Geographical Index > United States > Washington > Skamania County > Report # 9944
Submitted by witness on Monday, December 6, 2004.
Campers Awaken to Unknown Vocalizations, Brush Popping and Foul Odor
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COUNTY: Skamania County
LOCATION DETAILS: The location is the campground for hikers on Mt. St. Helens known as hikers bivouac. Campground is located at mouth of St Helens trail.
NEAREST TOWN: Cougar
NEAREST ROAD: Mt St Helens Hikers bivouac
OBSERVED: At approx. 2 am, 35 campers were awakened to the most god awful screams in the woods. They sounded like a wounded animal and we thought maybe a wounded cougar. Others in the campground thought it may be a bear. 6 of us went to try and determine the source of the noise. We entered the woods to the east of the campground. We used flashlights to light our way and I was in lead and went towards the noise. It seemed fairly close to us.
By this time the screams had gone on for 5-10 minutes already. As we drew near the noise, which was emanating approx 200-300 ft from the perimeter of the campground, we smelled a foul smell. It smelled like animal droppings mixed with other odors. The forest around us sounded very loud with brush movement and cracking wood. We decided quickly that we needed to retreat back to the campground. I personally didn’t want to have to come face to face with a bear or whatever it was.
We got back to campground and had a general agreement amongst us that it may be something unexplainable. The noise continued for maybe 20-25 minutes total. It faded off to the east with what sounded like another similar noise coming from the south. After these particular screams stopped, we could hear the coyotes howling for another 20 minutes. It was a very strange and weird experience. I have never heard anything like this in my life. I have spent alot of time outdoors and I have never experienced anything like this.
The next day was nice and we ascended Mt St Helens with no incidents or sightings to report.
ALSO NOTICED: Large disturbance amongst trees. Loud breaking of underbrush.
OTHER WITNESSES: Approx 35 witnesses - all the campers that were sleeping. Everyone was awakened by this incident.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 2am. clear skies, full moon
ENVIRONMENT: The area is fir forest, fairly thick brush, open lava flow areas and blow down from the Mt St Helens eruption.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Tom Yamarone:
I spoke with the witness and have the following details to add:
- These “screams” were unusual and unusually loud. A group campground experienced this occurrence “en masse” and people from various geographic locations and backgrounds were upset and perplexed by this experience. So much so, that a group of seasoned outdoor adventurers went into the woods to try to determine what animal was making this noise.
- Although they initially attempted to associate the sound with an injured mountain lion or bear, they were not convinced these assumptions were correct. Many debated this and soon determined that they were hearing a sound that no one had experienced. Thus, they made an effort to find the source of the screams.
- After ten minutes in the woods near the perimeter of camp, they neared the source of the screams. At that moment, the animal making the noise abruptly retreated through the woods, crashing through the underbrush and trees in a very loud manner. The witness has hunted elk and has heard an elk retreat from his presence “crashing through the brush, and this sounded heavier than that.”
- One other thing to note: All the dogs in camp were “dead quiet” during this event.
Whereas we have many reports of unusual sounds and smells, this one is fairly unique in that everyone in this campground was awakened, and came out of their tents during this event.
We are seeking additional witnesses to this event. We would request that if you were camping at this location on this memorable night, please submit an additional report to our website.
Please refer to report number 9944. Thank you.