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Geographical Index > United States > Washington > Lewis County > Report # 12523
Report # 12523  (Class B)
Submitted by witness on Monday, September 5, 2005.
Campers hear possible vocalizations in Gifford Pinchot NF, near Tarbell Trail

YEAR: 2005

SEASON: Summer

MONTH: September


STATE: Washington

COUNTY: Lewis County

LOCATION DETAILS: [Information removed at request of witness.]

NEAREST TOWN: Battleground (I think)

NEAREST ROAD: Sunset Falls

OBSERVED: Labor Day, 2005, late, late Sunday evening or very early Monday morning. We were camping on the edge of Gifford Pinchot National Forest where some friends keep there horses tied up to ride the Tarbell Trail. I am uncertain of the exact location but could find out if you need me to.

There are about 6 campsites and there were about 10 horses with us. We left to go on a night hike and followed a trail down the river, very far down the river where we found a great dark spot in thick foliage to sit and have a beer and watch the stars and throw rocks into the river. As we were leaving we could here what sounded like something following us. We all had lights but could not see anything at all. When we made it back to camp we sat in a nearby clearing and watched the stars some more.

The ladies who were at the camp reported someone throwing rocks near them and could here brush being moved around. They ignored it thinking that it was just us guys playing around. We headed back to the tents around 1am and went to bed. Before any of us were asleep that night we heard a screech or scream a few times. We all heard it. Later that morning around 3am we heard it again and it sounded farther off. All of this sounded as if it were coming from the area were we were by the river that night.

Before the sunrise that morning my girlfriend was awoken by a growl that sounded very close to the tent.

I just made it home from our trip and listened to the recordings on your site and I can tell you what we heard was the same sound you have on your recordings. I have always belived that they existed however, I will be thinking twice about midnight hikes around Gifford Pinchot from now on. I have heard and read many similar stories and always joked about it. "Hey! Maybe this time we will see the sasquatch, har har har..." Well we got to hear it and it was freaky. Keep up the great site, I will now be visiting it on a regular basis. Take care.



3 on the hike and 4 in the tent that heard the noises and two that heard the growl.


TIME AND CONDITIONS: Between 1am and 3am

ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest with a nearby creek or river.

Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator John G. Callender:

The witness's first encounter occurred near one of the tributaries that feeds the Lewis River. He and some friends hiked into the area on a game trail after midnight. They then followed the trail along the river until it reached an area where the river forked. At this point they were approximately 2 miles from camp. They carried no lights except for head lamps. One of the men in the group had a slingshot, so they used that to shoot rocks into the river.

Not long after they had been shooting rocks into the river, a member of the group said he felt “an unusual vibration in the ground.” The vibration was not an earthquake and it was unusual enough that he became frightened and wanted return to camp.

As they hiked back to camp, the witness said the vibrations continued and the vibrations seemed to follow them for “a while.”

When they got back to camp, their girlfriends asked if they had been throwing rocks into the camp. The women said the rock throwing occurred not long before the men returned to camp, yet the witness said that to his knowledge nobody in the group threw rocks anywhere near the camp. The wind was behind them as they hiked back and he said they were downwind of the area from which the women said the rocks had come. Nobody in either group smelled anything out of the ordinary.

The witness said the vocalization was high-pitched and comparable in some ways to a cougar, but distinct. I asked him if it reminded him of a woman screaming and he replied that’s what it sounded like.

The witnesses heard the vocalization twice. It was 3 to 4 seconds the first time and “a little bit longer,” the second time. He is insistent that it was not a cougar or a coyote. He says he has heard cougars, as well as “lions [cougars] in heat,” and he’s certain that the two sounds he heard were not cougar. I asked him if the noises he heard could have been two animals answering each other. His impression was that the vocalizations were from the same animal both times.

A similar vocalization woke his girlfriend around 5 in the morning. She said the vocalizations seemed to be “very close.” She was the only one who heard this set of vocalizations as everyone else in the group was sound asleep.

The witness closed by saying, “I know what I heard that night and I’m not crazy.” He said when the group got home after camping they found the BFRO web site. When they listenned to the various recordings in the Recording Section (click here), his and his girlfriend’s hair “stood on end.”

About BFRO Investigator John G. Callender:

John Callender hails from Mississippi where he received a BA degree in Accounting from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). He spent 26 years in the Seattle area flying for a major airline before retiring and relocating to Middle Tennessee in 2017. John quickly found that he missed flying and he’s now on his second career as a pilot for a major airline. He has done extensive field work in the Pacific Northwest, as well as Mississippi and he has attended the following expeditions: WA - Oly Pen (Aug. '04); New Mexico (Jicarilla Apache SEP '04); WA - Oly Pen (October '04); CA - Redwoods (May '05); WA -Oly Pen -3, (AUG '05 ); WA Cascades Expedition (AUG '06); Central Oregon Expedition (JUNE '07), BC, Vancouver Island Expedition (SEPT 2007), WA Cascades Expedition (June '09), 2009 Washington Olympic Peninsula Expedition.