For Brian Bland, the truth is out there â€“ about Sasquatches.
The Maple Ridge resident is certain the creatures exist, and he and other believers are gathering on Wednesday, Sept. 17 for what he describes as an â€œinformal conferenceâ€ at the Quality Inn at 21735 Lougheed Highway.
The conference runs from 6 to 10 p.m. and is open to anyone wanting to learn about Sasquatches.
â€œWeâ€™re just sharing stories and conversation about the Sasquatch,â€ Bland said.
Guest speakers include authors Thom Cantrall (who penned Sasquatch â€“ The Search for a New Man and Sasquatch, The Living Legend) and Arla Collette Williams (who wrote My Life With the Hairy People), and Dr. John Bindernage.
Sasquatch â€œexperiencersâ€ Michael Beers along with Randy Brisson will also be in attendance.
While he has yet to get a good look at one of the creatures, Bland said there are very good indications that they are present during his ventures into the woods.
â€œI just found some baby tracks a couple of days ago and weâ€™ve heard some good vocals lately, whoops and calls and things like that,â€ Bland said. â€œAnd their writing is getting way more intricate.â€
Bland said Brisson has seen a couple dozen Sasquatches.
â€œTheyâ€™re really hard to see, obviously,â€ Bland said. â€œIf they want you to see them, they will [make themselves visible], but itâ€™s their environment and they control things there.â€
The 55-year-old Bland has been fascinated with Sasquatches since he was young, but it wasnâ€™t until he met Brisson, an area resident and Sasquatch researcher, that he trekked into the woods to experience the creatures first-hand.
There are believers world-wide and a large concentration of them live in the Pacific Northwest, which is home to the International Society for Primal People Sasquatch, or ISPP, a volunteer organization devoted to fostering greater understanding of the phenomenon known in North America as Sasquatch, or Bigfoot.
Last year, prior to the 2013 meeting in Maple Ridge, Cantrall told the TIMES that he said he started the society as an educational tool and a way of protecting Sasquatches.
Cantrall, a senior from Washington State, ran a logging company and did contract jobs establishing property lines on forest tracts and, during that time, says he had several encounters with Sasquatches.
From about 1973 through to the mid-80s he did consulting work for large timber companies, during which time he had most of his encounters with Sasquatches.
He estimates that there are approximately 20,000 of these creatures scattered across North America, including B.C. (their prime habitat), Alberta, Washington State, Oregon, Northern California, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Florida.
Cantrall noted that Sasquatches have been in existence for between 30 and 35 millenia.
â€œThat would put their origin about contemporary with our own emergence as Cro-Magnon,â€ Cantrall said in April 2013. â€œThis is a subjective thing and not at all definitive. I think we both emerged about 30,000 to 35,000 years ago.â€
Sasquatches range from toddler-sized to females that stand between seven and eight feet tall, according to Cantrall.