Man recalls hearing vocalizations in Union County, and in Idaho file# 00674


Date: , 1970, 1999
Union county, OR
Nearest town:
starkey and riggins
Nearest road:

warm, clear
Erickson Lake, Northeastern Oregon N45-06-37, W118-16-04,

Campground below Heaven's Gate, Seven Devils Mountains, Idaho


Description of event: I found your website out of interest and was surprised to find recordings. I downloaded all of them and listen to them back to back in a play list. Twice in my life I’ve heard sounds that surely come from the same source as these. None of the recordings are very close to what I heard the first time, but several are similar to what I heard the second time. Still I know they are connected.

The first time I heard these unexplained animal sounds occurred around 1970 at Erickson Lake (N45-06-37, W118-16-04) in Northeastern Oregon, It lies at the Northwest end of the Elkhorn Mountains near the headwaters of the Grande Rhonde River. At that time it was very remote and could only be reached by horse, motorcycle or, as my dad proved, 4 wheel drive pick up. We set up a big tent and had the place to ourselves for a week.
One night we were awakened by a loud animal noise coming from across the lake. It was a small lake. The one thing that left the biggest impression on me was how LOUD it was, powerful. The show may have lasted for as long as half an hour. Whatever it was paced back and forth along the other side of the lake making all kinds of noises. There were tremendous “whoops” and howls and in between would be grunts and sounds that made me think of someone grumbling and talking to them self—but still, they were animal sounds. It was like a drunk redneck yelling, howling at the moon and blowing off steam, only terrifyingly loud and absolutely inhuman. It sounded pissed off.
I was about 10. The next day, in full sunlight, I was brave enough to walk around to that side and investigate. The ground was mossy and spongy and I didn’t find any tracks. Still, I’ve been convinced ever since that night, there is something alive in the woods, and that something hasn’t been explained. I never believed it was a cougar. I don’t think a cougar has that large of a vocabulary or that strong of lungs. It never made any cougar sounds.
The second time I heard the sounds was 30 years later at the campground below Heaven’s Gate in the Seven Devils Mountains, Idaho, September 1999. I was camping out and sleeping in the back of my pickup. I was jolted awake by another loud animal noise. It sounded very much like your recording Klamath Screams. It was a screeching howl that had the same echoing resonance like the recording. I instantly knew I was hearing the same animal from thirty years ago. It’s voice was loud enough to carry a long way and it had that same uncivilized, other worldly character about it. This time it was farther from me and I would guess it was between one quarter and a half mile away, in the direction of the lookout. Once again it was tremendously powerful. It lasted about 15 seconds. It was long enough for me to recognize the sound and remember that same paralyzing fear as the first time. I froze and listened a long time for the slightest sound to send me scrambling for the cab of my pickup. I don’t think anything in the woods moved that night after those sounds.

record updated:2004-08-01 00:00:00