An exclusive interview with Olympic Project member and Bigfoot researcher Dave Ellis. (All photos on this page courtesy of Dave Ellis.)
“My first notion that something out of the ordinary might be inhabiting the woods of the Pacific Northwest came from a story my grandfather told me,” explains Dave Ellis, a Bigfoot researcher and member of The Olympic Project. Ellis’ family lived in Washington State and his grandfather owned an eighty-acre farm near Battle Ground, Washington, just south of Mt. St. Helens, in a region long known for Sasquatch activity.
“When I was about eight years old, Grandpa told me he saw a five-foot-tall monkey running across a hayfield he was cutting. It ran across a field, hopped a fence and disappeared into the woods,” Ellis recalls. “I didn’t know what to think at the time. Then just three years later, I had my own experience,” Ellis continues.
“I was with a group of kids in a forty-acre cow pasture. Along the west fence line was a dense forest with many bushes. As we approached the area near the fence, the trees suddenly exploded with activity. Thirty-foot-tall alder trees began swaying violently! Something was pulling big limbs off the trees! All of a sudden there was a loud noise—the loudest vocalization I’ve ever heard an animal make. It sounded like a cross between a lion roaring and an elephant trumpeting, and it lasted a long time. It was absolutely terrifying. We ran out of that pasture as fast as we could and never went back there again,” Ellis states.
Pacific Northwest forest stream scene
As with so many people who have experienced Bigfoot/Sasquatch, Ellis set the memory aside for a time and continued with his life, but it was always there in the background. He began to research Bigfoot, first by reading various websites and later by attending conferences and meeting with people who were in the field conducting their own studies.
Ellis with Bob Gimlin and fellow researchers
In 2006, Ellis was invited to join WaBFR, a Washington-based Bigfoot research group loosely tied to the BFRO (Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization). Within the framework of the WaBFR, he started on his own path as a researcher by spending time in the woods listening and learning from others. He became a BFRO member and a field researcher and investigator.
Ellis felt that gathering evidence was vital to the study of Bigfoot. He wanted to collect more than just stories of encounters—he hoped to find hard evidence, scientific proof of Bigfoot’s existence. This desire drove him to learn as much as possible about track casting and audio recording.
Diagram of Sasquatch foot characteristics
Eventually Ellis crossed paths with like-minded researchers Derek Randles and Rich Germeau. “I liked their direction and their goals for research,” explains Ellis. The two invited Ellis to join the Olympic Project, a group of individuals based in Washington State who record and document events related to Sasquatch encounters.
Since that time, Ellis has worked to continually refine research methods and to become highly proficient in the areas of recording and analyzing unknown sounds as well as with casting tracks found in mud, earth and other surfaces and training others to do the same.
"Littlefoot," a 3 3/4 inch baby Bigfoot track found by Ellis.
Ellis is particularly proud of his work helping individuals who have been traumatized by encounters with Bigfoot/Sasquatch to process those encounters, develop a greater understanding of them and come to peace with them. He is still working to discover as much factual knowledge about Bigfoot/Sasquatch as possible.
“I hope eventually we will be able to predict where and why Sasquatch are in a particular area, and that knowledge will help inform decisions about how we can best coexist with these beings,” explains Ellis.
Pacific Northwest lake scene
Ellis continues to research in the forests of the Pacific Northwest and to gather information for a book he is writing on unknown sounds. He has been featured in books such as Tim Halloran's The Bigfoot Influencers, in films including Darcy Weir's documentary, "Sasquatch Among Wildmen," on the "Strange Harbor" podcast with Johnny Manson and on "Untold Radio" with Doug Hajicek.
As a featured speaker at the upcoming Forks Sasquatch Days event, May 26-28, 2023, Ellis will discuss his experiences with Bigfoot witnesses, explain the methodology and results of some of the long-term studies he and other researchers are working on, and provide details about his areas of expertise, including audio recording and analysis and track casting.
By Christina Hebert