Oct 19, 2022 I Nick Redfern

When Monsters and People Go to Battle Against Each other: Cryptozoological Chaos!

It's one thing to see a strange and unknown animal. It is, however, stranger to have to go into battle with one of the marauding things. It has happened, though. With that said, let's have a look at some violent cases of humans versus monsters. Typically, Bigfoot is not known as a violent creature. There are, however, exceptions to the rule. One classic and disturbing example occurred back in the summer of 1924, in a canyon in the vicinity of Kelso, Washington State. As evidence that tales of Bigfoot are not solely limited to the last few decades, the story was written up, at the time, in the pages of the Oregonian newspaper. An extract of the salient points reads thus:  “The strangest story to come from the Cascade Mountains was brought to Kelso today by Marion Smith, his son Roy Smith, Fred Beck, Gabe Lefever and John Peterson, who encountered the fabled ‘mountain devils’ or mountain gorillas of Mt. St. Helens this week, shooting one of them and being attacked throughout the night by rock bombardments of the beasts.” The reference to “mountain gorillas” is notable, given that this was decades before Bigfoot – both the name and the beast – became part of popular culture. It demonstrates that a lore and tradition of the hairy giants was already firmly in place. The Oregonian continued:

(Nick Redfern) The Bigfoot creatures: not so friendly

“The men had been prospecting a claim on the Muddy, a branch of the Lewis River about eight miles from Spirit Lake, 46 miles from Castle Rock. They declared that they saw four of the huge animals, which were about 400 pounds and walked erect. Smith and his companions declared that they had seen the tracks of the animals several times in the last six years and Indians have told of the ‘mountain devils’ for 60 years, but none of the animals ever has been seen before.” The night’s events were decidedly traumatic, as the newspaper noted: “Smith met with one of the animals and fired at it with a revolver, he said. Thursday, Fred Beck, it is said, shot one, the body falling over a precipice. That night the animals bombarded the cabin where the men were stopping with showers of rocks, many of them large ones knocking chunks out of the log cabin, according to the prospectors.” Forty-two years later, Bigfoot enthusiast Roger Patterson (see Patterson Film,) conducted a question and answer session with the by then elderly Fred Beck, who was happy to talk about his memories of that tumultuous night when Bigfoot went wild. Beck told Patterson:

“I wanna tell you, pretty near all night long they were on that house, trying to get in, you know. We kept a shooting. Get up on the house, we’d shoot up through the ceiling at them. Couldn’t see them up there; you could hear them up there. My God, they made a noise: sounded like a bunch of horses were running around there.” Beck then turned his attention to a description of the beasts, something which makes it very clear that Beck and his friends and comrades were not dealing with anything so down to earth as bears or mountain lions: “They was tall, they looked to me like they was eight feet tall, maybe taller, and they were built like a man, little in the waist, and big shoulders on, and chest, and their necks was kinda what they call bull necks.” Beck, one year later, in 1967, expanded upon the battle of what became known in the Bigfoot research community as “Ape Canyon.” He said: “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. 

(Nick Redfern) Stay away from some cryptid creatures

“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.” As for how the events came to their close, Beck said: 

“The attack ended just before daylight. Just as soon as we were sure it was light enough to see, we came cautiously out of the cabin. It was not long before I saw one of the apelike creatures, standing about eighty yards away near the edge of Ape Canyon. I shot three times, and it toppled over the cliff, down into the gorge, some four hundred feet below.  “Then Hank said that we should get out of there as soon as possible; and not bother to pack our supplies or equipment out; ‘After all,’ he said, ‘it’s better to lose them, than our lives.’ We were all only too glad to agree. We brought out only that which we could get in our packsacks. We left about two hundred dollars in supplies, powder, and drilling equipment behind.”  Today, the violent and almost fatal battle of Ape Canyon remains a classic within Bigfoot lore.

Now, let's have a look at a classic from the 1950s. It all began on the night of August 15, 1955, when absolute chaos broke out. It all went down at the farmhouse of the Sutton family, who had visitors in from Pennsylvania: Billy Ray Taylor and his wife. It was roughly 7.00 p.m. when Billy Ray left the farmhouse to fetch water from the family’s well. And what a big mistake that was. In mere minutes, Billy Ray was back, minus the water. Terrified Billy Ray told the Suttons and his wife that as he headed towards the well he saw a significantly sized, illuminated, circular-shaped object come to rest in a nearby gully. As the group tried to figure out what on earth (or off it…) was going on, they mused upon the possibilities of shooting stars, meteorites, and good old leg-pulling. By all accounts, it was none of those. In just a few minutes, the Suttons’ dog began to bark, growl, and snarl in aggressive, uncontrollable fashion – after which it raced for cover underneath the porch. Clearly, something strange was going down. Exactly how strange, soon became very apparent.

Intent on making sure they were in control of the situation, Elmer Sutton and Billy Ray Taylor armed themselves with shotguns and headed out into the darkness. In no time, they were confronted by something terrifying: a small, silvery, creature – in the region of three feet tall – that was scurrying towards them with its long, ape-like, arms held high in the air. Sutton did what most folk might do when confronted by a strange, goblin-like thing after sunset: he blasted the beast with his shotgun. To the consternation of both men, the gun had no effect, aside from causing the creature to do a quick and impressive backflip, after which it disappeared into the darkness – for a while. Rather wisely, Elmer and Billy Ray raced for the safety of the farmhouse and locked the doors behind them. In mere moments, the same creature – or, at least, a very similar one – was seen peering and leering through one of the windows. Elmer’s son, J.C., took a shot at it. The only damage was to the window. The small beast scurried away at lightning speed. The curiously named Lucky Sutton, along with Billy Ray, took a tentative walk outside to see if they could see the creature – or creatures. That was a very bad move: as they prowled around the property, a clawed hand came down from the roof and seized Billy Ray’s hair and head.

Terrified Billy Ray pulled away, screaming, to see the goblin charge across the roof. To their horror, a second creature was seen staring at them from the branch of a nearby tree. A second shoot-out achieved nothing, aside from the remarkably weird sight of the creatures floating – rather than leaping or falling – to the ground and then racing into the darkness. The tumultuous events continued throughout the night, with guns firing, and the wizened little beasts seemingly doing their very best to create as much havoc and mayhem as was conceivably possible. Realizing that the situation might very well go on all night, the group decided there was only one option available to them: they had to flee the farmhouse, which they did in two cars, making their speedy way to the sheriff’s office in nearby Hopkinsville. The sheer, collective state of fear into which the Suttons and the Taylors had been plunged, pretty much immediately convinced the sheriff that whatever had happened, it was no drunken prank. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on one’s perspective), by the time the sheriff and the family arrived back at the farmhouse, the creatures were gone – they did, however, put in a reappearance in the early hours, and conveniently after the police had left. In no time at all, the media got onto the story, as did the U.S. Air Force – the latter coming up with a very bizarre explanation as its staff sought to lay matters to rest.

Before we get to the matter of the explanation, it’s important to have a full understanding of the physical appearance of the creatures, drawn from the memories and recollections of the players: the Suttons and the Taylors. All of the strange entities were near-identical: long arms, skinny legs, large ears, and yellow eyes. As for their gait, they moved in a strange, pivoting fashion. And, there was the fact that they were all silver in color. Cue the Air Force’s best estimate of what really happened. With absolutely nothing solid – at all – to back up its claims, the Air Force suggested the goblins were actually monkeys, painted silver, and which had escaped from a traveling circus! As cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard notes, it’s “a theory more ridiculous than the notion of invading aliens.” Nevertheless, the Air Force stuck to its guns, with Major John E. Albert being the major proponent of the circus escapee/painted monkeys theory. Ufologists did not just accept this theory without question. One of the most respected of all UFO researchers was Dr. J. Allen Hynek. He said of his investigation of the Air Force’s claim:

“I did make an attempt to find out whether there had been any traveling circuses in the area from which some monkeys could have escaped. The monkey hypothesis fails, however, if the basic testimony of the witnesses can be accepted. Under a barrage of gunfire from Kentuckians, over a somewhat extended period, it is unthinkable that at least one cadaver would not have been found. Furthermore, monkeys do not float down from trees: they either jump or fall. And, anyway, I was unable to find any trace of a traveling circus!” The 1955 Kelly-Hopkinsville saga remains unresolved to this day. The fact that the incident began with the sighting of what may well have been a UFO, has led flying saucer sleuths to conclude a mini-alien invasion briefly broke out in rural Kentucky. On the other hand, is it possible that the Air Force was, at least, partly on the right track? Could the creatures have been monkeys, after all? They are questions that, decades later, we are unlikely to ever have answers for.

Now, to a violent but fascinating affair: the location of Nevada’s Lovelock Cave is “restricted,” it’s actually very easy to find: it’s situated south of the town of Lovelock, Pershing County. It’s a sizeable, shadowy cave – around 150 in length and 35 feet in width – and one which has a great deal of history and controversy attached to it. Cryptozoological controversy, one might well say. Excavations began in the early 20th century revealed that the cave was inhabited by local tribespeople for at least 4,000 years – and possibly even longer than that. In 1911, a pair of miners – James Hart and David Pugh – hauled out from the cave tons of bat guano (shit, for the uninitiated). Their actions revealed something amazing: a large number of ancient artifacts that had been buried for an untold number of millennia. In the years and decades that followed, a massive number of incredibly old items were discovered, studied and cataloged. Those items included weapons, baskets, containers for storing food, slings, and even “duck decoys” for use in hunting operations. Although archaeologists concluded that various tribes may have inhabited the caves over the years, certainly the most documented presence is that concerning the Paiute people, who flourished in not just Nevada, but also Arizona, California, Utah, Oregon, and Idaho. They continue to flourish. Not only that, they have a most intriguing legend – one of monstrous proportions.

(Nick Redfern) Cryptozoology can be a dangerous game

According to the Paiute, in times long, long gone they waged war on a mysterious race of giant humanoids known as the Si-Te-Cah. They were massive, violent, rampaging humanoids that fed voraciously on human flesh. Reportedly, the last of the Si-Te-Cah in Nevada were wiped out in the very heart of Lovelock Cave. They were forced into its depths by the Paiute, who filled the cave with bushes and then set them alight. The man-monsters reportedly died from the effects of fire and smoke. It was the end of a reign of terror that had plagued the Paiute for eons. While there are rumors of at least some remains of the Si-Te-Cah being found in Lovelock Cave in the early 20th century, such a thing has not been fully confirmed. Granted, there are a lot of stories, but the skeletal remains of huge humanoids whose heights ranged from six-and-a-half-feet to twelve-feet? Well, that very much depends on who you ask. While there are no formally confirmed remains of such monstrous goliaths, stories certainly circulate to the effect that when the initial excavations began in 1912, the remains of a man who stood in excess of six-feet, and who was covered in red hair, were found – apparently in mummified, preserved states. So, the legend goes.

Of course, the reported physical appearance of the beasts – that they were humanoid, very tall, and covered in hair – has inevitably given rise to the possibility that, millennia ago, the Paiute waged war on a dangerous tribe of what they called Si-Te-Cah, but that we, today, would refer to as Bigfoot. A battle to the death, deep in the heart of Lovelock Cave? That just might well have been the case. It’s no wonder, then, that the saga of Lovelock Cave intrigues and fascinates monster-hunters and cryptozoologists. Now, we'll come to an end with a couple of deadly but bizarre incidents.

(Nick Redfern) Caves, monsters and us: the situation is not always friendly

Up until the end of season four of The Walking Dead, we were familiar with seeing our straggling bunch of heroes hunkered down in a fortified Georgia prison, doing battle with both the dead and their arch-villain, the one-eyed Governor. But the resurrected dead, people feeding on people, and prisons also have a place in the real world. Our story, however, revolves around monsters, rather than virally-created zombies of the undead variety. In the latter part of the 16th Century, London, England’s Newgate Prison was the site of a horrific series of deaths that would have made even the average walker proud in the extreme – if such creatures possess significant amounts of brains to be proud. Due to a pronounced lack of regular food, on more than a few occasions the prisoners targeted the weakest members of the pack and turned them into food. It was very much a case of having to eat the living to avoid becoming one of the dead. We are, then, talking about cannibals in the cell-block. One of those savagely killed and partially eaten by the prisoners was an unnamed man who did exactly what the bitten and the equally semi-devoured of the prison of The Walking Dead did on so many occasions: he rose again. Not, however, as a voracious devotee of raw, human flesh, but as a ghastly and ghostly black dog with a pair of blazing red eyes.

The actions of this undead man-hound were not at all unlike those of its television-based equivalents. The creature violently slaughtered all of those that had taken its human life by savagely biting down on their necks with its immense and powerful jaws. Death swiftly followed for the guilty parties. Reanimation, however, did not. When the deed was done, the man – in spectral dog form – vanished, never, ever to be seen again. Then, there is the very similar, and very weird, tale of a pair of brothers: William and David Sutor. The dark saga all began late one night in December 1728, when William, a Scottish farmer, was hard at work in his fields and heard an unearthly shriek that was accompanied by a brief glimpse of a large, dark-colored dog, far bigger than any normal hound, and one possessed of a pair of glowing red eyes – just like the beast from Newgate Prison. On several more occasions in both 1729 and 1730, the dog returned, always seemingly intent on plaguing the Sutor family. It was, however, in late November of 1730 that the affair ultimately reached its paranormal pinnacle. Once again the mysterious dog manifested before the farmer, but this time, incredibly, it was supposedly heard to speak, in rumbling tones, and directed William to make his way to a specific, nearby piece of ground within thirty minutes.

He did as he was told, and there waiting for him was the spectral hound of Hell. A terrified William pleaded to know what was going on. The hideous hound answered that he was none other than David Sutor – William’s brother – and that he had killed a man at that very spot some thirty-five years earlier. As David had directed his own savage dog to kill the man, David had himself – as punishment – been returned to our plane of existence in the form of a gigantic hound. The dogman instructed William to seek out the buried bones of the murder victim, and then place them within consecrated ground, which William duly did, in the confines of the old Blair Churchyard.The ghostly black dog – the spirit of David Sutor in animal form – vanished. Like the beast of Newgate Prison, when its work was done, it never made a re-appearance.

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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