By John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice
`Twas the night of Christmas
And through the West Koot
Not a creature was sighted
Except maybe Bigfoot
At least, that’s how the famous poem could go after a group of travellers spotted what they say might have been a Bigfoot — also known as a Sasquatch — near Silverton on Christmas night.
Four friends were heading to their home on Highway 6 just south of Silverton on the evening of Dec. 25, 2020, when the people in the front of the vehicle saw what looked like a “huge, man-like figure” on the side of the road.
“I didn’t see the creature myself, I saw the prints,” says Erica Spink-D’Souza, who was in the back seat. She’s become the informal spokesperson for her companions. “But the person on the front seat cried out ‘Oh my gosh look at that!”’
“They said it looked like a huge grizzly, or it was a large man, standing up.”
But before Spink-D’Souza could catch a glimpse, the figure turned, went on all fours, and headed deep into the bush.
“We tried to turn around and look again, but it was gone,” she says.
After arriving home and putting her kids to bed, they returned to the scene to look for signs of the mysterious creature.
“We saw all these different tracks, and then we saw these tracks that were really alarming,” she recalls. “They were bipedal tracks in a straight line into the woods…
“I got a little spooked, it was alarming to see such big prints. But there were no bear tracks.”
Spink-D’Souza and the others examined and photographed the tracks, and then she filed a report with a Bigfoot Field Research Organization.
The head of the Bigfoot Field Research Group, Matt Moneymaker (who also co-hosted a long-running Animal Planet TV show called Finding Bigfoot), described the tracks as “un-hoax-able.”
“The surrounding pristine snow proves the tracks were not fabricated by humans,” he says. “The stride length is beyond the ability of a human trying to leap through knee-deep snow. The drag marks and depth of the tracks prove they are not from a leaping rabbit. The linear pattern shows that it was not a bear.”
Moneymaker also says it’s unlikely someone was trying to hoax random travellers on an empty stretch of road on Christmas night.
Spink-D’Souza, who just recently moved to the area, says she’s never had something like this happen to her before — though she’s heard weird animal sounds howling in the bush around her new home.
She says locals she’s spoken to have generally accepted her claim.
“Well, it’s the Kootenays,” she says, laughing. “I tell them what happened, and they start telling me their Bigfoot stories.”
Sasquatches are thought by some to be present in the West Kootenay. Paranormal researchers believe it could be a lost sub-species of hominid, like the extinct Gigantopithecus, a large ape-like creature whose remains have been found in southeast Asia. However, no convincing physical evidence has ever been found to support those claims.
For Spink-D’Souza, the incident has left her with a larger sense of the magic of the world.
“It leaves me with a sense of awe and wonderment on all the beautiful mysteries of this world,” she says, noting Indigenous cultures recognize the existence of the sasquatch.
If you see a sasquatch, you’re invited to contact the Bigfoot Field Research Organization.
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