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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

In Search of Giants by Thomas Steenburg

I got this book in the post yesterday and gave myself a day off to read it.

It was quite an interesting read and there was only one thing I found annoying.

Steenburg prints the Q & As he has gotten from interviews after 
he has given us a brief sighting account. In the Q & A section he then writes what the observers saw in their own words. For a book on rarely covered sightings this is annoying. I really do not want to read about the observation three times in a short space.

Better to give the date and time and allow the observers statements to give the detail.  If there are odd aspects such as, in one observation, a witness reporting large stand-up ears then you can write "I questioned him on this..." and publish the relevant lines.

Better still, if you want to present the word-for-word statements by observers put them in appendices at the back of the book so those interested can go through them later.

And there were other aspects that I found distracting froim the gist of the book.  Observer Joseph Verhovany apparently had/has an accent that made him talk in broken English. So some things he said were not understood -"discreprancies" popped up such as finding out part-way through an account that Verhovany had dog(s) with him.  In the Q &A Steenburg writes that he cannot understand something Verhovany says. This made the whole observation being recorded pointless.

I am guessing that Steenburg recorded these Q & As on a dictaphone?  The procedure should be, as police will tell you, record on tape  and on paper so that this does not happen. A standard basic report form might also be helpful. In the past, when I've come across witness to events who do not speak English as a first language, I get them to give their accounts in their mother-tongue so it can be translated into English later.

But I'm now guilty of distracting myself from the purpose of Steenburgs book. We hear time-and-again, about Bigfoot/Sasquatch in the United States.  We hear repeatedly, though to a much lesser degree about the Yeti.  However, South America and Canada get very little coverage.

Steenburg is trying to balance out the record and in his work, as he notes, sticks to the Canadian (his) side of the border and this is good. It means that an investigator will get to know the country and reports from it well and that means getting into a good position to know the hot-spots, etc., etc..

Firstly, one thing I have never seen in documentary programmes, apart from the Patterson-Gimlin event, is the mention of breasted Sasquatch.  Albert  Ostman, if you believe his account, mentions female Sasquatch but that is really it in general. Steenburg shows that female Sasquatch ARE reported and that Canada has some interesting reports.  Reports that I think in certain cases are just as important, if not more so, than certain oft-cited US events.

So, yes, world, Canada does have Sasquatch sightings.

My negative points are raised from years of investigation and the need to get facts.  Some will argue that this is what Steenburg is doing.  Fair enough but I think the same can be done by the appendices idea. Did the book put me off? Nope. I'm now going looking for Steenburgs other books!

Well worth reading.

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