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The Ruby Creek Incident.

Taken from OnThe Track of the Sasquatch By John Green

ruby creekThe story, in the Vancouver Province, October 21, 1941, was located inconspicuously on page 12, under the heading:


A child's scream, the uproar of dogs and a frightened woman's hurried glance led to tales among Ruby Creek Indians today of a huge hairy monster preying on their encampment. It turned out to be a bear-but a huge One .

This is the house near ruby creek where the sasquatch 
came in 1941. Tracks led down from the mountains and 
across the field and circled behind the building.
( Click to enlarge )Rosie, small daughter of Mrs. George Chadwick. an Indian, was playing in her garden, half a mile east of Ruby Creek when she suddenly looked up to see the enormous beast approaching. She screamed for help. Her mother rushed to her, got one glimpse of the monster, swept the child in her arms and dashed into the bush, where she remained for three hours before venturing home again .

On her return she found the racks of salted salmon scattered in every direction. But nothing else about the premises was touched. In describing the animal, Mrs. Chadwick declared it was 10 feet tall, hairy, with a human face.

Little credence was given to the story until the beast returned. This time it left tracks revealing it to be one of the largest bears ever known in the vicinity. Its hind footmarks measured eight inches across and eighteen inches long. The span between the strides was five feet. The Indians have requested the assistance of a game warden to destroy the monster.

That isn't a sasquatch story, of course. No mention of a sasquatch anywhere in it. In the first paragraph it started off in a promising way, talking of "a huge hairy monster," but in the next line "it turned out to be a bear." Still, a little thought makes it look like a doubtful sort of bear story. "Ten feet tall . . . .with a human face" cannot successfully be applied to any bear. Then comes the part about tracks "revealing it to be one of the largest bears ever known in the vicinity." It had hind feet "eight inches across and eighteen inches long. The span between the strides was five feet." No bear on record could account for that set of statistics. Presumably the editors responsible for the story were not students of nature.

In some ways that story is quite typical of newspaper accounts dealing the this subject. It uses words packed with excitement, playing up to the reader's taste for the exotic and mysterious yarn, but on the other hand it makes a point of emphasizing the common - place explanation. It was only a bear after all. Until the Harrison "Sasquatch hunt" hit the headlines i had never heard of this incident, although Ruby Creek is only 12 miles up the Fraser River from Agassiz.

But with all the publicity going on, the subject of sasquatches tended to come up in many conversations, and it did so when my wife and l were visiting jack Kirkman, game guide at Harrison Hot Springs, and his Indian wife, Martha. Martha Kirkman told us the story of the sasquatch at Ruby Creek as it had been told to her by her cousin Jeannie Chapman (not Chadwick) the woman who saw the creature.

Mrs. Kirkman also said that when she was young there were places in the woods where the children were not allowed to go because the sasquatches were there. She did not say that she herself believed such creatures existed, but she did impress on us very strongly that Mrs. Chapman was serious in telling her story, and indeed had suffered a shock that changed her whole life.

On the same weekend Bill Rae, a printer who worked for me. was told the same story by Esse Tyfting, the head custodian of Agassiz High School, who had lived at Ruby Creek at that time. He had not seen the creature itself but was one of many local people who had studied the footprints that it left behind, and had found that the tracks confirmed Mrs. Chapman's account of the creature's movements.

Thoroughly intrigued, i went to see Mr. Tyfting, who repeated his story and drew an outline of a footprint for me on the floor of a room he was building. His story, and the size of the print he drew, were very impressive. He was a man whom I already knew, and whom I knew to have an excellent reputation in the community. When he said that he had actually seen those huge footprints i had no grounds to doubt him. He told me about other people who had been to look at the prints, and i was able to talk to several of them.

Their recollections varied considerably, although all but one agreed that the prints could not have been made by any man or known animal. The lone exception insisted it must have been a bear, but he agreed with the others that it had walked on its hind legs and had stepped over a four-foot fence. I also went to see Mr and Mrs Chapman, talking to them on two occasions, and i visited their former home which had stood abandoned ever since the sasquatch came there.

Mrs. Chapman told me that one of her children had come to the house shouting about a "big cow coming out of the woods." She looked out the window and saw a man- like creature about eight feet tall and covered all over with fairly dark hair. It was walking across a field towards the house. She did not see its face from close up, but she was sure that it had a flat nose, not a snout like a bear. Bears were very common around Ruby Creek at that time, and she was thoroughly familiar with their appearance.

Although terrified, Mrs. Chapman was still able to think clearly. She took the children and led them ouruby creek footprintt the front door, keeping the house between her and the creature. They crossed a stretch of field and got down to the river, where a high cutback shielded them from view. She did not know if the sasquatch saw them, but it did not try to follow. The tracks later showed that the creature had circled the house and entered a shed where there was a barrel of salt salmon. He sampled this; there was some disagreement as to whether he had lifted and dumped it, but in any event there was torn fish scattered around. Then he went down to the river, perhaps to wash the salt out of his mouth, and returned to the mountainside.

I did not consider her story reliable as to detail, particularly as it was not entirely consistent, and I have since read accounts in which she is quoted as having said things which do not agree with some of the things she said to me.

I have noticed since that time that many people tend to reject an entire story if they can find fault with something in it-even a detail that has nothing whatever to do with the subject at hand. Several years as a reporter covering court cases have given me a more realistic view of the average person's ability to remember. No two witnesses, however impartial, ever have the same recollection of details of the same event , and it is rare for a witness who is testifying at any length to give precisely the same information at the trial that he gave at the preliminary hearing. On the other hand most people do not lie very convincingly under questioning ( some politicians excepted ) and I was quite sure that Mrs. Chapman believed what she told me.

Later I talked to a son of the late Joe Dunn , a deputy sheriff from Whatcom County in Washington , who had investigated the Ruby Creek incident at the time. Apparently he was already interested in the sasquatch as a result of experiences of his own. At his home I saw a report written by him that generally confirmed what i had learned myself, and was also able to copy a tracing of a footprint. By that time i had also talked to William Roe and Albert Ostman, and had heard two or three more reports of sightings that involved something more like an upright ape than the giant hairy Indians of the sasquatch stories.

Interviewing people had been part of my regular work for more than a decade, and aside from the basic improbability of the stories, i could detect no indication that any of these people were not telling the truth, but I took the additional step of having some of them give sworn declarations that their stories were true. At the time I was under the impression that sworn stories would be taken more seriously by the scientists whom I hoped would take over the investigation, but that proved to be a mistake on my part.

In the case of Albert Ostman, as well as four of the witnesses from Ruby Creek, I even arranged for the local magistrate, a former trial lawyer of some reputation, to cross-examine them before taking their declarations.

The following is a brief portion of my questioning of Esse Tyfting, recorded by the magistrate's secretary and later sworn to:

Q/ Tell us what you saw.

A/ Well it all started with Mrs. Chapman running down the track. . . . crying "The sasquatch is after me " 

Q/ What did you do?

A/ I took the hand car. . . . up to her place.

Q/ And what did you find there?

A/ The fish barrel had been turned over and there were fish all around the side of the house and we found prints going toward the river, leading from the potato patch to the edge of the C. P. R . fence and across the tracks and slough towards the mountain.

Q/ How big were the tracks?

A/ About 16 inches long, four inches at the heel and eight inches across the ball of the foot.

Q/ Were there five toes?

A/ Yes, but no claw marks. . . . the stride between the prints was four feet between the heel and toe, all through the potato patch.

Q/ Did you measure the footprints?

A/ Yes.

Q/ You, yourself?

A/ Yes. I measured them and after a man came from across the line (Deputy Sheriff Dunn ) we measured them again.

Q/ And what did Mrs. Chapman say about the sasquatch?

A/ She said he it's a big hairy man.

Q/ How did she describe the incident?

A/ She said he looked through the window and she grabbed the children and ran down the tracks.

Q/ And what condition was she in?

A/ Scared to death.

Q/ Was there anything about the C. P. R . fence that was particularly striking?

A/ Well, we could see one footprint on this side (indicating) and another on this side (indicating) .

Q/ And how high was the fence?

A/ Between four and five feet.

Q/ The creature was able to step right over the fence?

A/ Yes, not Jump, just step.

Q/ How deep were the footprints? A-In the potato patch they were about two inches deep.

Q/ And on that basis could you estimate how much this creature would weigh to make such a footprint?

A/ I would say about 1,000 pounds-8oo to 1,000 pounds to make a print that deep.

Q/ Are you familiar with bear tracks?

A/ Yes . I've seen enough of them at Ruby Creek.

Q/ Could these have been bear tracks?

A/ No they certainly couldn't. Bear tracks wouldn't ever have the shape of a human heel. These looked like human feet.

Q/ Any sign of the creature having walked on all fours ?

A/ No.


John Green - On the Track of the Sasquatch p6-8. Hancock House Publishers (1980).