Spectacular rendition of batsquatch by tattoo artist and friend Gary Stanley aka Stigmata, originally prepared by him specifically for a magazine article of mine during the late 1990s – cheers, Gaz! (© Gary Stanley/Stigmata)
Twenty years ago this year, one of the most bizarre winged entities ever reported made its first – and seemingly only – appearance, at least as far as the media headlines were concerned, but do any ShukerNature readers have additional information? As revealed, here, moreover, it may not have been entirely unprecedented.
It was 9.30 am on 19 April 1994, and 18-year-old high school student Brian Canfield was driving a truck from Buckley to his home at Camp One in the foothills of Mount Rainier, above Lake Kapowsin in Washington State, USA, when for no apparent reason his truck abruptly came to a halt. Then, about 30 ft ahead, descending onto the road with a sizeable thud, appeared a creature of nightmare!
Standing perfectly still on its hind legs, at least 9 ft tall, and covered in bluish fur, it had a wolf-like face, yellow eyes with half-moon pupils, tufted ears, a large mouth well supplied with sharp white teeth (but no fangs), bird-like feet, powerful arms, and fingered hands. It also had a pair of huge wings, which lay folded behind its broad shoulders as this monstrous being gazed at the unbelieving trucker for several minutes in a terrifying face-off.
A second wonderful illustration of batsquatch by another very talented friend of mine, Swedish artist/film-maker Richard Svensson (© Richard Svensson)
Later that day, still greatly frightened but this time accompanied by his mother and a neighbour, Canfield returned to the location of his incredible encounter. He hoped to find something that could provide physical proof of his story's veracity, but was unable to do so. Notwithstanding this, his reputation for honesty and abstemious lifestyle were such that no-one acquainted with him had any doubt that he was telling the truth. Even newspaper columnist C.R. Roberts, who interviewed him in the Tacoma News Tribune on 1 May (following an earlier article regarding batsquatch in that same newspaper on 24 April), was convinced of his sincerity.
As for the amazing creature seen by him, its surrealistic similarity to a bigfoot (sasquatch) incongruously sprouting a pair of bat-like wings was sufficient for the media to dub it 'batsquatch' - a memorable name for a truly unforgettable entity.
Sketch of batsquatch by artist Dave Kiele, based upon Brian Canfield's description, which appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune on 24 April 1994 (© Dave Kiele/Tacoma News Tribune)
"My first impression was of a huge, brilliant crimson, bat-like thing, which fixed a pair of burning eyes upon me. The form was not concentrated into the true human shape, but was somehow spread out like a bat with a human face and eyes, and with wings outstretched over the mountainside. As soon as it felt itself to be observed it flashed into its proper shape, as if to confront us, fixed its piercing eyes upon us, and then sank into the hillside and disappeared. When first seen its aura must have covered several hundred feet of space, but in a later appearance, in which it again showed itself, the actual form was probably ten to twelve feet high."
Hodson was a Theosophist, and believed that the above entity was a deva - an elemental nature spirit. Devas advising and assisting the human workers at Findhorn in Scotland and Perelandra in the U.S.A. were deemed to be responsible for the astonishingly successful cultivation of extra-large vegetables and flowers in the gardens of these experimental spiritual communities, despite the poor quality of the soil and the adverse climate.
Could batsquatch have been a deva? In spite of its daunting appearance, it made no attempt to harm or even threaten Canfield, merely observing him for a time before disappearing, just like the being observed by Hodson in the Lake District.
Also worth recalling here is an episode recounted to me on 9 October 2010 by New Zealand colleague Mark Phillipps, but whose source he was unable to recollect (click here for more details regarding this and also another strange entity mentioned to me by Mark):
"If I remember correctly, there were two men walking along some rough coastal cliffs (it may have been in Britain but I cannot be sure) when they came over a rise and saw a very large orange bat-like creature sunning itself on the rocks just above the water line.
"I believe they described it as being a good thirty or forty feet across."
If this account is familiar to anyone, I'd greatly appreciate receiving details of its source, which I will also pass on to Mark – thanks very much.
This ShukerNature post is excerpted and expanded from my book Mysteries of Planet Earth (1999).