In October, 2000 a close
friend made me aware that a store in Squamish, a small town about 30 odd miles northwest
of Vancouver, was displaying an unusually large carving of a "typical" alien.
One week later a casual conversation with a
Squamish resident again centered on this figure and the impression that it created to the
viewer. This person quickly provided a follow up e-mail which at that point, from the
additional details provided, prompted three of us to not only go and see this replica for
ourselves, but better still, meet the creator of it.
We duly met by arrangement at a local
restaurants coffee shop. The gentleman, who was waiting for us, is by profession a
logger and as one might expect is a big husky guy, but not the Paul Bunyan type frequently
depicted as being the stereotype. This person could very easily be mistaken for an
insurance man or if you prefer a professional football player. Well, O.K., a retired one!
On meeting him he comes across as a very unassuming sort of guy.
His story is disappointingly lacking in
expected details. One winters night in 1984 he and his wife were at that time living
in Vernon. Hearing a loud buzzing noise they went to the window to look out in an attempt
to locate the source. Living in a secluded area at that time it was puzzling as to what
could be causing it. They never did find out. All they saw was a three quarter circle of
green light on the snow against their house, the other quarter fell on the home. Duane
readily admits that he is scared of very little, but bearing in mind that there was really
nothing to see outside, his reaction was one of fear and caution. He didn't investigate.
And thats the end of the story.
The three of us plied him with questions
for nearly two hours, which he patiently tried to answer. Yes, he was an artist, but had
not been up until the above "encounter?", simply stating that his best previous
efforts were "stickmen". Then overnight he began to carve alien heads in the
best Whitley Streiber Communion book cover manner. After numerous attempts in this
direction and unwittingly imitating Richard Dreyfuss playing with his plate of mashed
potatoes in the "Close Encounters" movie, he decided to attempt something on a
larger scale, namely "Big Al." who took two months to complete. Duane carved it
in relief from a log of yellow cedar. The finished work stands at about seven feet high,
weighs in at around 250 lbs and takes two men to move. We visited its present location at
"The Outpost" on Main Street in Squamish and certainly found it all too real,
(assuming you accept alleged alien interaction accounts and drawings as being accurate).
Another new-found talent is writing poetry;
although I gather from his own description that it bears no resemblance to either Shelley
or Wordsworth. Lets just say, its more in keeping with a 21st
Under our barrage of questions we found
that Duane was certainly answering in the affirmative to some of them. One thing that was
refreshingly different was that he had not indulged himself in any of the prolific
UFO/abductee related literature that is presently saturating the market place.
He told us about another very brief UFO
sighting that he had some time ago. Plus a story that concerned four logging buddies who
related an experience whereby a disc-shaped craft approached and hovered over them for ten
minutes whilst they were working in the bush. Then just as abruptly left. The witnesses
resumed their work. No, they didnt report it!
Apparently in his "down time" he
also carves whales and animals. He added too that his partner was very attached to
"Big Al." (my appellation, not his), and bid it a reluctant and tearful goodbye
when he decided to put it up for sale. In case you are interested in a large size traffic
stopper and have some loose change laying around, the price is $2500, . . . a bit too rich
for my blood. In any case where would I put it? If I placed it outside UFO*BCs
headquarters it would simply be a challenge for U.B.C.s engineering students to
kidnap it and probably hang it off the Alex Fraser bridge. A most inappropiate place I
Anyway, should you be on your way to Whistler, take a
moment and stop in at the store and take a look. Its easily recognisable, even has
his signature carved onto the base too, "Duangsta". Thats a nickname his
buddies gave him due to his fondness for watching gangster movies. So they simply attached
part of it to his name. Here again we have to raise that oft repeated question, "why
me?" or alternatively, "why him?". He certainly doesnt know.