The story of Albert Ostman, who was kidnapped by Bigfoot in 1924

Albert Ostman (c. 1893 – 1975) was a Canadian prospector who reported being kidnapped by a Sasquatch and held captive for six days. He claimed that the event took place near Toba Inlet, British Columbia, in 1924.

He didn’t tell his story for over 24 years after it happened for fear of being thought insane. As more Sasquatch stories appeared in the press, Albert decided to tell his story to a local newspaper, The Province, in 1957.

On August 20, 1957, Police Magistrate AM Naismith wrote an affidavit which states “…I have discovered that Mr. Ostman was a man of sixty-four years of age; in full possession of his mental faculties. Pleasantly and with a good sense of humor.

“I questioned Mr. Ostman minutely in reference to the story told by Mr. Green. I interrogated him and used every means to try to find a flaw in his personality or his story, but I couldn’t find either…”

Albert Ostman also signed a Solemn Declaration indicating that his account of the Sasquatch story was true under oath and by virtue of the Canadian Evidence Act.

Below is a first-person story of how it all happened (from:  Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us  by John Green).

Albert Ostman

I always followed the logging and construction work. This time I had worked for over a year on a construction job and thought a good vacation was in order. BC is famous for lost gold mines.

One is supposed to be at the entrance to Toba Cove – why not seek out this mine and take a vacation at the same time? I took the Union Steamship boat to Lund, BC. From there I hired an old Indian to take me to the entrance to Toba Inlet.

This old Indian was a very talkative gentleman. He told me stories about gold brought by a white man from this lost mine. This white man was a heavy drinker – he spent his money freely in bars. But he had no problem getting more money. He would be gone for a few days, then come back with a bag of gold. But once he went to his mine and never came back. Some people said that a Sasquatch killed him.

At that time I had never heard of Sasquatch. So I asked what kind of animal he called 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 two feet long. An old Indian saw one over eight feet tall.”

I told the Indian I didn’t believe his old tales about mountain giants. It might have been a few thousand years ago, but not today.

The Indian said: “There may not be many, but they still exist.”

We arrived at the head of the cove around 4 pm. Camped at the mouth of a creek… The Indian had dinner with me and I told him to look for me in about three weeks. I would be camping in the same spot when I got back…

The next morning I took my rifle with me, but I left my gear at the camp. I decided to look for some deer trail that would take me to the mountains. As I walked up the cove, I saw a mountain pass that I wanted to cross to see what was on the other side.

I spent most of the morning looking for a trail but found none, except for a hogback running towards the beach. So I hiked a trail from there, got back to my camp around 3pm that afternoon, and packed my pack to be ready in the morning. My equipment consisted of a Winchester 30-30 rifle, I had a special homemade prospecting pickaxe, ax on one end, pickaxe on the other. I had a leather case for this pick that I attached to my belt, also my scabbard knife.

The shopkeeper in Lund was cooperative. He gave me some tins for my sugar, salt and matches to keep them dry. My food consisted mostly of canned goods, except for a side of bacon, a bag of beans, four pounds of prunes and six packs of macaroni, cheese, three pounds of pancake flour and six packs of Rye King biscuits, three snuff rolls, a liter of butter and two half kilo cans of milk. I had two boxes of cartridges for my rifle.

The shopkeeper gave me a biscuit tin. I put some stuff in it and put it in a cache so I’d have it when I got back here waiting for a boat to take me out. I rolled and tied my sleeping bag on top of my backpack, along with my sheet, a small frying pan, and a gallon-capable aluminum pot. Since my canned food was used, I got a lot of empty cans to cook with.

The next morning I had an early breakfast, packed my backpack and started climbing this hogback. My backpack must have weighed at least eighty pounds, plus the rifle. After an hour I had to rest. I continued resting and climbing all that morning. About 2 pm I came to a flat place below a rocky cliff. There were a lot of willows in one place. I made a wooden shovel and started digging for water. About a foot down I had water seepage so I decided to camp here for the night and look for the best way to continue from here.

I must have climbed to nearly a thousand feet. From the islands and Straits there was a very beautiful view: tugboats with log barriers and fishing boats going in all directions. A charming spot. I spent the next day doing a round of prospecting. But no sign of minerals. I found a deer trail leading to this passage I had seen on my way up the cove. The next morning I left early as it was cold. It was a steep climb with my heavy backpack. After three hours of climbing, I was tired and stopped to rest. On the other side of a ravine from where I was resting there was a patch of yellow below some small trees. I moved there and started digging for water.

I found a small spring and made a small trough out of cedar bark and got some water, had lunch and rested here until evening… I crossed over late at night.

Now I was heading downhill and doing well but I was hungry and tired so I made camp in the first clump of trees I came across… I was trying to gauge the terrain – what direction would I take from here. To the west would lead to lowlands and some other inlet so I decided to go in a northeasterly direction… I had a good downhill and a slight downhill run all day. I must have gone ten miles when I came to a small spring and a large black hemlock.

This was a lovely camp, I spent two days here just resting and prospecting. The first night here, I shot a small deer…

(Two days later) … I found an exceptionally good camp. It was two good sized cypress trees growing together and close to a rock wall with a nice spring just below those trees. I intended to make this my permanent camp. I cut many bushes for my bed among these trees. I erected a pole from this stone wall to hang my pack on and set up some flat stones for my cooking fireplace. I had a very elegant setup… And that’s when things started to happen.

I’m a heavy sleeper, it doesn’t bother me much after I sleep, especially in a good bed like I have now.

The next morning I realized that things had been disturbed overnight. But nothing missing I could see. I roasted my partridge on a spit for breakfast…

That night I filled my rifle magazine. I still had a full box of 20 rounds and six rounds in my coat pocket. That night, I tucked my rifle under the edge of my sleeping bag. I thought a porcupine had visited me the night before and pigs like leather, so I put my shoes in the bottom of my sleeping bag.

The next morning my backpack had been emptied. Someone had turned the bag upside down. It was still hanging from the pole by the straps when I hung it up. Then I noticed that a half kilo package of prunes was missing. My pancake flour was also missing but my bag of salt was untouched. Porkies are always looking for salt so I decided it must be something other than porkis. I looked for tracks, but found none. I didn’t think it was a bear, they always tear and mess things up. I kept it close to the camp these days, in case that visitor came back.

I climbed onto a large boulder from which I had a good view of the camp, but nothing showed. I was hoping it was a pork so I would get a good pork stew. These visits already lasted three nights…

Tonight it was overcast and looked like it might rain. I took special note of how everything was arranged. I closed my backpack, I didn’t undress, I just took off my shoes, put them at the bottom of the sleeping bag. I stuck my prospecting pick into one of the cypress trees so I could reach it from my bed. I also put the rifle beside me inside my sleeping bag. I intended to stay up all night to find out who my visitor was, but I must have fallen asleep.

I was woken up by something picking me up. I was half asleep and at first I didn’t remember where I was. As I started to collect myself, I remembered that I was on this prospecting trip and in my sleeping bag.

My first thought was – it must be a snowslide, but there was no snow around my camp. Then it felt like I was thrown from horseback, but I could feel whoever it was was walking.

I tried to reason what kind of animal it could be. I tried to grab my sheathed knife and claw my way out, but I was almost sitting up and the knife was under me. I couldn’t hold it, but the rifle was in front of me, I had a good grip on it and had no intention of letting go. Sometimes I could feel my bag touching me, and I could feel the cans in the bag touching my back.

After what felt like an hour, I felt like we were heading up a steep hill. I could feel myself rising with each step. The one carrying me was breathing with difficulty and at times gave a slight cough. Now, I knew this must be one of the giant mountain Sasquatch the Indian told me about.

I was in a very uncomfortable position – unable to move. I was sitting upright, and one of the boots at the bottom of the bag was crossed with the clove sole on my foot. It hurt terribly, but I couldn’t move.

It was very hot in there. It was lucky for me that this guy’s hand wasn’t big enough to close the entire bag when he picked me up – there was a small opening at the top, otherwise I would have choked to death.

Now he was going downhill. I could feel myself touching the ground at times and at one point he dragged me behind him and I could feel he was beneath me. Then he seemed to be on flat ground and trotted for a long time. By this time I had cramps in my legs, the pain was terrible. I was hoping he reached his destination soon. I couldn’t take this kind of transport anymore.

Now he was climbing the hill again. It didn’t hurt me that much. I tried to estimate distance and directions. From what I could guess, we were about three hours away. I had no idea when he started because I was asleep when he picked me up.

Finally he stopped and let me down. Then he dropped my backpack, I could hear the cans rattling. Then I heard a conversation – some kind of conversation I didn’t understand. The ground was sloping, so when he let go of my sleeping bag, I rolled down the slope. I took my head off and got some air. I tried to straighten my legs and crawl out, but my legs were numb.

It was still dark, I couldn’t see what my captors looked like. I tried to massage my legs to life and put my shoes on. I could hear now that there were at least four of them, they were standing around me and talking continuously. I had never heard of the Sasquatch before the Indian told me about them. But I knew I was fine between them.

But how to get away from them, that was another question? I could see their outline now as it started to lighten, although the sky was overcast, and it looked like it was raining, in fact there was a light drizzle.

Now I had circulation in my legs, but my left foot was very sore on top where it was resting on my high-heeled boots. I took my boots off the sleeping bag and tried to get up. I realized I was staggering, but I had a good grip on my rifle.

I asked: “What do you want with me?” Just a few more conversations.

It was getting lighter now, and I could see them clearly. I could distinguish shapes of four people. Two large and two small. They were all covered in fur and without clothes.

Now I could make out mountains all around me. I looked at my watch. It was 4:25 am. It was getting lighter now and I could see people clearly.

They look like a family, an old man, an old woman and two young ones, a boy and a girl. The boy and girl seem to be afraid of me. The old lady didn’t look too pleased with what the old man had dragged home. But the old man was waving his arms and telling everyone what he had in mind. They all left me then.

I had my compass and prospecting loupe on strings around my neck. The compass in the left shirt pocket and the cup in the right pocket. I tried to reason about our location and where I was. I could see now that I was in a small valley or basin of about eight or ten acres, surrounded by high mountains, on the southeast side there was a V-shaped opening about eight feet wide at the bottom and about six meters high at the highest point. point–must be where I entered. But how am I going to get out? The old man was now sitting near this opening.

I moved my belongings near the west wall. There were two small cypress trees there, and that will serve as shelter for now. Until I figure out what these people want with me and how to get out of here. I emptied my backpack to see what was left in the food line. All my canned meats and vegetables were intact and I had a can of coffee. Also three small cans of milk – two packets of Rye King hard biscuits and my butter sealer half full of butter. But my prunes and pasta were missing. Also my box full of shells for my rifle.

I had my scabbard knife but my prospecting pick was missing and my tin of matches. I just had my safe full and it only contained about a dozen matches. This didn’t worry me – I can always light a fire with my spyglass when the sun is shining, if I have dry wood. I wanted hot coffee, but there was no firewood, nothing that looked like wood around here either.

I got a good look out over the valley from where I was standing – but the boy and girl were always watching me from behind some juniper bush. I decided there must be some water around here. The floor sloped towards the opening in the wall. There must be water at the top end of this valley, there is green grass and moss along the bottom.

All my utensils were left behind. I opened my coffee can and emptied the coffee into a tea towel and tied it with the can’s metal strip. I took my rifle and can and went to look for water. At the very top of a cliff there was a beautiful spring that disappeared underground. I got a drink and a full can of water. When I got back, the boy was looking through my belongings, but he didn’t touch anything.

On the way back I noticed where these people were sleeping. In the wall on the east side of this valley was a ledge in the side of the mountain, with rock jutting out, looking something like a large recess in a large tree about 10 feet deep and 30 feet wide. The floor was covered with a lot of dry moss, and they had a sort of blankets woven from narrow strips of cedar bark, covered with dry moss. They were very practical and warm – no need to wash.

On the first day, not much happened. I had to eat my food cold. The young man was approaching me and seemed curious about me. My only snuffbox was empty, so I handed it to him. When he saw it coming, he jumped up fast like a cat and grabbed it. He went to his sister and showed her. They figured out how to open and close it – they played with it a long time – so he trotted over to the old man and showed him. They had a long talk.

The next morning I decided to leave this place – if I had to shoot my way out. I couldn’t stay much longer, I only had enough food to last me until I got back to Toba Cove. I didn’t know the direction, but I would go down the hill and get close to civilization somewhere. I rolled up the sleeping bag, put it inside my backpack – I packed the few cans I had – threw the bag on my back, injected the ammo into the barrel of the rifle and started for the opening in the wall. The old man stood up, raised his hands as if he was going to push me back.

I pointed to the opening. I wanted out. But he just stood there pushing towards me – and said something that sounded like “Soka, soka”. I backed up about sixty feet. I didn’t want to be too close, I thought, if I had to shoot my way out. A 30-30 might not have much effect on this guy, it might drive him crazy. I only had six rounds, so I decided to wait. There must be a better way than killing him to get out of here. I went back to my camp to find another way out.

I could make friends with the young man or the girl, they could help me. If I could talk to them. Then I thought of a fellow who saved himself from a mad bull by blinding him with snuff in his eyes. But how am I going to get close enough to this guy to put snuff in his eyes? So I decided that the next time I give the young man my snuffbox, I should leave a few grains of snuff in it. He can give the old man a taste of it.

But the question is, which direction will I go in, if I leave? I must have been about 40 kilometers northeast of Toba Inlet when I was kidnapped. This fellow must have traveled at least 25 miles in the three hours he carried me. If he went west, we would be close to salt water – same thing if he went south – so he must have gone northeast. If I keep going south and over two mountains, I should hit salt water somewhere between Lund and Vancouver.

The next day I didn’t see the old woman until about 4 pm. She came home with her arms full of grass and branches and all kinds of firs and hemlocks, as well as some kinds of nuts that grow in the ground. I’ve seen a lot of them on Vancouver Island. The young man climbed the mountain to the east every day, he could climb better than a mountain goat.

He picked some kind of grass with long sweet roots. He gave me some one day – they tasted really sweet. I gave him another snuffbox with about a teaspoon of snuff in it. He tasted it, then went to the old man – he licked it with his tongue. They had a long talk. I made a shell out of a milk can. I made lots of shells – you can also use these for vases – you cut two slits near the top of any can – then cut a branch from any small tree – cut the back of the branch into the trunk of the tree – then taper the part you cut from the stem.

Then drill a hole in the conical part, slide the conical part into the slot you made in the can and you have a good grip on your can. I threw one to the young man, who was playing near my camp, he picked it up and looked at it, then went to the old man and showed it to him. They had a long talk. Then he came to me, pointed to the conch and then to his sister.

I could see he wanted one for her too. I had other peas and carrots, so I made one for his sister. He was standing just eight feet away from me. After making the shell, I dived into the water and drank it, he was very satisfied, he almost smiled at me. So I chewed snuff, smacked my lips, said it’s good.

The young man pointed at the old man, said something that sounded like “Ook”. I got the impression that the old man liked snuff and the young man wanted a box for the old man. I shook my head. I motioned with my hands for the old man to come to me. I think the young man did not understand what I meant. He went to his sister and gave her the shell I made for her. They didn’t approach me again that day. I had already been here for six days, but I was sure I was making progress. If I could make the old man come to me, make him eat a box full of snuff that would surely kill him, and so kill himself, I wouldn’t be guilty of murder.

The old woman was a meek old woman. The young man was already friendly enough. The girl wouldn’t hurt anyone. Her chest was flat like a boy’s – undeveloped like a young woman’s. I’m sure if she could have gotten the old man out of the way, she could have easily brought this girl with me to civilization. But what good would it do her? I would have to keep her in a cage for public viewing. I don’t think we have the right to impose our way of life on other people, and I don’t think they would like that. (From the noise and noise in a modern city they would not like it more than I do.)

The youngster could have been between the ages of 11 and 18 and around six feet tall and weighing around 300 pounds. His chest would be 50-55 inches, his waist around 36-38 inches. He had wide jaws, narrow forehead, which sloped upwards at the back about ten or five inches above the forehead. The hair on their heads was about six inches long. The hair on the rest of the body was short and thick in places. Women’s hair on the forehead had an upward curve as some women have – they call it a fringe, among women’s hairstyles. Nowadays, the old lady could be between 40 and 70 years old. She was over two meters tall. She would be around 500-600 pounds.

She had very wide hips and a goose walk. She wasn’t built for beauty or speed. Some of these adorable bras and bras would have been a huge improvement in your appearance and figure. The man’s canines were longer than the rest of his teeth, but not long enough to be called fangs. The old man must have been eight feet tall.

Big chest and big hump in the back – powerful shoulders, his biceps on his upper arms were huge and tapered to his elbows. Her forearms were longer than the average person’s, but well proportioned. His hands were wide, the palm long and wide and hollow like a shell. Her fingers were short in proportion to the rest of her hand. Her nails were like chisels. The only place they didn’t have hair was inside their hands and soles of their feet and the tops of their noses and eyelids. I never saw his ears, they were covered in hair falling over them.

If the old man was going to wear a collar, it would have to be at least 30 inches. I have no idea what size shoes they would need. I was watching the young man’s foot one day when he was sitting down. The soles of his feet felt padded like a dog’s paws, and the big toe was longer than the others and very strong. In mountaineering, all he needed was support for his big toe. They were very agile. To sit down, they would bend their knees and come straight down. To climb, they came straight without the help of hands or arms. I don’t think this valley was their permanent home. I think they move from place to place as food is available in different locations. They may eat meat, but I’ve never seen them eat meat or cook it.

I think this was probably a stopping place and the sweet rooted plants on the mountain side might be in season this time of year. They seem to be more interested in them. The roots have a very sweet and satisfying taste. They always seem to do everything for a reason, they don’t waste time on anything they don’t need. When not looking for food, the old man and woman rested, but the boy and girl were always climbing on something or some other exercise. A favorite position was to hold the feet with the hands and balance on the haunches, then jump forward. The idea seems to be to see how far he could go without his feet or hands touching the ground. Sometimes he would do 20 feet.

But what do they want with me? They must understand that I cannot stay here indefinitely. Soon I will have to take a break for freedom. Not that I was mistreated in any way. One consolation was that the old man was getting closer every day and was very interested in my snuff. Watching me when I take a pinch of snuff. He seems to think it’s pointless just putting it inside my lips. One morning, after I had my breakfast, both the old man and the boy came and sat down only ten feet from me. This morning I made coffee. I had saved all the dry twigs I could find and had some dry moss and used all the labels on the cans to make a fire.

I got my coffee pot boiling and it was strong coffee too, and the aroma of boiling coffee was what attracted them. I was sitting eating hard biscuits with lots of butter and drinking coffee. And it sure tasted good. I was smacking my lips pretending it was better than it really was.

I put the can that was half full. I intended to heat it up later. I took a box full of snuff and gave it a good chew. Before I had time to close the box, the old man reached out to take it. I was afraid he wasted it, and there were only two boxes left. So I held the box with the intention that he would take a pinch like I had just done. Instead, he picked up the box and emptied it into his mouth. He swallowed in one gulp. Then he licked the box inside with his tongue.

After a few minutes, his eyes started to roll in his head, he was looking up. I could see he was sick. Then he took my can of coffee, which was pretty cold by now, and emptied it into his mouth, grounds and all. It didn’t help. He tucked his head between his legs and rolled away from me a few times. Then he started squealing like a trapped pig. I took my rifle. I said to myself, “This is it. If he comes after me, I’ll shoot him right between the eyes. But he left for the spring, he wanted water. I packed my sleeping bag in my backpack with the few cans I had left. The young man ran to his mother. Then she started screaming. I started from the opening in the wall – and I just got there. The old woman was right behind me. I fired a shot at the stone above her head.

I don’t think she’d ever seen a rifle fired before. She turned and ran into the wall. I injected another round into the barrel of my rifle and started down the hill, looking back every now and then to see if they were coming. I was in a canyon, good trip and made quick time. Must have done three miles in some world record time. I made a turn in the canyon and I had the sun on my left, which meant I was heading south, and the canyon turned west.

I decided to climb the summit ahead of me. I knew there must be two mountain ridges between me and the salt water, and climbing that ridge would give me a good view of this pass to see if the Sasquatch was coming for me. I had a light pack and was making good time going up this hill. I stopped shortly after to look where I came from, but no one followed. When I reached the summit, I could see Mt. Baker then knew he was headed in the right direction.

I was hungry and tired. I opened my backpack to see what I had to eat. I decided to rest here for a while. I had a good view of the mountainside and if the old man was coming I had the advantage because I was above him. To catch me he would have to climb a steep hill. And that might not be so easy after stopping a few 30-30 bullets. I had decided that this was my last chance, and this would be a fight to the end… I rested here for two hours. It was 3pm when I started down the mountainside. It was a good path, not too steep and not too bushy.

When I got close to the bottom, I shot a large blue partridge. She was sitting in a windfall, looking right at me, only a hundred feet away. I shot her in the neck immediately.

I went down the creek at the bottom of this gorge. I felt that I was safe now. I made a fire between two large stones, roasted the partridge. The next morning when I woke up I was feeling awful. My feet were sore from the dirty socks. My legs ached, my stomach ached from that partridge I ate the night before. I wasn’t sure I could climb that mountain. I finally made it to the top, but it took me six hours to get there. It was cloudy, visibility about a kilometer.

I knew I had to go down hill. After about two hours I went down to the heavy wood and sat down to rest. I could hear an engine running hard at times so it would stop. I listened to this for a while and decided the sound was gas ass. Someone was logging in the neighborhood.

I told them I was a gold digger and I was lost… I didn’t like telling them I was kidnapped by a Sasquatch, as if I told them, they would probably say, he’s crazy too.

The next day I left this camp at Salmon Arm Branch on Sechelt Inlet. From there I took the Union Boat back to Vancouver. That was my last prospecting trip and my only experience with what are known as Sasquatches. I know that in 1924 there were four Sasquatches alive, it may only be two now. The old man and the old woman might be dead by now.

From: Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us by John Green, (1978, BC Canada: Hancock House)

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