Since I live here in Siskiyou County, I looked forward to reading this chapter of Tribal Bigfoot. It was short and didn’t contain as many sighting reports as the chapters on Trinity County, Del Norte County, and Humbolt County, and I had to wonder why David Paulides kept mentioning other Happy Camp area sightings he was aware of, but profiled only Lars Larson and Tara Hauki, both people I know in this community.
He mentioned that “There aren’t many towns in California more remote than Happy Camp.” (Pg. 212) Maybe it is just too remote for most people, but I call it home and so do about 1200 other people hereabouts.
There are only three Bigfoot reports in this chapter. The first was from a hunter, Darrell Whiteaker, who entered an area near the Marble Mountain Wilderness and found himself in a quiet zone, associated with possible Bigfoot habitation. The experience is that the forest becomes entirely quiet – no birds twittering, no squirrels running about in or out of the trees. Nothing… just silence. A theory is that Bigfoot may frighten all forest creatures so severely that they must be still for self-protection.
The second segment of this chapter concerned Lars Larson, a local prospector that came here to Happy Camp back in 1987. Everyone who has been here a while knows Lars. I was sorry to read this part: “He told me that several years ago there had been visitors in town claiming to be professional bigfoot researchers, and they told him they didn’t believe his cast was real; they stated it was a hoax. This made him very upset….”
I’d like to respond to that. First of all, everyone in Happy Camp accepted that the casting he made was probably a Bigfoot footprint, prior to the summer of 2005. Everyone I know of who has ever spoken of Lars respects him. Nobody here has any negative feelings toward him that I know of, and I have no reason to doubt his credibility. To me he seems like a very sweet but quiet older man who doesn’t hurt anyone and keeps to himself most of the time.
I just read about this episode in JavaBob’s book, Monsters Myths and Me: And now my eyes are open a few nights ago. Here’s what he wrote:
Quoting from pages 32 and 33 of JavaBob’s book:
When I asked Lars what he thought might have made the print, he answered that he had absolutely no idea. He only knew he was not able to identify them.
I had asked Lars and the owner of the Moon Dragon, several days earlier, if they minded if I take the print and share it with the GABRO team to investigate. They both agreed and let me take it back to my business to share with the team.
Later, after the GABRO team arrived and I had my conversation with Tom, I went into the back room and brought Lars’ print out for Lee to see. [Lee Hickman, tracker.] Lee took about three minutes to identify the print. He explained to me; “…the print was most likely made by a small black bear. It was apparently walking down hill, probably after a rain, on soft wet soil. The bear print was elongated as it slid down the hill and pushed the soft dirt in front of it. This is not a Bigfoot print!” I was totally amazed by his explanation. It fit the story that Lars had shared with me … perfectly.
Later that day, I returned the print and shared this information with Lars. Lars was happy to finally get an answer he could be comfortable with. However, after Lars told the owner of the Moon Dragon about our findings, it got back to me that she was not quite as happy about the findings as Lars was. I never followed up to find out why.
On the other hand, I was impressed to see that not every unusual object was accepted by the GABRO team as a Bigfoot artifact.”
That’s how I remember it. I never talked to Lars about the pronouncement that his print was from a bear, but I clearly remember in 2005, Bob talking about this incident exactly as he reported it here. He too likes and respects Lars as much as the rest of us do, and none of us ever had any intention of calling his footprint casting a “hoax.” According to what we remember, Lars never said it was made by a Bigfoot. He always said he didn’t know what it was. It was everyone else in town (well, lots of us) that thought it was a Bigfoot footprint because of the size.
Now here is Marcie Stumpf’s article about the incident which I reprinted in Happy Camp News in 2003 with New Era publisher Maria McCracken’s permission:
By Marcie Stumpf
Edited for space
. . footprints of a size and shape consistent with those of the legendary Bigfoot were discovered on a claim belonging to THE NEW 49’ers, on Indian Creek, near Happy Camp California.
Lars Larson, a NEW 49’er who was mining on the claim, discovered several of the footprints which measured 17 inches long, and 11 inches wide. Three of the prints were in gravel, and were not distinct, but one was on solid ground, and Lars was able to make a plaster cast of the print.
Happy Camp is well known as “Bigfoot Country”. The first sighting of one of these elusive creatures was made on Thompson Creek, a nearby tributary of the Klamath River, in the 1860’s. A group of Chinese workers who were building a ditch to carry water to a hydraulic mine sighted one, and were so frightened they refused to return to the job.
. . . Lars reported that he searched the surrounding area thoroughly, but was unable to find any further evidence, such as broken branches, or tufts of hair, or any further footprints.
Bigfoot, if he is out there somewhere, still desires not to be seen, and he has many miles of forest where he can remain secluded. Some of us prefer it that way also.
I am not a great tracker but I have looked at and compared bear tracks and Bigfoot tracks. I have no opinion on this particular footprint casting because I’m no expert, but I wanted to make it clear that nobody here in Happy Camp doubts Lars Larson’s credibility, and nobody considers him any kind of hoaxer, as was stated in Tribal Bigfoot.
Possible Bigfoot Bedding
Okay, that’s one Happy Camp story… and the other one David Paulides researched for Tribal Bigfoot is about Tara Hauki. In case you’re not familiar with her sighting experiences, you can read them on her website, Sasquatch and Me, and on the BFRO site here. I met Tara when she came to JavaBobs Bigfoot Deli to tell us about her July 2005 experience. We all went to her home and looked over the property she lives on – and this was within a day or two of the sighting.
The one thing on the property that looked like it could possibly be Bigfoot evidence was the “bed” of broken horsetails that was found right next to the spring. This is the picture I took that day of this area. You can’t see the spring but it is at the back of the hollowed area under the leaves. The bedding doesn’t show well in this photo but it is the dried out area. This was the only indication that I had that possibly something could be unusual with the property. I didn’t know what else could have picked the horsetails and piled them there… and figured it had to be a human, or a Bigfoot. In Tribal Bigfoot David Paulides wrote, “The next day Tara went to the front of her house and looked for tracks. She found one footprint, 18 inches by seven and three-quarters inches.” This was after her first sighting according to Paulides. Well, I was there right after that sighting and don’t remember anything about a footprint in front of her house, and I wonder where that story comes from… or was there some kind of misunderstanding? The only footprint I know of related to this sighting was found weeks later on the hill nearby by Bigfoot researcher Rex Howdyshel.
The Happy Camp Footprint Cast of 2005 is the abnormally big one.
This was discovered on the hill by Rex Howdyshel and cast by Rob Shorey.
I was one of the first people Rex showed the print to before it was cast.
After that I spent considerable time with Tara during 2005, and up until about April 2006. One of my favorite memories was our trip to Poker Flat, just the two of us. We had a good time that day. It gave me a chance to get to know her better and I appreciated her knowledge of the plants that grew there. Poker Flat is a mountain meadow campground quite a few miles into the forest at a high elevation, near the Siskiyou Wilderness. At one time that area was used as a stop over for mule trains. The picture on the left is of Poker Flat.
In his segment on Tara Hauki in this Siskiyou County chapter of Tribal Bigfoot, toward the end David Paulides mentioned caves on the hill Tara lives next to. I live on the other side of that hill. The cave system is actually a gold mine that operated on the hilltop many years back (see photo below). The entire top of the hillside was washed away by hydraulic mining and the “caves” are probably a drainage system. There used to be an opening in my backyard.
The old gold mine could have indeed provided a place for a Bigfoot to live. Entrances to the gold mine system have been blocked by the forest service now which I think is a great idea because otherwise children could be injured while trying to explore them. The last time I went there, mountain lion tracks were evident in the area of the mine entrance at the airport. We’ve still got mountain lions roaming around at night so I guess they’ve found another place to live.
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter One: “Historical Bigfoot”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Two: “The Bigfoot Map Project”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Three: “Associations”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Four: “Extreme Sighting Locations”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Five: “Santa Cruz County”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Six: “Amador County”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Seven: “Trinity County”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Eight: “Siskiyou County”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Nine: “Del Norte County”
2 Replies to “Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Eight: “Siskiyou County””
Hi Tara… I’ve heard over the years of people wanting to change the theme of Happy Camp, but there are lots of businesses that will have to change their names to make that work. I have no idea what the latest is…. I tend to stay out of town and the meetings there these days.
I think you could expand on your “Sasquatch and Me” page. I think there was a lot more information in Dave’s book. You’re the best one to tell your story. Everyone else is subject to misinterpretation and misunderstandings.
About Lars’ print — there’s no doubt there are Bigfoot in the area where his mining claim is. That’s why I’m on the fence. It doesn’t look to me like a “small bear sliding down a hill” print. The only thing that makes me pause is the slant on the toes.
I’m sorry he gave it to David Paulides. It seems like both those footprint casts should be kept here in Happy Camp as part of this town’s history. Ivan at Siskiyou House has a State of Jefferson museum in the back. I wonder if he’d like to add a Bigfoot section to that.
If/when any more evidence comes along I will beg whoever owns it not to give it to someone outside of this town.
I really enjoy reading your newsletter. I just wanted to say that the thing in Paulides book about the foot print in my yard must be a mistake, of course. I explained to him the Rex found it on the hill behind my house. Editorial mistakes always seem to come up in articles of course, but jeez … I thought he was taking such good notes.
Do you know if the whole story of my encounter has ever been recorded on anyone’s website? I don’t think so. Most of the stuff I find are of the critical nature, and they are not about Bigfoot, but my personal life.
I think it is a shame the Forestry service shut down Larry’s Lost Mind, and the mines, but the safety issue is the most important aspect of that decision.
Lar’s print IS a Bigfoot print. I thought that was all a bunch of male posturing anyway. (Not on Lar’s side, but thiers.)
Did you know that there is someone here who wants to change the theme of Happy Camp from Bigfoot to something else? Well there is, and I’ll let you figure out that one, but answer me this one … Could Happy Camp ever be anything else?