By Fran Pacchiano
Truth is stranger than fiction and hairier.
The time I saw a Sasquatch, Jim and I were driving in the Interior. I can’t remember where now. We were passing a rest area when I saw him.
There were little trees all around the edge of the rest area but because we were going fast, I could see through them. He was going up the mountain side. His head was bent as he walked but, next to the leafy trees, he had to be eight feet tall. His arms hung down and his body was long, and he was covered in dark hair.
Jim didn’t see him.
I always check the side windows when we drive because I’ve read more than one account of kids spotting one sitting up on a bank watching the vehicles go by. Most of the time I only see stumps and burned trees. If I’m lucky I’ll see an elk or bear. But I knew instantly that this was different.
The first trip I went on was in the Port Alberni area. There were seven of us and we went out to a lake in an isolated area. The trip was put on by the Bigfoot Field Research Organization, BFRO, from the States. The fellow who was at the head of the trip had all kinds of fancy gear including night vision goggles, but he didn’t show up.
"I got two pieces of firewood and knocked them together."
The first night we went out by the lake where locals had heard Sasquatches before. There are a series of identifiable sounds they communicate with. They hoot, not as delicately as a dove or an owl but more like a monkey. They are known to ‘tree knock’ where they whack branches against the trunks of trees. And they hit their palms together in a muted kind of clapping. There was something behind us in the bushes that night at the lake. I could hear it moving and the snap of the branches underfoot, but it didn’t make any of the identifiable sounds. If the leader of the expedition had shown up, we might have used the goggles to actually see the 'squatch.
The next time I went out was past Lake Cowichan, out Nitinat way. We went in the fall when the salmon were running and, of course, they would’ve been up on the rivers fishing. We didn’t see or hear anything on that trip except for bear scat. But that was the time that I saw the cast. One of my fellow Sasquatch enthusiasts had discovered a footprint and made a cast of it out of plaster. It was rough and yellowing but a clear outline of a foot that was at least two and a half feet long.
On Christmas Eve of 2006, my youngest went outside for a cigarette and she heard a 'squatch. That was back when I had done all my research and I had everybody listen to what are supposed to be recordings of Sasquatches. They all teased me and rolled their eyes, I’m not even convinced they actually listened, but my youngest did.
She came back in and said, “Mom, Mom, there’s one out here.”
So, I went out with her and gave a “Hoot!” to imitate one I had heard before, but there wasn’t any answer. I got two pieces of firewood and knocked them together. One flew out of my hand – rough chopped firewood is hard to hold – so I got a baseball bat and banged that on a piece of firewood. I’m pretty sure there was one out there because I could hear it down in the bushes.
That night, after we went to bed, my eldest and her daughter were sleeping in Jim’s bedroom, which faces the backyard. I was in my room which faces the side and Jim was sleeping on the front porch because he likes to sleep outside.
My eldest was quite nervous and made me locked the doors. Ten minutes after we went to bed, I could hear the 'squatch. It sounded like it was banging its hands together. Clap, clap, clap. It happened about five or six times, I couldn’t hear a response or tell if I was supposed to be the one to respond. 'Squatches are afraid of men but are known to communicate with women. But either way, it was pitch black outside so there was no sense in going out to look.
The next morning, I asked my eldest, “Did you hear anything last night?”
“Hear it?” she said. “It was on the porch!”
But Jim didn’t hear a darned thing.
Fran Pacchiano is the mom friend of the group. She became the artistic director of GOOEY with experience from a past job where she’d lied on her resume and googled the answers. She aspires to be a little old lady in a house at the end of the street who gives cookies to children, and who grows oleander flowers for her bees.