Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Best 'Bigfoot Sighting' Investigation You Will Ever Read



     A good follow-up investigation is as important as the bigfoot sighting it investigates. A proper investigation provides needed context that will either validate a genuine bigfoot sighting, or suggest reasons to doubt a possible hoax or case of mistaken identity.  The following investigation of a sighting report from Wenatchee, Washington by veteran researcher Paul Graves, is as good as any sighting report investigtion you will ever read. It is an honor to be the first to publish the summary of this top-notch investigation. It's a long report, but it's worth the time spent reading it.  The list of insights into bigfoot behaviors (near the end of the report) is especially valuable for bigfoot researchers in all areas of the continent. (All photos by Paul Graves) :

Bigfoot Sighting Location: Wenatchee, Washington
Date: January 9th 2013, 7:45 a.m.
Investigator: Paul Graves, Wenatchee, WA

       I was awakened by my friend Dean Dewees, who phoned to inform me that he had just heard on the radio of a reported bigfoot sighting right on the edge of the town of Wenatchee!  Dean said the report had been submitted to KPQ radio.  He could not remember the road names on which it happened, so I quickly called KPQ radio station and talked to radio station employee Steve Hair.

     Mr. Hair told me that a male caller phoned to report that he had just heard of a bigfoot  sighting  in the area of Walnut and Stella streets in north west Wenatchee that morning. He described the creature as about 6'5" tall, covered in dark hair, and running at a super fast pace.  The call was received by the radio station just before 7:00a.m.    I quickly got dressed and made my way to the area of the sighting.  It's a part of the valley that ‘bottle-necks’ down to where the Wenatchee river empties into the Columbia River from the west.     
     The Wenatchee Valley sits in a very unique geographical location. It is located in Chelan County which is 88% national forest.  Most of the residents of the county live in the Wenatchee Valley.  The valley floor sits at about 800 feet elevation, but the terrain rises rapidly to 7000 feet, and is surrounded by millions of acres remote forestland, extending into the Cascade Mountains and beyond. The Wenatchee Valley is hemmed in by the Columbia River to the east.  The Wenatchee Valley trends basically in a north-south direction.  The Cascade foothills, right on the edge of town, are very steep, brushy and incised by steep canyons (or  ‘draws’)  that lead from the heavy timber uplands right down to the edge of town.  The sighting location was very close to these Cascade foothills, just outside the town of Wenatchee, where the 7000 ft. elevation Mission Ridge wraps around the valley to the east and south of town, diverting the course of the mighty Columbia River to the southeast. This Mission Ridge also has a history of sasquatch sightings.  Early settlers first encountered "The Old Man of Mission Ridge," a sasquatch that was seen from time to time in this same vicinity. These early sightings are well-known among the older of the present-day residents of the Wenatchee Valley.  The Wenatchee Indian Tribe also seems to know of a local sasquatch population, which they refer to as “Choanito,” or "night people." 

     I arrived at the area of the sighting around 8:20 a.m. and tried to get a feel for the area and where would be the best places to explore.  I was in the northwest part of valley, near a cemetery and the valley's main irrigation canal .  At first, I had my doubts about it, but once I arrived at the area of the sighting and looked around, things began to make more sense.  There were fruit orchards and old homesteads on both sides of the road.    On one side of the road was an orchard had young trees and recent pruning debris (winter is pruning time for fruit trees). On the other side of the road was a much older orchard of about three acres.  I entered this older orchard and walked along rows of pear trees.  To my surprise, I came across some very large and very fresh barefoot tracks in the snow!  The pear orchard had not been harvested during the year and there was an abundance of rotting fruit lying on the ground.  (Possible food source?)  The orchard looked to be abandoned.  There was no sign of recent pruning, or any human boot prints anywhere.  I searched the west corner of the old orchard and spied a herd of 10 to 15 deer, huddled in a corner of the orchard. The entire orchard had deer tracks throughout and deer beds on the ground, with piles of leaves pushed up next to them like little wind blocks.

    The fresh track line of big bare feet looked very human, but the tracks were much wider than any human feet I was used to seeing, and of course, they were bare foot tracks in snow! The tracks trended south towards the far end of the orchard.  The snow was about 1 to 4 inches of old, crusted snow with deer tracks throughout.   The track line was very fresh-- maybe a couple hours old-based on the fact that snow from the edges of the tracks has just barely begun to crumble off the edges of the tracks.
       That same morning, a low fog filled the valley and lifted by about 7:45a.m. as a warm thermal rolled in, warming up the air to about 40 degrees. The snow was showing a little bit of melting as the valley air warmed and as I was arriving around 8:20a.m.   I noticed in many of the tracks the impression of a pressed down heel, some flexibility in the foot, and a very wide ‘toe box’.  I could see that the feet that made the tracks ‘cookie cut’ sharply around the edges through the old, ice-crusted snow, also pushing back some of this crumbly, grainy snow into a mound behind the toes. One could clearly see the outline of all five toes in a number of the prints.
    A friend of mine Josh Lawrence also helped me document the site. He was amazed by the tracks at first looking at them  . The tracks  were about the same size as my size 13 boot, yet much wider.  The prints measured  a little over 13 inches,  and about 6 to 6 1/2 inches wide at the widest point in the foot (see photos). We measured a ‘step’ (distance from left heel to right heel) of 63 to 65 inches as the tracks proceeded to the back of the orchard, where  they circled a tree. Here, the step shortened and became somewhat confused, trending in various directions before crossing back over its own tracks,  then heading west and up an embankment  above the road at the northwest corner of the orchard.
     The tracks led to a thick grove of trees in a small depression at the top of the embankment that seemed like a good place to view the road only a few feet away but remain concealed.  It was here that we lost the tracks.  It appeared that the creature either used the road and to make its way back to the foot hills, or it headed south from the top of the embankment onto posted private property that we didn’t dare to access. 

     I wanted to make sure I had time to try and cast some prints. Since laying concrete is what I do for a living, I have lots of knowledge of casting material in different weather and soil conditions. I also have experience in casting tracks in snow.   I did not have any Hydrocal-30 on hand, so I drove to a nearby Home Depot and purchased some 20 minute quick-set mortar mix and a bag of Fixall and returned to the site. I cast six tracks. I usually use something to ‘dry out’ the tracks before pouring the casting material.  The best approach is to apply a spray coat of ‘track wax’  on the snow to stabilize the prints before casting them. This keeps the tracks from melting and becoming misshapen as the exothermic chemical reaction of curing generates heat and the casting material hardens.  For lack of track wax, I have used  spray glue or quick dry spray paint then dusted with a fine coat of silica sand or regular sand.  I’ve also heard that taking a flour sifter and sifting a light layer of flour into the track will stabilize the track, depending on the temperature and moisture content of the snow. The spray paint I had on hand did not work well, so I took a chance and simply poured the casting material directly onto the impressions in the snow.  I think it was just cold enough to hold the mold somewhat and the snow was not that deep , but, by noon, the scene had changed as the thermal came in and warmed the ambient air to about 40 degree, causing the tracks to melt-out considerably.  Bummer.
     As in almost every sasquatch sighting investigation, many factors served to complicate the situation:  The night before, Very thick fog blanketed the valley up until about 7:30a.m. in the morning. Visibility was limited to less than ten feet. The fog bank is usually held by an inversion to 1500 to 3000 feet above the ground, though it sometimes settles onto the valley floor, as it did in this case. On the morning of the ninth of January, the fog was blown out by the warm wind that also melted-out the tracks considerably by noon that day  .   The second complicating factor was a particularly bad burn (forest fires ) that decimated vegetation on the hills above Wenatchee, particularly the hills just above the location of this track find. Consequently, a good deal of the regular deer browse in the hills was eliminated, forcing the deer to graze much lower this winter.  This may have put more deer, and more deer tracks, in the orchard.
     I spoke with four of the neighbors that surround this orchard. I talked with one lady who has lived there 60 years.  She said she has always sees deer in that orchard, especially in winter.  Another neighbor that lives close to the orchard told of bear and cougar sightings in the orchard, lots of deer even year round. I showed him the tracks I had found about noon that day, after they had already melted out considerably. The orchard also has an abandoned house and two old barns with lofts. One of the barns in the far south east corner had part of the roof off in one corner.  I spoke with neighbors to the south of the orchard and walked their property, to see there was any sign of the creature coming over the fence onto their property.  I found no tracks on their property.

      The next day, I got a call from another neighbor that lives just to the east of the orchard, a mere fifty yards from where I first found the tracks.  He reported hearing something very strange between 3 and 3:30 a.m. on the same foggy morning as the track find. He sleeps with his window open a bit and he heard what sounded like huge footsteps crunching on the ice and snow. What bothered him was that the steps seemed very big and long, based on the time interval between steps.  He felt he was well aware of how people’s steps sound, and deer, for that matter, when they are outside his window.  He stated that what he heard outside his window seemed very odd, though he confessed he did not  get out of bed to see what it might be that he was hearing.   Then, at morning’s light, he heard about the bigfoot  sighting on the radio and he was obligingly given my phone number  by the good folks at KPQ radio. I went to his house looked around his property very carefully, but did not find any evidence.  I also performed a sound test for his benefit.  I walked across the street in the snow so he could listen to the sound of my steps as I crunched in the snow. I also noticed his next door neighbor had a chicken coop right next to his driveway .  
       Then, the day after the track find, I received another phone call from a resident that lives about a 1/4 mile away from the orchard in the direction of the irrigation ditch. Beyond this watercourse is another orchard at the base of the foothills that lead into the Cascade Mountains. This neighbor reported that he also heard about the bigfoot sighting on the radio.  (KPQ is a popular station in Wenatchee.)  Although he wasn't sure if it was related to the sighting, he reported to me that  he was awakened  three nights before this sighting at about 3 3:30 in the morning to screams and loud shrieking that seemed to be coming from behind his house to the west (towards the irrigation ditch).  This fellow lives on part of the original deeded land claim that his relatives homesteaded over 100 years ago. He still lives in the house that he grew up in, and his parents now live next door.   In all his years, he had never heard anything so spooky and alarming as the cries and wails he heard that night. Incidentally, he and his wife raise chickens in a chicken coop out back.  On that same night, the chickens were very agitated and making a lot of noise, as they had been on the three previous nights.   This was especially unusual since the residents had effectively trained their chickens to be quiet in the wee hours. Hence, the noisy demeanor of the chickens in the middle of the night was most unusual. Indeed, they were concerned that something or someone was getting killed, so the landowner even went so far as to  call 911.  An officer was sent to check it out, but nothing was found.   They even walked a block from his house toward the screams. Nothing.  Naturally, as soon as the police left, the chickens started going off again.
     The next day, I met with the resident and we hiked up to the area where he heard the screams.   I noticed a large grove of forest-type trees (ponderosa pine and Douglas fir, not orchard trees) right next to the ditch.  The landowner was sure that this was the area that the screams were coming from.  This was hardly a surprise.  In my experience, such stands of wild timber serve as very important cover, especially when they are surrounded by open grassland and agricultural holdings.   For example, in February, 2004, a sasquatch was reported in east Wenatchee, up in a pine tree that was part of a grove of wild trees on someone's property.  Interestingly, this grove of wild trees was right next to another irrigation ditch.  Not sure why, There was also a red radio tower beacon nearby.  but this sasquatch was also suspected of being a juvenile.  While investigating this sighting, we hiked past the big trees and though a orchard, this one  showed lots of signs of recent pruning, including weathered boot prints in the snow  beneath the orchard plantings.  

     As we hiked along an embankment that leads up to the canal road,   I suddenly came across the same sort of tracks that I had discovered in the orchard on the track find just the other day (Jan. 9th, 2013). These tracks measured exactly the same in width 6 to 6 1/2 at the widest and a little over 13" in length!  They also had an almost identical step length (63").  Though they were at least a day older, I could still discern the toes in some of the tracks as I followed them up to the canal road. Once up onto the dirt road that followed the irrigation ditch, it appears as though the creature crossed over the ditch, jumped a deer fence,  and landed on the retaining wall of the canal (as evidenced by a hand print on the top of the canal road).  I also saw indications that there was a second, smaller set of tracks (with toes evident) about five feet to the right of the larger tracks that were imprinted into the wall of the canal in the same direction (see photos).  Further, there were also tracks in the bottom part of the orchard near the road.
    After searching ‘Google Earth’ aerial photos for a possible pathway, and knowing the mountains in that area as I do, I was able to trace a possible route from this canal area, down through an orchard, then to the resident’s backyard (the one with the agitated chickens), then across the a road to the northeast, angling through a narrow greenbelt, straight to the back southwest corner of the orchard where I found the January 9th tracks. 

    I am very fortunate to have received word of these report when I did, and to then get to the scene within hours of the sighting.  This, in turn, generated a lot of talk within the community, and I had a lot of conversations with local people who went out of their way to call me and report other details or  other  encounters. I was also asked to do a one hour radio show on KPQ radio, talking about the sighting and my on-going research on the bigfoot subject. I also drove back to the site for the three days that followed the sighting.  And during those  visits , I noticed that the deer were more spread out throughout  the orchard and some were back in the deer beds that seemed to be emptied out on the morning of the suspected sasquatch activity. 


  A small article about the incident appeared in the local newspaper.  Amusingly, they misquoted me by stating that I had found “bear footprints in the snow” as opposed to “bare-foot prints” which is the thought I meant to convey.  

      I grew up in snow country. I work outside year-round.  I learned at a young age how to track and "cut sign". My wife and I own 20 acres at 4200 feet in the Cascade Mountains   I know snow conditions and how quickly they can change and ‘melt out’. I’ve done controlled tests of track melting rates. I know that tracks can double in size in just  24 hours, as a consequence of a mere  five degree increase in temperature , That said, the bare-foot tracks I happened upon  were left in old, crusted snow that had bigger snow granules.  A track made in this kind of snow track punches a hole through the crust, leaving a crisp outline in the surrounding snow crust, but not much detail in the toe area, owning to the crumbling of  loose snow that falls the impression.  The heel, on the other hand, presses down cleanly.   In dry powdery snow or wet, heavy snow,  one gets the full detail of a track, owing to the small, fine snow granules.

     I have a number of reports on file where sasquatch are seen  in low elevation snow, mostly  in the winter months, for example the Dean Dewee's report from Blewitt Pass, 1/23/77),  I also have reports of tracks and sightings  in high-elevation winter snow.  These reports come mostly from snowmobile-ers.  It would be wise for a sasquatch to utilize snow cover in the winter because, at lower elevations, all the leaves have fallen and concealment is compromised. Stealthy operators such as the sasquatch could still travel the lower elevations at night and to take advantage of the available food sources, then move back to the higher elevations just before daylight.  This is especially true in locations such as the Wenatchee Valley where abundant agricultural food sources such as orchards exists in very close proximity to more rugged, high elevation terrain.
    Here is a list of possible associations between field observations and the suspected sasquatch behavior that is related to the observation.  The observations  are in one column and their relevancies to sasquatch behavior are in the other.
1.Time of year .....        1. Indicative of other animals and agricultural food sources, weather
                                            preferences

2.Time of day .....         2. The amount of cover has a lot to do with this: brush ,tree cover, snow ,
                                             terrain,  cover of darkness, etc.   






3.Fog ..............             3. Weather condition for maximum concealment when
                                             operating  around inhabited  areas.

4.Orchard .......             4. A food source for many animals ,birds and people  

5.Deer ...........               5. A high-protein food source for many predators; many reports of sasquatch

                                              preying upon deer

6.Chickens ..........         6. Another food source frequently reported in sighting literature

7.Forest fires .......        7. Burned normal food sources for many animals pushing them to new
                                             areas for food and safety

8.Irrigation canal ...    8.Many reports of sasquatch using canals  for possible cover throughway
9.Screams ......              9. Many reports of sasquatch being seen screaming ,all animals and humans
                                           make noise ,and it appears the sasquatch make many different sounds and 
                                           most likely  their own language .
10.Heavey footsteps   10.often heard along with sightings and also heard on this report .
 






11.History of the area 11. The Wenatchee valley and beyond has a long history with the sasquatch ,a

                                              early school teacher named Clarence Fox was credited by John Green as
                                              the earliest modern-day researcher. He started in the 1940's in this area.

12.Large forest trees in area ..12. Douglas fir and ponderosa pine trees that are down low have


                                                   played into a number of the low sightings ,good cover ,the younger 
                                                   ones  climb the trees in alot of reports

13.Geography of area ......13.millions of acres of   perfect suitable habitat for a sasquatch

 





14.Radio tower red light beacons ...14. this is a possible association ,there are red tower lights up on
                                              the ridge area near where it seemed to come down out of the mountains  
                                             and one right across the street on the valley floor, the 2004 sighting in east
                                              Wenatchee also had a red radio tower light right in front of it and one  
                                              across the river right in line on Wenatchee heights there was also a canal 
                                                behind the large group of Douglas firs in which the sasquatch was seen. 
                                               My Yakama Indian friend also has sightings very close to these towers and
                                               thinks maybe they are using them in some way .

15.Abandoned barns ...15.There were two in this orchard and there are a number of reports where
                                                a sasquatch will take advantage of a barn loft apparently somewhat like 
                                                we use as a  shelter and or concealment area temporarily.
 

       All the associations above are related one way or another with this report.  These are associations that I have noticed and gleaned from the reports and people I have talked to throughout my years as a researcher.  So far,  a lot of things add up that to the fact that this was an
authentic and fairly typical sasquatch encounter in many ways. I have spoken with many people from the Wenatchee area over the last 24 years that I have spent researching sasquatch activity in the Wenatchee Valley.  It is rare that the sasquatch are sighted this close to town, but when it happens, this report and the ensuing investigation represents the typical scenario.   Most of the sighting reports I have investigated come from areas adjacent to the Wenatchee Valley, but not as close to town as this particular event.  In any case, I simply documented the matter and perform a follow up investigation to the best of my ability. 
      I am publishing  this recent sighting report and follow-up investigation in hopes that it will serve to educate people as to the most productive yet non-invasive approach to researching such sighting reports.  It seems to me, and many others, that that the sasquatch  are most likely related to us in some way, yet their size, strength ,appearance , traits , and the ability  to stay hidden for so long, suggests that they are also a separate species. In any case, the ‘habituation’ approach developed by Diane Fossey and Jane Goodall does seems to be the best way to conduct field research on these enigmatic creatures, for if you really want to learn about about a group of creatures, you must first gain their trust.

4 comments:

  1. Rarely do I get the chance to agree on something so strongly. Holy Toledo!! That is an outstanding report. I've read it three times now,its awesome how much info is here. And,on another note,as I sit here,I could only think,of how cool it is,somewhere,someone,,is talking about a BF sighting,on the radio,and that makes my day!!
    Thanks for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very good work; very thorough, very credible.

    Many thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. There is so much we dont know, and in most cases its because we dont look. Paul is looking and finding. You cant deny facts.

    Good Job! Craig Bromiley

    ReplyDelete