Sunday, September 30, 2007

More Alasquatch

From John Green's Sasquatch: The Apes Among US

The Anchorage Daily News, April 15, 1973, carried a feature article on the abandoned cannery town of Portlock on the Kenai Peninsula. The writer had learned the story during an evening spent with the school teacher and his wife at English Bay while on a boat trip. It went, in part, as follows:

Portlock began its existence sometime after the turn of the (20th) century, as a cannery town. In 1921 a post office was established there, and for a time the residents, mostly natives of Russian-Aleut extraction, lived in peace with their picturesque mountain-and-sea setting.

Then, sometime in the beginning years of World War II, rumors begfan to seep along the Kenai Peninsula that things were not right in Portlock. Men from the cannery town would go up into the hills to hund the Dall sheep and bear, and never return. Worse yet, the stories ran, sometimes their mutilated bodies would be swept down in to the lagoon, torn and dismembered in a way that bears could not, or would not, do.
Tales were told of villagers tracking moose over soft ground. They would find giant, man-like tracks over 18 inches in length closing upon those of the moose, the signs of a short struggle where the grass had been matted down, then only the deep tracks of the manlike animal departing toward the high, fog-shrouded mountains with their deep valleys and hidden glaciers...

The article goes on to tell how the fed up townfolk decided to move en masse. The abandoned town became a shunned place that those who had once lived there would not return to.

And from the Bigfoot Encounters website...

Eagle River, Anchorage, 1990

Here is an account from an Alaskan bow hunter, graciously shared with us from list-reader Colorado researcher Keith Foster. If you need the hunter's info, you can contact Keith. "Ed" relayed this from the "Stickbow" conferences/forum of traditional bow hunters. Keith thought readers might be interested and indeed we are. Thanks!
I don't belong to any UFO group or anything like that but this actually happened to me. I've told a few trusted friends about it but never bothered to write it down. I'll try to relate it as accurately as memory allows. In 1990, while I was working as a paramedic in Anchorage, we got called out on an alarm for a man having a heart attack at the state jail in Eagle River. He was a native man in his 70's and after I got him stabilized with IV's, O2 and cardiac drugs, my partner and I began to transport him to the Native Hospital in Anchorage.
In route to the hospital, I had time to talk to this gentleman who was a Aleut from the native village of Port Graham, a remote village on the lower end of Cook Inlet. Well, as usual with me, the topic eventually drifted to hunting and fishing and I casually mentioned to him that I and two other hunting buddies where once weathered in at the upper lagoon of Dogfish Bay, only a few miles from his home in Port Graham. The lagoon was about as beautiful and wild a place as I ever seen in my 35 years in Alaska. Well, when I said that I had spent some time in Dog Fish, this old man sat up on the gurney and grabbed me by the front of my shirt. He got right up to my face and said,. "Did it bother you?" Well, with that question the hair just stood up on the back of my head. I said "Yes!" "Did you see it?" was his next question. I said "No. ..Did you see it?" He said "No!...but my brother seen it! It chased him!"

This old Aleut and I were talking about the same thing but we never used the word Bigfoot or legend or anything like that. But we both knew what we were talking about. You see, in Aug. of 1973, three of us were bowhunting for goats and blackies in what was then the remote wilderness of lower Cook Inlet, when a storm forced us to take shelter in Dogfish Bay Lagoon. We beached our skiff and let the tide run her dry. After a dinner of broiled salmon we turned in to our tent. Back in those days, the best tent I had was a dark green canvas job with a center pole and no windows or floor. We left the fire burning and cleaned the pots and pans so as not to attract bears during the night and turned in. The sky was clear but the wind was howling through the old growth timber that lined the shore. Sometime around 2 AM, my friend Dennis woke me up by squeezing my leg. I could dimly see his face in the tent. His finger was across his lips. I listened. Then I heard it. A step. A man was quietly walking outside or our tent, taking very deliberate steps. Not a bear! Scenes from the movie Deliverance flashed through my mind. We woke Joe, the third member of our party with the same leg grab and finger to the lips. The walking, or rather sneaking continued until it half circled our tent and then all was quiet, except for the wind. We had our bows and the '06 leaning against a tree outside of the tent so somehow we talked Joe into belly crawling out the tent to get the rifle.

We were scared s---less, I tell you. The next day and night the storm continued to blow. We saw several black bears on the salmon stream at the head of the lagoon during the evening hunt but had no chance for a shot. We didn't talk about what had happened last night. Too embarrassed I guess, to be scared by a black bear that sounded like a man. We got back to camp early, built a big fire, sat around it, and ate dinner until around midnight.

In August, there is still some light in the sky until about 10 or 11. I recall that we all were embarrassed about being afraid about the coming night. We had a flashlight and the rifle in the tent between us, locked and loaded. I finally dosed off but woke right up when Dennis squeezed my leg. The illuminated hands of my watch showed it was 2:30. Joe was already sitting up and had the rifle in hand. I heard the first step, not more than about 10 feet from the back of the tent. Slowly. Then another and another. What ever this was, it sounded like it was walking on two feet. It made the same semi-circle around the tent. When we finally got enough courage to crawled out of the tent and turn the flashlight on, we saw nothing. No tracks, nothing. The third night we decided if it bothered us again, we would come out of the tent shooting. We were actually scared. It never came back the third night and the following day we had a break in the weather and got the heck out of there.

Never told anybody about the experience for several years until about 1979 when I happened to be reading an old Alaska Sportsman Magazine published in 1935. In the Letters to the Editor, a woman wrote that she recently found a letter written by some distant relative of hers who was a schoolteacher at the cannery in Portlock Bay, a rugged fjord adjacent to Dog Fish Bay.

The year was 1905. She quoted from the letter. It said that the cannery employed a small group of Aleuts from a small village in Portlock Bay during salmon season. Their camp was about a mile from the cannery buildings. One day all the Aleuts moved out of the village and paddled their bidarkas back to Port Graham. The letter said that the Aleuts claimed that a "hairy man" was "bothering" and frightening them to the point where they had to leave. I have since done some research into the subject and found written histories of natives from Seldovia to Port Graham being frightened and "bothered" by something. They even have a native name for it. It doesn't translate into English very well.

These accounts mostly take place during the first half of the 1900's and are native related. But not all — I talked to one white guy who in 1968 got the bejebbers scared out of him while coming down an alder choked gully while on a goat hunt in Portlock, AK. Most of these accounts precede the Bigfoot hype that began to appear in the 60's and 70's in the Northwest. Well anyway, that's my story... and I'm sticking to it! — Ed

Source:, accessed 09/28/07

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Make plans to attend the Red Dirt Book Festival this year. This event, which celebrates Oklahoma authors and publishers, occurs once every two years and will be a highlight of the 2007 Centennial celebrations. This year's theme is "Oklahoma Character." You can get more information about the festival here.

Unfortunately, It seems I will not be able to attend this year. However, there will be a booth selling copies of Strange State: Mysteries and Legends of Oklahoma and other titles. If you have not yet purchased a copy of my book, I highly recommend it. :-D All joking aside, whether you're interested in the strange and mysterious or simply like reading about more obscure elements of Oklahoma history, I know you will love this book. It's exciting and fun without ever sacrificing both critical integrity and objectivity.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Survivorman VS Bigfoot?

In browsing the internet, I noticed that the BFRO had posited that TV's Survivorman may have had a Sasquatch encounter. Of course, being now the official tourist outfitter for Bigfoot vacations, they might have lacked the time or inclination to follow up on this interesting tidbit. This "encounter" comes from the online field journals of Les Stroud, creator and star of Survivorman. In the journal (as in his show), Stroud recounts his personal experiences and feelings as he braves unforgiving environs with few resources aside from his survival skills.

The following excerpt is from the 5th evening of Stroud's Alaska survival mission, which was filmed sometime between 2005 and 2007. Unfortunately, information regarding production schedules is scant and so a more precise date cannot be determined.

Additionaly, it isn't known exactly where in Alaska Stroud was during his encounter, however, there are clues. Earlier on in the journal he tells us that he had set up his base camp along "a cobblestone beach" and behind him is a "four hundred foot waterfall." He then goes on to say that "beyond this active Alaskan scene there is the ocean bay they call Taroka Arm..." The actual encounter occurred later as he moved camp to "a small bay about two miles from my survival location [Taroka?]." The online journal begins on "Day 2" so it is difficult to locate his starting point but an internet search tells me Taroka Arm is a bay in Kenai Peninsula County, Alaska at Latitude: 59.60694 : Longitude: -150.13139

Day 5 Mid day

Still this incredibly great weather continues!! It was pretty cool again last night but heating up rocks and using them like hot water bottles helped a lot. I should make some kind of mattress to lie on though, the rocks are hard! Nothing took my bait last night so this morning I did more beach combing and have found a couple of old fishing nets. I used some old buoys and a bucket with a lid along with some wood as floats. I filled an old barrel and a bucket I found with rocks and used them as anchors. Then I laid everything out on the beach at low tide and waited for the ocean to come in. The salmon are jumping constantly in front of me – so here’s hoping!

Late Evening

Well…no luck with the net yet. But I’ll leave it out and hope for some action during the next high tide. Same goes for fishing with a line and hook. I went out in the kayak fishing for over an hour, but nothing bit. I did get out to ‘bounty bay’ for some more foraging, which keeps my spirits up. Tonight I even managed to make a short grass matt to sleep on and a hammock chair out of an old fishing net to hang on. The strangest thing happened tonight when I was making my grass matt. All of a sudden a deep and very loud grunting noise from about fifty yards away in the bush brought me to my feet and put the hairs up on the back of my neck. It repeated four times and I have to say sounded…wait for it…just like a large gorilla! No, I’m not kidding. Hopefully I’m not losing it! But I swear. That’s what it sounded like. Not like a bear at all. Like a big gorilla. I will assume it was a bear though – a mother warning her cubs about my presence. But still… will be an interesting sleep tonight!

It should be noted that Taroka means "black bear" in the language of the region and Les does indicate the area was populated with plenty of black and brown ("Grizzly") bears. Is more likely he simply had a brush with a bear? Or did Les Stroud indeed hear something like a large primate in Alaska? I doubt Stroud would ever commit to an answer, which is smart. There's simply not enough data. However, I would be curious to know of other historical or recent accounts in the area. [I am researching some of that now and will keep you posted] I do find it curious that Stroud refrains from coming to any Sasquatch conclusion. Either the thought really never occurred to him or he couldn't see what his own words were describing. If the former were true, it's a genuinely unbiased account - pure observation. That's something this field could use more of.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Honobia Bigfoot Festival 2007

Make it a point to visit this festival. No only does it support both Oklahoma and paranormal tourism, it just looks like plain fun. Plus, the wooded eastern hills of Oklahoma in Autumn can just be amazingly beautiful. Also, I need to hear reports since I wasn't able to visit last year and I'm out this year as well. To be honest, I would certainly trade palm-fringed paradise for a weekend trekking through the woodland around Honobia in search of their fabled creatures.

Four Above Gar

As far as Oklahoma fishing tales go, this one will be told for years to come. It just goes to show that there are some fairly large fish roaming even the small lakes of the Sooner state - in this case, a sizeable alligator gar near Broken Bow. So one can imagine just what might be lurking beneath greater bodies of water such as the Great Lakes.
UPDATE: The following was gathered from
The gar was actually caught by Keith Riehn and Robin Parks at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas in 2005. According to an August 2005 field journal entry published on the Aim Low Productions website, the gar weighed in at 244.5 lbs and was 8' 2" long. The entry describes in detail how the two Missouri bowfishermen made the catch and includes a link to one of the photographs included above. The photographs used in the above email message are also displayed in a photo gallery elsewhere on the site. These photographs do not include the "Broken Bow Lake" captions, which were apparently added later.A September 2005 Dallas Morning News article also confirms the catch:
Using archery tackle that would suit Luke Skywalker, two Missouri archers won a tag-team version of gar wars at Sam Rayburn Lake, bagging a gigantic alligator gar that weighed 244 ½ pounds. It is the pending Bowfishing Association of America world record. The giant fish is not, however, the largest of its species taken with bow and arrow in Texas. Seemingly, some prankster has attempted to claim undeserved regional credit by adding captions to the photographs that relocate the catch to Broken Bow Lake, Oklahoma and significantly exaggerate the recorded weight of the fish. A post on the
Oklahoma Fishing Stories blog also debunks the hoax. The post notes that the current unrestricted division alligator gar record for Oklahoma is a 184 pound fish caught by Sean Chatham in the Red River, Love County. The prank message also suggests that giant alligator gar like the one pictured are responsible for the disappearance of people in Oklahoma lakes. There have been some rare reports of humans being bitten by alligator gar when fishing or dangling feet or hands in the water, but these bites are not considered deliberate predatory attacks. Although alligator gar are quite fearsome in appearance, there is no evidence to support the claim that they have ever fatally attacked humans. A Florida Museum of Natural History write-up about alligator gar notes:
Due to its large size and sharp teeth, the alligator gar is capable of delivering a serious bite wound to fisherman or swimmers. However, there is no documentation of attacks on man by alligator gars. The eggs are poisonous, causing illness if consumed by humans. The largest recorded alligator gar was a 350 lbs giant caught during the 1930's in the Saint Francis River, Arkansas.
So, in summary: it's real, it's just not from Oklahoma. Still, it's pretty amazing to think that they get even bigger.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Not to keep ranting on TAPS but....

In another of their articles on photographic analysis, TAPS co-founder Grant Wilson describes the phenomenon known as pareidolia by using his term, "matrixing." I don't know if he understands that pareidolia is a recognized psychological term or if he was just keen on the Wachowski Brothers (Brother? One's becoming a "woman," right?)?

Why Science Will Never Take Them Seriously

In searching the website for The Atlantic Paranormal Society (aka, TAPS), I came across this article on "Demonology." In reading the authors cautionary laments, I was struck by the serious tone of the work. This guy actually believes there are demons (probably with horns) infesting the minds and souls of the hapless. I was surprised to find something that, at best, was psuedo-science and, at worst, was a sad example of ancient superstitions in the modern world. To most, TAPS would seem to be a somewhat rational group that employs the trappings of technology to address the unknown in a vaguely scientific manner. However, when they ally themselves with individuals such as this, TAPS waters down its own integrity and eschews any hope of logical investigation in favor of ouija boards and crystals.

If you don't laugh at his article, you'll probably get a chuckle from this one on the same site. I wonder to which demon I should pay that parking ticket....