Hello again Sasquatch Fans of All Ages…
I’m back! I was in Portland, OR most of last week on personal business. So let’s pick up where we left off…
This is Chapter Six of Sasquatch Tracker’s Historical Bad Boys. If you are just joining us, we have been studying violent encounters various people have had over the years with the wild men of Alaska. Be sure to use the archives links in the right margin to read up on what we have covered so far.
This particular event is taken from Harry D. Colp’s The Strangest Story Ever Told. Colp wrote the details of the event down sometime during the 1930s and the manuscript was set aside for some reason and eventually forgotten. Years later Colp’s work was found and published. It’s a story of a prospector following up on a tip given to him about the location of some gold that almost costs him his life. Let’s take a look:
This time we are going to Thomas Bay, Alaska. Thomas Bay (N 57° 01’53” X W 132° 51’13”) is fed by the Baird Glacier. It’s an offshoot of Frederick Sound. It’s a bit northeast of Petersburg.
The area is sometimes called the “Bay of Death” because a massive landslide
buried a Tlingit village in 1750. An estimated 500 people were killed that fateful day. Despite that dreadful and devastating event, the surrounding area is rich in gold. And where there is gold, there are prospectors.
In 1900, Harry D. Colp and his partners John, Fred and Charlie sat in Wrangell, Alaska and wondered what to do. They were down on their luck. The gold was there, but the men were having some trouble locating it. Then Charlie learned from a local native man about a specific area around Thomas Bay where gold could be found. He departed at the beginning of the summer and traveled via canoe up the Patterson River in search of a “half-moon shaped” lake. The native man had assured him that gold would be found nearby.
Charlie didn’t locate the half-moon lake but instead set up a camp and explored the area around a lake shaped like the letter “S”. He panned the local rivers and found some promising signs of the gold yet to be found. But one thing bugged him while he was there. Charlie noticed the area was void of wildlife, the area was “dead” (Colp, n.d.). There were no signs of anything. Charlie told the men upon his return that he could spend the entire day walking in the woods and never even see a squirrel. Eventually Charlie became tired of eating the rations of beans, rice and bacon he had brought and made up his mind to hike to a nearby ridge to look for a couple of grouse to shoot.
Charlie made it to the ridge and managed to kill three grouse. He also managed to find a ledge with a bit of promising geology while trying to retrieve one of the grouse that had tumbled down an embankment. He used the butt of his rifle to break part of the ledge free in order to examine it more closely. He wasn’t too worried about the broken rifle as he climbed up the ridge to get his bearings so he could return to the spot in the future. As he neared the top of the ridge, he took a good look around in attempt to locate a landmark and in doing so he spotted the half-moon shaped lake he had been told about by the local native man. Charlie was satisfied and quietly happy.
Then it happened… Charlie suddenly realized he was not alone. He spotted a group of hideous devil creatures swarming up the ridge towards him. Gripped in fear, he quickly tried to use the rifle on the first of the creatures as the gang closed in on him. Realizing he had forgotten the rifle was broken, he hastily threw the rifle at them in one last act of self-defense before he turned to run. Charlie heard their ear-piercing yelps and smelled their sickening stench as they closed in on him. Charlie probably knew he was close to death when he felt their hot breath on his back and their long claw like fingers scraping desperately for bits of his own flesh. The yelping, the screaming, the hideous stench and the hot breath overpowered Charlie. Charlie’s world went black.
But Charlie survived. He was blinded by fear after his close call and later recalled he had no idea how he had managed to hold onto the piece of quartz or how he had managed to make it back to his canoe. When his senses returned, he found himself laying in the canoe and adrift. He was cold and hungry but he made his way back to Wrangell.
He recounted what had happened and stated the creatures were not men, but nor were they monkeys, but something in between. He could not tell if they were male or female because their bodies were completely covered in thick coarse hair. Interestingly, he said they were also covered in scabs and running sores. Of course he doubted that people believed what had taken place, but it made little difference to him. Charlie left Wrangell the following day and never returned.
Like all narrow escapes from certain death at the hands of wild men, I consider Charlie fortunate. Exactly what happened on that ridge after Charlie blacked out will remain a mystery forever. Over the years others have also had encounters with the “gang” and have been described as being temporarily insane because they have blacked out as well.
The Moon Lake Gang is probably long gone at this point considering that this event took place 116 years ago. But their descendants live on because reports of sightings and tracks being discovered in the Thomas Bay area, as well as all of southeast Alaska continue to trickle in to Sasquatch Tracker.
Godspeed, loyal readers…
Colp, H. N.D. The Strangest Story Ever Told. 5th Edition. Pilot Publishing. Petersburg, AK. Online: http://www.bigfootencounters.com/stories/harrycolp.htm (Accessed 15MAR2016).
Photographic Source: Anon, N.D. Swan Lake, Thomas Bay. KFSK File Photo. Online: http://ktoo.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Swan-lake.jpg (Accessed: 16MAR2016).