Think Bigfoot is Friendly? These 5 Attacks Will Change Your Mind.
On This week's episode of Misfits and Mysteries, Emmy and I discussed different Crpytids. She told us all about the ThunderBird and I broke down some of history's most gruesome Bigfoot attacks. You can listen to the full episode here, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.
While Bigfoot is typically depicted as a shy creature that has no interest in interacting with humans, throughout history, there have been various alleged incidents of Sasquatch attacks. I don’t really believe that Bigfoot exists today (you can read more about my opinions on Bigfoot in my past blogs), however, there is something about getting attacked by a mysterious beast in the untamed frontier that makes you think there had to have been some truth to these tails. If nothing else, these are some great stories to tell around a campfire.
For this blog, I’m only covering 5 alleged instances of Bigfoot attacks. I know there are more, however, I don’t want this blog to turn into a novel. Part two will be coming sometime in the future. I will link to it here whenever I get around to writing.
1829 Okefenokee Swamp Attack
This is one of if not the earliest accounts of a Bigfoot attack in the United States. In most Indigenous folklore, Sasquatch are portrayed as shy creatures who you usually only catch a glimpse of and never attack you. In February of 1829, there were reports in several Newspapers across the county of an attack by a giant hairy man in Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. Back in 1829, the first settlers were moving into the fringes of the Okefenokee Swamp and they began to pick up local indigenous legends about a mysterious race of people who lived on an island deep in the swamp.
According to newspaper reports, two men and a child ventured off into Okefenokee Swamp and after exploring for a while came across strange footprints that were 18 inches long and 9 inches wide. This discovery frightened the men and they immediately left the swamp to go back home. Word of their findings got around and a group of hunters decided they wanted to pursue this beast. One of the men guided the group of 6 hunters to the spot where they found the footprints. After a few days of tracking the creature, the men were discharging their weapons to replace their gunpowder when a wild animal attacked their camp. The beast managed to kill 5 of the men before finally succumbing to their bullets. The men measured the dying beast and claimed it was 13 feet tall and was covered in coarse hair. The remaining two men decided to run for their lives out of fear that the creature's screams would attract others.
The men left the Sasquatch body and the bodies of their fallen companions. Because no bodies were ever recovered, we have no definitive proof this incident ever happened. I’m of the belief that something happened, but the two men embellished the story. Either that, or something happened that they couldn’t explain and their subconscious field in the gaps with local indigenous legends. Stories like this one fascinate me because there very well could have been something unexplainable. While I don’t think that Sasquatch currently exists, Alligators have been thriving in Okefenokee Swamp since prehistoric times. Perhaps a small population of Sasquatch lived in the swamp before going extinct in the 1800’s.
1893 Teddy Roosevelt’s Bigfoot Encounter
In Teddy Roosevelt’s 1893 memoir “The Wilderness Hunter,” the former president recounts a strange story about a strange apeman attack from a “grisled, weather-beaten old mountain hunter, named Baunam who was born and passed all his life on the frontier.” Although this is not a first hand account, the story stuck with Teddy Roosevelt because it was so different from anything he had experienced in his own life as an avid outdoorsman.
According to Baunam, when he was a young man, he and a friend went beaver trapping in a river valley in the Montana Territory and were camping in a mountain pass where a lone trapper’s half eaten remains were found by mining prospectors. The two men left their horses at the foot of a pass and climbed a small glade where they set up their camp. The men left the campsite and set out to place beaver traps along the river. When they returned to camp that evening, they found their lean-to destroyed and the contents of their bags scattered across the ground around what appeared to be bear-like tracks. Baunam’s friend made a torch from their campfire and investigated the tracks. He said “that bear has been walking on two legs.” Baunam laughed off the idea and the two trappers went to sleep, but hours later, Baunam was awoken by an unpleasant stench and the shadow of “a great body” at the entrance of their lean-to. Baunam fired his rifle at the beast and it retreated to the forest.
The next morning, the men went back to business as usual and after returning to camp after a long day of checking their traps, they again found their lean-to destroyed with the same footprints. That night, the two men barely slept as they heard heavy feat snapping twigs around their camp and a horrible cry echoing through the night. The next morning, the men decided that enough was enough and it was time for them to leave this creepy valley with their lives intact. They worked together emptying their traps all day and Baunam volunteered to retrieve the last three traps from a nearby river on his own. A few hours later when he finally returned to camp, he found the still warm body of his friend against a tree with four fang marks in his broken neck and the same footprints they saw at their camp.
While neither Baunam nor Teddy Roosevelt identified the creature as a Sasquatch, its bipedal stance, awful stench, and screams perfectly match descriptions given by indigenous people. However, where their story differs from the natives is that Bigfoot attacked and killed a man. To the best of my knowledge, Bigfoot is peaceful in Native American oral tradition. Look I have no idea how to explain this one, it could be fabricated, perhaps Baunam knew of the indigenous legend of Sasquatch and made up a story to impress the president. Or perhaps the Native American legend is based on something real and they experienced it first hand. My money is on a great story to tell your drinking buddies, but I won’t rule out something crazy happening to them. The frontier was a dangerous place in the 1800’s.
1895 Northern California Lumberjack Attacks
We need to take this one with a grain of salt because after doing my due diligence, it looks like the author of this article either was mistaken or completely fabricated this story. The article claimed that Loren Coleman, Cryptozoologist and founder of the International Cryptozoology Museum, uncovered an article from 1895 about wildman attacks on Lumberjacks in Northern California, however I couldn’t find reference to this article anywhere online. Further, I reached out to Loren Coleman on Twitter and he had no idea what I was talking about and I looked like a damn fool. Screenshot below. I still chose to include this story, but the validity of its origins are shaky at best.
Allegedly, a November 27th 1895 edition of the San Francisco newspaper The Call reported that there had been numerous attacks by “wildmen” in Northern California lumber camps. According to the lumberjacks, for over 2 months, men kept disappearing from camps and their bodies were found mangled by what appeared to be an animal. One lumberman stated that while working he was attacked by a wild man and was only able to fend him off because he had his axe with him. The beast was described as being as stealthy as an animal, with a long shaggy beard and a skin coat. The lumberjacks believed that he was a hunter who had been lost in the woods for weeks and had gone insane.
I’m not going to try and come up for an explanation for this one because honestly after Loren Coleman’s response I struggle to believe this was even reported in a newspaper. In fact I’m not even sure The Call is a real publication, considering the only The Call I could find is based out of Saint Louis Missouri not San Francisco.
1924 Assault on Ape Canyon
Ape Canyon is a gorge along the edge of the Plains of Abraham to the southeast of Mount Saint Helen. In 1924, a group of gold prospectus, Fred Beck, Gabe Lefever, John Peterson, Marion Smith, and Smith’s son Roy set out to search for gold in Ape Canyon. According to their story, the men encountered a group of ape men about 8 miles away from Spirit Lake. The men described the creature as 7 foot tall, around 400lbs, with 4 inch long ears sticking straight up, short stubby toes, long black hair, and they were described to walk with a human gate. One of the men was so startled by this that he fired his rifle three times, striking the beast and knocking it off of a cliff.
The men thought nothing of it and went about the rest of their night hanging out in their cabin, when suddenly the house seemed to shake. According to Beck, a gang of these very angry ape men were throwing rocks at the house and the men grabbed their rifles and fired back. According to his story, Beck was knocked out for two hours by a rock. That is a preposterous statement. I did some research and while I couldn't find any information specifically related to being unconscious for two hours, I did find a ton of articles that basically suggest you should seek medical attention if you’re knocked out for even ten seconds so I imagine he would be all sorts of fucked up or dead if he was knocked out for two whole hours. I digress. The siege lasted the entire night and the creatures retreated in the morning. First thing in the morning, the men fled and reported the incident to a very skeptical state trooper and a local newspaper. The story became so popular and widespread, that the canyon was given the name Ape Canyon.
So I have some trouble believing this story is real for a few reasons. First they described a black bear, not a Sasquatch. This is literally the first time I have ever heard of Bigfoot described with pointy ears and black hair. Also the height of the creature perfectly matches that of a bear standing on two legs. Check out my blog about Bigfoot to learn more about the theory that Bigfoot sightings are just bears walking on two legs.
The other reason I call this story into question, and many others have, is that the men were prospecting for gold. If you found gold or think you’re going to find gold, you’re not going to want to have to compete with other people for said gold. Therefore it’s very likely that the men fabricated this story to scare others off from searching for gold. Just think about Scooby Doo, literally this is the plot of every episode. Make up a scary story so you can keep all the treasure for yourself.
While I am skeptical of this story, there is an additional fact that somewhat legitimizes their claims. According to local Native American legends, a race of giant shy hair men with supernatural powers called the Seeahtik inhibit the valley. According to oral tradition, the Seeahtik try to avoid humans, but will get revenge on anyone who kills one of their own. Local Native Americans believe that Beck and his party encountered a tribe of 7 to 8 Seeahtik and they were attacked for killing one of them.
1950 disappearance of Jim Carter
In May of 1950, professional mountaineer and skier Jim Carter mysteriously disappeared in Ape Canyon after leading a group of 20 people from Seattle up Mount Saint Hellen. Carter left the group at Dog’s Head peak and told them he would ski down and take their photo as they skied down to Timberland. That was the last time anyone saw Carter dead or alive. The next morning the Seattle Mountain Search and Rescue Unit set out to search for Carter and they found his discharged camera where he had taken a photo. Carter’s ski tracks suggested that he took off down the mountain in a wild death defying dash “taking chances that no skier of his caliber would take unless something was terribly wrong or he was being pursued” - Bob Lee, former member of Seattle Mountain Search and Rescue Unit. Lee reported that he felt as if he was being watched from the woods during the initial search for Carter. “It was the most eerie experience I have ever had. There was something strange on the high slopes of the mountain. I could feel the hair on my neck standing up. It was eerie. I was unarmed, except for my ice ax and, believe me, I never let go of that. Carter’s complete disappearance is an unsolved mystery to this day. Dr. Otto Trott, Lee Stark and I finally came to the conclusion that the mountain devils got him.”
After 2 weeks of searching every inch of Ape Canyon, absolutely no sign of Carter besides his blank camera and frantic tracks were ever found. Eventually, Doctor Otto Trott came to the conclusion that the mountain devils got him. According to Trott, there had been 25 reports of mountain devil’s, which are described as ape-like creatures, at Mount Saint Helen over a 20 year period. While there is no evidence Carter was killed by Bigfoot, his disappearance is still an unsolved mystery. I honestly have no idea what happened, maybe he just went crazy? Seriously though this is eerie, there clearly was no avalanche but what could he have been chased by if there were no footprints?
If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with a friend and check out our full podcast episode on Bigfoot attacks. You can find the Misfits and Mysteries Podcast on all major and most minor podcast platforms. As always, stay spooky Misfits.