Bigfoot Encounters

Two Early articles from the Humboldt Times
by Betty Allen dated fall, 1958

Times Reporter Has A Look at Tracks --Says they're Real
By Betty Allen, Humboldt Times Correspondent

September 1958 Willow Creek, CA ---This is my story about Bigfoot!

Idle words about wanting to see the huge tracks which have been appearing on the access road construction job at Bluff Creek caught up with me Friday Morning at 7 o'clock. Philip Ammon, a neighbor knocked at my door reminding me of the journey ahead.

Checking with the Jess Bemis family we found that there were new tracks to see. In the light traffic of early morning we were soon rolling into Hoopa Valley with its light curtain of blue smoke hanging low. On the way to Weitchpec, five cows lay in peaceful contentment on a small turnout beside the road. A loaded logging truck passed within inches of their noses. On the one side of the road drops in a sheer descent for hundreds of feet into the Trinity River. On the other side a rock cliff towered high above us. On down the road a mother pig and three half grown piglets brought us to a full stop.

On over the Weitchpec bridge and up along the Klamath River, we were soon climbing the easy grade out of the canyon on the Bluff Creek road through a wide road and well watered, we traveled slowly, for this was totally new country to us. A driver of the water truck directed us to take the lower road around Onion Mountain to the construction site.

Tremendous Cliff

The country is standing on end in the steep ridges that rise higher and higher. Here and there were rough rock in tremendous cliffs, but it is all slide country. No sandstone or cave formations. Bluff Creek is a good-sized stream and looks like it would be fine for fishing. The rangers at Orleans say, for some reason, it is not.

We talked briefly to Charles Donie who was operating a tractor, and he offered us the use of his pickup truck. We never could have gone the remaining six miles otherwise.

Here was a man's busy world. Heavy dirt movers working, but allowing us through. Jackhammer men had to pull their airlines out of our way. Extremely rough in some places the road was unexpectedly smooth in others.

What did we expect to see? Maybe one track and we could say it was all a hoax -- or maybe an unexpected inner sight might give us the answer. Jerry Crew directed us to the location of the tracks.

"I'll show you those tracks," Crew said. I could tell that some of the construction men were quite skeptical. I am told that some of them wouldn't even go and take a look.

The first actual line of tracks definitely jolted me! On the hard ground where Philip Ammon's number 12's made a very light imprint, the track of bigfoot sunk a half to three quarters of an inch in depth. Twenty clear deep footprints marched along the side of the traveled portion of the road. Eighteen more were seen at intervals where the tractors had not run over them.

We followed them down the road for some distance and found them in both hard and soft earth. Gravel rolled out of the cut bank to the side of the road and I quickly looked that way.

I was nervous and realizing that I was in the middle of the forest growth, I looked back to see how far the men and the equipment were. The thought passed through my mind, "Just what on earth is a peaceful old rocking chair grandmother doing here anyway?"

Doubts Hoax Angle

We measured and studied the tracks. Could they be a hoax -- feet on the end of sticks? Rubber feet?

Watching the activity of the men and how hard they were rushing their work to finish this portions of the road before winter, I could hardly see any of them putting in time at night making three quarters of a mile of tracks of any kind.

Bigfoot's tracks are in perfect proportion to what one would expect in their stride of sometimes 60 inches, 52 inches or the one short step over a small mound of dirt, which was 40 inches. Even the depth to which the track had been pressed into the ground was in keeping with their size.

What brings bigfoot into the area? My guess is that the gasoline lantern light at the cook's tent attracts the wanderer's interest. There are workers living in both small tents and trailers close by the road.

Now, is this a phony? A human hoax? If it is a prank, it is so natural. Anyone with stilts with feet would have to have both foot impressions, but it isn't that easy to maneuver in the soft earth. If they are wearing novelty story feet, how do they weight them to get the right depth effect?

And when a man works hard labor physical all day, does he feel like prowling about at night, missing his sleep to make funny footprints?

Of Bigfoot, one of the bosses said, " We have an agreement -- the thing and I. But he doesn't know about it. If he leaves me alone, I'll leave him alone."

We returned home --definitely no wiser -- only knowing we had seen 38 perfect tracks at least 16 inches long and 7 inches wide. We saw them, we measured them. We are still puzzled.

Copyright Betty Allen

Second article dated Friday October 31, 1958

"Bigfoot Still On March As Experts Try Explanations"
By Betty Allen, Humboldt Times Correspondent

Willow Creek -- Almost every conversation one hears around here, either beings on the subject of bigfoot -- or soon swings around to him.. We presume bigfoot is a "him."

In this northern area of California, there is considerable speculation as to just what or who is making the great tracks. "They say" --is a favorite expression, and the "they say" authorities are filled with theories.

Many of those who have actually seen the tracks taking off down the roadway are split into two camps. There are those of the "confirmed school of thought" -- that the whole thing is a hoax. A wonderfully conceived hoax.

On the other hand, there are those who have been "converted" to the side of the room which believes that the tracks are real as the shoes they have on.

So far the whole thing is fraught with mystery -- those who believe in a hoax and those who think the tracks are real -- are in deadlock.

"They say" (the source of authority who isn't sure, but talking) that the tracks are made by spacing carved feet a certain distance apart on the treads of a tractor, or on a roller used to smooth the road. Is that possible? (Where is this piece of equipment kept? None have seen such a contraption.)

Individual measurements show some tracks to be sixty inches apart, some fifty-two inches and others at forty inches apart. Here and there they show on one side and the other sometimes as a small mound of dirt.

Sometimes the tracks step easily up or down the rough terrain. It is not necessarily in the path of a roller. In other places, the tracks are within inches of the edge of the road -- in others in varying distances from the oiled rig or trucks. The ground may be that which tractors have run over. Sometimes the surface is perfectly smooth.

The weight of the entire foot track varies in depth and according to the surface on which bigfoot has been walking. It doesn't respond to the………

(this part of the article's column was cut off)

The case of the wooden feet that "they say" are in existence, if true they must be magnificent models of workmanship. Each toe is separate, tiny lines of the human foot are visible. The one asks if the toes are hinged to give the startling realism of action, observed in the big tracks -- there are those who answer with a "yes."

On Thursday morning the latest evidence debunks a lot of "mechanical" claims.

That morning, the big tracks of bigfoot were observed plunging down a side of the hill in the roughest of shale.
There was a huge dug in, the weight caused the feet to slide.
What a way to treat someone's carefully developed mechanical handiwork?

There is $1000.00, which could go to the fund for the badly needed hospital project of the Community Health Association at Hoopa, if the "wooden feet" could be located, proven to be wearable to product bigfoot's tracks.

So far, the quest for them has been fruitless as Coronado's search for the famed "Seven Cities of Cibola."

"They say" the men working on the construction project in the Bluff Creek area are carrying rifles.

The rugged mountain wilderness with its known population of bears and panthers would make it appear only good sense to have a gun nearby. "They say" no proof is available that the men working there either believe or disbelieve in the existence of an outsized man or animal. But it is always nice to have a rifle nearly.

To say you believe the tracks are genuine or that you have heard or seen anything unreal --in wrong company -- only brings a chorus of head shaking and ridicule.

There should be some serious investigation to definitely determine the status of the mystery of bigfoot. It should be solved, if an answer is at all possible. Until then the "they says" and the doubters will have a picnic pooh-poohing the convinced.

Of course, this won't stop bigfoot from making his tracks because he is out of earshot anyway.
© Betty Allen

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