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Renč Dhahinden

(August 23rd 1930-February 14th 2002)

Dahinden5Born on August 23rd, 1930, in Lucerne, Switzerland, few could have had a more disadvantaged start in life than Rene Dhahinden. He was born an illegitimate child and at the age of one month was placed in a catholic orphanage. He would spend most of his early life in institutions.

At the age of fifteen Dhahinden went to work on a farm and this was a defining moment for him. He notes “This was the beginning of my life. On a farm in Switzerland at that time nothing was more important as the stock; people didn’t count for anything. I was five steps lower than a dog...But you know, later i wrote and thanked those people because from there i went out into the world when i was about fifteen-and compared with life there, everything i met with was just a joke.”1

In October 1953, Rene emigrated to Canada, where a farm job awaited him in Calgary. Just Rene Dhahinden
( Click to Enlarge)over a month later, he read a newspaper article about the Daily Mail expedition to search for the Yeti in the Himalayas. And was intrigued enough to mention it to his Canadian employer who stated that, ‘Hell, you don’t have to go that far; they got them things in British Columbia.’ The following spring Rene moved to B.C. finding work in a saw mill and his life would never be the same again. The sasquatch bug had well and truly bitten him.

René was tireless in his pursuit of the creature, following up with interviews of the witnesses, measuring tracks, making casts, even participating in Texas oil millionaire Tom Slick's “Pacific Northwest Expeditions.” Along with John Green, he was the first to investigate tracks at Bluff Creek and René even organized the Harrison Hot Springs B.C. Centennial celebrations. However, his home life suffered and his wife gave him an ultimatum. His family or the Sasquatch! René made the ultimate sacrifice and carried on hunting the elusive creature.

Of the four horsemen, Rene was without doubt the most outspoken and controversial, and to say he spoke his mind was an understatement. He was known to rudely interrupt speakers at annual Bigfoot conventions, challenging their stories and dismissing their research as irrelevant. He had perhaps the largest and most extensive bodies of Bigfoot research in the world, and yet he has also been criticized for being more of a researcher of the people who hunt Bigfoot than that of Bigfoot itself.

The three other horsemen were not immune from his criticisms. Peter Byrne, he felt was more after personal glory rather than the truth about Bigfoot. Yet, when he first viewed the Patterson film, he himself was shocked. Shocked at finally seeing the object of his obsession. But what hit him even harder “was the thought that after fourteen years someone else - a virtual novice at that - would collect the glory and the hard cash prizes that he had always assumed would accrue to the first finder of the sasquatch, and whom he had always determined would be himself . He was, as he puts it, “shattered.””

In 2001, after spending almost fifty years in pursuit of Bigfoot and becoming arguable the worlds top expert on the subject, Rene Dhahinden passed away. Cancer had finally gotten the better of him.