Last month, Sasquatch The Legend explored the topic of Where Sasquatch Sleeps. This month, it’s what exactly this mysterious creature sustains itself on that is the focus.
Dinner plate, homemade pie (author photos)
Roots? Berries? Fish? Elk? Even…humans? Every living thing must eat in order to sustain itself, but what exactly does the being we call Bigfoot or Sasquatch consume? Sasquatch The Legend turned to a few of our favorite Bigfoot/Sasquatch reference books for answers.
Kathy Moscowitz Strain’s Giants, Cannibals & Monsters: Bigfoot in Native Culture (2008) is an excellent source of historic tales originally sourced from the oral traditions of native peoples of the the Americas.
Within Strain’s book, some of the oldest references to the giant beings we now know as Bigfoot or Sasquatch depict them as cannibalistic monsters capable of carrying away innocent men, women and children to consume at their leisure.
“There was a great Giant who lived in the north. His name was Oo-wel’lin, and he was as big as a pine tree. When he saw the country full of people he said they looked good to eat, and came and carried them off and ate them. He could catch ten men at a time and hold them between his fingers, and put more in a net on his back, and carry them off,” begins one story from the Miwok Indian people of California, quoted by Strain (p. 29).
Stories of cannibal Bigfoot-like beings are not limited to California, but are echoed in the oral histories of native peoples throughout the Western United States and Canada (see Tom Sewid's artwork below, depicting the Dzoonakwa stealing children.)
Bigfoot-like creature capturing children (artwork and photo: Tom Sewid)
In another story, “Che-ha-lum-che comes out only at night and wanders around seeking Mewuk (people) to eat. He prefers women; of these he catches and carries off all he can find. Sometimes he makes a crying noise, hoo-oo’-oo, like a baby, to lure them. If they come he seizes them and tosses them into his big pack basket and carries them to his cave, where he eats them. In the basket is a long spike which pierces their bodies when they are thrown in, so they can not escape. In his caves are the remains of his victims—horns of deer and bones of people and different kinds of animals” (Strain, p. 35).
(Thankfully, these accounts are from the distant past, and Sasquatch The Legend is not aware of documented, modern accounts that suggest Bigfoot/Sasquatch is still eating human beings, at least not at the present time. However, as author David Paulides notes in his many books, there are countless human beings who have disappeared in the forests across North America under mysterious circumstances, so caution is always advised when in areas where Sasquatch have been seen.)
Early Bigfoot researcher and author, Ivan T. Sanderson, in Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life (1960) includes many eyewitness stories about Sasquatch, some which include the beings eating. One story about a berry-eating Sasquatch near Chiliwack, British Columbia, Canada stands out:
Wild huckleberries, Alaska (author photo)
“Green Hicks suddenly stopped us and drew our attention to a large, light brown creature standing about 8 feet high, standing on its hind legs (standing upright) pulling at the berry bushes with one hand or paw toward him and putting berries in his mouth with the other hand, or paw. I stood still wondering, and McRae and Green Hicks were arguing. Hicks said, ‘It is a wild man’ and McRae said, ‘It is a bear.’ As far as I am concerned the strange creature looked more like a human being” (Sanderson, p. 77).
John Napier’s Bigfoot: The Yeti & Sasquatch in Myth and Reality (1972) recounts the tale of the kidnapping of Albert Ostman by a Sasquatch family. Ostman speaks of “grasses with sweet roots, spruce and hemlock tips and tubers” which the mother and son Sasquatch collect and bring back to the cave to eat (Napier, p. 74). Napier notes that “Grass and spruce tips, however rich they might be in protein, hardly seem an adequate diet” for a large Sasquatch being.
Meadow grasses and trees, Breckenridge, Colorado (author photo)
Napier also mentions the Chapman story, a tale from Canada in which a family living on a remote homestead was visited one day by an “8 foot high male creature which emerged from the woods,” left “gigantic footsteps”, and seemingly turned over (and presumably ate) a heavy barrel of salted fish (Napier, p. 76).
Bigfoot researcher John Green, in his book, Sasquatch The Apes Among Us (1978) very helpfully sorts and categorizes observed Sasquatch behaviors such as eating. Green notes that Sasquatch have been seen by humans while eating all of the following items: “roots, leaves, berries, grass stems, water weeds, small rodents, fish, raw bacon & eggs, garbage” and also have been seen carrying away, presumably to eat, such items as “deer, sheep, cattle, corn, chickens and rabbits” (Green, p. 447).
Homegrown corn (author photo)
A story from a 10-year-old boy in West Linn, Oregon, in Green’s book, tells of “a big hairy animal standing upright in the Detroit Reservoir, in Oregon.” Witnesses watched it “reach down and catch a fish, which it ate after biting off the head. When it noticed them it ran off and left 16-inch footprints in the mud” (Green, p. 434).
In J. Robert Alley’s Raincoast Sasquatch (2003), a book that is a treasure trove of eyewitness Sasquatch encounters, the author describes multiple accounts of Sasquatch beings being seen searching for food such as picking berries, digging for beach sand and piling up rocks, presumably in a search for crabs and clams, and carrying deer.
Sandy beach near Forks, Washington (author photo)
In one account from the 1960s in Alaska, a boater told of seeing “what looked like a manlike, dark, hairy creature, digging in the sand like he was digging for clams using a stick….digging with its right hand. The stick it had been digging with would have been about the size of a small baseball bat or halibut club. While digging, it would pick something up with its left hand and, it seemed like, would put something to its mouth” (Alley, pp. 84-85).
In another exciting encounter from Alley, a teenage boy describes walking with his friends on a road near Ketchikan, Alaska when “Suddenly we saw a deer come crashing out of the woods on the bluff above us, and right behind it came a big black thing. Both the deer and the creature passed within thirty feet of the nearest boy and it appeared to me to be about ten feet tall. The deer crossed the road at top speed but the thing saw us, seemed to stop for a second, and then took off right after the deer again. It was real big and ran on two legs, covered all over with black hair” (Alley, p. 91).
Deer, Olympic National Park, Washington (author photo)
Brushes with Bigfoot: Sasquatch Behaviors Reported in Close Encounters, Native and Non-native Perspectives (2021) a more recent book also by J. Robert Alley, contains a couple stories about eyewitnesses seeing Sasquatch in a search for food. One witness watched a Sasquatch on the Unuk River in Alaska “lifting rocks up with his hand and he scraped the crabs out with the other hand” (p. 105).
Another witness, one of a very few to actually see a Sasquatch eating, said that while he and a friend were out night fishing, he watched the big figure of a Sasquatch on the riverbank near them, consuming fish guts. “It moved on two legs but would bend over, backside to us, to scoop up the fish guts that we left. It was just shoveling them in at an enormous rate, ‘Mmow,’ like that…you could hear him sucking up the stuff, ‘Mowww,’ without even chewing—just huge slurping sounds when he’d lift it all up to his mouth. I couldn’t believe how much of the stuff he was just puttin’ away!” (pp. 126-127).
Jeff Meldrum, a professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University, in his work, Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, (2006) notes that, “the menu of food items reported by eyewitnesses ranges from berries to elk” (p. 168) and that “the Sasquatch diet seems to span the wide spectrum of a generalized omnivore” (Meldrum, p. 188).
Elk on a hill, California (photo: Rachel Hebert)
Linda Coil Suchy’s Who’s Watching You? An exploration of the Bigfoot Phenomenon in the Pacific Northwest (2009) includes an interesting story about Suchy’s own grandmother, who lived in the Bellingham, Washington area in the 1960s and ‘70s and kept a huge vegetable and fruit garden.
Vegetable garden (author photo)
The grandmother saw that vegetables and fruits were being taken from her garden in amounts that seemed excessive for the usual visitors of deer and rabbits, and she saw extraordinarily large footprints in her garden, so one week she sat up late over several nights, waiting to see who exactly was visiting. She saw “a dark brown hairy beast, at least eight feet tall” and watched as it ate her “raspberries, tomatoes, squash and green beans” (Suchy, pp. 17-18).
Homegrown tomatoes and green beans (author photo)
Concluding that it was “just an unfortunate creature who’s hungry, that’s all” the grandmother decided to leave food for the visitor on her picnic table. She even began baking entire squash or pumpkin cakes for her visitor, leaving them on the table for him. In return, he would leave her tokens of appreciation, such as “an apple, a pine cone, a flower or a pretty rock.” (Suchy, pp. 18-20). Apparently this giving and taking relationship continued for several years. (Suchy even includes her grandmother’s recipe for Squash or Pumpkin Cake in her book, a particularly nice touch.)
In Nick Redfern’s The Bigfoot Book: The Encyclopedia of Sasquatch, Yeti and Cryptic Primates (2016), a letter from a woman in Florida complains that a Bigfoot-like being has been “taking apples that my daughter brought down from up north, off my back porch” (Redfern, p. 192). Redfern also relates a funny story from a female Chehalis tribal member in British Columbia, Canada, who said that “when her husband was returning from the hunt with a score or more of ducks he had shot, a Sasquatch stepped out of the bush and took the ducks from him—except one, which the giant stuffed into the shirt of the frightened Indian” (Redfern, pp. 67-68).
Honeycrisp apples (author photo)
Steve Isdahl’s recent book, The Day Sasquatch Became Real For Me (2020) while not always easy to read because its contents include hundreds of viewer letters transcribed just as written by the individual authors, is still a fantastic resource to draw upon due to the wealth of information that can be gleaned from its eyewitness accounts.
In Isdah’s book are several descriptions of Sasquatch beings being observed eating or seen taking animals away, presumably to eat them later. In one story, a hunter hears a pig “let out this blood-curdling scream” and then hears something stepping very close to him, so he raises his flashlight to see what it is. He sees something taking the pig, something ”8-foot-tall, light brown/gray…looked like a less hairy, pissed-off Chewbacca” (Isdahl, p. 50). A different hog-hunter, in Texas, describes seeing a Sasquatch capture a wild hog and “tear the head from its body” (Isdahl, p. 168).
Wild hogs with alligator, Florida (photo: Tom Corser, www.tomcorser.com)
In another story sent to Isdahl, this one from Florida, a boater spots a “6 foot creature, muscular, with reddish hair” standing up, holding a small alligator in its right hand and eating it (Isdahl, p. 190). In a tale from a trout fisherman, an 18-year-old young man describes having pebbles tossed at him while he was fishing, seeing something a “big creature…with reddish-brown hair” standing up and looking at him, and feeling that it “wasn’t really showing aggression but just letting me know, hey, you’re in my spot” (Isdahl, p. 234).
Trout fishing stream, Montana (author photo)
In still another story, a fisherman has huge, “cinder-block sized” rocks chucked at him from a massive being hidden in the trees. The next day, he returns to the site and finds “just-eaten” white tail deer (Isdahl, pp. 281-282). And in yet another story a group of elk hunters in Montana come across a “big bull elk, dead in the creek” with “its neck broken” but “still warm” and immediately after, encounter a huge Sasquatch, “standing, watching” (Isdahl, pp. 207-208).
As this array of accounts from various places and times suggests, Sasquatch seems to be an omnivore capable of and interested in eating many different types of foods, ranging from meats to fish and shellfish to plant matter such as roots, vegetables and fruits. (Surely we should also include homemade squash cakes in this list.)
This article could continue for many additional pages, detailing more foods that Sasquatch is said to have eaten, including everything from acorn meal to packaged luncheon meat to entire sticks of butter. It seems that the Sasquatch can and does eat many different foods, depending on what is available to it in its environment.
Perhaps in terms of its diet and those foods that appeal to it, Sasquatch is much more like us than we might have realized.
by Christina Hebert