Oct 21, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Cryptozoology, Bigfoot and Government Agencies: Secret Files on Sasquatch

You might think it's unlikely that governments and cryptid creatures have connections. But, they do. As you'll see right now. In 1954, a very strange and somewhat fragmentary story surfaced from one C.S. Lambert, who commented on his apparent knowledge of what was perceived as Bigfoot activity near Vancouver: “After a series of alarming reports that these giants were prowling around Harrison Mills, 50 miles East of Vancouver, disturbing the residents by their weird wolf-like howls at night, and destroying property, a band of vigilantes was organized to track the marauders down. However, no specimen of the primitive tribe was captured, and many white people became openly skeptical of the existence of the giants. “According to Allen Roy Evans, in the Montreal Standard (‘B.C.’s Hairy Giants’), the Indians are now very sensitive to any imputations cast upon their veracity in this matter. During the 19th century they were ready to tell enquirers all they knew about the Sasquatch men; but today they have become more reserved, and talk only to Government agents [italics mine] about the matter. They maintain that the ‘Wild Indians’ are divided into two tribes, whose rivalry with each other keeps their number down and so prevents them becoming a serious menace to others." Lambert continued:

(Nick Redfern) U.S. agents and strange creatures

“Expeditions have been organized to track down the Sasquatch men to their lair in the mountains; but the Indians employed to guide these expeditions invariably desert before they reach the danger zone. However, certain large caves have been discovered, with man-made walls of stone inside them, and specially-shaped stones fitted to their mouths, like doors. The difficulty in the way of penetrating to the heart of the Morris Mountains district is very great. The terrain is cut up by deep gorges and almost impassable ravines; it is easy to get lost, and hard to make substantial progress in any one direction for long.” It’s a great pity that Lambert did not expand on certain points contained in his account, such as who, exactly the “government agents” to whom he referred were. Why, exactly, might they have been interested in the Bigfoot phenomenon in the first place? Where, exactly, were these large caves? Can they be found today? The questions and implications surrounding Lambert’s communication are many. The answers, however, are not. Now, let's move on.

On May 18, 1980, a devastating natural disaster created an entirely new landscape across a specific portion of Washington State. We are talking about the eruption of Mount St. Helens, which killed more than four dozen people, as well as thousands of wild animals. Within the domain of cryptid ape investigations there are longstanding rumors that the calamitous event also took the lives of more than a few Bigfoot, something which, allegedly, elements of the U.S. Government and military sought to keep under wraps. The government’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says of the Mount St. Helens disaster:

“With no immediate precursors, a magnitude 5.1 earthquake occurred at 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980 and was accompanied by a rapid series of events. At the same time as the earthquake, the volcano's northern bulge and summit slid away as a huge landslide—the largest debris avalanche on Earth in recorded history. A small, dark, ash-rich eruption plume rose directly from the base of the debris avalanche scarp, and another from the summit crater rose to about 200 m (650 ft) high. The debris avalanche swept around and up ridges to the north, but most of it turned westward as far as 23 km (14 mi) down the valley of the North Fork Toutle River and formed a hummocky deposit. The total avalanche volume is about 2.5 km3 (3.3 billion cubic yards), equivalent to 1 million Olympic swimming pools.” 

(Nick Redfern) Bigfoot: what do government agencies know?

The landslide removed Mount St. Helens' northern flank, including part of the cryptodome that had grown inside the volcano, notes the USGS, adding that: “The cryptodome was a very hot and highly pressurized body of magma. Its removal resulted in immediate depressurization of the volcano's magmatic system and triggered powerful eruptions that blasted laterally through the sliding debris and removed the upper 300 m (nearly 1,000 ft) of the cone. As this lateral blast of hot material overtook the debris avalanche; it accelerated to at least 480 km per hr (300 mi per hr). Within a few minutes after onset, an eruption cloud of blast tephra began to rise from the former summit crater. Within less than 15 minutes it had reached a height of more than 24 km (15 mi or 80,000 ft). “The lateral blast devastated an area nearly 30 km (19 mi) from west to east and more than 20 km (12.5 mi) northward from the former summit,” the USGS notes. “In an inner zone extending nearly 10 km (6 mi) from the summit, virtually no trees remained of what was once dense forest.” And, demonstrating the incredible and deadly power unleashed that day, the USGS says: “Over the course of the day, prevailing winds blew 520 million tons of ash eastward across the United States and caused complete darkness in Spokane, Washington, 400 km (250 mi) from the volcano. Major ash falls occurred as far away as central Montana, and ash fell visibly as far eastward as the Great Plains of the Central United States, more than 1,500 km (930 mi) away. The ash cloud spread across the U.S. in three days and circled the Earth in 15 days.” 

So much for the official story; now, it’s time to take a look at the unofficial one. In many respects, it parallels the claims of U.S. military retrievals of extraterrestrial bodies in the deserts near Roswell, New Mexico in the summer of 1947. There are stories that the entire operation to recover possibly five or six Bigfoot from the pulverized remains of Mount St. Helens was coordinated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The USACE notes that its role is to:  “Deliver vital public and military engineering services; partnering in peace and war to strengthen our Nation’s security, energize the economy and reduce risks from disasters.” In other words, the USACE would, indeed, have been the ideal body to have played a central role in the recoveries. Several of the bodies, Bigfoot researchers have been told, were reportedly found on the 105-mile-long Cowlitz River, in the Cascade Mountains. Military Chinook helicopters were said to have been flown into the area and later exited with the corpses of several large, hairy, ape-like animals hanging from powerful nets strung beneath the helicopters. Their destination remains tantalizingly, and frustratingly, unknown.

In 2012, a story surfaced from a former National Guardsman who maintained that he was actually on-site when at least some of the Bigfoot recoveries occurred – under cover of extensive secrecy. Incredibly, he claimed that not all of the retrieved Bigfoot were dead – some were burned and injured, and a few critically so. Particularly outrageous is the claim that the military had assistance from one or two unharmed Bigfoot that helped guide military personnel to the site where the injured, hairy giants lay! There is absolutely no doubt that the stories of the dead and injured Bigfoot of the Mount St. Helens disaster of May 1980 are fascinating. Admittedly very problematic, however, is the glaring fact that not one of the alleged, retired or former military personnel that have divulged such fantastic stories has been willing to reveal their name and / or proof of their employment at a military or government level. Unless, or until, such a thing does occur, the story will likely remain as hazy and controversial as it is sensational and potentially groundbreaking.

(Nick Redfern) Stan Gordon, who has spent a lot of time looking at the weirder side of Bigfoot

Now, on to UFOs and cryptids - and a tie-in with the mysterious Men in Black. Stan Gordon is a well-known, long-term researcher, writer and authority on many things of a Sasquatch nature - as is clearly evidenced by his 2010 book, Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot Casebook. Now, I know for sure that any book suggesting Bigfoot may somehow be inextricably linked with the UFO phenomenon - and vice-versa, of course! - is bound to raise hackles in certain quarters.  The fact of the matter, however, is that there is surely not a Bigfoot researcher out there who has not been exposed to (at the very least) a few creature cases that absolutely reek of high-strangeness, and that place the hairy man-beasts into definitively supernatural - rather than zoological or cryptozoological - realms. Whether those same Bigfoot researchers are willing to admit they have come across such cases - or are willing to give such reports some degree of credence - is a very different matter, however. Fortunately, there are a number of researchers who recognize that as much as it would be preferable to place Bigfoot in a purely flesh-and-blood category, there is a significant body of data and testimony that points in a very different direction. And it’s a direction that, to his credit, Stan Gordon does not shy away from. Indeed, Gordon’s book is a first-class study of a truly weird wave of Bigfoot-UFO activity that swamped the good folk of Pennsylvania in the period from 1972 to 1974.

In many ways, Silent Invasion is reminiscent of John Keel’s classic The Mothman Prophecies - as a result of the fact that it focuses on the in-depth research of a dedicated, investigative author who duly finds himself up to his neck in monstrous bizarreness, ufological weirdness, and downright supernatural menace. Silent Invasion is a swirling cauldron filled with dark and ominous woods; glowing-eyed beast-men prowling the countryside by night; strange lights in the sky; UFO landings; neighborhoods gripped by terror and fear; and much, much more, too. And, it's thanks to Gordon’ research, as well as his in-depth files prepared back when all the dark drama was going on, that we’re now able to appreciate the curious chaos and calamity that collectively hit the unsuspecting folk of Pennsylvania all those years ago. But, that's not all: macabre Men in Black, paranormal activity, psychic possession, secret government interest in Bigfoot, and prophetic visions of a dark and foreboding future all come to the fore in a book that is guaranteed to make you think twice about the true nature of Bigfoot.

Gordon does not take the simplistic approach that Bigfoot is some sort of “pet of the aliens,” as some might assume. Instead, he logically, forthrightly and with supportive data in-hand, makes it abundantly clear that - even if we don’t have all the answers - addressing the Bigfoot controversy from a purely zoological perspective does not work - at all. He notes the problematic lack of a body (even just one would be nice!), the meager evidence of Bigfoot’s eating habits, and its uncanny ability to always avoid capture - not to mention that the beast appears to be nigh-on bullet-proof. And I do mean that literally. And Gordon hammers home, time and again, that where Bigfoot turns up, so - very often - do a host of other supernatural favorites.Something strange and diabolical was afoot in Pennsylvania between 1972 and 1974. Bigfoot, UFOs and a plethora of paranormal activity were all in evidence. Somewhere, somehow, there is a connection between cryptids, the Men in Black and government agencies - even if we're not fully able to understand it all, just yet. Until we do, however, Silent Invasion will provide you with much to think about, to muse upon, and to ponder. And it may just make you totally revise your views on North America's most famous ape-man. A great, atmospheric and uncanny tale best devoured by a flickering candle as the witching-hour looms!

Now, let's see what the connection in is with the CIA and cryptid creatures. Quite possibly the closest, real-life equivalent of Indiana Jones, Tom Slick was an explorer, adventurer, and seeker of strange creatures who travelled the world in hot pursuit of his passions – many of which were hairy, giant-sized, and monstrous. Born and bred in Texas – specifically in the city of San Antonio – Slick was someone who had the good fortune to have as a father Thomas Baker Slick, Sr., who made a multi-million fortune in the oil industry. His nicknames were Lucky Tom and the King of the Wildcatters. Despite his vast wealth, Slick, Sr., couldn’t keep the clutches of the Grim Reaper at bay – he was dead while still in his forties. As a result, Tom Slick suddenly found himself swimming in dollars. He was now able to pursue just about each and every dream he had – and that’s exactly what he did.

(Nick Redfern) Files, monsters and the CIA

In the 1950s, Slick spent time in Guyana, searching for near-priceless diamonds, and chasing down violent and marauding boar in New Zealand. Monsters, however, were his biggest passion. And, when Slick took note of the huge amount of publicity that the Yeti, of the Himalayas, was attracting throughout the 1950s, he knew that he had to go looking for the creature himself. By 1956, he was already planning ambitious treks to Nepal. Those plans hardly impressed the government of Tibet, chiefly because it was Slick’s plan to zoom around the Himalayas in a helicopter, doing his utmost to find the huge, hairy, creatures – and, with good measure, a team of dogs following on the ground. Slick was denied access to the region; at least, until 1957. When in March of that year, Slick finally got permission to check out Nepal’s Arun Valley, it was all systems go. Almost certainly, Tibetan authorities had not seen anything like this before: Slick turned up with metal cages and traps, with which he intended trapping a Yeti or several. Rifles were in abundance, too – just in case. Sadly, things came to a crashing halt for Slick when, during one of his investigations, he was badly injured in a bus accident; it was something which pretty much put an end to his future, planned excursions. Aside, that is, from funding them. 

There was another side to Tom Slick, a particularly secret and intriguing one. During the 1950s, when the U.S. Government – and the CIA, in particular – was deeply concerned that the Chinese military would roll into Tibet and assume control, Slick was quietly approached by CIA personnel. Essentially, they asked him to use his monster-hunting excursions as a cover for doing a bit of localized spying on what was afoot on the Tibet-China border. By all accounts, Slick proved to be the perfect 007, skilfully combining his Yeti hunts with a quest to secure the latest information on the plans of the Chinese Government. Perhaps appropriately for someone who moved effortlessly within the world of spies, secret agents, and international espionage, Tom Slick had a mysterious end: on October 6, 1962, his Beechcraft aircraft mysteriously exploded in mid-air, over Montana, as he flew to Canada for a few days of hunting. As the above cases show, there really is a deep interest in cryptids on the part of the U.S. government.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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