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Geographical Index > United States > Washington > Yakima County > Article # 205

Media Article # 205
Article submitted by Richard Noll

Thursday, July 15, 1976

Man, Beast or Space Being : BIGFOOT

By J. Gosney D. Grover
Beyond Reality


Three shaken Tacoma youths, bear hunting south of Rimrock Lake Wednesday evening believe they saw a creature resembling a Sasquatch.

The youth's report, related to Yakima County sheriff's deputy Larry Gamache hours after the reported sighting, led Gamache to believe they had, indeed, seen "something" similar to the legendary "Bigfoot".

Gamache said the three youths, Tom V. Gerstmar, 17; Earl Thomas, 18; and Jerry Lazzar, 16 were camped at Section 3 Lake on Pinegrass Ridge approximately 20 miles south of Rimrock Lake off the South Fork of the Tieton River.

While bear hunting in the area, the trio heard noises about dusk and began to hike back to their camp. Feeling they were being followed, they shined their flashlight back up the trail but could not see anything.

Upon reaching their camp, about 9 P.M., the youths built a fire. More noises were heard and Thomas shined his flashlight in the general directions of the sounds.

Across a nearby small pond, Thomas spotted greenish-yellow eyes, eyes also seen by Gerstmar. The youths returned to camp and talked the matter over.

Finally, Gerstmar returned to the pond and again turned on the light. This time he saw "what went with the eyes," Gamache's report read. All three boys looked the creature over in the flashlight beam.

The youths all gave the same description:

The animal was between eight and nine feet tall, with black hair and human features. All agreed it stood extremely upright, and shied away from the light.

At that point, the boys decided to fire their rifles to frighten the creature. After they fired seven shots from two large-caliber rifles, the creature moved off a little, but remained close. When the youths shined the flashlight on it, the creatures growled, then screamed at them.

Frightened, the boys abandoned their tent and supplies and fled toward Trout Lodge. Gerstmar reported he nearly wrecked his jeep in his haste to get away. They telephoned the sheriff's office from the Lodge.

Gamache interviewed the youths at his home on White Pass shortly afterward and reported he believed the three had definitely "seen something."

Gamache, another deputy and Washington Game Department agent Larry Konen, went to the camp Thursday and searched for what the boys may have seen. The trio found no evidence of "Bigfoot," and the camp was undisturbed.

The search for "Bigfoot," also known as "Sasquatch," has been going on for several years.

The late Roger Patterson, a former Yakima resident, reported a sighting in Northern California in October 1967 and took about 10 feet of 8mm film of a purported "Bigfoot."

Although widely criticized, the film showed a black-haired creature, apparently female, walking away from a creek bank, turning back once to gaze at the camera.

Footprints and other evidence have piqued additional interest since Patterson's film, and several books and research projects have resulted. (SOURCE: Yakima, Washington Herald - Republic October 3, 1975).

What follows is the transcript of a taped interview with Earl Thomas, 18, one of three witnesses to an alleged "Bigfoot" sighting on October 1, 1975 at Section 3 Lake on Pinegrass Ridge approximately 20 miles south of Rimrock Lake, Washington. The interview was conducted by Dick Grover on October 15, 1975 at the Thomas's residence in Tacoma. Mr. Grover is the director of Project Discovery A Washington State based group involved in Bigfoot investigations.

GROVER: Could you relive the experience and tell us just what happened?

THOMAS: We started up a hill and Tom was on the trail ahead of us. He was about 25 to 50 yards in front of us when something went up these rocks in front of us. It went up so fast that you couldn't even see it. If it was a bear... a bear wouldn't go that fast.

GROVER: Was this at night?

THOMAS: No, this was during the daytime. We all sat down to rest and smoke a cigarette, then we started back down the trail, near dark. We kept noticing that something was following us. We kept hearing these noises, like twigs breaking and brush crackling. Tom shined the light back and there wasn't a thing back there. We kept walking and walking and I just kept hearing this. I had the feeling that there was something following us and I felt sure there was. So we got down to camp and got back to the jeep and started to light a fire. When I started to chop some wood we heard a noise and shined the light across the pond and saw those yellowish-green eyes. It was enough to kind of scare a guy.

GROVER: How far apart were they?

THOMAS: About like ours.

GROVER: Were they closer or wider apart than ours?

THOMAS: I'm not really too sure for it was a long ways. Like a guy asked us how tall it was. What do they expect us to do? Go up and measure it or something?

So I yelled to Tom and he shined the light again and he seen the same thing, the eyes. He went and sat back down and I put some more wood on the fire. If you go up there you can see where I cut up a bunch of wood off this log. Tom got back up and shined the light and we seen the whole body.

GROVER: In the light?

THOMAS: Yes. The we realized what we saw, it turned its head and that was enough to scare us right there. We wouldn't want to say paranoid, yet we started getting our gear and started to take off. Junior (i.e. Jerry Lazzar, 16. Editor) started getting the sleeping bags and lantern and just when junior started back out of the tent the thing screamed. We just grabbed our things that were close by and took off. Before that Tom fired seven times.

GROVER: It screamed when you shined the light on it?


GROVER: Did it scream when you were in the tent fooling around or when?

THOMAS: No. Me and Tom weren't in the tent. Junior was in the tent. We were prepared to shoot if it would have came at us.

GROVER: What do you think caused it to scream then?

THOMAS: Well we had some meat sitting there on the table. That could have been it. The next day when the sheriff went up there the meat was gone, so something ate off it.

GROVER: The bone was in the same place on the table?

THOMAS: No, it was down on the ground. Although, it could have been a squirrel... I'm not sure. We didn't go back up that night, we were scared to go back that night. All I know is I won't sleep out in a tent again.

(Moments later Dick Grover asked Earl Thomas to elucidate on the features of the "creature.")

GROVER: Maybe you can describe to us what it looked like.

THOMAS: It was about 8, 9, or 10 feet tall, it was big, it was dark out, this thing was dark and furry.

EDITORS NOTE: Apparently, the estimate of size was based on a visual comparison between the "creature" and nearby tree limbs.

GROVER: What did the head look like?

THOMAS: Like I said, it was like ours.

GROVER: Did it have a neck that was stretched out?

THOMAS: No, not really.

GROVER: Did it have a head that was sitting down on the shoulders or did it look like ours?

THOMAS: It was like ours, only bigger, thick.

GROVER: Could you see the hands at all?

THOMAS: No. They were hanging down at its side... very long arms.

GROVER: Did you shine the light up and down the creature as you seen it?

THOMAS: When you shined the light it would show up the whole creature in the light.

GROVER: It was a real bright light then?

THOMAS: Yes, that's why we took it with us.

GROVER: What was the head shaped like?

THOMAS: Like I said it was shaped like ours.

GROVER: Did it have any features about the top that you noticed particularly?

THOMAS: I didn't notice too much. (laughter)

GROVER: About how far away do you think it was?

THOMAS: About 100 yards. Also the day we went up there we found birds all torn up and entrails in the lake like something was feeding there. The Deputy Sheriff that helped investigate said he didn't doubt this story too much, for he seen one too, standing on the side of a road a while back.

GROVER: You said the eyes were greenish-yellow?

THOMAS: Yes, they were glowing in the light, just like the eyes of a deer or elk would reflect.

EDITORS NOTE: It appears that this "glowing" effect maybe attributed to the tapetum membrane as in cats. I make this point to differentiate this case from other reports of "creatures" reported to have eyes that glow internally.

GROVER: When you took the light off there was nothing there?

THOMAS: Yes, there was nothing there.

GROVER: How many times did you shine the light on it?

THOMAS: I think it was two or three times. Then later we turned the jeep headlights on and it wasn't there. One thing we noticed when the creatures screamed, it sounded like it was all over us. That is when we decided to leave.

The witness, Earl Thomas, also mentioned having smelled a strong odor during certain phases of their "Bigfoot" experience. According to Thomas, just before they 'split the scene of the encounter, they began to smell a very bad odor which Thomas described as smelling like "rotten loggers sox," whatever that is. When they returned the next day with the deputy sheriff, the odor permeated the area.


As soon as this report reached me, I made arrangements to visit the area where the alleged sighting took place.

Upon arriving at the Rimrock Lake region, we made contact with a deputy sheriff who was not only kind enough to let us interview him about the case but also showed me a very easy trail into the region.

When I arrived at the area where the boys camped, I immediately set about to gather data. I found the area that looked like something had been digging in search of roots. I also found the mutilated birds and indentations in the area that looked like tracks. These "indentations" were not castable because of the gooey type of mud, very soft, due to the rains that we had had. Too, there was much disturbance of the general ground area as elk had moved through leaving many of its own tracks besides disturbing the surrounding ground area.

Nothing further was found.

Upon leaving the scene of the "experience" on the night in question, Earl Thomas said they almost lost their jeep over a cliff. I saw the cliff. If the boys had gone over that cliff, it appears unlikely that they would have survived. I estimate the drop at about a hundred and fifty yards to the bottom.

Bibliographical Information:

This article first published by PHENOMENA RESEARCH REPORT CENTER. The Center would like to hear from anyone wishing to make a report... Mr. Robert Gribble...Seattle.


Project Discovery was formed in January 1973 by Dick Grover. Mr. Grover has had 7 years of experience in the investigation and study of Bigfoot reports. The goals of Project Discovery are:

1. To solve the mystery of the Bigfoot or Sasquatch for the benifit of man.

2. To bring together as a powerful force, investigators and people who wish to specialize in solving the mystery without any thought of monetary gain.

3. To coordinate and deseminate information for the people at large.

4. To develop a mutual trust between active people in the group and those living in Bigfoot regions.

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