Bigfoot (or the Sasquatch) has been the poster child of North American cryptozoology for so long that you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t heard of the giant, hairy, forest-stalking ape-man. Originally, Bigfoot was made famous by a 1958 Humboldt Times article about large footprints discovered by loggers in Northern California. And later notoriety was gained through the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin footage shot (not-so-coincidentally) in the same area. However, stories of Bigfoot have actually been around for much, much longer.
Before the term ‘Bigfoot’ found it’s way into 21st-century popular culture, indigenous communities were telling stories for centuries of hairy humanoid beings lurking among the North American trees. The most historically interesting piece of Bigfoot evidence comes from pictographs found on the Tule River Indian Reservation in central California. The pictographs, painted on the walls of what is known as Painted Rock, show what some think is a family of Bigfoot (mother, father, and child) alongside animals such as lizards, frogs, and bears. This cave painting is believed to be somewhere between 500 and 1000 years old.
Throughout the years (especially if you lurk in the more fringe corners of the internet) you’ve likely seen tons of physical ‘evidence’ that Bigfoot exists – photos, footprints, fur samples – but what about sound? What does Bigfoot sound like? I don’t know what sent me down this rabbit hole but if you’re here than you must be okay diving down with me. Below are a variety of bizarre videos of people hearing strange sounds in the wood that they attribute to a our elusive, furry friend.
Sound #1: Roaring in the Ontario Woods
Location: Northwestern Ontario, Canada
Date: 3 October 2019
The Story: The recording below was taken by Gino Meekis who lives near Sioux Lookout in Northwestern Ontario. After a bout of grouse hunting, Meekis was returning to his vehicle with his wife and grandson when they heard a deep howling coming from the woods. He recorded footage of the sound while his young grandson (who can be heard in the video) yelled back at the unseen beast. Initially Meekis assumed the sound was a moose, but the longer it went on the more he began to doubt the origin. After a little over two minutes of recording the roaring became more urgent, so the family went into their vehicle and presumably left shortly after. Though there wasn’t any visual evidence in the video, commenters online were certain Meekis and his family had a near encounter with a Bigfoot or a Wendigo. But Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry think the sound could be attributed to a wolf or another large mammal. What do you think?
Sound #2: Whooping Communication in BC
Location: Castlegar, British Columbia, Canada
Date: 29 October 6:57PM and 1 December 7:45PM 2022
The Story: A woman named Geralee living just outside Castlegar suspected two Bigfoot were visiting a large grove of hazelnut trees once a month behind her house. She recalled hearing three long whooping sounds alongside a bone chilling howl and decided to ask neighbours what they thought of the strange noises. The majority said they suspected the sounds were an animal in distress, such as a moose, but one neighbour came to the same conclusion as Geralee. The sounds, which can be heard in the video below, were recorded using Snapchat. Whether or not Geralee recorded audio evidence of Bigfoot, whatever was making those sounds were straying a little too close to her home for comfort.
Sound #3: Howls and Screams on Cormorant Island
Location: Alert Bay, Cormorant Island, British Columbia, Canada
Date: Various times during 2015
The Story: Residents of Alert Bay on Cormorant Island claimed to be hearing strange sounds coming from the woods at night. The recording below, featured on CTV News, was filmed by Mackenzie Mountain while standing on his porch during one of the noisy outbreaks. Another resident named Rod Alfred recalled hearing the sounds three times during that summer. And according to resident Art Dyck the loud volume of the sound couldn’t possibly belong to a dog. In this instance, it’s difficult to attribute the noise to any other animal since Cormorant Island has no wildlife. Along with the sounds, visual reports of the a Sasquatch had occured in Alert Bay at both the cemetery and local soccer field. More information can be found in the news segment below:
Sound #4: Manic Laughing on an Oregon Reservation
Location: Umatilla Reservation, Oregon, USA
The Story: Dubbed the “Umatilla Screamer”, the sounds recorded on the Umatilla Reservation on 21 January 2013 at about 11:30PM are nothing short of disturbing. What sounds like manic laughter can be heard coming from the trees, growing louder and closer as the video goes on. The poster said the sounds had been occurring within his community since the previous year. Three-quarters of the way through a gunshot goes off three times in the direction of the sound, with the third shot igniting a final burst of unsettling laughter. A similar report was filed on The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organisation (BFRO) website and occured on Mission Highway near Pendleton, Umatilla County in November 2012. This report was allegedly made by a biologist (according to BFRO Investigator Kevin Llewellyn) who was familiar with wildlife sounds in the area. He described what he heard as a “weird and very loud wailing, screaming, laughing noise that sounded like a cross between a woman hysterically screaming and then quickly changing to hyena-like laughing and almost a “wooping” yell.” (source) A video of the so-called Umatilla Screamer can be watched below:
Sound #5: The Sierra/Samurai Sounds
Location: Between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park, USA
The Story: Probably the strangest Bigfoot sounds were recorded in 1971 by Ron Morehead and Alan Berry. These vocalisations, unlike the above examples, sound like ‘intelligent communication’ instead of simple screaming or wailing. The sounds are certainly odd and must have been terrifying to wake up to while camping in a dark forest (if they are indeed real). Berry claims to have searched ‘high and low’ for any evidence that the sounds were a prank, but he “came home stumped” and unable to figure out if anyone could have been pulling their leg. To capture the sounds, Morehead and Berry hung a microphone from the trees and waited for the Bigfoot to gather and begin speaking to one another. At one point in the recording, you can hear what sounds like Morehead speaking directly with the creatures followed by their attempt at communicating back. Unlike the above examples of Bigfoot recordings, the Sierra Sounds can’t as easily be attributed to other known animals. So what exactly are they? (source)
These aren’t the only sounds that have been linked to Bigfoot over the years. According to popular Bigfoot lore, the sound of wood knocking together in the forest is a sign that Bigfoot not only sees you, but is warning you not to come any closer to it’s territory. Some people think the sound is actually Bigfoot clapping it’s giant hands together or clicking it’s mouth to indicate humans shouldn’t get any closer. This phenomenon is only really discussed in more recent Bigfoot circles (that I’ve seen), and it appears to have been popularised by the Animal Planet show Finding Bigfoot.
Are Any of these Sounds Proof of Bigfoot?
No. Unfortunately audio, like video, is easily faked or attributed to something more reasonable like a moose, wolf, bear, cougar, or any other predator in the North American wilderness. It’s very telling that there doesn’t seem to be a unified ‘Bigfoot sound’ and that such a wide variety of noises are attributed to the creature without question. So if you’re sceptical about any of the videos above, that’s a good thing! It would certainly be incredible if a creature like Bigfoot managed to exist undetected in the forests and mountains for thousands of years. But without valid scientific evidence it’s difficult to categorise any of these experiences as ‘Bigfoot encounters’. But that doesn’t make them any less spooky.
Having said that, numerous animals known today were once considered to be cryptids, just like Bigfoot. The platypus, giant squid, and Komodo dragon are among creatures once believed to be too strange or too fantastical to exist. Perhaps one day we’ll be able to add the elusive ape-man to the list, but for now Bigfoot remains a creepy campfire story and a good reason to always bring a buddy when exploring the dense forests of North America.
Sources and Additional Reading
Ancient Origins – 7 Legendary Cryptids that Turned Out to Be Real! (2022)
Distinctly Montana – Ever heard This Supposedly Real Recording of Bigfoot(s)? (2020)
History – How the Bigfoot Legend Began (2020)
LiveScience – Bigfoot Blamed for Strange Shrieks (2013)
Scientific American – (Big)foot in Mouth: Bigfoot Language (2013)
Smithsonian – Why Do So Many People Still Want to Believe in Bigfoot? (2018)
That Oregon Life – Watch: Three Chilling Sounds in the Oregon Night That Are Still Unexplained (2022)
The Guardian – Sasquatch or Wendigo? Mysterious howls in the Canadian wilderness spark confusion (2019)
Tule River Tribe – Painted Rock (PDF)
Vice – Viral Video Captures the Screams of a Mystery Creature (2019)