Bigfoot Encounters

Lightning Storm, a scream of Terror
and tracks found in Oregon House, California 1981

Oregon House, Yuba County, California 95962

This happened in September of 1981, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, north-central California. My family was camping at a man-made reservoir/recreation area called Collins Lake, which is about 30 miles west of Grass Valley and Nevada City as the crow flies. At the south end of the lake there was an "undeveloped" camping area with nothing but outhouses as amenities, and only a few other campers were staying out there that weekend.

That night around 9:00 we got hit by a summer lightning storm ... a little rain, but lots of thunder, and the lightning seemed to be hitting pretty close by. Most of the campers around us were still sitting by their fires. Suddenly we all saw and heard a huge bolt of lighting hit across the lake from us and right then, a huge, horrible scream filled the night. It sounded only vaguely human in tone, but it definitely seemed to be a scream of terror in response to the lightning.

The entire campground fell silent, and as you might expect, various people wandered over to ask if we had heard the scream. I would guess there were 20 people total in the area, and everyone heard it and was terrified by it.

My dad decided that we'd get up as soon as the sun was up the following morning and hike over to the other side of the lake to investigate. So at around 6:30 the next morning, we all got up and started toward the east side of the lake. It was about a mile total, maybe a little farther, to leave the campsite and cross the dam between the lake and the reservoir before we found the tree that had apparently been struck by the lightning bolt.

The tree was at the very edge of the tree line, about 30 feet from the water. Right in the same area we found two sets of tracks coming out of the trees and leading down to the water's edge. They looked like stereotypical Bigfoot tracks, though one set was much smaller than the other. The smaller tracks were about the size of my dad's size 12 shoes. The larger ones were much larger -- longer by about six inches and wider. The bigger set of tracks seemed to be almost deformed, with huge bunions and somewhat misshapen toes. The tracks were pristine, too -- captured perfectly in the damp sand.

Down by the water's edge, it appeared that one of the creatures had slipped and fallen into the shallow water. The right foot print here dug into the sand about 8 inches and left a long slip mark -- maybe three feet long or more. And next to these tracks there was also a big right hand print evident in the sand, where we assume the creature caught itself as it fell.

... and that's the whole story. My entire family -- mom and dad, my two older brothers and me -- witnessed this, but we had no way of documenting what we'd found. We were actually homeless at the time ... not just recreational camping, so we had very little money, no real resources to speak of, no camera ... no way to run out and buy any plaster of paris to make a cast. We just walked around the tracks and marveled at them for about a half-hour before we decided to hike back to the truck and move on.

An interesting footnote: my brother Chad (second oldest of the siblings), who is now an Army Ranger stationed at Ft. Campbell, KY, told our other brother that he saw a Bigfoot creature cross the road in front of his truck somewhere the Smoky Mountains very late at night a few years ago.

Shawna Gore

Here's a link to a map that shows where Collins Lake is located ... you'll see a big green arrow on the map, which designates the tiny town of Oregon House, California. Just below the arrow and to the left a bit is Collin's Lake.

Report filed by Randy Stradley
Monday 27 November 2006

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