Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stumbling in Ivan's Bigfootsteps

I'm still pretty uninspired, but "good" old Catholic Guilt still operates unrelentingly and so I feel in arrears on creating a new post.

So what to do? Belatedly an old memory surfaced. When I received the SITU Sanderson notebooks et al, I thought: sometime on the blog I should just pull one off the shelf [semi-randomly] and tell the folks what's inside. Not a brilliant thought, but maybe, occasionally, leading to something interesting. Therefore here such a randomness is. Whether it's interesting, I'll leave to you.

Ivan was probably best known for his knowledge which led to writings about ABSM-type creatures in North America and around the globe. Why not start there? For a sample, I picked his three-ringed notebook marked "ABSM Oregon". Why? Not really being spontaneous, I was probably still influenced by that last blog entry I wrote about Sasquatchs around Sweet Home, Oregon. What-the-heck, right? Good as anyplace to start......

What's an "Ivan notebook" like? Every one's somewhat different of course, but the theme is that Ivan was sitting in New Jersey at a focus point for a lot of correspondence containing "Hey you might find this interesting" types of things, and rapidly reading and making executive decisions about where to stow such materials so that it was just possible that he might be able to find them again was critical. These were his filing-&-survival-of-sanity systems.

Everyone with large files knows that you make a lot of errors this way, and Ivan wasn't immune. In this "Oregon" file were materials about Bigfoot cases in Washington reported in Oregon newspapers.  Oh well, nice to see Ivan was a human like the rest of us.

Here are the types of things in this particular file; after this I'll try to describe some of the incident details.

Newspaper clippings, and in one case Ivan objecting to the contents of a clipping....... 

A letter with some case details {wish there were more items like this }, and a drawing of what a witness said that he saw.............

...........An ABSM creature report notice from NICAP via a letter from Dick Hall ---- Lord alone knows how that happened {Dick was close to Isabel Davis and CSI-NY way back then, and Ivan may have made some request for such cases through them, I suppose}, and a transcript of a witness interview. [This first affair is not documented in the letter I/we have, as this letter is TO Dick, but it shows some sort of correspondence about NICAP files involving bigfoot creatures].

A rather interesting-looking and apparently private study of ABSM myths for the Mt. St. Helens region --- haven't read this yet but will before closing this blog entry.

And a frankly weird claim of seemingly endless Bigfoot interactions with wild theories in a private essay....

So.... let's "deliver" some of the details.............

Ivan had mentions of somewhere in the vicinity of 20 bigfoot reports in this notebook. The reason that I'm not giving a hard number is because the way some of this stuff is written up, it's nearly impossible to count when a separate incident worth noting appears [ex. should I bother to count something with one toss-off line?, or things which say: there have been several other reports...?] I realize that it's not that big a deal, but I wanted you to get a rough idea of what he was looking at.

The case above was interesting to me. In it, a guy [pictured], visiting Eugene from Tulsa, OK was doing some camping between Eugene and Bend, OR at a location called Linton Lake. The precise date is obscure but it seems to have been 1973. During the night he was awakened by sounds outside...........
and occasional thumps and pulls at his tent. He wasn't brave enough to jump out and confront whatever it was.

After the sounds died away, and with the morning light, the witness exited his tent to find his shovel and lantern stolen and small, unusual footprints all about the area. These prints were easily traceable and they led into the woods where they joined up with a set of much bigger prints, which the witness decided would have been the mother's. [on no real grounds].

This event allegedly occurred in early August of that year. Not long prior, in late May of 1973, a woman who was hiking near Linton Lake observed a very large humanoid form, covered with dark brown hair, running on two legs at tremendous speed up the side of a hill and into the forest.  So, OK, not a multiple witness situation, but at least something to cogitate upon.

Quite a few other cases mentioned had at least some details. There was, apparently a veritable Flap of Bigfoot sightings around The Dalles in the Spring of 1971. In one instance four adults watched a Bigfoot come down a hill across rocks and a road and walk across a field near a mobile home park. The "thing" crossed near an 8' tree which it [the Sasquatch] was marginally taller than. Upon investigation by the Sheriff's department, a large footprint was found [the area was grassy and this was tough.]

Two nights later, the thing was apparently seen again in the same area by a school music teacher, along with his wife. He studied it through a rifle scope and drew the picture that you see halfway up above this part of the entry. Well known Bigfoot researcher, and Ivan Sanderson friend, John Greene, interviewed all these witnesses and more, and concluded that the reporters were reporting accurately what they saw, but refused to speculate upon a solution to what it was [in public, anyway].

Another "case" involves Charles Edmonds, pictured at the left. This is not a "case" at all, but the reporting and opinions of a Portland-area anthropologist, who was collecting Sasquatch-related information and was nettled that the academic community wasn't willing to research anything like this. [big surprise to all of us, eh?] Edmonds' own bigfoot experience amounts to footprints that, in one case, he was shown in 1963 at the Lewis River in Washington, and ones found by his wife shortly thereafter in about the same location. His INTEREST seems to have been originally piqued by 1960 sightings around Albany, OR. These sightings seem to be part of a claimed series of incidents around Albany, named [by Ivan] the Conser Lake affair.

The Conser Lake Area

This business is loaded with controversy. The local newspaper in a later year decided that the entire event was caused by knucklehead teenage boys, who admitted to hoaxing it. This is the case where Ivan got wind of the mockery and responded querying the newsmen. Unfortunately we don't have any responses from them. The response by the newspeople has a distinct stink about it. These sightings were reported originally NOT by teenagers but by adult citizens and in particular one farmer of local land. Edmonds did the fieldwork, interviewing several witnesses [taking audiotape testimony] and going into the farm areas. It was his opinion that there were multiple witnesses to a creature which was about 7' tall, 400 lbs, standing erect, very fast, 19" feet etc. He even noted that a fingerprint had been taken from a dusty sill on the farm where most cases had occurred. In some cases the footprints left seemed to have a "cloven" shape to them.

The biggest confusion here seems to be the testimony of the boys which came later. They introduced elements of the creature being white-haired not brown, being shot at, and disappearing into a small lake {I am not sure if it was the teenagers who introduced this, but it is remarked upon in the news stories in those sections where they are being talked about.} The news editors took the teenage admission of the hoax of the white Sasquatch and the shooting to be indication that the whole thing was a hoax. Maybe it is, but one can't come to such a conclusion through some Johnnies-come-lately remarks.

Briefly, there are a few more cases perhaps worthy of note:

A). In 1942, an academic and his wife {Don Hunter} were planning to go hiking near Three Sisters Wilderness Area at Todd Lake. There they saw a very tall standing figure which took off running on two legs at stunning speed;
B). Around the same year, two hunters { Edwards above and companion} were SE of Ashland, OR when Edwards heard noises nearby, and his friend received a blow in the back which sent him tumbling down the hill. Edwards then saw a large hairy [brown] 7' tall "ape" running downhill. Here the story gets confusing. Edwards remembers seeing what he thought was a human, or at least several items of human clothing in the ape's arms, but his companion is certain that the thing didn't pick him up for any time;
C). In 1959, three witnesses were flying over remote Horseshoe Lake in the Wallowa Mountains. They saw a hairy humanoid tearing away at the carcass of a dead animal. The witnesses watched this action through binoculars.

One last thing:

I'm not sure of where this exactly refers to, but since it's in this "Oregon" notebook, I reproduce it here.

I'm also not sure that this is a true date, but if 1900 is real, then this reference is plenty interesting. 

So what have we here? Typical American Sasquatch hunters say that we have some rare biological lifeform of the great ape or Gigantopithecus variety, which somehow has evaded all the scrutiny of our swarming population by astonishing stealth and cleverness. Some of the witnesses though think that what they've encountered has a spiritual or paranormal aspect about it. The Native Americans would generally agree with that. For them, these are entities either purely of the Spirit World, or former members of the physical world now placed into a reality which sometimes manifests to us and mostly does not. 

In the precise area that we have been visiting, the Native Americans of the Yakima area see these entities as the Selahtiks, a tribe of unfriendly natives, huge, naked, and hairy even in their day, who have generally been banished from the lands of the more noble tribes [themselves]. This legend is still very much alive in the Yakima-Klickitat area, as in one of the cases written about above, the Anglo-witnesses had two friends among the Yakima, who when told about their sighting said: Oh, you've seen the Stick {Selahtik} Indians. They are dangerous if aroused. 

So, we come down to our four typical hypotheses: Hoaxes-&-Stupidities? {some few of those, but no};  misidentified "ordinaries", like bears? {some of those, but not enough}; rare undetermined physical biological species, like a relict Gigantopithecus? { maybe; just doesn't seem to fit some of these things}; some forms of the Native American folkloric Spirit Entities, having a paranormal quality? ... regular readers know that I tend to get pushed in this direction a lot [on just about everything but UFO core cases]. Can Bigfoot be the Selahtiks? Not Wendigo/Witiko --- THAT's violent and cannibalistic, plus the Native Americans have single stories containing and contrasting these two entities. Can Bigfoot be "Faerie"? One source of Jerry Clark's "Experience Anomalies"? 

" If you go down to the Woods tonight.................."

Mind the Monsters, friends. 


  1. Yakima , isnt that place have reputation for Ball of Light appearance and other strange thing ? is this Yakima also close to the Kenneth Arnold's 1st UFO sighting ? and the UFO Case where an elk was taken by some unknown thing in front of a few witnesses ? Sorry for the shotgun blast of unrelated matters but it seems to me that yakima came out quite often in the strange cases category.

    1. Yakima area is, from all my loose bits of input, one of the most densely anomalistic areas of the planet. While it is probably more famous for its "regular" lightball phenomena [see Greg Long's Examining the Earthlight Theory --- an excellent monograph; and Bill Vogel's terrific earlier collections of field data], both Long's and Vogel's, and bigfoot researchers', studies are "cluttered" with a large variety of extremely interesting "other incidents".

      That said, I don't see the Kenneth Arnold case as connected, even closely-enough geographically [we're talking about near-the-ground-or-on-it manifestations in heavily forested areas]. I do not have confidence in the Elk pick-up case, and can't remember its location as I sit here anyway. The "Yakima Phenomenon" is plenty rich enough so that it doesn't need either of those.