Turin were being placed before us by some mystical keeper of church secrets. Krantz, the tall-bearded man making this presentation, is an anthropologist. And the curious display offered here in his cluttered second-floor research lab at Washington State University is not one of ancient theological artifacts but of modem scientific evidence. Arranged side by side on the tabletop are six chalk-white plaster castings of footprints. At first glance, they appear as if they might have been made from human tracks, but their enormous size quickly rules that a preposterous conclusion. No man could have made these tracks-at least, not with his own feet. They measure up to 18 inches from heel to toe and seven inches across at the ball of the foot. A person belonging to feet this big would stand eight feet tall and weigh in at a monstrous 750 pounds.