Dec 1, 2015 | Marmot, Winter 2015

Alert Bay Home To Sasquatch?

Is there a sasquatch living in the thick coastal wilderness of Alert Bay on Cormorant Island? Comox biologist John Bindernagel thinks so.

Word got out about some unexplained howlings in the remote community 170 kilometres northeast of Courtenay after teenager Mackenzie Mountain told CTV News he recorded the sounds on his cellphone. Another resident, Rod Alfred, told the reporter he had heard the noise three times this year “but it’s been coming here for years. News of vocalizations from Cormorant Island may be new, but stories of sasquatch sightings and people who have heard something in the Grassy Point area are not.

John Bindernagel has been travelling to Alert Bay for the last 10 years studying the oral history of sasquatch sightings in the region. The latest one he heard about on Facebook, and was asked to come up and investigate. “This is almost in our backyard,” he said. Two people made cellphone voice recordings at different times of the noises, and Bindernagel has been able to compare them to recordings of various birds from Cornell University’s online library to try and identify the sounds.

“This has given us something to work with,” he said. He is getting help from amateur investigators in Washington State, who have software programs that compare tones and frequencies in recordings to those of humans and bears. Bindernagel is hoping to get some recordings of dogs in Alert Bay for comparison as well.

He is openly critical of the scientific community, which hasn’t leapt to help him identify the sounds, or even rule others out. “My scientific colleagues have expressed zero interest in this as a form of scientific evolution. “Let’s not negate these alternatives, let’s test them as possibilities,” he said.

Bindernagel presented his findings on the Cormorant Island howls at a conference in Ocean Shores, Washington State, in late November where he hoped to learn more about how to review his recordings as well as sharing his latest evidence.

In October he was called to the Morrell Sanctuary in south Nanaimo to cast a footprint that was thought to be from a sasquatch. “It had all the characteristics,” he said: five toes, a prominent heel and about 14 inches long.

But even cryptozoologists can be skeptical. “There should have been more,” he said. “Someone put up a ‘possible sasquatch track’ sign on the trailhead. If someone brings something to my attention, it’s my professional responsibility to come and check it out.”

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