Jun 16, 2020 I Brent Swancer

The Strange Case of the Bigfoot Attack at Ape Canyon

The hairy giant bipedal ape-like creatures known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch have been sighted and encountered all over the place. Such reports are numerous, and there are certainly those among them that are odder than most. At times there have been rather harrowing cases of Bigfoot allegedly attacking humans, and one of the strangest, and indeed one of the earliest reports of Bigfoot at all, comes from the 1920s, when a miner and his party out in the remote wilderness were purportedly held under siege by a band of savage Sasquatch that seemed to want them dead.

Perhaps the best version of our tale here comes directly from the mouth of the witness, Fred Beck himself, and it begins in July of 1924. At the time, Beck was a prospector out in the wilds of the Mt. St. Helens and Lewis River area in Southwest Washington, in the United States, and on this occasion, he was out with a party of four other miners working on a gold claim they had made, which they called the Vander White. They had been prospecting in the area for 6 years, and Beck would claim that during these excursions they would occasionally come across huge, human-like tracks measuring up to 19 inches in length by creek beds and springs near a nearby deep canyon, and this trip was no different. However, on this occasion they also began hearing strange noises each evening from the woods around the log cabin they had made themselves, which were unlike any normal sounds of the forest that they were familiar with, and which sounded like a “shrill, peculiar whistling.” These whistles seemed to come from more than one source, with at least two unseen creatures whistling back and forth from one ridge to another, and every once and a while they would hear a “booming, thumping sound” that made it all even spookier. One day, a miner called by the pseudonym “Hank” accompanied Beck to a nearby spring to get some water, the two men taking their rifles just in case, and the first of an odd series of events would play out. Beck would say:

We walked to the spring, and then, Hank yelled and raised his rifle, and at that instant, I saw it. It was a hairy creature, and he was about a hundred yards away, on the other side of a little canyon, standing by a pine tree. It dodged behind the tree, and poked its head out from the side of the tree. And at the same time, Hank shot. I could see the bark fly out from the tree from each of his three shots. Someone may say that that was quite a distance to see the bark fly, but I saw it. The creature I judged to have been about seven feet tall with blackish-brown hair. It disappeared from our view for a short time, but then we saw it, running fast and upright, about two hundred yards down the little canyon. I shot three times before it disappeared from view.

The two made their way back to the cabin and excitedly told the others what had happened, prompting them all to make the decision to cut their expedition short. As it was already getting dark and the road was treacherous at night, they decided to wait until the following day and hole up in the cabin for one last night. After a while they managed to find sleep, but this would not last long, as when midnight approached they were woken by a resounding thud against the cabin wall that caused the whole structure to shake and knocked loose pieces of wood and dust. The men were immediately on alert, grabbing their rifles tight and listening intently to the silence that had followed that immense, reverberating sound. Since the cabin had no windows, they were wary of going to the door to look outside, and so for what seemed like an eternity they just stayed still with weapons at the ready, locked up in that dark space with unknown menacing things lurking about unseen around them.

When no further disturbance came, they breathed a sigh of relief, but just as they began to relax and hope that whatever had been outside was gone, there was reportedly a “great commotion” outside, which to Beck sounded like many feet trampling about. Hank found a part of the wall from which the chinking had been knocked away and was able to peer outside to discern three large dark shapes ambling about, but from the sheer intensity of the sound they were sure there were more. At this point the cabin was then besieged by rocks pelting off the walls and sometimes falling through the chimney of the fireplace, as well as loud booms against the walls as the creatures struck the logs, and the air was filled with what sounded like the resounding footsteps of the beasts on the roof. The men sprung into action, firing their rifles directly through the door and ceiling, and Beck says of the attack:

The only time we shot our guns that night was when the creatures were attacking our cabin. When they would quiet down for a few minutes, we would quit shooting. I told the rest of the party, that maybe if they saw we were only shooting when they attacked, they might realize we were only defending ourselves. We could have had clear shots at them through the opening left by the chinking had we chosen to shoot. We did shoot, however, when they climbed up on our roof. We shot round after round through the roof. We had to brace the hewed-logged door with a long pole taken from the bunk bed. The creatures were pushing against it and the whole door vibrated from the impact. We responded by firing many more rounds through the door. They pushed against the walls of the cabin as if trying to push the cabin over, but this was pretty much an impossibility, as previously stated the cabin was a sturdy made building. Hank and I did most of the shooting — the rest of the party crowded to the far end of the cabin, guns in their hands. One had a pistol, which still is in my family's possession, the others clutched their rifles. They seemed stunned and incredulous.


The attack continued the remainder of the night, with only short intervals between. A most profound and frightening experience occurred when one of the creatures, being close to the cabin, reached an arm through the chinking space and seized one of our axes by the handle (a much written about incident and a true one). Before the thing could pull the axe out, I swiftly turned the head of the axe upright, so that it caught on the logs; and at the same time Hank shot, barely missing my hand. The creature let go, and I pulled the handle back in, and put the axe in a safe place.

It was not until daylight began to creep through the gloom that the attack stopped and the forest returned to silence. It seemed as if the creatures, not yet known as Bigfoot and which they called “Mountain Devils,” were gone. They warily exited the cabin to survey the area, and Beck would claim that he saw one of the beasts standing on a ledge of the canyon about 80 yards away, and that he aimed his rifle to shoot it and send it hurtling 400 feet down to the rocks below. The men then left with haste, leaving all of their equipment behind in the process. He would describe in more detail what the creatures looked like thusly:

They are about seven feet tall, but there are larger ones. They had large ears and a head that was in proportion with their large muscular body. Their shoulders were tremendous but they had slim hips. They were hairy but not shaggy. In general, they possess a very stout physical frame, but looked more like a giant human than an ape.

They all agreed not to tell of what had happened to anyone, but according to Beck, Hank soon started talking to people and before long the story was hitting the news. This would begin what Beck calls “Great Hairy Ape Hunt of 1924." According to Beck, they were all relentlessly harassed by reporters, and he said that people began flocking to the area armed to the teeth with guns in order to hunt down the creatures, including a big game hunter from England. There were so many trigger-happy people out in the woods that law enforcement officers and rangers were sent in to disperse them before someone got hurt. In the meantime, Beck went back to the cabin to find it in shambles as if it had been ransacked, and was able to find large prints left behind, but no sign of blood or the body that he claimed should have been at the bottom of the canyon. The bizarre account earned the area the name Ape Canyon, and over the years Beck’s story has been told and retold, with many flourishes and embellishments, of which he would say years later:

So much has been written in Washington and Oregon papers throughout the years. Most accounts tell of giant boulders being hurled against the cabin, and say some even fell through the roof, but this was not quite the case. There were very few large rocks around in that area. It is true that many smaller ones were hurled at the cabin, but they did not break through the roof, but hit with a bang, and rolled off. Some did fall through the chimney of the fireplace. Some accounts state I was hit in the head by a rock and knocked unconscious. This is not true.

At the same time, Beck would also add some curious elements of his own, such as that they had been led to the mine by a spiritual being described as a “large Indian dressed in buckskin,” and would say that he believed that the Bigfoot creatures they had encountered were actually psychic and had a close association with the spiritual realm. He believed the creatures were interdimensional in nature, and had observed the group for some time before manifesting in physical form. He would point out that the fact that they would sometimes find just a single set of footprint on a sand bar with none others around and that there was never any other physical trace was evidence that they could phase in and out of this reality. He says of this:

There is no doubt in my mind that these beings were present and observing us, but they had not yet appeared in physical form. There we were standing in the middle of the sand bar, and not one of us could conceive any earthly thing taking steps 160 feet long. "No human being could have made these tracks," Hank said, "and there's only one way they could be made, something dropped from the sky and went back up. There was no third step. This is certainly another indication of what I'm saying about manifestation. I have heard it said that many ages ago the Rocky Mountain and Cascade Mountain Ranges were a center of a great civilization. I do think the mountain areas are extra sensitive to spiritual vibration, usually of a higher order, but sometimes lower. We ourselves being extra sensitive to spiritual vibration, probably had come into contact with the manifestation of these being easier than, perhaps, the average person would have.


In the true sense everything in the material world is a manifestation. Ever since the time the first essence of consciousness formed from the Great Void we cannot describe, different planes or dimensions of being were created or manifested. Occasionally we of this dimension of space can be conscious of other beings of a different vibration and consciousness. The Abominable Snowmen are from a lower plane. When the condition and vibration is at a certain frequency, they can easily, for a time, appear in a very solid body. They are not animal spirits, but also lack the intelligence of a human consciousness When reading of evolution we have read many times conjecture about the missing link between man and the Anthropoid Ape. The Snowmen are a missing link in consciousness, neither animal nor human. They are very close to our dimension, and yet are a part of one lower. Could they be the missing link man has been so long searching for?


The answer to these questions cannot be answered by expeditions. It can only come by man knowing more about his true self and more about the universe in which he dwells. Science has reached near perfection in material knowledge, but has reached the borderland through which no finite intellect can pass. All life can be studied, but man will have to look into himself to tap a spiritual power and realize the spiritual laws and reason with a spiritual mind. Man will have to break the little material shell he has around himself, which says this far you can only go and there is nothing more. What is outside that shell is pure life and it is even above and of an higher order than material life, though material and spiritual life would work in harmony if we would let it work.

Indeed, Beck was long quite the advocate of the idea that Bigfoot is not a flesh and blood creature, but rather something more interdimensional, psychic, and spiritual in nature. It all adds an extra sheen of weirdness to the whole tale. Here we have not only a sensational story of a Bigfoot attack, but talk of new realms beyond these just being undiscovered animals lurking in the remote wilds. Is any of this true at all? For his part, Beck would insist that everything he said was true and never waver from his story, and we are left with quite the tale and historical oddity. What happened to these men out there and what exactly did they see? If they were real why were these creatures so aggressive towards them? Were they flesh and blood animals, or something more mysterious? We can only speculate, and the story of Ape Canyon continues to be a classic case of Bigfoot lore.

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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