Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Are Washingtonians Gullible or are the Legends True?

Nearly 4 in 10 Washington Residents Believe Sasquatch Exists

Washington may be home to Microsoft, Boeing and a raft of cutting-edge companies that focus on modern technology, but it might surprise you that will all that, brainpower and intellect residing here, a recent PEMCO Insurance poll found that nearly 40% of residents said they believe that it’s possible that Sasquatch does exist.

In case you aren’t familiar with the creature, Wikipedia describes Sasquatch, also known as “Big Foot”, as “…an ape-like cryptid that purportedly inhabits forests, mainly in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Bigfoot is usually described as a large, hairy, bipedal humanoid. The term "Sasquatch" is an anglicized derivative of the word "Sésquac" which means "wild man" in a Salish Native American language.

You won’t have to convince a Spokane woman of its existence. She swears she snapped a photo of the purported creature with her cell phone while walking along the Spokane River with her family. She didn’t even notice it at the time, but realized it when she looked at the video, and posted it on YouTube. You can see it here:
Sasquatch YouTube video.

Washington residents didn’t stop there. A full 13% of those surveyed in the PEMCO Northwest Poll say they’ve either seen one or know someone who has!

Washington is home to other controversial sightings, too. For instance, many people don’t know that the first purported sighting of UFOs was not in Nevada or New Mexico, but right here in Washington state, by pilot Kenneth Arnold, who was flying near Mt. Rainier in 1947 when he reported seeing nine “flying discs” that “moved like saucers across the water.” The “flying discs” reference eventually turned into the popular term “flying saucers”.

Another Northwest legend surrounds an airplane hijacker who commandeered a Northwest Airlines jumbo jet in November 1971. On the flight manifest he was listed as “Dan Cooper” (later referred to as D.B. Cooper), and he successful demanded $200,000 in ransom money while the plane sat on the tarmac in Seattle. The plane, with only Cooper and the flight crew aboard, then took off and flew south towards Oregon. At some point in time while over the Columbia River, D.B. Cooper jumped from the plane with a parachute and his loot, never to be seen again. In 1980, a boy playing along a Columbia River sandbar found $5,800 dollars of the ransom money partially buried in the sand. Did Cooper die while parachuting from that altitude, or did he lose some of his ill-gotten gains while making his escape? We may never know, but the speculation never ceases. Many believe that somewhere – maybe right here in the Northwest -- D.B Cooper is living off the ransom money, smug in the knowledge that he got away with it.

As for Sasquatch, he has found Northwest fame in a variety of ways. In the years that Seattle had a professional basketball team, the SuperSonics, their mascot was a hairy ape-like creature named “Squatch”. Recently, a beef jerky company has been creating television commercials about people who are “Messin’ with Sasquatch”, a large, hairy creature that is as dumb as a, well, Sasquatch.