Near Happy Camp
A large, dark-haired creature thought to be Bigfoot was seen crossing Highway 96 then ascending this hillside on June 25.
By Linda Martin
June 27, 2005 - A commuter driving to work Saturday morning, June 25th, rounded a turn in Highway 96 a few miles east of Happy Camp. The commuter pulled into the south lane to pass the car ahead and noticed a large dark creature stepping over a guard rail next to a culvert. The creature crossed the road and started to climb an extremely steep incline where the hillside had been cut away to create the roadway years before.
Looking up while passing a 25mph sign, the commuter got a good look at the creature. This witness, a well-known and credible member of our community, has seen many bears and knew this wasn't one. It was upright and ran like a man, its long arms swinging. It was about eight feet tall, looked like an ape, and was covered with dark hair.
After getting to Happy Camp the commuter stopped to recover from the shock. The other car - the one that was passed at the scene of the sighting - sped ahead and stopped in at JavaBob's Bigfoot Deli. Bob Schmalzbach (JavaBob) remembers they ordered coffee and two spoons. They didn't look familiar and could have been tourists passing through on Highway 96.
The commuter saw the other car at JavaBob's and pulled in just as they were leaving only to find out they hadn't said a word about the strange creature crossing the road in front of them. This witness proceeded to tell JavaBob about the experience.
Later at work this person called a friend to relate the incident. The friend packed a 357 Magnum and a camera, drove to the scene of the incident between mile markers 47 and 48, and got out of the car. Standing next to the guard rail on the south side of the highway and looking up at the slope on the north, it was hard to imagine that anyone or anything could climb such a steep incline. At that time there was a rustling sound at the top, and this person saw the creature standing there. It raised it's head and turned to walk away. This witness could see the creature so clearly that when it lifted its foot to leave, the lighter-colored heel-pad was visible.
A moment later the witness heard voices which could have drifted up from the river. This site is in close proximity to the China Point River Access. Thinking it could be the voices of teenagers who'd been playing a trick, dressing up as a Bigfoot to frighten people, the witness drove around to the other side of the hill where there's a clearing and parking area used by Cal-Trans. The place was deserted.
These two witnesses decided to have lunch at JavaBob's where they told him what they'd seen. Later JavaBob said, "Because I know these people and they are extremely credible people, I made the decision to call Tom Biscardi."
Tom Biscardi is a world-renowned Bigfoot researcher with 32 years experience in the field, living in Las Vegas. He put together his first Bigfoot research team in the early 1970's. He's seen Bigfoot five times already and knows their habits and what's involved in tracking them. He said, "I'll be right there," and immediately packed to make the long journey north from Las Vegas to Happy Camp. In Santa Rosa he connected with Great American Bigfoot Research Organization team members Tim McMillen and Elbert Yee. Together the researchers reached Happy Camp at 3am where JavaBob sat up waiting for them.
At the site of the incident JavaBob, Biscardi and his team looked up at the hillside, amazed that a Bigfoot would climb such a steep incline. Tim McMillen volunteered to try it and within a few minutes was at the top. The others went around to the back and hiked in on an aging, leaf-covered trail. Around them grew abundant pine, madrone, oak, deer brush and poison oak. Mosquitoes swarmed but the beauty of the forest was enough to make one almost forget the insects.
About fifty yards into the forest they came across a set of large footprints, which have since been set in plaster. One was full, on the top of a hillock. On this one an arch was visible. The other was of a heel - the ground underneath had given way and dermal ridges, the hallmark of a primate, were apparent. Though JavaBob was still with the research team at this point, he decided to turn back because he didn't want to accidentally destroy any evidence.
After marking the footprints, the team searched the top of the ridge looking for more evidence. They were looking for scat, hair samples, large broken limbs, disturbed greenery, and bedding material - but of these they found nothing. Next they procured plaster of paris in Happy Camp but it was so liquified it soaked into the ground rather than setting, so they decided to wait and get plaster elsewhere.
At 2pm they met with the second Bigfoot observer. This witness took them back to the site and gave a first-hand account of what was seen. Together the witness and the research team retraced this person's steps on the day of the sighting.
They decided to stake out the area that night, using trail-trip cameras. They secured the perimeter and laid out road kill as bait. Contrary to the beliefs of many that these creatures are not carnivorous, Biscardi says they will eat both vegetation and meat.
Tim McMillen was chosen to spend the night in a tree watching over the site. He and team member Elbert Yee set up two trail trip cameras - one on each side of Rocky, the luckless raccoon. They cleared the area and McMillen set up with infrared (IR) cameras, and an IR monocle (night scope), plus a two-way radio for communications with Yee who spent the night nearby in the clearing, stationed and ready to monitor anything that happened from inside a 2500 Suburban.
Less than two hours later Yee was dozing off when he felt a slight push on the vehicle. He opened his eyes to see the radio antenna moving back and forth as if something had hit it. He went back to sleep making sure the two-way radio was on in case McMillen needed to contact him.
Within 45 minutes, it happened again. This time the jolt that woke him was stronger and the antenna was moving more wildly than before. Something out there had pushed at the Suburban. Was it playing a game or issuing a warning? This time Yee awoke fully and radioed McMillen to report the incidents. McMillen, deep in the forest and high in a madrone tree wanted to help. In the confusion of the moment he dropped the two-way radio. He had to climb down from the tree to recover it and Yee told him to maintain his position in the tree for the time being. He was safe from whatever was pushing at the Suburban so long as he was behind steel and glass.
During the night McMillen saw both cameras tripped. The flash went off more than once but at the time of this writing the pictures were not available. His IR monocle didn't work as well as hoped due to the moon being behind clouds.
Around 6:05am they collected all cameras and went back to Happy Camp to tell Tom Biscardi about their experiences. JavaBob got people coming in from Medford, Oregon, to bring the needed plaster of paris. This they poured into the footprints at 9am. Dermal ridges can clearly be seen in these plaster casts.
That afternoon Biscardi met and talked to the first observer, the one who had the closest look at the creature as he crossed the highway and climbed the steep hillside.
Tom Biscardi and his team came to the conclusion this was a migratory creature, not a resident Bigfoot indigenous to the area. They plan on returning next weekend to pursue a lead in an area in close proximity to Happy Camp. In that area they may be able to find a resident Bigfoot.
Both witnesses requested their names not be used in this article and they do not want to be contacted for more information. Anyone wanting to report a Bigfoot sighting in the Happy Camp area should do so through JavaBob's Bigfoot Deli which now serves as the official Bigfoot research center of Happy Camp.
Great American Bigfoot Research Organization Team Visits Happy Camp
JavaBob's Bigfoot Deli
Great American Bigfoot Research Organization
This full footprint showed an arch. The picture was taken after the first plaster was poured on it and before the actual plaster cast was taken.
This is the other footprint which was mainly the heel area. Dermal ridges are very evident on this print.
Tim McMillen and Elbert Yee plan out the placement of two trail-trip cameras. They were placed about thirty feet apart on two sides of a clearing with the bait on a trail between them.
Tim McMillen, a member of the Great American Bigfoot Research Organization, prepared to spend the night in a madrone tree while keeping watch over trail-trip cameras.
Elbert Yee prepares an infrared camera for night filming. Yee spent the night in a vehicle next to the research site. He is listed as a manager on the website of the Great American Bigfoot Research Organization.
Happy Camp resident Aaron Martin helps Tim McMillen place a trail-trip camera on an oak tree.
Happy Camp residents celebrate with Tim McMillen the next day.
This is the guard rail the creature stepped over before climbing the hillside on the north side of Highway 96.
Happy Camp is a small town of about 1200 people. In this photo it is in the valley in the center of the picture, totally surrounded by forested land and three wilderness areas. Bigfoot sightings have been common here for many years.
The sighting was very close to the beautiful China Point River Access. It is thought that the Bigfoot could have gone down to the river in this area for a shower or a drink.
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