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How A 1924 “Bigfoot” Battle On Mt. St. Helens Helped Launch A Legend

No one knows for sure when the Northwest’s Bigfoot legend truly began, but the most successful launching pad for the public’s obsession with it is known: a battle that supposedly took place in a narrow gorge on the east flank of Mt. St. Helens. The gorge is now called Ape Canyon. That’s where, in the summer of 1924, a group of gold prospectors stumbled out of the woods, shaking and glassy-eyed, to tell of 7-foot-tall ape-like animals attacking them with boulders. Fred Beck, Gabe Lefever, John Peterson, Marion Smith and Smith’s son Roy described coming upon “gorilla men” near where they had built a small cabin for their gold-hunting forays. They claimed they were eight miles from Spirit Lake when they encountered four of the giant animals moving through the forest with erect, human-like strides. “They are covered with long, black hair,” The Oregonian reported, relating the descriptions offered by the men. “Their ears are about four inches long and stick straight up. They have four toes, short and stubby.” The witnesses estimated each animal weighed about 400 pounds. (READ MORE)


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