Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mysterious Ape Island

The picture is by artist Peter Oberdorf

For centuries a terrifying beast has been haunting the Pacific Northwest, more specifically Sasquatch sightings on Vancouver Island. This island has over 12 thousand miles of fast moving rivers, rugged beaches and sits about 15 miles southwest of Vancouver, Canada. Many hikers and hunters are attracted to this beautiful island but there appears to be something else lurking there as well. This rain soaked island has many stories told by the Native Americans that a large hairy beast is known to inhabit the area. Many witnesses have seen an ape-like creature and said that it walks on two feet, stands about 9 feet tall and has an estimated weight of 800 pounds. This hairy man-like creature has a long stride and likes to stay along the coastline and rivers edge. The native legends stretch back many centuries giving the beast several different names and say it is a beast to be respected and feared. The stories also are told that if you harm one of this creatures that within 7 years you will die. More than a century ago, as westerners explored the island, and came face to face with the big hairy beast. The earliest sightings were around 1900 where a trader was exploring the area known as "the forbidden plateau" which is located in the central part of the island. The two guides with him refused to go further in the area because it was the place where the so called "monkey man" has been seen. The trader was not afraid and headed out on his own. The next day by a waterfall, he saw the beast for himself. It was washing food in the water. He moved closer, raised his rifle and before he could pull the trigger, the beast stood up and yelled out a bone chilling scream, and then ran off into the forest.

There have been so many stories told of eyewitnesses having encounters with the “Ape Monster”. One man tells the story of a cold night while sleeping in his motor home, it started shaking violently. He jumped to his feet and ran outside where he was met with a very foul odor. In the darkness he could hear the heavy footsteps walking nearby, and then walk away. He thought afterwards how crazy he was to go outside with no means of defense.

The great northwest has been known for a long time for its Sasquatch sightings. With its vast wilderness it makes for an excellent place for a creature to hide. Vancouver Island's population is less than 800,000, which is small in comparison to the size of the island. Because of the many rivers and salmon swimming around in them, this makes for an excellent food source for the mighty beast.

Of course scientists say there is no way these creatures could find its way to Vancouver Island. They feel that there is no proof of its existence nor is there any fossils left by the creature. If it is an ape, there is no proof of how it got to the island because the only way to reach the island is by water. The salt water canals separating the island from the mainland are about a half mile wide. There are videos of bears and primal apes swimming across rivers, so why couldn’t a Sasquatch?

Some stories are told that of people who visited the island as well as some locals, gone out in the woods and just disappeared. Another man tells of his encounter with the beast. He was driving on the highway near the river and noticed a large hairy creature lying on a log with its hand in the water fishing for salmon. He sat there watching this creature crouching on a log for a short time, surprised by what he was watching. Another witness tells his story of seeing the creature while on his fishing boat with his crew, traveling on the east isolated part of the island. They notice that there was no wildlife in the area where they was the days before and thought it to be a bit strange. All of a sudden, they smelt an awful smell and then a creature appeared on the shoreline coming out of the brush. It looked nine or ten feet tall, probably weighed about 400 pounds with red piercing eyes and was crouching down hiding from the spotlight. They watched this massive creature for almost an hour from the safety of the boat feasting on claims until after three long strides; it disappeared in the heavy woods.

About 12 thousand black bears live on Vancouver Island. Some wildlife scientists are convinced that the sightings are probably misidentification between the bear and the beast. The problem with that is Sasquatch does not have pointed ears on top, and a defined snout. It has a long stride and walks like a human. This is not typical for the black bear. Many are convinced that what people are seeing is a great ape so the experts continue to constantly investigate all the reports. They keep track of the areas where the sightings have been reported, which is in the more isolated areas of the island. Forensic pediatrics looks at the castings that were made by witnesses of the hairy beast. They come to the conclusion that they are human-like but not made by a human. They also conclude that the tracks were made by an unknown mammal or species.

The Monster Quest team has gone to the island to investigate the stories of the Bigfoot sightings. Monster Quest focuses their investigation on Meares Island, a place that has more reported sightings than any other place. The team follows the man back to the area where he saw a large hairy creature lying on a log with its hand in the water fishing for salmon. They check out the log and surrounding area to see if there was any evidence that a Sasquatch was there. It was now nightfall, and as they were walking upstream, they caught a heat signature on the camera, lurking in the distance. As they got to the place where the figure was seen, they noticed that on a tree near that area was a heat signature, almost like something big touched it. They also noticed the shell fish all over the area and feel that this is one of the creature’s favorite foods and could be why it stays around the island. The next day the team puts cameras in various places along with some fish to entice the beast. The also set up two base camps with equipment and wait until nightfall to do some investigating. While on the boat they use call blasting to try to lure the beast out or perhaps get an answer. They use night vision cameras and other equipment but the dense fog makes the investigation difficult. They did get a response to the call blasting and will have to analyze it later. Next they move off the boat and back to base camp to check the cameras and bait and found them untouched. They check out the river bank where a creature was seen lying on a log fishing, the next day to see if they can find any tracks from the creature. They find a very sandy spot but find no physical evidence of the creature. Next they check out the trap cameras and find a dark shape in one of the photos. They didn’t find any tangible evidence but they know that with all the eyewitness’ sightings, many more will continue to be in search of the beast on Vancouver Island.