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4 Legends and Lore of Washington State

by Alesia Brooks 2 years ago in urban legend
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A never boring state encourages a constant desire for answers.

Footage of Potential Bigfoot Caught by Washington Department of Transportation Cameras.

The Pacific Northwest is known for a lot of things. Most of them revolve around the hipster and independent music scene that Washington state is famous for, having birthed musical legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Kobain and Pearl Jam. But what many aren’t aware of is the region’s extensive history of the paranormal. From lake monsters to UFO’s and the infamous Bigfoot, the Pacific Northwest has staked its claim in the history books as one of the premiere places for the unknown.

Most creatures and unexplained phenomena find their roots in some of the lore from the countless Native American tribes that once inhabited the area. However, the region also has its fair share of paranormal hot spots, locations that once flourished that became flushed with tragedy. I’ve spent my entire life living in Washington state, exploring the region and all the mystery it holds. While I’ll only scratch the surface, here are some of the most convincing and long-standing legends and lore of Washington state.

1. The Pacific Northwest Bigfoot

Traffic Cameras on Snoqualmie Pass Capture a Clear Picture of the State's Elusive Bigfoot (January 2020)

This one is a fairly obvious one to expect, given the terrain and well-known history surrounding the bigfoots of the Cascade Mountain Range. Washington leads the country in Bigfoot sightings and is believed to be home to a majority of the North American population of the elusive beast. Stories about the creature have plagued the area since the Native tribes were the sole inhabitants. Depending on what you believe, there are a few general facts that are known about Bigfoot. A Bigfoot is a creature between six and ten feet in height (though taller and smaller have been observed). They are covered with a coarse, thick coat of brown-black fur. It’s believed that Bigfoots can be most easily located by their pungent swampy smell, as it's been described. The creature is stealthy and easily camouflages to its surroundings, making it a difficult beast to catch on camera, regardless of its size. While most believe that Bigfoot is simply a “missing link” of sorts; a missed branch in human evolution, it’s a theory held by some that Bigfoot is an interdimensional creature, able to travel between universal planes and realities. Whichever you believe, based on the amount of sightings and evidence, it does make you at least wonder that perhaps there is something more inhabiting the mountain ranges of the state.

2. The Maury Island UFO Incident

Artist Depiction of the Maury Island UFO's

Picture this: it’s June 21, 1947. Fred Crisman and Harold Dahl were working on the Puget Sound as harbor patrolmen. Suddenly, after taking a quick break from their labor, they notice objects flying above them. They were described as doughnut shaped objects, six of them, to be exact. After observing these objects, the men claimed that a substance began falling from them, landing on the boat. The incident resulted in a boat worker breaking an arm and a dog on board dying after the substance landed on them. The men described this substance as a “white lava” or “white metal of sorts”. The men continued to report the story to a friend who spread word of the incident. Both Dahl and Chrisman reported being followed by men in black suits claiming to work for government security. The FBI investigated their report, only to declare the story a hoax - the result of two working men’s imagination and boredom. This story, whether true or not, ignited a firestorm of UFO sightings in the region. It was even declared in 2019 that Washington state was the hottest place to spot a UFO, beating out New Mexico, home of the Roswell incident, and Nevada, home to Area 51 and the infamous “UFO Highway”. Whether or not these sightings are all true is up to discussion, but it’s undeniable that Washingtonians certainly keep their eyes on the skies.

3. Tilly the Lake Chelan Monster

"Tilly" the Lake Chelan Monster

This one is a small town legend, shared by locals with drunk and impressionable tourists to keep them out of the lake. But there is some undeniable truth to this creature. Let me set the scene - the small town of Lake Chelan(pronounced shi-lan), Washington. Roughly 4,000 people call this palace home year-round, but hosts nearly two million out-of-town visitors each summer. What’s the draw to this desert town? The lake, of course! Lake Chelan is the third deepest lake in the United States, reaching impressive depths of 1,486 feet. The lake is man-made, so divers experience some interesting sights on their descent to the darkest parts. Old home foundations and tree stumps from back when the area was dry make for an already eerie atmosphere. Add in the stories of a horrifying creature lurking in the depths, waiting to feast on unsuspecting swimmers, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for terror! The locals lovingly named the beast “Tilly” after the town's original Native name Tsillan, meaning deep water. The creature is described to have a body similar to that of an alligator with small flippers for arms and legs, and the head directly attached to the torso (think Loch Ness Monster with a smaller neck). Depending on who you ask, most locals will tell you it’s a bunch of horse crap. But when you hear the stories of divers returning from a deep trip describing the most terrifying thing they’d ever seen, complexions white as ghosts… it makes you wonder!

4. Waterville, Washington Town Hall and Courthouse

Douglas County Courthouse in Waterville, Washington

A former caretaker buried in the cement walls of a building… where to begin? Waterville, Washington is a small town in the mostly rural Douglas County. The population is about 1,138, a place so small, a graduating class rarely exceeds 20 people. With a town this small, the people tend to take pride in their community and the work they do to help it. This pride, while heartening, can sometimes be slightly excessive. Take for example the legend of a former caretaker in city hall. The Waterville city hall and courthouse is a beautiful structure, taken care of by generations of residents. One caretaker took such pride in the work he did that when it was his time - he refused to leave. The caretaker was reportedly buried in the walls of the building upon his death and remained there for years, before a remodel forced the relocation of his remains. Guests and workers in the courthouse have reported several unnerving instances in the building, though none of which have been threatening. Elevator doors will unexplainably open on the wrong floor, doors will be shut and footsteps are regularly heard. It’s the opinion of residents in the town, as well as me, that the spirit of the former caretaker remains in the building, ensuring everything remains working properly and efficiently. And although this story is bizarre, it's slightly heart warming to hear of someone loving their hometown so much, that they’ll remain beyond their lifetime to ensure it stays looking nice.

Washington has been my home for over 22 years, and while I like to think I know everything about it, there are so many parts of the state that will forever remain a mystery. But that’s part of the appeal! A never boring state encourages a constant desire for answers through adventure. Washingtonians are commonly known as outdoorsy people, and while most assume it’s because of the countless trails and mountains, I like to think that the energy the state has held from many years of legends, cryptids and spirits feed it’s residents to seek constant answers to the unknown.

urban legend

About the author

Alesia Brooks

Disney blogger with a dark side

23-year-old blogger and photographer

Follow along with my misadventures - IG: @livinglikealesia

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