Mythology Of Mt. St. Helens--Part 3C Picture
LEGENDS & MYTHOLOGY OF MOUNT ST. HELENS
Modern Age Stories: Part 3C
--Excerpt as told by Butch Whittaker
Although not as common in the United States as other parts of the world, it has been sighted on our soil numerous times. The most widely recorded account belongs to mountaineer...Butch Whittaker.
The sighting took place in the year 1994, when Butch was out preparing to climb Mt. St. Helens, in the state of Washington. In the broad light of day, the creature soared overhead near the volcano top and even though Butch was in a state of disbelief about what he was seeing, he managed to get several photographs of the winged humanoid, before it completely disappeared.
It was later described by Butch as having blood-red eyes, purplish toned skin, wings of a Pterodactyl and the head and face of monkey mixed with the features of a bat. It was immediately dubbed, ‘Batsquatch.’
The Batsquatch is described to be a great winged bat with purple skin, bashing red eyes and a loud deep base yell. People believe that this creature is another split in evolution and thus it was created and that it has no real connection to Sasquatch other than a similar sounding name. It’s reported to be a carnivore as it eats small things like chickens, goats and hogs. May 1980 was the first time the creature was seen as it showed itself in the shadow of the clouds during the Mount Saint Helens eruption. In 1994, two men, a local mountaineer and a liquor shop owner both saw the creature and took pictures of it. During this time, livestock started disappearing, but no humans were taken. Another mountaineer reported a bizarre sighting of the creature. So he says he was knocked out while hiking and he fell. He slowly regained consciousness he heard a loud deep yell. He tried to focus on the creature that made the yell and soon saw a “log-like entity” being thrown off a cliff after a truck hit it. What caught his attention was that it had purple wings.
He pulled himself together and looked down the valley to see a purple winged creature dragging another. He described it to be about 30 feet tall and it showed human-like affection to the injured one. Then it flew off with the injured creature and disappeared. The mountaineer kept this sight as secret in fear he would be laughed at and shunned as a crazy person. So that’s the legend of the Batsquatch.
Not surprisingly, the supposed pictures taken of the creature aren’t anywhere to be found. I found one, but I can’t confirm if it’s legit. The fact that we haven’t seen this creature since 1994 leads me to believe that this was just some type of legend told to people to keep them from going into the woods at night or during an eruption of Mount Saint Helens. So I’m going to say that this is just an urban legend and nothing more. But what do you guys/girls think? Is there really a 30 foot tall bat creature in Washington State or is this just some made up tale?
The Hairy Apes Of Mount St. Helens
A boy of 10 or so dipped his bucket into Smith Creek and headed back into Thousand Foot Canyon towards a splintery old miner’s cabin. The coffee would taste good with dinner this cool evening after such a long, warm day hauling rocks. That was his job, hauling rocks and debris chipped out of the mine being dug by his uncle and another man. The three were holding up that summer of 1924 in a sparse cabin at the foot of the great crevasse of the Thousand Foot Canyon for one reason: Gold.
They had panned Smith Creek, chipped away at a hundred dead-end veins and were a bit down on their luck. Not even a sign of copper, much less some rarer metal.
The boy trudged back through the fine rock and ash that blew off the mountain. His uncle would probably be nipping at the bottle by now. So would his partner. Suddenly, there was a piercing city followed by a resounding thud.
Then another cry.
The boy hurried through the prickly current patch out of the sunshine and into a tangle of sword ferns. A furry pocket gopher dove for cover as the boy tripped over a chuck of granite. His pale of water splashed across the path.
“Aaaaah-ooooh-aaaaah!” Came an echo down the canyon.
The boy looked up the path directly into the U-section of Thousand Foot Canyon at the bottom of which stood the rickety old cabin with a tin root. He caught sight of a gigantic boulder flying through the air. It floated a moment then struck the side of the cliff before crashing into the rubble at the base about fifty yards from the cabin.
Glancing upward, the boy glimpsed a hunched-over, two-legged creature dragging yet another boulder the size of a dog house. The broad-should creature carefully toed the precipice. Then he stood upright like a big hairy gorilla with the boulder suspended high above his shaggy head. The beast act out an angry growl followed by a ghoulish yell, then tossed the stone effortlessly into the canyon, narrowly missing the stovepipe chimney on the rear of the cabin.
The boy sprang to his feet and dashed the 50 yards or so to the cabin door. The latch was up, the door slightly ajar.
“Haw-wham!” the door flew back on its hinges as the boy burst through the opening. His uncle was napping on the bunk in the corner. His partner was nodding over a yellowing copy of the Oregonian. Both men snapped open their eyes as if to suggest that there had better be a good explanation for the ruckus.
His uncle cocked his elbow on the mattress and stroked his chin. He had heard some commotion outside but had given it no mind. His thoughts were on the traces of ore found earlier that morning. He was celebrating with his partner, pondering whether to continue prospecting through the summer. Now this…monster!
The partner looked at the boy, skeptical of what he was hearing but also somewhat amused. The boy was sure excitable.
“You don’t say?” the partner egged on the boy.
“Yeah, yeah, ya’ hear? They’re coming to get us right now,” that boy sputtered. His eyes bulged out of their sockets.
His uncle sat up on the bunk. “Now suppose you just describe these big beast to your old uncle.” He said with a wink towards his half-tight partner.
“They was big, hairy, like gorillas,” the boy shot back.
“Did they walk on all fours and chase sticks like Laddie here?” the partner asked as he reached down and petted an ancient red-haired collie with a trace of Irish setter.
“No, no…they walked hunched over and then stood up on their hind legs, just like you or me,” the boy said.
The two men laughed at the boy’s antics. “Well, you seen a bear,” said his uncle. “You seen a black bear, I betcha, a’walkin’ around the huckleberry patch by Smith Creek down below.” He reached over and took another swallow from a wine bottle sitting on the table.
The boy refused to have his story dismissed so casually. Even while his uncle and his partner laughed, the boy trembled at his recollection of his attackers.
“They weren’t bears. I’ve seen bears. They weren’t bears. Bears have snouts and fur on their faces. These were munsters, I tell you. They had big shoulders and mean faces with hairy bodies but you could still see their hands. Their HANDS! They had hands—bears don’t have hands!”
The laughter of the two men sort of faded.
“Hands, you say?” said the partner. He held up his own palm before the boy. Then he scratched the back of his head.
“Yeah, only hairy. A lot bigger. And stronger. Big enough to pick up the wagon outside,” the boy replied.
The partner looked at the boy’s uncle. He let out a laugh. The boy’s uncle snorted; ran his hand through his hair and stroked his chin, thoughtfully. “And they’re comin’ to git us, right?”
“Unc, they was up top Thousand Foot Canyon, wey up there. I saw’em throwing rocks down at me, rocks as big as this house, well, almost as big. And they was yellin’, like they was mad at us for bein’ here or something.”
His uncle chuckled softly, incredulously. “Well,” he said to his partner, “I guess we had better have a look-see,” and strode through the open door.
“Don’t! Don’t! They’ll get you Unc!” the boy pleaded. Genuine terror in the boy’s eyes startled the partner. He paused.
“Maybe the boy did see something. Only I bet it was just a mama bear with her cubs.”
“T’wasn’t a bear, I’m tellin’ ya,” the boy said. His uncle looked over his shoulder at his partner. He was not smiling now. Indeed. He looked a bit concerned.
“Let’s get to the bottom of this.”
The boy’s uncle walked outside, wandered around the cabin clearing and then peered up the canyon to the highest reaches. For a moment, he thought he saw something move, something resembling a dark hairy head disappearing under the low bough of a massive fir tree. It must have been the wind.
His partner ambled around the cabin. “See anything?”
“Naw, the boy’s imagining things,” he said. “Probably them ‘Y’ campers.”
“No I’m not. Look’it over there at all that dust flying around where they flung them boulders,” the boy said, pointing to the smoking rubble nearby. Shadows from the setting sun were creeping up the sides of the canyon walls but the telltale clouds of dust were readily apparent, even to the boy’s doubters. Tonight would be a long one for the miners. –––––––
Bob Lambert did not mind fire watch though. He was a storyteller and the tourists and the frisky young apes at the nearby YMCA camp always made enthusiastic audiences for him. Lambert called all kids ‘apes’, a term of endearment left over from his logging days.
“Bob, there’s a bunch of guys headin’ in from the southeast,” Rent said.
Lambert stopped his sweeping and looked out the window.
He swigged his cup of coffee and peered through the forest clearing at the approaching strangers. They appeared to be in a hurry. Two men and a little ape, 10 or 12 years old. He looked scared.
“Howdy!” Mullins waved to the group. They said nothing, approaching instead the front porch of the ranger station with a sense of urgency.
“What’s wrong, gents?” Lambert asked, for there was no question that this crew was perturbed.
“We’re got a problem. Seems somebody’s throwin’ rocks, big boulders I mean to say, down Thousand Foot Canyon,” said the elder of the miners.
“Yeah, onto our cabin!” snapped his partner. “You know the cabin there at the foot of the canyon? Well, the boy seen’em that was doing it, way up there on top. We didn’t believe him at first, but then come to find the whole side of our shed out back caved in. We think it was them YMCA boys.”
“Oh, I think maybe some apes threw them down on you, all right. Haven’t you heard of the apes up there? The apes roll those rocks down.” Lambert said.
The two miners rocked back on their heels at the mention of the word ‘apes’. The boy smiled and said, “See, I told ya’ I’d seen something that warn’t human.”
“Well, what do you think we ought to do?” the older of the two miners asked Lambert.
Lambert stepped aside as Mullins climbed the porch steps. He looked up at the suddenly brooding sky and casually mentioned, “I don’t know, but I doubt that it’d be too smart to tangle with those apes. Nope. Not smart at all. Besides, looks like we may be in for a drenching before you get back to your cabin. You probably ought to hole up at the campground tonight.”
The miners looked at the sky and then at one another, taken aback by Lambert’s revelation. They ambled away from the ranger station towards the campground, mumbling just out of earshot about the weather and their close encounter with the hairy apes of Mount St. Helens.
The weather tended to change quickly around Spirit Lake. Indeed, Mount St. Helens created its own weather. One moment, birds twitter among tree branches bathed in sunshine. Blink twice though and the wind will kick up out of the southeast and blow down a sky full of black clouds that fill up the green valley and totally obscure the sun.
“Looks like we might not have to worry about fires in ‘Ape Canyon’ today,” Lambert said over his shoulder to Mullins.
Bigfoot At Spirit Lake
--Excerpt from Michael McLeod
Chuck Bolsinger wrote an essay about Bigfoot, spurred by his outdoor experiences while working as a forester and plant ecologist for the U.S. Forest Service. Chuck begins his essay with a story about Harry Truman, the character who owned and operated the lodge at the base of Mt. St. Helens for many years until the mountain blew its top and buried him and the lodge under a hundred feet of molten rock and ash in 1980.
A few years before the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, I worked on a timber-cruising crew near that mountain. We stayed in a barn-like ‘lodge,’ and ate at a nearby diner. During breakfast one morning, Harry R. Truman, who owned Mount St. Helens Lodge on Spirit Lake, came in. He was wearing an ancient raincoat and the same wrinkled cap he wore years later when he told a cameraman, a helicopter pilot, and the world, he’d never leave his mountain, days before it blew.
Nodding to the diner’s proprietor, he poured himself some coffee and came to our booth. “You fellas must be the timber cruisers,” he said. He’d obviously had his morning whiskey. “There’s something you boys should know. A Big Hairy Guy hangs out in these woods. Someday you’ll be taping a tree, and a shadow’ll fall on you, and there he’ll be. He’ll know your fixin’ to log his forest, and he’ll be mad, and you’ll be in trouble.” He sipped his coffee. “I can show you scratch marks ten feet high where he tried to get in my barn. I know when he’s around by the smell. Whew! But my cats warn me before he gets that’s close. They go crazy! Eddie, my wife, won’t go out at night at all. The Big Hairy Guy’s passed up many chances to get me, ‘cause he knows I’m on his side. You boys, though...” He shook his head, sipped coffee.
Truman was saying he didn’t like our being there (I couldn’t blame him), while ostensibly warning us about Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, as some Native Americans call the legendary creature. We considered ourselves duly advised on both counts. In weeks of beating the brush, we saw no sign of the “Big Hairy Guy,” though in that mysterious forest of shadowy glens and hulking, mossy trees, believing in such a creature wouldn’t have been much of a stretch...
For more than a century, Bigfoot “sightings” have been reported all over the Northwest. In 1890 railroad workers in British Columbia supposedly captured a rock-throwing apelike creature called “Jacko,” who escaped before anyone photographed him.
Several “sightings” have been hoaxes, such as those engineered by Ray L. Wallace, who fessed up before he died three years ago. Though his faked footprints and films were amateurish, many believed they were authentic. His biohoax, built on a legend already in place, was not the first involving a cryptid (“hidden animal”), creature of unproven existence. Yeti of the Himalayas and Nessie of Scotland’s Loch Ness are examples. They lend themselves to biohoaxes because their existence is physically possible, and for reasons that might be termed romantic or psychological, people want to believe they exist. Former cryptids include gorillas (discovered in 1847), giant pandas (1869), Komodo dragons (1912), and giant geckos (1984).
A rumor had it that a Bigfoot was shot and secretly buried so “enviros” wouldn’t find out and demand Bigfoot refuges with connecting BFRs (Bigfoot runways), a mountain myth no less incredible than many. But it’s interesting to speculate the ramifications of a confirmed Bigfoot discovery. Personally, I’d like to celebrate by taking the discoverer to breakfast at the diner where I met Harry R. Truman. Of course the eatery is buried under millions of tons of volcanic debris, as is, apparently, Harry, and perhaps—who knows—his “Big Hairy Guy.”
Screams In The Wilderness
CASE 1--August, 2004
Location Details: The location is the campground for hikers on Mt. St. Helens known as climbers bivouac. Campground is located at mouth of St Helens trail.
Observed: At approx. 2am, (clear skies & full moon) 35 campers in all were awakened to the most god awful screams in the woods. They sounded like a wounded animal and we thought maybe a wounded cougar. Others in the campground thought it may be a bear. 6 of us went to try and determine the source of the noise. We entered the woods to the east of the campground. We used flashlights to light our way and I was in lead and went towards the noise. It seemed fairly close to us.
By this time the screams had gone on for 5-10 minutes already. As we drew near the noise, which was emanating approx. 200-300ft from the perimeter of the campground, we smelled a foul odor. It smelled like animal droppings mixed with other odors. The forest around us sounded very loud with brush movement and cracking wood. We decided quickly that we needed to retreat back to the campground. I personally didn’t want to have to come face to face with a bear or whatever it was.
We got back to campground and had a general agreement amongst us that it may be something unexplainable. The noise continued for maybe 20-25 minutes total. It faded off to the east with what sounded like another similar noise coming from the south. After these particular screams stopped, we could hear the coyotes howling for another 20 minutes. It was a very strange and weird experience. I have never heard anything like this in my life. I have spent a lot of time outdoors and I have never experienced anything like this.
The next day was nice and we ascended Mt St Helens with no incidents or sightings to report.
BFRO Investigator Tom Yamarone report: I spoke with the witness and have the following details to add: These ‘screams’ were unusual and unusually loud. A group campground experienced this occurrence ‘en masse’ and people from various geographic locations and backgrounds were upset and perplexed by this experience. So much so, that a group of seasoned outdoor adventurers went into the woods to try to determine what animal was making this noise.
Although they initially attempted to associate the sound with an injured mountain lion or bear, they were not convinced these assumptions were correct. Many debated this and soon determined that they were hearing a sound that no one had experienced. Thus, they made an effort to find the source of the screams.
After ten minutes in the woods near the perimeter of camp, they neared the source of the screams. At that moment, the animal making the noise abruptly retreated through the woods, crashing through the underbrush and trees in a very loud manner. The witness how has hunted elk and has heard an elk retreat from his presence ‘crashing through the brush, and this sounded heavier than that.’
One other thing to note: All the dogs in camp were ‘dead quiet’ during this event. Whereas we have many reports of unusual sounds and smells, this one is fairly unique in that everyone in this campground was awakened, and came out of their tents during this event.
CASE 2—June 25th, 2003
Location Details: You take the 90Rd. west from Eagles Cliff to the 25Rd. follow the 25Rd. to the 93Rd. across the Muddy River. Follow the 93Rd. about 14+ miles to the end where it forks, take the left fork (40Rd.?) and go about a quarter to a half mile our camp was on the left next to Wright Creek just before the road crosses it just before a trail head on the right. It has been used for elk camp for 15 years and is set up as such.
Observed: My wife and I were on a family camp out with my in-laws. I stayed up after everyone had gone to bed to let the camp fire burn down. I had noticed earlier that day the dogs would go nuts barking into the woods. Since there were no other campers within miles of us I figured it was deer or some other critter they were barking at. It was after midnight and was quite dark; the fire was down to coals. I got this intense feeling that I was not alone, I put it down as over-active imagination; that feeling you get when you are alone but feel like someone is watching you, so I decided to head for the tent.
Sometime in the morning between 3:00am and 4:00am (warm, calm night) I was awakened by what I thought were coyotes howling. It was high pitched. It was not loud at first but grew in intensity, it awakened my wife also, and it sounded like one coyote than joining in by others. It sounded like five or six animals as it grew in intensity. I knew it was not anything I had heard before. I jumped up thinking it was an alarm and that the woods were on fire but the night was dark, and there was no smoke, so we listened to it and could tell it was some sort of animal. I thought it was the elk my wife and sister in-law had spotted down the road earlier that day but I have never heard elk sound like this and if it was; then they were in pain. As I said it started out low and others joined in and it grew in intensity like it was far away and getting closer it lasted about 10 maybe 15 seconds and then just stop abruptly! It was in unison starting with one than another until it sounded like 5 or 6 going at the same time and then just stopped all at once. It was a very high pitched scream, not a trumpet like an elk, or the squeak of a deer and it was not the cry of a cougar. I have heard these animals before and this was new to me.
When we were on our way home after the camp out we stopped at the Eagles Cliff store and my wife mentioned what we heard to the girl working there and she said there had been other people that had heard it too and some mentioned having rocks thrown at them out of the dark. I don’t know if what I heard was bigfoot. I never believed in the story. All I can say is it was something I had never heard before.
BFRO Investigator Tom Yamarone report: Witness sounded like he was very familiar with the other animals in the woods that could have possibly made these sounds. He imitated the sound to me on the telephone and it didn't sound like Elk to me, it sounded like the Tahoe tape, which was used on the Skookum expedition. Wapiti bulls bugle and whistle with a deep terminal, guttural call at the end and is quite distinct. It is the wrong time of the year for the rut bugles but the single cows who have given birth a few weeks ago probably all returned by now to the cow herd. Any alarm calls from the cows would be more like a bark or if calling a calf, a high pitched neigh. His sister in-law made the observation of something large moving by the kids tent at about 10:00PM.
CASE 3—March 4th, 2001
Location Details: The Swift Creek climbing route on Mt. St. Helens from Marble Mountain Sno-Park at approximately 4,000ft. elevation.
Observed: On Sunday, March 4th, 2001, six friends and I attempted a climb of Mt. St. Helens via the Swift Creek route from the Marble Mountain Sno-Park. At approximately 7:30a.m. at 4,000 ft. elevation, we heard a scream from the ridge just to the east of the one we were climbing, about 100 yards away. The wind was blowing hard from the east, which helped to carry the sound. We all stopped, looked, and called to each other "Did you hear that?" "What was that?" It did not sound human, so none of us thought it was a call for help. The ridge was not part of the climbing route and access to it required a steep down climb then up steeply. And since visibility was excellent, so there was no plausible reason for anyone to be over there. It was not an elk or coyote, and did not sound like a dog. The ridge was snow covered with just a few small trees and rocks poking through. I looked closely for signs for movement, but saw none. I told my friends half-jokingly, maybe it was Bigfoot! They laughed, but I wondered.
I listened to the Bigfoot Scream 1978 Snohomish recording and yes, indeed, it sounded exactly like that! The difference is that we heard only one scream, not a series of consecutive screams. Based on that recording, I believe that what my friends and I heard on Mt. St. Helens was Bigfoot.
BFRO Investigator Tom Yamarone report: I interviewed the witness extensively on March 6th, 2001. She is a lifelong resident of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest area, and has experience in encountering several different species of native wildlife. I inquired as to whether or not the witness had ever heard a cougar scream, and she responded that she was quite familiar with that particular vocalization, as she'd had a close experience with a screaming cougar some years back.
CASE 4—August 19th, 2005
Location Details: From Olympia, Washington, take I-5 south to exit 21. Take exit 21 at Woodland and take WA-503 east towards Cougar. Follow WA-503 about 28 miles (just before Cougar) and take a left on Forest Service Road 81 towards Merrill Lake and Kalama Horse Camp. We took a small gravel turnoff near the Kalama Horse Camp and camped right near the Kalama River.
Observed: It was early to mid-August when myself and 4 friends decided to camp in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Around dusk, we heard something in the trees near our campsite. Whatever it was walked through the brush quite loudly. We figured it was a bear and made noise and scared it away. Later that night (very warm and clear), however, we began to hear some sort of scream. None of us knew what it was, but we all agreed it was like nothing we've ever heard. It was very dark and we decided not to try and find out what the noise was, as it was quite some distance away. Until recently, we still wondered what we heard, but then we listened to vocalizations on this website and heard the same sounds. What we heard was very similar to the 1978 Snohomish County recording. We now believe that we heard at least 1 Sasquatch howling that night we were camping.
BFRO Investigator John G. Callender report: I spoke with the witness regarding his experience for approximately forty minutes. He and four buddies wanted to “just get away” and go camping before returning to college. They initially wanted to camp at the Kalama Horse camp, but they were turned away since they didn’t have horses, so they drove down a gravel road until they found a place to camp near the Kalama River. They arrived around 5:00P. M. and decided to cook hamburgers for dinner using a camp stove. Even though they hadn’t seen any sign of bears, they were all aware of the possibility of bears in the area, so they made every effort to keep all food products out of reach of bears. The witness told me that not long after they started cooking hamburgers they detected movement in the nearby brush as if an animal was approaching. When I asked him to elaborate on what they heard; he said it “sounded heavy” and that “it was definitely something big”. He emphasized the approach seemed very slow and deliberate. The witness said the noise of the approaching animal was heard twice in the span of ten to fifteen minutes. As they heard the noise the first time, they walked toward the brush and the noise stopped as they approached the brush. After a short time, they walked away from the brush and sat back down. As they did, they heard the noise a second time and the witness thinks at this point whatever was in the brush walked away and left. He said they never smelled anything unusual nor “felt” anything unusual.
As the evening went on, they sat around the fire and talked until around 11:00P.M. At this point they were getting ready to turn in when one of the guys in the group asked the rest of the group if they heard what sounded like a woman screaming in the distance. The witness estimates the screaming was from a distance of approximately one mile away. He said they were aware that there were people staying at the horse camp, but they don’t believe the screams came from anywhere near the horse camp. The witness said that he feels like what they heard was only one animal screaming. He said the screams didn’t last very long and he was of the impression that “something was out there communicating with something else way off”. He went on to say that he didn’t feel like “the animal was screaming at us”. The witness was drawn to the BFRO site after a friend noticed the photos from Silver Star Mountain on the BFRO site. They also listened to some of the sounds on the site and he said the Snohomish scream from 1978 sounded almost identical to what they heard while camping. He said that when he heard the Snohomish scream on the BFRO website, it “sent shivers down my spine”.
Scared To Death
© The Longview Washington Times -- August 1963
SPIRIT LAKE, Mt. St. Helens, Washington -- Ape Canyon, the legendary home of the Hairy Apes of Mt. St. Helens apparently swallowed an experienced mountaineer and expert skier in May 1950. No trace of Jim Carter, 32, who disappeared from a 20-member climbing party from Seattle was found, although teams of the Northwest's most proficient mountain rescue units combed the area for weeks.
“Carter's complete disappearance is an unsolved mystery to this day,” declared Bob Lee, well-known Portland mountaineer who is a member of the exclusive worldwide Alpine Club, a leader of the 1961 Himalayan expedition, and adviser to the 1963 American expedition. Lee said he had never seen one of the monsters, but that there certainly was evidence “that there was something strange on the high slopes of the mountain.” He was convinced of this during the search for Carter, he said.
“Dr. Otto Trott, Lee Stark and I finally came to the conclusion that the mountain devils got him,” said Lee seriously. Lee, a member of the Seattle Mountain Search and Rescue unit at the time, describes the hunt for Carter in Ape Canyon as “the most eerie experience I have ever had.”
He said that every time he got cut off from the rest of the searchers during the long hunt, he got the feeling that “somebody was watching me.”
“I could feel the hair on my neck standing up. It was eerie. I was unarmed, except for my ice ax and, believe me, I never let go of that.” At this point in Lee's story, I could feel my own hair standing up a bit.
Ready to shoulder packs for a safari to Ape Canyon to try to determine whether there is any truth to the ape stories, I began to feel a little dubious about the whole expedition. The rest of Lee's tale about the Seattle man's disappearance didn't do much to reassure me.
It seems that the missing man Carter had climbed Mt. St. Helens with a group from Seattle on a warm, clear Sunday. On the way down the mountain, he left the other climbers near a landmark called Dog's Head, at the 8,000-foot level.
Carter told them he would ski around to the left and take a picture of the group as they skied down to timberline. That was the last time that anyone saw Carter. The next morning searchers found a discarded film box at the point where he had taken a picture.
From here, Carter evidently took off down the mountain in a wild, death-defying dash, “taking chances that no skier of his caliber would take, unless something was terribly wrong or he was being pursued,” says Lee, who was one of the first searchers to reach Carter's ski tracks.
“He jumped over two or three large crevasses and evidently was going like the devil.” When Carter's tracks reached the precipitous sides of Ape Canyon, the searchers were amazed to see that Carter had been in such a hurry that he went right down the steep canyon walls. But they did not find him at the bottom of the canyon as they expected.
“We combed the canyon, one end to the other for five days. Sometimes there were as many as 75 persons in the search party, but no sign of Carter or his equipment was found,” Lee says.
After two weeks the search was called off. Lee, who has lived in the Northwest most of his life, recalls there are about 25 different reports of people attacked by “apelike men” in the St. Helens and Cascade areas over a 20-year period.
One was a group of Boy Scouts from Centralia, he said. Couldn't we check on that story? As near as he could remember, several of the boys who were taken off the mountain were hysterical after being attacked by the “mountain devils.”
Director Dick Whitney of the regional Boy Scout office in Olympia, Wash., promised to look for a record of the incident. To our surprise he called back to say that he had located the name of the leader and the troop involved in the incident. “It was a troop under the late Scoutmaster Pease from Centralia,” he said.
Whitney promised to have Pease’s son, who works for the State of Washington call THE JOURNAL as soon as he returns from vacation.
Miners, scouts, Indians, mountaineers and most recently an editor and other reliable Portland residents, the list of persons who have seen the Hairy Apes of Mt. St. Helens is very impressive.
© The Longview Times, 1963
The Missing 1878 Pack Train
Of all the stories I have read about Harry R. Truman, the story as told by Buck Whiting is the best when it comes to explaining what drawled Harry to the lake and the consequences of looking for the 1878 missing pack train.
The story covers Harry’s purchase of the Mount St. Helens lodge with the gold from the missing pack train. But some theorize that that gold was cursed and purposely claimed by the spirit of the lake. Those who claimed the gold met an early demise and a life-long series of unfortunate events.
Even though the story does not talk about the implications of a curse or misfortune, those who understand the life Harry lived, he was able to live through misfortunes around the volcano like nearly freezing to death, wild animals, fires, robberies and the spirits of the lake itself. Even though Harry wasn’t superstitious, he was concern about his connection with the mountain and the results of leaving the lake of souls.
There is some who claim that the missing gold is still buried next to the porch steps of the Mount St. Helens Lodge…now claimed by Spirit Lake and Loowit for as long as Harry’s lodge remains unscathed under 600 feet of debris.
--Excerpt as told by Buck Whiting to Barbara Minton
Harry Truman decided it was time to settle down, and opened a garage in Chehalis where he became well known for his special touch with motors. He had always been fascinated with the countryside around Chehalis and Spirit Lake, having explored much of it on his many camping trips. He was also intrigued by a story told to him in 1918 about a lost pack train from years past, that disappeared carrying much gold.
With that as the motivation, he spent many years visiting all the old mines, asking old timers questions, and studying all the old maps he could find. Harry had been told that the route of the pack train was along the Toutle River and he concentrated his search in this area. One of his favorite places was Spirit Lake and its lure kept drawing him. Harry formed a life-long friendship with James and Arizona Reese who had a farm along the very primitive road leading in to Spirit Lake.
On one visit they directed him to the cabin of an old timer named Fred, thinking he might have information for Harry about the lost pack. In the course of his conversation with Fred, Harry discovered that he was an old friend of Newberry, and has camped with him in Vanson Meadows during the war. Fred and Harry became very good friends.
Harry decided to move to Nevada, between Reno and New Goldfield, where his friend Earl lived, and devote his time to prospecting for gold. After many months of hard labor and nothing to show for their efforts but dwindling funds and gained experience, they gave up the search and Harry returned to his garage in Chehalis. He didn’t give up the idea of locating the old lost pack train gold though, and all of his spare time was devoted to the search.
By 1928, Harry bought an old lodge at Spirit Lake which was then very decrepit, with only two run-down cabins and four rowboats. The owner at the time, Jack Wilson, who became one of Harry’s most un-favorite people, would agree to sell him only half-interest in the lodge, and charge him $2500.00. Good old Fred had his moonshine money buried in a pot in his yard, and he gave it to Harry for the purchase. After paying Wilson the money, Harry and Fred quickly drove to the Stevenson Courthouse to record the transaction, taking along some moonshine to celebrate the event.
Harry bought that half of the lodge in June, 1928 and by the end of July had built himself a house on the property. Relations between Harry and Jack Wilson continued to deteriorate, culminating that fall in Harry buying Wilson out for $1200.00 and throwing him off the place. For years Harry loved to tell the story, with many expletives and much body English, as was his way, concluding with his throwing a chamber pot at the departing Wilson.
Scotty had a friend named Flintor who joined Harry at the lodge at this time, and when they weren’t working on lodge improvements, they were scouting the Toutle River Watershed area, seeking clues to the lost pack train.
By 1929, Harry and Flintor continued searching for the missing gold at every opportunity. During one of the bull sessions that Harry loved so much, they met two brothers who, with their father had mined the area for years. They knew of the pack train, but said it was lost along the Green River, not the Toutle. This was the only time in Harry Truman’s life when he was speechless. He quickly changed the subject but on the next outing he made with Flintor, they started systematically searching the Green River area. They had made several trips of four or five day’s duration in this area without luck.
After one such trip in 1937, they returned with unconcealed elation and proceeded to have a big celebration. When Buck looked in Flintor’s pack he discovered if full of old rusted bridle bits and harness buckles. Flintor took the pack away and there were no more conversations on the subject, and there were no more searches made for the lost pack train. In July of 1937 Harry couldn’t raise $120 for back car payments, and had his car repossessed. In October, 1937 he bought a new Ford pick-up, a saddle horse, a Lincoln Zepher Coupe, a Vagabond travel trailer, and took a two month long vacation. He also started construction projects at the lake site. He built a new lodge, new boat house, six new cabins, bought 25 new rowboats, 3 new canoes, 6 new outboard motors and did some land clearing.
There were no loans taken for and of this, Flintor, who had come to the lodge with nothing but the clothes on his back, left at this time and bought a house and farm in the Yacolt Amboy area for which he paid cash. Scotty bought a fast food business in San Francisco, became a wealthy man, and always gave the credit to Harry, saying he couldn’t have done it without him.
Many years later, Harry told Buck the story, and showed him the proof of what happened. The pack train started out about 1878 to carry a shipment of $20 gold pieces to Portland. They were caught in an early snow storm which became so deep there was no way they could proceed. One of the men was keeping a journal of their trip and he buried it in a whiskey bottle. They buried the gold and supplies, set the horses loose, and tried to hike out on some improvised snow shoes. They were never heard from again.
On Harry and Flintor’s last trip they had discovered some old blaze marks on trees leading into a meadow, had seen some old trees which Flintor said had been chewed on by horses years ago, had started digging around and found old bridle bits and harness buckles and parts of an old gun. Then they had really started digging in that meadow and found numerous $20 gold pieces. Harry had buried the money plus the bottle containing the journal under his big hitching post tree by the lodge, and showed it to Buck, telling him that if anything happened to him it would belong to his sister Geraldine. Perhaps someone from a future generation will read this and start on their own quest for the missing gold.
Link To: Mythology Of Mount St. Helens -- Part 4A (Other Myths)