It was not your normal get together on a Tuesday night at a home near Algonquin Avenue in North Bay.
A pair of investigators sat down with three witnesses as they tell their stories about strange noises and unthinkable sightings of a creature many refer to as “Big Foot” or “Sasquatch.”
Christine Byrnes and Peter Smith are part of the Ontario Wildlife Field Research organization, which investigates unusual animal sightings such as albino moose, cougar and Sasquatch sightings in Ontario.
Many have heard stories of the large, hairy, bipedal creatures in the rocky mountains, but Smith and Byrnes claim there are sightings in northern Ontario too, and quite a few literally in North Bay’s backyard.
“Within that 30 kilometre radius (of North Bay), there are 15 actual sightings, nine sets of footprints, plus numerous vocalizations and wood knocks,” stated Smith about the sightings.
“We used to travel 100 kilometres or more, to remote areas. We now have enough local reports to keep us busy.”
One witness named Jim, says he has had two sightings within the past two years and at least one of them was literally within the city limits.
But not all the stories Christine and Peter hear are easily explained or even comfortable for some to even talk about.
Byrnes recalls a report of a sighting from a nurse she knew who was riding horseback on trails north of CFB North Bay.
“She called me about the sighting she had one evening and she just panicked on the phone,” said Byrnes.
“She was riding her horse on a path and the horse refused to go forward and she looked up and there was a Sasquatch standing right there on the path. She wanted me to tell her, ‘I didn't see what I saw,’ she doesn’t want to talk about it and wants to block it from her mind.”
That’s the common reaction to seeing something unthinkable as it is estimated less than 10 percent of sightings are ever reported many times due to the fear of public ridicule.
Another report came from a man whose wife and son believe they saw a Sasquatch cross Highway 11 North near Astorville. Neither the wife nor son will talk about it publicly to the investigators.
So far the organization has more than 230 reports in the province of Ontario going back decades.
Byrnes and Smith will take the reports, and many times will go out and investigate the scene and are especially interested if a witness can provide a photo or a photo of footprints.
“With close to 700 members across Ontario, we can investigate any report fairly quickly,” said Smith.
“We have members in the northern remote communities, that keep us informed of activity.”
Smith says anyone with an unusual sighting who wants to share it can go to the Ontario Wildlife Field Research public forum HERE