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Geographical Index > United States > Washington > Skamania County > Article # 18

Media Article # 18


Sunday, October 08, 2000

Unidentified Primate (Bigfoot?) Body Print and Hairs Discovered in Washington State

By Linda Moulton Howe
EARTHFILES


Gifford Pinchot National Forest west of Yakima, Washington is location of unidentified and possible Bigfoot body print and hairs discovered in mud on September 22, 2000.

October 8, 2000 Tahuya, Washington - Bigfoot tracker, landscape contractor and Tahuya resident, Derek Randles, has a large plaster cast of what might be the first partial body print of a Bigfoot ever found. In September, he helped the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) plan an expedition of fourteen people into the Gifford Pinchot wilderness west of Yakima, Washington. Their goal was to find Bigfoot tracks, hairs and screams for an Australian camera crew producing a segment for the Discovery Channel program Animal X . The group set up a sound projection system to loudly broadcast a Bigfoot scream recorded recently at Lake Tahoe, California. On September 21st, after one of the broadcasts of three Bigfoot screams, the researchers were shocked to hear a nearly identical series of three screams answer back.
Around 3:30 AM on September 22, Derek Randles and some of his colleagues went in the direction of the screams and placed fruit in the middle of a watery, muddy wallow in hopes that whatever was producing the eerie answers might be tempted to eat the fruit and leave tracks in the mud. After sunrise, the men found more than footprints.

INTERVIEW
Derek Randles, Bigfoot tracker since 1985 and member, Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO), Tahuya, Washington : "That evening we set up a sound projection system and started projecting sounds, basically screams, recorded Sasquatch screams through the mountains there near camp. The scream we were projecting was recorded up near Lake Tahoe not too long ago. It was felt to be one of the better Sasquatch screams that you can get. And we were projecting the sounds through the mountains and on the second evening (September 20), we got an answer. It actually answered us back!

WHAT WAS THE REACTION OF YOU AND EVERYONE ELSE AT THAT POINT?
Well, it was pretty incredible. Nobody could talk for a moment because we were all trying to make sure everyone heard it. But we all heard it, including the film crew and everyone there. And it was from about 1/4 mile to 1/3 mile up behind our base camp. We had two people up there during that second evening. And we were answered from very close range. We figured approximately 350 feet from the two individuals up on the ridge. It scared them to death. We all heard it almost as loud as what we were projecting. And we were projecting a 150 watt amplifier through a huge bugle horn. This thing answered three times. And it was almost identical to what we were projecting. It was very freaky. A little weird.

DID THE GUYS AT THE UPPER CAMP START RUNNING BACK DOWN?
No, but they got very shaken. Very shaken, as a matter of fact.

DID THE FILM CREW FROM AUSTRALIA GET THIS RECORDED?
Well, I'm sorry to say that no one got that night recorded. They were busy working with thermal imaging equipment and we were not recording which was a big mistake on our part. But on the good side, on the third night of September 21, we also got a return vocalization and I did record it. It was the night the impression was left in the mud.

SO THE THIRD NIGHT YOU GET A RECORDING. AND HOW DID YOU COME TO FIND THE IMPRESSION OF THE PRIMATE HUMANOID TORSO IN THE MUD?
What happened is that the third night on September 21, we heard it coming from the direction of where this muddy wallow was. And the wallow was a good 3/4 of a mile away. So, later that evening, there were a few members of the BFRO that were placing fruit in different areas, a kind of offering.

PUTTING FRUIT OUT TO SEE ...
To see if something would walk in and leave tracks so we could get an idea of how many animals were there, if any animals were there. We already knew there was something out there because of the return vocalizations. So at about 3:30 AM September 22, I said we should put some fruit right in the middle of the wallow since it was right from where we heard the return vocalization. My friend, Leroy Fish, and I put some apples in the middle of the wallow - a muddy hole that's probably 15 feet across, a low spot so when it rains it gets full and the animals seemed to congregate there. Then we returned back to camp. We were freezing to death and went to bed.
We got up about 7:30 still on September 22 and went to check the wallow accompanied by Richard Knowle who also left fruit out. We noticed that some of the apples were gone and some of the nectarines. And then all three of us noticed at the same moment an impression where an animal had laid down. It looked like a giant human thigh. Actually, left buttock, thigh, knee area, lower leg and four heel imprints."

Researcher's hand on plaster cast next to one of four large heel prints found in mud wallow.
Video frame courtesy of King TV, Channel 5 and King5.com, Seattle, Washington.

INTERVIEW
Jeff Meldrum, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho: "Upon examining the cast, one can clearly see the hip or buttock region. It appeared that it rolled back and forth as it reached to pick up this fruit out of the water. Why it laid down, I can't say. The posture it adopted upon laying down is a typical primate posture though of sort of hunkering down on one hip and leaning down on the adjacent elbow. We do it when we sit down in the grass sometimes. You can look at great apes in the zoo and picture books and see them adopting a similar posture frequently. You can see the rump or buttock region and continuing on into the thigh. Hair striations are clearly visible there. Then to the side of that is the impression of a forearm from the elbow down to the wrist. The hand is not very distinct and not very visible because of the disturbance of the soil. There were elk and deer that had walked across this puddle and mud subsequent to the impressions, so it wasn't a smooth pristine surface to begin with, before and subsequent. There are clearly footprints over the top of the impression, the body impression. In fact, there is a little trail of coyote footprints that walked right up across the back side of the impression and left their prints.

YOU HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT TRACKS AND CASTS OF WHAT SEEM TO BE A SASQUATCH FOR SOME PERIOD OF TIME. WOULD YOU SAY THIS BODY IMPRESSION IS DEFINITELY PRIMATE OR HUMANOID?
It's definitely humanoid in its shape and proportion. And the thing that really points for me is that there are a series of heel impressions where one of the legs, the knee was apparently raised and the toes pointed up to the sky and the heel pushed in on several occasions, probably as it was reaching across to grab that fruit. There were finger drag marks over near the fruit that suggest that's what it was doing.
The heel marks were extremely telling because the under surface of the heel and the back part of the foot, sole of the foot, evidences dermataglyphics, the skin ridge patterns that is characteristic of the palms and soles of primates. These are not human ridge patterns. They are of a texture and a flow pattern that we have seen on other Sasquatch prints which is quite distinctive from humans. But they are not exactly like ape, either. They possess some characteristics of both. By that, I don't mean some hybrid or some missing link. I just simply mean that basically we have an ape pattern that superficially resembles a human in that the great toe is in line with the other toes. That alignment naturally affects the flow pattern of the ridges on the sole of the foot, and the composition of the sole of the foot. And this is sort of in between. It has characteristics of both.

WELL, IS IT FAIR TO SAY THAT IN OCTOBER 2000 THAT THIS APPEARS TO BE A FRESH BODY PRINT OF A CREATURE THAT IN ONE OF THE PRESS RELEASES SAID THAT THE RESEARCHERS IS BELIEVED TO BE 7 TO 8 FEET TALL, WEIGHING 800 TO 1000 POUNDS AND THEY BELIEVE THERE MIGHT BE HUNDREDS LIKE THIS THROUGHOUT FORESTS IN THE NORTHWEST.
That's correct. In fact, since that interview, that press release, we did some more careful measurements and we completed the cleaning, we were able to make a more accurate measure of both the forearm from the elbow to the wrist and from the gluteal fold at the top of the thigh down to the outside of the knee and that would be a minimum measure and they are about 40 to 50% larger than the same measures on a 6 foot man.
So, we're talking at least like 7 or more like 8 to 9 feet in height. This was probably a very large male individual based on the size and extrapolating from previous reports and eyewitness accounts. And the footprints that were found, where the entire length of the foot was present, measured between 16 and 17 inches. That would correlate very well with the dimensions exhibited by this body print.

NOW WHY WOULDN'T THE GENERAL SCIENCES OF ZOOLOGY, BIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY ACCEPT EVIDENCE LIKE THIS AS ABSOLUTELY HARD EVIDENCE THAT SOMETHING UNIDENTIFIED IS OUT THERE?
Well, it's difficult to say exactly why. I think there is a combination of reasons. Obviously, zoology typically requires for the description of a new species a type specimen. And that tends to be constituted by a skull or entire body or skin, but some significant tangible piece of the animal. The only precedent we have for describing new species on the basis of trace evidence is that there is a practice in paleontology of describing what is called an ichno species which isn't really a new species, but it is a particular footprint pattern that is seen but for which no known fossil species can account for and so basically, the paleontologists describe the footprint in the absence of the bones of an extinct species until such time some species can be correlated or connected to that particular footprint.

AND HERE YOU HAVE SOMETHING THAT APPEARS TO BE ALIVE LEAVING FOOTPRINTS OF SOMETHING THAT IS MYSTERIOUS BUT YOU'RE SAYING THERE IS NO CATEGORY FOR SCIENCE TO PUT THIS PARTICULAR COMBINATION OF SOMETHING ALIVE WITH FOOTPRINTS AND NO BODY TO GO WITH IT?
Exactly. Exactly. So that's the quandary we're in at the moment. Some scientists are basically awaiting the body to make a final judgment. There are others that are incredulous because of the outrageous notion, in their minds, that such a huge animal could have existed in such a habitat in the back yard of the most sophisticated, scientifically, country in the world, if I may. THE UNITED STATES.

And that is a difficult pill to swallow. There is no question about that. But that I hope the philosophy of their discipline should not preclude at least the entertainment of a hypothesis to be tested. That's what I'm about. Trying to accept that as a hypothesis from which we can embark on a serious and systematic evaluation of the evidence. And let the evidence speak for itself.
The difficulty that I encounter is when someone says, 'Bigfoot couldn't exist because my preconception of apes' ecology and behavior won't accommodate such an animal living in a temperate forest in the western United States.'
Well, that begs the question: What one does with this evidence that exists? These footprints exist. Hair samples exist. And so on. That has to be dealt with on its own merits first. And then the questions: What is its ecology? How does it survive in the winters? Why do we never find bodies or remains of these animals when they expire? Then those will have to be taken in turn and they are legitimate questions.

WHAT ABOUT THE HAIR ON THIS MOST RECENT FIND? HAVE YOU HAD HAIR ANALYSES AND HAS IT BEEN UNUSUAL?
We sat down, myself and two other researchers that were there, we examined the cast and sorted through all the hairs collected, both at the scene and quite a number more picked up off the surface of the cast. A number of those turned out to be plant fibers upon close examination, which is easy. People want to be careful and collect absolutely everything that even resembles a hair. We sorted out those and the remaining hairs, and we were quite certain there was a broad sampling of the fauna that made it to that region. Clearly, the footprints indicated that animals were in that area. Those were taken on Tuesday (October 3, 2000) to Dr. Henner Fahrenbach who is affiliated with the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center. He was able to immediately differentiate both ungulates and carnivores. That accounted potentially for the bear and coyote and the ungulate for the deer and the elk. Also among the samples were some primate hair.
So, his next step in the wake of that is to take that 'primate' hair and compare it to the samples we have collected from numerous other sites independently all of which show similarities to humans and other primates, but have a distinctive suite of characteristics that seem to characterize them uniquely from other primates and animals.

SO IT'S HAIR THAT DOESN'T QUITE MATCH PRIMATES SUCH AS GORILLA OR PRIMATES SUCH AS HUMANS?
Right. It has the greatest similarity to human hair. And at first glance, one can easily mistake it for a human hair. But there are subtle differences in the diameter of the shaft structure, the architecture and the cuticle structure that distinguish it. On last count, Dr. Fahrenbach has a dozen hair specimens that have been collected from a variety of different sources throughout the northwest that all show this same distinctive suite of characteristics. So, it says there are some animals whose hair cannot be readily attributed to any other known animal, but which have consistently showed these same characteristics."
Derek Randles:

"WHAT PROVOKED YOU TO WANT TO RESEARCH BIGFOOT IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Well, in 1985, two friends and I were up backpacking in a national park along the Snohomish River. We decided we were going to cross country, so we left the trail and started hiking up what is called Six Ridge. We got to the top of the ridge and we got our backpacks off and started laying our stuff up and getting our tents out and all of a sudden, we heard a loud cracking noise. We all looked up in the direction. We were not near a cliff or a shelf. And all of a sudden, we saw a rock flying at us. And it landed about 10 feet to the left of us. It was somewhere between a grapefruit and a volleyball size. And then another one. And then another one. Someone was throwing rocks at us and they were landing ten to fifteen to twenty feet to the left of us. And they were fairly consistent in size. They weren't huge, but they weren't small. I've built rock walls for a living. I know how far I can throw a rock. And there's no way I could throw these rocks as far. Not even close.
Then they started coming to the right of us as if they were trying not to hit us, but trying to get us out of there. So, it worked. We grabbed all our stuff up and didn't even take the time to put our backpacks on and flew down the side of the ridge as fast as we could.

WHY WOULD YOU ASSOCIATE THAT WITH SASQUATCH?
We didn't at the time. We didn't know what was going on. I didn't know if it was Viet Nam veterans who had left society and had a catapult. We really didn't know. It was just so weird and so bizarre, we had to leave. These rocks were coming at us from at least 50 or 60 feet and landing 10 to 15 feet to the left of us and then to the right. If they had wanted to, they could have taken us out. Just the weirdness of the whole situation. We were not where we were supposed to be. You would have to have been there to understand, but it was almost dark.
Here we were almost 9 miles up in virgin wilderness and we're getting big rocks thrown at us. So, we had to get out of there and we rolled and tumbled down the ridge onto the trail almost right at dark. And we started running fast to the camp we had passed at the 9 mile mark called Camp Pleasant on the Snohomish River Trail. And as we came running into Camp Pleasant, three other hikers were coming up from down below and met us at the exact same time. We started trying to tell them what was going on and we heard more noise in the woods. This thing had apparently paced us and more smaller rocks kept falling around camp that night as everybody, including the three new hikers - now there were six of us - were sitting around the campfire. A couple of girls were there. They were crying. It was very scary. The next morning we went down that weekend and made a report to the ranger station and he just kind of looked at us strange.
Then a couple of weeks later, I was hiking back up there with my first wife and that's when I found my first Sasquatch tracks coming off the ridge where the rocks were thrown at us. They were there as plain as day. There was snow, and ours tracks were the only snowshoe tracks. There wasn't anybody else up there.

AND IN A WAY, YOU HAVE TO HAVE SYMPATHY FOR THESE CREATURES THAT THEY WOULD THROW ROCKS AT SOMETHING THAT THEY DO CONSIDER TO BE AN INTRUDER AND HUMANS HAVE DESTROYED A LOT OF THINGS IN THE ENVIRONMENT. THERE MIGHT BE GOOD REASON FROM A SASQUATCH POINT OF VIEW ABOUT WHY THEY WOULD THROW ROCKS.
Well, I think it speaks to their intelligence and behavior. I think these things are a lot more intelligent than we give them credit for. When the rocks were thrown at me in the Olympics, they were not thrown at us. They were thrown around us. That was apparent because the rocks that were coming were thrown accurately.
Plus their stealth. I think they are very, very intelligent creatures.
WILL THE WORLD ACCEPT THE FACT THEY EXIST WITHOUT WANTING ONE IN A CAGE OR DEAD?
Well, I think that if the general public was taught or explained the evidence that is out there, the general world would accept it before the scientific community. A lot of scientists aren't even willing to look at the subject because as far as they know, it doesn't exist so why study it.
AND SOMETHING OUT THERE HAS HAIR SOMEWHERE BETWEEN HUMAN AND PRIMATE, BUT IS NEITHER.
Right. That fact alone is compelling enough as far as I'm concerned, along with the work that's been done on the dermal ridging. The dermal ridging is not something you can readily fake. If you have a good dermal ridge expert, he can tell you almost instantly if it's a manufactured track or a living animal. These two facts alone: the hair and dermal ridging are compelling."
More Info More photographs and hair analyses will be released in the future after more scientific investigations have been completed.

Credits Copyright 2000 Linda Moulton Howe
All Rights Reserved.


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