John Green began his research into Bigfoot in the 1950’s- around his native Harrison Hot Springs, B.C.- one of the hotbeds of Bigfoot sightings in the last hundred years.
As the owner of a small-town paper in British Columbia it was back in 1957 that I began looking into local reports of encounters with giant, hair-covered, bipedal creatures, long known in Canada as “Sasquatch.” A year later “Bigfoot” broke into the news in the United States and I saw for myself, beside a creek in a California forest, enormous humanlike footprints sunk so deep into a solid sandbar that no one who saw them could come up with a way that humans could have made them. Ever since then I have been on a lifelong quest to establish what is behind the sighting reports and how those footprints come to be.
In the early years it was an adventure, with considerable time spent on active searches in the woods and along ocean beaches as well as interviewing witnesses over a wide area of western North America. Eventually, however, I accepted the fact that the odds against any individual personally bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion are impossibly great, and I devoted more and more effort to exchanging and distributing information among the other investigators I had come to know, and to attempting to persuade qualified zoologists and anthropologists to take up the gauntlet. I also wrote books on my findings, and they sold well enough to let me make researching and writing a full-time job.
Back in 1970, having been financed by a film company to organize a project that went beyond sticking pins in maps and coloring tabs on file cards, I composed a standardized questionnaire from which it was hoped that a computer could find useful patterns in the accumulating information. The team effort went well, several hundred questionnaires were completed, the data was punched on cards, and a helpful professor arranged for them to be fed into a huge “main frame” at a major university, where I was told that minions in some distant catacomb had to seek out and mount big reels of tape each time any processing was scheduled. Compared to the hundreds of man-hours that it took to get to that stage it took only minutes to establish that there wasn’t enough data to produce anything of value.
Twenty years later I tried again, after having filled more than a dozen looseleaf binders, mostly fat ones, with pages of information from all over North America. By this time, I was told I could have a computer on my desk which could do things that huge main frame could not have attempted. Unfortunately I still had to devise a clumsy new questionnaire myself, without the expertise that wildlife biologists and computer programmers could have provided, and despite the best efforts of my daughter, Marian Ennis, who understands such things, my aging brain never really mastered the complications of constantly adjusting the entry screens to deal with information I hadn’t allowed for in the first place.
If I had had any idea of the amount of time and effort that would be involved in researching many of the individual reports for which information was available but not handily contained in the file cards and binders, I probably would never have started. As it was I persevered, and after more than 10 years and about 4,000 entries, a lot of them new reports that I learned of during those years, I reached the end of the last binder. Trouble was that about that time reports new and old, genuine and bogus, had started to pour in via the Internet at a rate I couldn’t hope to keep up with, so I stopped.
I did use the computer successfully to find answers, some of them surprising, to a number of long-debated questions, and reported on them in brief articles that will be displayed on this website, but I did not have enough know-how, in statistics or in zoology, to progress very far. As to sharing with people who may be better qualified to use the information, I was always happy to do that, but there was a major problem. I could, and did, develop information for a few other researchers, but the software I use, Advanced Revelation, while able to handle quite complex questions, runs in long-outdated MS-DOS. Almost no one nowadays can do anything with it on their own.
Years have gone by while the database grows old, unused in my computer, and at least one other now surpasses it in the quantity of reports, but I do not know of any that are searchable to anything approaching the same degree. I have therefore gone to the expense of having the whole thing converted, in ways far beyond my understanding, to a form where everyone can use it, and perhaps expand it with information of their own.
I hope someone out there will make the effort and the cost worthwhile.