ROGER PATTERSON'S INTERVIEW
WITH FRED BECK
Most people already know the name Roger Patterson. Fred Beck was one of a party of five gold miners who say they were attacked by Bigfoot type creatures in the infamous 1924 incident in Ape Canyon. Not to be confused with the Albert Ostman Bigfoot kidnapping story which also happened in 1924. Briefly, Beck and the other men had been prospecting a claim on the Muddy, a branch of the Lewis River, about 8 miles from Spirit Lake, just 45 miles from Castle Rock . The area is now called Ape Canyon and is located on the South-Eastern side of Mt. St. Helens in Washington State.
The men declared that they saw four of the huge creatures, approximately 7 feet tall and weighing roughly 400 pounds walking upright on two feet. They were said to be covered in hair and gorilla/man in appearance. It is said that Fred Beck shot one of the creatures and it fell over a precipice. That night the creatures bombarded their cabin with showers of rocks, many of them large ones, knocking chunks out of the log cabin according to the prospectors.
After 43 years, Beck decided to document the facts in a book written in 1967 by his son R.A. Beck, titled "I Fought The Apemen of Mt. St. Helens." Prior to the publication of that book, Beck told his story in a taped conversation with Roger Patterson*.
*Reference source: "On The Track Of The Sasquatch by John Green
"We was mining in there working our claims about two years before we had the contact with them. We seen tracks down on the Muddy. We didn't know what they were, thought that probably some big Indians in there fishing, barefooted. But we heard rumors.. peopleve been up there, year before that telling the same thing too, seen them big tracks up there. One fellow was telling about fishing. He had a string of fish and laid them on the bank and when he went to get his...looked around...there was a great big, like a man, hairy great fella.
Had his fingers and was just smashing them along the rocks. He come out of there faster than he went in. And nobody believed him. But mind you my father-in-law that was with me, he believed him. He said that fella didn't lie, 'cause he knew him. He said that fella was scared when he came out of there, 'cause he wasn't no human.
Then when we seen them tracks there we never thought so much about it. My father-in-law was telling about these people he knew, his experience years ago seeing them tracks up there and one thing and another. And the Indians - there was lots of Indians around here them days - them old Indians was afraid to go back in there to Spirit Lake 'cause they was all afraid of the Spirit. When we went up there, why we never expected nothing like that. We heard noises there, whistling, noise like a pounding on their chest.
Patterson: When was the first time that you actually seen one?
Beck: Well about two years after that we were seeing them. There was a spring a little way from our mining cabin. We had to go down into a gully to get water, and there's a ridge. The old man always carried his rifle with him when he went to the spring, because he said he seen tracks, awful suspicious tracks, he always carried his rifle. We went down. I went with him, ..went down to get some water, and we looked up on a ridge there, oh, about 100 yards away and we seen this peeking out of this tree, and I seen him first and I said, "Marion there's a...look at that on that tree."
He looked there and he just up and bang, bang, bang, I see the bark fly, and the bullets were all in just the place, just like that (gesturing), right around the bark of the tree, just you know how...
Beck: So we seen him running down this ridge then, and then he took a couple more shots at him. Marion, when he first shot I rushed over there, it was hard going, he said: "Don't run, don't run, Fred, don't run," he said, "he won't go far," he said, "I put three shots through that fool's head, he won't go far."
So we got up the ridge and looked down there he was goin', just jumpin', looked like it'd be twelve, fourteen feet a jump, runnin'. The old man took a couple more shots at him and the old man said, "My God, I don't understand it, I don't understand it, how that fella can get away with them slugs in his head," he says, "I hit him with the other two shots, too."
Well, he got away all right.
Patterson: Well now, the tracks that you seen before, you would estimate at around how big?
Beck: Well, say 19 inches they measured. You see the two detectives up with us from Portland and they measured the tracks. It rained that night. We stayed at the lake. A regular cloudburst. We went up there and we had (sic) where we washed out dishes, right under the little seep hole, you know, springs, you might call them springs, melted snow, kind of a little gully there. We had cleaned our pots out, our beans and rice. It quit raining before we got there. When we went up there, there were tracks made since it rained, fresh tracks, about 19 inches long. And the detective said, "Well, these are tracks all right," but, he said, "who made them?" I said, "Well, who did make them?" I said, "We was all together, and they've been made since the rain." And they talked about it and they said it might have been a coon making them, or part human - all that stuff - a bear part human!
Q - When you finally did see...
A - When we seen 'em, you know, why we heard that noise - pounding and whistling, at night they come in there and we had a pile of shakes piled up there, big shakes. Our cabin was built out of logs. We didn't have rafters on it, we had good-sized pine logs, you know, for rafters, two-inch shakes, pine shakes. We had them rafters close apart, they was about a foot apart, 'cause he said he wanted to make a roof what'd hold the snow. We made one to hold the snow. Them buggers attacked us, knocked the chinking out on my dad's, on my father-in-law's chest, and had an ax there, he grabbed the ax.
And the old man grabbed the ax and the logs and then he shot on it, right along the ax handle, and he let go of it. And then the fun started! Well, I wanta tell you, pretty near all night long they were on that house, trying to get in, you know. We kept a shootin'. Get up on the house we'd shoot up through the ceiling at them. My God, they made a noise. Sounded like a bunch of horses were running around there. Next day, we'd find tracks, anywhere there was any sand on the rocks, we found tracks of them.
- Were those the same tracks that you'd seen?
A - Yes, the same tracks, them tracks, but never measured them. They were big fellas. That was the only track we measured, was them the detectives measured.
Q - Now, did you explain to us a while back that there was at one time that you had shot one, when did this...
A - Well, that was the next morning, I guess it was, if I remember that.
Q - After the attack?
A - Yeah, I was, we was going to go down to the tunnel to get some tools out that we had, drills and things like that in the tunnel, we was going to clean out and go home. When we went down I took a rifle with me. We all carried rifles after that happened. 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 buyllets 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 a precipice, and I heard him go doonk, zoop, down the canyon.
[Doonk-zoop? Is that Chicken Zoop with beans...]
Q - You said he fell into Ape Canyon.
A - Yeah, and the sun come out in the afternoon, that water was really a torrent goes down there, it'd wash anything 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.
Q - Well, how would describe, Mr. Beck, as far as what they look like in their body and their head?
[Sounds like a line from old Kinks song...oh so fine in their bodies and their minds...sorry, I'm getting punchy...]
A - Well, they was tall, I dunno, they looked to me like they was eight feet tall, maybe taller, and they was built like a man, little in the waist, and big shoulders on, and chest, and their necks was kinda what they call bull necks, you know how they are.
Q - No neck at all, hardly.
A - That's it, and then their ears, turns out like ours do, and so big, you know, and hair all over, you couldn't tell nothin about 'em.
Q - Did they have hair on their face, or could you, did you ever...
[Patterson's beginning to sound like Beck...]
A - No, let's see, I don't believe...I don't...believe they did have hair on their face.
Q - But not as much as...
A - No. Can't have whiskers...
Q - Sure. How about their nose?
[Wait. Wait. I gotta stop for minute. I'm giggling so hard I'm about to fall off the chair...]
A - I couldn't of but I was, uh...they seemed to have a kind of pug nose, flat nose, kind of flat.
Q - And their eyes?
A - All I can know is, we were excited, you know, you don't see very good detail when you're excited...they was no human.
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 below the hips, long, I figured...
Q - Below their knees.
A - Yeah, their knees. Long arms. And big arms.
Q - Weight?
A - Pretty heavy. I'd say they're six or eight hundred pounds. Like you know, estimated. And maybe more, I don't know. I couldn't tell ya the weight of them. The way they sunk down in the ground I'd have some idea about it. I'd say they weighed eight, nine hundred pounds...
Q - After you had the attack, what happened then, the next morning?
A - Well, we come out, out of there. Come down and my father-in-law he was so excited and scared. I told him, he promised never to tell nobody, 'cause I said it wouldn't do, people wouldn't believe it, don't tell anybody. He says, "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 and 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 give us a merry time, day and night.
Q - Had they ever heard of anything, anybody before this?
A - I don't think so. They really didn't believe it.
Q - I see. Well, we sure thank you for this interview.
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