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Vermont National Guard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vermont National Guard
(Green Mountain Boys)
Flag of the Vermont Republic.svg
The Flag of the Green Mountain Boys, predating the Vermont Republic, is still used by the Vermont National Guard
Active1764–1814 (the Green Mountain Boys)
Army Guard: 1860s, 1898, 1917–1918, 1923–present
Air Guard: 1946–present
Country United States
Allegiance State of Vermont
TypeNational Guard
SizeApproximately 4,000 (3,000 Army, 1,000 Air)
Part ofJoint Force Headquarters – Vermont
86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain)
124th Infantry Regiment (Regional Training Institute)
Vermont National Guard Garrison Support Command
158th Fighter Wing
Nickname(s)The Green Mountain Boys
ColorsGreen, gold and blue
EngagementsGettysburg, St. Albans
Gregory C. Knight (Since March, 2019)
Isaac Fletcher (1824–1825)
Peter T. Washburn (1861–1866)
William Wells (1866–1872)
Theodore S. Peck (1881–1901)
Donald E. Edwards (1981–1997)
Martha Rainville (1997–2006)
Michael Dubie (2006–2012)
Thomas E. Drew (2012–2013)

The Vermont National Guard is composed of the Vermont Army National Guard and the Vermont Air National Guard. Together, they are collectively known as the Green Mountain Boys, despite the inclusion of women in both branches since the mid-twentieth century. Both units use the original Revolutionary War-era Flag of the Green Mountain Boys as their banner. Their strength in 2009 was 2,660.[1]

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Welcome to “Weird Darkness” I’m your creator and host, Darren Marlar. This episode is a collaboration with my friends and Haunting Stories. I’ll be telling you about Bigfoot – and over at Haunting Stories they’ve posted another video, with me narrating a continuation of this regarding the Minnesota Iceman! Be sure to check out their video right after you watch this one! This is Weird Darkness – where you’ll find creepypastas, ghost stories, unsolved mysteries, crytptids like Bigfoot, and other stories of the strange and bizarre. Feel free to share your own creepy story at, I might use it in a future episode! Now.. sit back, turn down the lights, and come with me into the Weird Darkness! It all started with a bunch of footprints at a construction site. Or at least the modern-day fascination with “Bigfoot” did. Stories of hairy giants in the woods and wandering “wild men” had been a part of American lore for nearly two centuries by the time the nickname “Bigfoot” was coined in the late 1950s. But it was then, with the advent of television and the modern media, that chasing down giants in the woods became a national craze. It was the spring of 1957 and a road construction project was underway near Bluff Creek in northern California. The project was run by a contractor named Ray Wallace and his brother, Wilbur. They hired thirty men that summer to work on the project and by late in the season, Wilbur Wallace reported that something had been throwing around some metal oil drums at the work site. When winter arrived that year, cold weather brought the work to a halt, even though only ten miles of road had been completed. In early spring 1958, some odd tracks were discovered near the Mad River close to Korbel, California. Some of the locals believed they were bear tracks. As it happened, this was close to another work site that was managed by the Wallace brothers. Later on that spring, work started up again on the road near Bluff Creek. A number of new men were hired, including Jerry Crew, who drove more than two hours each weekend so he could be home with his family. Ten more miles of road were constructed, angling up across the face of a nearby mountain. On August 3, 1958, Wilbur Wallace stated that something threw a seven-hundred-pound spare tire to the bottom of a deep gully near the work site. This incident was reported later in the month, after the discovery of the footprints. On August 27, Jerry Crew arrived for work early in the morning and found giant, manlike footprints pressed into the dirt all around his bulldozer. He was at first upset by the discovery, thinking that someone was playing a practical joke on him, but then he decided to report what he found to Wilbur Wallace. At this point, the footprints had not been made public. That occurred on September 21, when Mrs. Jess Bemis, the wife of one of the Bluff Creek work crew, wrote a letter to Andrew Genzoli, the editor of a local newspaper. Genzoli published her husband's "Big Foot" story and caught the attention of others in the area. One of these was Betty Allen, a newspaper reporter who suggested in a late September column that plaster casts should be made of the footprints. She had already talked to local Native Americans and interviewed residents about hairy giants in the area. She convinced Genzoli to run other stories and letters about Bigfoot. This would be the beginning of a story that would capture the imagination of America. On October 1 and 2, Jerry Crew discovered more tracks, very similar to the first ones. In response to the new discovery, two workers quit and Wilbur Wallace allegedly introduced his brother Ray to the situation for the first time, bringing him out to show him the tracks. On the day after the last tracks were found, Jerry Crew made plaster casts of the footprints, with help from his friend Bob Titmus and reporter Betty Allen. He was irritated that people were making fun of him and wanted to offer the casts as evidence that he wasn’t making the whole thing up. On October 5, Andrew Genzoli published his now-famous story about "Bigfoot." It was picked up worldwide by the wire services, and soon the term was being used in general conversation. In 1959, famous zoologist Ivan T. Sanderson was touring the country for a planned book on ecology and used the time to also do some investigative work on unexplained phenomena. He had long been interested in the Yeti creatures of Asia and decided to stop off in Bluff Creek for a look at the site involved in Jerry Crew’s accounts. He stayed at a local hotel for a little over a week, looking at files provided by Betty Allen and talking to witnesses from the area. When he left, he was supposed to make some candid assessments about the incidents to Tom Slick, a Texas millionaire who had funded some on-site investigation into the Bigfoot encounters, as well as a search for the Yeti in Nepal. When the report was made, though, what he called "various small items in the past" were left out. Sanderson was impressed by many of the people that he met, including Betty Allen and Jerry Crew, but he had some reservations about others -- especially Ray Wallace. It’s likely that he had good reasons for those reservations. When Ray Wallace died in November 2002, newspapers across America ran stories that featured three words: “Bigfoot is dead!” When Wallace passed away, his son, Michael, told the Seattle Times that his father had been "Bigfoot" all along, and that the "reality is, Bigfoot just died." Needless to say, the media -- and those skeptical of the idea that a creature like Bigfoot could even exist -- went wild. Many hastily written stories followed that declared that Wallace, using a pair of crudely carved wooden feet, made phony tracks all over the Pacific Northwest, and that his wife had donned a monkey suit and helped to hoax a controversial film that many respected researchers believe shows an authentic Bigfoot. The answer as to whether or not enormous, hairy, human-like creatures could be lurking in the woods and remote regions of the American continent had just been answered. There is no Bigfoot, the newspapers said; it had been a hoax all along. But had it really? For many, Ray Wallace was the father of modern Bigfoot stories, but what happened at a construction site where he was a contractor was actually a minor event involving some mysterious footprints. The incident occurred at a time when Americans were ready for something exciting to grip their imaginations, and the media pounced on the discovery of the tracks. The word "Bigfoot" was coined and became a term that people have used ever since. No matter how you look at it, what happened in Bluff Creek in 1958 ushered in the modern era of Bigfoot and created an interest in the subject that is still alive today. “Bigfoot” didn’t die when Ray Wallace passed away in 2002. He’d already been with us for centuries and if many people – hunters, researchers and scientists – are to be believed, he is alive and well today. In 2002, the media was trying hard to convince the general public that Ray Wallace was a highly respected figure in the world of Bigfoot research, but in truth, he had been regarded with suspicion by luminaries in the field like Ivan T. Sanderson, as far back as 1959. During his lifetime, Wallace claimed to have seen UFOs as many as two thousand times. He said he spotted Bigfoot hundreds of times and also claimed to have filmed footage of Bigfoot a year before Jerry Crew found the footprints at the construction site. At one point in 1959, he even claimed to have captured one! When Tom Slick offered him money for it, though, Wallace failed to produce the creature. He later claimed that he told amateur documentary maker Roger Patterson where to go to film Bigfoot in 1967, but few believed this. Wallace said that he had many films of Bigfoot but each turned out to be an obvious hoax. Later, a retired logger named Rant Mullens, who was known for perpetrating hoaxes, said that he often made large wooden footprints and gave them to Wallace, who then prepared plaster casts from them to put on display. With his involvement in all sorts of questionable activities, Wallace had been regarded with suspicion by those with even a mild interest in Bigfoot for years. Sanderson was concerned about Wallace from the beginning, and became even more worried when he received letters about Bigfoot tracks being discovered in areas that turned out to be near other Wallace construction sites. He stated that everyone who did not believe the tracks were made by some sort of unknown, living entity believed that they had been made by Wallace. "He was a great 'funster,'" Sanderson wrote, and hinted that if there were enough problems on a work site, Wallace could get his work contracts changed and get no-cost extensions granted. Could this have been the motive for creating the phony tracks? Unfortunately, the other things that Wallace got involved in from the 1950s until his death did not alleviate early suspicions about him. His continued involvement with fakes and frauds and his later claim that he hoaxed the tracks to bring attention to the plight of the real Bigfoot and to keep him from being killed by hunters, caused many to believe that the 1958 Bluff Creek tracks were a hoax. It also appears that Wallace planted phony prints at other worksites in the region over the years. This seems to mean that the so-called "birth of Bigfoot" was nothing more than a clever hoax: a hoax that managed to fool people all over the country and around the world. So, if this is the case, does this mean that the existence of Bigfoot -- a giant, hairy creature that lives in the most remote regions of America -- is just a hoax? The skeptics would certainly like you to think so. But just as they, and the media, overlooked the fact that most Bigfoot researchers had already discredited Ray Wallace at the time of his death, they also overlooked the scores of reports, first-hand accounts and authentic evidence of the man-like creature that had been around for years. Before we go any further, I should note that I’m not a Bigfoot researcher. While I have always been intrigued by the idea that such beings could exist, I have never encountered one, hunted for them, investigated case reports, picked up dung samples or took anything other than a mild interest in them. I have occasionally run across reports of Bigfoot creatures while researching other things, though, and being intrigued, have sometimes included accounts of Bigfoot in my writings. However, I think it was my non-expert interest in Bigfoot that got me so upset in 2002 when Ray Wallace passed away. To be honest, I was alarmed by the revelation that Wallace had been involved in so many hoaxes over the years. Having no other knowledge about him or that he was already a suspicious figure to those in the field, I wondered about the damage this was going to do to Bigfoot research. Rather than jump to conclusions about the validity of Bigfoot study as a whole, however, I decided to do a little research into its history, which is probably something that the media should have been doing rather than printing half-baked theories about how Bigfoot had been a hoax from the beginning. To "discover" Bigfoot, I turned to the past. How had history shaped the creature that we have come to know over the years, and in turn, how had Bigfoot shaped the unexplained in America? I began looking into the "history of Bigfoot" and what I found was fascinating. Bigfoot had not been "born" in 1958 but had been around for decades -- even centuries. I soon discovered some pretty amazing accounts of Bigfoot encounters from the past and it became obvious that the Bigfoot reports had not started in 1958, as the media claimed. Before continuing, let me make it clear that I do not consider myself to be an expert on Bigfoot research. You won't find any technical writings here that delve into Bigfoot physiology or the best ways to capture one. What I have instead tried to do is to make the case that the existence of Bigfoot is possible -- even probable -- based on the fact that these creatures have been with us throughout the history of America. I have tried to collect the best, and most compelling, historical incidents of encounters with Bigfoot and have also included a few of the most interesting ones from modern times, as well. Strange things are out there "in the wild" and the creatures that lurk in the dark woods and remote regions may even be stranger than anything you’ve ever imagined. There was no question what the first entry in this book had to be. There is no greater mystery in the annals of the unexplained in America than Sasquatch, the creature most commonly known as "Bigfoot." Reports of giant, ape-like monsters have been documented all over the country, although primarily in the forested regions of the Pacific Northwest. There are tales of giant hairy figures in every state in America, although the "traditional" Bigfoot is believed to roam the vast regions of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and the western edge of Canada. The narrative that follows will include history and lore from a variety of locations. Although most mainstream scientists maintain that no such creatures exist (and short of an actual specimen, their minds will not be changed), it is not inconceivable that undiscovered creatures could be roaming this wide region of mountains and forests. There are areas there that have been almost completely untouched by man and where few signs of the modern world can be found, even today. If we combine these remote areas with the hundreds of eyewitness accounts and pieces of evidence left behind, then we have no choice but to at least consider the idea that these creatures may actually be real. Of course, the reader is asked to judge for himself, but let's consider the history of Bigfoot in America. According to many eyewitnesses, Sasquatch averages around seven feet in height, sometimes taller and sometimes a little shorter. They are usually seen wandering alone and hair covers most of their bodies. Their limbs are usually powerful, but they are described as being proportioned more like humans than like apes. However, their broad shoulders, short necks, flat faces and noses, sloped foreheads, ridged brows and cone-shaped heads make them appear animal-like. They reportedly eat both meat and plants, are largely nocturnal and are less active during cold weather. The creatures are most commonly reported as being covered in dark, auburn-colored hair, although reports of brown, black and even white and silver hair do occasionally pop up. The footprints left behind by the monsters range in size from about 12 to 22 inches long, with around 18 inches being the most common. Their tracks are normally reported to be somewhere around seven inches in width. The stories of Sasquatch and other man-like creatures have been part of American history for generations. Native American legend and lore is filled with creatures that sound a lot like Bigfoot. One such creature was the "Wendigo." While this creature is considered by many to be the creation of horror writer Algernon Blackwood in his classic tale of the same name, this spirit was considered very real to many in the north woods and prairies. Many legends and stories have circulated over the years about a mysterious creature that was encountered by hunters and campers in the shadowy forests of the upper regions of Minnesota. In one variation of the story, the creature could only be seen if it faced the witness head-on, because it was so thin that it could not be seen from the side. It was said to have a voracious appetite for human flesh, and the many forest dwellers who disappeared over the years were said to be its victims. The American Indians had their own tales of the Wendigo, dating back so far that most who were interviewed could not remember when the story was not part of their culture. The Inuit called the creature by various names, including Wendigo, Witigo, Witiko and Wee-Tee-Go, each of which roughly translates to mean "the evil spirit that devours mankind." Around 1860, a German explorer translated Wendigo to mean "cannibal" among the tribes along the Great Lakes. Native American versions of the creature spoke of a gigantic spirit, over fifteen feet tall, that had once been human but had been transformed by the use of magic. Though all of the descriptions of the creature vary slightly, the Wendigo is generally said to have glowing eyes, long yellow fangs and a long tongue. Most are said to have sallow, yellowish skin, but others are said to be matted with hair. They are tall and lanky and are driven by a ravenous hunger. But how would a person turn into one of these strange creatures? According to the lore, a Wendigo is created whenever a person resorts to cannibalism in order to survive. When tribes and settlers were cut off from civilization by bitter snows and ice, they occasionally resorted to eating human flesh – and the Wendigo was created. But how real were these creatures? Could the legend of the Wendigo have sprung up merely as a warning against cannibalism? Or could sightings of Bigfoot-type creatures have created the stories? While this is unknown, it is believed that white settlers to the region took the stories seriously. It became enough of a part of their culture that tales like those of Algernon Blackwood were penned. Purportedly real-life stories were told as well, and according to the settlers' version of the legend, the Wendigo would often appear, banshee-like, to signal an impending death in the community. A Wendigo allegedly made a number of appearances near a town called Rosesu in northern Minnesota from the late 1800s through the 1920s. Each time that it was reported, an unexpected death followed. Even into the last century, Native Americans actively believed in, and searched for, the Wendigo. One of the most famous Wendigo hunters was a Cree Indian named Jack Fiddler. He claimed to have killed at least fourteen of the creatures in his lifetime, although the last killing resulted in his imprisonment at the age of 87. In October 1907, Fiddler and his son, Joseph, were tried for the murder of a Cree Indian woman. They both pleaded guilty to the crime but defended themselves by stating that the woman had been possessed by the spirit of a Wendigo and was on the verge of transforming into one. According to their defense, she had to be killed before she murdered other members of the tribe. There are still many stories told of Wendigo that have been seen in northern Ontario, near the Cave of the Wendigo, and around the town of Kenora, where a creature has been spotted by traders, trackers and trappers for decades. There are many who still believe that the Wendigo roams the woods and the prairies of northern Minnesota and Canada. Whether it seeks human flesh, or acts as a portent of coming doom, is anyone's guess, but before you start to doubt that it exists, remember that the stories and legends of this fearsome creature have been around since before the white man walked on these shores. Like all legends, this one was likely started for a reason. The Yakama Indians of the Pacific Northwest had a tradition of a "Qah-lin-me," which was a devourer of people and the Hupa Indians called the man-like beasts the "Omah," a demon of the wilderness. The Nisqually tribe of western Washington had the "Tsiatko," a gigantic, hairy beast, and the "Tenatco" was known by the Kaska. These creatures were known to dig a hole in the ground as a place to sleep and would sometimes kidnap women and children. Most of the woodland giants in the lore of the Native Americans seem to be more aggressive than the creatures we know as Bigfoot, but there is little mistaking them for something else. In fact, in 1934, author Diamond Jenness reported that the members of the Carrier First Nation of British Columbia, now generally referred to as the Dakelh, told of a monster that left enormous footprints in the snow, had a face like a man, was very tall and was covered in long hair. This hardly seems to be coincidence when compared to "modern" version of Bigfoot. The legend of Bigfoot-type creatures is so mired in the history of American that even the Native American term "Sasquatch" is a bit of an extraction from mythological stories. The folkloric Sasquatch (the word is the Americanized version of a term used by the Coast Salish Indians of Canada) was introduced to the world in the writings of J.W. Burns, a schoolteacher at the Chehalis Indian Reservation near Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia. Burns' Sasquatch was a legendary figure that he learned of through native informants and was really more man than monster. He was an intelligent "giant Indian" who was endowed with supernatural powers. Somehow, the name managed to stick for the huge beings that we would come to call Bigfoot. Legend has it that Bigfoot began to be encountered on this continent as early as the days when the first Vikings landed on our shores. Leif Erickson reportedly wrote of encountering hairy monsters with great black eyes, and in 1603, Samuel de Champlain was told of a giant, hairy beast that roamed the forests of eastern Canada. This creature was said to be much feared by the Micmac Indians of the region. In the 1790s, accounts told of large, hairy monsters in North and South Carolina and in that same decade, creatures were being reported in the Northwest by explorers and hunters who came to the region. While exploring the coast of British Columbia in 1792, naturalist Jose Mariano Mozino interviewed locals who spoke of the "Matlox," a large, hairy, human-like creature with huge feet, hooked claws and sharp teeth. Throughout the nineteenth century, accounts of Bigfoot-type creatures continued to appear in newspapers and periodicals of the day. Obviously, the word "Bigfoot" had not been coined yet, and frankly, readers were not even familiar with any creature of this sort. The idea of even an "ape" was completely foreign to them, as the great apes of Africa were not officially “discovered” until later in the century, although there had been reports of them dating back to the fifth century B.C.E. by Greek explorer Hanno. For this reason, a search through old periodicals will not reveal historical Bigfoot accounts, but what did sometimes appear in newspapers of the 1800s were stories of "wild men" and beast-like creatures that were encountered, sometimes captured and occasionally killed. These reports likely thrilled readers of the day and may offer the modern researcher the first reports of Bigfoot in America. Likely the oldest account of a man-like creature in North America appeared in the London Times in January 1785. The report stated that a wild man was caught in the forest, about two hundred miles from Lake of the Woods, Manitoba, by a party of Indians. The creature was said to have been seven feet tall and covered with hair. The wild man did not speak and seemed incapable of understanding his captors. It was found beside the body of a large bear, which it had just killed. This is unfortunately the extent of the information offered and no other news apparently followed. The oldest known Bigfoot account in American newspapers appeared in September 1818 in Ellisburgh, New York. The incident apparently occurred on August 30. The story involved a local man of good reputation who had an encounter with an animal resembling a "wild man of the woods." The creature came out of the forest, looked at the man and then took flight in the opposite direction. He described it as bending forward when running, hairy, and having a narrow foot that spread wide at the toes. The article, which appeared in the Exeter Watchman, went on to say that hundreds of people searched for the wild man for several days, but no trace of it was found. In the late 1830s, there were reports of a "wild child" around Fish Lake in Indiana. It was said to be four feet tall and covered in chestnut hair. The creature was often seen on the shore as well as swimming in the water. It made awful screeching noises, and no one was able to catch up with it because it ran so quickly. There were also reports in Pennsylvania of similar creatures, each much smaller than the typical Bigfoot creatures of the modern era. One of the creatures seen in Pennsylvania was covered in black hair and was said to have been the size of a six- or seven-year-old boy. Could these have been young Bigfoot, or perhaps, as authors Janet and Colin Bord have suggested, a different species of creature altogether? The Bords also make reference to several wild men that were seen in Arkansas in the 1830s. The creatures were of gigantic stature and had been well known in St. Francis, Greene and Poinsett Counties since 1834. Two hunters had a close encounter with a wild man in Greene County in 1851, after seeing a herd of cattle that was apparently being chased by something. They discovered that the cows were being pursued by "an animal bearing the unmistakable likeness of humanity. He was of gigantic stature, the body being covered with hair and the head with long locks that fairly enveloped the neck and shoulders." Apparently, the wild man looked at the two hunters for a moment before running off into the forest. His tracks measured about 13 inches in length. Interestingly, the local explanation for this creature was that he was a "survivor of the earthquake disaster that desolated the region in 1811." The implication was that he was a human who had lost his sanity and home during the massive earthquake along the New Madrid Fault and had "gone native," living in the woods and growing his hair long. Author and Bigfoot researcher John Green pointed out that some of the prospectors of the 1849 California Gold Rush were also encountering Bigfoot. According to a correspondent, his grandfather prospected for gold around Mount Shasta in the 1850s and told stories of seeing hairy giants in the vicinity. In the late 1860s, residents in the Arcadia Valley of Crawford County, Kansas, were encountering their own wild man. What the newspapers were calling a "wild man or gorilla" or a "what is it?" was approaching the cabins of settlers, tearing down fences and generally wreaking havoc. The creature was described as being so near to a human in form that the "men are unwilling to shoot at it.” However, it had a stooping gait, very long arms with immense hands and claws and an extremely hairy face. According to newspaper reports of the time, the settlers were divided as to whether or not the creature belonged to the human family or not. Some thought it to be an ape that had escaped from a menagerie that was located at a settlement east of the valley. In the fall of 1869, a hunter from Grayson, California, wrote a letter to the Antioch Ledger and described his own experiences with a wild man in the forest. He returned to camp from hunting in the mountains around Orestimba Creek, and found that the ashes and burned sticks from his campfire had been scattered about. He searched around the area out of curiosity and a short distance away, he found "the track of a man's foot -- bare and of immense size." Thinking that he would try to catch a glimpse of the odd, barefooted visitor, he took up a position on a ridge overlooking his camp and waited there for nearly two hours. Suddenly, he was surprised by a shrill whistle and looked up to see a huge figure, standing erect by his campfire. "It was the image of a man," the hunter wrote, "but it could not have been human." The creature stood about five feet high but was very broad at the shoulders. Its arms were of great length but its legs were short and his head seemed to be set upon his shoulders with no neck. It was covered with dark brown and cinnamon-colored hair that was quite long. The wild man continued to make the odd whistling sound as he scattered the rest of the firewood and ashes. After a few minutes, he started to leave the clearing where the camp was located but went only a short distance before returning. This time, he brought with him another, similar figure, although this one was unmistakably female. The two creatures passed close to the hunter's hiding place and then disappeared into the forest. Another wild man that was encountered in the late 1860s was seen in northern Nevada. The creature caused great excitement, and unlike most Bigfoot reports, this wild man carried a weapon. According to accounts, an armed party started off in pursuit of it shortly after it was spotted. The searchers concluded that it had once been a "white man, but was now covered with a coat of fine, long hair." It was seen carrying a club in one hand and a slain rabbit in the other. The moment that it caught sight of its pursuers, it let out a scream like "the roar of a lion," brandished the club, and attacked the men's horses. The men set their dogs after it, but the wild man managed to hide behind some fallen logs, uttering terrible cries throughout the night. It was gone by the following morning, leaving only "size 9" tracks behind. In 1870, a report appeared in the Antioch, California, newspaper that spoke of a man seeing "a gorilla, a wild man, or whatever you choose to call it" in the forest. The creature's head "appeared to be set on the shoulders without a neck," which sounds remarkably similar to a modern Bigfoot report. One wild man report from February 1876 was likely just that: a wild man. Except for the fact that the creature was covered with hair, it had no other characteristics of Bigfoot. While prospecting in San Diego County, a man named Turner Helm heard a whistling sound and came face to face with a wild man. He was sitting on a large boulder, and while Helm first assumed it to be an animal, he soon realized that it was a man. He was covered with coarse black hair, like that of a bear's fur, and had a beard that was long and thick. He was of medium size and had fine facial features, unlike those generally described for Bigfoot. Helm was startled but spoke to the man in both English and Spanish. He received no reply. The wild man looked at him for a few moments and then jumped down from the rock and vanished into the woods. Helm later stated that he and his prospecting partner had seen a man’s tracks in the mountains many times, but had assumed they belonged to an Indian. The rugged Green Mountains of Vermont have always had a reputation for strangeness. The area known as Glastonbury Mountain was once home to a small village of the same name. The town is long since gone and stories are told of how the residents were plagued with misfortune, disease, death and madness. It was near the vanished town that a coach full of travelers was attacked by the "Bennington Monster" in the 1800s and where, in 1892, Henry MacDowell went insane and murdered his friend, Jim Crowley. He was locked away in the Waterbury Asylum but he escaped and disappeared into the forests and rocks of Glastonbury Mountain and was never seen again. These tales were recalled in October 1879 when two young men who were on a hunting trip south of Williamstown, Massachusetts, saw a wild man. They described the creature as being about five feet tall, and while he resembled a man in form and movement, he was covered with bright red hair, had a long beard and very wild eyes. When they first saw the creature, it sprang from a rocky cliff and began running toward the woods. Thinking that it was a bear or some other wild animal, one of the young men fired a shot and apparently hit it, because the creature let out a cry of pain and rage. It turned and then started toward the hunters in a furious state. The two men ran quickly in the opposite direction and lost their guns and ammunition on the way down the mountain. They never returned to retrieve them. But one of the strangest of the early “wild man” reports is undoubtedly the “Jacko” story, which allegedly occurred in July 1884. According to the story, several men actually captured a young Bigfoot along the Fraser River outside of Yale, British Columbia. I remember reading this story when I was a kid in several books for young readers about the unexplained. I always considered it one of my favorites and always wondered what the eventual outcome of it was. In hindsight, the story was almost too good to be true, probably because it was. I was to be disappointed years later when I learned that respected Bigfoot author John Green revealed that it was likely a hoax. The story appeared in Victoria's Daily British Colonist and told the story of several railroad workers, on the regular Lytton to Yale line, who found the creature lying alongside the tracks. Apparently, it had fallen from the steep bluffs and was injured, although when the train stopped, the creature jumped up, let out a sharp, barking sound and attempted to climb back up the bluff. The railroad men gave chase and managed to capture him. They nicknamed the creature "Jacko" and described him as being "half man and half beast." He stood approximately four feet, seven inches tall and weighed about 130 pounds. He had long, dark hair and resembled a human, except for the fact that his body (except for his hands and feet) was covered with hair. His forearms were exceptionally long and he was very strong. As no one was able to determine Jacko's identity or origin, he was eventually entrusted to the care of George Telbury, who planned to take the creature on tour or sell him to the circus. Some reports say that Jacko was on display in Yale for a time, but all trace of him later disappeared. At the time of the creature's alleged capture, newspapers reported that more than two hundred people came to the jail in Yale to see him. However, another newspaper, the British Columbian, stated that the only "wild man" present was the head of the jail, who had "completely exhausted his patience" with the curiosity-seekers. The Colonist, which originally ran the story, never disputed the criticisms of the other newspaper, and it was likely just another of the tall tales that were common in the Western papers of the late 1800s. In the summer of 1885, hunters led by a man named Fitzgerald encountered a wild man in the Cascade Mountains. When spotted, the creature was eating raw deer flesh. Interestingly, the locals were so sure that this was a man, not a beast, that they even identified him as a missing person. The "wild man of the mountains" was said to be a man named John Mackentire, who had been lost in the forest while hunting about four years before. He and another man in his party had wandered off and were never seen again. The hunters claimed that the man they saw resembled Mackentire. He was naked but was "as hairy as an animal and was a complete wild man." He was bent down by the river and was eating part of a deer that had been recently killed. The hunters approached to within a few yards before he saw them and fled. According to the account, the wild man had been seen in the area as far back as two years before by other hunters, and it was believed that Mackentire had become deranged and was now living in a cave. A group of men organized a search party to go back and look for him but no other information was ever given about the result of the expedition. In October 1891, a wild man encounter in Michigan had dire results for the dogs used to hunt down the creature. George Frost and W.W. Vivian ("both reputable citizens," the report added) were near the Tittabawassee River in Gladwin County when they ran into a naked man who was completely covered with hair. He stood over seven feet tall, with arms that hung down to his knees. Vivian released one of his bulldogs at the wild man, but with one mighty swing of his arm, the creature struck the dog and killed it. Another hairy wild man appeared in late November 1893 in Rockaway Beach, New York. Both this report, and the one that follows, are important in that not every "wild man" report that appeared in newspapers of the period could have been a Bigfoot sighting. Some of the accounts, like these two, are just as strange, though, and are perhaps even more frightening. A series of unprovoked attacks in Rockaway Beach were made by a "wild man of large stature, weird in appearance, with fierce bloodshot eyes, long, flowing matted hair and a shaggy beard." Armed with a "large cavalry saber," the wild man wreaked havoc in a saloon and later wrenched a shotgun out of a man's hand and fired it at him. According to witness descriptions, the man was about six feet tall and weighed about 200 pounds. Unlike most of the earlier reports about naked wild men, this one reportedly wore one shoe and a tattered oilskin jacket. The locals believed that he was a deranged sailor named James Rush, whose boat had been driven into shore during a recent storm and had gone missing. This was obviously not a Bigfoot, but seemed to be strangely tied into another case that occurred just five weeks later. A similar wild man terrorized the Mine Hill-Dover area of New Jersey. In early January, three young women named Bertha Hestig, Lizzie Guscott and Katie Griffin encountered a wild man near the edge of town. He stormed out of the woods, completely naked and covered with cuts and bruises. With a shriek of terror at seeing the young ladies along the road, he ran back into the forest. A few days later, two woodcutters were working near the Indian Falls clearing when their dogs began barking at a nearby rock. Thinking that a bear was nearby, the two men grabbed their axes and cautiously approached the area that seemed to be bothering the dogs. As they approached, a savage-looking figure jumped up from behind the rock. The stranger was said to be middle-aged, nearly six feet tall and weighing about 180 pounds. His face was covered with a long, unkempt beard. The wild man looked at the two woodcutters for a moment and then jumped onto the rock and began speaking loudly to himself in gibberish. Whenever the men got too close to him, he began to run back and forth yelling frantically, "all the time working his arms as though rowing a boat," they said. The woodcutters tried to seize the man but he picked up a club and swung it at them. The two men wisely fled and telephoned for help from a nearby store. A search led by police officers commenced and lasted throughout most of the night, but no trace of the man was found. He appeared again on Saturday and tried unsuccessfully to break into the home of the Russell family. On Sunday, a man named William Mullen encountered the wild man when taking a walk. He appeared in front of him on the road and the two of them eyed one another uneasily for a few moments before the wild man shrieked loudly and ran into the woods. The search continued for the man but only prints from his bare feet were discovered, along with a brush hut and an axe that may have belonged to the strange individual. The last sighting took place at the Dover Silk Mill when several ladies who were looking out the window saw the underbrush part and a naked man walk out. Their screams brought other employees but the wild man ran back into the woods. By the time the mill workers got outside, he was long gone. Various search parties continued to look for him, but he was never found. According to reports, inquiry was made at the Morris Plains Asylum but no inmates were missing. Who this man may have been is unknown but I suppose it's possible that he could have been the same wild man who was causing problems in New York just five weeks earlier. In May 1894, a more classic Bigfoot-type of “wild man” report was recorded in rural Kentucky. For months, people around Deep Creek had been noticing that someone – or something -- was stealing chickens, eggs, young pigs, lambs and various food items from area farms. Finally, a man named Joseph Ewalt spotted a creature and reported that it had long white hair all over its body and wore only a piece of sheepskin for clothing. Ewalt said that a "light came from his eyes and mouth similar to fire," which may have been a bit of an embellishment on his part, or on the work of an imaginative newspaper reporter. Some of the local men decided to try and capture the creature, but had no luck. One morning, Eph Boston and his sons saw it lurking around their barn. They described the creature the same way that Ewalt did, but added that it was about six and a half feet tall and had long claws. There was no mention of it having glowing eyes, though. A few moments after they spotted it, the wild man went running from the barn with three chickens clutched in its hands. Tom Boston shot at it but missed. He and his brothers and father, along with several neighbors, tracked the creature to a nearby cave, where a scattering of bones and feathers suggested that the wild man was living there. They walked a short distance into the cave but an "unearthly yell" sent them running. Efforts to try and capture the beast, including smoking it out of the cave, failed. In 1897, a wild man sighting took place near Sailor, Indiana. A man took a shot at it and seemed to hit it, but no trace of the creature was found. The sighting occurred in late April when two farmers saw a hair-covered, man-sized beast walking near the edge of a field. When the wild man saw them approaching, it dropped from two legs to four and raced into the woods with great speed. In April 1897, another wild man was seen in the woods near Stout, Ohio. Although covered with hair, the creature was said to be wearing a pair of tattered trousers. It attacked a young boy in the forest and then led a party of thirty men on a chase for several hours before disappearing. On May 26, the same creature may have appeared near Rome, Ohio. It was described as a "wild man" and “gorilla-like," and was spotted by two men who were cutting timber in the forest. They chased the figure into a rocky area along the Ohio River, where it vanished. One of the final reports from the 1800s shows a traditional Bigfoot in a less threatening role than was noted in most of the previous encounters. In 1897, a Native American fisherman reportedly discovered an emaciated Bigfoot near Tulelake, California. The man took pity on the creature and gave it his catch. A few weeks after the encounter, the story goes that the fisherman awoke to find several fresh deerskins neatly arranged outside his cabin. In the following months, a nighttime visitor left firewood, pelts, berries and fruit for him to find each morning. The fisherman came to believe that it was the Bigfoot that he had helped who was leaving the gifts. Eventually, the offerings ceased and the man guessed that the creature had left the area. About a year later, though, the man was bitten by a rattlesnake and fell unconscious in the forest. He awoke a few hours later to find himself being carried by three large creatures, who took him to his cabin and wrapped his snake bite with moss, which drew out the poison. The monsters left him at his door and he never saw them again. In his 1893 book, Hunting the Grizzly, Theodore Roosevelt relates a purportedly true story of a hunter who was abducted from his campsite and killed by an eerie creature that was covered with hair. Roosevelt was born on October 27, 1858, and he spent his childhood as part of a privileged family in New York City. He was the seventh generation of Roosevelts to be born in Manhattan, and the second of four children in his household. Always a sickly child afflicted with asthma, the young Roosevelt was educated at home by private tutors prior to going to Harvard, where he excelled in boxing and academics. After college, Roosevelt married Alice Hathaway Lee, a nineteen-year-old friend of his Harvard roommate. He then enrolled in Columbia Law School, but dropped out after one year to begin a career in public service, winning election to the New York State Assembly in 1882. A double tragedy struck Roosevelt in 1884, when his young wife died giving birth to their daughter, followed by the death of his mother – on the same day, in the same house. Devastated, Roosevelt left his daughter, named Alice after her mother, in the care of his sister and fled to the Dakota Badlands to forget. After two years out West, where he "busted" cows as a cattle rancher and chased outlaws as a frontier sheriff, Roosevelt returned to New York rejuvenated and full of energy. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of New York City, wrote three books about his adventures in the West, and campaigned for Republican presidential nominee Benjamin Harrison. When Harrison won the election, he appointed Roosevelt to the U.S. Civil Service Commission in 1889. His burgeoning career in politics would later lead him to the White House. Roosevelt then married his childhood sweetheart, Edith Kermit Carow. He took little Alice and moved with Edith to a beautiful house at Oyster Bay, Long Island, that he had built for his first wife. He called the house Sagamore Hill. The happy couple soon filled the home with four boys, another girl, and little Alice. Even during his political career, the adventures that Roosevelt experienced in the American West left a permanent mark on him. His thirst for adventure would later lead him to act as the police commissioner of New York City, to fight bravely in Cuba with the "Rough Riders" and, later in life, to become renowned as a big game hunter. In 1893, when he wrote his first books about his Western adventures, Roosevelt had already roamed most of the country in search of big game. He wrote: "In hunting, the finding and killing of the game is after all but part of the whole. The free, self-reliant, adventurous life, with its rugged and stalwart democracy; the wild surroundings, the grand beauty of the scenery, the chance to study the ways and habits of the woodland creature -- all these unite to give to the career of the wilderness hunter its peculiar charm." And "peculiar" would be the only word to describe a story that Roosevelt saw fit to include in one of the volumes of his Western accounts. "Frontiersman are not, as a rule, apt to be very superstitious," Roosevelt wrote. "They lead lives too hard and practical and have too little imagination in things spiritual or supernatural.... but I once listened to a goblin story which rather impressed me. It was told by a grizzled, weather-beaten old mountain hunter named Bauman, who was born and had passed all his life on the frontier. He must have believed what he said, for he could hardly repress a shudder at certain points of the tale." When the event occurred that Bauman related to Roosevelt, the mountain hunter was still a young man and was trapping with a partner among the mountains dividing the forks of the Salmon River from the head of the Wisdom River in Idaho. The two men worked the area for a time without much luck and then decided to try another location, where a branch of the Snake River ran through a particularly wild and lonely pass. The stream was said to be filled with beaver but was avoided by many of the Indian trappers in the region. The story went that a lone hunter had wandered into the pass the year before and had been killed by some wild beast. The man's half-eaten remains were discovered by a party of prospectors who had passed the man's camp only the night before. Bauman and his friend decided to trap the stream anyway. They rode to the foot of the pass and left their horses tied in a meadow, because the rocky and heavily forested lands were nearly impassable for the animals. The trappers struck out on foot through the gloomy woods, finding the country dense and hard to travel through with their heavy packs and their need to bypass the stands of fallen timber and outcroppings of rock. After about four hours of walking, they found a small forest glade that offered easy access to the river. An hour or two of daylight remained when they made camp, so they built a brush lean-to and unpacked their gear. Then they decided to take a short hike upstream and look for signs of game, returning to camp around dusk. They were surprised to find that in their absence, something, apparently a bear, had visited the camp and had rummaged through their things. The contents of their packs had been scattered about and the lean-to had been torn down. The beast had left a number of footprints behind but the men paid little attention to them as they had much to do to rebuild the camp before darkness fell. After starting a fire, they quickly rebuilt their shelter. While Bauman began cooking supper, his companion studied the animal tracks more closely in the failing light. He was so intrigued by them that he lit a small stick in the fire and used it as a torch to follow the tracks to the edge of the clearing. When the light flickered out, he returned to the fire and ignited another stick, continuing his inspection of what appeared to be increasingly curious tracks. A few minutes later, he returned and stood next to where his friend was cooking dinner, peering uneasily out into the darkness. He suddenly spoke up. "Bauman, that bear has been walking on two legs," he said. Bauman later recalled laughing at this, although his partner insisted that it was true. The two of them again examined the tracks and Bauman's partner showed him that they had been made by just two paws or feet. After discussing whether the prints could be those of a large person, and deciding that they could not be, the two men rolled up in their blankets and went to sleep beneath the shelter of the lean-to. Around midnight, Bauman was suddenly awakened by a loud noise. He sat up quickly in his blankets and remembered later that he was struck by a strong, pungent odor. The horrible smell was soon forgotten, as the embers of the fire illuminated a large form looming at the entrance of the lean-to. Bauman grabbed his rifle and immediately fired off a shot. Almost as soon as he squeezed the trigger, the huge shape vanished and he heard the thing crashing through the undergrowth as it ran off into the night. Not surprisingly, the two men slept very little after this. They sat up next to the rekindled fire, waiting and watching, but heard nothing more. In the morning, they checked the traps that had been put out the night before and began finding locations for new ones. By an unspoken agreement, they stayed within close proximity to one another all day and returned together to camp as night began to fall once again. Again, they saw that the lean-to had been destroyed. The visitor from the previous day had apparently returned and had again scattered their gear and belongings. Whatever the beast was, it had left more of the large, two-legged tracks in the soft earth by the river but neither man had the nerve to follow them. Instead, they gathered up as much wood as they could find and built a roaring fire that lasted throughout the night. One or the other of them stayed on guard during the darkest hours. At one point, both of them heard the creature approach once again, staying on the other side of the river. They heard it moving and crashing around in the forest and once it uttered a harsh, grating moan that chilled both men to the bone. This time, it did not venture near the fire. In the morning, the trappers decided that they’d had enough. They were too almost too tired to tend to their work and believed that they could find just as good a location somewhere else. They discussed the strange events and decided that it would be best to pack up their gear and leave the valley by the afternoon. The men pulled their trap lines all morning, staying close together, and strangely, they found that all of the traps were empty and sprung. It looked as though they had snagged something but then the animals had been removed from the trap. Signs and tracks remained behind and the men hurried their work along even faster. Ever since leaving camp, they had experienced the uncomfortable sensation of being watched and followed. Occasionally, they would hear the snap or crack of a twig in the gloom of the forest, as well as the rustling of pine trees, and while they saw nothing, they became convinced that something was there. By noon, they were within a couple of miles of the camp and there were still three beaver traps to collect from a little pond in a nearby ravine. Bauman offered to go and gather them while his friend went ahead to the camp and put their gear together. They planned to meet as soon as Bauman returned and then go down the mountain to the horses. His companion agreed and they parted ways. On reaching the pond, Bauman found three beavers in the traps, one of which had pulled loose and had carried the trap into a beaver house. He spent the next several hours securing and preparing the animals and when he started back to camp, he experienced a sinking feeling as he saw how low the sun was beginning to dip in the sky. As he reached the clearing where the camp was located, Bauman called out to his friend but got no reply. The campfire had gone out and the packs lay nearby, all secured and ready to go. The woods were silent and Bauman called out again. Once more, he was met with silence. The trapper looked around, at first seeing nothing, but then he glimpsed a splash of color at the edge of the camp. As he walked forward, he spotted the body of his friend. He was stretched out on the ground next to the trunk of a fallen spruce and blood was sprayed all over the ground and the surrounding trees and bushes. Bauman rushed over to the man and found that his body was still warm. His neck had been broken and his throat had been torn out with what looked to be huge, sharp teeth. The footprints of the beast that had been visiting the camp were marked deep in the surrounding soil and told the story of what had occurred. Bauman's friend, having finished packing their gear, must have sat down on a log facing the fire, with his back to the woods, to await his partner. While he was waiting, the unknown assailant, which must have been lurking in the woods the entire time, came silently up behind the man and broke his neck, while burying its teeth in his throat. It had not eaten the body but had apparently tossed it around, rolling it over and over, before retreating back into the woods. Bauman was utterly unnerved by his gruesome discovery. The creature, which they had assumed was a bear, was either something half-human or half-devil or some great beast from the stories of the Indian medicine men, who spoke of evil beings that haunted the forest depths. Roosevelt wrote that Bauman "abandoned everything but his rifle and struck off at speed down the pass, not halting until he reached the meadows where the hobbled ponies were still grazing. Mounting, he rode onward through the night, until far beyond the reach of pursuit." In 1901, another account of a Sasquatch encounter appeared in the Daily British Colonist. In this story, a lumberman named Mike King stated that he was working alone on Vancouver Island, near Campbell River, because his Indian packers had refused to accompany him, due to their fear of the "monkey men" they said lived in the forest. Late in the afternoon, he observed a "man beast" washing roots in the river. When the creature became aware of King, it cried out and ran up a nearby hill. King described it as being "covered with reddish brown hair, and his arms were peculiarly long and were used freely in climbing and brush running; while the trail showed a distinct human foot, but with phenomenally long and spreading toes." Three years later, on December 14, 1904, the Colonist again featured a Sasquatch story, this time from "four credible witnesses" who saw a man-like creature on Vancouver Island. In 1907, the newspaper told of the abandonment of an Indian village due to the inhabitants being frightened away by a "monkey-like wild man who appears on the beach at night, who howls in an unearthly fashion." One of the most bizarre Bigfoot encounters in history occurred in 1924, although it would not be reported until many years later, in 1957. It involved a man who claimed to have been abducted and held captive by a party of the creatures while on a prospecting trip in British Columbia. Although such tales seem to stretch the limits of believability, those who interviewed the man years later, including esteemed investigators John Green and Ivan T. Sanderson, did not for a moment doubt his sincerity or his sanity. Primatologist John Napier remarked that the man gave a "convincing account... which does not ring false in any particular." The same cannot be said for all alleged Bigfoot "abductions," though. In 1871, a young girl named Seraphine Long was said to have been kidnapped by a male Bigfoot and taken to a cave where she was held prisoner for a year. She eventually got sick and so her captor allowed her to leave. However, when she returned home, it was discovered that she was carrying the creature's baby. She gave birth to the child but it only lived a few days. Of course, that was the story. The reader asked to judge the validity of it for himself. A story with a much more authentic feel to it took place in 1924. That summer, a man named Albert Ostman was prospecting for gold near the Toba Inlet in British Columbia. He claimed that he was abducted by Bigfoot, and his detailed accounts of the creature's habits and activities remain unique to this day, leading many of the most respected authorities in the field to wonder if perhaps he was telling the truth about this adventure. Toba Inlet was a secluded wilderness in 1924 when Albert Ostman decided to visit the area during a much-needed vacation. The construction worker and lumberjack liked to prospect for gold as a hobby, and in addition to doing some hunting and fishing, he planned to search for a legendary lost gold mine that was rumored to be in the area. Ostman hired an Indian guide to take him to the head of the inlet and on the way, the Indian told him about a white man who used to come out of the area laden with gold. When Ostman asked the guide what happened to the man, the guide replied that he had disappeared and had probably been killed by Sasquatch. Ostman scoffed at the story, not believing a word of this tall tale. When they reached the inlet, the guide helped Ostman to set up his base camp and then he departed. Ostman had paid him to return in three weeks. For the first week or so, he hunted and fished a little and spent quite a bit of time hiking in the woods and searching for any traces of the lost mine. He was quite casual about the search, though, enjoying the outdoors and the freedom away from his work. Then one day, he returned to camp to find that his gear had been disturbed. Nothing was missing, but it had all been moved around. Ostman assumed that a porcupine or some small animal had been looking for food. He tried to stay awake for two nights to try and catch the annoying animal but each time, he fell asleep. On both mornings when he awoke, he discovered that food was missing from his pack. Now irritated, and determined to trap the culprit, he loaded his rifle and shoved it down in his sleeping bag, along with his clothes and some of his personal belongings. He planned to stay awake the entire night and drive off the pesky animal. Despite his good intentions, however, Ostman fell asleep. Later on that night, still half asleep, Ostman awoke to find that he had been picked up, still inside his sleeping bag, and was being carried through the woods. He first assumed that he had been tied up and thrown over the back of a horse, but then realized that he was pinned into his sleeping bag by two large arms. Unable to reach his rifle, or his knife, he was trapped in the bedroll. There was no sound but the huffing of breath from the figure who carried him, the sound of powerful feet trudging through the forest and the occasional rattle of a fry pan and canned food in Ostman's pack, which the giant had also picked up from the camp. Ostman traveled for several hours and estimated that he journeyed about thirty miles inland. Eventually, he was dumped onto the ground and he slowly crawled out of the sleeping bag in the darkness. His whole body ached from being jostled, and as he was trying to massage some feeling back into his legs, the sun came up and the prospector got his first good look at his abductors. Squatting nearby were four hairy giants, the same type of creatures that had been described to Ostman by the Indian guide. They sat there looking at Ostman with curiosity, but did not seem threatening in the least. The two older creatures were male and female and the two younger ones were also of both sexes. The oldest male stood nearly eight feet tall and weighed an estimated 750 pounds. The oldest female was slightly smaller and had large, hanging breasts. The younger creatures were of smaller proportions than what Ostman assumed were the parents and the younger female had no breasts. All four of them had coarse, dark hair that covered their bodies. Ostman later recounted that the older female seemed to object to his presence during the first day of his captivity. She chattered and grunted angrily at the male like a nagging housewife displeased by the presence of an unwanted guest. Eventually, her mate seemed to win the day and was allowed to keep Ostman around. The two females avoided him as much as possible, spending their time hunting for roots, nuts and berries. The two male creatures were curious about everything the prospector did and found the contents of Ostman's pack and sleeping bag to be quite fascinating. He had carried along with him his food, his rifle, a few pots and pans and his knife. They often looked at these items but never touched them, although the oldest creature was very interested in Ostman's snuff box and its contents. This keen interest would eventually prove to be integral in Ostman's escape. Two days into his captivity, Ostman tried to run away. The Sasquatch lived in a small ten-acre basin that was cut between two cliff walls. A narrow break in the rock provided the only entrance. When Ostman tried to slip out of the valley, the oldest male quickly caught him and pulled him back into the basin. He considered using his rifle and trying to shoot his way out, but knew that if he did not kill the creature with the first couple of shots, the beast would surely tear him apart. After six days, Ostman had another idea. He was becoming increasingly nervous of the creatures because he was starting to get the impression that he had been captured in order to provide a mate for the younger female. Not wanting to spend the rest of his life in captivity, he began working on a plan to break free. He knew that the elder Bigfoot was very interested in his chewing tobacco. Each day, he gave the creature a small amount of it to chew on. He wondered if there might be a way to use the Bigfoot's interest in his snuff to his advantage. On the morning of the seventh day, Ostman made a fire for the first time since he had arrived. He decided to make some coffee, which interested the two males. As he was eating his breakfast and drinking coffee, he decided to try out his idea. He reached over and offered the older creature some of his snuff. He held on tightly to the box so that the creature could only take a small amount, which irritated him. He jerked the box from Ostman's hand and proceeded to devour the entire contents. He liked the taste so much that he literally licked clean the inside of the container. It only took a few moments for the creature to become violently ill. Retching and coughing, he ran towards the stream and collapsed on all fours. At the same time, Ostman grabbed his rifle and his pack and began to run. He shot towards the narrow entrance but his escape attempt was noticed by the older female, who set off after him. He made it to the gap in the rock just seconds before she caught up with him and turning quickly, he fired a shot over her head. The creature stopped in her tracks and let out a squeal. She did not pursue him any farther. Using his compass, Ostman managed to make his way back to civilization. After three days, he met up with a party of lumberjacks and told them that he had gotten lost while prospecting. He was sure that no one would ever believe his account of what really happened and he remained silent for more than thirty years, finally telling his story in 1957. Although Ostman has long since passed away, Bigfoot researcher John Green knew him for more than twelve years and questioned him extensively about his captivity. He had no reason to consider him a liar and neither did the police officers, primate experts and zoologists who also looked into his account. None of them ever believed that he was lying. The truth of his story remains for the reader to decide. In July 1924, a weird incident involving a group of Bigfoot occurred in the Mount St. Helens region of southwestern Washington. The incident involved an all-night assault by unknown creatures on a cabin where a group of miners were staying. The men had been prospecting a claim on the Muddy, a branch of the Lewis River, about eight miles from Spirit Lake. One of the most interesting parts of the story is that there are detailed news articles that exist from the time of the incident, and there has been much since then to substantiate the events of that summer. An article in the Portland Oregonian for July 12 noted that the encounters with the creatures were not the first. The article begins by calling these “the fabled ‘mountain devils’ or mountain gorillas of Mount St. Helens” and mentions that “Smith and his companions had seen tracks of the animals several times in the last six years, and Indians have told of the ‘mountain devils’ for sixty years.” In the news article, the “devils” are described as “huge animals, which were about seven feet tall, weighed about four hundred pounds, and walked erect.” Tracks “thirteen to fourteen inches long” were found where the animals were seen. In 1967, Fred Beck, who was one of the miners, and his son, R.A. Beck, privately published a small booklet about the incident called I Fought the Apemen of Mt. St. Helens. For many years, prior to the advent of the internet, it was extremely hard to find. Since then, the story has become a classic of Bigfoot literature and is essential to the narrative of Bigfoot in historical terms. But this case may be even stranger than most people believe. And when it comes to Bigfoot stories, that’s really saying something. Starting in 1918, Fred Beck and his partners – Marion Smith, his son Roy Smith, Gabe Lefever and John Peterson – began prospecting for gold in the Mt. St. Helens and Lewis River area of southwestern Washington. Before they built a cabin, they lived in a tent below a small mountain called Pumy Butte. There was a small creek nearby and a sandbar that was about an acre in size where they went to wash their dishes and get drinking water. Early one morning in 1922, one of the men came back to the camp and urged the others to follow him back to the creek. When they got to the sandbar, he showed them two huge, human-like tracks that were sunk about four inches deep into the sand. Strangely, there were no other tracks nearby. Because the nearest place where someone could have jumped and landed in the center of the sandbar was 160 feet away, the men reasoned that the creature either had a huge stride, or “something dropped from the sky and went back up.” As time passed, the miners came upon similar tracks, which they could not identify. The largest of them was nineteen inches long. After they had built their cabin, Beck and the other four miners who were working the claim would hear a strange “thudding, hollow thumping noise” in broad daylight. They could not find the cause, though they suspected one of their number might be playing tricks on them. That proved not to be the case, since even when the group was gathered together, the sound continued all around them. They thought it sounded as if “there’s a hollow drum in the earth somewhere and something is hitting it.” These were not the last strange sounds they would hear. Early in July 1924, a shrill whistling, apparently coming from atop a ridge, was heard in the evening. An answering whistle came from another ridge. These sounds, along with a booming “thumping,” as if something huge was pounding its chest, continued every evening for a week. Thoroughly unnerved by what they were hearing, the men began carrying their rifles with them when they went to the spring that was located about one hundred yards from the cabin. Beck and a man only identified as “Hank” in order to protect his anonymity (it was later revealed that it was Marion Smith) were drawing water from the spring when Hank yelled and raised his gun. Beck looked across a little canyon and saw a seven-foot-tall apelike creature standing next to a pine tree. The creature, about one hundred yards away from the two men, ducked quickly behind the tree. When it poked its head out to get a look at them, Hank fired three quick shots, hitting the tree but apparently missing the creature, which momentarily disappeared from sight. It then reappeared about two hundred yards down the canyon, and this time Beck managed to get off three shots before it was gone. Unnerved by the encounter, Hank and Beck ran back to the cabin and spoke to the other two men there. The third member of the party was absent. They agreed to abandon the cabin, but not until daybreak. It was too risky to try and make it back to their car after dark. They went ahead and packed up most of their gear, ate some supper and then settled down to try and get some sleep. Around midnight, they awakened to a tremendous thud against the cabin wall. Whatever it was, it hit the wall with such force that some of the chinking between the logs fell out and landed on Hank’s chest. The impact was followed by what sounded like a group of people tramping about and running around outside. The men grabbed their guns, fearing the worst. Since the crude cabin had no windows, Hank tried peering out through the gap that had been opened between the logs when the chinking had been dislodged. He said that he spotted three of the “apes” outside. From the sounds the men could hear, there were likely many more of them. The creatures pelted the cabin with rocks. The men inside were terrified – in fact, two of the miners cowered in fear in the corner – but Beck said that they should only fire at the creatures if they physically attacked the cabin. This would show that the miners were only defending themselves. A short time later, Beck’s worst fears came true. The “apes” began to attack the cabin. Some of them jumped up and down on the roof, trying to get it to collapse. Hack and Beck fired upwards through the roof, hoping to scare them away. In the meantime, other creatures were trying to break down the door, slamming against it as they tried to smash it open. The miners inside braced the door with a long board that was taken from a bunk bed. It seemed to hold, but Beck and Hank riddled the door with bullets in an attempt to frighten the invaders away. The attacks continued all night, pausing only for short periods of eerie silence. At one point, a creature reached through the gap between the logs and grabbed an axe by the handle. Beck lunged forward and turned the axe upright so that the creature couldn’t get it out. As he was doing so, a bullet fired by Hank barely missed the creature’s hand. It quickly withdrew its arm and retreated. Finally, just before daybreak, the attack ended. The beleaguered miners waited for the sun to rise and then cautiously stepped outside, guns in hand. A few minutes later, Beck saw one of the creatures about eighty yards away, standing near the edge of the canyon. Taking careful aim, he fired three times and then watched as it fell over the cliff and plunged down into the gorge four hundred feet below. The men hastily departed, heading for Spirit Lake, Washington, and leaving $200 worth of supplies and equipment behind. They never returned to retrieve any of it. At Spirit Lake, Hank told a forest ranger about their experience. Once back home in Kelso, the story leaked to the newspapers and caused a sensation. Reporters found giant tracks at the scene, but no other evidence of the creatures. The canyon where the incident allegedly occurred became known as Ape Canyon and it still bears that name today. As mentioned, the tale has become a classic of Bigfoot literature and while it’s certainly strange, it’s gotten even stranger over the years. In the 1967 booklet that Beck wrote with his son, he gave the experience a completely different spin, noting that even prior to the encounter, he had numerous psychic experiences, including many with supernatural “people.” He was convinced that the “apemen” were “not entirely of this world… I was, for one, always conscious that we were dealing with supernatural beings.” Beck stated that he believed that creatures known as Sasquatch were from “another dimension” and were a link between human and animal consciousness. They are composed of a substance that ranges between the physical and the psychical, sometimes more of one than the other, he said, and because of their peculiar nature, none will ever be captured, nor will their bodies ever be found. According to the booklet, Beck saw the entire experience as spiritual, with the thumping as poltergeist activity and the Bigfoot as spirits. It’s hard to say whether or not Beck’s 1967 booklet was merely the fantasy of an old man, or was due to the contemporary 1960s influences of his son, who wrote a large section of it. But he had certainly changed his views on the 1924 events during the four decades after they happened. It should be noted that Fred Beck never mentioned the paranormal when Bigfoot researchers interviewed him about his experiences in the early 1960s. The paranormal elements popped up when Beck and his son decided to tell the story in 1967. The news stories of the 1920s seem to be closer to the actual details of the event. Those stories told of ape-like creatures that were far shorter than our standard idea of Bigfoot, with smaller strides and footprints. The articles, which were a series of stories from the Kelso area between 1918 and 1924, also mentioned four stubby toes, as opposed to the five toes normally included in modern Bigfoot reports. According the newspaper articles, the Native Americans in the region called the reported creatures Seeahtiks, Siatcoes and Selahtiks. In July 1924, the sheriff sent out search parties, but only footprints were ever found. Regardless of how you look at it, the story of Ape Canyon is a strange tale and presents another classic example of the historical Bigfoot. Sasquatch sightings and encounters continued and were occasionally mentioned in newspaper accounts, most of them issuing from Canada. Bigfoot did not enter the American mainstream until 1958, when the now-infamous tracks were discovered at Bluff Creek. This was a time when America's fascination with Bigfoot was only beginning. Through the remainder of the 1950s, the 1960s and the 1970s, interest in these elusive creatures reached its high point. After a cooling down period of about two decades, when only Bigfoot hunters and diehard enthusiasts were seeking information about Sasquatch, public interest began to rise in the late 1990s and continues today. But that interest has not been without controversy. By the decade of the 1960s, Bigfoot was firmly entrenched in the American imagination. Though scientists refused to admit that what witnesses were seeing was actually what they claimed to see, a number of investigators had begun seeking out sightings and venturing into the forest, hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the monsters. Books began to appear and articles began to generate even more interest with readers of magazines like True and Saga. Among the amateur investigators who went looking for Bigfoot was Roger Patterson, a onetime rodeo rider, amateur documentary film maker and Bigfoot hunter. In 1967, Patterson was barely scraping by as an inventor and promoter when his interest was piqued by a 1959 True magazine article about Bigfoot. From them on, he devoted as much of his spare time as possible to roaming the woods of the Pacific Northwest in search of the elusive creature. Patterson always carried a motion picture camera with him on his expeditions, hoping that he might be able to catch one of the monsters on film. Around 1:15 in the afternoon on October 20, 1967, Patterson and a friend, Bob Gimlin, were riding on horseback north along a dry stretch of Bluff Creek in the Six Rivers National Forest of northern California. At one point, a large pile of logs in the middle of the stream bed blocked their path, and they had to maneuver their horses around to the east. As they rode along the logs, they veered left and resumed their original course, only to see something that still has investigators and researchers puzzled today. A female Bigfoot stood up from the creek where she had been squatting and walked away from the approaching men and horses, moving briskly and swinging her arms as she moved toward the forest. At the same time this occurred, all three horses (including the pack horse) began to panic. Patterson's horse reared up and fell over sideways, but managed to stagger back to its feet again. As it did, Patterson quickly reached for the 16mm camera in his saddlebag and began to follow the creature, filming as he went. Unfortunately, only 28 feet of film remained in the camera but Patterson managed to use it to record the Bigfoot's escape from three different positions. After his return to civilization, Patterson enlisted the help of researcher John Green to get some sort of scientific confirmation of the evidence that he had captured, without any luck. The amateur investigator was ignored and berated by the established scientific community, so in 1968, he took his case to the public. After padding his film footage with a documentary-style look at other evidence gathered in the search for Bigfoot, he went on a tour of the American West, renting small theaters and auditoriums for one-night shows and lectures. Since that time, the footage has gone on to become one of the most famous -- and most controversial -- pieces of Bigfoot evidence. Patterson's life was cut short in 1972 when he died, nearly broke, from Hodgkin's Disease, but he swore to the end that the sighting and the film were authentic. Bob Gimlin also maintained that the events really took place and that his friend's film was the genuine article. Gimlin did not start out as a believer in the creature. He was interested but unconvinced and only came along on Patterson’s expeditions out of friendship, rather than a belief that they would actually find anything. "He'd talk about it around the campfire," he said in an interview. "I didn't care, but after a time you'd find yourself looking for the doggone thing too." The first investigator on the scene of the sighting was a man named Bob Titmus, who found tracks that matched the creature's stride depicted in the film. He made ten casts of them and discovered that the footprints led up a small hill, where the creature had paused to look back on the men below. Patterson and Gimlin had elected to recover their horses rather than pursue the Bigfoot and risk being stranded in the wilderness. The legacy of Patterson’s film lives on, despite the fact that it has never settled the question as to whether or not Bigfoot exists in the forests of America. Researchers have argued about the speed of the film, the gait of the creature, the length of its stride and more. Most biologists and zoologists who have studied it remain noncommittal. Film experts and individuals experienced with hoaxes have been unable to find evidence that it is not authentic. For this reason, the film has never been successfully debunked. Of course, that's not for lack of trying. Recent claims against the validity of the film have stated that the Bigfoot was actually a man in a monkey suit. Some maintain that Patterson and Gimlin were knowing participants in the hoax, and that they rented the suit with the idea of profiting from the resulting film. This is in spite of the fact that the men made very little money from it and Patterson died nearly broke. Regardless, this theory has it that Patterson and Gimlin (who were both barely making ends meet  as rodeo riders in 1967) rented an expensive costume, transported it to an area that was nearly inaccessible by car and cleverly shot the grainy, jerky and poorly executed film. Defenders of the film believe this is ridiculous and state that a frame-by-frame analysis of the footage shows a creature that does not walk like a man. Anthropologist Grover Krantz demonstrated that humans lock their knees when they walk, but the filmed Bigfoot does not do this. It would have been very difficult for a hoaxer to pull off and still walk as smoothly as this creature does. In addition, after viewing the film with Bigfoot investigator Peter Byrne in 1973, the chief technician at Disney Studios stated that "the only place in the world a simulation of that quality could be created would be here, at Disney Studios, and this footage was not made here." If the Bigfoot was a fake, it was one that was very, very well done. And while the Disney tech may have been overstating the importance of his studio, there were very few places that such a film (or a suit like that) could have been made in the late 1960s. Even the detractors grudgingly agree that Patterson and Gimlin did not have the resources to pull off a hoax of that magnitude, and certainly could not have paid to have such a convincing-looking suit created. Only two companies could have created a costume of that type, at that time, and both claimed that they did not do so. To make matters more mysterious, the person in the suit (if there was one) has remained silent for more than thirty-five years, ignoring the opportunity for financial gain by confessing. Interestingly, a more popular theory as to who made the suit has emerged within the last few years. According to some conspiracy theorists, the Patterson Bigfoot was actually a man wearing a suit created by master makeup artist John Chambers, who created the makeup for the classic film Planet of the Apes, along with numerous other makeup credits. The debunkers have fixed on Chambers for a couple of reasons, including his award-winning makeup effects for the movie and also for the fact that the movie finished filming on August 10, 1967, just a couple of months before Patterson's encounter. The idea is that Patterson could have easily rented one of the surplus monkey suits for his own purposes. Even though this seems somewhat plausible, the theory has its problems. For one thing, the Bigfoot in Patterson's film looks nothing like the apes that were created for the movie. The apes in Planet of the Apes were not suits but were mostly facial makeup. The Bigfoot in Patterson's film does not resemble these apes at all. The idea that Chambers may have created the Bigfoot suit was apparently the result of director John Landis joking about it to some friends at a party. As anyone who knows anything about Hollywood knows, you can't take every rumor you hear seriously in that town. To complicate things further, Chambers repeatedly denied the claims until his death. He told interviewers that he was "good, but not that good" in response to the story. It has been the general consensus that Chambers enjoyed having people think that he might have made the suit because it bolstered his skills as an artist. The truth is that it's very unlikely that he made it. In spite of this, the story lives on. To this day, the debate continues to rage. Many Bigfoot experts believe that it is valid footage of an unknown creature, but just as many people laugh when the subject is brought up. While I see that it might be possible for Chambers to have created the suit and helped to perpetrate a hoax, I really have to ask if it's plausible. I have no hard evidence to back up my opinion that the film is genuine. I have followed the debate for quite some time and have found nothing to convince me that this is a person wearing a costume. Based on the time period, I don't think that enough information had been made available to the general public for someone to have imitated a creature in the way that the Bigfoot moves in the Patterson film. Just because Chambers could (and this is debatable) have made the suit does not mean that he did. After the remarkable film footage obtained by Roger Patterson began making the rounds, the feeling in Bigfoot circles seemed to be that they were close to catching the animal. Over the years, there have been literally thousands of fraudulent footprints, photos and film that have been "discovered" since Bigfoot entered the mainstream. While much of the alleged evidence appears dubious at best, other Bigfoot so-called “evidence” has managed to defy easy explanation. When such evidence appeared, it gave researchers the feeling that anything could happen next. In the wake of the Patterson film, the next major event to occur was in Bossburg, in the extreme northwest corner of Washington State. On November 24, 1969, near Bossburg’s town dump, a butcher named Joseph Rhodes found a bizarre set of tracks. They appeared to belong to a creature that walked on two feet, one of which was deformed. The word spread quickly among Bigfoot researchers, including Rene Dahinden, a Canadian who spent decades conducting field investigations and interviews throughout the Northwest. He was a major advocate for the authenticity of the Patterson film and the character of the French Canadian Bigfoot hunter in the film Harry and the Hendersons was based on him. When Dahinden arrived in Bossburg, he found and covered one of the better pair of tracks. One clearly shows that the right foot that had made the track was deformed. It looked as if it had two bumps out to the side and only four toes showing. Using what he had available (a cardboard box), Dahinden casually preserved what many consider to be one of the best pieces of Bigfoot evidence ever found. From seven hundred miles away, in western British Columbia, Bob Titmus, a taxidermist and Bigfoot researcher who taught Jerry Crew how to make plaster casts of the tracks at Bluff Creek in 1958, made his way to Bossburg. His behavior seemed eccentric to Dahinden, who wrote that Titmus, “went out and bought an eight-pound slab of beef and hung it in a tree. I believe that he was sitting out there at night in a panel truck, watching the meat, thinking that if this thing was a cripple and was living off the garbage dump, when it came along, he would just grab it by the arse and throw it in the truck and run off home with it.” Another Bigfoot hunter named Norm Davis had a similar plan. He put out a big bowl of fruit in the hope of luring Bigfoot. Titmus left within three days. Dahinden and Davis became friendly and began sharing a trailer, which they moved onto land that belonged to Ivan Marx, who had been part of the Tom Slick expedition to look for the Yeti a few years before. The three of them combined resources to continue the search around Bossburg. On December 13, 1969, after a significant snowfall, Dahinden, Marx and a local man named Jim Hopkins went scouting for signs of Bigfoot around Roosevelt Lake. It was there that they stumbled upon a series of 1,089 tracks: the remains of the best footprints ever discovered in America. They measured 17-1/2 inches long and about seven inches wide and seemed to indicate that the creature that left them had a right clubfoot, the result, some surmised, of a childhood injury. This minor detail seemed to rule out any chance of a fraud for it's unlikely that any hoaxer would have gone to the trouble to include this deformity in such a huge number of tracks. The unusually long trail followed waterways, going around a lake and along a river. It crossed railroad tracks, and stepped over a five-wire fence that was forty-three inches high. Then, the creature rested, apparently in a depression in the floor of the pine forest, before going up a hill, then back down, leaving a patch of yellow snow where it had relieved itself. From there, the Bigfoot appeared to backtrack, going through some underbrush, and to an overhang by the river’s edge. The trail of tracks finally vanished where the creature descended the river’s bank to the rocky edge where the trail could not be followed. Dahinden photographed the tracks carefully and examined each print along the route. The three men did not have many resources, so they kept some of the prints from the snow in Marx’s freezer. They were later inadvertently destroyed. Regardless, plenty of proof existed to show that the prints were real. Their sheer number and occurrence in a remote and seldom-traveled area argued against a hoax. Why would someone go to the trouble of creating phony Bigfoot tracks in a place where no one would likely ever see them? Not surprisingly, when word of the tracks leaked out, tourists with cameras descended on the area, ruining and trampling the fragile evidence. But the Bossburg events continued anyway. A U.S. Border Patrol officer found new tracks on the far side of the river on December 18. The distinctive prints of the crippled right foot could be seen, though a recent rain had mostly washed them out. More Bigfoot hunters arrived, including Roy Fardell and Roger St. Hillaire, a young zoologist from San Francisco; Roger Patterson and his associate, Dennis Jensen. Patterson came and went, but Jensen stayed behind to “protect” Patterson’s role in the hunt. Ohio millionaire Tom Page pledged money to the hunt and soon off-road vehicles and snowmobiles arrived and the hunters were backed up by air searchers. Dahinden, Patterson, Marx, Jensen, Fardell, St. Hillaire and others held together as a loosely-knit group of hunters through most of early January 1970. Then on January 27, a startling announcement was received at the hunters’ camp. On that day, Joe Metlow began claiming that he had found a cream-colored Sasquatch, discovered where it lived, and had captured it in its cave. He wanted the researchers to start bidding for the cave’s location. Patterson was being marginally funded by Tom Page and he was on the telephone to Page right away. Page flew out to meet him and the big split between the Patterson camp and the Dahinden camp began. Page was initially willing to spend $35,000 for a Bigfoot, dead or alive. Then Dahinden got into the bidding and researcher John Green came to Bossburg. Green essentially served as a mediator between the two camps. The bidding had reached $55,000 for the Bigfoot. Page’s helicopter was standing by at Colville airport to take the creature away. Things were reaching circus-like proportions. The problem was that Metlow’s story kept changing. Dahinden, during a moment of truce with the Patterson camp, paid a visit with Dennis Jensen to Metlow’s home. Conversation was general and friendly until Metlow casually mentioned that he had a Sasquatch foot in his freezer. Dahinden became excited and offered $500 for a look at the specimen. Metlow demanded $5,000. Before anything could be confirmed, a crony of Metlow had a contract sketched out that would include John Green to write a book about the discovery, Bob Titmus to skin and dissect the owner of the foot – presumably stashed in a cave somewhere above the snow line – and Dr. Grover Krantz to present the creature to science. Dahinden was soon shut out of the mix, and so was Patterson. After a series of fruitless searches, following instructions provided by Metlow, the Bigfoot hunters figured out that there was nothing to his wild claims and things grew heated and raw in Bossburg. A lot of time, money and energy had been wasted. The hunters left town discouraged, but a little more aware of the shenanigans that would often run rampant in the Bigfoot hunting field. But that wasn’t the end of the Bossburg story. Rene Dahinden kept in touch with Ivan Marx throughout 1970 and Marx always had some new, exciting find to tell him about: a new footprint, some handprints and even a new Bigfoot film in 1971. Tom Page returned to the area, offering Marx $25,000 for the film, but it turned out to be a hoax. Researcher and author John Green called Marx “the biggest, well, yarn-spinner in California.” Marx had lived in California for many years but had moved to Bossburg in 1969. The famed Bossburg “crippled” footprints started soon after and continued until 1971, with Dahinden, Krantz, Green, Patterson and others finding their way to the area. Millionaire Bigfoot enthusiast Tom Page made an appearance and researcher Peter Byrne reportedly put Marx on a $750 monthly retainer as a Sasquatch hunter after the 1971 film surfaced. But Byrne soon discovered that the film was a fake. Were the Bossburg prints authentic, or were they, as some researchers came to believe, the product of Ivan Marx? In 1978, John Green simply stated: “I tend to write off the whole Bossburg episode to entertainment.” But not everyone agreed. Many believe the prints were genuine, their reputation damaged by the questionable activities (and people) that surrounded the incident. The casts that still exist of the crippled tracks led authorities like Grover Krantz, the late anthropologist who was one of the first academics to consider the possibility that Bigfoot exists, to believe in their reality. Anthropologist John Napier also felt the tracks were genuine. He wrote, “Either some of the footprints are real, or all are fakes. If they are all fakes, then an explanation invoking legend and folk memory is adequate to explain the mystery. But if any of them is real, then as scientists we have a lot to explain. Among other things we will have to rewrite the story of human evolution. We shall have to accept that Homo sapiens is not the one and only living product of the hominid line, and we shall have to admit that there are still major mysteries to be solved in the world we thought we knew so well.” The Grover Krantz-certified footprints have become famous in the Bigfoot community and have been largely accepted as authentic, at least to everyone who considers the possibility of the existence of Bigfoot. But the question still remains: was Ivan Marx merely lucky once and then attempted to stay in the limelight through hoaxes later on? Or was the Bossburg incident, from start to finish, just an entertaining episode that we can only view today as a cautionary tale? The reader will have to be the judge. Growing up in Illinois, and always being in search of the strange and unusual, I discovered the works of author Loren Coleman, another central Illinois native who went on to write a number of books and articles on the state’s mysterious monsters. Loren’s passion for high strangeness was infectious, and I was soon tracking down the sources of his stories – as well as stumbling into a few of my own. For more than a century, reports have filtered out of rural and southern Illinois about strange, man-like beasts that resemble a cross between man and ape. Most witnesses talk of their odd appearance and the horrible odor that seems to accompany them. The stories of these Bigfoot creatures have been passed along from generation to generation and have long been chronicled by both professional and amateur researchers. There are so many reports of Bigfoot in Illinois that it is only rivaled by the Pacific Northwest for its number of creature sightings. Some of the classics of Bigfoot literature stem from Illinois, which makes it worth mentioning in this chapter. The earliest sighting that I could find from this region comes from Centreville in September 1883 and concerned a “wild man” that was seen in the nearby woods. He was described as a “naked roaming madman,” who had been “roaming around the country” for several days and had been causing “intense excitement and consternation” among the rural folks who lived in and around this small community. The man was described as having a long, dark beard and his body was covered with matted hair. He had a tall “athletic form” and a fierce look in his eyes that “make him exceedingly unpleasant to meet in a lonely spot.” The creature was first seen by the wife of Dr. John Saltenberger, who was returning home shortly after nightfall when she saw him creeping out of the orchard on her property. As he made a quick rush toward her horse and buggy, Mrs. Saltenberger lashed frantically at him with her whip and then snapped the reins. The horse picked up the pace but the creature stayed close behind and then, suddenly, it leapt onto the back of the carriage. He only remained there for a few moments before jumping down and running into the woods. Needless to say, Mrs. Saltenberger was terrified by the encounter. The following day, her husband placed a telephone call to Belleville and asked the sheriff to come and capture the creature. He was joined in his hunt by several young men from the area but despite a thorough search of the woods around Centreville, the monster never turned up. After that, the next report dates to around 1912. A woman named Beulah Schroat reported that she and her brothers had often encountered hairy creatures in the woods near their home outside of Effingham when they were children. According to her description, the beasts stood on their hind legs and were about as tall as a normal people, with large eyes and copious amounts of hair. The creatures seemed very shy and harmless and always ran away whenever they were approached. The children usually saw them near a small creek on the farm, where they waded and splashed about. Mrs. Schroat said that her brothers would often run to the house after an encounter to report the sighting, but their parents dismissed the stories as practical jokes until they found an article about similar monsters in a Chicago newspaper. The next documented account was a brief report about a man-like beast covered in brown hair and with an apelike face that was spotted near Alton in 1925. There are unfortunately no other details to accompany this account. Another report comes not long after the Alton sighting. In this brief snippet, we find that a "huge gorilla" was seen in the woods near Elizabeth in July 1929. Then, in 1941, the Reverend Lepton Harpole was hunting squirrels near Mt. Vernon when he encountered a large creature that "looked something like a baboon." He struck it with the butt of his rifle and fired a warning shot that sent it scurrying back into the underbrush. More sightings of the same creature occurred the next year, and searches were conducted along the Gun Creek Bottoms in hopes of tracking the creature down. More than 1,500 men attempted to flush out the beast, which was said to have a “wildcat’s scream,” combing the bottoms with shotguns and rifles at the ready. The animal was blamed for the death of a dog in the vicinity. No trace of it was ever found. From the 1940s and into the 1960s, huge prints were discovered along the marshy areas of Indian Creek in southwestern Illinois. The creature leaving the tracks was dubbed the “Gooseville Bear,” taking its name from an area of farmland and small businesses that were located about three miles east of Bethalto at the intersection of Route 140 and Indian Creek. Some identified the tracks as belonging to a bear but others insisted that they were man-like. Whatever the beast was, it was never seen, and after leaving its mark on the area for almost two decades, it disappeared. In 1962, a grayish-colored creature was spotted by Steven Collins and Robert Earle standing in a riverbed east of Decatur, just off of East Williams Street Road. The monster was looming upright in the water, looking straight at them. At first, they thought it was a bear, until they noticed its strange, human-like features. The creature vanished into the woods and the astonished witnesses told the local newspaper that it was "like no other animal we had ever seen before." In September 1965, four young people were parked in a car near an undeveloped area outside of Decatur called Montezuma Hills. The area would later become a housing addition but at that time, it was a secluded lovers’ lane. The young couples were sitting in the car when a black, man-like shape approached the vehicle. The creature seemed massive and it frightened the teenagers badly. They drove off in a panic, but after dropping off their dates at home, the two young men returned to the area for another look. They once again saw the monster, and it walked up to their car as though it were curious. The boys were too scared to get out, but even with the windows rolled up, they gagged at the monster’s horrible stench. They quickly summoned the police, and with several officers as support, they made a thorough, but fruitless, search of the woods. The police officers said they had no idea what the young people had witnessed, but they were obviously very frightened by whatever it had been. Another man-like creature was encountered near Chittyville in August 1968. Two young people, Tim Bullock and Barbara Smith, were driving north of town on August 11 when they spotted a ten-foot-tall monster that was covered with black hair and had a round face. It threw dirt at their car and they quickly left to summon the police. When the authorities returned, they found a large depression in the grass that was apparently a nest. Local residents claimed that their dogs had been "carrying on" for the two weeks before the encounter. Another frightening encounter occurred about one month later, in September 1968, a few miles outside of Carpentersville in Cook County. Two young men were driving along some back roads, searching for a party they had been invited to, and got lost somewhere east of what is now Barrington Hills. As they drove along the wooded roads, they stopped and then started to turn around and drive back towards Carpentersville when they saw something at the edge of the road. A creature, which the witnesses stated was “about as tall as our Ford van,” started out across the roadway, about fifteen to twenty feet in front of their vehicle. The creature had a long stride, stood upright and was covered with dark brown (almost black) hair that was matted and longer in some spots. It swung its arms as it walked, in a manner that suggested they were too long for its torso. As it crossed the road, it turned and looked at the two men. Its face was covered with hair, except around the eyes, nose and mouth. Its face was flat, they said, more like an ape’s than a man’s. As the driver was backing up and turning the vehicle around, the passenger looked to his right as they pulled away. What he saw gave him quite a fright: the creature had changed direction, as if to chase their van! They were terrified as “it looked so powerful that it could have torn the doors off the van with no trouble whatsoever.” They immediately left the area and did not return for another look at whatever they had encountered there in the woods. A violent encounter with some sort of hairy monster occurred about one month later, in October 1968, just outside Lewiston in Fulton County. At about 9:30 p.m. one Friday evening, three high school boys in a truck were following a friend in his car near the Dutch Henry crossing. All at once, the boys in the truck were forced to stop, as they saw their friend’s car was now parked crossways in the road in front of them. In the headlights, they could see their friend lying on the road, seemingly unconscious. The boys got out of the truck and were walking toward the other boy when something came out of the darkness and knocked them to the ground. Each time they tried to get up, they were knocked back down again. The boys later reported that, whatever it was, it did not hit them with its fists but backhanded them with terrific force. At one point, the boys managed to wrestle the creature to the ground, but it knocked them aside with ease. During the fighting, the first boy, whom the others had discovered lying on the ground, ran for the truck and locked the doors. He said he got a fairly good look at the creature, and that it was not too tall but was very strongly built and seemed to be very hairy. Too terrified to get out of the truck, he remained there until something frightened the monster away. It vanished into the woods. The boys were not badly harmed but they were shaken up and the incident was reported to the local police. No trace of the creature was ever found. One of the strangest Illinois incidents took place in July 1970, near Farmer City. Early that spring, three sheep had been killed near town. Local officials dismissed it as the work of wild dogs, which had been known to roam the area. Outside the small town, near Salt Creek, was a ten-acre section of woods and fields that was a popular parking spot for teenagers. Three teenagers decided to camp out there one night. Very late in the evening, they reported hearing something approaching their campsite in the tall grass. They turned a light in that direction and saw a huge, black shape crouching near their tent. The shape had a pair of gleaming, yellow eyes, which was a color that would be repeated in every account to follow. The terrified screams of the teenagers scared the creature and all of them ran off in different directions. Stories about the "Farmer City Monster" quickly spread. Dozens of people reported seeing the creature over the next several days, with all of the sightings taking place near the wooded area outside of town. Robert Hayslip, a Farmer City police officer who investigated the scene, reported his own encounter. In the early morning hours of July 15, he saw the broad back of the creature moving along the trees. The creature turned in his direction and Hayslip noted its yellow eyes. The local police chief, who until that point had been skeptical about the sightings, decided to close off the area. The creature was soon to move on. On July 24, a couple driving near Weldon Springs State Park, outside of Clinton, saw what looked like a huge bear in the river. Later, a policeman and a conservation officer found tracks along the water‘s edge that definitely did not belong to a bear. They were reportedly very large and human-like. A few days later, farther north, a woman caught the reflection of eyes with her car headlights as she was traveling outside Bloomington. She thought the eyes might belong to a dog that had been injured by a passing car, so she stopped and approached the ditch where she had seen the eyes shining. Suddenly, a large creature jumped out of the ditch and ran away on two legs. She was unsure about what she had seen, but whatever it was, it seemed ape-like. Later that same week, another witness reported seeing an identical creature near Heyworth. On August 11, three young men reported seeing a large, dark-haired creature near Waynesville, and five days later, construction workers saw the creature near the same location. It ran across the highway in front of their truck and disappeared into the forest. That was the last report of the so-called "Farmer City Monster." One can’t help but wonder if it continued its strange journey northwest across central Illinois. If it did, it was never reported again. In May 1972, there were new reports coming in from the Pekin and Peoria areas. In late May, a young man named Randy Emmert, along with some of his friends, reported a large, hairy creature near Cole Hollow Road. This monster was eight to ten feet tall and whitish in color. The witnesses stated that it made a loud, screeching sound and they suspected that it was living in a hole beneath an abandoned house. It left very unusual tracks, having only three toes on each foot. Soon, others were reporting the same monster and it became known as "Cohomo," short for the "Cole Hollow Road Monster". On May 25, local police logged more than two hundred calls about the monster, including one where the creature destroyed a fence. The police departments were naturally skeptical, but the calls kept coming in. By July 1972, there had been so many sightings that nearly one hundred volunteers were organized to search for Cohomo. Tazewell County sheriff's officers eventually sent the volunteers home after one of them, Carl R. Harris, accidentally shot himself in the leg with a .22 caliber pistol. The sightings continued and they couldn't be written off to local panic, either. One witness, from Eureka knew nothing about the creature, yet happened to be in Fondulac Park, in East Peoria, for a birthday party when he spotted it. He reported the creature and, strangely, a set of strange lights that seemed to descend vertically and land behind some trees. Were the two sightings connected? No one knows, but whatever the creature was, it was gone. In the summer of 1973, the town of Murphysboro in southwestern Illinois became the scene of a series of monster sightings. The enigmatic creature, now recalled as the “Murphysboro Mud Monster,” or the “Big Muddy Monster,” appeared without warning and then suddenly disappeared two weeks later, seemingly without a trace. In its wake, the monster left a number of confused and frightened witnesses, baffled law enforcement officials and an enduring legend. The monster that wreaked havoc in Murphysboro was first seen around midnight on Monday, June 25, 1973. On that humid and steamy night, a young couple, Randy Needham and Judy Johnson, were parked near a boat ramp into the Big Muddy River near Murphysboro. The night was quiet until a strange, roaring cry shattered the stillness. It came from the nearby woods and Randy and Judy looked up to see a huge shape lumbering toward them from out of the shadows. Whatever it was, it walked on two legs and continued to make the horrible sound. They later described the noise as "something not human." According to their account, the monster was about seven feet tall and was covered with matted, whitish hair. The "fur" was streaked with mud from the river. As it lurched toward them, the tone of the creature's cry began to change, alarming them even further. When the creature approached to within twenty feet of them, they quickly fled the scene, and went directly to the Murphysboro police station. "They were absolutely terrified," former Police Chief Ron Manwaring recalled in 2003, the thirtieth anniversary of the sightings. The retired officer agreed to be interviewed about the case and remembered all that he could about what happened. "I'm convinced that they saw something that night... I can't tell you what it was that they saw, whether it was a bear or something else. But something was definitely there." A short time later, Officers Meryl Lindsay and Jimmie Nash responded to the area and surveyed the scene. Although skeptical, they were surprised to find that a number of footprints had been left in the mud. The footprints were "approximately 10-12 inches long and approximately three inches wide." At 2:00 a.m., Nash, Lindsay, a Jackson County sheriff's deputy named Bob Scott, and Randy Needham returned to the scene. This time, they discovered more tracks and Lindsay left to go get a camera. The others followed the new footprints, tracing their path along the river. Suddenly, from the woods about one hundred yards away, they heard the creature's terrifying scream. They didn't wait to see if they could spot the monster. They made a quick retreat for the patrol car instead. Needham later recalled that the sheriff's deputy was so scared that he dropped his gun into the mud. After waiting in the darkness for a little while, they got back out of the patrol car and spent the rest of the night trying to track down a splashing sound they heard in the distance. Things quieted down after daylight, but the next night, the creature was back. The first to see the monster this time was a four-year-old boy named Christian Baril, who told his parents that he saw a "big white ghost in the yard." They didn't believe him, but when Randy Creath and Cheryl Ray saw an identical monster in a neighboring yard just ten minutes later, Christian's parents, and the police, quickly reconsidered the little boy's statement. Randy and Cheryl spotted the monster at about 10:30 p.m. while sitting on the back porch of the Ray house. They heard the sound of something moving in the woods near the river and then spotted the muddy, white creature staring at them with glowing, pink eyes. Cheryl would insist that the eyes were actually glowing and were not reflecting light from some other source. They estimated that it weighed at least 350 pounds, stood seven feet tall, had a roundish head and long, ape-like arms. Cheryl turned on the porch light and Randy went for a closer look. The creature seemed unconcerned and finally ambled off into the woods. Investigators would later find a trail of broken tree branches and crushed undergrowth, along with a number of large footprints. They also noticed a strong odor left in the monster's wake, which lingered for a short time. The officers who arrived on the scene, Jimmie Nash and Chief Ron Manwaring, quickly summoned Jerry Nellis, a local dog handler who often assisted the police department in searching buildings and tracking suspects. He brought a German shepherd to go in pursuit of the monster. The dog followed a trail through the weeds and then managed to track the creature through the woods and down a hill to a small pond. Eventually, the trees and undergrowth became too thick for the dog to continue and he was put back on the leash after almost pulling Nellis off a steep embankment. The officers began searching the area with flashlights, and the dog began sniffing near the trees, hoping to pick up the scent again. He then set off toward an abandoned barn, but refused to go inside. Instead, the animal began shaking with fear and started barking. Nellis called the two officers over and they opened the barn and went inside. After a few moments, they realized that it was empty. The three men were puzzled. The dog had been trained to search buildings and Nellis could not explain why it had refused to enter the barn. A short time later, the search was called off for the night. The Mud Monster was reported two more times that summer. On the night of July 4, traveling carnival workers stated that they spotted the creature disturbing some Shetland ponies that were being used for the holiday celebration at Riverside Park. This report actually came in on July 7, because the carnival owner was concerned that the sighting might scare away potential customers. However, he did tell the police that several of his workers noticed the ponies attempting to break loose from the trees where they had been tied up for the night. According to the police report, the workers described the monster as being seven to eight feet tall with light brown hair all over its body. It stood erect on two legs and weighed at least 300 to 400 pounds. The creature stood very close to the ponies and while it seemed curious, it did not advance on them or threaten them in any way. Then, on July 7, Mrs. Nedra Green heard a screaming sound coming from a shed on her rural farm. She did not go out to investigate but the description of the cries matched the description given by Randy Needham, Judy Johnson and the police officers who also heard it. This was the last incident connected to the monster to occur that summer. As the story leaked out, it turned up in the newspapers, got posted to the wire services and soon made headlines across the country. Even the New York Times sent a reporter to investigate. The story of the Big Muddy Monster made it around the world and soon letters came pouring into the Murphysboro Police Department from as far away as South Africa. Researchers, curiosity-seekers and even scientists were pleading with the local authorities to release more information. They received letters from hunters and trappers who offered to track down the monster and kill or capture it. Two men from Oregon offered to do the job and wrote that they "would be willing to take on this adventure at only the cost of expenses and materials for doing so." Some wrote suggesting that the police try using bait to snare the creature. A Florida man suggested, "Why don't you put bread and cheese and eggs out for your creature? You would have a splendid attraction if you could have it in a little hut, to show people." Assistant professor Leigh Van Valen, from the University of Chicago's Biology Department, also wrote to Chief Manwaring. "I have heard of your creature," his letter stated, "which could be of considerable scientific interest. There have been many reports of such animals but no real specimens have been available for scientific study." Professor Van Valen went on to explain how the creature, if circumstances required shooting it, should be properly embalmed or "preserved in good condition." The professor agreed to cover the necessary expenses to procure the monster for scientific study. In the end, all of the ideas and suggestions didn’t matter, for the monster never returned to Murphysboro. There was only one other sighting that could possibly have been the creature. It occurred in the fall of that same year, a number of miles southwest of town, near the Mississippi River. A local truck driver told police that he saw a monster that resembled the Murphysboro creature along the edge of the road. It vanished before he could get a good look at it, but it left behind a number of large tracks in the mud. The authorities made casts of the impressions but they were unable to determine if they matched the previous footprints or were the work of a prankster. After that one last gasp, the Big Muddy Monster simply faded away. So what was the Murphysboro Mud Monster? Local authorities admitted that they didn't know then and to this day, no one has offered a logical explanation for the sightings. One of the police officers involved in the case said, "A lot of things in life are unexplained and this is another one. We don't know what the creature is, but we do believe what these people saw was real." Some of the locals were skeptical. Jerry Nellis, the dog handler, said many years that that, "in my opinion ... we were tracking a bear." But Randy Needham, one of the first to see the monster, disagreed. He stated with certainty, “It would be kind of naïve for us to think that we know everything that's out there.” Needham added that after his encounters in 1973, he never went into the woods at night again. And even in the daytime, he never went alone. "I always look for way out in case I need to leave fast,” he said. Many Bigfoot researchers, like author and cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, have come to believe that perhaps the Sasquatch of the Pacific Northwest and the creatures sighted in some other parts of the country may be different monsters entirely. The creatures of many of the southern and central states (like the so-called “Skunk Apes” of Florida) seem to be different than the traditional Bigfoot. They have been seen and tracked throughout the South and lower Midwest, usually in the swampy woods, bottomlands and along the rivers. The classic Bigfoot stands upright, walking on two legs, and averages between six and eight feet tall. It leaves a giant print that looks like an oversized human footprint, complete with five toes. However, what Coleman called the “North American Apes,” are more ape-like, shorter (as has been noted in some of the previous accounts), and are sometimes seen walking on all fours. It often leaves a footprint that is more like a hand – that is, with the big toe sticking out to the side, like a thumb. In many reports, the word gorilla was used to describe these river-bottom dwelling creatures. In Boone County, Indiana, in 1949, two fishermen were chased away from Sugar Creek by a brown “gorilla.” In 1962, a Kentucky farmer named Owen Powell spotted a “gorilla” that was six feet tall, walking on its back legs and having front legs or arms that hung down to its knees. In 1968, a Kinloch, Missouri, boy was allegedly snatched and then released in the backyard of his home by what he called a “gorilla.” The creature was frightened off by a barking dog and the screams of the boy’s aunt. In 1968, newspapers near Hamburg, Arkansas, printed stories about a prowling “gorilla.” Over a three-year period from 1967 to 1970, a Calumet, Oklahoma, man believed that he was seeing an ape on a regular basis. He left out bananas and oranges for the animal, which he hoped to capture. The effort ended without success. These reports – along with many others – are often buried in among the traditional Bigfoot accounts because that term is more widely used today. In many such cases, sightings and reports have become part of the folklore of the area in which they occurred. In Allen County, Kentucky, the name Monkey Cave Hollow was given to an area northeast of Scottsville. Early settlers to the area stated that it was inhabited by a tribe of beings that they identified as some kind of monkey. The creatures foraged in the woods and took refuge in small caves. An account from an “old-timer” recalled seeing the carcass of the last “monkey.” A hunter had brought the body to his father’s house when the man was only seven or eight years old. He could not remember exactly what it looked like after nearly eighty years, but said that the creature had hands and feet “like a person,” was about the same size as the boy, had no tail, but was covered in brown hair. In some cases, the old events become cloudy with the passage of time. An incident from 1900 in Hannibal, Missouri, said that local residents noticed a mysterious animal moving about on a large wooded island on the Mississippi River near the town. The sheriff was notified and he said that he thought it was a hyena, except that it was eating grass. When the sheriff and a few other men captured it, it turned out to be “the man from Borneo,” who had allegedly escaped from a circus, which was happy to get him back. In those days, the “man from Borneo” was a common nickname for an orangutan – which would have been incapable of swimming the Mississippi or any other river. Despite the fact that the known species of great apes do not swim, the North American apes never seem to have a problem doing so. They are very often found up and down the Mississippi waterways, as well as in the forests that border the river systems. A high percentage of sightings take place in the river and creek bottoms of rural America. The popular film The Legend of Boggy Creek (a docudrama in that it was mostly factual in the details, but melodramatic in the re-creations), is about Fouke, Arkansas’, ape-like “monster.” It noted several times that “he always travels the creeks.” A sighting of a swimming ape in 1969 reinforces the point. On November 7, a man named Charles Buchanan was camping on the shore of Lake Worth in Texas when he awoke around 2:00 a.m. to see a hairy creature that looked “like a cross between a human being and a gorilla or an ape” towering above him. Buchanan had been sleeping in the bed of his pickup truck when the beast suddenly jerked him out and pulled him to the ground, still trapped in his sleeping bag. Gagging from the creature’s foul stench, Charles did the only thing that he could think of and grabbed a bag of leftover chicken and shoved it in the creature’s face. It took the sack in its mouth, made some grunting sounds and then ran off through the trees toward the lake. It first splashed into the water, then began swimming with powerful strokes toward Greer Island. The authentic tracks and credible sightings of these mysterious apes seem to suggest that there may be another creature lurking out there in woods and forests of America, along with Bigfoot, the most elusive of the hairy bipeds. Are such creatures real, the product of wild imaginations run amuck, or could they be an almost-vanished race of unknown animal that is encountered on rare occasions in remote and isolated areas? Believe it or not, evidence suggests that there really is something out there. In addition to the numerous eyewitness accounts, there are the hundreds of plaster casts and photographs of giant, unexplained footprints. Other evidence that has been discovered consists of feces and hair samples that are either associated with sightings or may have been indications of a Bigfoot's recent passing. Many of these samples seem to resist identification. But what about the body of a Bigfoot? Debunkers and skeptics say that Bigfoot cannot exist for if it did, then someone would have found the corpse of one by now. Jeffrey Meldrum, an associate professor of anthropology at Idaho State University, disagrees. "Think about it," he said in an interview. "It's rare, reproduces infrequently, and if it's like other apes, it may live for fifty years. It's at the top of the food chain, so death most likely comes from natural causes. When an animal is ill or feeble, it'll hide somewhere safe, which makes it more difficult to find any remains. Scavengers strip the carcass and scatter the bones. Rodents chew up what's left for the calcium. Soil in the Northwest is acidic, which is conducive to plant fossilization but not to bones. They disintegrate." Beyond the physical evidence, there have also been recordings that have been made by Bigfoot hunters of what is alleged to be the "voice" of the creature itself. Many of the tapes have been analyzed, including one notable recording that was obtained on October 21, 1972 in California's High Sierra Mountains. That night, investigators recorded a series of moans, whines, growls and grunts that were coming from the darkness. Two electronic specialists, one from the University of Wyoming and one from Rockwell International, came to the conclusion that the sounds came from "more than one speaker, one or more of which is of larger physical size than an average human male. The formant frequencies found were clearly lower than for human data, and their distribution does not indicate that they were a product of human vocalization and tape speed alteration." But, no matter how convincing the pieces of evidence might be, the real proof of the creature's existence would be not just capturing its footprints - but the creature himself. If someone could find one and bring it back, it would be the ultimate evidence that Bigfoot really exists. Today, there are still many researchers out there hunting for Bigfoot, hoping to bring back remains, tracks or anything else that will prove these creatures exist. As mentioned already, the reader is asked to judge the existence of these creatures for himself, for short of solid evidence, we can only surmise that the mysterious giants are out there in the forests of the Northwest. Until one is found, though, they have to remain one of the greatest of the mysteries in the annals of the unexplained in America. Thanks for listening to Weird Darkness (and My Haunted Life Toosday). This episode is a collaboration with Haunting Stories, and if you like Bigfoot, you’ll love the true story surrounding a similar creature that traveled the freak show circuit… The Minnesota Iceman! Check out that video now at HauntingStories on YouTube! This series is made possible by all of my generous Patreon supporters. All Marlar House patrons giving $10/month or more automatically receive every audiobook I narrate as they are released. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a patron, visit or click the Patreon button at “Plaster Casts: Bigfoot In America” is used by permission from Troy Taylor from his book “Cabinet of Curiosities 2”. Music provided by Shadow’s Symphony All content in “Weird Darkness” is used by permission of the authors and composers. Copyright Marlar House Productions, 2016. Rebroadcast or duplication without express written permission is strictly prohibited. I’m your creator/host, Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me… in the Weird Darkness.




Settlers relied on the militia almost from the moment they began moving into Vermont in the mid-1700s.[2] Units were often formed as needed, and usually for brief periods of time. Since most Vermonters had obtained land grants from New Hampshire's governor, they relied on the militia to resist attempts by the government of New York to exert control over the grants.[3] However, Vermonters were also willing to work with the British colonies when it suited them, and several early Vermont settlers served as militia in the French and Indian War.[4][5]

In the late 1760s and early 1770s, the militia took on a more organized structure and formalized its name, the Green Mountain Boys,[6] with Ethan Allen appointed as Colonel and commandant, and Seth Warner and Remember Baker as company commanders with the rank of Captain. In Vermont's pre-Revolutionary War days, the legislature or committee of safety would generally call out the militia as needed, its members would elect their leaders, and the legislature or committee of safety would confirm them. On occasion, the elections by members were not ratified. Perhaps the most noteworthy example of this occurred in 1775, when the Green Mountain Boys became part of the Continental Army, and the committee of safety selected Warner over Allen as colonel and commander.[7]

Since Vermont was not part of the British colonies that declared independence, the Continental Congress did not automatically accept Allen's and Warner's request for the Green Mountain Boys to be directly accessed into the army. Instead, they asked Allen and Warner to work through New York's Provincial Congress to facilitate the process.[8] New York agreed and provided uniforms, equipment and pay, as well as authorizing officer's commissions.[9][10] When Allen was denied the command, he met with Major General Philip Schuyler and offered to serve in any capacity—with a commission or without, with pay or without. Overcoming his previous misgivings about Allen, Schuyler accepted, and Allen was appointed a Lieutenant Colonel in the Continental Army.[11]

When Schuyler gave up command temporarily because of illness he was succeeded by Richard Montgomery. Montgomery allowed Allen to attempt to raise troops for an invasion of Canada. Allen was captured at the Battle of Longue-Pointe[12] and spent over two years as a prisoner of war.[13]

With the Green Mountain Boys called to active duty, Vermont reorganized its militia to defend the border with Canada and protect Vermont from invasion. After Allen's release, he returned to Vermont and was appointed commander of the reorganized militia.[14] Roger Enos, the father-in-law of Ira Allen, and a veteran of over twenty years in the Connecticut and Vermont militias, was later appointed commander with the rank of Brigadier General, and he was later promoted to Major General.[15]


After Vermont attained statehood, its militia was organized into several divisions. The governor served as head of the militia, with the title “captain general and commander in chief”, and the division commanders, who held the rank of major general, reported to the adjutant general, who reported to the governor.[16] Noteworthy among the individuals who commanded divisions during this period was Martin Chittenden, the son of Thomas Chittenden, Vermont's first governor.[17]

Though most Vermonters did not support fighting the British in the War of 1812, preferring the economic prosperity they derived from trade with the British dominion of Canada,[18] units of the state militia were mobilized after the British invaded upstate New York, with General Samuel Strong of Vergennes leading a successful Vermont Militia attack at Plattsburgh as part of an American effort that resulted in a British retreat.[19]

Martin Chittenden served in the U.S. House from 1803 to 1813, and as governor from 1813 to 1815. As one of the majority of Vermonters who opposed U.S. involvement in the War of 1812, in November, 1813 he issued an order for Vermont Militia units that had been mobilized and sent to New York to return immediately to Vermont, arguing that the federal government had no right to command state militia troops, and that the militia was needed to guard Vermont's border with Canada.[20] The commander in Plattsburgh, General Jacob Davis of Milton, positively refused, countering that once the militia was ordered into federal service, it was no longer subject to the governor's orders.[21]

U.S. forces, including the Vermont Militia, remained encamped near Plattsburgh until they returned home in December, and Chittenden took no action against Davis. U.S. House members from Kentucky who supported the War of 1812 introduced resolutions calling for criminal charges to be pursued against Chittenden, which were never acted on, but Vermont public opinion on the war had changed and Vermonters demonstrated their displeasure with Chittenden's stance by defeating his bid for a third one-year term in 1815.[22][23]

In the wake of the War of 1812, the federal government attempted to standardize training and laws governing call up and mobilization for militia organizations throughout the United States. As a result, state governors were no longer in direct command with military rank, but appointed an adjutant general who reported directly to the governor and served as commander of the state militia. As with other states, Vermont's adjutant general was originally appointed by the governor. Subsequent changes to Vermont law conferred this appointment power on the state legislature, which still elects the adjutant general every two years. (A few other states also modified their selection process. As one example, until 2014 the adjutant general in South Carolina was elected statewide directly by the voters.)

The Vermont adjutant general's office was marked in the 1820s and 1830s by efforts to reenergize the militia after interest started to lapse following the War of 1812.

In the 1830s and 1840s militia activity nationwide was on the wane, largely the result of the long period of relative peace that followed the War of 1812. Militia membership, once compulsory, was rife with exemptions. Regular drills were replaced by once a year “muster days” that were more picnic than military formation. Vermont was no exception, and its militia records for this era are incomplete.

In the late 1830s the Vermont Legislature began to reenergize its military.

From the late 1830s on, the office worked in conjunction with the faculty of Norwich University to reorganize and obtain funding for the militia, and convened annual meetings of like-minded individuals to plan ways to increase participation.

Civil War

H. H. Baxter, Vermont's adjutant general in the late 1850s and early 1860s, was commended for taking measures to prepare the militia for mobilization in anticipation of the Civil War. At the outbreak of hostilities his office oversaw recruiting, equipping and training of federal volunteers, and mustered in the first Vermonters activated for wartime service, the 1st Vermont Infantry Regiment.

During the Civil War Peter T. Washburn, Baxter's successor, earned accolades for bringing order to the process of recruiting, equipping, training and transporting recruits for the Union Army, working with Norwich University to develop a process that was later adopted by other Union states.

During the Civil War, the Vermont militia was formed into the 1st Vermont Brigade and 2nd Vermont Brigade and served most notably in the battles of Gettysburg (July 1863), Wilderness (May 1864), and Cedar Creek (October 1864).

Post Civil War

After the Civil War, successive Vermont Adjutants General initiated efforts to obtain benefits for Vermont's Civil War veterans, including establishment of the Vermont Soldiers' Home.

In the late 1890s, the Adjutant General of Vermont was responsible for preparing Vermont units to take part in the Spanish–American War (1898).

20th century

In the early 1900s a major project undertaken by Vermont's adjutants general was a renovation and cataloging of the Vermont National Guard's archives, including muster rolls, payrolls and unit rosters dating back to the Revolution.

Two World Wars

Herbert Johnson became acting adjutant general in 1917 when the incumbent resigned to join the regular army for World War I; then adjutant general in 1919. He served for 24 years, and remained Vermont's longest-serving adjutant general.

During World War I (1917–1918), Vermont National Guard units served with the 26th Infantry Division (a.k.a. the "Yankee" Division).

Johnson and his staff oversaw the construction of 12 new armories and the modernizing and reorganizing of the Vermont National Guard after World War I. Johnson also advocated improved relations between the regular army and the National Guard, including the standardization of training and unit organizations.

During the Flood of 1927, the Vermont National Guard overcame the downing of telephone and telegraph lines by following Johnson's directive to operate on their own initiative during recovery efforts, and the National Guard took part in evacuations of people from flooded areas, claring roads, and providing food, water and other emergency aid.

In the early to mid-1930s Johnson worked to maintain funding for the National Guard while states and the federal government struggled with the loss of revenue caused by the Great Depression. These efforts to preserve the Guard's readiness and force structure were later acknowledged by historians to have played an important part in the Army's rapid response after the US entered World War II.

World War II and the Korean War

Johnson and his successor, Murdoch Campbell, received accolades for organizing the volunteer Vermont State Guard that performed many state duties while National Guard soldiers were deployed in the European and Pacific Theaters during World War II.

During World War II (1941–1945), Vermont National Guard units served with the 43rd Infantry Division (a.k.a. the "Winged Victory" Division) in the Pacific Theater of War, notably in the Solomons and on Luzon in the Philippines. The 2nd Battalion of the 172nd Infantry Regiment earned a Presidential Unit Citation for combat actions during the Battle of the Ipo Dam, Luzon in mid May 1945.

Campbell also received credit for successfully deploying the Vermont National Guard during the Korean War, organizing the Vermont Air National Guard, modernizing armories, and converting Vermont units from Infantry to Armor.

Vermont National Guard units were deployed to Germany during the Korean War.

Cold War era

In 1964 the 86th Armored Brigade was established as a separate brigade of the VT ARNG.

In September 1966 Adjutant General Francis W. Billado died. From September until December Deputy Adjutant General Reginald Cram acted as adjutant general.

In December, 1966 Democratic Governor Philip Hoff named Brigadier General Wayne Page, commander of the 86th Armored Brigade, business executive and chairman of the Lamoille County Republican Party, to temporarily fill the adjutant general's position. Cram resigned as deputy adjutant general when Page was sworn in, and then campaigned against Page in the Republican-controlled Vermont General Assembly for a full term as adjutant general. In an upset, Cram defeated Page in the legislature's February, 1967 secret ballot election, ending Page's three-month tenure.[24] Cram served until 1981, while Page retired from the military.

Subsequent reorganizations of the National Guard resulted in the 86th Armored Brigade, which had been a separate organization, becoming part of the 50th Armored Division, then the 26th Infantry Division, and later the 42nd Infantry Division.[25]

On 1 September 1982, the 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment was activated as a mountain warfare unit, a unique unit in the army.

Several Vermont National Guard organizations were activated for Operation Desert Storm, including the 131st Engineer Company, which served in Southwest Asia. The 131st Engineer Company had also been activated for federal service during the Vietnam War.[26]

In 1997 the Vermont National Guard made history when Martha Rainville became the first woman to ever serve as a state adjutant general.[27]

The Vermont National Guard also continued to perform its state mission, including responsing after a massive ice storm in 1998.[28]

21st century

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Vermont Army and Air National Guard members performed missions in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom.[29][30][31][32][33][34]

1st Battalion, 86th Field Artillery was inactivated in 2010. 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery is now the artillery battalion assigned to the 86th Brigade, and the battalion includes one battery in Vermont.

1st Battalion, 172nd Armor and 2nd Battalion, 172nd Armor were both inactivated as the result of the 86th Brigade's conversion to Infantry. Most units were reconfigured as parts of 1-172 Cavalry or the 86th Brigade Special Troops Battalion.

Adjutants general

In the 1790s Vermont created the positions of adjutant general, inspector general and quartermaster general. Sometimes one individual filled all three positions, and sometimes they were filled separately. The adjutant general (sometimes abbreviated AG for adjutant general or TAG for "the adjutant general") is the senior uniformed military officer in the state, and is responsible for the recruiting, administration, equipping, training, maintenance and readiness of the National Guard. The adjutant general oversees preparations for out-of-state deployments when the National Guard is federally mobilized. The AG also directs the Guard's activities within the state when on state active duty.

In Vermont the adjutant general is elected to a two-year term by the Vermont General Assembly. The election takes place in February of odd-numbered years, and the term starts in March. The individuals known to have served as Vermont's adjutant general include:[35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42]

List of adjutants general
  1. David Fay (1795–1822)
  2. Daniel Kellogg (1822–1824)
  3. Isaac Fletcher (1824–1833)
  4. Martin Flint (1833-1837)
  5. Frederic Williams Hopkins (1837–1852)
  6. Heman R. Smith (1852-1853)
  7. Lewis Samuel Partridge (1853–1854)
  8. George Bradley Kellogg (1854–1859)
  9. Horace Henry Baxter (1859–1861)
  10. Peter T. Washburn (1861–1866).
  11. William W. Wells (1866–1872)
  12. James Stevens Peck (1872–1881)
  13. Theodore S. Peck (1881–1900)
  14. William H. Gilmore (1900–1910)
  15. Lee Stephen Tillotson (1910–1917)
  16. Herbert Thomas Johnson (1917–1941)
  17. Murdock A. Campbell (1941–1955)
  18. Francis William Billado (1955–1966)
  19. Reginald M. Cram (1966)
  20. Wayne H. Page (1966–1967)
  21. Reginald M. Cram (1967–1981)
  22. Donald E. Edwards (1981–1997)
  23. Martha Rainville (1997–2006)
  24. Michael Dubie (2006–2012)
  25. Thomas E. Drew (2012–2013)
  26. Steven A. Cray, (2013–2019)
  27. Gregory C. Knight, (2019-present)

Naming of Vermont National Guard State Headquarters

The Vermont National Guard's main site is Camp Johnson in Colchester. In 1894 the Vermont General Assembly authorized purchase of a portion of Fort Ethan Allen for use as a National Guard training site. In 1898 the 1st Vermont Infantry Regiment mustered there for the Spanish–American War. In 1900 the Vermont National Guard took possession. This site, christened the State Military Reservation, was named Camp Olympia for the flagship of George Dewey, a native Vermonter. It was later named for successive Governors, and used for both individual and unit training and as a staging area for mobilizations. In 1945 the State Reservation was permanently renamed Camp Johnson to honor Herbert T. Johnson, the adjutant general who led Vermont's military during and in between the world wars, and Vermont's second longest-serving adjutant general.[43][44]


Vermont National Guard members supporting Operation Rising Phalanx stand with U.S. and Macedonian troops holding the Green Mountain Boys battle flag in the Republic of Macedonia.
Vermont National Guard members supporting Operation Rising Phalanx stand with U.S. and Macedonian troops holding the Green Mountain Boys battle flag in the Republic of Macedonia.

Vermont Air National Guard

The 158th Fighter Wing was formed in 1946. From 1989 to 1997, the wing was an Air Defense Unit, with aircraft on 5-minute alert, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.[45]

Other components of the Vermont Air Guard include:[45][46][47]

  • 134th Fighter Squadron
  • 158th Aircraft Generation Squadron
  • 158th Civil Engineering Squadron
  • 158th Communications Flight
  • 158th Logistics Group
  • 158th Medical Squadron
  • 158th Operations Group
  • 158th Operations Support Flight
  • 158th Security Forces Squadron
  • 158th Student Flight
  • 158th Support Group
  • 229th Cyber Operations Squadron

F-16 use

The Vermont Air Guard has used F-16s since the late 1980s (or early 1990s). On Friday November 14, 2008, they retired the longest flying Block 25 F-16C in the United States, tail number 83-1165, which will go on display in Vermont before eventually being moved to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.[48]


  1. ^ Hemingway, Sam (11 July 2009). "Vt. Guard not part of downsizing push". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, Vermont. pp. 1B.
  2. ^ National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of New Hampshire, Register of New Hampshire Society of the Colonial Dames of America, 1898, page 72
  3. ^ Ron Miller, Rob Williams, editors, Most Likely to Secede, 2013, page 192
  4. ^ Francis Smith Eastman, A History of Vermont, 1828, pages 27–28
  5. ^ Miriam Irene Kimball, Vermont for Young Vermonters, 1908, pages 44 to 52
  6. ^ Fletcher Haulley, A Primary Source History of the Colony of New Hampshire, 2005, page 39
  7. ^ Daniel Chipman, Memoir of Colonel Seth Warner, 1848, page 156
  8. ^ Brenda Haugen, Andrew Santella, Ethan Allen: Green Mountain Rebel, 2005, pages 68–69
  9. ^ New York Secretary of State, New York in the Revolution as Colony and State, 1808, page 61
  10. ^ Benson John Lossing, The Pictorial Field-book of the Revolution, Volume 1, 1855, page 155
  11. ^ Willard Sterne Randall, Ethan Allen: His Life and Times, 2011
  12. ^ William Henry Atherton, Under British Rule, 1760–1914, 1914, pages 70–73
  13. ^ Philip K. Jason, Mark A. Graves, editors, Encyclopedia of American War Literature, 2001, page 13
  14. ^ Randall, Ethan Allen: His Life and Times
  15. ^ John J. Duffy, Samuel B. Hand, Ralph H. Orth, editors, The Vermont Encyclopedia Archived April 24, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, 2003, page 115
  16. ^ Vermont General Assembly, The Revised Statutes of the State of Vermont Passed November 19, 1839 Archived July 4, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, 1840, pages 559–560
  17. ^ Vermont General Assembly, Records of the Council of Safety and Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, Volume 5, 1877, page 38
  18. ^ Spencer C. Tucker, The Encyclopedia Of the War Of 1812 Archived May 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, 2012, pages 742–743
  19. ^ Carl Edward Skeen, Citizen Soldiers in the War of 1812, 1999, pages 116–117
  20. ^ Stuart, Reginald C. (2009). Civil-military Relations During the War of 1812. Praeger. p. 91. ISBN 978-0275982003.
  21. ^ William T. Doyle, The Vermont Political Tradition Archived June 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, 1987, page 288
  22. ^ Donald R. Hickey, The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict Archived June 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, 2012, page 271
  23. ^ Austin Jacobs Coolidge, John Brainard Mansfield, editors, A History and Description of New England, General and Local Archived September 26, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Volume 1, 1859, page 996
  24. ^ "Wayne Harold Page". Find A Grave.
  25. ^ John B. Wilson, Center for Military History, Armies, Corps, Divisions, and Separate Brigades, 1999, pages 378-379
  26. ^ Center of Military History, Lineage and Honors Information, 131st Engineer Company Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, May 10, 2011
  27. ^ M. D. Drysdale, Randolph Herald, Rainville Makes Her Move In Run for Congress Archived April 2, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, October 19, 2006
  28. ^ Mitch Wertlieb, Vermont Public Radio, Remembering the Ice Storm of January 1998 Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, January 4, 2008
  29. ^ Wilson Ring, Associated Press, Rutland Herald, Dean Calls Out Vermont Guard, September 28, 2001
  30. ^ Steve Zind, National Public Radio, Guardsmen Return to Vermont from Iraq, Slowly Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, June 14, 2006
  31. ^ Vermont Public Radio, Vermont National Guard Soldiers Return from Afghanistan Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, September 3, 2004
  32. ^ Vermont Public Radio, Vermont Air Guard Deploys Squadron to Afghanistan Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, January 11, 2002
  33. ^ Sandy Vondrasek, Rutland Herald, Guard Troops Begin Journey to Afghanistan Archived April 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, January 7, 2010
  34. ^ Boston Globe, Vt Guard Units Headed Home, November 21, 2010
  35. ^ Vermont Adjutant General, Annual Report, 1966, page 4
  36. ^ Vermont State Archives, List, Portraits of Vermont Adjutants General 1822–1967 Archived September 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, accessed September 1, 2013
  37. ^ National Guard Association of the United States, The National Guardsman, Volume 21, 1967, page 38
  38. ^ Suzanne Gillis, Vermont Woman, For The Greater Good: Interview with General Martha Rainville Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, October, 2004
  39. ^ VTDigger, Obama Taps Michael Dubie, Adjutant General of the Vermont National Guard for Top Northcom post, Press release, Senator Patrick Leahy, May 10, 2012
  40. ^ Burlington Free Press, Vermont Welcomes New Adjutant General Thomas Drew, August 3, 2012
  41. ^ Jennifer Reading, WCAX-TV, Cray Elected Vt. Adjutant General Archived March 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, February 21, 2013
  42. ^ "Appointment by the Governor: Maj. Martin Flint, of Randolph, to be Adjutant general of the Militia of Vermont, vice gen. Isaac Fletcher, resigned or removed". Burlington Sentinel. Burlington, VT. August 16, 1833. p. 1 – via (Subscription required (help)).
  43. ^ Vermont General Assembly, Farewell Address, Governor William H. Wills Archived December 11, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, January 4, 1945, pages 3–4
  44. ^ Vermont Historical Society, Description, Thomas H. Johnson Papers Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, 2007, page 1
  45. ^ a b Pike, John (21 August 2005). "158th Fighter Wing [158th FW]".
  46. ^ "Reserve activations: Air Force Reserve". CNN. 2001.
  47. ^ "Major General Michael D. Dubie". November 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2010-08-04.
  48. ^ Lindholm, Jane (November 14, 2008). "Longest flying F-16C flies final mission in Vt". VPR News. Colchester, VT: Vermont Public Radio.

External links

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