CURATOR’S CORNER: Fabled Sookesquatch lives in imaginations

Influence of mythical creature seen in museum artifacts

A 1992 handmade badge for the Sookesquatch Squares square dancing group. (Sooke Region Museum photo)

A 1992 handmade badge for the Sookesquatch Squares square dancing group. (Sooke Region Museum photo)

Montana Stanley | Contributed

There lurks, in the shadows of the Sooke hills, a mysterious creature only seen by some. The large, hairy, almost human creature is sometimes identified by a particular smell, a noise, or a feeling. Is it a myth or a tangible being? Is it sentient? Is it, perhaps, as some have suggested, a missing link in our evolution?

Living in the imagination of many different cultures, the Sooke Region variant is often referred to as the “Sookesquatch”. We can see the influence of this mythical creature on the region through some artifacts in the Sooke Region Museum collection.

The Sookesquatch Squares square-dancing club was active in the 1980s-2000s in Sooke.

Yearly event badges, each one handmade with different materials attached to a wooden cut out, were given out to dancers.

Papier-mâché Sookesquatch foot vases made by El Bryant held flowers for shindigs. And of course, one lucky person might have donned a Sookesquatch costume, complete with face mask, black curly wig with white streak, fur slippers with claws, black furry “magic gloves”, and furry body suit.

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The Sookesquatch even made an appearance at the 1986 All Sooke Day story film premiere in the Sooke Community Hall, dancing with attendees.

A round pin is also included in our collection, with the words “Have you seen a Sookesquatch?” circling a sketched depiction of the creature. In this version the Sookesquatch is wearing overalls and leans on an axe.

Some might even remember a plaster cast of a Sookesquatch footprint in our natural history display.

Sookesquatch products, such as stickers, T-shirts, and even soap, have been sold in Sooke. For the Sookesquatch interested reader, a book sold in our gift shop called In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond by John Zada delves into the mysterious creature.

If you have any related material you would like to donate to the museum for a potential Sookesquatch exhibit, contact me, collections manager Montana Stanley at 250-642-6351 or musasst@sookeregionmuseum.com.

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Montana Stanley is the collections manager of the Sooke Region Museum.

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