Geographical Index > United States > Washington > Skamania County > Article # 91
Media Article # 91
Article submitted by Ron Schaffner
Article prepared and posted by Matthew Moneymaker
Friday, July 18, 1924
Strange Animals Seen
Rainier Review & the Kelsonian
A story that rivals the most spine tingling tales of fiction has set Kelso and southwest Washington, as well as this section of Oregon, agog with curiosity and speculation as to its authenticity and truth. It is a story of an encounter with strange, hairy, ape-like creatures at the base of Mt. St. Helens, in the vicinity of Muddy River, eight miles from Spirit lake. The men who brought the story to Kelso are Marion Smith and his son Ray, Lexington and Fred Beck and Joe Peterson, who have been prospecting in the wilds of the Mt. St. Helens country for the past six years.
As told to a representative of the Kelsonian, the story, by Marion Smith is reproduced word for word:
Fire at Animal
"We have been prospecting there for six years. About sixteen days ago Beck and myself saw one of these animals peeking from behind a tree at a distance of about 100 yards. We fired and I think I hit it in the head. It fell back as though struck andcurious to know the nature of the animal, we crossed an intervening canyon, but it had gone by the time we reached the tree. We noticed large tracks, from 13 to 14 inches long and resembling those of a man, and I warned my son to carry a rifle whenever he went into the woods. We had seen these tracks in former years and determined to investigate. We came in for the Fourth but said nothing to anyone of our experience.
Wednesday while we were at the mine Roy went to the spring for water, carrying only a revolver. As he was returning he heard a cracking in the alders and turning saw one of the animals charging out of the woods at him, waving its arms over its head and striking its chest. He fired at it with his pistol, the animal coming within fifteen feet of him before it turned back into the woods. He was badly frightened and hurried back to camp.
Thursday Roy and Fred encountered another of the animals as they were going to the cabin. They fired at it and Peterson ran out of the cabin with his revolver. Between them they fired sixteen shots, the final shot by Beck apparently striking the animal and toppling it over the edge of the canyon. This canyon has steep sides and we could only have gotten down by using ropes. I heard the animal fall and tried to look down but it was so steep I couldn't see the bottom."
Creatures Come Back
"That night about eleven we were startled out of our sleep by rocks falling through the hole in the roof of our cabin which served as a smokestack. The bombardment continued until after two in the morning. I insisted on building a large fire to frighten away the animals, which pushed against the door, and made a great deal of noise around the cabin, drumming on their chest. It was a terrifying experience. We nailed the door shut and I advised not to shoot so that we would have all our ammunition in case they broke in.
In the morning we were glad to start home. Six years ago when we first located our claim we saw the strange four toed tracks, with the toes short and stubby and almost square across, and have seen them several times since. Two years ago the strange animals sought to enter our tent, and we found tracks around our tent in the morning."
Woods are Searched
All this week, the woods around the cabin were being combed with hunters for the strange creatures, but so far, no report has been heard from the hunters. Various explanations for their presence have been advanced, and many in Kelso have ventured to say that the story is the product of imagination. The miners insist, however, that they saw the creatures, and their stories are given some support from old timers who have heard of the giant creatures that are said to inhabit the country there.
The story was given full credence by a member of Clallam tribe at Hoquiam, Wash., this week, with the appearance of a lengthy article describing the little known Seeahtik Indians, which are said to be a skeleton in the Northwest Indians' closet. Because the more advanced Indians of the Northwest have been ashamed of the Seeahtiks they have kept the secret of the existence of this half animal tribe.
Failure is Predicted
Descriptions given of these strange Indians tally in every respect with what the miners said about them. Indians in the Washington country, however, are skeptical about the success that awaits the hunters, as their habits are so uncanny that it is a foregone conclusion that they will not be seen.
The story is being thoroughly investigated by game officials and other authorities in Kelso and the territory in which the creatures were seen.
Creatures May be Indians
D. F. Howard, pioneer of Stella, Wash., was in Rainier Tuesday and Wednesday, and paid the Review office a call. ... telling of a tribe known as the Seeahtiks, which are below the average Northwest Indian in many respects and which have almost never been mentioned.
In this article it is claimed that the Seeahtiks stand fully seven feet in height, and some have been said to be eight feet. Their bodies are covered with hair, giving the appearance of huge bears. It is said that these Indians take twelve lives for each of the lives taken in their tribe, which might bear out the statement that the 'animals' returned and stoned the cabin after it was thought that one of them had been killed by the miners.