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DATE: 2nd /3rd week
COUNTY: Shasta County
LOCATION DETAILS: From the City of Redding take the Hwy. to Whiskeytown Lake until you get to the turnoff to French Gulch on the North side heading west. Then take a right turn for the old town of French Gulch. Pass French Gulch still heading North on winding paved road. Then paved road ends to a dirt road. Keep following this road till you get to the signs saying keep out unless you have a permit to cut fire wood. Follow this road and the roads are many from their, then go North By North West several miles into the wilderness.
NEAREST TOWN: French Gulch
NEAREST ROAD: French Gulch Road
OBSERVED: In early June 1991 French Gulch, CA. My son and I took a short vacation to my childhood memories trip area to French Gulch where I remembered an eerie thing that happened back in the mid 60's with my father. I had lived with my grandparents in an small town called Summit City just a few miles below Shasta Lake Dam when my father one day took me to French Gulch way way back deep into the woods North and North East of the French Gulch town.
I remember always feeling as though being watched and sometimes herd really eerie sounds. I remember the eerie sound that made this worse for me to be comfortable. I was a naturalist though and always felt drawn to the deep woods and so it was hard to keep me from it. In latter years after retiring from the U.S. Army I took a trip visiting relatives in Redding, and one evening I packed up the truck for an deep adventure back to those woods and was their mostly to get those big pine cone's with delicious pine nuts.
We left late that evening, getting their as it turned near dark and I felt my memories would help me find the places I had been as an teen with my dad and park and get some sleep and then wake up at some old cabin. It was as if I could practically reach out to the stars that clear bright night and (as well the moon was out partially) some of the ledges on those high peaks were a bit scary driving by them as it was so dark and far down I couldn’t see how far. Then after about three hours of this turn and that and many miles I had forgot to count, and my son fell asleep; I became tired and stopped.
I turned off the truck engine and left the headlights on as I saw so many pine cones about an foot or longer and I began to load a few up. I had a camper shell on the little Plymouth arrow Pickup and could lock ourselves in for the night when time came.
Before I stopped, I just happened to turn the truck around on the road as it made it easier to load some of the pine cones and as I got out beginning to loading more pine cones, that is when I heard that noise and it was very close. I was petrified at the sound as it is nothing like the elk calls that sound a bit eerie too. I began to slowly pick up a few more pine cones as these were only for decorating for our Christmas seasons and as in my childhood days, I would get the green ones that made it from last autumn and were still on the pine trees as I was still the tree climber. I had reached down to pick up the fifth pine cone and it was then I just froze up and full of panicky fear. I could hear up the side of the ledge, ridge, to my right clearly a heavy pounding of what sounded like something very large. Only two distant sounds pounding the ground and the damn thing was coming fast. I dropped the pine cones at once and ran up to the driver’s side fumbling in fear with the door trying to get in the truck. Then I started the truck up and was trying to put it into 1st gear and jammed it in just as I let out the clutch awaking my 7 year old son. I had heard the sound coming down behind the right rear of the truck just before I got the truck started. I happened to look back in the darkness behind the truck as it darted forward and in the dimness of the tail lights I seen this awful dark hairy figure standing upright behind the truck. The moon and the stars were out which helped me see this figure form as well. I had been stricken with such fear that I had never known before at this moment and nearly drove off the side of the road when my son said, “Dad, watch out !!”. I then nearly flipped the truck over, just missing a small log. I had no gun with me. I would have not feared what this was, and would have shot in the air as a warning or at it if I had to.
It was that darn eerie sound and the sound of the thing coming down the steep hillside, and at that second the issue of absolute fear of not having any defense, that got my spirit stirred. I knew for sure it wasn’t a bear, as that memory is still just as plain to see today. It took a while before my son got me to say what happened on the way back as I was barrowing down the mountain as fast as I could, and am surprised I didn’t forget each turn I had to make on the roads I chose going out on the way back.
We just pulled into French Gulch when daylight was breaking and I had to stop and sleep for an hour or so when my son woke me up whining about being hungry. I woke up a bit dazed and it came back to me what had happened and I started up the truck and headed back for Redding. My son was teasing me, “Oh dad it was probably just a bear”.
We reached Uncle Bills place on the right side of the road well before Redding where he lived on some property of his brothers wife’s Father; an Italian whom passed away. Still to this day my son teases me at his age 23.
I was a ranch care taker a few years back in Flagstaff, Arizona, and I had seen a lot of things and heard a lot of things, but nothing that could ever compare to what I experienced on that early morning above French Gulch, and I surely didn’t want to. I always carried a gun with me on that ranch just the south side of Rodgers Dry Lake even in the surrounding woods.
Their were signs posted before entering that forest North of French Gulch stating to keep out during the evening (Night) and cut firewood only during daylight hours. I hadn’t been their for so many years and wanted to experience what I remembered as an teen, but I sure wouldn’t have if I had known what I would have encountered that night.
I’m very serious, because I've studied the Sasquatch or Bigfoot ever since, and would go with someone else today and be a lot more prepared for such an venture, but never again alone like that night and without some serious protection. I have never herd of where this big beast has come up on some one like me and acting like it did, but it sure did with me.
I hope someone does get some physical evidence because I haven’t enjoyed being teased all these years; also we could put an end to the mystery of this beast. I've known what it was like to have big bears visit at night up in the high country of the Colorado Mountains, Rabbit Ear Mountain-Pass area, where I camped with wife and our first born. I’ve been around the world and seen a lot of things from the mountains in West Germany and in South Korea in the Ming Dung Mountains where the Siberian tiger still remained back in 1975. In all those years I have never had such a scare. My body and hands were trembling and I was scared down to the core of my being.
Sgt. M.L.D. Ret, U.S. Army
ALSO NOTICED: It was very secluded, and the time of month is important for the moon was half or near half. I’m not sure if the half was during the 1st week of the month, but my guess was about 2nd week. I don’t remember that well the exact date but sure enough the moon was about half that night. It’s been nearly sixteen years ago, and the memory was the moon was 1/2 or about 1/2 out and it was in June. I remember it was very early summer.
OTHER WITNESSES: As stated!
OTHER STORIES: I haven’t been back there and my uncle didn’t say nor did my father when I was little and visited that area. My father never stayed out their either after daylight hours. If anyone knew something it was kept very quiet. I would think back in them days from being misunderstood like someone seeing a U.F.O. It is the feeling I got as there were many stories that my indian grandmother told me, but I always thought she was funning around. She was half Choctaw and told me many stories even from Oklahoma. Some stories I encountered while in the army but I had thought it just someone funning around as I did years latter when I lived up in Spanaway, Washington. There were things like rumors about Sasquatch or Bigfoot, but this is all I can share that I am aware of at said time or since.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 2 A.M. Conditions included in story. It was a bit cool that night, about 65 degrees.
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest, Mountain Ridges, You may find an old Cabin way in the back country.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Richard Hucklebridge:
On the evening of April 9, 2007 this witness and I talked for well over an hour discussing his encounter. It happened above the mining area of French Gulch, California back in June of 1991. One of the reasons that M.L.D. went into this wilderness area was to try and show his son where he and his father and uncle used to go when he was his age. He never found the exact spot, but when he found the large pine cones he thought that was enough progress for that night, and he was tired as well.
He turned his pick-up truck around, leaving the lights on. He got out of his truck and opened up the camper shell door and the pick-up truck's tail gate. He began to gather up the large pine cones and put them into the back of the truck. As he was picking up the pine cones he heard the eerie screech coming from the ridge behind his truck.
He dropped the pine cones he had gathered and started to make a retreat. He then heard some loud thumping sounds that were getting louder as they approached him. They sounded like two large feet hitting the ground and as they got closer. That sound, plus the screeching sound immediately before, made him tremble with fear. He knew that it wasn’t a bear or an elk, or anything else that he knew about that lives out in that forest.
As he closed the door of his truck and started up the engine, he observed a large dark form in his rear view mirrors moving towards his truck. The figure was slightly illuminated by the truck tail lights. There was also some moonlight that helped define the figure.
He saw it for about 5 seconds. He could only see from the shoulders down to its knees. It was a an upright man-like figure. In his estimation it weighed several hundred pounds. He could see the shoulders. One of its arms hung down, and the other appeared to be moving up as the figure was moving towards the truck.
The fur seemed shaggy but the body looked very strong and muscular. He thought the hair on its chest was shorter than the hair on its arms. He recalled that the figure seemed to have a reddish tone to its fur, but he thinks that was probably the tail light's reflection. The open camper shell door shielded the tail light illuminaton from the shoulders of the figure on up.
M.L.D. is a disabled Army veteran. He was wounded in action. I thanked him for his service and sacrifices for his country. I also thanked him for the story of his encounter. This incident shook this gentleman to his core, and it still bothers him. He felt as if he was trespassing on something's protected property.
My wife and I took this same road about 12 or 15 years ago when we wanted to see some back country by going through Redding, and then up Hwy 5 to Lakehead, which is located at the north end of Shasta Lake. We decided to take this back road out of French Gulch, going north to Dog Creek Rd. and then east to Hwy. 5, and then south to Lakehead. My wife still remembers the weird wood cutting sign that M.L.D. described.
I received the following e-mail message from him on 04-10-07:
For what it's worth, I remembered another thing when I was visiting at Shasta Dam. I had spent so much time up at that dam as an teen. I remembered a few hours later after speaking with you when I visited the dam I went inside with my son and signed the visitors book. This accounted for my presence in the Redding area for that time period for the year and month and day Jun/1991 approximately 12-15 June and the trip to French Gulch was at least 2 days after the visit to Shasta Dam!!
All my son can account for was the situation as he woke up and saw me driving and very scared. He remembers how scared I was, and remembers me talking about it once in a while. He was so little back then and it was hard to explain at his age what it was that I had seen. He did hear the conversation with his great Uncle Bill, and his Uncle Bill teasing me. But even Uncle Bill declined to go back up their with me when I teased him back. He was a Bronze star war hero that saved many lives in some of the famous battles in the Korean war. He's got two Purple Hearts but he got pretty jittery about going up their to French Gulch area!! He wouldn’t have any part of it!! It is hard when one does not know what they are up against -- the unknown. When this happened to me that night it was the unknown what I was faced with.
My first experience with serious fear was in South Korea in Aug 76, when we nearly went to war when the tree was cut down at Panmunjon at the38th parallel (D.M.Z.) I saw at age 19 what near war was like for the first time and was placed on an motor gun I had no training on. I had wanted so dearly an M-60 machine gun I knew 100% how to fight with. Good thing all cooled off in a couple of weeks!! At least some of what I was up against I knew how to face. When the Iranian crisis happened I was in the Mohave Desert training Nov 79 to Dec 79 and well trained to go to battle. Yet when we loaded up on the C-130's and we were on our way we all sweated some fear of the unknown. Yet we were aware what we were about to face, in some ways. When the incident happened that night above French Gulch I felt a fear that shook me to the core. It is difficult to convey that kind of fear. I was caught totally unawares, and didn't know what this thing was, or what action I could take. I feel I did the best thing I could do given the situation.
One thing, I just may have shot a warning shot in the air as I had learned as a soldier to do. If that didn’t work I would have chosen to skedaddle anyway. Only when faced with what one can see can one choose to point the gun and shoot or not shoot!! If I can remember anything else I'll let you know.
M.L.D. Retired, U.S. Army Sergeant.
[Graphic below added by editor MM -- Please wait for it to load -- Frame from Google Earth showing location French Gulch area with respect to Mount Shasta , Lake Shasta, Whiskeytown Lake, etc.]
Additional information received on July 4, 2007:
"I was viewing your web site last night, and realized that your Case # 18298, submitted by M.L.D. on Monday, March 19, 2007 was very similar to what happened to me on three occasions.
# 1 ) July 9, 1983 a few miles north of French Gulch on Shasta County Road 106 ; 2:20 p.m., bright sunshine, very hot summer day with no wind or cloud cover, terrain is mountainous with large areas of heavy brush and large pine and fir trees, creek on east side of road.
Stopped to take some pictures of old rusty logging and mining equipment along side of road. After being there for about 30 minutes, started to hear strange sounds coming from a heavily wood area about 150 feet away. Over the next hour this escalated into very loud hoots and screams, tree limbs breaking, and rocks being thrown.
The sounds at first seemed to come from one location, BUT, later started coming from the opposite direction also. At that point I figured it was best to leave
# 2 ) July 11, 1983 North of French Gulch on Shasta County Road # 106 also called “Trinity Mountain Road” a place marked “Cosy Dell “on the map. 6 p.m., bright sunshine, very hot with no wind or cloud cover. Terrain is mountainous with heavy brush and large trees.
Found a wide spot to pull off the road and parked to take pictures and observe what was happening. When I first stopped there was all kind of sounds from birds, frogs, crickets, that only lasted for 15 to 20 minutes, then it was completely silent, not a sound.
Followed by loud crashing sounds, like something was running through the timber at a high rate of speed breaking tree limbs. This was followed by about 45 minutes of dead silent, and then all hell broke loose, rocks and pine cones were being thrown in my direction, loud screams coming from 3 or 4 different locations,
I left after about ten minutes when a rock the size of a dinner plate (about 10”) hit the passenger side window of my two month old Chevy pickup truck.
# 3 ) July 14, 1983 About 10 a.m. Location marked on map as “Mad Cow Mountain “. It is located west –northwest from Lakehead, CA on the north end of Shasta Lake on Interstate # 5.
This area is almost on the Shasta-Trinity County line.
To access the area you leave Interstate # 5 at Vollmers and take the Dog Creek Road west.
Bright sunshine, very hot, no wind or cloud cover. Terrain is very mountainous with heavy brush and areas of large timber.
Arrived at area on the north side of Mad Cow Mountain, not much here other than heavy brush, some areas of large timber, lots old logging skid trails.
After about an hour without anything happening, I started to leave when sounds started coming from some heavy timber up hill from where I was. It sounded like two creatures running down hill in my direction, it was crash, crash, crash as they broke tree limbs on there way.
After all that noise it became dead quite for 20 minutes or more, I had the feeling that I was not alone, that something was watching me. What followed was pure hell for the next 15 minutes,
Rocks, pine cones, tree limbs and clumps of brush with dirt still around the roots was being thrown toward the pickup truck,
I began to think I had better get out of here, when everything stopped, not a sound, that lasted about 20 to 30 minutes then I started to here low grunts ( pig like sounds) followed by some very high pitched screams, then the sound of two heavy footed creatures leaving, going back up the north side of Mad Cow Mountain.
At this point I was relived and puzzled by what had happened in the last couple hours, since everything seemed to be quite, I decided to break out lunch and see what happened.
At about 4 p.m, six hours after I first arrived at this location, I heard calls and hoots coming from the north side of the mountain, followed by the same sounds coming from other directions.
A few minute before 6 p.m... nothing happening, was getting ready to leave, when something very heavy landing in the bed of my pickup truck, it was a large clump of brush with a large amount of dirt around the roots,
After that I decided to not play this game with creatures that are two to three times bigger then I am, so I made a graceful retreat.
My reason for being at those locationsm because a very elderly ( middle 90’s ) Native American who lived in Yreka, CA told me about the above areas and said that he lived there when he was in his teens and early 20’s.
Told about seeing Bigfoots on many occasions and even interacting with Bigfoots of his own age. He spoke of the Bigfoot in the same terms as he described his early years, “They where there …just part of it “.
He described locations where he knew Bigfoots were living and what to expect if you “Trespassed on their lands “
I have lived in Siskiyou County since the late 1950’s, owned and operated cattle ranches for over 40 years, hunted and fished most of the wild areas in the north end of California, Southern Oregon,
Including the Marble Mountains, Red Buttes, Siskiyou, Mt Shasta, Russian, and Trinity Alps Wilderness Areas.
When I first moved to Siskiyou County I didn’t believe in all those tall tales about Bigfoot told to me by old time cattle ranchers who have lived here there whole life.
BUT, after many hunting and fishing trips into the back country made me start to realize that what I had seen, heard and smelled were not tall tales but the real thing. A very large creature that walked up right on two legs, very long arms that are massive in size and strength , shy at times, aggressive if you trespass on it’s area.