Earliest documented Bigfoot Sighting in Pacific Northwest
The earliest documented Bigfoot sighting in Pacific Northwest that I can find happened July 15th, 1924 near Hoquiam Washington. At least that I’ve been able to find. Before this there are a profusion of stories though. Native American Tribes all over the Pacific Northwest have stories of hairy creatures in the woods. Some are described as benevolent, others as evil or a portents of evil to come, while others are described as terrifying hairy tall men. All are Oral Traditions though. This news story is the earliest one I can find documenting a sighting.
While this story was first page news, it seems that sightings of “Hairy Indians,” were not totally unknown even to early Settlers. So here it is, with headlines like something out of the World Weekly News, the earliest printed news story documenting what we now call “Bigfoot.”
Oregonian – July 15th, 1924
BIG HAIRY INDIANS BACK OF APE TALE
Mountain Devils’ Mystery Grows Deeper.
GIANTS SAID TO ROAM HILLS
Shaggy Creatures Kill Game by Hypnotism, It is Said.
VENTRILOQUISM IS USED
Redmen’s Editor at Hoquiam Gives Theory of Reported Attack at Spirit Lake.
By Jorg Totsgi, Clallam Tribe – Editor of the Real American
HOQUIAM, Wash., July 15 – (Special.) – The big apes, reported to have bombarded a shack of prospectors at Mount St. Helens are recognized by northwestern Indians as none other then the Seeahtik tribe of Indians. Seeahtik is a Clallam pronunciation. All other tribes of the northwest pronounce it Seeahtkch. Northwestern Indians have long kept the history of the Seeahtik tribe a secret, because the tribe is the skeleton in the northwestern Indian’s closet. Another reason the Indians have never divulged the existence of this tribe is that the northwestern Indians know the white man would not believe the stories regarding the Seeahtik tribe.
These facts are corroborated by Henry Napolean, Callam tribe, J.J. James, Lummi tribe, George Hyasuman, Quinault tribe.
Game Killed by Hypnotism.
Every Indian, especially of the Puget Sound tribes, is familiar with the history of these strange giant Indians, as they are sometimes referred to by local Indians. Shaker Indians of northwester Oregon, who attended the Shakers’ convention on the Skokomish reservation on Hood canal last year, related to the writer their experience with the Seeahtik Indians.
Oregon and Washington Indians agree that the Seeahtik Indians are not less than seven feet tall and some have been seen that were fully eight feet in height. They have hairy bodies like the bear. This is to protect them from the cold as they live entirely in the mountains. They kill their game entirely by hypnotism. They have great supernatural powers. They also have the gift of ventriloquism, and have deceived many ordinary Indians by throwing their voices.
Several Languages Used.
These Indians talk, beside the bear language of the Clallam tribe, the bird language.
The writer was told by Oregon Indians during his research work among them last year that the Seeahtik tribe can imitate any bird of the northwest, especially the bluejay, and that they have a very keen sense of smell. Oregon Indians at times have been greatly humiliated by the Seeahtiks’ vulgar sense of humor. The Seeahtiks play practical jokes upon them and steal their Indian women. Sometimes an Indian woman comes back. More often she does not, and it is even said by some northwestern Indians that they have a strain of the Seeahtik blood in them. Oregon and Washington Indians differ in regard to the Seeahtiks’ home. The Oregon Indians assert they made their home in or near Mount Rainier, while the Pugeot Sound Indians say they live in the heart of the wilderness at Vancouver Island B. C.
“Big Bear” Speaks.
Henry Napoleon of the Clallam tribe came upon one of the members of the Seeahtik tribe while out hunting on Vancouver island. He related this story to the writer:
“I had been visiting relative near Duncan B. C., and while there I had been told man stories of the Seeahtiks by the Cowichan tribe of British Columbia and warned by them not to go too far into the wilderness. However, in following a buck I had wounded, I went in farther than I expected. it was at twilight when I came across and animal that I believed to be a big bear but as I aimed at him with my gun he looked and spoke to me in my own tongue. He was about seven feet tall and his body was very hairy. As he invited me to sit down, he told me that I had come upon him unawares and that his mind had been projected to distant relatives of his, otherwise he (Mr. Napoleon) would never have been seen.
Strange Medicine Used.
“After we talked for some time he invited me to the Seeahtik’s home. Though it was now dark, yet the giant Indian followed the trail very easily; then we began an underground trail and after hours of travel we came to a large cave, which he said was the home of his people, and that they lived during the winter in the different caves on Vancouver Island. He also told me that the reason they were not see very much was because they had a strange medicine that they rubbed over their bodies so made them invisible and that combined
with their wha-ktee-nee-sing or hypnotic powers, made them very strong tamanaweis men. They also told me that they could talk almost Indian language of the northwest. The next day they led me out and just at twilight I came out of the underground trail and they accompanied me to within a mile of the Indian Village I was staying at.”
Tribe Held Harmless
The Seeahtik tribe is harmless if left along. However, if one of their members is injured or killed, the generally take 12 lives for the one. This the Indians of the northwest have learned, and even though the Seeahtik tribe steal all their dried meat or salmon, or even steal their women, the Pugeon sound Indians will not try to retaliate, for once the Clallam tribe in righteous indignation captured a young man of the Seeahtik tribe at Seabeck, Wash., and took him across the Hood canal to Brinnon, where other Clallam Indians were camped. Kwainchtun, the writer’s own grandfather, kept telling the Clallams to be careful of the Seeahtik’s supernatural powers, but he was only laughed at. It was later told by Kwaichtun, that while they were still 20 years from the shore the young Seeahtik made a might leap and immediately made for the mountains.
Clallams Are Killed
Kwaichtun warned his people that they should move, but again he was laughed at. That very night the Seeahtik tribe came down and killed every Clallam there but Kwaichtun, who had moved his family across the canal. The Oregon and Washington Indians of the present believed that the Seeahtik tribe was just about extinct, as it was 15 years ago since their tracks were last seen and recognized at Brinnon, Wash., where the giant Indians came every fall to fish for salmon in the Brinnon river. Howerver, Fred Pope, of the Quinault tribe, and George Hyasman were fishing for steelheads about 15 miles up the Quinault river, one day in September four years ago, when the were visited by Seeahtik Indians. Mr. Hyasman said he heard and recognized their peculiar whistling before they approached us and in the morning war found that they had stolen all the steelheads we had caught. Therefore, the Indians of the northwest after reading an account of the “big apes” attacking a prospector’s shack immediately recognized the Indians referred to in the The Oregonian as the Seeahtiks, or giant indians.
Some Indians of the northwest say that during the process of evolution, when the Indian was changed from animal to man that the Seeahtik did not absorb the “tamanaweis” or soul power, and thus he became an anomaly in the Indian’s process of evolution.
Their sense of humor is vulgar and obscene as many ordinary Indians have told the writer, therefore, the northwestern Indian is ashamed of this tribe, which is generally referred to as the skeleton in the northwestern Indian’s closet.
APEMAN HUNT BROADENING
Kelso Police Chief and Others Go to Spirit Lake.
KELSO, Wash., July 15 – (Special.) – George Miller, chief of police and Charles Palmer left this morning for Spirit Lake for an outing and may investigate the story of “apemen” reported by Kelso prospectors, although they do not believe any such animals exist in that territory. Bert Wall, proprietor of White Top cabs; James Foley, James Murphy and Bud Edgar also left this afternoon to investigate the story.
Country Game Warden Leichhartd will also be at Spirit lake this week. No word had been received today from the party that left yesterday for a supposed encounter with the apes.