On the symbolism of the “wild man”
The Sasquatch/yeti/yowie is essentially a universal human archetype that embodies the wilder aspects of our being as a race and our link to the wilderness. I think we identify with that symbol on some level because we used to be like that. We used to live in a similar manner and perhaps even appear in a similar manner. The 21st century, with all of its technology and mechanization and digitization and concrete, has distanced us from nature and the wild, but I think we still revere it and feel this impulse to reconnect with it, and that causes us to want to believe.
On Indigenous perspectives on the Sasquatch
The First Nations living on the northern and central B.C. coast have Sasquatch-type beings in their traditional stories — creatures with names like the Dzonoqua, the Bukwus, the Thla’thla or the Sninik. Their role and significance varies from community to community. In some places they’re harbingers of ill will and malevolence, and you want to avoid at all costs seeing one or looking into its eyes because it could lead to paralysis or death. Sometimes it’s interpreted as a kind of blessing; if you see one it’s meant to tell you that you are at a point in your life where you need to make a change. In other places they feel it is a kind of steward of nature and the forest, the keeper of equilibrium in the natural world. I don’t think these ideas are fully appreciated in their richness by outsiders. Researchers or believers will often point to them as a way to prove the existence of Sasquatch, but they don’t appreciate that these figures are part of a very complex storytelling system with a deeper purpose and an often supernatural significance attached to them.
On how his own beliefs evolved through the writing of the book
I would say that I went into this adventure more hopeful and open-minded toward the existence of Sasquatches. It was only when I got into the research on human perception and cognition that I really began to see how this phenomenon could be a product of our faulty thinking and perception. We make so many mistakes, whether we realize it or not, in our assumptions, in the way we interpret the information fed to us by our senses. But I would speak to these very credible witnesses — hunters and fishermen and people who really know the land — and find it hard to see how they could have misperceived what they saw. Then, when I’m in the city and I’m distant from the subject, it can sometimes feel unlikely.
On the “Noble Beyond”
The title stems from a moment where a resident of the Great Bear Rainforest kind of scolded me for my either/or, black-and-white approach to trying to decide whether there is a Sasquatch or isn’t. He said “you’re missing the point.” The Noble Beyond is this place of magic and mystery and serendipity and metaphor where a million possibilities exist, including the Sasquatch — and you’re never going to know if it exists or not. That was the moment where my journey made a hard turn and I started to go in search of the meaning of the Sasquatch. The Noble Beyond represents for me the in-between zone, the grey area between poles, between positions, between “exists and doesn’t exist,” where I think the most interesting discussions and arguments about the Sasquatch lie.