The Centre for Fortean Zoology was founded in the UK in 1992 - nearly 20 years ago. Over the past two decades it has expanded to become a truly global organisation. We opened our American office in 2001, our Australian office in 2009, and now - in our 19th year - we are proud to welcome CFZ Canada to the CFZ global family.

Monday 23 December 2019

Sasquatch on Lake Superior

Dee McCullay is an Ontario resident who makes documentaries, primarily about UFO's and Bigfoot.  He dabbles in other genres, both fiction and nonfiction, but this Thunder Bay area filmmaker has been collecting stories of our hairy friend for some time.
“I’m the guy in the district people keep coming to because they see the stuff I put out,”

In 2017 he released Sasquatch on Lake Superior, a short documentary about the Bigfoot sighting around the lake.  He followed that in 2018 with Sasquatch on Lake Superior II.  McCullay says he heard from many individuals with sighting reports, but only five were willing to be on camera.

The result was a 30-minute documentary on YouTube (below) that's been seen by nearly 170,000 people so far.

Thunder Bay, Ontario is not generally known as a hotbed for Sasquatch activity.  Generally, Canadians think of it as something unique to BC, especially near the coast.  Reports have come in, however from every province and territory.

Along with witness reports, McCullay integrates legend and historical fact into these two videos.  In this second particularly, at about three  minutes in is a story of the kidnapping of a young girl and subsequent visits from the hairy man.  Supposedly he killed one resident of the associated encampment, and the rest, save a merchant, fled across Lake Helen to the eastern shore.

The eastern shore of Lake Helen is now home to Red Rock Reserve,  On February 2nd 1885
the Crown surveyed 640 acres of land along the Nipigon River for the purpose of establishing this  reserve land base. Located near Nipigon, Ontario, the Band has about 1800 members at this time.

Although only a handful of sightings have come in from Ontario (compared to BC), the phenomena isn't new.  Copper mining areas have several reports of what was then called "Old Yellow Top" from as far back as 1906.

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Wednesday 13 November 2019

New Sasquatch Video

Gino Meekis, a hunter who lives near Sioux Lookout in Northern Ontario, recorded a video on his phone on Oct. 3 while he was out hunting grouse with his wife and grandson.  They were hunting about 45 kilometres away from the town.  Sioux Lookout is in northwestern Ontario,  about halfway between Thunder Bay, and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The area would certainly be prime real estate for the creature.   With a population of about 5600, it covers just over 530 square kilometers.  About a third of the area is water, and the other unpopulated surroundings are forest and the rugged Canadian Shield.  Over 5,000 years ago the land was Ojibway territory and the name comes from the native use as a vantage point where guards could see canoes approaching.  The Sioux lived in the Western Plains and legend has it that the Ojibway endured many years of surprise attacks by the Sioux when they came to trade.  Eventually, the Ojibway ambushed the Sioux  at a peak of land near Pelican Lake.  And the name "Sioux Lookout" was born.   

‘We walked down a trail to see if we can find a bird, and on our way back to the vehicle, it started. When it let out the first scream, I thought it was a moose, but my mind changed when it screamed again and again,” Meekis said in an interview with Vice Media.

Meekis said the sound resembled a loud, echoing howl.  he claims it continued for about five minutes.  During that time he captured two videos and in one, his grandson is heard howling back at the sound.
An officer for Ontario’s Ministry of Resources and Forestry was contacted by Vice Media.  She said her team couldn’t  pinpoint the source of the sound.   “Our biologists say it could be a larger mammal–for example a wolf–but because it’s a considerable distance from the recorder there is no way to know for sure,” Jolanta Kowalski said.
There are two types of wolves in Ontario.  The Eastern Wolf, also known as the Algonquin Wolf,   is listed as Threatened as of 2016.  There are an estimated 500 of these wolves, generally in remote central Ontario and western Quebec.  They weigh about 30kg and have an overall reddish coat.  Hunters are allowed to kill coyotes and other animals like Great Lakes-Boreal wolves, Eastern coyotes and hybrids that look virtually identical to Algonquin wolves.  The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry doesn’t require DNA tests to be done and doesn't know how many wolves are being killed.

A more populous wolf is the Gray Wolf.   With about 9600 in Ontario and 50-60,000 in Canada, they are not considered at risk.  Gray Wolves share some Eastern Wolf DNA as well.  They can weigh up to 890kg and could be black, white, or grey.
Wolves communicate in many ways.  They whimper, bark, howl, and yip, but it's the howling that most people hear.  Wolves have excellent hearing and can hear sounds as much as 10km away in forested areas and further in the open tundra.  They howl to bring help to other wolves, warn of their presence, and when in pain.  Wolves have been known to respond to human imitations, even from 4 km away.
‘We walked down a trail to see if we can find a bird, and on our way back to the vehicle, it started,” Meekis said in an interview. “When it let out the first scream, I thought it was a moose, but my mind changed when it screamed again and again.”
Is this what Meekis and his family heard?  He doesn't think so.  “I’ve heard many different animals in the wild but nothing like this. I grew up hunting with my grandfather for the first 12 years of my life,” Meekis said.

Meekis explained that his family retreated to their vehicle when the tone and rhythm of the  howling increased.

In Alert Bay, British Columbia  sounds that are similar were recorded in 2015.  According to CTV News (video below).  Local residents suggested that the noises came from a sasquatch.  The island where the howls were heard doesn’t house any large mammals.

Whether it was a Sasquatch or not, Meekis and his family encountered something frightening in the remote forests of Ontario.  And the video has gone viral.

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Tuesday 29 October 2019

The "Real" History of "Sasquatch"?

Toronto may be the center of the Canadian Universe, but Vancouver certainly has an ego.  Recently, a web show called Vancouver is Awesome did an "investigative" piece about the origins of the name "Sasquatch"

According to the article,  reporter Bob Kronbauer visited Harrison Hot Springs and the nearby Reserve.  There he met with Kelsey Charlie of the Sts’ailes First Nation.  For Sts'ailes, the Sasquatch is such an important aspect of cultural identity and spiritual beliefs that their logo and national flag bear his image. 

Here's their YouTube of the show

He of the large feet has been around "many thousands of years" and the legend has been passed down for generations.  These oral histories refer to him as Xwelmexw, or People of the Land.  On nearby Sa:sq’etstel (Sasquatch Mountain), there are paintings thought to be 3,000 – 7,000 years old, and already depicting Sa:sq’ets. Charlie, on another website, says:

"The word Slalikum in our language means supernatural, it is like a shape if they want to be seen they are going to be seen. On moonlit nights, the way our elders told us, that is when you are not thinking when you are not distracted, you are focused on what is in front of you, so in that time if the light hits it right, you can see that, you might be able to see that. That is what I was told. If you are at the right place at the right time you will see him roaming throughout the land.”

The reserve has a lot invested in Sasquatch.  Sasquatch Crossing Eco Loge, formerly the Charles Fenn Pretty homestead,  In the 1980’s, much of the remaining property, (506 acres which have extremely high fish and wildlife values)  was sold to the National Second Century Fund to form the Harrison River Wetland Conservancy.  A decade or so later, Ella Pretty sold the house and 87 acres to a couple from Vancouver who restored, renovated and operated  it as a B&B.  It was purchased by Sts’ailes (formerly Chehalis Indian Band)  in 2009.

Encyclopedia Britannica agrees that the name Sasquatch originates in the Salish se’sxac,
and assigns a translation of “wild men”.  British explorer David Thompson is sometimes credited with the first discovery (1811) of a set of footprints.   Thompson mapped and established trading posts in Northwestern MontanaIdahoWashington, and Western Canada. He was the first European to navigate the full length of the Columbia River. He documented the footprints near Jasper, Alberta, saying the print  "very much resembles a large Bear's Track".  He began work on a manuscript chronicling his life exploring the continent, but the project was left unfinished when he lost his eyesight in 1851.

A small news item in 1958 led to the modern version of the mythical wild man.  Journalist Andrew Genzoli of the Humboldt Times wrote about a letter from a reader about loggers in northern California whohad discovered mysteriously large footprints. Genzoli said that he’d simply thought the mysterious footprints “made a good Sunday morning story.” But it seemed to fascinate readers.  Genzoli and fellow Humboldt Times journalist Betty Allen published follow-up articles about the footprints, reporting the name loggers had given to the creature “Big Foot.” The modern  North American concept of bigfoot can be traced directly to the Humboldt Times stories.   

Most sources agree that  J.W. Burns coined the term in the 1930 as an Anglicization of the Salish word Sasq’ets, meaning “wild man” or “hairy man.”.  His story in Maclean’s magazine in 1929  was published on April Fool’s Day, leading many to dismiss it as a prank. There are older articles which reference the wildmen of the Pacific Northwest, but Burns’ is the supposedly the first to actually refer to these creatures as “Sasquatch”.

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Saturday 19 October 2019

Oh Boy-Ogopogo

Like the Loch Ness Monster, BC  has it's own freaky fish; or monster; or hoax.

Documented sightings to back at least to 1873.  The first recorded sighting (by a Caucasian) was by , B.C. pioneer and author, Mrs. Susan Allison.  Her ranch was located near what is now known as Quail's Gate Winery in West Kelowna, BC.  She described seeing a snake-like creature.  Native persons have reported something similar they call,  N’ha-a-itk, the "water demon".

One of the more recent reports came in to  The date of the sighting is June, 2017.  It took place on Lake Okanagan.
My wife, son & I were on the boat around 1:30 in the afternoon heading back to the Penticton marina (South). My son was driving as I was watching for stuff in the water. As we were heading South I told him to watch out for the Sea Doo ahead as he was jumping around and making big waves. My son asked what side should we pass him on. I told him to wait until we got closer as he may change directions. When we started to get closer 300ft away we all noticed there was no jet ski there but this object that had three perfect symmetrical waves coming off of it. My wife said slow down as she thought it was a kayaker. We slowed down and approached the area and told my wife and son to grab their phones and start taking a video. Now this is the weird part not one of us had our phones. That never happens. So anyways the object that was making the waves disappears, but the waves were huge, bigger than the wake my 25ft boat was making. They were these perfect three waves rolling away to the West, not the east. There were no boats in the area either and a super com day. So we are not sure what we saw but the size had to huge as we thought it was a jet ski jumping around. The picture is so vivid in our minds.

 Literally hundreds of reports have come in since 1873.  Most report a strange wave, or something sticking up out of an otherwise calm lake.  Some scientists believe that the creature must be a form of primitive whale  Basilosaurus cetoides was a prehistoric whale that lived about 35 million years ago. during the Cenozoic era.  Basilosaurus matches almost exactly with the log-like descriptions and as being one to two feet in diameter with a length of 10 to 20 meters (30 to 60 feet).   One glaring problem with this theory is that the first fossils were discovered along the Gulf Coast of the United States , along with a few fossils in the eastern U.S.  Fossils were later found of a second species, B. isis, in 1904 in North Africa.  They were thought to have inhabited Tethys Ocean (located between the ancient continents of Gondwana and Laurasia), before the opening of the Indian and Atlantic oceans during the Cretaceous Period. The Black, Caspian, and Aral seas are thought to be its crustal remains.  None of these are anywhere near Kelowna, BC.

Ogopogo's head has been described as being horse or goat-like. It is reported to be able to move with astounding speed or in calm weather apparently feeding on either fish or aquatic weeds. Some reported seeing fins or feet on the creature.  

Vancouver Province reporter  Ronald Kenvyn (Nov. 26, 1884 - Aug 13, 1948) composed a song which parodied a popular British song.  Kenvyn's tune included the following stanza:

His mother was an earwig;
His father was a whale;
A little bit of head and hardly any tail-
And Ogopogo was his name.
The name Ogopogo stuck and the original Native name was replaced by this anglicized version.

Possibly the most recent sighting dates to September 2019.  A woman identified only as "Susan C." reported that she was kayaking on Okanagan Lake towards James Grant Island.  No boats were around and the lake was very smooth.  She and her friend both report seeing a long wave and felt a bump under her kayak.  Their husbands reportedly saw the event from the lake shore.  Her husband described it as,  "a funny wave moving down the lake almost something large just below the surface."  The witnesses provided this photo to

Global News, a Canadian national news source, shared this report about a sighting from June 1, 2019.

Naturally, more sightings occur in the summer months since far more people are on the lake during the season.  UBC-Okanagan  sociology professor Chris Schneider does not "believe in" Ogopogo and says emotion overpowers logic.  “By the very virtue of them not understanding it, it makes them want to try to understand it even more,” Schneider said in the Global interview.

Ogopogo has its own statue downtown and even a book collection.  Real or not, this creature is a huge part of the BC landscape.

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Thursday 10 October 2019

Don't Kill Our Sasquatch

From Wikipedia
British Columbia is known to be a little...odd.  Generally, it has little to do with anything para-, super-, whatever-normal.  One thing most found odd was that killing a Sasquatch, said to be plentiful in the province, is illegal.  This law made researchers and believers quite happy.

In BC, there are some outdated laws, and some that are now, thankfully, gone.  In Vancouver you couldn't sell a stove on a Wednesday.  In Esquimalt snowball throwing within city limits was prohibited.

Other unusual laws reportedly prevail.  It's illegal to own more than 4 pet rats at a time in Port Coquitlam, for instance.  You also have to keep your cows off the street.  In Oak Bay you could be fined $100 if you parrot talks to loud.   Be careful too; you can be fined if your avian friend gets loose and flies into someone else's home.   In Victoria, street entertainers aren't allowed to give kids balloon animals.  It seems BC has a thing about animals and pets.

The reality, however, is that Sasquatch are not specifically protected from being killed.  Turns out, this is an urban legend.  There doesn’t appear to be any official statement but, the laws of British Columbia do declare that wildlife is owned by the government and can’t be hunted without a specific license. 

The myth probably originated in Nanaimo at the turn of the 20th century.  The Best of Sasquatch Bigfoot by John Green  quotes a letter where the writer is asking the Government Agent at the time (Marshall Bray) for permission to shoot the "wild man of Horne Lake".  The Agent  informed Kincaid that" it is unlawful to shoot Mowglies within the province of British Columbia at any time."  Marshall Bray also served as gold commissioner, Assistant Commissioner of Lands and Works for the district, police magistrate, and registrar of births, deaths and marriages for the Courts. He was also a director of the Nanaimo Telephone Company. The  BC Archives have collected materials on Marshall Bray if you'd like more information on him.

The neighbors to the south, however, do have a law specifically about killing Sasquatch.  On April 1, 1969 the Board of Commissioners of Skamania County, Washington, adopted an ordinance for the protection of sasquatch/bigfoot.  The ordinance has been partially repealed and amended and the revised ordinance went into effect on April 2, 1984.  It also declared the animal "an endangered species" and created a "Sasquatch Refuge".  

Back in Canada, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled on the case of Standing v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources).  Filmmaker Todd Standing, 
 claimed that the B.C. government was infringing on his Charter rights in ignoring his claims that he had seen the creature, and added that the ministry specifically was failing citizens by failing to protect the sasquatch.    He also sought a government statement that “Sasquatch is a hominoid or primate (Giganto Horridus Hominoid and/or Gigantopithecus) type of species, also known as a bigfoot, and is an indigenous mammal living within British Columbia” .  If he won, this would be a groundbreaker for serious researchers.

Justice Kenneth Ball delivered his ruling after seventeen days of consideration.  He sided with the government in a ruling reminiscent of a case against big tobacco. Justice Ball said courts should not be a body that decides “alleged scientific facts which are not universally accepted as true”... “The facts pleaded by the plaintiff disclose no infringement of any legal rights. Mr. Standing lost his case.  He had refused to disclose specific locations where Sasquatch had been sighted, claiming it would endanger the species.  It is suspected that this was an attempt to get the court to legitimize the study of the creature, basically claiming they exist.

Sadly, until and unless we can prove that Bigfoot is in some part human, it is still legal to kill one in many places.  According to an official with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for example, Bigfoot isn't listed as an endangered species, so you're free to kill as many as you want.  Agency representative David Sinclair, 

"A nonprotected nongame animal may be hunted on private property with landowner consent by any means, at any time and there is no bag limit or possession limit."

If you do kill one, which no serious researcher recommends, be absolutely certain it does not contain any human DNA.  That's a murder charge.

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