- Grover Krantz never did get the smoking gun that he wanted:
a sasquatch body.
- The controversial Washington State University anthropologist
died of pancreatic cancer in his Port Townsend home Feb. 14. By then, he
had become the foremost modern expert on the creature also called Bigfoot,
and he painstakingly had earned a toehold for scientific inquiry in an
area previously written off as tabloid fodder.
- Dr. Krantz was best known for his sasquatch work, having
written several books on the subject and making media appearances that
ranged from the "In Search Of ... " series in the '70s to the
"Sasquatch Odyssey" documentary in 1999.
- Undeterred by controversy, he advocated killing a sasquatch
and producing its body as the only way to prove the primate's existence.
If pursuing such a creature didn't guarantee him critics, recommending
killing one certainly did.
- After more than three decades at WSU, he retired from
full-time work there in 1998 and moved to Port Townsend with his wife,
Diane Horton, in 1999. The two met through their mutual interest in Bigfoot
about 20 years ago.
- "He was super-intelligent," she recalled.
- Dr. Krantz was a large man with a gentle demeanor and
a fondness for Irish wolfhounds.
- "He was a very nice fellow. He was attacked by all
sorts of people, but he never attacked anyone himself," said John
Green, the retired journalist and field researcher who met Krantz while
investigating sasquatch reports in 1970. (The two men were included in
a group facetiously dubbed "The Four Horsemen of Sasquatchery.")
- But Dr. Krantz remained frustrated that most academic
peers wouldn't give his work enough serious consideration even to refute
- He brought forensic techniques to bear on a subject often
given blind credence by fanatics. He made footprint molds and pointed out
their dermal ridges (i.e., fingerprints), reconstructed the kind of body
required to leave such prints, and analyzed the infamous 1967 film footage
that allegedly captured a sasquatch walking through a forest.
- His theory was that the survival of the ape Gigantopithecus,
thought to be extinct, was the source of modern sightings.
- He was born Nov. 5, 1931, in Salt Lake City, and he studied
at universities in Utah, California and Minnesota, earning his doctorate
in 1971. He joined the WSU faculty in 1968 as a physical anthropologist,
and he published works on race, human evolution and the geographical development
of languages, in addition to his "Sasquatchery."
- "He was the quintessential scientist," said
Jeff Kline, a former student of Dr. Krantz's. "The sasquatch thing
always seemed to follow him around, but he wasn't doing it as this crunchy
granola who had a prism hanging from his rearview mirror. For him, the
world was a hypothesis. He wasn't politically correct. He wanted to know
why things were the way they are.
- " In 1996, for example, he argued against the Indian
repatriation of the 9,000-year-old Kennewick Man skeleton in favor of its
scientific study and theorized that Kennewick Man might have a non-Native
- Although Dr. Krantz became a tenured professor, the consensus
among those who knew him was that his sasquatch pursuits seriously harmed
his career. "It was a career-damaging thing to do, and he knew it,"
- "It was very adventurous for him to do, brave,"
said Loren Coleman, a cryptozoologist at the University of Southern Maine
who has worked with Dr. Krantz and written about the sasquatch. "He
really stuck his neck out.
- " But if Dr. Krantz suffered professionally in the
decades before paranormal and cryptozoological subjects permeated popular
culture, Coleman and Green maintain that he also opened the doors of academia
for others like him. And they think he'll ultimately be validated by those
- "He was very disappointed toward the end that nobody
had bagged one to bring it in. Up to the end, he was hoping something would
happen," Coleman said.
- In keeping with his career, Dr. Krantz's last act is
likely to generate some curiosity. "It certainly indicates that he
wanted to make the ultimate contribution to science," Green noted.
- His skeleton will be sent to the Smithsonian Institution,
along with most of his academic materials, for scholars to study.
- "He was hoping to get his skeleton mounted for display
at the Smithsonian," his wife said. "Being a physical anthropologist
and being fascinated with bones all his life, it sort of makes sense.
- " There will be no memorial service, his wife said.
Memorials may be made to Hospice of Clallam County, P.O. Box 2014, Port
Angeles, WA 98362.