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 Post subject: Sasquatch Classics - The Apemen of Mt. St. Helens
PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:19 am 
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I Fought The Apemen of Mt. St. Helens
Told by Fred Beck, written by R. A. Beck

What are Abonimable Snowmen? Fred Beck is qualified to tell what they are. He was one of a party of five miners attacked by them in 1924, the most famous of such incidents in North America. The incident has become a legend in the Northwest. He tells the real facts after 43 years of silence.

It is my intention in this book not only to tell you about the historic encounter I had with these mysterious creatures, but also to reveal to the public what I believe they are.

Truth often is stranger than fiction, but the strangeness comes from the clouds surrounding our minds, not from the mystery itself.

This is not a large book, but may the largeness be conveyed by the picture I hope to paint of truth. Much has been written about that day in 1924, and I feel it right that I express my views at last.

To avoid embarrassment to the relatives of the other four men involved in the 1924 incident, I have not directly mentioned their names. The name, Hank, is a pseudonym of one of the main characters in the incident.

File comment: Fred Beck with his 30-30 Winchester rifle
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Chapter One: The Attack

First of all, I wish to give an account of the attack and tell of the famous incident of July, 1924, when the "Hairy Apes" attacked our cabin. We had been prospecting for six years in the Mt. St. Helens and Lewis River area in Southwest Washington. We had, from time to time, come across large tracks by creek beds and springs. In 1924 I and four other miners were working our gold claim, the Vander White. It was two miles east of Mt. St. Helens near a deep canyon now named "Ape Canyon" — which was so named after an account of the incident reached the newspapers.

Hank, a great hunter and good woodsman, was always a little apprehensive after seeing the tracks. The tracks were large and we knew that no known animal could have made them: the largest measured nineteen inches long.

It was in the middle of July, and we had received a good assay on our claim, and everyone was excited. I remember I had a tooth that was aching, and I suggested to Hank that he should take me to town to see a dentist; but he was so enthused in the prospects of the gold mine, he barely took time to answer me. He replied that "God or the Devil" could not get him away from there. We had all come up in his Ford, and I had no way to get to town unless he took me. So when we went back to our cabin, on the north side of the canyon, I had a nagging tooth ache and little appetite for our evening meal of beans and hotcakes.

Hank, though apprehensive, was still determined. We had been hearing noises in the evening for about a week. We heard a shrill, peculiar whistling each evening. We would hear it coming from one ridge, and then hear an answering whistling from another ridge. We also heard a sound which I could best describe as a booming, thumping sound — just like something was hitting its self on its chest.

Hank asked me to accompany him to the spring, about a hundred yards from our cabin, to get some water, and suggested we take our rifles — to be on the safe side. We walked to the spring, and then, Hank yelled and raised his rifle, and at that instant, I saw it. It was a hairy creature, and he was about a hundred yards away, on the other side of a little canyon, standing by a pine tree. It dodged behind the tree, and poked its head out from the side of the tree. And at the same time, Hank shot. I could see the bark fly out from the tree from each of his three shots. Someone may say that that was quite a distance to see the bark fly, but I saw it. The creature I judged to have been about seven feet tall with blackish-brown hair. It disappeared from our view for a short time, but then we saw it, running fast and upright, about two hundred yards down the little canyon. I shot three times before it disappeared from view.

We took the water back to the cabin, and explained the affair to the rest of the party; and we all agreed, including Hank, to go home the next morning as it would be dark before we could get to the car. We agreed it would be unsound to be caught by darkness on the way out.

Nightfall found us in our pine-log cabin. We had built the cabin ourselves, and had made it very sturdy. It stood for years afterward, and was visited by many sight seers until a few years ago when it was burned to the ground — the circumstances of the fire, I do not recall.

In the cabin, we had a long bunk bed in which two could sleep, feet to feet — the rest of us sleeping on pine boughs on the floor. At one end of the cabin, we had a fireplace, fashioned out of rocks. There were no windows in the cabin. So darkness found all of us in the cabin, more calm now (and my tooth was better, somehow the excitement seemed to work a temporary cure on it). We were sitting around, puffing on pipes, and talking about the trip home the next day.

Each of us settled down in his crude, but welcomed bed, and soon fell asleep. About midnight, we were all awakened. Hank, who was sleeping on the floor was yelling and kicking. But the noise that had awakened us was a tremendous thud against the cabin wall. Some of the chinking had been knocked loose from between the logs and had fell across Hank's chest. He had his rifle in his hand and was waving it back and forth as he kicked and yelled. (Hank always slept with his gun near by — it was a Remington automatic, my gun being a 30-30 Winchester, which I still have).

I helped to get the chinking off him, and he jumped to his feet. Then, we heard a great commotion outside: it sounded like a great number of feet trampling and rattling over a pile of our unused shakes. We grabbed our guns. Hank squinted through the space left by the chinking. By actual count, we saw only three of the creatures together at one time, but it sounded like there were many more.

This was the start of the famous attack, of which so much has been written in Washington and Oregon papers through out the years. Most accounts tell of giant boulders being hurled against the cabin, and say some even fell through the roof, but this was not quite the case. There were very few large rocks around in that area. It is true that many smaller ones were hurled at the cabin, but they did not break through the roof, but hit with a bang, and rolled off. Some did fall through the chimney of the fireplace. Some accounts state I was hit in the head by a rock and knocked unconscious. This is not true.

The only time we shot our guns that night was when the creatures were attacking our cabin. When they would quiet down for a few minutes, we would quit shooting. I told the rest of the party, that maybe if they saw we were only shooting when they attacked, they might realize we were only defending ourselves. We could have had clear shots at them through the opening left by the chinking had we chosen to shoot. We did shoot, however, when they climbed up on our roof. We shot round after round through the roof. We had to brace the hewed-logged door with a long pole taken from the bunk bed. The creatures were pushing against it and the whole door vibrated from the impact. We responded by firing many more rounds through the door. They pushed against the walls of the cabin as if trying to push the cabin over, but this was pretty much an impossibility, as previously stated the cabin was a sturdy made building. Hank and I did most of the shooting — the rest of the party crowded to the far end of the cabin, guns in their hands. One had a pistol, which still is in my family's possession, the others clutched their rifles. They seemed stunned and incredulous.

The attack continued the remainder of the night, with only short intervals between. A most profound and frightening experience occurred when one of the creatures, being close to the cabin, reached an arm through the chinking space and seized one of our axes by the handle (a much written about incident and a true one). Before the thing could pull the axe out, I swiftly turned the head of the axe upright, so that it caught on the logs; and at the same time Hank shot, barely missing my hand.

The creature let go, and I pulled the handle back in, and put the axe in a safe place.

A humorous thing I well remember was Hank singing: "If you leave us alone, we'll leave you alone, and we'll all go home in the morning." He did not mean it to be humorous, for Hank was dead serious, and sang under the impression that the "Mountain Devils" as he called them, might understand and go away.

The attack ended just before daylight. Just as soon as we were sure it was light enough to see, we came cautiously out of the cabin.

It was not long before I saw one of the apelike creatures, standing about eighty yards away near the edge of Ape Canyon. I shot three times, and it toppled over the cliff, down into the gorge, some four hundred feet below.

Then Hank said that we should get out of there as soon as possible; and not bother to pack our supplies or equipment out; "After all," he said, "it's better to lose them, than our lives." We were all only too glad to agree. We brought out only that which we could get in our packsacks. We left about two hundred dollars in supplies, powder, and drilling equipment behind.

I tried to persuade everyone not to relate the happenings to anyone, and they agreed, but Hank soon let the cat out of the bag. We made our way to Spirit Lake, and Hank went in to the ranger station. He had told the ranger earlier about the tracks, and the ranger had replied, "Let me know if you find out what they are." That was just what Hank did, to the puzzlement of the ranger.

When we were back home in Kelso, Washington, he told some of his friends, and somehow the story leaked out to the papers, and the Great Hairy Ape Hunt of 1924 was on.

Local reporters interviewed us. They came from Portland and Seattle — even a big game hunter from England came asking questions, and he had a large gun with him that must have been an elephant gun. Many people flocked to the Mt. St. Helen's area looking for the "Great Hairy Apes", or "Mountain Devils." I, myself, went back with two reporters and a detective from Portland, Oregon. We found large tracks, and they photographed them. We did not see any of the Apemen then, nor could we find the ones we had shot.

So people were asking questions: Was it true? Or was it just a wild tale? I can assure you it is true. Are they human? animal? or devils? I will answer that question in this book. That was a great "Apehunt" in 1924, and the last few years, more and more people have reported seeing them. There is an Apehunt being revived again, and another man has written a book on the subject and has formed a club whose purpose is to find evidence to prove what they already believe: that abominable snowmen of America do exist.

A wealthy person has offered a large sum of money for anyone that can capture one alive. Sightings have been reported in Canada, Washington, Oregon, and northern California. But the purpose of this book, is not only to relate my experiences, but also to bring to light my knowledge about the Abominable Snowmen. I do not wish to embark upon an expedition, but I wish to tell what these beings are.

Chapter Two

Longview Daily News (Sat-Sun, June 27-28, 1964)


The legend of the apemen of Mt. St. Helens returns, like hay fever, with summer weather.

The story of the apemen of the beautiful conical mountain situated in the Cascade Range of Southwest Washington, is a favorite in the area, but it just may have some basis in fact.

There is more basis to support it than Nepal's Yeti or northern California's "Big Foot" and probably as much as Loch Ness' monster.

Last summer, two different Portland groups who visited the region reported sighting the monsters, usually described as from 7 to 10 feet tall, hairy and either white or beige-colored.

Three persons in a car on a lonely forest road said they saw one of the creatures when it flashed across the headlight beams of their car near the wilderness area which includes such places as "Ape Canyon."

A Portland couple fishing on the Lewis River south of the mountain saw a huge beige figure "bigger than any human" amble off into the brush.

Old timers aren't surprised, just amused. The apeman legend actually is older than the white man's habitation of the Pacific Northwest.

Indian Legend

Forestry employes have investigated many reports of the strange creatures. According to Indian legend, the "apes" were the ferocious Selahtik Indians, a band of renegades much like giant apes in appearance who lived like wild animals in the secluded caves of the Cascades.

The first recorded encounter of the apes with white men was in 1924. A group of five prospectors rushed into Kelso to report that a group of great, ape-like creatures had attacked them in the middle of the night.

The miners said they had been working a mine on the east slopes of Mt. St. Helens. During the daytime, they saw some of the apes and fired at them to halt an apparent attack. One of the apes appeared to have been hit and rolled into a deep ravine. That night, according to the account, the apemen hurled rocks onto the cabin and "danced and screamed until daylight."

Then came the "great ape hunt 0f 1924." Law enforcement officers and a flock of newspapermen made up a posse that went into the area. The armed searchers fired at anything that moved, so the report went. They returned to tell of finding huge footprints, but no apes.

The legend grew from that point for several years, then subsided with only sporadic reports of traces of the apes. Responsible persons, experienced mountaineers and skiers, have given credence to the story.

Bob Lee of Portland, a leader of the 1961 Himalayan expedition and adviser to last year's Himalayan expedition, said last year he had a strange experience. Lee has never claimed to have seen the apes, but said "there was something strange on the high slopes of the mountain."

He was a member of a party that searched for Jim Carter, an experienced skier and mountaineer, who vanished on the mountain in 1950. His disappearance remains a mystery.

Somebody Watched

At the time, Lee was a member of the Seattle Mountain Search and Rescue unit. He described the search for Carter as "the most eerie experience I ever had." He said that every time he was cut off from the rest of the search party he felt "somebody was watching me."

Carter, he said, had climbed the mountain with some companions on a warm, clear Sunday. He left the group to take a picture and said he would ski to the left of the group. He was never seen again.

His tracks, however, indicated that he suddenly took off down the mountain in a wild, death-defying run that no experienced skier would make — unless he was pursued, Lee said.

The track went in the direction of Ape Canyon. But no trace of Carter or his equipment was found although the area was combed for two weeks. Lee recalled stories of about 25 persons who claim they had encountered the monsters during a 20 year period.

The canyon named for the apes, is a lonely, ominous spot in a wild area. It extends to a point near Ape Cave, thought to be the longest unitary lava tube in the world.

There have been many reports of footprints in the area. Some are described as being about 18 inches long and seemingly human.

Unless the creatures are really fuzzy throwbacks, the lost Indian tribe theory seems most likely to some of the fans of the mystery. It has given rise to some suggestions, one of which is to leave well enough alone. The government might take over and shove benefits and subsidies at them — retroactive to the Ice Age.

And that, as well as costing a lot of money, would ruin a very good legend.

Chapter Three: Background Events

In the first chapter I told about the attack, and now I want to go into the background, and tell a little concerning our activities. They will be colorful, and from them emerge a spiritual and metaphysical understanding of the case.

First of all, I hope this book does not discourage too much those interested souls who are looking and trying to solve the mystery of the abominable snowmen. If someone captured one, I would have to swallow most of the content of this book, for I am about to make a bold statement: No one will ever capture one, and no one will ever kill one — in other words, present to the world a living one in a cage, or find a dead body of one to be examined by science. I know there are stories that some have been captured but got away. So will they always get away.

I say this confident by the evidence of my experiences, things that I have not before revealed to the public, and I also say it from the knowledge gained on the subject later. In this book I will reveal thoroughly what I know them to be. First of all I will say that 'they are not entirely of the world.' I know the reaction we experienced as these beings attacked out cabin impressed many with the concept of great ape-like men dwelling in the mountains. And I can say that we genuinely fought and were quite fearful, and we were glad to get out of the mountains but I was, for one, always conscious that we were dealing with supernatural beings, and I know the other members of the party felt the same.

The events leading up to the ape episode were filled with the psychic element. Since a young man I had always been clairvoyant. When just a boy I was in the pasture playing with my beanshooter. I had bought it with some long earned coins. It had a twisted wire handle. I lost it, and as I was crying, a kindly woman came up to me and put her arms around me. I felt warm all over. "Little boy," she said, "don't cry. Go home, you will find your beanshooter there."

I went home and found it, and as far as I knew then it was the same one. But years later I found the one I lost. It was weather beaten and the rubber was rotten.

I would be sleeping on the hard benches of the Adventist Church my folks used to attend, and I would have my head in a lady's lap, only when I mentioned it to my folks, they said there was no one else there and took it to be a boy's musings.

As I grew older, I saw visions and eventually I was holding spiritual meetings. After 1924 I spent many years in healing work.

Our time spent in Mt. St. Helens was a series of psychic experiences. The method we found our mine was psychic. I am mentioning these facts to help build a background of understanding in a case which has been wholly explained in a material sense. As I will explain the mysterious realities of the Abominable Snowmen, so must I show some of my inner experiences, for in my mind the two have always been closely connected together; and as I will show, these beings bear a direct association with the psychic realm.

In 1922 we found the location of our mine. A spiritual being, a large Indian dressed in buckskin, appeared to us and talked to us. He was the picture of stateliness itself. He never told us his name, but we always called him the Great Spirit. He replied once, "The Great Spirit is above me. We are all of the Great Spirit, if we listen when the Great Spirit talks."

There was another spiritual being which appeared to us — more in the role of a comforting friend, and we learned her name. One of our party suggested later that we name our mine after her; and so the mining claim we later filed bore her last name. The big Indian being told us there would be a white arrow go before us. Another man, who was not present during the attack in 1924, could see the arrow easily and clearly at all times. And I could see it nearly as well.

So we started by the Lewis River, south of Mt. St. Helens, and went up the Muddy River, and in all we followed the white arrow four days. The going was slow, for in those days it was very rugged territory. Hank's temper was growing short as he climbed the hills. He had always been a believer of spiritual things, and afterwards he was a believer. But he lost his temper and cussed. He swore at the spirit leading us. His face was red and we could not stop him: "Just a wild goose chase," he exclaimed, "they lied to us, and got us running all over the hills, and I want nothing more to do with them." He went on and on.

Then just when he had started to calm down, we all saw the arrow soar up high, change direction and swoop down. We had to follow in the general direction before we could find it again. It hovered near the top of the north cliff of Ape Canyon. That was the site where we later blasted out our shaft.

We got a little closer, and we all saw the image of a large door open, and the big Indian appeared in front of it. He spoke: "Because you have cursed the spirit leading you, you will be shown where there is gold, but it is not given to you."

With those words, he disappeared. Then we saw the door slowly close. There was a huge lock and latch, but as the door shut, the lock did not latch: a closed door but it was not locked! "We just as well pack up and go home," one of the party said.

And that is just the way our gold mine turned out — closed but not locked. We worked that mine for two years, and one assay showed well over 2,000 dollars a ton. But as it turned out, what we had actually done was to cut the leaders. There is a pocket of gold in that cliff if someone is fortunate enough to find it. We gave up looking for it.

The picture I am trying to paint for you is a picture of manifestation. In this book I have showed also some of our high manifestation, as we had many of a high nature the six years we spent in the Mt. St. Helen's area. Of course, the lower or grosser manifestations were in the appearing of these hairy creatures called Abominable Snowmen — also called Hairy Apes, Bigfoot and Sasquatch, according to the region they are seen in. I believe they have always existed, although our encounter with them in 1924 was the first major report of anyone coming in contact with them. Other writings have documented the cases very well. I just like to show the reason for their appearances.

For six years all had been peaceful. We were simple men and hard working men, and an aura of good or spiritual power surrounded us. We had seen the tracks, but the makers of them had left us alone. No one was really worried about the tracks as regarding any threat to our safety. But after one of us had lost his temper and denounced the spirit leading us a liar, from that time on, a quiet apprehensiveness settled over us. We continued working our claim, but down deep we felt it would avail to no good end. We had bursts of enthusiasm but no success. And yet we did have success, because we learned. Nothing can replace experience as a teacher.

There are a couple experiences which show some light or evidence on the psychic nature of Abominable Snowmen: the same thudding, hallow thumping noise we heard at night preceding the attack, we also had heard in broad daylight, although not nearly so loud. One of our party was a little irritated with me. On our excursions, he usually led the way and I followed a little behind the others. We kept hearing that sound, and occasionally he turned around and would say, "What's that!" After six or eight times of him doing this, and after a few general discussions about the noise, he quickly turned around one more time and eyed me, and said, "By golly boys, it's not Fred making that noise after all." But he decided to give it a double check. He made an excuse and wandered away from camp. When he came back, he said, "Now I'm certain it's none of us. I walked for half an hour and everywhere I went, I heard it. Sounds like there's a hollow drum in the earth somewhere and something is hitting it."

There is no doubt in my mind that these beings were present and observing us, but they had not yet appeared in physical form.

Another very striking experience which shows that they cannot be natural beings with natural bodies: It was before we made our cabin, and we were staying in a tent then. The tent was below a little cone shaped mountain called Pumy Butte. A little creek flowed nearby, and there was a moist-sand bar about an acre in area. We would go there and wash our cooking utensils and bring our drinking water back. Early one morning Hank came back to the tent. He was rather excited. He led us to the moist-sand bar, and took us almost to the center. There in the center of the sand bar were two huge tracks about four inches deep. There was not another track on that sand bar!

There we were standing in the middle of the sand bar, and not one of us could conceive any earthly thing taking steps 160 feet long. "No human being could have made these tracks," Hank said, "and there's only one way they could be made, something dropped from the sky and went back up."

There was no third step. This is certainly another indication of what I'm saying about manifestation. I have heard it said that many ages ago the Rocky Mountain and Cascade Mountain Ranges were a center of a great civilization. I do think the mountain areas are extra sensitive to spiritual vibration, usually of a higher order, but sometimes lower. We ourselves being extra sensitive to spiritual vibration, probably had come into contact with the manifestation of these being easier than, perhaps, the average person would have.

On the subject of the Snowmen I am not going to say Masters told me this or that. It would perhaps look impressive, but I want to keep the record straight. Masters have appeared in our home and talked with us, but not once do I recall asking them anything on the subject. Since that day in 1924, I have went on and progressed and have learned much, and now I can look back and put the puzzle together from the reservoir of knowledge I have learned.

In the true sense everything in the material world is a manifestation. Ever since the time the first essence of consciousness formed from the Great Void we cannot describe, different planes or dimensions of being were created or manifested. Occasionally we of this dimension of space can be conscious of other beings of a different vibration and consciousness.

The The Abominable Snowmen are from a lower plane.When the condition and vibration is at a certain frequency, they can easily, for a time, appear in a very solid body. They are not animal spirits, but also lack the intelligence of a human consciousness When reading of evolution we have read many times conjecture about the missing link between man and the Anthropoid Ape. The Snowmen are a missing link in consciousness, neither animal nor human. They are very close to out dimension, and yet are a part of one lower. Could they be the missing link man has been so long searching for?

The Human Soul once dwelled in a spiritual body, and eventually incarnated, at the fall of man, into bodies like we have now. The beings we call Abominable Snowmen were not of the necessary high development to incarnate in human form. They had not reached that scale of spiritual evolution.

They are the easiest beings materialized as evidenced by the many reports of their appearances to more people in recent years. In fact, if the vibratory influence right for them is present they can manifest without any human being present at all. This accounts for the many tracks being seen along the mountain ranges of the West Coast and Canada.

When this age or cycle of life that we are in moves on eventually to a higher cycle, and all life moves forward, these beings may stay and move up in consciousness in some other world in the far distant future. Perhaps the Ape Beings will toil the road of intelligence in that world which none of us can even imagine, and perhaps they too will lose nothing and gain by their experience.

Most theories picture the Snowmen as material beings hiding in caves, and scampering over the mountains. The law of probability would be that eventually one would be found if their bodies were of physical construction only. If one claims only the physical laws to explain their existence, then we can use a material logic to prove or disprove the premise. If they are material life definite material evidence would surely be found.

What material evidence we do have, in my opinion which I believe firmly to be true, only shows material extrances into this plane, followed by the supernatural exits back into their own realm.

I and my companions have shot them, but could find no trace of them. If they were material life like we know it to be on this globe, one would die naturally or accidentally and the remains be found.

The easy way out for lots of people is to just consider it a wild tale. But too many people have seen them and the evidence is piling up to definitely prove this. The same line of escapism of thought concerning phenomenal sightings of Flying Saucers is evident. A report recently showed 5,000,000 Americans claimed to have seen Flying Saucers.

Material things usually make a big splash in the material world, and spiritual things often do not make a ripple there. Why? We can give proof of a phenomenon, but its nature is immersed in the Spiritual and can only be explained by laws of the spiritual.

But these happenings that seem strange to people is serving a very useful purpose — it is causing more people to think, and that is a path in the right direction.

The Abominable Snowmen are just one small mystery among many. Some day more people will conceive that the greatest proportion of life is a mystery, and he will seek and find solutions to them, and then the mysteries will be unveiled in their pure forms; and from that unveiling man will find greater life.

Manifestation is made possible by vibration of power and certain fine substances. Beings manifested can be seen, heard, and take a definite form — sometimes less tangible but also, under other conditions, take a very tangible form.

I want to tell you a very amazing experience I had in my mining days at Mt. St. Helens. I was walking from Spirit Lake on the trail. It was in the afternoon and I was feeling a little lonely. As I came around a curve in the trail, I met a very pleasant, beautiful young lady.

She began talking with me just as though she had always known me and had casually met me again. She said her father was hunting and that she was headed back to her camp. She had a jacket with her, and she let me pack it as we walked along the trail together. She told me all about herself and her father stating that she and her father came up every summer for an outing, to hunt, and to enjoy the beauties of nature. She was one of the most pleasant persons I had ever talked to in my life. When we parted, she told me where she and her father were camped, and asked me to visit them that evening.

I went, and had to walk about a mile. Her camp was east of ours, and quite a distance for a young lady of eighteen, I thought, to wander around in away from her father.

When I arrived at her camp, I did not see her father, and never did see him. She had a fire going, and a light colored blanket was spread out and she was sitting on it. It was a warm summer evening, and we held another pleasant conversation. I remember her telling me how she liked the fresh air of the mountains, and how wonderfully she loved nature.

She would be talking on a subject, then pause and say, "Isn't that right, Dad?" This she said several times. There was no tent, cooking utensils, no food, and certaiply no visible father. The most amazing thing was I did not at the time think her different than any other person. When she spoke to her invisible Dad, I felt just like her Dad was there.

I left her and walked back to camp, but my mind seemed like it was a thousand miles away. I could hear the other men talking, but it seemed like they were below me, and their voices sounded soft and distant.

I do not know anyone who had seen her but myself.

One day we needed a pencil to make a description of our claim. We found we had not brought one along with us. Everyone was a little put out. But then it came — a pencil was in my hand. It had tooth marks all over it. When that trip was over and I was home, I showed the pencil to my wife, and she said, "Why, that's a pencil I bought when you were gone. How did you get it?" She said my oldest son, then a young tot, was chewing on it and she took it away from him and had put it in a drawer. She went and looked and she found no pencil.

It is the time for the world to pick up its ears about the subject of psychic phenomenon, and this more people are doing, but if there is a phenomenon, there is also a world from which its qualities are manifested.

Chapter Four: (Part 1) Questions and Answers

Question: What is the purpose of this book?

Answer: To set the record straight. The incident of 1924 needs explaining that people can see it in fact. I was involved in it. I am 78 now and wish to put the facts before the people. I have never earned one cent from my experiences, and this is the first time I have written anything on the subject.

Question: Can you tell of any colorful experiences you had on your trips to Mt. St. Helens?

Answer: Yes, but I cannot remember everything — that was over 40 years ago. I wish I could write more of such happenings, but I must keep in the central theme of my book. I remember one very dangerous thing: we were bothered with rats in the cabin, and we would shoot at them with a pistol. One of us would hold a lantern while another would shoot. Hank had packed half a sack of dynamite inside the cabin, mistaking it for some potatoes one of the party had packed in. He shot several rats off the sack before any of us realized what was in the sack. He turned white as a sheet and had to sit down. And let me add another thing, if you boil beans in the mountains, put on a good lid and be patient."

Question: How come you don't use all the names of people in the story?

Answer: To try and keep family harmony. I'd shout the truth from the housetops, but some people are sensitive about their past experiences when confronted with their present circumstances

Question: What purpose could Abominable Snowmen have for existing? How can they fit in the plan of things?

Answer: Sometimes that question is asked about all life, and more particularly about life other than human. When we speak of purpose we usually think of ourselves. I think the main purpose lies in the beings themselves. They are a partof life, though different than we know life to be by our five senses. I believe their main purpose is their desire to rise up higher and be something better. If this is the case, then their life can be identified with the general progression of all life. I am convinced by my own experiences and the many accounts I have heard from others that they are very curious creatures, I think if we had not shot at them they would have left us alone. I think it possible that the curiosity is an instinct, or a search for a higher consciousness, possibly foreshadowing their coming into human coasciousness in another cycle of life. My advice to anyone who happens to see one is to be calm, and walk away, if on foot. Offer no threat of force and I'm convinced no harm will come to you.

Question: Do you think the 'blasting' had anything to do with them attacking you?

Answer: No, but it made them curious. Our mistake was shooting them.

Question: Could you explain what you mean by search for consciouness? Aren't they conscious of something?

Answer: All life has some order of consciousness. Some one might call the Snowmen a delayed race, awaiting for the highest expression of consciousness. That is the human consciousness. They seem to be curious about human beings more than anything else; and I think it possible, as time passes, they will manifest farther and farther away from the mountain ranges (which has been their natural, attractive habitat) and the time may come when you hear stories from cities of people seeing strange hairy like creatures. This is a distinct possibility. Just four days ago, I received a letter from a friend from Seattle, Washington, and in it she told me of a lady who just recently had seen an Abominable Snowman right on the outskirts of Yakima, Washington. And as the letter stated, "it was in or near her yard'.

Question: Do you think people will see them in great numbers like they see Flying Saucers? And do you wish to say anything about Flying Saucers?

Answer: I doubt very much that they will be seen by tens of thousands of people like flying saucers. This is not a book on flying saucers, but I will say that the nature of flying saucers is very high and lofty, and their purpose is important to us, the purpose of the Abominable Snowmen does not fit the aims of the life purpose in the degree as what the world calls U.F.O.s.

Question: How many apemen, by count, can you remember seeing?

Answer: I saw six I could definitely count by number. I realize now that I had seen one years ago when I was'a young man working in a logging camp near Kelso, Washington. My brother and I were quartered in a tent. One night I heard a rustling outside, and I heard something pushing its way under our tent. A tall hairy figure stood before us watching us. It scared my brother, who afterward said it was a large bear. But I have seen enough bears to know that it was no bear. There was nothing else he knew to call it. Usually the mind will provide, in such a case, what seems like the only logical answer, even though what is seen does not fit the explanation at all. They think they must find an answer in the manner they are accustomed to finding it or the mind is not at rest. Unfamiliar things tend to disturb people. To learn of higher things of life there must be a shaking of concepts, Man can then rise to a higher consciousness which is really his natural state. He will begin to test things in the test tube of wisdom. Wisdom is the best medicine for man-kind.

Question: You speak of telling the truth. Do you think you telling people the truth about Abominable Snowmen will help them understand truth?

Answer: Somehow I was given this experience, and it can only be to use for good. For years I never gave it much thought. I grew in wisdom and came to understand many spiritual things. Somehow I have received a key, and what I can open with it, people need badly. I look on my experience as a little mustard seed. Explain it to people, and it should certainly be explained, and many other doors (or people's consciouness) will be opened. This is just one purpose of flying saucers. It is the Divine confounding the wisdom of the proud and material minded.

Question: Can you tell a little more about the Apemen's physical appearance?

Answer: They are about seven feet tall, but many people have seen larger ones. They had large ears and a head that was in proportion with their large muscular body. Their shoulders were tremendous but they had slim hips. They were hairy but not shaggy. In general they possess a very stout physical frame, but looked more like a giant human than an ape.

Question: Do you think you and your companions hit the Apemen you shot at?

Answer: We certainly did. Our eyes were keen in those days, and we were expert shots. When Hank shot the one peeking around the tree, he exclaimed, 'Don't worry about that devil, Fred, I got him right in the head!' Later on I examined the tree and there were three nicks where the bark had been grooved by his bullets. The one I shot by Ape Canyon, I had plainly in my sights. He just tumbled over into the deep gorge. Some people think the melting snow water, which flows heavily summer afternoons, washed him away. Some others think the creatures came and packed their own away, and retired with them back to hidden lava caves. My views are plain on the subject.

Question: Did you say another Apehunt is on now similar to the one in 1924?

Answer: This I have heard. There is some difference in as much as this one will be an organized expedition and the one in 1924 was a wild array of confusion. On my trip back a man even took a shot at me. He was on a hill above me. I shot right back, my bullets kicking the dust up around his feet. There was a ranger with me and he was quite put out and scolded me. The man came down the hill — he was carrying a gunny sack full of bread with him. Such was the confusion then, The expedition now is a good thing — let the young men explore, nothing could better than for them to try and solve one of life's little mysteries. It should in time lead them to the gates of psychicism.

Question: What do you mean by other dimensions?

Answer: It is hard to classify a spiritual subject and apply a system to it. It is a difference in time, space and the movement of matter. They are different planes of consciousness. Human consciousness is the highest form we know because all human life has the spark of the Divine Consciousness in their soul. But this world in which we live is not the only dimension that has human life. There are other planes of life, immaterial in comparison to our materiality. Some of these planes, such as the ones mentioned above, are high, but there are also lower dimensions.

Question: I wonder what people would have thought if the Apemen had killed everyone of the 1924 party?

Answer: That is a very hypothetical question. There was enough physical force present to kill more than the number of our party. If that fate had fallen on us in 1924, they probably would have found five wrangled bodies and a disheveled cabin, and strange large tracks around the area. Of course, there would have been an investigation, but a so called logical explanation would have been given.

Question: How would you feel if time proves you wrong, and shows the Hairy Apes to be physical beings?

Answer: To me that appears to firmly be an impossibility. But just say it did happen: it is no sin to be wrong just as it does not make a person a saint to be right. I am confident that they are mainfested beings, and I offer that as fact.

Question: Is it not claimed that some people found their excrements in California?

Answer: Yes, that is what I heard; but it does not change my mind at all, but strengthens what I believe and know.

Question: How can it possibly do that?

Answer: If it is the excrements of Abominable Snowmen, this is what happened: did not I tell you there was a distinct possibility of them appearing greater distances away from the mountain ranges? Physical evidence such as this shows a greater predominance or presence on the physical plane. They take on the physical nature for a time, and the excrements, having been derived from physical elements, remain. All this just proves a stronger physical manifestation by these beings which should result in more sightings as time goes on.

(Part 2) Miscellaneous Selections

An Indian once told me if I ever saw a "Selahtik" to make sure I expressed to them that I was friendly, and the way to do it, he said was to take some cedar boughs and wave it at them, and in that way they would know I had come in peace.

When I speak of Abominable Snowmen as being an lower order of life I was not inferring that they are evil or bad. They just function on a plane lower than the human plane. Neither are they completely dull minded with no sense of what they are doing. In some of their encounters with people, they have displayed quite a degree of cleverness.

• A colorful incident occurred when we reached the ranger station at Spirit Lake after the attack on our cabin. The ranger, Bill Welch, is dead now, but I had the honor to meet him again at my son's house in Amboy, Washington, several years ago, and we reminisced the incident again: Hank had walked to the ranger's quarters looking for him. Mr. Welch was outside in the barn where he had his pack horses. Hank, after speaking to Mr. Welch's wife, started for the barn and met Mr. Welch half way. Hank told him he had shot a mountain devil, and Mr. Welch asked if he did not mean a bear. Hank said, "No, a mountain devil!" And Mr. Welch asked if he meant a wolverine, and Hank answered again, "No, a mountain devil!"
• Mr. Welch became alarmed and thought maybe Hank had lost his mind and had killed his wife. Hank had his rifle with him, and Mr. Welch, being concerned, thought of the possibility of disarming him, but Mrs. Welch appeared on the porch and Mr. Welch was relieved of his apprehension. To him, he said, the rest of us appeared to be a bunch of wild eyed miners sitting in a touring car, clutching our rifles.
• Some people have claimed to have been kidnapped by Abominable Snowmen. I can neither affirm nor deny this by any knowledge I have on the subject. Is it not one of the hardest tasks of life to separate precious pebbles of truth from out of the quarry of profession? Yet it is our supreme task to separate them — by our enlightenment, forsaking the shadows with light that will banish the shadows.
• I once found a cave which is located near the point where Ape Canyon Creek empties into Bear Lake. It was about 12 feet wide and 20 feet in length. The cave was just a few feet above the waterline. I entered the cave and found a whole heap of fish bones. Bones of other animals were plentiful too. What is the diet of the Snowmen? This incident could possibly shed some light on the question.
• Of all the newspaper articles written about the experience in 1924, I only have two. In another book out now there are dozens of reprinted stories telling of people's encounters with Abominable Snowmen. The main purpose of this book is to tell my experiences. In the early articles there was much skepticism expressed, but down through the years the experience has evolved into an attitude by the local papers of fond, though mildly skeptical, folklore. It is a story that sounds interesting to many people, and they have revolved it into a legend. Recenty I have heard that there are plans to make the Ape Canyon location into a State Park.
• Our mine, The Vander White, was located on the cliff of Ape Canyon, north side, and we had to use ropes to get up and down. There was a small ledge there, but we blasted a larger one. Some stories state we used pack horses to pack our ore out, but the fact is that we never took any out. A few nuggets was the only gold I ever obtained, and they were found in different locations.
• Some stories say that we must have experienced a rock slide, and fabricated a tale of Apemen attacking our cabin. This could only have been written by someone who has never been there. As previously stated there are very few rocks there and there was certainly no slide.
• When I returned with the reporters, we found the things we left behind all strewed around in the cabin. To this day, I do not know what became of the blasting powder we left behind.
• Even before our experience in 1924, I heard reports of little sapling trees being twisted apart. And I, myself, saw the same things in the Mt. St. Helen's area. Some I saw were freshly twisted. Work of the Abominable Snowmen? No man had that much strength.

Chapter Five: Theories on the Origin of Abominable Snowmen

When I wrote of the psychic nature of these beings, I showed how people had come to see them. The manifestation takes place as a result of an energized substance surrounding these beings. To what degree the average person sighting them has a part in this, I am not prepared to say. But I do know that some persons who are psychic have a degree of involvement in a sighting and help trigger the phenomenon. Now, for a little while, let us look backward in time and consider the origin of Abominable Snowmen. As we are departing from our understanding of what we know them to be today, and are going back infinitely in time, we are looking into a past land unexplored except by a few adept ones. I received this glimpse of time by inspiration but present it to you as a theory — for such it has to be. A man would be a fool if he stated such intangible explorations to be absolute fact. But an exploration is a starting point right or wrong in its conclusions. Someone may challenge it by presenting a better concept — or add to it, or take a little away.

So let us look back many thousands of years in time: Before man incarnated in a physical body, the earth was much different than it is today. The air had much moisture and you and I, of today would not have been able to breathe it. Strange creatures were roaming the earth and flying through the air. These creatures were all intermingled — many, many kinds of materiality. Some were conscious of the other and some were not conscious of the other. The appearance of these creatures was such that we could only call them monstrosities. Some of these imperfect creatures slowly died out, or their kind of materiality ceased to exist in the same form and changed and went back into the universal source. Their form of consciousness incarnated again ages later in a higher life, namely primitive animal life. In the case of others of a different construction they evolved into nature spirits. Some retained their nature, changing very slowly, and remain on lower planes.

The beings we are considering in this book had their origin in this period of great chaos, evolving very slowly to their present nature.

I do not wish to go beyond this point, and so let us return to the present. I have found that most Indians know more about Abominable Snowmen than one white man in a thousand. After the incident of 1924 I visited a dentist to have a tooth pulled. It was a little town in Eastern Washington. As I was coming out of the dentist office a man came up to me and asked: "Are you the man who I read about in the papers who was attacked by Apemen?" I told him I was.

"Could you come with me?" he asked. "There is someone who would like to talk with you."

He took me to a tavern where he introduced me to 10 or 12 Yakima Indians. They wanted to make sure I was the man, and when they were, and after asking me some questions, they told me about the "Selahtiks", the name by which they knew the Abominable Snowmen.

They said the Indians knew about them, but white men never believed the tales of Indians. They said they were very careful never to go where they knew them to be, and if they ever found themselves in their presence they were doubly careful not to offend them.

"If you ever harm one, they will get even,"one Indian said. "They never forget."

They told me the "Selahtiks" migrated into Canada, and in fact traveled the mountain ranges nearly to Mexico. One of their favorite methods of traveling was floating down rivers at night, "like logs". They told tales about them running away with squaws.

When I asked them what they were, they replied, not like a man and not like a spirit, but in between. One Indian, who must have been pretty well educated, said, "They have not come out of evolution." With all the profound sightings reported it is probable that many sightings remain unreported.

A friend of mine was fishing, He strung a number of trout on a stick and laid them on a rock. He walked down-stream and waded out into the river to continue his fishing. A little later he looked back and saw one of the hairy creatures picking up his string of fish. He was thrashing them against the rock.

Some other friends were camped in the area. One morning they awoke to find their fire wood scattered along the trail, for a quarter mile.

Once a friend and his wife saw an Apeman on the main road leading to Spirit Lake; Washington. He looked as though he was basking in the afternoon sun about 70 yards from the road. When his wife saw it, she began screaming. Then, my friend said, the thing just got up and walked away.

I have told of my past experiences, and have tried to explain about the present sightirigs. What does the future hold regarding the Phenomenon of Abominable Snowmen? Perhaps some psychic will enter into their investigation. He will probably keep records and have reliable witnesses to observe his work and to report his findings to the world. Sightings of Abominable Snowmen have been reported at various times from every major continent. They were of different appearances and sizes and the records of them date back many years.

Is there an interrelated race of these beings awaiting their proper day of evolution? I am of the opinion that evolution is not only a law of the material world, but also the law of all the worlds we cannot perceive by the medium of our five senses. Everything seen and unseen is life and all life is progressive and changing.

Are these beings even now evolving by stages into a higher consciousness? Could they,indeed, be the missing link between man and the anthropoid? A link between material life and immaterial life? Will these beings who are wandering the earth today, and who present a weird image to us now, some day, some distant age from now, evolve into the noble ranks of human intelligence?

The answer to these questions cannot be answered by expeditions. It can only come by man knowing more about his true self and more about the universe in which he dwells. Science has reached near perfection in material knowledge, but has reached the borderland through which no finite intellect can pass. All life can be studied, but man will have to look into himself to tap a spiritual power and realize the spiritual laws and reason with a spiritual mind.

Man will have to break the little material shell he has around himself, which says this far you can only go and there is nothing more. What is outside that shell is pure life and it is even above and of an higher order than material life, though material and spiritual life would work in harmony if we would let it work.

I have lived this experience with Abominable Snowmen. I have encountered them on the slopes of Mt. St. Helens. I have looked deep into myself to tell you of their nature.

I have had both the earthly experience of encountering them by Ape Canyon, and the spiritual experience of knowing and telling what they are.

I have walked through the messy cliffs of Ape Canyon, and seen a primeval loneliness, reminiscent of life as it must have been years ago.

I have explored the distant future which beckons to us with hope. I have told you my story and it is true. Abominable Snowmen are a part of the creation. Will we hear much more from them? Will their habitat change from selected mountains to nearer our populous cities?

I think they will. They are just one little mystery from the ocean of mysteries.

D.W. Lee
Executive Director
Mid-America Bigfoot Research Center


We shall show mercy, but we shall not ask for it.
Winston Churchill

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
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 Post subject: Incredible Tales – The Trouble with Ape Canyon
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:51 pm 
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The Blogsquatcher wrote:
Incredible Tales – The Trouble with Ape Canyon

Synopsis – The Ape Canyon incident continues to be presented as one of the “classics” of bigfoot encounter literature both in online collections and in books by major authors, even though there have been good reasons to doubt its veracity since at least 1967. Acknowledging that Loren Coleman and David Daegling have begun the re-examination of the Ape Canyon story, this article examines those reasons, using comparative techniques, to show that the six original sources for the story do not agree sufficiently for us to have confidence that the tale represents a real encounter, and we ought to throw the story out as a tall tale.

Incredible Tales

Fred Beck’s Ape Canyon incident, originally recorded in a July 13, 1924 Oregonian article, has become one of the “classics” of bigfoot encounter literature. It has been recounted in many popular books by major authors in the field, including recent publications like Chris Murphy’s 2004 book Meet the Sasquatch and Janet and Colin Bord’s 2006 title The Bigfoot Casebook Updated. These authors mention the story as it has been received, they do not mention the problems with it that have been obvious since around 1967. Two authors who have noticed problems, Loren Coleman, in his 2003 work Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America, and bigfoot skeptic David J. Daegling, in his 2004 book Bigfoot Exposed, focus on the autobiography of Fred Beck, arguing that the high-strangness in that work make anything Beck might have said suspect. I agree with their sentiment, but I think it is possible to go much further than they have with the evidence we have at hand.

The first author to note problems with Beck’s story was John Green. In his On the Track of the Sasquatch, first published in 1968, Green notes:

I got the impression that Fred Beck had told his story so often that he had established a set pattern of things to say and there wasn’t much use in asking further questions. To my understanding there was a difficulty in fitting all the elements of his story in a logical order, but I was not able to clear that up

reen followed this discussion with, “Did all this really happen? I think so .” Green’s faith in Beck, he admitted, came from the inability to imagine why the miners would continue telling the story after all these years. What was in it for them? I think its possible to imagine that Beck enjoyed the attention he got from bigfoot researchers, or even perhaps, if he hoaxed or was part of a hoax, that he enjoyed the feeling of “putting one over” on people. For these, or even reasons we can’t imagine, someone might go to great lengths to tell something untrue and stick with it. Our failure to imagine why they would act like they do isn’t a sufficient reason to believe an incredible story.

And it’s possible to test the story by comparing the different versions of it to see where they agree and disagree. If the agreement is vast and the disagreement small, perhaps we would have some cause to credit the tale. It would be awfully hard to concoct a story and then stick to it for years without any discrepancies. And we have the benefit of four separate interviews of Beck, plus his own autobiography. Also, Roger Patterson’s account might have been based on more than one interview, so it’s possible we have the result of five interviews and an autobiographical account covering one event, and spanning the entire time from when the event occurred until at least 1967, when Beck wrote his autobiography, or 1968, if that was when Dahinden interviewed him, as is suggested by photographs of Dahinden and Beck together, taken in 1968. Since there is some evidence that when people are faced with a traumatic experience, they can remember the events quite well, we should expect all of the interviews to agree most of the time.

There are some complicating factors, however. It appears that the 1924 Oregonian article sources Beck’s father-in-law as the interviewee. It is an account of the alleged events, but it may not be Fred Beck’s account. And there is a gap of thirty-six years between the Oregonian article and Beck’s interview with Peter Byrne, which Byrne says occurred in 1960. It is possible that the 1960 interview with Byrne is truly Beck’s first public statement of the events of 1924. As it is the earliest of the more recent interviews, it ought to be considered closely as well, since it was done some years before Beck’s name became synonymous with Ape Canyon in the mind of anyone outside the general region. It wasn’t until Roger Patterson’s 1966 book Do Abominable Snowmen of America Really Exist that Beck got anything like national notoriety, and it was shortly after that book was published that his photograph was taken, sitting in his chair with the rifle he allegedly used to shoot the bigfoot creature across his knees. That photograph should alert us to something – Beck is being treated like a celebrity by this time. A minor celebrity, but nonetheless it’s worth noting Beck has begun getting an emotional payoff for his story.

So we have a timeline that goes something like this:

* 1924 – the Oregonian article appears, apparently sourced to Beck’s father-in-law, Marion Smith.
* 1960 – Peter Byrne visits Fred Beck and interviews him about the Ape Canyon incident. Byrne also goes to the site of the incident but is not able to stay long enough to find the cabin. He says other “bigfooters” did find it, and the mine as well.
* 1966 – Roger Patterson interviews Fred Beck several times and includes the event in his book. He records one of the interviews; this is later reprinted in Green’s books.
* 1967 – Fred Beck’s son Ronald copyrights Beck’s autobiography. The text has a date of September 1967, and internal clues agree with this general time-frame.
* 1968(?) Rene Dahinden interviews Beck and uses the interview to construct his retelling of the Ape Canyon incident in his book of 1974.
* 1966-68(?) – John Green interviews Beck briefly, discovering some discrepancies in the account, but passes the story on unchallenged in his 1968 book and after.

This is a good number of independent interviews of the same witness. We ought to be able to get a good idea of whether we think the story passes the “smell” test or not after consulting these texts.

Stories, Sources and Transmission Failures

I began with the thought that whatever was attested in all six sources is probably something that one might have some confidence really happened. First I created a listing of facts in the order presented in each story. Then I combed through the lists to take out only what was common among them all, appearing in the same order. I got a list that looks like this:

* The miners had been seeing bare footprints, but they thought they belonged to Indians out fishing.
* Someone shot at an apelike figure that was peeking out from behind a tree.
* Rocks were thrown at their cabin at night.

Those are the facts that are common and unchanging, always told in this order, in all the sources. There is one other story, that Beck shot a bigfoot which subsequently fell over the cliff, that is also told in all six accounts, but it changes places and is told in somewhat different ways, so it isn't a story that is without problems and I disqualified it from the list for that reason. We will examine this account and how it is handled in the writing of our authors later.

Don't Axe Me Again

Another story that is told three different ways in three of the accounts serves as a good illustration of how things can change from source to source. I’m thinking of the story of the axe supposedly grasped by a bigfoot during the “seige”.

The story of the axe handle is absent from the newspaper accounts and also from Byrne and Patterson’s written accounts. In Patterson's interview, it is Marion Smith who grabs the handle, turns the head and then shoots down the length of the handle, causing the Sasquatch to let go. In Dahinden's account, it is Beck who turns the axe head and shoots down the length of the handle. In Beck's autobiography, Beck turns the handle, while Smith shoots down the handle, nearly hitting Beck's hand. Obviously, no two of these stories about the axe match. Coupled with the fact that the axe-grabbing scene ratchets up the tension in the reader/listener (the BF haven't been able to break into the cabin, but if they get that axe they can start chopping their way in) I think we have good cause to believe that the axe story is simply a literary device with no basis in truth. And, further, if we really think that the axe story is a literary device then we have good cause to be suspicious of any detail that isn’t common to all the accounts. We might think that Beck embellished the story, as some commentators have argued, for instance, Coleman, citing Hall in his aforementioned work:

Mark A .Hall pointed out to me recently that when Fred Beck told his story in the 1960s, the tracks were said to be nineteen inches long and the creature’s height was said to be eight feet or more. However, the Bigfoot was shorter and tracks smaller in Beck’s 1924 account. Hall believes that Beck in his later years gave a version of the story that was altered to meet the larger, modern expectations of Bigfoot, as opposed to the more modest, realistic figures given in the 1924 reports.

I don’t think I agree that the original report was more realistic, but I do agree that it was very different from a modern account. In addition to the bigfoot having only four toes (which Coleman mentions), the Ape Canyon bigfoot are reported to have four-inch-long ears sticking up. Add to that something that hasn’t really been properly appreciated – the newspaper reports appear to be written as told by Marion Smith, Beck’s father-in-law, not from Beck’s point of view. If the original reports do not come from Beck, we don’t know what story he might have told in 1924. We do know that what he began telling Roger Patterson in 1966 was a substantially different tale, and by that time, it appeared that none of the other witnesses were available to be interviewed.

Other experts have ventured an opinion on Fred Beck’s story as well. Recall for instance Green’s generally supportive discussion in his 1968 book. So while Green acknowledges that Beck seems to be repeating a story that he’d rehearsed over the years, he believes there is an underlying truth to it. That seems to be the prevailing wisdom concerning the Ape Canyon story, and it was the end point I expected to find myself occupying as well. But I haven’t gotten there. Instead, I’ve become increasingly skeptical of the story.

Is it all Bunk?

There are two main reasons for my skepticism. The first is that there is little factual agreement between Beck’s interview with Roger Patterson and the story as printed in 1924 newspapers. The bigfoot has grown from seven feet to eight feet, it has lost its cat ears in favor of human-like ones, its feet have increased in size, even the description of the hair has been modified. Meanwhile, some of the events narrated come in a different order, with different material facts, and notable omissions. A side by side demonstration of this is available in John Green’s book (TboSB), in which Green includes a reprint of the article from the July 13, 1924 Portland Oregonian and a transcript of Patterson’s interview with Beck.

The second reason for my skepticism has to do with Roger Patterson’s interview of Beck itself. In that interview, Patterson asks leading questions, and even corrects Beck subtly. What Beck was telling prior to Patterson’s interview in 1966 we don’t know in detail, though we do have Byrne's short account (which we'll bring up again later). We can surmise that it was a story in some ways different from what Patterson recorded, since Beck seemed fairly compliant in the face of Patterson’s corrections. Only a year later, in his autobiography Beck was telling a different tale. Since the first accounts are not even based on Beck at all, but based on his father-in-law’s interview, there’s an argument to be made that we could and should throw out all of Beck’s statements since they are unreliable. If we do that, we are left with the account in the Oregonian and associated followup accounts from 1924. This isn’t very satisfying either, for there is at least one detail in Smith’s account that is contradicted by Beck in all of his, that of Beck being knocked unconscious. If Beck had really been knocked unconscious by a large rock for two hours, you would figure that would be the one detail he would be certain to remember, but he never included that detail in any of his accounts.

John Green discovered this discrepancy when he found the original newspaper account he includes in his book, but it doesn’t seem to have rocked his overall faith in the story. As he puts it, “there isn’t a shadow of a suggestion as to why they would make up such a story and keep telling it all their lives.” Yet we don’t know whether “they” told that story all their lives. I’ve never seen any indication that anyone besides Fred Beck was telling the tale in the 1960s. And while I don’t have any idea why they might make up such a tale, I don’t think that proves that they didn’t.

If the event really did happen, you would think it would have been very traumatic. I have heard people say about traumatic events in their lives, “I remember it like it was yesterday.” Beck doesn’t seem to have that level of memory about the Ape Canyon events. For instance, on the question of when he shot one of the creatures, the Oregonian puts that event on the night before the “attack”, but Beck, in his interview with Patterson, says, “Well that was the next morning, I guess it was, if I remember that.” Patterson asks if he means “after the attack” and Beck replies “Yeah”. Perhaps Beck is truly remembering a real event here, but if he is, he doesn’t seem to have that clarity that we might expect someone to have after a truly traumatic experience. And this isn’t the only source of trouble here, or even the main thing I’m driving at. If Beck’s story and the newspaper account don’t jibe, where is the source of error? Beck goes on to describe the event:

I, down the ridge there a couple of hundred yards, no it wasn’t that far, why there was one of them fellas run out of a clump of brush and run down the gorge, and I shot him in the back, three shots, and I could hear the bullets hit him and I see the fur fly on his back. I shot for his heart. And he stopped and he just fell right over the precipice, and I heard him go doonk, zoop, down into the canyon.. And the sun came out in the afternoon, that water was really a torrent goes down there, it’d wash anyting out fall in there. And that’s the reason I don’t know if they’re human or not, ‘cause I couldn’t kill ‘em and I hit.

The question of whether or not these are human is an interesting one, and Patterson doesn’t pursue it – a point we’ll take up again later. I am sure Beck had another word in mind but didn’t strike on the right one as he spoke. (Later, in his autobiography, Beck perhaps made himself more clear -- he didn't think they were mortal creatures.) In any event, Beck was clear about the fact that the shooting was after the night of the attack, “if I remember that,” and of course, he should remember that very clearly, as traumatic as it would have been.

But the newspaper account has Beck’s shooting before the night of the attack, a true contradiction. Perhaps we can blame the reporter for the error, but if we do, then we have no right to assume anything else in the report is accurate. Indeed, since the reporter wrote that Beck had been knocked unconscious, but Beck never repeats that story, there is some question whether the reporter invented some facts to sensationalize his tale. As it happens, Beck actually disavows this event in his autobiography:

This was the start of the famous attack, of which so much has been written in Washington and Oregon papers through out the years. Most accounts tell of giant boulders being hurled against the cabin, and say some even fell through the roof, but this was not quite the case. There were very few large rocks around in that area. It is true that many smaller ones were hurled at the cabin, but they did not break through the roof, but hit with a bang, and rolled off. Some did fall through the chimney of the fireplace. Some accounts state I was hit in the head by a rock and knocked unconscious. This is not true.

It would seem, if Beck can be trusted at all, that Beck’s shooting of the bigfoot and his being knocked unconscious were both handled incorrectly in the original newspaper report. These are two key details. If the reporter got these wrong, then what did he get right?

Filtered or Unfiltered?

So now we have come the other way – the newspaper account is probably wrong, and we have to rely on Beck’s memory if we are going to use the story at all. I don’t think this is a viable solution either. In this circumstance, one could argue that maybe it would be better to throw the whole event out. Something might have happened at Ape Canyon, but the event has been so clouded by an overlay of story telling and forgetting that perhaps there isn’t any way to recover what really happened there.

But Patterson and Dahinden took a different tack. Instead of dismissing the story, with its incredible details of bigfoot surviving gunshot wounds, multiple bigfoot massing for an attack on a cabin, and one possibly surviving after a great fall -- all details that are not reliably attested anywhere else in other stories -- they chose to use it, and each of them recorded a different version. Patterson and Dahinden didn’t tell the same stories, and this is our problem. If we are going to throw out the newspaper report as unreliable sensationalism and instead rely on Beck’s account from the 1960s, we are going to find out that Beck doesn’t seem to have told the same story twice, or anyway, the same story isn’t told twice about Ape Canyon, whatever Beck might have said in interviews.

Patterson’s account is the most divergent. Interestingly enough, Patterson’s account agrees with the newspaper that the rocks were large. Patterson’s words are “tremendous boulders” and he adds the detail that the boulders were accompanied by “loud wailing screams.” Neither of these details is in the interview Patterson did with Beck, nor are they in Dahinden’s account, based on his own interview with the witness. Patterson also agrees with the newspaper that the cliff-falling scene happens before the night attack on the cabin, even though he had asked Beck in his interview to clarify this point, and Beck had made it clear the cliff fall happened the morning after the cabin attack. Dahinden’s account is in agreement with Beck’s statements in the interview.

I think if you were inclined to rule that Patterson’s written account was as unreliable as the newspaper stories at this point, you would be justified. Both of those accounts seem to have arranged things in the most dramatic way possible, with little regard for the facts. But one thing has been bothering me – if Patterson is looking to be the more dramatic, why didn’t he include the axe handle scene, which is in his interview with Beck? It is completely missing from Patterson’s written account of the story. One would almost want to guess, just from comparing Patterson’s written account and the newspaper accounts, that Patterson simply adapted the Oregonian’s account for his own writing, adding in sensational words where appropriate. In fact, if Patterson didn’t mention in his written account that Beck had allowed him to tape an interview, I would lean toward thinking perhaps that interview came after Patterson’s written account was finished. Perhaps Patterson obtained two taped interviews, and the transcript we have comes from an interview done after Patterson’s book was finished. Perhaps, but I think the solution to this conundrum is simpler. I think Patterson probably wasn’t very diligent when he wrote his book, and that he didn’t carefully consult his own interview. I think he mostly relied on the newspaper clippings.

Patterson didn’t simply delete things from the story, or include details from the newspaper that Beck hadn’t told him. He also seems to have invented things. I already mentioned the “loud wailing screams that echoed hideously off the canyon walls” which appears only in Patterson’s account. There is another interesting passage that appears only in Patterson’s account:

Halfway to town they met two young prospectors and one of the party spilled the beans, telling them of the terrible night before. The two laughed and said they must have had a whiskey party and dreamed the whole thing up. This made Beck furious and he threatened to shoot their heads off if they said another word. The two went quietly on their way and the miners resumed their trip to town.

This passage is completely at odds with Beck’s interview with Patterson. There, Beck says the story came out this way:

Well, we come out, out of there. Come down, and my father-in-law was so excited and scared. I told him, he promised never to tell anybody, ‘cause I said it wouldn’t do, people wouldn’t believe it, don’t tell anybody. He say, “I won’t, I won’t,” but he did. Went down to the lake and the rangers down there knew him. He was so excited they found, took him in the other room and talked to him an’ he acknowledged what the trouble was. They said they believed him, because the old man had been a hunter, they knew him. All his life...hunting until no little thing would ever scare him, no animal or anything like that. Then he went to Kelso and told some of his friends down there. Then the newspaper reporter gave us a merry time, day and night.

And the interview is also in agreement with Beck’s account in his autobiography:

I tried to persuade everyone not to relate the happenings to anyone, and they agreed, but Hank [Beck’s father-in-law] soon let the cat out of the bag. We made our way to Spirit Lake, and Hank went in to the ranger station. He had told the ranger earlier about the tracks, and the ranger had replied, "Let me know if you find out what they are." That was just what Hank did, to the puzzlement of the ranger.

When we were back home in Kelso, Washington, he told some of his friends, and somehow the story leaked out to the papers, and the Great Hairy Ape Hunt of 1924 was on.

Why would Patterson’s story diverge so widely from its supposed source? There is a loose thread here, and though I’m not going to pull it in this essay, I’m pretty sure the answer will have to do with Roger Patterson’s own obsessions, not with Fred Beck’s story. For our purposes, it is enough to say that Patterson’s version of Beck’s story has passed through the filter of his own concerns to such a degree that it has been substantively changed. We can’t use Patterson’s written account of the Ape Canyon event. It is just too unreliable.

We started with six sources of the story, but now we’ve ruled two of them out, the newspaper account, and Patterson’s written account, as likely sensationalized and unreliable versions. That still leaves us with four accounts - Byrne’s account based on his interview, the Patterson interview, Dahinden’s account based on his interview, and Beck’s autobiography.

How Not to Conduct an Interview

Unfortunately, Roger Patterson’s interview with Fred Beck is another source of trouble with the story. Patterson several times corrected Beck on details in a way that no interviewer should if what he wants to do is get the story as the witness would tell it. In fact, it almost looks like coaching.

For instance, when Patterson is asking Beck about the physical description of the creatures he saw, Beck seems somewhat at a loss, saying one thing, then another.

Q-Well how would you describe, Mr. Beck, as far as what they look like in their body and their head?
A- Well, they was tall, I dunno, they looked to me like they was eight foot tall, maybe taller, and they was built like a man, little in the waist, and big shoulders on, and chest, and their necks were kinda what they call bull necks, you know how they are.
Q-No neck at all, hardly.
A-That’s it, and their ears, turns out like ours do, and so big, you know, and hair all over, you couldn’t tell nothing about them.
Q-Did they have hair on their face, or could you, did you ever . . .
A-No, let’s see, I don’t believe they did . . . I believe they did have hair on their face.
Q-But not as much as. . .
A-No (cough) can’t have whiskers.

Note how Patterson makes declarations about what the creatures looked like rather than trying to elicit Beck’s own descriptions. And at the moment when Beck says they don’t, then that they do have hair on their face, one wonders if he wasn’t responding to something in Patterson’s demeanor? At any rate, with the interference from the interrogator, we don’t really know what Beck would have said if left to form his own words. And this isn’t the only example of “witness leading” in the interview. Consider these examples:

Q-They did, though, walk upright. Did you ever see . . .
A-I never seen one on the four.
Q-Their arms, probably, was they . . .
A-Arms down below the hips, long, I figured . . .
Q-Below their knees?
A-Yeah, their knees. Long arms. And big arms.

Patterson’s declaration and leading question in the above series make sure that we don’t really know what Beck would have said if he had been left to use his own words. I look at the line “I figured . . . " and I wonder what might have come next if Patterson hadn’t interjected? And what we don’t know is what kind of physical cues Patterson was giving off to which Beck might have responded. Just reading what we have reprinted here, it looks as if Beck is fairly compliant. He seems to want to conform to Patterson’s expectations. It looks as if we aren’t going to be able to trust Patterson’s interview, either. Where does that leave us? We have Byrne’s short account from his 1960 interview, Dahinden’s written account based on his own interview of Fred Beck, and Beck’s autobiography. We are down to three.

Byrne’s afterthought

Byrne was the first of the contemporary investigators to interview Fred Beck, but he was the last to publish anything about it. And his account is almost cursory, as if the event hadn’t really gotten his attention. Given what we’ve already uncovered, perhaps this is to Byrne’s credit. By the time he got around to writing his book, the interview was already more than a decade old. But it’s important because it was the first statement by Beck since the original Oregonian articles (which we recall may not even have used Beck as a source). So how does this retelling stack up?

Once again, we have problems. Let’s focus in on a few examples.

There are two accounts of someone shooting at a bigfoot in most of the stories. In one of them, as told in the original Oregonian account, Beck’s father-in-law fired upon the first bigfoot with his revolver, which he was carrying with him. In Byrne’s retelling, the shooter isn’t named, and there is a difference in how the event unfolds:

One day one of the men saw what he thought was a large ape, peering at him over the top of a big rock. The man, Beck’s companion, ran to the cabin they had built close to the mine and got a rifle. He fired a shot at the creature, which disappeared.

Dahinden’s account specifically names the weapon as “a .38 automatic Remington”, which I believe is a handgun, while Beck’s autobiography says it is a rifle. Both accounts agree that his father-in-law had carried the weapon with him, whichever it was.

Once again, there’s no agreement. But wait, if it’s disagreement you are after, there is more. About the siege itself, Byrne writes:

That night and for several nights afterwards the cabin was the target of showers of rocks that fell on its roof and against its walls from the surrounding trees.

Beck said that he and his companions rushed out with guns several times to see who or what was throwing the stones. They saw and heard nothing. As soon as they went inside the stoning started again and after a few nights of this, unnerved, they left the cabin and returned to Kelso.

Here we have two new variations -- that the siege lasted for “several nights”, and that they “rushed outside with guns several times to see who or what was throwing the stones.” These details are completely missing from the other accounts left to us. If we remove these divergent events from Byrne’s account, there isn’t much left, but what is left is perhaps telling. Beck had apparently told Byrne that he was the “only known survivor of what became known as the Ape Canyon incident”, when in fact this was not true in 1960. With this in mind, a possible deception, added to the other discrepancies, it seems wise to rule out Byrne’s account altogether.

Don’t Tell Me What I Don’t Want to Hear

The problem with our remaining sources is that they are fairly incompatible. Dahinden is still famous for his utter contempt for the paranormal whenever it touched his favorite subject. I can’t remember where I got this story, but there is an account of a time when Dahinden came to view a series of footprints, supposedly from a bigfoot, that simply ended in the middle of a field. He asked the finder of the prints, “Where are the rest of them?” She made an upward motion with her hands. Without another word, Dahinden turned and left the scene and never gave it another thought. Or so the story goes, at any rate. Is it possible that someone so famously disinterested in the paranormal would have elicited a true retelling of the Ape Canyon story, if that story was only a little earlier told as an autobiography chock full of the paranormal, including angels, fairies, floating lights that lead the men to a gold mine, a curse, spiritualism and other facets as far way from the scientific mind of Rene Dahinden as it is possible to get? The two stories cannot possibly both be true. Either Beck wrote the autobiography, and therefore whatever he told Dahinden was not true, or the autobiography is not true and Dahinden got the real beef. Either way, Beck isn’t telling the whole tale in one or the other, and that makes them both suspect. Then there is this strange bit in the headnote of Beck’s autobiography:

He [Fred Beck] tells the real facts after 43 years of silence

Surely Ronald Beck would have known that his father had already spoken to Byrne (whom he does seem to mention) and Patterson, and that his story had already been included in Patterson’s book? If he did, what does he mean by “tells the real facts after 43 years of silence”? Is he acknowledging that Fred Beck never told the truth to the others? That is what it looks like. So then what did he tell Dahinden and Green only a year later?

Well not so fast – it is possible that Beck dictated the autobiography to his son before he was interviewed by Patterson. This seems possible since the text mentions the mistakes of the newspapers, but doesn’t mention that Patterson’s book had gotten the same things wrong. But where does that leave us, since the story he told Patterson, Dahinden, and Green was completely different? We are still in the same boat.

So no matter what Dahinden got out of Beck, apparently it wasn’t the truth. It was probably only whatever Beck thought Dahinden wanted to hear. Poof, just like that, we are out of versions of the story!

We were headed straight for this train-wreck all along. Beck’s autobiography is so weird that no one will credit it. Maybe there is something to the Ape Canyon story. It would have been good to get independent accounts from all the miners involved, from interviewers who knew a thing or two about getting a good interview. But that didn’t happen. All we are left with are six different versions of the same story that don’t agree very much, but even where they do agree, they are completely undercut by Beck’s very strange autobiography. I’m afraid we are going to have to give up on the Ape Canyon story. It was a good one, probably too good to be true.

(By now you may feel like reading Fred Beck’s autobiography for yourself. You should read the post before this one.)

The Upshot of it All

If Fred Beck’s autobiography has been available since 1967, one wonders why so little has been made of it? Amongst the major authors in the field, why did it wait until Loren Coleman in 2003 to even mention the weirdness in Beck’s autobiography? And why were the discrepancies so apparent in Roger Patterson’s writing versus his transcribed interview with Beck not remarked upon until now? And while John Green gets the best marks of our major writers from “back in the day” for having noted some of the trouble with Beck’s story, one wonders why he reissued his book unrevised in light of the information that has become widely available since he first wrote? Or did none of them ever begin to cringe that they had given Beck their blessing by placing the Ape Canyon story so high in the pantheon of Bigfoot tales after reading his autobiography? Perhaps Patterson never had a chance to read it, but did the others? If they didn’t, it would indicate that there was some trouble in the lines of communication (not at all hard to believe), for, surely, if any one of them had read the autobiography, he would have known that there were problems. Indeed, if any one of them had read what the others had written, he would have know that there were problems.

In the end, it looks as if we have no recourse but to retire the Ape Canyon incident once and for all. But it should have been retired a long time ago.


I mentioned David Daegling somewhat approvingly, but I do have some criticisms for him. Daegling understood that there were problems with the Ape Canyon story, but he wasn’t able to sort it all out either. The trouble with Daegling is that he doesn’t seem to have really become familiar with the available literature. He has taken bits from it, but he hasn’t mastered it. For instance, he insinuates that Patterson and Dahinden might have ignored the paranormal aspects of Fred Beck’s account on purpose, but does not take notice of the fact that we have a transcript of Patterson’s interview, which shows that there was no mention of paranormal aspects of the story, nor does he seem to know that Dahinden was notoriously outraged by any hint of the paranormal, both facts that he ought to have known.

Also, I realize that there was more than one newspaper account from 1924 (and several reprints after, also) but my understanding from reading the available sources is that they are all based on one reporter’s interview with Beck’s father-in-law.

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 Post subject: Re: Sasquatch Classics - The Apemen of Mt. St. Helens
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