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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

50 Years of Sasquatch Experiences in Clackamas County, Oregon

As most people are aware, Bigfoot or Sasquatch is a notorious cryptid that has been reported to roam throughout all of North America–one state, however, that seems to have an abundance of sightings is Oregon. While it’s impossible to cover all of these sightings in one article, these are some of the highlights we found during our research.

Timeline of Sightings

1971

June – Motorists see Sasquatch at Nighttime Near Boring

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY near the town of Boring, a witness was driving in the wood when a large bipedal creature ran up onto the road from the right.

First-Hand Experience

After seeing the car, the creature ran away from the car on the road approximately thirty to forty feet before it ran up the small embankment to the left and out of eyesight. The driver and their companion jumped out of their car to investigate, but couldn’t see anything else—they estimated that it was at least six feet, covered in hair, and they also reported that the creature ran as if flat-footed. It reportedly paused to look at their car when it first came up onto the road, before it turned and ran—it was dark, so they only witnessed what could be seen with the headlights of the car.


1974

June – Sighting From a Hunting Platform Behind Skyline Mobile Park

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY two brothers witnessed a cinnamon-colored creature walk by them while sitting on a hunting platform in the woods behind Skyline Mobile Park off of Sandy Heights Road.

First-Hand Experience

Behind the Skyline Mobile Park are woods, with a small stream at the bottom of the hill called Tickle Creek—an area that these two witnesses used to frequent, but noticed after having been absent from the area directly before the sighting, that the area had grown immensely. Just six feet up on a platform in the crook of a tree, the two brothers, both in their teens at the time, were using their BB gun to shoot a stump down the hill from where they were sitting in their tree. Just as one of the brothers was about to shoot the BB gun, something passed right in front of the tall stump, but everything except the creatures head was obscured by the surrounding trees and brush. The witness got a good look at the head though, as it had short cinnamon-brown fur covering the head, and a flat nose.

The view of the creature was quick, as it disappeared into the brush without making a sound due to the bed of fir needles that covered the ground. While there were two boys there, only one of them actually witnessed the creature, the other only having seen the disturbed brush that the creature had disappeared into. Once they were sure the creature had gone they decided to investigate what they believed they had seen and estimated that the creature must have been approximately 7 1/2 feet tall. The witnesses went to an adult and related their story, but weren’t taken seriously. Later that same day, during the evening, they looked up to where the tree platform was and they saw a silhouette of a bipedal creature—they were unable to make out any facial features.


September 1 – Foul Odor and Unusual Sounds Near the Northfork Bridge on the Collawash River

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY while camping, a witness reported a foul odor and unusual sounds at 2:30 am, then found tracks the next morning.

First-Hand Experience

A short distance off of a sandy shore, a family was camping in a small bushy clearing. Right before the encounter, the family’s dogs woke suddenly and frantically began to bark for several minutes—after a short while their barks stifled into whines and then whimpers. Eventually the dogs were so frightened that they lay there silent and trembling—this of course awoke the witness who reached for the gun he had resting under his pillow. He began to hear something wading through the water, which he noticed smelled utterly foul—this witness reported it smelled as if it were urine-soaked fur. The witness pretended to sleep, hoping that it would pass by without attacking and said that the encounter lasted approximately four minutes. He also reported that it brushed against his head which greatly frightened him. The next morning, he investigated the shoreline in which he found very large foot prints in the dryer sand, as well as all around their campsite.


1978

August – Nighttime Sighting by Motorist Between Barton and Carver

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY a motorist driving between Barton and Carver encountered at nighttime.

First-Hand Experience

A motorist and their roommate were driving along Highway 224 between Carver and Barton around 10 pm when they saw a pair of eyes reflecting the car’s headlights on the side of the road nearest to the river. The two frequently traveled up to Estacada at night in order to visit a friend who was working at the Safari Club. As they got closer to where the owner of the reflective eyes, they began to see the creature they were attached to standing near a maple tree. The creature enormous, dark brown and hairy—and simply stared at them as they drove past. After driving another mile, the driver finally asked their roommate if they had seen the creature on the side of the highway, which they had.


1984

August – Molalla River Sighting by Tree-line

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY past Molalla in Dickey Prairie, there is a small store that sits alongside the river–just three miles further is a bridge that crosses the river where some girls viewed an unidentified bipedal creature that happened to be retreating back into the tree-line.

First-Hand Experience

In 1984, a fifteen-year-old who lived just outside the town of Molalla in Dickey Prairie where her home sat just on the river. One evening before dusk, she and her friend were hanging out near the bottom of the bridge where they swam regularly during the warm summer nights. Something–perhaps a sound or just a feeling–made the two girls look across the river where they saw a flash of a man-like creature running between the trees. She described it as being dark brown or black and covered in hair, she also estimated that it had to have been at least 7 1/2 feet tall.

Having been a resident tomboy, this young girl had roamed all over the woods, the abandoned logging roads, and knew the forest well. She reported having never been more scared than that evening, where she and her friend promptly ran all the way back to her home. It wasn’t until they reached the safety of the house did they even try to talk about what they had both seen, but when they tried to tell her parents they weren’t taken seriously. They noticed that the creature had wanted to get away from them as much as they wanted to get away from it.


1987

June 20 – Couple Hears Strange Vocalizations on Troon Drive

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY a couple hears what sounds like a woman screaming.

First-Hand Experience

During a construction development of homes, a couple had just moved into the first completed house—after two weeks of living in their new home, they left their windows open overnight and began to hear strange sounds. They couldn’t identify them at first because it was a low rumbling sound, which eventually got louder and louder—very soon they believed it to be a woman screaming or yelling. At first they believed that it may have been a woman or teenage girl being attacked by a potential rapist and the wife was told to call the police. The husband threw on clothes and ran down into the newly paved cul-de-sac and as soon as he got outside he realized there were no cars or teenagers that he could see, but the vocalizations got much clearer. After about five minutes the screams stopped and the police arrived, they checked it out but found nothing.


1991

July – Sounds Heard at Skookum Lake

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY a group of friends went camping near Skookum lake when they had a strange encounter and heard unusual sounds.

First-Hand Experience

Four friends went camping near Skookum Lake, one of whom had a father who worked for the Forest Service and set up their camp as soon as they arrived near the lake. They decided to go on a long hike up Thunder Mountain and upon returning, the sun had already begun to set. The four friends were exhausted after such a long hike and all decided to go to sleep right away. Sometime during the night, one of the campers woke up to strange sounds—not the type of forest sounds that they were used to hearing. They heard rocks being thrown down from the ridge above them, and heard them banging off the other rocks on the way down.

During the hike earlier in the day, they had noticed a large pile of boulders near the top of the ridge where the rocks were tumbling down and speculated that it sounded as if there was someone hunting for something. The witness sat up in their tent and realized that they weren’t dreaming and then they tried to wake up their friends, but no one else would wake up. The noises of the rocks falling stopped and the camper fell back only to be woken up to the sound of foot steps outside of their camp. The camper didn’t believe it was a bear, because they heard that the foot steps were too spaced out to be a four-legged animal. None of the other campers friends heard anything that night.


1993

June – A Family is Approached Near Cabin in the Forest

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY a family was approached near their forest cabin outside of Rhododendron.

First-Hand Experience

A woman’s fiancé had a cabin on Mt. Hood near Rhododendron and while visiting their cabin, she had their Rottweiler tied to a tree. While she was outside doing some work, the Rottweiler started growling towards the forest, which is when she looked up and saw a big and hairy creature stepping between the trees. She didn’t register what was happening at first, so she yelled at the thing to leave the property, or else she would let the Rottweiler loose.

When the hairy creature continued to step behind and between trees, she called out her kids and told them to keep an eye on whatever it was while she got her work done. All the while, the creature continued to move closer and closer, before her fiancé pulled up to the cabin and the creature disappeared. This was when she realized that what she had seen was not actually an intruder or a bear.


1995

May – Campers Hear Vocalizations Near Timberline Lodge

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY a group was camping within walking distance of Timberline Lodge near Mt. Hood when they heard strange unidentifiable sounds.

First-Hand Experience

Three friends were invited to go camping, just below Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, by mutual friends who worked at the ski resort. They had gotten there on a Friday afternoon, but on the following evening while sitting around a campfire they began to hear strange sounds coming from the woods directly below them. One of the campers, who was less knowledgeable than some of the others asked if any of them knew what had made the sounds, but after listening for several minutes, none of them could identify what could have been making the noise. They all agreed it sounded like a scream or a yell that could not have been coming from a human due to the volume of the sound. The sounds lasted for approximately a half-hour, but they could also hear the sounds of something large walking through the brush where the vocalizations were coming from. They jokingly discussed the possibility of it being a Bigfoot, but after returning home from camping, they heard audio from a Discovery Channel program where they were researching the legend of Bigfoot and the sounds presented as evidence in the show were identical to the ones that they had all heard while camping.


July – Camp Counselor Has Daylight Sighting Near Molalla River

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY a camp counselor was doing trail work near the Molalla River when they sighted a Bigfoot during the daytime.

First-Hand Experience

A sixteen-year-old was volunteering as a day camp counselor when they took a friend for a walk on the trails within the camps—they were cleaning the trails and brought their lunches to eat while on a break. A half-mile away from the main camp, on the outskirts, the two friends were near a swampy area when they stopped to eat lunch, one of them realized they had left something back at camp and left while the other ate their lunch.

Expecting only to be alone for around ten minutes, the volunteer counselor heard something in the woods to their left and stood up to get a better look at what it could be. What they saw was a massive hairy man-like creature that was standing next to a large cedar tree approximately fifty feet away. They estimated that it was about eight feet tall, very wide, and bulky. They perceived the creature as having long thick fur that was approximately six inches long and medium brown in color. The creature looked at them for a few seconds of solid eye contact before it immediately ran away. The witness knew it was not their friend pranking them, due to the fact that they ran into their friend on their way back to the camp after their disturbing encounter.


November – A Dusk Encounter in the Woods Off of Hunter Road

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY a bow-hunter reported having an encounter around dusk in the woods off Hunter Road.

First-Hand Experience

A witness was bow-hunting between two deer trails, facing west into the wind at around dusk—he noticed that the night was eerily quiet considering it was usually a hot-zone for deer activity. By the time it became too dark for the bow-hunter to see through his aiming sights, he heard footsteps crunching along the forest floor behind him—at first he believed it to be a buck and that it seemed to be following his scent to where he was hidden in some blackberry bushes. That’s when the witness realized that the creature was actually what looked like a Bigfoot standing approximately 75 feet behind him; the Bigfoot looked to be approximately 7 1/2 feet tall and around 600 lb. Eventually after staring at each other for what seemed like forever, before the Bigfoot turned around and walked in the direction that it had come from. When the hunter went to look for tracks the next day, there were no tracks due to the thick layer of leaves on the ground.

Dark Creepy Forest
Photography by Harrison Broadbent

2000

June – Strange Sounds Heard on a Property Outside of Molalla

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY a sixteen-year-old experienced something strange while walking home.

First-Hand Experience

A teenager who had lived in a wooded area all of their life, had been accustomed to walking alone in the woods in the dark without worrying about their safety or being anxious about creatures being in the forest with them. This particular night, they had been using the computer at their grandmother’s home before they walked to their own home which was less than a football field away. For some reason that night they had a a strange feeling that they weren’t alone in the forest and adrenaline rushed through them as they walked home, terrified. Thirty feet to their right they heard a loud thumping and crashing sound. They broke out into a run and believed they could hear bipedal movement quickly following after—the teen got to their house and threw the door closed behind them and locked the door.


July 22 – Vocalizations in the Morning Near Sandy

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY a visitor to the area heard unusual vocalizations in the early morning near Sandy.

First-Hand Experience

While looking out of a second-story window of the Sandy Inn Hotel, a witness in a room on the north side of the building was looking upon the woods and the Columbia River in the distance. During his three day stay, on the night of the 21st, this particular witness couldn’t sleep. The rest of his family was sound asleep; it was a humid night a few hours after a thunderstorm and was awake around 3 am on the 22nd when he heard the strange sounds. The witness was attempting to cool off and had their head out of the second-story window, enjoying the breeze while looking off into the woods. Otherwise a silent night, they suddenly heard a sound that they could not quite describe—it was too long for it to be the sound of tires screeching, but then thought it might be a man screaming or wailing—but it was definitely a high pitched and inhuman sound. Admittedly the witness emphasized that they had never heard a Bigfoot sound previously, but from later research, they believed them to be a match to what was heard.


2001

March 18 – Tracks in Table Rock Creek

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY within the wilderness of Table Rock, once again near Molalla and Dickey Prairie, nearest to the town of Glen Avon. Two Hikers came across tracks during their hike near the Table Rock Wilderness.

First-Hand Experience

While hiking near Table Rock Wilderness, near the end of the winter season in March, two brothers came across footprints in the snow. They were surprised to find that their size 12 and 13 boots were dwarfed by these veru large, bare, human-like footprints. The men took pictures using a digital camera, where they used a dollar bill as a size reference of not just the track, but also the length of the stride, the latter of which they measured to be approximately four feet.


November 29 – Sighting in Neighborhood Near Mt. Hood

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY an Oregon resident near Mount Hood caught a glimpse of a Bigfoot in his neighborhood.

First-Hand Experience

This sighting was approximately forty feet from a small outhouse building in an area near Rhododendron off Highway 26. The witness who submitted this report said that they saw the creature from a distance of about 130 feet, from a window in their home. Although this sighting was at night, a car’s headlights backlit the creature as it ran from the left side of the road to the right side from this witness’s perspective. The here unidentified occupants of the car also sighted this creature, all witnesses stated that it was around seven-feet-tall hairy bipedal creature, running quickly. The neighborhood dogs were apparently all barking excitedly, which is what initially caused the witness to look through his window. A limited search for footprints with a flashlight were unsuccessful, despite a moist evening with light precipitation. Upon going out to investigate what he had seen, the witness also reported noticing a bad odor where the sighted creature had been.


2003

November – Bigfoot Experience in Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY on the property that bordered the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness—a witness that was living off of Elk Park Road in Welches believes they experienced a Bigfoot attempting to come into their residence, as well as having witnessed several vocalizations.

First-Hand Experiences

A forty-year-old had an experience with what they believed was a run-in with Bigfoot. This person was living in an apartment just above a garage that overlooked the Salmon River. That particular night at 6 pm, there was a loud bang on their (thankfully) locked front door, which prompted them to call 911 and report being alone and scared after something hand banged on their door. After calling 911, they heard grunting on their deck, and looked out to see if they could see anything. When the witness came face-to-face with a set of eyes from what would have had to be a huge creature. They made eye-contact and just watched each other for a moment—it was described as having been furry.


2004

June 19-22 – Off of Highway 211 Northeast of Colton

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY just off of Highway 211 Northeast of the Colton area, around midnight, the witness heard strange vocalizations and discovered footprints.

First-Hand Experience

While visiting a friend in the Colton area at the base of Goat Mountain in a reportedly known Bigfoot area; a witness reported that around midnight, they began to hear strange noises in the tree-line which was approximately 100 yards from the friend’s house. These noises also seemed to be coming from three different locations, as if communicating back and forth, but it was clear that these calls were coming from something very large. After listening for around thirty minutes, when the witness finally had everyone else at the house come outside to bear witness to what the original person had been hearing. Not a single one of them could identify what the noise was and all agreed that the noises were strange.

They decided to shine a light at which point the noises ceased until the flashlight was shut off—they couldn’t identify anything due to heavy brush. The calls back and forth lasted until about a half an hour before dawn. The witness was an experienced outdoorsman, as was the owner of the property and neither could identify anything other than a Bigfoot that the creature could have been. That morning after day broke, they went and were able to discover two possible tracks that were also unidentifiable after comparing them to other animal tracks from the same area. They also noticed that the grass was pushed down in what looked to be heavy three to four foot strides. The property owner has heard the same noises ever since that night, as well as thrashing sounds from within the brush. There is a speculated link between the sudden frequency of the sounds and logging that may have pushed them out of their habitat.


September 26 – Tree-shaking Display near Molalla River

In CLACKAMAS COUNTY campers were greeted by an unexpected tree-shaking display near Molalla River.

First-Hand Experience

Thirteen miles south of the Glen Avon Bridge on the Molalla River, two friends and their two large dogs took a trip to check up on a campsite that they were planning on using during the summer. They had only walked approximately twenty-five feet from the gravel road and a huge sound of bushes and trees crackling and breaking came from their left. One of the witnesses saw the disturbance out of the corner of their eye and looked over where they saw brush moving violently ten feet off of the path. No creature was visible, but it was clear there was something large moving the trees—they could all feel the vibration of footsteps under their own feet and the distinct sounds of heavy thumping strides. They felt as if they had been startled by something that was enormous, close, and very fast.

If you happen to live in Clackamas County and you have encountered a Bigfoot or Sasquatch, let us know below!

Categories
Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

7 Terrors of the Far North

The frontier of the far north is typically regarded with mystery and a sense of trepidation. Even if you have lived through it all, there is always something about the place that can feel rather unsettling. The standardized phobia of the dark is exacerbated by the long, cold winters of Alaska—a place where nearly half the year is shrouded in the dark bitter cold. Those of us who live in a place that is constantly trying to kill us can attest to the harshness of the environment, at least during the winter, where temperatures often plummet to thirty degrees below freezing. To say that the cold and dark are our sole worries would be a farce, but that’s only because we have all heard the stories about what lurks in the darkness of the Last Frontier.

Don’t be mistaken—you don’t have to be a Sourdough to be wary of the beasts abound in the frozen tundra. Stay for a couple of days in a rural cabin during the darkest part of the year and you’ll soon be wondering if those are really are the eyes of the Adlet glimmering at you from the shadows, or if it’s just light shining off of the crystalized snow. Was that shadow under the the water the Tizheruk or something else? Turn your back and you’ll likely feel as if you’re being watched by a deadly monster waiting to attack.

The Monsters of Alaska Native Culture

Every culture has its own unique beasts that torment the locals—the farther you get out of the urban atmosphere, the closer you get to what keeps people from roaming unnecessarily into the shadows.

The Stalker - Adlet, the Werewolf of the North

1. The Adlet: The Werewolf of the Far North

The murderous Adlet is considered the arctic counterpart to the well-known werewolf. Believed to be the unholy descendants of an Inuit woman and a dog, they have an upper body of their human brethren, but their lower half is fully canine. They are considered to be a full-fledged race of humanoids, who after their initial creation were sent to a remote island away from humans, so as not to satiate themselves on local tribes—except that didn’t last.

Keelut Evil Earth Spirit

2. The Keelut: The Evil Earth Spirit

A mixture between a cryptid and the paranormal spirit—the Keelut (key-loot) is considered an earth spirit who primarily takes the shape of an immense black, hairless dog. It’s often compared to the Church Grim of Great Britain and stalks travelers at night, often attacking and killing them.

Qalupalik, the Inuit Siren or Mermaid

3. The Qalupalik: The Inuit Siren

If you live by the arctic ocean you will have undoubtedly heard about the Qalupalik (kah-loo-pah-lick), a creature that stems from Inuit culture and haunts the nights of children as they’re sleeping. She’s described as being humanoid, with green skin, long hair, and even longer fingernails. Like a siren, her home is the sea and she hums to lure children to come closer to the water, but what does she do with them?

Thunderbird Alaskan Lore

4. The Thunderbird: An Avian Nightmare

From Southern Alaska all the way to the Pacific Northwest, there are legends that speak of the mythical Thunderbird. As large as a small plane, stories have been told by Natives as well as bush pilots who can confirm the existence of such a monster. Considering the reputation that even the bald eagle has for snatching up small dogs, it’s not too much of a stretch to fear for your children with such a gigantic vicious bird of prey in the skies above.

Tizheruk Sear Monster of the Arctic

5. The Tizheruk: The Sea-Monster of the Arctic

Not unlike the lore that brings us Loch Ness, the Tizheruk (te-zer-ook) is described as being a sea serpent that is approximately fifteen feet long. Where Loch Ness is considered to be less of a threat and more of a mystery, the Tizheruk is known to snatch their unwitting victims from docks and piers.

Alaskan Bushman The Tornit

6. The Tornit: The Alaskan Bushman

Even Alaska has its own legends about Bigfoot—we reference it as the Tornit (tore-nit), or the Alaskan Bushman. Another monster from Inuit folklore, the Tornit is nearly indistinguishable from a bear except for the ghastly skunk-like smell they exude. They mostly keep to themselves out in the bush, after their troubled history dealing with humans, who can blame them?

Read our original story about this beast and his fateful encounter with an Inuit boy.

Scary Kushtaka hand

7. Kushtaka: The Otter People

The Otter People are most often seen in the Pacific Northwestern region of Alaska known as the Kushtaka. These tall, ape-like creatures are known to be aggressive and deadly and chase and kill their victims. Described as being horribly ugly, covered in long coarse hair, scabs, scars, and have enormously long claws. Their scream is high-pitched and terrifying, they have a strange whistling call that also alerts people to their presence.

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Horror Books Horror Mystery and Lore

Alaska’s Bigfoot: The Tornit

History and Mythology of the Tornit

Tornit, Alaska's Bigfoot, caught and caged
Photography by Elmira Gokoryan

Back in the old times, when Baffin Island was still known as Nunatsiarmiut (new-naht-saw-me-oot) and before European influence, the Inuit people lived near the coast of Kangiqtualuk. They were master kayak-builders and survived by means of subsistence—they were excellent hunters, regularly bringing in seals and whales to feed the people in their villages. They were not the only people living on the island though, they lived under the shadow of fear with a tribe of much bigger and aggressive people. Their way of living was different than their Inuit counterparts, as they could not build kayaks, tan hides, or preserve food in the traditional ways of the north.

These people are known as the Tornit (tore-knit) and possessed not only a larger stature but extraordinary strength; they would build houses out of stones and boulders that were much too large for any Inuit person to lift. These creatures, although human-like, are not human at all, with long arms and legs, they present more like a large ape or Neanderthal. Although they are bipedal in nature they would still be mistaken for a bear at a distance, due to their hairy appearance. Despite their largely physical advantages over a regular man, the Tornit have exceedingly poor eyesight which hinders their ability to hunt. They often smell like ghastly rotting flesh at worst and at best as if they have been freshly sprayed by a skunk—this concept also connects them largely to the creature of the southern United States known as the Skunk Ape.

So What’s the Story?

Crouching ape; Alaska's bigfoot, the Tornit
Photography by Kelly Sikkema

There is an abundance of lore available on these creatures through the published anthropological surveys of the Northern territories from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Franz Boas wrote down the oral traditions of the Inuit people from Baffin Island to Hudson Bay and captured many stories of the unscrupulous nature of the Tornit. There were some inconsistencies, with some villages recalling oral traditions that painted the Tornit to be a friendlier beast and even other recollections that the Tornit were actually hunted as a food source.

Their tense relationship with most of the Inuit tribes may have had less to do with the race of people as a whole and more so with the idea that neither the Inuit nor the Tornit seemed to be too fond of each other in general. The overwhelming consensus with all of the information available in books and online suggest they are a morally repugnant, dim-witted, unpleasant, and vicious creature. All of the lore taken into consideration, the reputation that the Tornit have, smacks more of a feudal war than that of a monster that hunts its prey from the shadows, but the isolated incidents of Tornit invading Inuit villages while the men were away simply to kill all of the women and children, in my opinion, makes them creatures to be feared.

Read the first installation of our original story, which features a rendition of the Tornit folktale, or check out other fascinating Alaskan cryptids!

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Featured Indie Horror Short Horror Stories

Anna Byrne: Chapter 03 – The Boy, the Beast, and the Kayak

I remember when I was younger, I must have only been five or six–I was sitting next to my father in the auditorium at the local University and I was watching my old moosehide boots as I swung them back and forth, playfully trying to hit the floor with my toes. My father lovingly draped a blanket over my lap, I think he mumbled something about, “in case you get chilly.” I remember the anticipation that I had as I sat there, waiting for people to come on stage–I knew that I was in for a treat. My father regularly took me to the University in town, we had made a sort of tradition out of it, as if he were trying to expose me to as much of the culture of Alaska as he could. I always enjoyed attending those student led performances, I guess it reminded me of when my grandmother would tell me stories when I was a baby. I barely remember the wrinkled smile of my elder now, but even a glimpse of those memories brought me feelings of warmth and safety.

I remember that I hadn’t had to wait for long before a University student came on the stage, she was dressed in traditional Inuit regalia and sat down on a stool in the middle of the stage. I had been mesmerized by the woman’s coat, it was made of caribou skin and trimmed in wolf fur–it looked so soft and warm, and the beading that decorated it was so beautifully colored. I vaguely remember the Inuit student clear her throat several times, it was almost as if she did so self-consciously, then she tapped on the microphone that was set up in front of her. I remember grasping my father’s hand as I sat next to him, jittery and excited; he squeezed my hand back to let me know he was also excited for the show.

Foggy morning in Baffin Bay, Canada
Photography by Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen

“I want to thank you all for coming today,” she adjusted the microphone to better capture her voice, “today I will be telling you a story about the Inuit people from Baffin Bay, this particular tribe had to deal with another tribe of people known as Tornit–here we call them the Alaska Bushmen. I heard this story from my aanaq when I was younger. I know she would be happy to see how many of you are here today to carry on this oral tradition.” The woman on stage cleared her throat once again, adjusted herself one last time in her seat, then began her story.

“It was a quiet summer morning in fish camp on the coast of Nunatsiarmiut (new-naht-saw-me-oot), the repetitious chirps of sandpipers in the distance announced a change in the tide, and the people in the camp moved about in a soft and polite manner,” just as the first words came out of her mouth, several people joined her on stage, all dressed in regalia, faces covered in character masks. The men carried their traditional drums while the women carried their dance fans–my childlike joy gave me away and I gasped in awe, my eyes glossed over as I became entranced with the wondrous spectacle before me.

“Tulugaak (too-loo-gawk) opened his sleep-crusted eyes laboriously, rubbed them clean, then blinked several times to clear the morning’s fog. He realized what day it was, bolted upright in his bedding, and went to scramble out of his seal-skin tent. When Tulugaak stumbled out of his tent while attempting to adjust his seal-skin boots, his distraction nearly caused him to land squarely on top of his best friend. Nukka (newk-ka) who greeted him with an appreciative groan, had been patiently sunning herself, awaiting the time her master would finally arise for the day.

Excitement overtook Tulugaak, who couldn’t believe he had overslept on such an important day, his kayak was ready to take out into the bay and fish with his father and the other men. Nukka’s tongue lolled out in a lazy yawn, her stark white body stretched downward, which readied her for the day. She fell in step behind Tulugaak as they both started off toward the shore. He would never get sick of the brilliant summer greens that revealed themselves on the mossy, overgrown boulders and thickets that were humming with life. The salty air tickled his nose as they got closer to where his mother and sister had breakfast ready; a cacophony of gulls overwhelmed the squeaky chirps of the sandpipers. The sun reached ever higher into the sky, though it wasn’t even half-way to its final destination for the day. Clouds wisped through the sky, a brief reprieve on an otherwise unnaturally warm day.

Nukka was the first to see Anana (ah-nah-nah), Tulugaak’s mother and, having caught the smell of food on the light breeze, perked her ears up and kicked up the sand and rocks behind her as she broke into a run. Tulugaak could see her greet his mother with an audacious, playful bark. Nukka was nearly finished with her food by the time Tulugaak sat down to eat. His sister, Namak (nah-mahk) teased him for his lateness, but his mother simply handed him a bowl of dried fish and seal oil. While he was mid-mouthful, his mother brushed his disheveled black hair to the side with her hand, then made it clear he was to hurry to shore.

Rocky Inlet off of the bay
Photography by Pawel Kadysz

Tulugaak finished his bowl with voracity, grabbed his net and found Nukka at his heels once again; they both dashed down the slope to the inlet where they kept their kayaks. Nukka stopped for a moment to curiously bury her nose in a small hole that had been hiding amongst the stony beach and emerged with a terrified and squirming collared lemming. Nukka unceremoniously bit down on the rodent before she caught up with her master. When Tulugaak arrived at the kayaks, his smiling grandfather presented him with a spear. He couldn’t believe his grandfather was giving him his lucky spear—it was a gift he felt he could never repay.

The men of the village, who were irritated by his lateness, barely acknowledged him as they all began to hop into their kayaks. Tulugaak, determined to not hinder them further, struggled to get his own kayak into the water, his body buzzing in anticipation. Today was the day. Nukka, upset that she was not going with him, sat down next to his grandfather in resignation, as he and all of the other hunters paddled out of the inlet and into the expansive bay.

Seal in the water
Photography by Alex Glebov

Small schools of fish passed under his kayak, which he quickly scooped up with a skillful turn of his net in the water then dumped three fairly large char at his feet. Tulugaak was even more confident in his first trip than he could have imagined, being out on the mild waves of the bay was invigorating and he felt like a true hunter for the first time. He heard his father holler from the front of their formation of kayaks, there were seals lounging in the water closer to the cliffs, feeding on the fish that were running with the tide.

His father was the first to reach them, he saw him let loose his spear, taking advantage of the opportunity when it presented itself—two men joined him in pulling the first successful strike back to his father’s kayak. The hunt progressed quickly, before long there were several strikes, all of which resulted in a nicely weighted down kayak. Tulugaak was as anxious as ever, his knuckles white with tension around his grandfather’s lucky spear—he saw a flash pass near his kayak and before he realized what he was doing, his own spear let loose from his hands. Within an instant, he felt the spear pierce the seal he had so haphazardly aimed for and he let out a triumphant yawp.

The men joined in on his celebratory cries, his uncle who was beaming with pride, was among the two closest men to him that helped him bring his seal aboard. Although this was exactly what Tulugaak had hoped would come of his first hunt in the bay, it wasn’t at all what he was expecting—such luck on his first trip out could only be explained by the spear that his grandfather had so lovingly bestowed upon him. The rest of the trip was a blur, although he would later remember helping another man pull his own catch in, he couldn’t recall paddling home.

The rest of the night passed fairly slowly, he had been drunk on success when they had reached the shore and it only began to wear off when he saw his mother and sister gut his catches and prepare them for storage. Tulugaak’s father and grandfather soon joined them all around the fire for dinner, Namak had brought her story knife to the circle and entertained them all with stories about their neighboring tribe, the Tornit.

Namak told them all about how one of them had recently stolen away with the kayak of one of the other men in the village, her narrative continued to become less and less friendly until their father suddenly scolded her. He did not want any of them to invite a run-in with a Tornit, the reputation for the devious nature of the monsters was well known in their village. Namak stowed her story knife away obediently, her father kissed her forehead, said his goodbyes for the for the evening, and stated he would be gone by early morning on his caribou hunt.

Their impish grandfather leaned in close to the two children, his voice was soft and low—he continued on with Namak’s story and several others before their mother finally caught on to his mischiefs. Anana looked over at them all sternly which caused their grandfather to chuckle and take his leave for the night. The fire in front of Tulugaak cracked loudly, it brought him back into the present, the fire’s embers were still hot and bright, but they were beginning to die out. The smoke, which hung heavily around their heads, made him weary—his sister stifled a yawn and they were both promptly shooed off to bed.

The sun was still hanging well above the horizon, but Tulugaak and his sister gave in, they knew it was late enough; it had been a long, exhausting day, but his mind was still racing with the thought of the Tornit. He had never really seen one of them up close, but he knew that was because they weren’t entirely friendly to his people. Namak disappeared into the tent that she shared with their mother, while Tulugaak and Nukka headed back thoroughly unconcerned with their surroundings. Nukka bounced around in a futile attempt to capture a bug that had caught her eye; they were just passing the thicket when Tulugaak heard it.

Spooky foggy forest in daytime
Photography by Ales Krivec

There was a muffled crunch of brush beyond the trees—it wasn’t bright enough in the thicket for him to see much of anything but a blur. Suddenly, he felt his heartbeat hasten, it felt like it was jumping up his throat—what was that? Feeling unusually brave, with spear in hand, his curiosity got the better of him and he stepped into the thicket to get a closer look at what had made the sound. Pretty soon he found himself hiding, pressed against a tree as he spotted the abnormally large and hairy creature creeping toward the edge of the trees. He watched from a safe distance as he realized the brutish creature was attempting to sneak past their camp.

With everyone except, to his knowledge, himself tucked away in their tents, he figured this Tornit was emboldened to help himself to what he liked. Tulugaak fumed, he couldn’t let this creature steal right from under their noses, could he? He felt like both the hunter and the hunted in that moment as he stalked the creature, his palms clammy with sweat, his heart hammered in his chest. What would the creature do if it stumbled upon a tent? Would it harm those who were sleeping peacefully inside? Tulugaak knew he had to continue to follow, as a man now it was his duty to help protect his people.

He was so focused on following that he didn’t realize where he had been led until his feet landed on the rocky soil of the inlet—just then he felt Nukka’s cold nose on the back of his hand, she had been following her master silently the whole time. They watched from behind a few large boulders as the beast loomed over some of the kayaks, as if intrigued by their construction—it didn’t take long for him to decide which one he wanted. The creature hefted it easily over his bulky shoulder, his elongated arms hugged it in place. That was the moment that Tulugaak recognized that the kayak being taken was his own. His blood boiled, his grip tightened around the spear in his hand, and he crouched down as his father had taught him when hunting polar bears the previous winter.

The boy could feel his companion tense behind him, a soft, low growl escaped her as they saw the beast lumbering back toward them, fully unaware that they were there. Tulugaak’s breath was caught uncomfortably in his chest, his heart once again beat rapidly, the hand that gripped the spear began to go numb, but he remained still—he was still hoping that the rumors of their eyesight being poor were true. The Tornit drew closer to their hiding spot and Tulugaak could see the look of pride on the creature’s face, it was twisted into a grotesque inhuman smile–his yellowed teeth broke through his dingy broad cracked lips, his dark demonic eyes sunk deeply under a large furrowed brow. His own kayak had become the prize in some twisted game this beast was playing, Tulugaak had built that kayak himself and it had taken him so much time and effort to complete.

Lost in the rage that continued to build within him, Tulugaak jumped out from his hiding spot, Nukka right at his heels. In his foolhardiness he charged at the creature, spear angled to strike. He didn’t expect the Tornit to grab him up and toss him aside, he didn’t expect to have the wind knocked hard from his body as he slammed into the boulders surrounding them. The Tornit gave a guttural scream, only then did Tulugaak notice that Nukka had hurled herself at the creature, her teeth bared as they sunk into the arm that had so effortlessly tossed her master aside. In the brief moments that Nukka had distracted the creature, Tulugaak had regained a wobbly stance and flung his grandfather’s lucky spear at the injured beast.

The spear flew true, it penetrated the neck of the creature and brought him to the ground hard. The kayak tumbled off the beast’s shoulder like a toy out of a child’s hand, his large hairy hand grasped weakly at the spear in his neck, the loss of blood brought a quick end to him. Tulugaak collapsed in exhaustion and took a breath in what seemed like ages, his head was foggy, his body was weak—Nukka’s blood red face hovered near his own, her cold, wet nose briefly touched his temple and she sat next to him. That’s when they heard the stirred villagers approaching the shore.”

There was a wave of applause that filled the auditorium, the dancers and the storyteller all stood and took a bow, before taking their leave. I looked up curiously at my father, “Da, do you think there really was a Tornit tribe that lived, I mean for real?”

“Well, my sweet, these legends come from people as a way to explain the world around them–” he told me and then my head tilted to the side, “stories like this one had to have originated from somewhere, otherwise they wouldn’t exist at all. It’s not likely that they just made up a monster that they had problems with in the past, so I have to believe they existed, maybe even still do,” my father explained.

“The way they were described, big and hairy? That sounds a lot like Bigfoot. Do you think they’re the same?”

My father smiled thoughtfully, “I think that’s a very meaningful connection that you have just made, maybe we can look this all up when we get back home.” 

I gathered up my blanket and popped up out of my seat, my grin spread from ear to ear, “Let’s go Da!”

Bigfoot

Date of Discovery

If we listen to the theory of Bigfoot being part of the genus of gigantopithecus, or giant ape, then they are believed to have been in existence when homo erectus first came into being. This means that they have existed for roughly two million years. However, there have been modern reports that date back as far back as 1818, when the Exeter Watchman reported having seen an “animal resembling the Wild Man of the Woods,” near Ellisburgh, New York.

Name

Bigfoot is possibly the most common name given to the gigantopithecus of North America–a genus of giant ape, that is said to have gone extinct around one hundred thousand years ago. Bigfoot also goes by the identifying name of Sasquatch, Skunk Ape, Skookum, Fouke Monster, Momo, Mogollon Monster, Yowie, Ban-Manush, Tornit, Honey Island Swamp Monster, Wild Man, Wauk-wauk, Saskehavis, and Grassman in the United States as well as other parts of the world. The name of this widely distributed creature varies based on the cultural influence of the region it was discovered to inhabit.

Physical Description

Bigfoot’s general appearance is more primitive than that of Neanderthal Man, standing between six to nine feet, and weighing between four hundred and one thousand pounds. They have a ruddy dark complexion, generally are known to have black eyes, with dark fur covering all of its bodies except its hands, the soles of its feet, as well as its upper facial region.

Origin

The villagers of the Caucasus Mountains have legends of this apeman going back for centuries, as do the Tibetans living on the slopes of Mount Everest. These are the first human accounts of Bigfoot being a creature that had been undocumented, but if sticking with the theory that Bigfoot is in fact a gigantopithecus then they have been around since man’s ancient ancestors first stood upright. From the Native American myths and legends, we have gotten a rich body of tales about hairy, manlike beasts that roam the forests; depending on the tribe, they have often been considered cousins of creatures such as the Wendigo, Tornit, Strendu, Chenoo, Oh-Mah, Skookum, the full list is exhaustive. Bigfoot may well be the most widely known and farthest-reaching cryptid across the world.

Mythology and Lore

Possibly the earliest and most notable report of Bigfoot was made by Theodore Roosevelt in his 1893 memoir, The Wilderness Hunter–his account came secondhand by a hunter and trapper by the name of Bauman. Bauman was trapping with a friend in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho and Montana when they noticed that there was something raiding their camp every time they went to check their traps. One evening after the two men fell asleep, Bauman awoke to a large, dark shape standing outside of his lean-to, without hesitation Bauman fired his gun at the shape. Over the next few days, the men often felt as if they were being watched from afar, that they were being followed as they went about their business, with something hiding behind the thick brush and trees. Eventually, the two men became so unnerved that they made the decision to leave the mountains entirely. In order to leave as quickly as possible, Bauman went to collect their traps while his friend packed up their camp. Upon returning to their camp, Bauman found that his friend’s body had been horribly mutilated and he fled as quickly as possible.

These creatures are apparently recorded to have had aggressive behavior well into the early twentieth century. Fred Beck reported that he and three other miners had been attacked by “mountain devils” whilst working their claim near Mount Saint Helens. They had continuously heard whoops, hollers, and screams from these unseen creatures for several days until one day Beck saw the unidentifiable creature staring at him from across a small canyon and immediately began firing his weapon.

The creature I judged to have been about seven feet tall with blackish-brownish hair. It disappeared from our view for a short time, but then we saw it, running fast and upright, about two hundred yards down the little canyon. I shot three times before it disappeared from view.

Fred Beck

As a result of Beck’s aggression towards the creatures, the miners reported that their cabin was attacked and at least three large, hairy creatures circled the cabin, pounded on the walls, tossed rocks, and jumped on the roof. Beck even recalled that at one point a hairy arm reached through a notch in the wall and attempted to grab one of the men’s axes–throughout the entire assault on their cabin the men alternated between being frozen in fear and firing their guns at the walls and roof.

Modern Pop-Culture References

Surprisingly, Bigfoot is a fairly popular topic when it comes to media references. When it comes to fiction and supposedly non-fiction material, there is a wealth of information both for entertainment and research purposes.

Patterson – Gimlin Bigfoot Footage

Books & Literature

Movies

Television Series



Is there anything we missed about Bigfoot? Let us know in the comments section below!