Page 10 Saturday, November 26, 1977 FARWEST The BISMARCK TRIBUNE…. By MARK KINDERS Farwest Editor
‘ LITTLE EAGLE, S.D.-Many in this remote hamlet on Standing Rock Indian Reservation are convinced they are invaded by several Bigfoot. And they are afraid. Since early September Sasquatch or Bigfoot have haunted the thick scrub cottonwoods that surround and fill Little Eagle’s scattered townsite of 60 residents. Twenty-eight sightings have been made in the last two and one-half months, according to Gary Alexander, whose general store serves as headquarters for the ensuing Bigfoot hunt. Observations have come at all times of the day and night, from the southern edge of town along the meandering Grand River to the steep bluffs to the north, with the creatures viewed from as far away as 150 yards and up to 10-feet away during a “confrontation.”
Little Eagle is not alone. The reservation towns of Timber Lake, Trail City and Eagle Butte to the south, along with Cannonball and Solen to the north also advise of Bigfoot sightings. GETTING TOO close a view of Bigfoot for comfort was LeMar Chasing Hawk, who lives on the outskirts of Little Eagle. The frequency of sightings in such a short time span at Little Eagle has attracted nationwide attention from professional and amateur phenomena researchers alike. Likewise, an anthropologist from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, although twice delayed by winter snowstorms, has promised to visit the site. When he arrives the Nebraskan will have a number of photographs and castings of footprints as well as Bigfoot droppings from near Solen to study, along with a slew of eyewitnesses to interview, “enough to fill a busload.. .two busloads”. Among them is LeMar Chasing Hawk, who was “confronted” by a Bigfoot lurking 10 feet away from him. Chasing Hawk, who has carried a rifle as protection ever since, relates it was about 10:15 p.m. on a September night when the incident occurred. He was on a pathway bordered by scrub bushes just outside his back yard at the fringe of town as he returned home from a nearby card game. “I heard a noise by my side and turned to look when I saw something between some bushes stand up.” It was Bigfoot, Chasing Hawk asserts. While he was close enough to touch it, Chasing Hawk can only describe the animal as about nine feet tall and weighing over 600 ; pounds. “I didn’t stay around long enough to find out what it looked like,” he explains. “I turned around and ran for home and didn’t look back.”
Chasing Hawk’s consternation over the event is shared by many of Little Eagle’s residents who are moving out of town until the J- J Hawk passed within 10 feet of the creature along a shrub shrouded pathway. He has carried a rifle for protection ever since. situation dies down, including Rev. Angus Long Elk. Long Elk, a Little Eagle resident for the last five years, left his home and the trim, white clapboard church along the Grand River for the safety of McLaughlin, fourteen miles to the north. “I couldn’t stand its running around shrieking all night,” he says of Bigfoot’s heralded coyote-like screaming noise. “It was doing it all the time. And about two weeks ago my wife saw it at night while she was down by the river. She’s been afraid ever since and wanted to leave.”
Bigfoot descriptions have been similar, according to Alexander. Generally, the creatures have been determined to be between six to nine feet tall and weighing from 600 to 900 pounds. Alexander, who has not seen a Bigfoot, says one of the larger animals is reported to be dark in color and the other light. A third Bigfoot reportedly is smaller, he says, at about six feet tall and 400 pounds. Although not all three have been seen at the same time, during one incident two of the animals were seen by hunters simultaneous to other searchers seeing a third creature at a different location. Alexander said searchers have been working each night in four to six-man squads on stake-outs throughout the town and close in on Bigfoot once they hear a tell-tale shriek.
Alexander is convinced the incidents are legitimate. “When we’ve found tracks in a row, the stride has been six to seven feet apart. It would take three men on stilts to make them and get lhat deep an impression.” Likewise, he can see no reason why someone would attempt to deliberately frighten the townspeople. He notes there are no known mineral deposits or other riches in the area. And if there were a clandestine discovery he says the land is held in trust by the Sioux tribe rather than individuals who might be scared into leaving. “If it was a person doing that we’d have caught him by now.”
Although authorities have asked the hunters not to carry weapons for fear of injuring each other, many still continue to do so. One argues: “We’re not out to hurt it. We’re all carrying .22 caliber rifles or .22 caliber magnums. We poor Indians can’t afford anything bigger than that.” Bigfoot pursuing teams also are armed with tranquilizer guns in an attempt to immobilize the animal. Since the proper dose is not known, though, Alexander said if the creature isn’t drugged “we’ll shoot him in the leg, a place that will stop him but that will mend easily.” No conclusive reason has been offered for the sudden materialization of the animal. Theories have followed those common to Bigfoot phenomenon in other states: they are throwbacks to cavemen; the animals are curious about man’s activities; they “want” women and children; are demonic creatures or the devil incarnate, or are “from outer space.”
Attempts to document Bigfoot’s existence have taken a serious turn. Ed Meller, an unemployed gravel hauler and oil products distributor, has set up a mobile camper equipped with a tape recording system and manned by up to eight people on Chasing Hawk’s property. Meller has discovered a number of curiosities about Bigfoot’s behaviour that are typical according to Milton LaSalle, a New York State soils engineer who has studied Bigfoot sightings on the East and West coasts the past 20 years and traveled to Little Eagle last week. Among Meller’s findings were that Bigfoot has a tendency to “sneak” around on all fours when the animal feels threatened instead of walking erect. Of greater interest, though, is Meller and others say they have heard Bigfoot attempt to mimic the human voice. “They sound a lot like a coyote, but they can give you any sound they want you to hear,” he contends. He describes the vocalizing attempts as “chattering” altough he claims Bigfoot has successfully only said the word “Hey.” ‘ notes that such abilities by Bigfoot have been rarely experienced and are not documented as fact, but ha ve been reported of the animal in the past as well as of his third cousins, Mono Grande of the South American Andes Mountains range and the Yeti of the Himalayas. Meller attributes his success to the fact Bigfoot “is pretty nosy. Anything that goes on he just has to see.” The animal showed up at the van two weeks ago Saturday and two of them appeared twice about 4 a.m. last Wednesday, Meller says. About a dozen women and children set up a campfire and held a party to lure Bigfoot close to the van. Meanwhile, an eight-track stereo was turned up all the way with recordings of female vocalists. “We had a couple (Bigfoot) crawling around behind and on side of us, about 50 yards away,” illuminated by the campfire and yard light. Meller said one of the creatures was black with a beige mantle across his chest and shoulders. The other was pure black. He said they appeared to be “sneaking”. “They crouched so low in the brush that you could just barely see their outlines.” i . :’ THIS PLASTER cast of a Bigfoot track was lifted from along the Grand River. Bigfoot researcher Milton LaSalle says it is typical of Bigfoot tracks, showing the double-ball behind the big toe common to the creature.
GARY ALEXANDER’S Little Eagle Trading Post has served as headquarters for Bigfoot searchers. REV. ANGUS LONG ELK: “I got tired of it shrieking all night. My wife saw it down by the river two weeks ago and wanted to move.” The toe imprints, though, are smaller than those found in the Pacific Northwest. The track measures about 18 inches long by eight inches across. ( Xlv’ V X R4 I SB” ‘ww GARY ALEXANDER: “If it was a hoax we’d have caught whoever it was by now.” He explains: “They knew we had firearms they were sneaking. But we could tell what they were with binoculars.” Meller said one eyewitness described them as having “long fingers”. Meller said on a previous occasion he saw they had “red, glowing eyes”. “We’ve got some phenomena around here that the world just won’t believe,” Meller shakes his head and bemusedly adds. However, he refuses to say why he thinks the Bigfoot is invading Little Eagle. “We have an idea what it is, but no comment. It’s way beyond your wildest imagination. We’ve got proof of what it is, but there are a lot of people who don’t believe us now when we say that Bigfoot is here.” He adds the creature has been around Little Eagle for several years now. “There were sightings before, or people now know the shrieks they heard previously weren’t from coyotes. They didn’t believe it was Bigfoot then.” LaSalle, the only Bigfoot enthusiast of substantial experience to visit the community, is convinced that something is going on there. “There are far too many witnesses involved in the various sitings for it to be rigged. The sightings are conclusive that it doesn’t fit the description of any wildlife native to the area. It’s not a bear, either, that I’m certain of.”
LaSalle says there is “some question in my mind whether the long distance sightings actually were of Bigfoot. But the other close up eyewitnesses seemed quite sincere and honest in their stories. I would say that at least a portion of the sightings are genuine.” Noting that many sightings took place within 25 yards and up to three minutes in duration, LaSalle thinks it would be impossible for someone to be hoaxing the community. “With animals that stand up to 10-or 11-feet tall, it would require a drastic costume that over a long sighting period would be eventually seen to be a quite obvious fake. “But with the ‘smaller’ Bigfoot, the 6-foot one, it could be a fake. It’s the size of a man, and it is quite possible that someone is pulling a hoax in that case.” LaSalle also feels that Meller’s tapes and castings made of the Bigfoot tracks are “either genuine or very good fakes.”
The footprint castings found by the river measuring 18 inches long by eight inches across the ball of the foot “are about what I expect,” LaSalle says. The tracks show a double-balled big toe typical of Bigfoot tracks, and do not show an opposable toe that large apes use for 4 rv-W 4 sm Pt ED MELLER: “We’ve got some kind of phenomena down here that the world just won’t believe.” grasping, but not a common Bigfoot characteristic. The toe size of Little Eagle’s Bigfoot is “smaller than normal,” he adds. LaSalle is not bothered by the fact the sightings only recently began to occur. He notes that there have been a rash of sightings in the last few months across the United States, at California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, Minnesota, Utah, the Dakotas and British Columbia, in some instances where Bigfoot has not been reported before. Nevertheless, LaSalle won’t conclusively agree that Bigfoot has inhabited the Little Eagle area: “I won’t says it’s a Bigfoot, not until 1 see it myself.” Whether the townspeople will be able to track down and capture a Bigfoot remains to be seen. It is unknown whether last week’s heavy snowfall on the Indian Reservation will aid the search. There are conflicting opinions as to whether the Bigfoot hibernates. LaSalle thinks the hominids “hole up” and ride out a storm until it is safe to move about again.
Whether the searchers will interfere with each other’s efforts also remains to be seen. Several sources have been critical of the THE REMOTE Grand River bordering Little Eagle has regularly produced Bigfoot footprints that have shown a 6 to 7-foot stride. i urn A LONNIE MAXNOR: “People are. tearing around all hours of the night, and shooting off guns and making noise…” Bigfoot chasers with hints that some stalking it are under the influence of marijuana, that others are treating it as a lark and frightening the creature away when “capture” opportunities look good, or that evidence that may provide clues as to the animal’s habits are being destroyed. Moreso, local residents are wary of some , residents who have been periodically firing their weapons at night, either at alleged Bigfoot or to lure it to the town by the disturbance. Also, some stalking the phenomena are keeping at the hunt for extensive periods, up to two days without sleep, manning stake-outs at night and searching for Bigfoot lairs in the daytime. And at least one resident who thinks the whole idea of a Bigfoot is ridiculous thinks the search is a nuisance. Lonnie Maxnor, 70, complains “pickup trucks are tearing around all hours of the night, people are shooting off guns and making noise.” Still, he notes, “a lot of my neighbors are afraid of what’s happening, and a lot of them are leaving town or talking about going.”