Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Old Man of the Crater

I first saw this story as an excerpt on one of Regan Lee's excellent paranormal sites, 'Frame 352'. (

The excerpt was short, but so tantalizing insofar as it appears to be a very detailed descriptive of a highly strange bigfoot encounter in the year 1895 on the summit of Mt. Rainier.  What follows is the entire account, as written by Major E.S. Ingraham, an educator and well-known mountaineer who helped to establish the park itself.

I found the the story in full in the book 'The Challenge of Rainier' by Dee Molenaar.

The Old Man of The Crater
Major E.S. Ingraham

While my companion and I were exploring the steam-caves at the time of my second visit to the crater of Mt. Rainier, I noticed peculiar marks and scratching on the floor of the cave. In some places the ground appeared as though it had been the scene of a conflict between some maddened beasts, so extensive was the disturbance. In other places there were depressions that might have been made by some flat-footed animal pawing in the earth. My curiosity was deeply excited. The lower we descended into the cave, the more frequent by less marked became those scratching. As the sunlight from without became dim, I noticed peculiar, soft glow in the atmosphere of the cave, hardly perceptible, that might have been produced by either light or heat, but it was probably brought about by the presence of some force more subtle than either.  I also felt a peculiar sensation of the body, such as the pole of an electrical machine slightly charged. Whether my companion noticed these startling phenomena I do not know. If he did, he like myself, remained silent upon the subject.  The situation was extremely interesting to one of a scientific mind and invited investigation; but I suggested to my companion a return to the outer world. Within my own mind I had decided to revisit the cave alone later.

Late at night, when my three bed-fellows were sound asleep, I cautiously crawled from under the scanty covering and was soon in the cave again. While it was intensely dark within and cold without, the warmth of the steam-cave soon restored my benumbed body to an unusual degree of comfort and my sleepy senses resumed and unwonted activity. Slowly groping my way along the floor of the cave I was soon within the influence of the mysterious glow I had noticed upon my first descent. The situation was weird and startling. Midnight in a crater!
The vaulted sky above you the only familiar object, with the hot rocks ans hissing steam around you suggesting what once was and what may be again; to leave my sleeping companions and the last familiar object, to descend toward the source of the heat and steam, to go down, down toward the earth's hot interior, all tended to try my nerves and fill my mind with strange forebodings.

While my prudence and caution would be me return to my companions and leave the mysteries of the cave unsolved, I still cautiously groped my way onward. The sense of feeling became strangely acute. I could readily keep in the center of the cave by extending my hand to either side and noting change of temperature caused by the adjacent ice walls. The mysterious influence of a still more mysterious force enabled me to know my surroundings quite distinctly. As before stated, these steam-caves seem to radiate from the center of the crater, a single passage branching into two or more as it nears the rim of the crater. I had reached a point where another passage joined, or more properly separated from the one I was following, when I was startled by a noise, followed by several stones rolling down the tributary passage. Had my companion of the first visit noticed the mysterious things I had, and was he like myself, seeking to discover thier cause? I quickly stepped within a recess the wall of ice on my left and awaited developments.

I had not long to wait, for almost immediatly there came, now rolling, now making an attempt to crawl, a figure of strange and grotesque appearance, down the passage. It stopped within a few feet of me, writhing and floundering very much as a drowing man would do, when drawn from the water he was about to sink for the last time. It's shape was nearer that of a human being than of any other animal. The crown of it's head was pointed, with bristled hair pointing in every direction. The eyeballs were pointed, too; and while they appeared dull and visionless at times, yet there was an occasional flash of light from the points, which increased in frequency and brilliancy as the owner began to revive. The nails of it's fingers and toes were long and pointed and resembled polished steel more than hardened cuticle.

I discovered that the palms of it's hands and the soles of it's feet were hard and calloused. In fact, the whole body, while human in shape, except the pointedness of the parts I have mentioned, seemed very different in character from that of the human species. There was nothing about the mysterious being, however, that would make it possible that it's ancestry of long ages ago might have been human beings like ourselves. Yet by living in different surroundings and under entirely different conditions, many of it's characteristics had changed.

By degrees this strange being began to revive. Gradually an electric glow covered the entire body wiht light-centers at the ends of those pointed nails, the eyes and the top of the head. It seemed to accomplish it's revivification by rubbing it's hands vigorously together. As soon as it was able to stand, it began to rub it's feet rapidly upon the floor of the cave. This increased the glow of it's body and caused the light-centers to shine with increased brilliancy. It seemed to receive some vital fluid from th earth that at once gave new vigor to it's whole system. Involuntarily I imitated it's actions and immediately found myself undergoing a very peculiar sensation. I seemed to be growing in accord with the strange being who then for the first time noticed my presence. He at once redoubled his former movements. He would rub his hands vigorously together and then quickly extend the points of his fingers in my direction when sparks of light would dart therefrom.

Having become deeply interested in this strange exhibition, I went through the same manoeuver with a similar result although apparently in a much lesser degree. The effect was magical! I was becoming en rapport with the Old Man of the Crater! I could see a brilliant point of light gradually forming on the crown of his head. Feeling my own hair beginning to rise, I removed my knit cap and felt my hair bristling upward to a common point. The light from his crown seemed to form an arch above and between us and WE WERE IN COMMUNICATION. There, in that icy passage connecting the unknown interior of this earth with the exterior, by means of a new medium, or rather an old medium newly applied, two intelligent beings of different races were enabled to communicate, imperfectly at first of course, with each other.

For an hour I received impressions from the Old Man of the Crater. It is a strange story I got from him. While the time was comparatively short, yet what he told me, not by voice or look, but by a subtle agency not known or understood by me, would fill a volume of many pages. Finally expressing doubt at what he communicated, he commanded me to follow him. I had anticipated such a demand and was ready to resist it. So when he turned to descend, to the hot interior of the earth as I verily believe, by a superhuman effort I broke the spell and hastened upward and back to my sleeping companions.

This is no myth. The old man told me of his abode in the interior, of another race to which he belonged and the traditions of that race; of convulsions and changes on the earth long, long ago; of the gradual contraction of a belt of matter around the earth until it touched the surface hemming in many of the inhabitants and drowning the remainder, and of the survival of a single pair. All was shut out and the atmosphere became changed. Gradually this remaining pair was enabled to conform to the new order of things and became the parents of a race which for want of a better name I will call Sub-Rainians. This old man of the Crater had wandered far away from the abode of his race in his desire to explore. Far away from my home we had met, each out of his usual sphere.
Source: Dennett, Preston, FATE Magazine May 2001, Early American Mountain Bigfoot: An Explorer's Account of Sasquatch on Mount Rainier.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Urban Bigfoot

Near our home in Auburn, Washington there is a small community park and green space wedged in between an industrial park and a housing development with a swampy lake right in the center. It comprises perhaps about 15 acres total, with a lovely one mile walking trail that threads it’s way behind World Vision headquarters and Devry College. We like to walk whenever we can find time, so this is the easy place to go, load the dogs into the van and enjoy the mile of sylvan peace. Once underway and into the heart of this small wood, we lose sight of other human occupation quickly and we soak up the ambience of moss and bracken fern, the softness of cedar needle duff underfoot. It smells nice. At the halfway point there is a swale with a tiny seasonal creek. Muddy on its sides, the boot prints of walkers are evident but a splintered half log spans the trickling creek just enough to cross it without getting mucky. Just twenty steps past this water course is a large cedar stump with a curious image burned into its face. I spotted it the very first time we walked this trail and nearly spit out my gum with the wonderful absurdity of its proximity to the city and this well used walking path. I had to snap the photo above using my cell phone. The photo is not altered or re-touched, other than a tad of sharpening I did with my computer software. On close inspection, it becomes clear that the image was not done by humans, but is most likely the result a common lightning strike on the formerly estimable Red Cedar tree. Other trees in this area show similar effects of lightning strikes, the bolt striking in the upper foliage and exiting near the base, but none are so abundantly reminiscent of a recognizable form. Because this island of greenery is landlocked by heavy human occupation, a sighting or encounter with a real bipedal hairy humanoid like Bigfoot is pretty much a non-starter. But reports of Bigfoot in urban and even suburban environs do exist.

Below is one example I culled from the BFRO:

Report # 28743

Nursing home employee observes large upright figure near dumpster This sighting occurred in King County, WA. January 23, 2011 I work as a Medications Technician at a nursing home inside of King County, WA. Our building lays on a big lot which has a grassed area in front of it that has different dips and small hills. I was coming back from a resident's room when out the window, I saw a figure underneath one of our parking lights. We have racoons, cats, and sometimes big dogs rolling through this area a lot, so I paid no attention to it (as I was on the 2nd floor, it didn't look as big from down-wind towards the lighted area). I went back to my office, and then walked to the lobby of our place (which looks out towards XX Avenue, across the grass lot), and I saw a giant figure walking around our dumpster, and then tumble away from the dumpster to the right, across the grass lot next to our wooden fence.

The figure seemed to be a head and a half taller than the fence around the dumpster (not the wooden one), and it ran awkwardly. Like it's legs weren't fully developed or something. I ran out the double doors to see if I can see anything, and all I heard was a loud grunt, and the figure was gone (out of sight).

Another example of a possible urban Bigfoot that I found on a blog called 'Sasquatch City' The story of a city dweller named Ben, as related by the author of the blog and excerpted here: Ben was getting worried now that the bus was so late and his cell phone might die any minute. “I thought, some crazy homeless guy isn’t going to mess with me,” Ben remembers. Ben rose to his feet and let loose a string of profanities and threats at the dweller in the alley.

The figure didn’t move and Ben was starting to think he had succeeded in intimidating him until it replied with it’s own warning. “It was half a grunt and half a snort,” Ben tells me, “but the thing that scared me was how loud it was. I thought, this dude’s got a pair of lungs on him.” Ben was now the one feeling intimidated and he decided it was time to try to get a cab. His phone was on its last legs and Ben started dialing. The phone beeped and blinked and died in his hand. Ben looked back to the alley only to see a small object whizzing through the air toward him. “I jumped and screamed like a girl and jumped,” Ben remembers. “Only because I was surprised.” It hit the sidewalk to his right and Ben saw a fist-sized river rock like the ones that filled the planters that decorated the downtown plazas. Ben jumped again when another rock landed to his left. “I was really freaked out at first,” Ben recalls. “But then I realized that he wasn’t aiming at me, he was trying to scare me. Well, it worked.” Ben started backing up the street, hoping to find a taxi as soon as possible. He heard the figure grunt again and what Ben saw next made him run. “Turns out, this dude wasn’t even standing in front of the dumpster,” Ben tells me. “He was sitting.” The figure rose up and it towered over the dumpster. “Nine feet easy,” Ben tells me. The figure turned away and began walking down the alley. By the faint light, Ben could begin to make out the dark hair that covered its body and the astounding proportions of its frame. “I thought, dude’s wearing a fur coat,” Ben tells me. Ben heard a car behind him and turned to see a taxi coming up the block. He flagged it down and looked once last time down the alley.

As the creature walked away with a strangely graceful gait, it turned to look back at Ben and Ben saw a face that looked like a man’s but could never be described as human. “It was just like that old Bigfoot film they always show,” Ben recalls. “Although this one was a lot skinnier.” Ben took the taxi home and the next day off from work. He never waited for the bus again, but he always wondered if he did indeed have an encounter with the Bigfoot of legend.
One more post I just found on the BFRO caught my eye because of how the witness viewed the Bigfoot:

NEAREST TOWN: Port Angeles
NEAREST ROAD: Mt Pleasant Rd
OBSERVED: Fall 1983

My four friends and I were playing Chinese jump rope in their yard late one afternoon, just before evening. My neighbor owned somewhere around 100 acres across the street and the five acre parcel we were playing on. He owned a herd of buffalo and for some reason had one young buffalo alone on this parcel. As my friends and I were playing, the buffalo caught our attention as it came running across the property. I remember we all looked up at it and wondered why it could have acted so spooked.

We went back to playing and a bit later one of my friends, the only boy, exclaimed “Did you guys see that? There was a tall black thing on two legs that just jumped across the creek.” We all looked out into the field, but did not see anything. The rest of us told him to quite messing around, but he insisted he was serious. We dismissed his claims and continued our game. Since it wasn’t my turn, I kept scanning the field wondering what the boy may have seen. I noticed a black stump under a tree, which I could not recall being there before. I kept looking at it thinking is that a stump or something else? The shape looked like a tall black figure standing upright, leaning forward with very long arms down to its knees. The head was turned looking directly at us. However it was so still I thought it had to be a burnt stump. I felt it was looking directly at me but it did not move at all. I kept my eyes fixed on it, but turned my head to make it look like I wasn’t watching it. Immediately it began to run across the field. It ran on two legs, had very long swinging arms and a flat face. It was very tall and covered in black hair. I yelled and everyone turned and started screaming. Upon hearing our screams, it turned to look at us and immediately turned its direction and ran back up into the woods. We were all very scared and ran into the house.
My friend’s dad believed us as he said he had seen a bigfoot when they had lived in Moses Lake, WA.

One more new report just filed with Lon Strickler on his very excellent 'Phantoms and Monsters' blog. 

'Hey - I wanted to tell you a story that happened to me this pass week. I walk my dog everyday on a nature trail. I'm located south of New Orleans. I'd like to be anonymous but here goes.

I was walking her a few nights ago probably around 7 at night and when we made the turn she started growling which for my dog is unusual. So I turned on my flash light and there digging in a trash can was this big dark brown colored thing. Now these trash cans are hooked above ground - about 4 and a half feet above ground - and they are wide enough that I can fit my whole body in. I'm 6'1" 260 pounds and this thing was about my height maybe slightly taller but was wide. His head and part of his shoulder was in but what freaked me out came next when my dog barked he looked at us and it had the face of what I can say was gorilla like. His eye shine was red in my mag lite and the smell was like a stinkbug and rotten eggs. He was probably no less than 20 - 30 feet from me and when he ran off his speed was incredible. No way anyone in a suit playing games can move like this. It was like once he wanted to leave he was gone, I mean I cant even try to estimate his speed even if I wanted. I had my pistol and I fired 2 rounds into the ground just to make noise because I was freaked at this point.

I have never heard of anyone claiming to see something like this before. I'm from a small town so I guess if they did they probably wont say anything so not to be made fun of or labeled as crazy. The next day I went back and seen the trash bag messed up and seen they had Popeye's biscuits and some other fast food in the can so I am going to go get some more fast food put it in the garbage cans and stake out with a bud of mine and see if I can get any evidence. I gotta see this again. It was life changing for me. I can't get the face and broadness of the shoulders of this thing out of my head since it happened but I have to say I seen a Bigfoot. But on TV I seen people say these things are 8 to 9 feet tall but the one I seen was probably and a half tops but wide broad line backer like.

If you ever heard of anyone from southern Louisiana report anything like this please write me back. I heard stories of the Honey Island Swamp Monster but that is in the Slidell area. Thanks.'

So, as the encroachment of humans onto wild areas increases, it seems safe to say that like any wild animal, Bigfoot will also manifest in urban environments.
As bears, raccoons, foxes and coyotes may seek food sources in less than wild places,  why not our friend the Sasquatch? 

It is sad to contemplate, however, that like the Brown Bear who ravages garbage dumps in Yellowstone, this magnificent personage who may be more closely related to current humans than any other animal, should be reduced to this sort of foraging.   It's no less de-humanizing than the plight of the very poor people in other parts of the world who are forced to do the same, and at risk of upsetting any who read this, I suggest that, humans, animals and Bigfoot alike, we are all suffering from overpopulation.

Bigfoot World Gone Crazy?

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