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Caves & Bigfoot

Part-time contributing researcher Ray Crowe wrote an excellent piece about bigfoot and caves. The following article was re-printed with Rays approval and came from the results of a discussion at the Western Bigfoot Society Meeting in Oregon.


Here is the article:

A Cavers View, Steve Knutson email

     Let’s review our discussions. As I recall, my contention was that we cavers find basically no evidence of Bigfoot using caves.  You responded with a few examples of reports of such.   Cavers generally avoid publicity, so to me this whole bit is suspect (Bigfoot reports). On the Bigfoot use of caves, my notions are:

     Con - Bigfoot Does Not Occupy Caves

1.   There are large areas where there are no caves.

2.  A cave is a cul de sac and since Bigfoot seems to avoid close contact, seems to me he would instinctively, or even intellectually, realize the danger of being trapped.   

3.  What caves there are, often are not hospitable.   Drippy, rugged floor, head bangers, etc.  Bears hibernate in winter and such bears are almost never encountered in caves.   Since such encounters would be noteworthy cavers would report them.   I started caving in 1959, and since then I have only heard of one such encounter.   

4.   Non cavers think there is always a cave around, and firmly believe in the concept of the "caveman."  The movies and media feed this notion.   That primitive humans or pre-humans typically used caves for shelter.    Yes, the occasional cave was used, but in general there just are not enough hospitable caves available.   Any sizable human population would have to be able to build shelter if such was needed, and only use suitable caves when such was available.   Humans right now occasionally use caves for shelter....so are we cavemen?   Another reason many available caves (which show no sign of ever being used) -- tribalism meant you had to guard against attacks by neighbors and getting trapped in a cave probably wasn't a good idea.  

5.  There is NO light in a cave, beyond what is obviously called the twilight zone.   Bigfoot wouldn't see any better than us in a cave.      

6.   I have found the occasional perfect cave for habitation, and never found any sign of use.   One was in the French Creek part of the Trinity Wilderness, in the Klamath Mountains -- prime Bigfoot country.

7.     Steve said that often in caves lighting strokes continue after a strike on the surface.  It can be dangerous being in a cave during a lightning storm with underground strokes in caves or mines bouncing around.


     (Ray respond) On the motives of people who report a sighting.  It should be kept in mind that cavers are part of a close-knit society where information is shared within the group or in official reports.  Generally, the information is believed by all.   Whereas, often in the Bigfoot world individuals come across something they can’t explain, and are anxious to understand it.  They often talk to others who label them as drunk or crazy.  They then are anxious to prove that they actually saw something, and are encouraged when coming forward to find others who experienced the same thing when they saw the same “mythical creature.  Often it just stops there.  The witness doesn’t want or need any further publicity, isn’t interested in fame or fortune, and just wants to go on with life…satisfied that at least somebody doesn’t think he’s crazy.

     On item 2.  In the wild the Bigfeet seem to be incredibly capable of hiding, often disguising themselves as a stump, etc.  Could it be that a Bigfoot in a cave might be able to hide behind boulders, in unseen shafts and such.  Or…he could use ultrasonics to spook the unwary cave explorer, who would feel uneasy and anxious to leave.  And, who in their right mind would enter a cave that stunk of sewage and excretia. 

     On item 4.  I (Ray) find on the net concerning Kebara Cave on Mount Carmel, Israel, that four meter thick occupation midden accumulated starting 60,000 years ago by Neanderthal people…Cavemen.  There were hearths, artifacts, and cooking debris besides thousands of gazelle and deer bones, even some human burials; leading researchers believe the cave was a long-term occupied base-camp for its residents.


     Pro - Bigfoot Occupies Caves

1. Well, once finding a white faced steer in a lava cave in 1980 is possibly a piece of evidence.  This was out by West Crater, northwest of Jordan Valley, OR, while hunting for a “virgin” unexplored cave.  I hiked across the desert to explore the cave, a typical lava tube.  It was walk-in size and continued that way over a floor of jumbled lava boulders.  When about a hundred feet into the cave I came to the carcass of a white faced steer.  It had not been eaten on, but was just lying there.  A meeting guest commented that a steer of that type might weigh 800 pounds. So…how did it get back in the cave?  Might there have been a creature hiding behind one of those boulders?

2.   The finding of no evidence may just mean Bigfoot is intelligent enough to clean up well.

3.   Occasional use might well leave no appreciable evidence.

4.   We aren’t usually looking for Bigfoot evidence and may miss noticing it even if we do see it.  One patch of bear claw marks in Oregon Caves is on a relatively well traveled route, but was never noticed before folks doing deliberate inventory work noticed them.   Another time ancient cougar tracks were found to be numerous at three places in the Oregon Caves during an inventory, though nobody had noticed them previously, being more concerned with navigation.  Some had been ruined by boot tracks.

5.   Few caves are regularly and heavily visited.  

6.  The temperature in the Oregon Caves is 44 degrees the year around.  Usually cave temperature is figured as the average between the surface high and low.  At Cave Junction at a lower elevation, the annual high is 68 and the winter low is 40 degrees. The caves would be a good place to escape temperature extremes or to leave young Bigfootlets while the adults hunted.


     In-Between Ideas of Bigfoot Cave Occupation

1.  Caves are good environments for the preservation of artifacts and animal remains that out in the open would be disposed of by nature.   I have never seen bear bones in the woods, but have found them in the Oregon Caves.   But good paleontology caves are not common.   There has to be a reason for the animals to stay in there.   Why are the bones in Oregon Caves?  We don’t know.  It appears the inner part of the cave must have had connections to the surface that are now blocked.   If this was a sloping pit, it may be that animals occasionally fell in and couldn't get out, and so headed on further into the cave seeking an escape route.

2.  We were cave hunting in the Marble Mountain Wilderness in Northern California in 1974-1975, when a Forest Ranger we talked to said, “I don’t go up there anymore.”  On a hunting trip “something came around the cabin.”  We did find a cave that we visited and nicknamed it Bigfoot Cave (They have named over a hundred caves there).  Nearby caves had timber wolf and bighorn sheep remains, new to the Marble Mtn. caves.  Also the remains of some type of weasel family member were found entombed in flowstone.




3.   I  (once) did have an overpowering feeling of the cave (that was being explored) being unfriendly.  I tend to think of caves as having a spirit and you want to be on good terms with it…suspicion hypersound is used by Bigfoot.  (Was there one hiding someplace behind a rock?)

4.   Could one expect to find Bigfoot remains in a cave.   No.   Only exceptional occurrences provide cave fossils.   And Bigfoot may in fact take care of fellows who die.   And he presumably has a low population density.

     FYI:  “On July 1, 2000 a Grants Pass psychologist, Dr. Matthew Johnson, took a hike with his wife and children on Big Tree Loop Trail behind the visitor's center at Oregon Caves National Monument. They heard odd sounds coming from the forest nearby and detected a terrible scent. When he hiked off the trail alone he was shocked and dismayed to see a huge Bigfoot that had been following them.”


     Conclusions and Notes

1.  Bigfoot might occasionally use a cave but not habitually.   But his apparent intelligence makes me think he would avoid places like that. We have never found evidence of Bigfoot using or having used a cave.  Bigfoot would or could know of whatever caves are about and use them on occasion, but dedicated use would place them in a position of being caught at home. I would think Bigfoot since they don’t like to leave evidence; crawling so as to not leave tracks, would either clean up after cave use or stay away from them. 

2.  An entrance to caves is referred to as the twilight zone with some kind of light.  Troglophiles live in the entrance area, troglobites in the dark area.  Some critters use scent trails for navigation, others use echo navigation. The cave has generally one way in, one way out; they are usually blind alleys and a Bigfoot could be trapped.”  Too dumb to know?

3. There are several types of caves and in Oregon, limestone, lava tubes, and litteral (wave cut) are among the most important.  Others could be found in talus, at geologic faults, or in glaciers.

4.  An important litteral cave site was explored near Fort Rock, Oregon, by Dr. Louis Cressman, Univ. of Oregon (go Ducks) in 1938.  Under a layer of volcanic ash laid down by Mt. Mazama (now Crater Lake N. P.) 7500 years ago, were found dozens of sandals made of sagebrush bark. 

 5.  Again, between two wave-cut terraces in the Catlow Valley a cache of sandals and a mat were found that dated back 8000 years.  The cave was excavated in the 1930’s and found to have been occupied between 6000 and 12,000 years ago.  Ice Age lake basins in Nevada and southern Oregon were filled with the waters of Lake Lahontan.  Other caves had sandals of tule bark.  In Catlow Cave  a child’s sandals were found that were 900 years old.  As the lakes dried 8,500 years ago, the paleo-Indians mostly deserted the Great Basin. There was a very hot and dry period in Oregon  7,000-10,000 years ago called the altithermal (Antevs) when most of the eastern Oregon lakes dried up and native residents vanished.  Drought also apparently brought the abandonment by the Anasazi, habitations being abandoned between 1125 and 1180 AD as determined from dendrochronology, (tree rings).



                 Another Cave Explorer

     As an aside to add to the Knutson talk, the March 26th, 1992, the WBS meeting featured Steve Poulsen as the speaker on caves.  Poulsen of The Oregon Grotto, a branch of The National Speleological Society, is a 20 year veteran of cave exploring.

     The talk concentrated on three main areas:

1.  Safety...always carry at least two back-up lighting systems while caving. Steve also uses a

carbide light on his hat that will last for about an hour and a half.

2. Another point was...leave things as you find them. Don’t break off

specimens, leave garbage, touch “living” formations, or track mud into

pristine areas.   An Oregon lava tube at one time had upright “drip icicles” of lava that were knocked over by a cave-in of the roof, and later carried off by vandals...leave stuff alone for others to see also!

3.  Of particular interest were slides of animals in caves. Besides bats, a rattlesnake, and dead and living bobcats, a dead cougar was shown in the process of being coated with limestone and becoming a fossil itself. Another slide showed cougar scratch marks on the sand of the cave floor where it was burying its feces...just like Garfield does.

     When asked about Bigfoot in caves, Poulsen indicated that all his questions were answered with, “Ask Datus Perry.” One of the slides really surprised us. It was of the “Datus Perry Cave” in Skamania County, WA.  Steve had never heard of or found evidence of Bigfoot in caves.


Bigfoot Uses Caves

     I wonder about seeing in dark caves though.  Although Bigfeet can see well in the dark, and their eyes are apparently adapted to that end; far in the caves there is no incident light to aid even the Bigfoot to move about.  I believe there has to be some small amount of light for them to maneuver in the dark.  Consequently, some of the cave reports could be exaggerated.  Would they be able to echo-locate with ultrasound?

     So, it would appear from the cavers that Bigfoot doesn’t reside in caves.  But…there are an awful lot of reports of Bigfoot activity in and around caves reported by people.  Here are a few “one-liners” that you can chew on.  For more info if needed, read in Bigfoot Behavior or the entire Track Record is on a CD available from Amazon.com or from Paulides NABS site.  At any rate, keep your skepticals on and make up your own mind.


-Some young boys said that two big ape things crawled out of a place along the dried up creek bed where there was a sort of cave that had undermined the streams dirt bank.

-Matt Moneymaker writes the witness had found deer tracks and eventually came to a natural overhang or cave where he found a number of severed deer legs neatly arranged side-by-side.  Later, he was terrified when a Bigfoot entered the cave, but it did nothing. 

-Found a huge amount of bear moss from nearby lodgepole pines that had been stripped and stashed in the cave in what appeared to be a bed of some sort.

-Roy was near Sycan Butte in Lake County, OR, and was following a deer trail up a rocky outcrop.  By chance, he came across a branch trail that led up a ledge to a cave.  The cave mouth was about five feet high and 8-10 feet wide.  He didn’t see anything, but the cave stunk of Bigfoot. 

-John Green in Year of the Sasquatch commented on the discovery in a cave of a bed of evergreen twigs that were piled six to eight feet in diameter and four feet high.

-Wes Sumerlin explored a cave in an isolated part of the Blue Mountains, WA, and found a bed of boughs and grasses, evidently packed in from a nearby meadow.  It was about 4 X 9 feet.  He collected a handful of hair that was tested and could not be compared with anything on file.


     So what do we make of all this…does Bigfoot inhabit caves?  Seems to be plenty of cave reports of Bigfoot, but they could mostly be just a temporary refuge rather than a home.  Or, with the cavers, as Steve mentioned with the bear tracks, you don’t always see things you aren’t looking for.  To a caver, a pile of sticks could well be a packrat midden not worth paying attention to.  And…like Steve also implied…sometimes you get spooked, maybe something is hidden out of sight, watching you...

     Another point, it seems often the “caves” are really rock-shelters, overhanging rocks and such…areas that a caver wouldn’t bother to explore.

     And…I don’t know about cavers, but if there was a terrific stench coming from a cave, I’d sure avoid it.  It occurs to me that bat guano might not be that pleasant.  An OPB TV program once showed a huge pile of bat excreta crawling with roaches, worms, centipedes, and other vermin.




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