For those of us who follow the latest expeditions and research on the ever elusive creature known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch, it comes as no surprise that there may be a new encounter taking place in the Pacific northwest. This time residents in the Blue Mountains of Oregon have been hearing nighttime screams and howling coming from a nearby swamp. (Featured photo by artist Peter Oberdorf.)
Native Americans Report
The marsh sits on the Umatilla Indian Reservation near Pendleton, OR. The native Americans have reported that the nighttime screams seem to come from one area in the swamp north of the Wildhorse Resort and Casino. There is an old community center in that part of the canyon, and it’s from that area that residents believe the sounds are coming.
Reservation officials have dealt with calls and reports from many of their 1500 inhabitants, all of whom are frightened by the noises. They haven’t been able to explain the noises with 100% certainty so that’s left the door open to rampant speculation as to the cause of the nightly mayhem.
Wildlife Program Manager for the local tribe, Carl Sheeler, pointed out that there are other animals native to the area that can create terrible screams and shrieks, notably the cougar and foxes. He added, “ That wetland is a perfect place to have an echoing-call sound eerie.”
That’s fine, but we can’t overlook the fact that the native Americans STILL spend a lot of time on the land, know it well, have a long history of knowing what happens there and when. Many of the tribe members are saying they’ve never heard screams like that coming from the swamp.
This region is well known for its history of Bigfoot encounters, like many other areas of the Pacific northwest. The article from the Daily Mail (UK publication) January 25, 2013 issue that brought this story to my attention notes that in 1966 a cyclist found nineteen inch footprints on the Tiger Canyon Road. This cyclist was part of the Walla Walla tribe.
The specter of hoaxers always rears its head in these situations, but as current day members of the tribe say, they themselves never venture into the swamp after dark because it’s too dangerous – and this was before the recent nighttime howling started. So if anyone did venture into the swamp at night, they’re risking their own lives for a stupid prank. That seems unlikely to me.
Other Potential Noisemakers
The other possible explanation might be misidentification of calls. Let’s first listen to some of the potential culprits who may be making these noises.
First up, FOXES:
Pay particular attention to the “Strange haunting sound with…” and the “strange fox sound” calls. They could be spooky at night, but the voices sound smooth and fluid.
Note the “Cougar – Montana” sound, then “cougar screams”, and interestingly, the “Female Cougar in Heat”. To me, these noises sound closer to the audio track of the latest Bigfoot howls, but still don’t match.
Finally, let’s listen to some COYOTES:
I’m interested to see the coyotes have such a repertoire of sounds that they make, but for me, in every case, they sound like coyotes. Nothing unusual there.
Ok, now let’s listen to the audio recording provided by Colleen Chance, taken on the Umatilla Indian Reservation of the purported BIGFOOTS (The original Bigfoot recorded is no longer available, so I found them on this news report by ABC news who did a terrible job reporting the story. Note the sarcasm and churlish tone of their commentary.):
I have several thoughts on this recording. For starters, the sound quality is horrible. She apparently recorded it on her iPhone (I thought their technology was better than that?!), and there’s an underlying static that runs through the whole piece.
That said, when the howls do begin, they don’t sound like foxes, cougars, nor coyotes to me. In fact they very much sound like other “legitimate” Bigfoot recordings that I’ve heard on shows like Finding Bigfoot. Everything about them is different from the other animals, in my opinion.
I also tend to believe native Americans when they speak about things in nature because they know it so well. When they say they’ve never heard sounds like this before in their area, I’m going to believe them. There are quite a few elders in their tribe, too, who say they also never heard anything like it before.
I think there’s a very good chance that one or more Bigfoots have moved into this swamp on the Umatilla Reservation. They may not stay there permanently, but are probably following a food source of some type. Why are they screaming at night? They probably feel safe there and feel free to communicate with each other in that special Bigfoot way of theirs.
Whatever the case may be, I don’t think the residents are in any danger. While it’s probably sensible to stay out of the swamp (or ANY swamp) after sundown, the noises being made are just noises, and they won’t hurt anyone. And their chances of encountering the actual creature making the noises is probably as remote as it always is.
Til the next time!