Sunday, May 6, 2018

Batsquatch- Washington

On the morning of April 19th, 1994, Brian Canfield was driving near Mt. Ranier in Washington state when his truck suddenly died. As he struggled to get it started, a tall, furry monster landed on the road before him. Canfield described the bipedal creature as having blue-tinted fur, a wolf-like face, clawed bird-like feet, muscular arms and, strangest of all, a pair of massive wings folded against its back. Though Canfield was terrified of the apparition, the creature did not appear particularly aggressive. It watched him for a bit before opening its great wings and flying off into the night.
Canfield returned to the site later that day with his mother and a neighbor to search for evidence of the encounter. None, naturally, could be found. When his story reached the media, the creature was given the somewhat tongue-in-cheek name Batsquatch.

Though no further sightings of Batsquatch have come to light, this is not the only known report of a giant, bat-like flyer in the United States. In his 2008 book "Dr. Shuker’s Casebook", the famous cryptozoologist Dr. Karl Shuker described a close encounter with a similar chiropteran monster in Raymondville, Texas. On January 14th, 1976, Armando Grimaldo was in his mother-in-law’s backyard when he heard an odd whistling and flapping sound. He did not have time to ponder the curious noises long for he was suddenly attacked by a large winged beast with dark, leathery skin and a flattened, monkey-like face. The monster clawed at Grimaldo, but he was able to escape and flee into the house. Later reports described other sightings of the beast earlier in January throughout the Rio Grande Valley, though none were as violent as the encounter Grimaldo had.

Giant bat-creatures have been reported from other parts of the world as well. In a 1966 article naturalist Ivan T. Sanderson wrote of a child-size, gray bat called the Ahool that allegedly inhabited the jungles of the Indonesian island of Java. According to Sanderson the creature’s name was derived from its distinctive cry, a booming “AH-OOOoool”.  A similar creature called the Orang Bati is said to living on Seram, another island in the Indonesian archipelago.

Could Batsquatch, the Raymondville Beast, the Ahool and other large leather-winged beasts simply be giant bats? The currently largest known bat is the Flying Fox (Pteropus vampyrus)  which has a wingspan of around 5 feet and a body about the size of a small dog’s. Even accounting for exaggeration in some of these eye-witness reports, these unknown chiropterans would exceed that size by several feet, putting them in the same size category as some of the larger extinct pterosaurs.

If these creatures are indeed real what are they eating and where do they live? The Flying Fox consumes primarily fruit, an abundant resource in its jungle home. The Ahool and Orang Bati could perhaps have similar diets. However, the temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest that the Batsquatch allegedly calls home are not so well supplied. Perhaps the Batsquatch is a carnivore. Maybe a nocturnal equivalent to Washington’s hawks and eagles. Owls are certainly the top night-time land predator in North America and would be significant competition for a Batsquatch. But perhaps the creature is a piscivore like the Bulldog Bat (Noctillio leporinus) of South America. Maybe it spends its nights skimming the rivers and coasts, snapping up large fish swimming near the surface.

One of the stranger aspects of Canfield’s description of the Batsquatch was the apparent presence of both arms AND wings. This would mean it was a six-limbed animal, a condition which is completely unknown among land vertebrates. Perhaps Canfield simply misinterpreted the claws on the beast’s wings as hands? Or maybe his mind added the arms to his memory after the fact. Or perhaps the Batsquatch wasn’t even a natural creature at all. Maybe it was an extradimensional entity similar to the Mothman or the Van Meter Visitor, and its appearance was merely a temporary form it assumed in this dimension. Anything more tangible than creative speculation will require more direct evidence of this strange Washington beast.


Cryptozoologicon: The Biology, Evolution, and Mythology of Hidden Animals, Volume 1 by John Conway, C. M. Kosemen, and Darren Naish