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What really happened on Mount St. Helens?

Mount St. Helens before the eruption (public domain photo)

Of all the Sasquatch legends originating in the Pacific Northwest, there is one in particular that has captured the imagination of just about everyone who has heard it. It’s a tantalizing tale of exploding volcanoes, giant hairy beings, shadowy government figures, mysterious helicopter evacuations, and more. 

The story begins on May 18, 1980, when Washington’s Mount St. Helens, one of the most beautiful peaks in the Cascade Range, exploded in a catastrophic eruption, killing dozens of people and thousands of animals and raining destructive rocks, ash and debris across the region. After the eruption, a thick flow of ash, mud and fallen trees choked the rivers and streams and smothered what had once been healthy forests. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Guard were called upon to help in the rescue and recovery operations. While the hard-working men and women from these organizations worked to recover the bodies of deer, elk, bears and other animals, it is said that they also came across the bodies of two Sasquatch. These bodies were set aside, covered with tarps and guarded by armed men, and witnesses were warned to keep quiet. 

Not all the Sasquatch found on Mount St. Helens were dead, however. One purported witness states that he and other men were told to follow a very large, hairy, man-like creature, with a sad demeanor and a burned arm, into the forest. They stopped at several isolated, rocky areas with caves, and each time they stopped, the creature would make a strange sound. Sometimes there would be no answering call, while other times, a second creature would respond with the same sound. Using this method, the rescuers were able to locate some badly burned Sasquatch, who were then brought into the camp for medical attention.

According to the tale, at the end of the rescue mission, there was a debriefing, during which the witnesses were told that the Bigfoot creatures lived in the forest and just wanted to be left alone. They were asked to keep quiet in order to protect the few creatures that were left. 

Another supposed participant of the post-eruption rescue mission stated that his Air Force unit was sent to the Mount St. Helens area to help with the devastation. They were issued M-16s and green helmets marked “Guard” and were told to protect some of the military’s medical tents and to prevent unauthorized people from entering the tents. 

This witness said he saw doctors guiding unusually tall people or creatures wrapped in overcoats, with their heads covered, into the medical tent. The injured beings were always covered with clothing and bandages, so that their faces and hands could not be seen. It was a mystery to the men what they were guarding, but they were told that they were guarding victims of the eruption and to not ask any questions. 

In most versions of the story, the rescuers completed their missions and moved on, without ever without finding out what happened to the beings involved. Some accounts indicated that the beings were relocated to other parts of the Cascades, while others say that the beings were given a home on a military base: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, which encompasses over 86,000 acres of mostly forested terrain in the South Puget Sound region. 

What exactly happened on Mount St. Helens following the eruption? Were burned Sasquatch beings really discovered and cared for by members of the military? Were they disguised as humans, wrapped in large coats, and brought to makeshift hospitals for care?

Many versions of this story exist online in various publications, videos, documentary films, etc., but hard evidence proving these events actually took place has proven difficult to find. We may never have the full details of this event, but the story lives on as one of the most captivating Bigfoot tales of all time. 


By Christina Hebert


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by Gary T. Cooper on May 06, 2023

I had a sighting on 8th Ave just out of Spanaway WA in Aug. 2012. It was a HUGE male specimen, and was walking quickly onto Ft Lewis/McChord. Living smack dab in the middle of that base, I know their security is good, and also that they do ops out there 24-7 and that there is NO WAY they don’t know about a 1200 lb 11-12 foot tall creature roaming around on their reservation. Think of all the FLIR and night vision things they use at night.

by Jace Holland on May 06, 2023

Really interesting article. Definitely makes you think!

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