Tuesday, August 13, 2013



 I like to return to some of the more interesting events of the past at times, these events are very useful because they provide a guidepost for current times. The discovery of the cripple foot Sasquatch tracks in 1969 near a small community in far north eastern Washington State stands out as one of the most interesting, and to date singular finds in the history of the Sasquatch.

Rene' Dahinden became the lead investigator of this event, and told me many times in the years following the find, that he believed  the tracks were some of the most authentic ever discovered.

Rene' today is often regarded as a Bigfoot believer, and while he did truly believe the Sasquatch to exist he would more correctly be called one of the most staunch skeptics.

The following is Rene's own account of the events that winter from his, and Don Hunters book "Bigfoot".

"In late November a phone call came from John Green, telling him that down in Bossburg,  Ivan Marx, late of the Slick expedition, was hot on the trail of what appeared to be a crippled Sasquatch. By now not one to be exploded into the hunt at every mention of a track, Rene' Dahinden called Ivan Marx and discussed what he had found. He took three days to consider the details, and then took off for Bossburg.

Joe Rhodes, a resident butcher from nearby Coleville, WA, had  first found the tracks on November 24, 1969. The tracks were in soft soil near the Bossburg community garbage dump, and one foot appeared to be badly crippled. It was being speculated that the creature was handicapped badly enough to force it to scrounge off man's kitchen scraps for a living - a theory Rene' rejected.

When Rene' arrived, it was to find the ground, and most of the prints, badly trampled by dozens of locals who had been drawn to the scene when news leaked out. The site was in the area of several Sasquatch sightings reported earlier that year, during one of which a woman had rushed into the sheriff's office, alarmed and frightened by two of the creatures she had seen on the highway, the main road from southeastern British Columbia down to Spokane. Two deputies had made a casual check of the area but had spent most of the time ridiculing the woman's story before an officer of the border patrol. That is, they had scoffed, as the border patrol told it, until they noticed it was growing dark, at which stage, showing definite signs of nervousness, they had left.

Rene' found one good print, which someone had protected by covering with a cardboard box. It was a right foot and clearly showed signs of malformation. He photographed it and cast a plaster mould.


The next few days he spent surveying the area and the people who lived there, talking with all he met, making trips into the bush, and generally getting the feel of the whole situation. Within a few days Bob Titmus, a taxidermist, and late leader of the abortive Tom Slick expedition, who had been living in Kitimat, B.C. some seven hundred miles north and west, joined him. The actors were gathering, and the performance that would ensue was perhaps foreshadowed by Titmus's behavior immediately following his arrival and which Rene describes:

"He went out and bought an eight-pound slab of beef and hung it in a tree. I believe he was sitting out there at night in his panel truck, watching the meat, and thinking that if this thing was a cripple and was living off the garbage dump, when it came along he would just grab it by the arse and throw it in the truck and run off home with it."

Titmus had provided the Sasquatch's main course. Trotting along with the desert came Norm Davis (known to the company as "Dickie"), a radio station owner turned Sasquatch hunter for the time being. He hung a basket of fruit in a neighboring tree, carefully suspending it a measured six feet from the ground, the height which, presumably, would afford the Sasquatch maximum viewing of the selection of goodies. Rene' watched the antics, interested to the extent that they demonstrated once more the kind of frivolous approach he had become used to dealing with. 

After three days, when the meat was about to ready to make its own tracks and the bloom was off the fruit, Titmus gave up in disgust and went home to Kitimat. Rene', intrigued by the crippled print and anxious to stay, made a deal with Davis: he would live in a trailer owned by the radio man and in lieu of rent would show the Patterson film and talk about the Sasquatch to local service clubs and other interest groups. The crippled print bothered him; he had bever seen anything like it, and the more he considered it, the more unlikely it seemed that it could be anything but genuine.

Davis's trailer was moved onto Ivan Marx's property and the hunters took up the pursuit. On the morning of December 13, a Saturday morning, they found what they were looking for.

Several inches of snow had covered the ground that morning when Rene' and Ivan Marx and a young local man named Jim Hopkins set out in Marx's car to check an area along the banks of Roosevelt Lake, the reservoir for the Grand Coolie Dam. They checked the bank for about four miles, examining spots where meat scraps had been dropped by Rene' earlier in off-the-beat locations, but found nothing. Near a railway crossing, where the railroad and the highway run close to the Columbia River, they stopped and Marx climbed out to check a small meat cache a little way along a side road. Marx was away from the car only seconds before he came racing back: "Bigfoot tracks!" he shouted.

Rene' was filling his pipe. He kept on filling it, peering over the bowl at Marx, waiting for the kicker, the grin that would say, "okay, joke over." It didn't come.

Instead Marx jumped into the car, whipped it round, and headed back down the road, rapping out in his excitement that he needed photographic equipment.

Dahinden's first thought as they roared down the highway was of the people in the jeep they had passed. hyper-alert to the possibility of hoaxers, he considered them immediate suspects. With this in mind he told Jim to check the jeep's license plates and Ivan to look for anyone he might recognize in the vehicle.  

Between them they were able to identify the occupants and later asked them if they happened to have seen the tracks. "Yes" they said, they had. And what had been their response? "We got the hell out of there fast."

The three were quickly down to Marx's place and back to the tracks, cameras and in Rene's case a gun cocked and loaded for Sasquatch. Now for the first time Rene' saw a full spread of the cripple's tracks. They were, and are still, among the most convincing tangible evidence to be turned up in his years as a Sasquatch hunter. The left footprint measured 17 1/2 inches long, 6 1/2 inches across the ball of the foot, and 5 1/2 inches at the heel. The right foot was deformed; the third toe was either badly twisted over or was missing, there being only a slight impression in the snow at its base; the little toe stuck out at a sharp angle; and the whole foot curved outwards and showed two distinct lumps on the outer edge. A careful count eventually showed there were 1, 089 clearly definable prints on the path that the three followed through the snow.

The tracks led them from the river, across the railroad and across the main highway. Whatever had made them had stepped over a forty three inch high, five strand wire fence. On the far side of the fence, in a cluster of pine trees, there was a marked depression in the ground among the pine needles, apparently where some heavy animal had rested. No one denies the possibility that this was made by a cow or a deer, there being plenty of each in the area, but its presence in the line of the crippled tracks is worth noting, as is the fact that right in the center of the depression was a clump of snow holding the imprint of the toes of the left foot, as though the snow had been shaken loose after building up on the foot. In the clearing beyond the pine trees were hundreds more tracks, leading across the flat land and up a small hillside. In the middle of what appeared might be the moment of truth, Rene', discarding his customary caution, cried, "Now we're going to get that hairy sonofabitch!"

He figured the prints were going to lead on up the hill and the hunters would be able to run whatever had made them into the ground. But the prints stopped, halfway up the hill, turned, and retraced their path downward. At one spot, between two side by side prints, the hunters discovered a deep yellow patch in the snow, apparently urine. It was probably against their interests that they neglected to collect the yellow snow; analysis may have given some clue as to what made it. The prints continued down the hill, parallel with their first ascending  path, returned to the fence and crossed it again about fifty feet from the first step over.

From there the tracks led the hunters across the road and back over the fence several times, and eventually across the road and the railroad, through a patch of bush and to the edge of a steep part of the river bank, about one hundred and fifty feet above the water. There the bank was overhanging. The tracks turned and went upstream for approximately two hundred feet, to a point where the bank sloped gradually down to the river, and there they stopped. All the way down the bank was a deep groove, as one made by a heel and a foot acting as a brake for an upright body "skiing" down the bank. Below that there was just rocks; no further markings.

The story did not end with the trail of footprints ending, although the cripple foot Sasquatch footprints were not seen again, all the major Sasquatch hunters would descend on the region. The players made the event a fiasco, ego's and thoughts of making a lot of money clouded what should have become a pivotal event in Sasquatch history.

It is no wonder the cripple foot Sasquatch was not seen again, with all the human commotion, it likely left the area permanently. I have often wondered what might have become of the issue had these events played out differently?

Later professor Grover Krantz of Washington State University made a detailed placement of the bones of the feet of the cripple foot, his conclusion was no one could have possibly faked such foot structures without being an expert on foot anatomy.