Pierce county, WA
Nearest town: Fort Lewis
Nearest road: Unk
Time: pre dawn dark hours
Location: Fort Lewis, South Rainier Training Area, Cat lake.
Description of event: During May of 1990 I was in the U.S. Army assigned to Fort Lewis, WA. I was a member of an airborne infantry unit designated as a "Long Range Surveillance Detachment." In brief the unit's mission was to deploy 4-6 man teams onto a battlefield and conduct surveillance operations of enemy supply lines and troop movement corridors.
During that month the unit deployed my platoon into a drop zone known as Merrill Drop Zone around 0300 a.m. The platoon's teams were to conduct surveillance operations of predestinated road intersections for a 48 hour period then link up together at the area known as Cat Lake in the South Rainer training area. From there we were to walk back to the barracks. All went as planned until the link up date.
There are still several stories and legends about the "Cat Lake Monster" which have been circulated by soldiers at Fort Lewis since the 1960’s.
There were about 13 of us in the platoon at the time and we were planning to just bag out for the night and not play the typical Army game of having a "watch" up all night. The night was very clear, which was unusual for this time of year, but the woods surrounding Cat Lake and the adjacent Fiander Lake can be almost pitch black. The only light was from a nearby clearing in the woods at the base of a small hill. The light came from the full moon.
As the rest of the platoon quieted down I believed I was the only one awake. I initially heard what I believed was an elk or deer "huffing." It was a heavy sound of air being blown through nostrils. As I listened I pin pointed the sound to be coming from the hill over-looking our position, on the far side of the opening about 100 yards away (this was directly in front of me). The sound came both nearer and louder over the next few minutes, but was still a ways up on the rise. As I listened, the sound changed to a "barking" type, became more intense, and was followed by the cracking of limbs and trees.
I tried to see into the tree line but it was too dark. I then looked up at the tops of the trees on the hill that were backlit by the full moon. At that point I could see a tree shaking back and forth. The vocalizations became angry sounding and it occurred to me there may be a bear up there, although the sounds were very strange. The tree shaking continued but whatever was shaking them came closer and closer, choosing different trees. I could, by this time, hear something sliding down the hill through the vegetation. Several of the smaller trees had fallen or been knocked over. The area we were in is a natural rain forest and very swampy. There are several rotting trees in the area that can be pushed over with a few good shoves. By this time I was completely on my feet. I still had not seen the creature and was relying on the backlit and shaking trees to keep my bearings on the creature. I realized the shaking stopped at the edge of the clearing in front of me, and I could feel myself being stared at. The feeling was intense and distinctly threatening.
One of my fellow teammates, the only one senior in rank to me at the time, was by this time standing behind me though I did not know it until he spoke to me. He asked what was happening and I pointed to the area on the far side of the clearing where the tree shaking had stopped. As we both watched a large up-right form stepped into the edge of the moonlit clearing. It stood there for about 30-45 seconds and again made the "huffing" noise, much louder this time. The creature's form was very heavy looking, with broad shoulders, but very man-like. Shortly thereafter the creature turned slightly to our left and began running through the edge of the clearing. The creature ran in an up-right position and swung its arms in large arcs. The steps were loping and heavy. We could feel the feet hitting the soft soil. It cleared the 300 yards of clearing in seconds and was gone. I turned and grabbed my gear, stuffing it in my pack, thinking to wake everyone up and get everyone moving the opposite direction the creature went. As I looked across the circle the platoon had spread themselves into, I realized everyone was already awake and jamming gear as fast as they could go. The entire platoon was awake, packed and moving the other way in bare minutes.
record updated:2009-01-08 12:15:44