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COUNTY: Okanogan County
NEAREST TOWN: Twisp
NEAREST ROAD: Rt.2
OBSERVED: Tracks found after hearing crunching snow outside of cabin. Wife first smelled an odor coming from outside the cabin; husband was asleep in front of TV. She paid no attention to it and went to bed. She was awakened by a metallic bang on the back porch and then crunching footsteps going towards the driveway. She got up and noticed that the smell was stronger then it had been earlier. She likened it to something like a bear just come out of hibernation.
She finally was able to wake husband at around 3:30AM. Telling him of the events, she loaded her 12-gauge shotgun and gave it to husband, who with flashlight went out on back porch. He noticed the smell right away, a lifted up wash tub protecting their frozen food and saw large man-like footprints on and near the open porch. He came running back in frightened.
The next day they went into town to get film and plaster. They mixed the plaster too runny and it soaked through the snow on what they thought was the best track. Seeing their mistake they made a thicker batch of plaster, but not knowing better, poured it into the same track. They couldn't think of how to get the cast out of the snow so decided to wait till spring to thaw it out. They covered them with cardboard boxes.
Their son heard about all of this (3 days later) and contacted Peter Byrne, who contacted Richard Noll and David Smith to investigate as soon as possible.
OTHER WITNESSES: At the end of the street, another 500 feet away, a young couple heard dogs barking franticly at about the same time the crunching footsteps were heard.
OTHER STORIES: They went back to their normal living routine, till wife's son called and stirred up interest. Slowly, everyone in and around Twisp became aware of the events and visited the home to see the tracks. The Wenatchee Daily World started snooping around after hearing some rumors but could not find out much so dropped their interest.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Nighttime temp averaged in the minus single digits, F. Clear, brisk, 2 feet of snow on the ground. Roads hard compact snow and ice.
ENVIRONMENT: East Cascade foothills, scrubland.
A & G References: Pg. 99, A7
Follow-up investigation report:
We arrived at the home 7 days after the events happened. We were told the story and then proceeded to examine the tracks. Visitors had destroyed most of the tracks but some were still left. There was one on the porch edge facing west, two facing east (as if to walk up to the porch) and near the porch and one next to a natural creek or spring opening, about 35' from the cabin, facing west, there were about six other impressions but we could not make out what they were since they were mixed in with human visitor bootprints.
We took photographs, measurements and collected hair in the immediate area. We dug out the cast attempt by the family members and Dave began thawing it out. All that could be determined from the cast was a basic outline and some foot contours on it.
The porch track was made in the snowdrift at the edge of the floorboards. It showed all five toes, at a 45-degree angle. There was a toe ridge behind them with small ridges between each and every toe. The biggest toe was the most forward on the foot and on the inside. A double ball was present and there was a slight arch on the inside as well. It measured 16" - 17". We could not get an accurate measurement since the track was not flat or level, the heel and toes were at about the same level, but the middle of the foot was raised. The foot had bent over the small snow mound on the edge of the porch. This track was 7" - 8" wide at the ball and about 1.5" - 2.5" in depth. We noticed that whatever made the tracks had control of its toes, for they were deeper and pushed back, toward the heel in some of the prints, as if pushing off with them while stepping. The tracks appeared to have been placed with very little heel drag or toe kick in the deeper 2 - foot snow tracks.
We were in communication with Peter Byrne during the investigation and he asked for us to check for claw marks in the tracks. We found none. He also asked us to measure the step and stride, which we could not do because there was no continuous trackway after all the visitors, had been there.
We searched the area and determined that the tracks had come from the hard snow covered road, around the family vehicle, out to the spring, then up to the porch and then around the house and back to the hard snow packed road again.
The porch was used to store frozen food. It was placed under a large metal wash tub on a small kitchen (Formica) style table, up against the back of the cabin. The tub had an edge that is hard to get under to lift by. The tub had been lifted, not slid off the table, and most of the contents underneath removed. This was the metallic bang the wife had heard, the tub against the outside back cabin wall. The stored food included frozen beef, bacon and a poor boy sandwich. The sandwich was in a box, which was later found in the yard near the spring, tracks were near it. The sandwich was still in the box, in a cellophane wrapper, but the box was opened on one end, no teeth marks were evident. The husband thought nothing of the sandwich or box as evidence and so ate it for lunch and discarded the packaging. The frozen vegetables were not taken.
We stayed in the area overnight.
This event did not show the behavior or capability of a bear nor can the tracks be attributable to bear. A very pliable foot made the tracks with individual toe movement quite evident. There is no evidence suggesting these to have been manufactured. The family seemed very credible in relating all the events as they took place and there was corroborating testimony by neighbors. All of this leads us to believe that what has been reported is true and factual.
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