Darcie is a graduate student who spends her free time writing and learning everything she can about cryptozoology, aliens, and the unusual.
Albert Ostman was a Canadian prospector who lived from around 1893 to 1975. So why is he noteworthy enough to write an article about? Well, Albert Ostman also happened to have claimed he was abducted by a Sasquatch and held captive for six days.
One evening in 1924 near Toba Inlet, British Columbia, Albert Ostman was sleeping. He hadn't meant to be asleep. The previous three nights, there had been signs that someone—or something—was visiting during his sleep, and Ostman had resolved to stay awake to catch the visitor in the act.
Suddenly, a Sasquatch picked him up and carried him off, with the now-awake Ostman still in his sleeping bag. He was carried for roughly three hours, after which he was put down and greeted by a family of four Sasquatch, one of which, an adult male, was eight feet tall. Ostman said this of his initial encouter:
"They look like a family, old man, old lady and two young ones, a boy and a girl. The boy and the girl seem to be scared of me. The old lady did not seem too pleased about what the old man dragged home. But the old man was waving his arms and telling them all what he had in mind. They all left me then."
Ostman had a gun on him, which he kept close at hand, but because the Sasquatch made no move to harm him, he chose not to use it. While in captivity, Ostman was fed "sweet tasting grass," which was washed, stacked, and given to him by the adult female Sasquatch.
Ostman made many detailed observations which he later recounted, including his efforts to befriend the young male Sasquatch in order to get the larger male interested in the snuff he had on his person. He planned to make the adult male eat an entire box of snuff, with the intention to kill him in order to make his escape.
In his account, Ostman also made note of a briefly entertained idea to take the young female with him whenever he finally got away, though he ultimately decided against it. In Ostman's words,
"But what good would that have been? I would have to keep her in a cage for public display. I don't think we have any right to force our way of life on other people, and I don't think they would like it. (The noise and racket in a modern city they would not like any more than I do.)"
After six days, possibly because he suspected he was about to be used for breeding purposes—though this is merely speculation—Ostman finally made his escape. He was somewhat successfully able to carry out his plan with the snuff, which ended up making the adult male Sasquatch groggy enough that he was able to run away.
After escaping, Ostman eventually came upon a logger. Naturally, he didn't mention the Sasquatch family or being held captive. Instead,
"I told them I was a prospector and was lost ... I did not like to tell them I had been kidnapped by a Sasquatch, as if I had told them, they would probably have said, he is crazy too."
Going Public and Inciting Doubt
Ostman kept this story to himself for decades, and initially he seemed to never intend to tell it to anyone. However, in 1957, after seeing more and more Sasquatch stories appear in the press, Ostman decided to come forward and tell his story to a local newspaper. Ostman and his story have been under scrutiny ever since.
Of course, most people didn't believe the story then, and still don't now. For example, skeptic Joe Nickell said in 2007 that Ostman's story was "more likely the result of imagination than of recollection." John Napier, a primatologist, claimed that the story was simply not possible because an entire family of Sasquatch would not have the resources to survive in that particular area, as the food sources would be too limited.
Many others have criticized Ostman because of the amount of time it took him to come forward, though to me, that seems like the most reasonable aspect of his story.
Not everyone immediately dismissed Albert Ostman's story. A writer named John Green, who interviewed Ostman while he was still alive, says that he believes the story holds up. His reasoning is that because the story was told in 1957, it has an air of truthfulness that it would not have if someone told the same story today. In Green's words, given in a 2003 statement,
"Albert was a very believable fellow, who handled tough cross-examination with cheerful composure, swore to his story without hesitation, and stuck to it until he died, but I wouldn’t believe him if he were telling it today.
Today, however, he would have easy sources for his descriptions of those four individuals and what they did. When his story came to light, in 1957, the opposite was the case.
Sasquatch were not commonly thought of as completely hair-covered creatures living much the same life as a bear, instead their public image was that of a tribe of giant Indians, hairy only on their heads, who lived in villages, held annual get-togethers on a special mountain, and used signal fires.
His descriptions, so contrary to the media image of his time, have stood up wonderfully well over the years. More than that, he was questioned for hours by Daris Swindler and the veterinarian from the Seattle primate center, and they told me that the physical details and the actions he said he had witnessed all rang true."
In addition to Green's testimony, Ostman himself claimed he had never even heard of the Sasquatch until that trip in 1924. In his account, he claimed that a guide he had hired told him about the legend, saying,
"This old Indian was a very talkative old gentleman. He told me stories about gold brought out by a white man from this lost mine. This white man was a very heavy drinker — spent his money freely in saloons. But he had no trouble in getting more money. He would be away a few days, then come back with a bag of gold. But one time he went to his mine and never came back. Some people said a Sasquatch had killed him.
At that time I had never heard of Sasquatch. So I asked what kind of an animal he called a Sasquatch. The Indian said, 'They have hair all over their bodies, but they are not animals. They are people. Big people living in the mountains. My uncle saw the tracks of one that were two feet long. One old Indian saw one over eight feet tall.'
I told the Indian I didn't believe in their old fables about mountain giants. It might have been some thousands of years ago, but not nowadays."
Albert Ostman stuck to his story until his death, being interrogated multiple times and never changing the details. He was even cross-examined by the police and agreed to to sign a Solemn Declaration, which said that his account was true under oath and virtue of the Canadian Evidence Act. Ostman never recanted his story, despite the ridicule he faced the rest of his life.
Today, Ostman's story is often cited as one of the best cases for the existence of Sasquatch.
If you're interested in reading Ostman's account for yourself, his story as told in John Green's 1978 book Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us can be found here.