|By Clyde Lewis
It is the summer of Sasquatch. With over 19 alleged sightings during the year of 2000 it is time to demand that Bigfoot need not be associated with Elvis sightings and weird theories that sound like rejected plots from the "Six million dollar man."
Yeti, Momo, Skunk Ape, Almas, Yowie, Sasquatch, Bigfoot , whatever the name you call it, its making its presence known throughout the Northwest. Mystery Anthropoids, or Hominoid ape like creatures that roam the forests of the world have been downplayed by scientists and are usually treated as tall tales concocted by drunk hunters who mistake large bears for a more strange albeit odorous being that may or may not belong on this planet.
People take for granted that all species have been identified and so the idea of a great ape species living in North America is an absurdity until the "body of evidence" is exposed to the world. Even if it was exposed, the reality of such a creature could be as mundane as an endangered ape or gorilla that somehow found a way to cross continents and remain elusive from hunters and investigators, only to show up unexpectedly and witnessed by deep woods campers.
The whole idea of new and mysterious species being discovered and categorized is academic to serious researchers who realize that even in recent history animals that were once thought of as products of mythology have suddenly appeared and have been categorized by scientists.
Now that the proof of their existence can be caged up and put on display in a public zoo or laboratory it is common place.
The difficulty in capturing an undeniable picture, video, or even hair or scat samples of the Bigfoot has caused a number of people to dismiss outright the possibility of such a creature existing. However eyewitness testimony continues to pour in and recently the sightings of such a creature have increased.
Native American Indian tribes have talked about these creatures for centuries. White settlers have recorded their presence as well and the stories have continued throughout history. Even Teddy Roosevelt claimed to have seen one.
It wasn’t until the 1970’s when interest was sparked by several documentaries that were produced about the creature and where a grainy 16 mm film was showcased purporting absolute evidence of what appears to be a Female Sasquatch walking into the forest.
This famous piece of footage is known as the Patterson Gimlin film.
Reports began coming in from all over the country about sightings of a creature that was between 6 ˝ to 8 feet tall, hirsute with large feet, glowing eyes and producing a horrible smell of sulfur or rotten eggs.
The combination of glowing eyes and terrible smell were similar to other crypto creatures that had been reported in other parts of the country, namely the Flatwoods monster, the Skunk ape, Mothman and most recently the Chupacabra of Puerto Rico.
There have been researchers who claim that the smell is similar to human body odor. It has also been said that the odor is like a dead animal.
These stories continued and later would end up in tabloids posted all over the country lessening its importance in the consensus reality. Journalists would ignore data from credible witnesses and most samples of stool and hair would go unreported in field studies because of the fear of ridicule.
The Bigfoot creature still, has that tabloid edge to him and he is always the topic of tall tales when all are snug in their sleeping bags listening to fireside ghost stories on family camping trips.
In the year 2000 it seems that Bigfoot has once again decided to come out of hiding and many people are catching a glimpse at the fabled creature. What this means is uncertain however the testimony as of late is remarkable and deserves mention.
One of the first stories to hit the papers happened in Wisconsin. It was reported that 57 year old James Hughes was delivering newspapers on March 28th 2000, when around 5:30 A.M. when he saw a creature standing on the side of the road. At first, he thought it was a man, but as he got closer he said he realized it didn't look human - about 8 feet tall, 500 pounds and hairy with an ape-like face. He also says that the hairy creature appeared to be carrying a goat or small sheep in its arms. He put the pedal to the metal and high tailed it out of the area.
An Oregon Psychologist believes that he saw Bigfoot and confirms what we have heard from similar reports of the beast, that he stinks!
Dr. Matthew Johnson, a psychologist was hiking July 1, 2000 at Oregon Caves National Monument with his wife, Rochelle, and children 9 year old Levi, 7 Year old Hannah and 4 year old Michah, when he saw what he reported to be Bigfoot. The creature fit the template of the big hairy stinky beast that has been written about in tabloid stories, scientific journals and Hollywood movies for decades.
After speaking with Dr. Johnson on the phone it is evident that this is no tabloid story nor is it a story of an opportunist. Johnson clearly saw something and sent me his report of the incident. After reading it I was thrust into an investigation of a creature that I had once written off as a fable.
The following story is in his own words and was sent to Ground Zero for this report:
"Where to begin? Rochelle and I took our kids to the Oregon Caves National Park in southern Oregon. We ate lunch at a picnic table and then took a tour of the caves. The caves were spectacular. If you haven't seen them before, they are a must see experience.
Upon our exit of the cave, everyone usually turns to the right to go back down to the gift store and lodge. However, we are fresh from Alaska and love to hike in the outdoors (i.e., we just moved from Alaska to Oregon earlier this year). We decided to go left and hike up to see the Big Tree (i.e., a Douglas fir tree with a circumference of 40 feet that is about 800 to 1,000 years old). We hiked for about 2 miles into the forest up the mountain. As we were hiking up the trail, we smelled a very strong pungent smell. It was as strong as a skunk but it wasn't a skunk (i.e., we know what a skunk smells like and it wasn't a skunk even though it was as strong smelling as a skunk). We were standing down wind of the smell.
We continued to hike up the trail and the trail started to switch back to the right as we climbed the mountain. There were plenty of tall trees and brush. I heard a faint sound (i.e., "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa!). At first I thought it was the blood vessels pounding in my head because it was a constant sound/rhythm and I'm out of shape (i.e., it was a big mountain and we were constantly walking up, up, up,up).
We kept walking up the trail. I heard the sound again except it was louder. Then I thought, "This sound is external - not internal." We all stopped and I asked, "Do you guys here that sound?" Rochelle, Levi, Hannah, and Micah looked at me and nodded their heads in affirmation.
Don't ask me why but we continued to walk up the mountain through the very tall trees and brush. The sound continued in cycles of five to six repetitions (i.e., Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa). Louder and louder. Now the sounds were behind us.
I started putting one and one together in my mind and my biological "fight or flight" responses kicked in. I stopped my family on the trail. I told them to stay quiet. I hiked up the hill to our left because I had to go poop ASAP (i.e., this happens when the biological "fight or flight" response kicks in). While I was doing my duty, I was scanning the woods down the mountain on the other side of the trail my family was standing on. That's when I saw it. I swear I'm telling you the truth. I saw it come out from behind one tree to the left and walk to another tree to the right. Then it looked back and was watching my family while they were standing on the trail.
I've hiked through the woods in Alaska numerous times and believe me, I know what a grizzly bear looks like and I know what a black bear looks like. I was actually chased by a grizzly bear on the Russian river in Alaska about six or seven years ago. What I saw was not a grizzly bear or a black bear. What I saw walked upright on two legs like a human and it was much taller than a grizzly bear or a black bear. What I was (and I swear I saw it and I swear I'm not crazy) Bigfoot (otherwise known as Sasquatch). I swear I saw it. I'm not lying.
I pulled up my shorts immediately, walked fast down to the trail and got my family moving up the mountain. I sure as heck wasn't going to go back down the trail where we came from and go right to it. I didn't tell my wife or children what I saw because I didn't want them to panic. At this point, the adrenaline was rushing and I was very hypervigilent (i.e., constantly looking behind us and through the woods). The sound stopped but I wasn't convinced we were safe.
When we got to a place where the kids could stop and sit on a fallen log to rest and drink some water, I pulled Rochelle away and told here that she wasn't going to believe what I saw. She believed me right away. She smelled the smell and she heard the repetitive cycles of "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa" and she knows I'm not crazy. I told her to keepthe kids going and that I would stay at the back to keep my eyes on what was behind us. I told her that if anything came up from behind us or through the woods from the side of us that I would run interference to protect them. I told her that if this happened, I wanted her to run the kids on the trail, don't stop, and don't look back. We agreed not to tell the children because we didn't want to panic them.
We never heard the sounds again and I never saw anything after that. We finally made it out of the woods about 1˝ hours later. We sent the kids into the gift store to look for a gift because we had promised to buy them something if they were good hikers and didn't complain. Rochelle and I sat on the bench outside the gift store and talked about the pro's and con's of whether or not to report what we smelled, heard, and saw (i.e., I don't want people to think we are crazy). Rochelle said it was up to me. I decided that I wasn't going to keep this a secret because it was real and I know I'm sane. I remembered reading about how the albino gorilla was a myth/legend in Africa for quite some time until someone finally captured one. Well I'm here to tell you today (and the world) that Bigfoot/Sasquatch is not a myth/legend. The creature/animal really and truly does exist!!!
After we made our decision, Rochelle went into the gift shop with the kids. I walked to the Park headquarters and reported what I saw to a ranger. I sat in the chair stunned and then I began to cry. All these emotions that I was stuffing due to the adrenaline began to surface now that my family and I were safe. You don't know how vulnerable I felt being so far out in the woods without the ability to protect my family in that kind of situation (i.e., no gun). I told the ranger that I was not crazy. I gave her my business card (i.e., I'm a licensed psychologist in private practice). I told her that I have two master's degrees and one doctorate degree and that I was an intelligent person. I told her that I know what I smelled, heard, and saw. In between the tears and my shaking, I told her that I saw Bigfoot. She believed me! She didn't think I was crazy. She said that there is a lot about our world that we don't know and that we are discovering new species all the time.
She took my story, Rochelle's story, and Levi confirmed what the noise sounded like. I was the only one who saw Bigfoot because I had hiked up off the trail high enough to see it. I can't tell you what it looked like other than it was very tall, looked half-human and half ape, walked upright, and had very dark hair (i.e., a mix of very dark brown and/or black hair). It happened way too quick and all I could think about after I saw it was to get my family the heck out of there. I've done some surfing on the internet and what I saw looked a lot like this picture below.
Around 8:30pm the park ranger called and left a message in my voice mailbox. She said that I might want to purchase the following book: Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide by Robert Michael Pyle (1997). I'm going to order/buy this book ASAP. They are going to check out the area that we reported the smell, sounds, and sighting tomorrow morning before other curiosity seekers arrive. I'm sending this to you because I have to tell others what we experienced. This animal is real. It does exist. I swear that Bigfoot exists!!!"
A Letter was later sent to Dr. Johnson after his sighting. The name has been withheld to protect the identity of the person who sent it:
Dear Dr. Johnson,
I was sorry that I couldn't make the Sunday hike. I'm all the way in Medford and some things came up that I had to attend to that day. Just got back from three days at the beach. On Monday on my way to the beach I stopped and did the whole three mile hike. However I did not see or smell anything that day. My dream is to get a picture of this gigantopithicus one day.
Last Saturday when my daughter and I went on the hike we got about a mile down the trial and I remembered this trick that if you knock on wood three times that the big foot will respond by coming into the area. I tried this and within a minute my daughter and I both smelled this terribly foul odor. Because she was with me I decided to beat retreat off the mountain.
I had talked to this one lady who works there before going up on the trail Saturday and she said she had just hiked the whole trail and it was fine. So whatever that smell was it moved into the area and was not some dead animal rotting. When we got back down the trail on Saturday I told the rangers about the smell and asked if someone would hike back up with me to investigate and they at first said this one girl could go and I suggested maybe it would be safer having an armed ranger go up there in case the big foot attacked and they said that they didn't believe they would attack if they existed and that they believed the trail was safe. Then the girl said she had a program and couldn't go and they said they didn’t have anyone available and basically just kind a smirked it off.
On Monday when I took the hike I checked in with them and told them I was going to hike the trail and to send someone looking for me if I didn't return in three or four hours and they said ok check in with us when you get back and that is what I did. They said again they thought the trail was perfectly safe even for a lone female. The hike Monday was great. There was this sound that stayed with me for most of the hike and it was a kinda thumping sound like a small pebble would make if thrown against a tree. My daughter is in Texas but when I talk to her Im gonna ask if she remembers hearing it on Saturday. Mostly it was her giving me a hard time about big foot and drowning out any birds or sounds in the area. I'm hearing impaired so sound is not something I would pick up on to easily even though I wear aids.
I feel I do have some interesting encounters that would be good for your book and maybe I will find time to send them to you. I do believe, without a doubt, this creature exists and hope to see him one day.
One concern that I have right now is the possibility that he may be using humans for food. The reason I say this is that a group of botanist were up on this mountain over by Happy Camp a few weeks ago and there was a bad storm and one of the hikers disappeared and has not been seen since. They cannot find any sign of this guy. I just wonder if any of the big foot researchers have walked the area he was in to see if there were signs he has been in the area.
Please let me know if you will be going back up to the caves again. I would really enjoy making the hike with others as it is probably not the safest thing doing it alone.
I could write for hours about this whole subject however maybe I better stop for now. I got a couple of pictures on my hike Monday that "big maybe" could be foot prints. Now I just want to go back and do it all over again.
I do notice when I've been in an area with foot prints that are relatively fresh that there does not seem to be as many other fresh animal prints like bear or deer. So much to say on this subject but feel I must stop now. Hope to get to meet you one day very soon.
Needless to say that Dr. Johnson has decided to go back to the area to do a through investigation into what he saw. He and a group of others have decided to take part in trying to find the creature. Johnson tells me that there is more evidence forthcoming that perhaps more than one Sasquatch creature lives in the area.
A recent Story was printed in a Washington newspaper that talks about a Bigfoot appearance a month before Dr. Johnson’s sighting
David Mills, a forestry manager with the Suquamish Tribe, was checking out some young trees northeast of Indianola Washington and kept hearing a noise in the woods. But when he'd turn, he wouldn't see anything. Then the hair on the back of his neck stood up. Fifty feet in front of him was what appeared to be a Sasquatch. However that wasn’t all that was there. Mills snuck into the tree line and moved closer to the creature. It started screeching and pounding on the back of a tree with what sounded like a rock, he said. He kept trying to get closer, but the Sasquatch would make a ruckus every time he took a few steps.
Then he heard the woofing and jaw-smacking he recognized as a bear to his left. As he moved, he realized he'd come within 20 feet of its cub. The mother bear came out of the brush, but she ignored Mills — an odd move for a bear with a stranger between her and her cub. Her anger apparently was at the Sasquatch. The creature he says was a Sasquatch was about 9 feet tall and had black, shiny fur all over its body, Mills said. The screeching sounds it made matched those he's heard of a Sasquatch recorded years ago on the Lummi Indian reservation near Bellingham. There was a footprint. The Sasquatch didn't leave much trace in the dry soil, but he happened to step in a muddy patch on his way uphill and leave one partial track. The track was 7 inches wide, which would make the foot 15 or 16 inches long.
The Northwest Bigfoot population seems to have reawakened and perhaps with serious researchers looking for a real creature and not some bogeyman we may see some results. However with the fresh sightings there are always a number of people who are bound and determined to get their outrageous theories heard. The fringe theories that make the other serious stories appear foolish.
Most serious researchers are dismayed that while the scientific hunt for Bigfoot goes on, there are still those who boast outrageous fringe theories and some are creating hoaxes that are ending up on TV and in print.
Thom Powell of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization laments that when real sightings happen there are a few fringe theories that creep into the mainstream press to sell newspapers.
Since the sighting of the Bigfoot by Mathew Johnson, attention turned from what appeared to be a credible sighting to an outrageous theory coming from the mind of Erik Beckjord an alleged researcher of Bigfoot in California.
Beckjord got front page associated press coverage about an outrageous Bigfoot theory that sounds like it was taken from an old script of "The Six Million Dollar Man" television series.
In a headline from the associated press "Bigfoot: is it from outer space?" Beckjord has decided to tell the world that he believes that the Sasquatch is indeed an android from another planet. He says that his proof is that you can see a metal cylinder about the size of a beer can attached to the arm of the famous Bigfoot seen in the Roger Patterson Bob Gimlin film that was shot in 1967.
Or perhaps he was watching the "Secret of Bigfoot" which was a "Six Million Dollar Man" episode that aired over 20 years ago.
The plot of the episode deals with a group of scientists placing earthquake sensors in where else? Northern California. While working there they encounter a Bigfoot. Well the Scientists end up missing and Steve Austin goes to Northern California to investigate. There he confronts the Bigfoot and while fighting he accidentally tears the arm off of the creature revealing that it has a mechanical arm. An android of some kind. Later it is revealed that aliens have constructed Bigfoot as a robot protector.
Sound Familiar? Is Beckjord out of his mind? It would appear that he is banking on the idea that people forget science fiction or that they don’t watch shows like this in reruns on the Sci-Fi channel.
The next person in line that wants your attention is David Shealy.
Shealy is the well known researcher who captured the alleged skunk ape on home video in the Everglades. Shealy alleges that he has been tracking the mysterious creature for years. With the video age comes yet another attempt at "proof" and most investigators are also saying that this is another silly hoax.
Which takes us back to 1967 and the Patterson/Gimlin film. Recently there have been rumors floating around about the film and it’s authenticity. In 1998 Ground Zero received word that someone was about to come forward stating that the film was indeed a hoax and that the man who wore the monkey suit was about to step up and prove the Patterson/Gimilin film to be a put on.
Well more than one person came forward making claims that they were responsible for the hoax even though Roger Patterson before his death in 1972 continued to make the claim that it was indeed the footage of a female Sasquatch.
John Landis, best known for directing the college themed hit movie "Animal House" claims that it was all a hoax perpetrated by the special-effects artist who created the Oscar-winning outfits for the movie "Planet of the Apes." The special effects artist John Chambers never has confirmed these allegations. Chambers is now an old man living in a nursing home and has never commented on the Landis testimony.
Meanwhile it was reported in the same story about the recent Erik Beckjord theory that Beckjord claims that his proof of the "android Bigfoot" is in frame 350 where Beckjord says that a cylinder about the size of a beer can exists on the arm of the Bigfoot.
This prompted Lawyer Barry Woodward to come forward and say that Beckjord is dreaming. Woodward is representing a 58 year old man who wants to write a book about how he allegedly wore the monkey suit in the Patterson film.
Ground Zero revealed the name of another alleged Patterson Film "director" in an Earthmail back in 1998 where X-zone host Rob McConnell named Harry Kimball as the director who perpetrated the hoax not John Landis. Kimball claimed that the film was edited and produced in Canada not Washington and that there was a man that wore a rented Gorilla Suit. Now, Kimball has been silent on the matter.
Another Patterson /Gimlin film critic and Bigfoot researcher Clifton Crook made a claim that he could see a bell shaped fastener on the Bigfoot in the film claiming it was a monkey suit.
He later was exposed as one of the alleged hoaxers of a faked photo of Bigfoot that allegedly was obtained by a park ranger in the Wild Creek area near Mt. Rainier, Washingtion. He also has been accused of faking many photos to get attention.
This demonstrates that there are those who are lost somewhere between the monsters in their minds and the monsters that definitely exist and are discovered every day.
It needs to be said that before zoology existed, cryptozoology was the term used to discover species that were merely tall tales that existed amongst tribesmen and explorers.
In the 21st century investigators into the Bigfoot phenomena have to work hard to try and extinguish the fakery before the mainstream, hungry for the offbeat, gets a hold of the "crackpots" and "kooks" and gives them their 15 minutes of fame.
The bottom line is that most serious researchers know what Bigfoot is. He is a mountain ape first. Later they have to determine where they have come from, how many there are and whether or not they have a link to man.
The outrageous theories and the coupling of Bigfoot to aliens and UFO’s make for some interesting book sales but it needs to be said that not all things mysterious have to be roped into the fray.
But they are, unfortunately and maybe there is some coincidental evidence and there are accounts of people who have seen strange lights and the Sasquatch appearing afterwards.
During the summer of 1972, Stan Gordon investigated a dozen ape footprints that were found in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania. It was then that a number of researchers began to connect the dots and as with any mystery was linked to a UFO flap in April and May of 1972.
Police were baffled as reports kept pouring in of a night prowler with glowing eyes that would stand peering in at frightened witnesses screaming as if in pain.
The most interesting case is the Greensburg Pennsylvania Case The case is outlined in "Secrets of the UFO" By Don Elkins and Carla Rueckert:
Stephen Pulaski and at least fifteen other witnesses saw a bright red ball hovering over a field near them.
Stephen grabbed a 30.06 rifle, and he and two ten-year old neighbor boys went to investigate it. Stephen's auto headlights dimmed as he neared the object, and as the object descended towards the field, Stephen's German Shepherd, back at the house, became very disturbed. The object was now bright white, and appeared to be about 100 feet in diameter. It was buzzing much like a lawnmower would.
They stood watching the object on the ground, and then the neighbor boys saw something walking along by the fence. Stephen thought it looked like two bears, and he fired a tracer bullet over the "bears" heads. The creatures were very tall, one 7 feet, the other over 8 feet tall. These measurements were easier than usual to get because the entities were silhouetted against the fence and so could be accurately judged.
They were hairy and long-armed, with greenish-yellow eyes. They made a noise like a baby whining. A smell like "burning rubber" was present. Stephen, realizing that these creatures were not bears and that they were coming nearer to him, fired over the entities' heads once more and, when they kept on coming, fired directly at the larger creature.
When the creature was hit, the glowing 150 ft. diameter object disappeared from the field, instantaneously, and the motor noise stopped. The two creatures turned around and walked back towards the woods. In the field where the object had been was a glowing area about 150 feet in diameter, which was gone by the next morning. While it was still there, a State Trooper who came to investigate the story went up to within 200 yards of it, then stopped, went back to call in the UFO researcher Stan Gordon. The Trooper felt that Stephen was so disturbed that it was better that he be watched-and Stephen wouldn't go near the glowing area. It was 2 a.m. when Stan Gordon's Study Group team and Stephen and his father went back to the landing site.
The animals were acting scared, and Stephen's dog was tracking something which no one could see at the edge of the woods. Suddenly Stephen began rubbing his head and face and looking as though he were about to faint. Several people approached him, but he threw them off, growling like an animal and flailing his arms. His own dog ran towards him and Stephen attacked the dog.
Two of the investigators also experienced some feelings of lightheartedness and difficulty in breathing at this point.
Stephen continued running around, growling and swinging his arms, and then collapsed in a manured area, face-down. He lay there for a time, then began to come to himself, and said, "Get away from me. It's here. Get back." Sulfur-like odor was noticed. Stephen and the group got away from the area, but Stephen kept mumbling that he would protect the group. He said he saw a man in a black hat and cloak, who told Stephen, "If Man doesn't straighten up, the end is near." The man also told Stephen, "There is a man here now, who can save the world."
Needless to say, the investigators present felt quite concerned about Stephen's health, and it was here that Dr. Schwarz was called in.
Dr. Schwarz's subsequent psychiatric study of Stephen yielded results that he feels point clearly to the incident having occurred just as reported, for indeed it would be terrifying for a man such as Stephen, used to a very practical and realistic type of life, to shoot and hit an 8-foot antagonist which then was not harmed in any way.
The numerous other witnesses to the various phases of the incident also bear out its having happened. Who was the man in black, and what do the predictions about Mankind really mean? That is a matter for interpretation. But that Stephen had the experience and it has been thoroughly documented.
Schwarz later commented that the creatures involved and the case of Pulaski sounded very much like a medieval werewolf story rather than a tale of Sasquatch. Furthermore Stephen’s "man in black" resembled the grim reaper crossed with the Classic man in Black found in UFO stories. After the incident there were many people who claimed to see UFO’s in the Greensburg area. So circumstance compels us to link the two stories but reality seems to show that most sightings are not wrapped into the incredible, but more along the lines of the intriguing or enigmatic.
Whichever theory you embrace about the Bigfoot, Alien android, missing link, or something else entirely it is important to understand that in our investigations perhaps we could possibly be like the blind, touching an elephant. We all have different interpretations of what it might be but we may want to just call it what it is; a primate that somehow shows up and doesn’t seem to be shy about making his presence known to mankind. Is it absurd to think that a Mountain Ape could live in the dense forests of the northwest? Of course not.
The unfortunate thing is that Bigfoot sightings have been treated like Elvis sightings That is why people snicker and roll their eyes when someone claims to have seen one of them.
The reality of Bigfoot may be as mundane as a monkey that has yet to be classified by science. However seeing one in the forests of the United States can be an experience not easily forgotten.
(All italicized text has been copied from Newspaper and book references for research purposes during this report. Bold text is copied from letters sent from Dr. Mathew Johnson who contributed to this report.)
Copyright 1998-2007 Ground Zero Media, Clyde Lewis, and John Hart. All Rights Reserved.