By M.P. Pellicer | Stranger Than Fiction Stories
Modern-day Sasquatch lore paints this cryptid as being very wary of man, and watching him only from afar, however Native American tribes for centuries have painted a different picture of Bigfoot. They describe how given the chance they would snatch up women or children and take them away never to be seen again.
Some tribes believed Bigfoot would take humans to feed on them, others believed they used them for sexual purposes.
So how did Sasquatch's nature become so different in modern times?
In 1924, Albert Ostman was on a prospecting trip about 75 miles north of the head of Toba Inlet. He was warned by an old Indian about the mountain giants that lived in the area. Albert didn't believe him.
Then he noticed that during the night his belongings were being messed with, and then some of the food started to disappear.
He was kidnapped during the night while he slept in his sleeping bag. Ostman said, "I didn't know it was the "Old Man" Sasquatch at the time. All I knew is that I was being carried, and that the sleeping bag was pulled so tight around my neck that I almost choked. He just slung me over his shoulder and away he went."
He had his knife and rifle inside the sleeping bag with him, but his kidnapper trudged for three hours before they reached a cave. It was occupied by an older female Sasquatch and a younger male and female.
He described the "Old Man" as weighing about 500 to 600 pounds and measuring 7 feet in height. The "Old Lady" was a little shorter, and the other two measured about 6 feet and weighed about 200 pounds.
He said they ate fruits and nuts, and no meat. He thought they were just curious about him, however if he made an attempt to leave the Old Man would block the way. Ostman had been with the Sasquatch about a week, and started to run short on supplies. He realized he would have to escape somehow.
There is more than one version of how he made his escape. In one he took out a box of snuff or tobacco, which the Old Man tried to eat, and it made him sick. While the others hovered around the older Bigfoot, Ostman grabbed his belongings and fled. He made the getaway without pursuit.
In another version the female Bigfoot chased him and he shot her in the neck. He was rescued by a passing motorist who took him to a nearby town.
Fearing the he would be called crazy he didn't tell his story until 1957, when another man William Roe described seeing a Bigfoot in the area where he had been taken. He described the Bigfoots' speech as a sort of chattering. When asked why he thought he had been taken, he thought they might have wanted him to mate with the young female. Ostman died in 1975.
In 1928, a trapper named Muchalat Harry from the Nootka Tribe was kidnapped by a large tribe of Bigfoot on Vancouver Island. He was asleep in a lean-to when he was scooped up by a Bigfoot, and taken to their camp where there were about 20 creatures. They examined him, feeling his skin and then seemed to become bored and ignored him. Seizing the opportunity he escaped, and never went into the woods again. Contrary to Ostman's experience, he thought he was taken as a meal.
There were earlier stories about Bigfoot, when the Pacific Coast was being explored. In 1810, a Northwest Fur and Trading Co. agent named David Thompson, told of finding footprints measuring 14 inches long and 8 inches wide. He knew the prints did not belong to a bear, and the Indians told him they belong to the "mamouth".
In 1840, Elkanah Walker, a missionary to the Spokane Indians reported in their belief in a race of giants which inhabited a certain mountain off to the west of them.
There is a more recent story in which Bigfoot was named as an abductor. It started on June 1, 1987, when Theresa Ann Bier, 16, went to the Sierra Nevada Mountains with Russell "Skip" Welch, 43, who considered himself a bigfoot expert. He took the teenager to the area of Shuteye Peak on what was supposed to be a trip to find the creatures. He claimed to have had contact with sasquatches in the past.
What happened on the trip remains a mystery, all that is known is that Welch returned to Fresno without Theresa Bier. When interrogated by the sheriff's deputies he said they had become separated, and that she was abducted by one of the creatures. Skip said that Theresa would not be returning, because she’d be happier with the Bigfoot community in the mountains rather than her own home.
Needless to say the police didn't put much stock in his story. They searched the area where they had camped, but couldn't find any evidence of a crime, and much less a clue to where Theresa could be found.
They did find a staged camp that Welch had set up, and finally the original camp they had been at, but no evidence of a kill site. One of Welch's shirts was also found with meth in a pocket.
Welch was charged with child stealing, but the charges were dropped three days before he was to stand trial. Without physical evidence, perhaps the prosecution had second thoughts they could get a conviction. This would free Welch from any future prosecution if the girl or her remains were ever found.
The wait has been long, and decades have passed without any clue of what happened to Theresa Bier.
Theresa was not only unfortunate in what happened in those days of 1987, but in her life in general. She was born to abusive parents Shirley and David Bier. Her mother broke her leg when she was three years old, and another time broke the child's ribs. Theresa and her sister Vicki were placed in foster care.
Theresa's parents divorced and several years later, her father wanted to regain custody. His second wife had once been married to his ex-wife's half brother. Theresa Bier's stepmother, Margie Richmond also turned out to be abusive, not only towards Theresa but her own natural born daughters.
Eventually Theresa returned to Fresno to her great-grandmother's house, where her uncle John "Blind Johnny" Richmond was granted custody. He had lost his eyesight while playing Russian Roulette. John would make Theresa miss school so she could babysit his sons. It was claimed he and his friends sexually abused her. She was described as a "slow learner" and "immature" at school.
These circumstances could explain why a teenage girl was allowed to accompany a 43-year-old man on a camping trip. It seemed she had gone willingly, but it would be hard not to believe that foul play had taken place.
Welch was a one time house painter, who mostly lived off disability checks and was addicted to meth. His wife Shannon Welch had died from an overdose two years before. He had a reputation of taking young girls to the mountains and using drugs to lure them into having sex.
But what if he had been telling the truth? Was she taken like Albert Ostman and Muchalat Harry?
When Muchalat Harry escaped from the Bigfoot he was treated by Father Anthony Terhaar, a priest who testified about Harry's condition. He took care of Harry for 3 weeks during which time the Indian's hair had turned totally white. There were times the priest feared not only for Harry's health, but his sanity. This was a man he had known to be a fearless trapper, but now he dared not go beyond the borders of his village. He believed that Harry had suffered a horrible experience.
In Bigfoot Lives: Deal With It the author wrote: "Every year hundreds of people disappear in the forests and it is possible, although unlikely, that bigfoot creatures have something to do with some of these disappearances. Since they are a predatory animal, they are opportunists and it might be possible that they would and have attacked people.”
What happened to Theresa Ann Bier in the Central Sierra back in 1987 seems destined to remain a mystery. She is still listed as a missing person by the Fresno Police Dept. Her uncle Blind Johnny died of cancer around 2008, and Skip Welch died in 1998, at the age of 54 due to severe coronary artery disease.
There have been other disappearances at Shuteye Peak, where Theresa Bier went missing.
In 1934, Richard McPherson, 10, the son of Chester McPherson a forest service lookout at Shut Eye Peak disappeared while on a fishing trip with his brother Robert, and their cousin Howard. The three of them were caught in a spring storm, and they camped where they were that night off the headwaters of Rock Creek.
Robert went to find help the next morning, and left the younger boys in a temporary shelter. Robert returned with rangers, and on his way up the rocky slope he met Howard Ibbotson coming down, who only explained that Richard had disappeared from the camp. He was found on May 28, 1934, huddled beside a large rock, and it was determined he had died from exposure.
Doug Pearce, 86, disappeared in April, 2005. He was a retired nuclear engineer who went camping near Shuteye Peak. He didn't have medical problems, and was in good physical shape. A few days after his disappearance, his white truck was found abandoned in the mud and on fire. Authorities say it appeared the vehicle caught fire accidentally, and they believe he became lost when he tried to walk out of the mountains. As of 2023 he has not been found.
James Arthur, 67, was a military veteran, and he went missing on July 28, 2008. He left to go on a hike or fishing trip to Star Lakes in the Sierra National Forest. He planned to return home the same day.
His blue Dodge Ram pickup truck was found near the entrance to Iron Lakes on Beasore Road. This is 14 miles from Star Lakes. Two persons reported seeing Arthur on a steep trail to Iron Lakes, and they spoke to him a little. He was an experienced hiker with no health problems.
No evidence or remains has ever turned up since he disappeared.
Since late June 2020, Sandra Johnsen Hughes, 54, has been missing. She went on a solo camping trip to the area of Shuteye Peak in the Sierra National Forest. Before she disappeared she was spotted wandering barefoot with a bruise on her face. This witness said he offered help, but she declined.
Her campsite was found with personal documents and items scattered, which was contrary to what was known about this person's habits.
Her silver Saab was found crashed in the woods. She has not been found as of 2023 and she is listed as alive, but missing until evidence surfaces otherwise.
She was an experienced outdoor enthusiast. She was sighted on July 4, 2020 at Chiquito Pass Trailhead.
A sleeping bag she had recently purchased was found a few days later, off a trail about 2.5 miles north of where her vehicle was found.
She was reportedly spotted again on August 9, 2020 when two hunters told police they saw a woman leaning against a tree along Road 5S01 near Beasore Road. She did not seem to be in distress, but did look thinner then her photos.
These sightings took place close to the massive Creek Fire that began in September, 2020.
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