Modern-day Sasquatch lore paints this cryptid as being very wary of man, and watching him only from afar, however Native American tribes for centuries have painted a different picture of Bigfoot. They describe how given the chance they would snatch up women or children and take them away never to be seen again.
The tribes differed somewhat on what the suspected motivation of the sasquatches might have been. Some tribes felt they were cannibals that were taking people in order to feed on them. Other tribes felt that the motivation was of a more amorous nature. So how did the nature of sasquatch change into modern day?
Albert Ostman claims to have been snatched up while dozing in his sleeping bag in the wilds of British Columbia in 1924 by a male sasquatch and kept as a captive for six days by a family of these creatures before managing to escape.
While not as well known as Ostman’s story, the tale of a Nootka Indian named Muchalat Harry is very similar. He, too, claimed to have been grabbed by a large male sasquatch and carried off to be presented to a large number of these animals in 1928. Harry claimed the sasquatches lost interest in him after a while which provided him an opportunity to escape. Ostman suspected he might have been taken as a possible suitor for a young female in the family unit. Muchalat Harry suspected he might have been taken as a potential meal.
Was either of them correct? No one can say for sure. While more recent than the ancient Native American tales of abduction, these alleged incidents still took place a very long time ago.
On June 1, 1987, Fresno native Theresa Ann Bier, then 16 years old, traveled into the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains of California with then 43 year-old Russell Welch. Welch fancied himself a bigfoot expert and was taking the teen out on a hunt for the legendary beast in the vicinity of Shuteye Peak. Welch claimed to have had contact with sasquatches in the past and wanted to share his experiences with the teenaged Bier. What happened after the pair arrived is not known. All that is known is that Russell Welch returned to Fresno without Theresa Ann Bier.
Welch was interrogated by sheriff’s deputies once it became clear Bier was missing. He claimed that they had gone out on a hike in the hopes of making contact with a sasquatch. He went on to say that somehow he became separated from Bier and that during this time she was abducted by a one of the creatures. To say authorities doubted his story would be an understatement. A search of the area where the two had camped was immediately ordered but failed to turn up anything. Despite the continued efforts of dedicated searchers, no sign of Theresa Ann Bier was found.
Russell Welch was later charged with child stealing and was scheduled to stand trial; however, officials abruptly dropped the charges and freed him just three days before the court proceedings were to begin. Officials realized they had no physical evidence upon which to build a case and were afraid they were destined to lose a jury trial. If that were to happen, Russell Welch would go free and not be subject to future prosecution, even if Bier’s remains were later located, due to laws against double jeopardy. The District Attorney decided it would be best to let Welch walk at the time and hope physical evidence would be found sometime in the future with which a stronger case could be built. No such evidence would come, however. Absolutely no sign of Theresa Ann Bier has been found in the nearly 25 years that have passed since the incident. She has simply vanished.
There are many questions that surround the circumstances of Theresa's disappearance. Why was a 16 year-old girl allowed to go on a camping trip with a 43 year-old man? There were no statements indicating that she was taken into the mountains against her will. How did Russell Welch know Bier? What was the nature of their relationship? Most importantly why would Welch believe that of all the things that could have befallen Theresa after they were separated, would he believe so strongly she had been taken away by a Bigfoot?
Clearly, something terrible happened out in the Central Sierra back in 1987, and foul play seems to be the most likely explanation.
Russell Welch's cover story sounded outlandish and improbable, especially paired with the fact that he was on a camping trip with a minor. This story made him a sure target by law enforcement. Could it be be that he was mentally unstable either beforehand, or afterwards from the shock of whatever happened that day? Sick enough to believe his own lie?
The alternative would be that Welch had been telling the truth, no matter how far-fetched. What about Albert Ostman and Muchalat Harry? None other than a Catholic Priest named Father Anthony Terhaar vouched for Muchalat Harry. While the Father could not validate what had actually happened to Harry, he did testify about what he had been told, that he had nursed Harry for a full 3 weeks before the terrified Indian regained his strength and sanity, and that over the course of those weeks Harry’s hair turned snow white. Father Anthony also said that the once fearless trapper and outdoorsman never again dared venture out of the small village of Nootka. Father Anthony Terhaar believed Harry had suffered through a terrifying experience.
If we entertain the possibility that there is something to all the old Native American tales and that Albert Ostman and Muchalat Harry may very well have been telling the truth, then don’t we at least have to consider the possibility that Russell Welch was telling the truth back in 1987?
The topic of sasquatch abductions is still discussed among those that keep up with such things, albeit in whispered tones. There have been cases, some very recent, in which people have vanished into the forest where suspected bigfoot sign was evident or where one of these creatures was reported seen a few days before or after the disappearance. If you believe it is possible these creatures exist and if you believe there is something to the old abduction stories then it would be illogical to think such a thing could not still happen.
Noted outdoorsman Chester Moore wrote in his book Bigfoot Lives: Deal With It:
“Every year hundreds of people disappear in the forests and it is possible, although unlikely, that bigfoot creatures have something to do with some of these disappearances. Since they are a predatory animal, they are opportunists and it might be possible that they would and have attacked people.”
At the very least abduction claims should not be dismissed out of hand. Even if they come from a 43 year-old man who likely had no business being out in the woods with a female minor less than half his age, but at the same time no evidence was found to support his claims. That was the most troublesome aspect of the entire case, which was little evidence of any type.
What happened to Theresa Ann Bier in the Central Sierra back in 1987? With each year that passes, the truth recedes farther into the mists of time. Unfortunately, it is likely that is where it will remain.
Source - TexasCrytpidHunter
Marlene at Miami Ghost Chronicles is a freelance writer and paranormal researcher.
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