Translation : Gérald McDonald
Yvon Leclerc has for several years developed recognized scientific expertise in the analysis of footprints. Confronted, in Quebec where he lives, with the phenomenon of sasquatch, he developed a whole protocol for studying the imprints attributed to wild men. This method not only allows the authenticity of the traces to be determined, but also provides solid information about the anatomy of the creature that left them. A breakthrough which, if applied on a massive scale, could be decisive in the consideration of the question of wild men by the scientific.
Strange reality : Could you tell us about your scientific background
Yvon Leclerc: In 1990, I worked for 2 years on an imprint that I discovered. I worked with Dr. William Sarjeant a renowned specialist in fossil prints from the University of Saskatoon. I worked with my methods and he with his.
In his conclusion, he mentions that my methods were the right ones and adds that it is the first phytosaur footprint found in the world, excluding the USA.
In 1991, I presented my work on « Vertebrates before their time » at the 7th International Symposium on Lower Vertebrates. Published in the journal « Specter » of the association of science teachers of Quebec , and the subject of two programs « Discovery » on Radio-Canada. In 1995, I discovered 15 fossil footprints from the Cambrian geological period (530 MA) in the Montreal region. In 1997, I set up a project to study the footprints of emus which resemble the fossilized footprints of the ornithopod group, in order to demonstrate that the fossil footprints can reveal to us much more information than we thought.
In 1998, I made two presentations of my methods and their application, at the Argentine Congress on the theme « Fossil footprints ». My studies on emu prints served as examples for the first presentation. The same year, I presented the method at the 9th Canadian Paleontology Congress. In 2000, I was part of the climatology laboratory team at the University of Quebec -Trois-Rivières. Our work was presented at the Madrid congress. The presentation was given by Joseph Litinsky, climatologist, and the theme was “The Climate Trend in the 20th Century”.
In 2004/2005, In 2004/5 part of my work was displayed at the Museum of Vancouver in an exhibit entitled SASQUATCH. The exhibit was based on the book Meet the Sasquatch (2004) for which I provided detailed research and illustrations. Since that time, the exhibit now called SASQUATCH REVEALED, has traveled to eight public museums in North America and currently resides on permanent loan at the International Cryptozoology Museum (ICM) in Portland, Maine, USA.
In 2019, I presented 3 projects at the Canadian Paleontology Conference , “Fossil Footprint Study”, “Lower Vertebrates”. « The Study of Fossils by the Mechanics of the Material ». I was asked to choose one of the 3 projects, I chose the 3rd, which I considered the most original.
In conclusion, I realized that the scientific process does not necessarily have to do with diplomas or with openness. This openness comes with creation and passions, among other things.
How did you come to devote yourself to cryptozoology?
In the early 1990s, I was asked, as a specialist in fossil prints, to study 45cm photos of footprints taken at Lake Memphremagog, on the USA side of the border. Initially I was thrilled to be able to demonstrate the fraud. But , no, I had to conclude that the fingerprints were genuine and real. In these photos we had proof of the mechanics of the animal’s foot .
The animal had walked on hard ground, on a branch and on soft ground; it was obvious, we could even make out the traces of certain bones in the foot. I met an orthopedist specializing in the mechanics of the human foot who completed the osteological drawing that I had drawn from the photos. In addition, I obtained a copy of the cast of a 45cm indentation from the 1969 Bossburg case. I applied the surface illumination method, smear, and compared the 2 indentations. On the smear, the orthopedist traced all the bones of the animal’s foot. The smear is , unquestionably, the underlying principle of printing .
It is impossible to carve footprints that adapt to the terrain. The smear will reveal the traces of tools and sandpaper.
We recognized the authenticity of the prints from Lake Memphremagog ,USA side , and the existence of the Sasquatch and, from this case, the rest followed. The Lac Descarie file is the most intriguing . We have a file that was well put together by the game wardens and investigated by the coroner. The so-called scientists had not done their job; twenty years after the event, the cast was still in its box, covered with beach sand. It was a philosophy teacher at the university who told me about the file. I acquired the file for analysis and I think we probably missed a discovery.
I was asked by the local newspaper to go and study footprints in the Mont-Valins area in Saguenay. The molding was done by a woodcutting inspector. He was right, because we were in the presence of a bigfoot print. I went to the scene and we saw a 20cm by 45cm footprint. I also had to study the phenomena of Lac Pohénégamook, Lac Memphrémagog, Lac Des Chênes and the phenomenon of St-Maurice .
According to you, is cryptozoology a pseudo science? Is it a legitimate discipline?
Who says it’s pseudo science? The diplomas? I have understood for a long time that in this so-called scientific environment there are two groups of persons involved, connoisseurs and researchers. First of all, connoisseurs represent between 90% and 95% of the so-called scientific milieu…. they have no significant research data ,and, if it is not written in the books, for them , it is impossible. Unfortunately, they are the ones we hear most often about anything and everything, « but they have a PH.D ». This title legitimizes the media in their reports, and makes of them pop stars. We even see some of them constantly expressing themselves, but when are they effectively carrying out scientific research ?
Real scientists are the ones who always question facts and generally this group goes by the title of researchers. We rarely hear them and occasionally they make a discovery that shakes up connoisseurs, who will offer up commentary without having read an article as yet unpublished. Of course these so-called experts were produced by the popular media and not by scientific journals. The duty of a scientist is to go and see and not to make believe. You have to study the files and the scientific process. When a connoisseur says the fingerprints are fake, I would like him to explain his arguments to me. He probably never saw a print firsthand. In science, it is necessary to demonstrate the false as much the true. What will grant the letters of nobility to cryptozoology is the standardization of the scientific approach. Heuvelmans was a licensed scientist and yet he failed to prove the facts in the case of the fingerprints. He was interpreting and that is the problem. I have found that people are not sufficiently diligent in their observations.
Can you describe the region in which you live, from a cryptozoological point of view: observations, testimonies, fingerprints; various facts ?
The province of Quebec is 7 times the size of France, so there is a lot of territory to observe. The lands of the north and the south shores of the St. Lawrence River are the most populous regions. In the north, there are immense territories with very little population. You have to walk in these territories to listen to people who have observed various phenomenon. Three people from the Saguenay region make the same description of the behavior of an animal walking on the side of the road and which suddenly jumps in the middle of the road to crouch with its back to them. Another witness tells us the same behavior in the Outaouais region. Four witnesses from different regions tell us that they were inside their chalet around dusk and they describe the same story to us: « A species of gorilla with red eyes was watching us through the window ». The phenomenon of St-Maurice is an interesting case of cryptozoological observation. Fifty people on a river cruise ship observed a fish swimming, like a whale. It was approximately 10m long and had dark brown lustrous skin. The concordant accounts lend credibility to the phenomenon.