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COUNTY: Del Norte County
LOCATION DETAILS: Near Patrick Creek
NEAREST TOWN: Gasquet
NEAREST ROAD: U.S. Route 199 (Redwood Hwy)
OBSERVED: I think it was early September of 1997 when I received an email from Matt Moneymaker asking if I would be interested in investigating a possible recent “bigfoot hotspot” in northern California. I was living and working in southern California at the time so it would require some persuasive reasons for me to consider it. Matt provided them.
Basically, an active LEO (law enforcement officer) had reached out to Matt claiming he had repeatedly heard powerful vocalizations between two creatures around his remote getaway cabin during the month of August. I didn’t personally interview this person, who I’ll refer to as John, but Matt had interviewed him, and I trusted that Matt wouldn’t ask me to check it out if he didn’t think it was worth the effort. So, I made arrangements and prepared for a one to two-week expedition to northern California.
As I drove north, Matt worked on creating a DVD with the cleaned-up audio of a howl he had previously recorded in Ohio. The plan was for John and me to play Matt’s audio DVD from the cabin in hopes of attracting the curiosity of the two creatures that were making the vocalizations and possibly still living around John’s cabin.
Shortly after I arrived in NorCal, John and I received Matt’s DVD in the mail. I purchased a DVD player and John dug up a big speaker. John invited his significant other over for our first evening of “call blasting”. We set up the DVD player and the speaker on a table in front of the big living room wide open bay window that overlooked a little valley in the middle of some rugged terrain.
The living room lights were on as we talked about the possibilities of a response. If my memory serves me correctly, we started blasting out the howl about every 15 minutes starting at about 9pm-ish. About an hour after we started, maybe four call blasts later, as we listened for a distant response, we all heard a strong whistle come from directly in front of the bay window we were all standing by. My initial thought considered the power behind the whistle and how close it was. We all looked at each other with “saucer eyes” when I exclaimed, “that’s a Squatch!”. John’s significant other then blurted out “turn out the lights!” John turned off the lights and then we all listened and waited… and waited and listened… and listened and waited. Long story short, that was all there was that night. Our excitement faded and we all went to bed.
Very early the next morning, John and his significant other headed back to the coast so John could get to work on time. I was left in the cabin to think about what had happened and what I was going to do next. I started by digging some gear out of my SUV. I had purchased a Sony Hi8 video recorder and ITT Night Vision attachment recently and started preparing it for some night work. At the time, it was a pretty hi-tech piece of gear. I put a piece of black electrical tape over the “On” indicator light and then loaded and tested it. Then, when it was fully light out, I walked around the cabin looking for signs of large visitors. This was typical forest so the chances of finding anything of value was not too good. Hair was high on my list to find but I didn’t find any.
As I made my way around the cabin looking for signs, an idea popped into my head – foxhole! I was betting we would get another visit in the coming evening and I wanted to be in a position to catch the event on video. I considered a likely avenue of approach, terrain, angles and all those kinds of things before I started digging. The place I picked was across and slightly up the little dirt road that passed by the front of the cabin. I didn’t dig that deep and cut in a little seat that, when I was in seated, would put my eyeballs right at ground level.
When John arrived at the cabin that evening, I went over the plan with him. He would blast out the calls while I sat motionless in my foxhole; something I was very familiar with having spent countless hours on ambush and in a foxhole while in the military. Rule number one while in an ambush position is – DON’T MOVE! John liked the plan and offered to blast out the calls from his upstairs bedroom window where he could go to sleep when the urge hit him. He had to get up early again the next morning for the drive back to the coast and another day of work.
As day turned to night, I went to the foxhole dressed for a motionless night of cold and John started blasting out calls about every fifteen minutes from his upstairs bedroom window. It sounded loud and pretty cool from where I was sitting. And again, if my memory serves me well, it was only about an hour and a half, plus or minus, minutes later when the call blasts stopped, and the snoring started. With no other noise in the silent forest, John’s snoring sounded surprisingly loud.
As I sat in my foxhole waiting and listening, a fox walked by on the dirt road not more than about eight feet from my eyeballs. Which, by the way was the only thing I had moved since taking up position in the foxhole. My eyes shifted from side to side with only slight and very slow head movements from side to side to widen my view. The fox sauntered by and never even acknowledged my presence. No, I didn’t make that up to embellish this account – it happened just that way. In fact, we put out food for the fox, cabbage I think it was, a few nights later when the Squatch activity died down. A couple of adults with some young ones, I think. We watched and listened as they ate together. Hearing wild foxes feed at the same food pile is a sound I’ll never forget. It sounded vicious.
I don’t recall the exact time, but it seemed like I had been in the foxhole for a few hours when I started seeing what looked like faint eyeshine on my right, the opposite direction from the cabin. My first thought was that I might be seeing a couple of stars through small openings in the overhead canopy of the dense forest. The terrain fell away into another valley on my right so the angles could be about right for that. I did occasionally see what I’m sure were stars through the canopy but there were times where the level and location just didn’t seem to add up to be stars. And I don’t recall the phase of the moon but there was some light for sure. The fox that walked by me was fairly easy to see. My memory of the details of this part is fading as the years go by, but I remember thinking that I was leaning towards thinking it was very faint eyeshine based on intervals and shifting positions.
As I sat in the foxhole with the turned on and blacked out night vision video camera on my lap, I listened and waited. John had stopped snoring by this time and the night was still and very quiet when suddenly, coming from my left and down the dirt road past the cabin, I heard, what I can only describe as, a moving, powerful, loud, shrill and “crazy whistle”. It sounded like it was going to pass right in front of the cabin and into the view of me and my camera. I raised the camera and leaned slightly forward to get the camera up to my eye and around a small piece of foliage on the left side of the foxhole. This all happened in about one to two seconds. As I started bringing the camera up to my face, I remember thinking “I’m about to get the money shot!”. At the same time, I heard a powerful “male” whistle come from the other side of the little dirt road directly in front of me. It sounded like the source was not more than twenty to thirty feet away! The “crazy whistle” coming from the direction of the cabin stopped immediately. The moment I started filming the front of the cabin is the same moment I realized that the event was already over. It ended as fast as it started thanks to the signaling whistle from the one providing overwatch directly across the road from me. My guess is that the male provided overwatch while the female queried the cabin for a response from one of their kind. I listened and peered into the dark spaces of the forest hoping for some more audio or visual information, but it never came. I didn’t hear or see a thing for the next couple of hours, so I left the foxhole and headed for the cabin and a couple of hours sleep before John left for work.
John left early the next morning and, as he pulled away, I went to my SUV to get something. I don’t recall what it was now. I opened the car door and the light came on. It was still really dark out, and the forest was ink black outside of the car light I was bathed in. As I leaned in to get whatever it was that I was after, I heard a very distinct, clear and close chirping whistle directly behind me. It could not have been more than twenty to thirty feet away again. I turned and strained to see something, and, without too much hesitation, I responded with my best impression of the three-chirp whistle I had just heard. I got a chirping response and answered again with my chirping whistle. We did this back and forth four or five times and then it stopped responding. I listened intently for about five minutes but didn’t hear any movement in the bushes, so I finished getting what I was getting, closed the car door, and headed back to the cabin.
The nights were cold, and, thankfully, rain had not been an issue so far. I checked the weather forecast every day and on this third day, the forecast was for a dry and very cold night. My foxhole was now known to them, so I decided to just sit on the porch and wait, listen and watch for visitors that night. So, when John arrived at the cabin that evening, he went to his upstairs bedroom to blast calls and I sat outside on the porch by the front door with the video recorder at the ready in my lap. I was hoping to enjoy a little heat emanating from inside the cabin, but I didn’t get any. The porch was on the left side of the cabin giving me a view of the left half of the cabin road and clear line of sight to the foxhole I had spent most of the previous night in.
As I recall, John only blasted out the call a couple of times before he fell asleep on the third night. Sometime around midnight I started hearing the faint sounds of a chirping whistle. I strained to listen for direction and distance. Direction was to the front right of the cabin and distance was hard to tell but I guessed it was probably coming from at least a couple hundred yards away. I listened intently as the whistles grew louder. The chirping whistles came in pairs and the pairs were spaced about five minutes apart. The pair of whistles were the same type of whistle, but there was a difference in the tone of the two whistles. It most definitely sounded to me like one was masculine and the other was feminine. Each chirping whistle consisted of three chirps. The first two were the same and the third kind of “tailed off”.
The whistles grew louder as the pair made their way towards the cabin. I would hear what sounded like the masculine whistle first followed immediately by what sounded like the feminine whistle a short distance away and to the side. I would guess they were about a hundred yards apart from each other the whole way. About five minutes would go by where I would hear nothing and then, slightly louder, I would hear the pair of whistles again. This went on for about an hour and a half or so as I sat their thinking wow, that’s the same thing we did in the military while conducting nighttime reconnaissance patrols. Some units used clickers and some used bird like whistles to communicate and maintain distance between individual team members. But the pattern of their whistles was so regular and obvious that I couldn’t help but consider that they wanted me to know they were on their way. They had been so completely stealthy on the first two nights and now they were telegraphing their approach to then cabin. But why?
The whistles eventually got relatively close to the cabin. I guessed they were about fifty yards away when the back and forth chirping stopped completely. Based on what I thought went down the night before, I guessed they stopped whistling when they started performing a 360 degree check around the cabin to see what sneaky surprises might be in store for them. As I sat there on the porch listening and watching, I was pretty sure they were circling the cabin and would very soon know right where I was.
I didn’t hear or see a thing for about forty-five minutes. And then the completely silent night was interrupted when, from across the little dirt road in front of the cabin, I could easily hear what sounded like a cow walking through the trees and brush. It was about as loud and un-stealthy as an animal in the woods can be. The noise started and stopped within about a fifteen second time frame and moved from my right to left. And then everything went quiet again. As I watched, listened and waited for something else to happen, I realized that the noise had stopped directly behind my foxhole. The noise maker was in a position that provided a perfectly clear view of me sitting in the darkness on the porch. The distance between us was about fifty feet. Here is another one of those “I have to consider” moments when I asked myself “did they just turn the tables on me?” And once again, I didn’t see or hear anything for the next couple of hours. The events of that night were over.
That’s really all that is worth mentioning from this two-week expedition. My take-aways were improved understandings of their stealth, intelligence, sense of play, teamwork, tactics and communication. And, no, I don’t recall any foul odors.
OTHER WITNESSES: Three on the first night including myself. We were call blasting.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Mostly 10pm to 5am in a cold, mostly overcast and thick forest environment.
ENVIRONMENT: The usual flora and fauna that is found in a place like Six Rivers National Forest. Rugged terrain and lots of trees and undergrowth.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Matthew Moneymaker:
About BFRO Investigator Matthew Moneymaker:
Matthew Moneymaker is originally from the Los Feliz District of Los Angeles, California.
- Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
- Founder of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization,1995.
- Writer and co-producer of the Discovery Channel documentary "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science", 2001.
- Co-producer of the TV Series "Mysterious Encounters" for the Outdoor Life Network (OLN Channel), 2002.
- Producer of the "2003 International Bigfoot Symposium" (Willow Creek Symposium) DVD set, 2004.
- Co-host of "Finding Bigfoot" on Animal Planet Channel, 2010 - 2017.
- Current Director of the BFRO