WORMWOOD FILES: “The Baleful Batsquatch!” 

By Dr. Abner Mality

On May 18, 1980, the state of Washington was rocked by a tremendous volcanic eruption. Mt. St. Helens, an active but heretofore slumbering volcano, exploded into life, blasting half the mountain away and spreading ash over an 11-state area. It was one of the biggest volcanic events ever recorded in North America and huge news at the time it happened. I was a senior in high school and remember the incident very well.

The Mt. St. Helens eruption triggered a massive change in the immediate area. But did the explosion lead to something unnatural entering our reality? It was only after the eruption that a bizarre flying entity began to be seen in the area. A creature which would come to be called BATSQUATCH.

Now here at the Wormwood Files, we delve into a lot of crazy subjects…phenomena that are not generally accepted by the “mainstream”. But even in the world of the paranormal, there are some things so weird that belief is stretched past the breaking point. And a giant flying cross between an ape and a bat…with a purplish tinge to it, no less…is definitely one of those.

Is the Batsquatch just hysterical craziness and mis-reported animal sightings taken to the extreme? Was it somebody’s prank or hoax blown out of proportion? Or could it be that the St. Helens eruption created a portal that allowed a stranger to our reality to enter the world? We will take a look at the enigma of the Batsquatch in this edition of the Wormwood Files…

We’ve reported on flying freaks here before. In fact, we’ve done it more than once. One article, which you can find HERE, reported on gigantic bird-like creatures. The other reported on flying man-like beings. And there have been a surprising amount of the latter entities being seen. The famous Mothman of West Virginia is the most notable example. We can also include his “cousin”, the Owlman of Cornwall. And what about the mysterious “bat-woman of Viet Nam”, spotted by three U.S. soldiers during the war in Southeast Asia?

Flying anomalies were no stranger to the Washington area.  IN 1948 there were some sightings of a bizarre “flying man” in Longview and Chehalis. We discussed those incidents in more detail in our previous article about “flying freaks”. Could those sightings be linked to the Batsquatch reports that started in the 80’s? It is highly unlikely. The flyer in the 1948 incidents was clearly described as a man or man-like being wearing clothes and using clearly artificial wings. The Batsquatch is always described as a completely organic animal whose wings are a natural part of its body. But it is worth noting that Washington seems to be a hotspot for flying humanoids.

The concept of a hulking humanoid creature able to fly with bat-like wings is biologically absurd and impossible. The wings would have to be incredibly huge and powerful to lift such mass. There is no record anywhere, at any time in Earth’s past, of a primate or primate-like form being able to fly. So scientifically, Batsquatch cannot exist. What, then, are people seeing…if they are seeing anything at all?

We will look closer at some possible answers, but it’s always worth asking this question: is seeing Batsquatch  any more absurd than seeing a “normal” Bigfoot or a “typical” UFO? Does the high strangeness of the sighting make the person seeing it automatically less reliable? Many orthodox investigators of the paranormal dismiss more outrageous sightings out of hand. But unless the background of the person Is obviously dubious, why should witnesses automatically be dismissed? That’s a question that’s been troubling me for quite some time…

Now we’ll take a closer look at sightings and descriptions of the Batsquatch.

The first report of an odd flying creature in the vicinity of Mt. St. Helens literally came on the heels of the famous 1980 eruption, in May of that same year. A sighting was made of a purplish-tinged humanoid creature with glowing red eyes, bat-like wings and a distorted, bat-like face. The creature was described as definitely malevolent and savage-seeming….traits not usually associated with Bigfoot sightings. There is some dispute as to whether the wings came directly out of the shoulder blades or were more of a membrane between arms and body. This could be quite significant, because the membrane-type wings are a characteristic of bats. There are other cryptids such as the Ahool and Olitiau that are described as being like giant bats.

Many of the sightings in the 80’s were confined to the St. Helens area and were quite nebulous. Some reports were obvious hoaxes. Most people laughed the idea of “Batsquatch” right out of the room. But some took notice. There are also hazy reports of unexplained killings of sheep and farm animals in that area. But it’s hard to pin down hard and fast facts in these cases. It’s very possible the killings were caused by roaming cougars or wolves.

The most notable and well-documented sighting occurred in April 1994 when teenager Brian Canfield was driving his pickup truck on an extremely remote stretch of road on the way to Camp One in the Mt. Rainier area. It was late at night and Canfield’s vehicle inexplicably stopped functioning. As he sat pondering what could have gone wrong, Brian saw a terrifying figure slowly enter a patch of light created by his headlights. The figure came down from above, like it was “coming in for a landing”. The figure was enormous…Canfield estimated its height at about nine feet, using nearby trees to make a judgement. The feet seemed clawed and the figure was covered in a bluish fur. Canfield made note of a muzzle filled with sharp teeth and glowing, intelligent eyes. The monster was something quite different from even Bigfoot…which had also been sighted in the area.

For several minutes, Brian and the Batsquatch regarded each other quietly. The boy said he felt “out of place” more than in fear, as if the whole incident was happening to somebody else. Eventually, the Batsquatch twitched and enormous wings spread out from its back. Canfield said the wings were the width of the whole road. With a “whoosh”, the menacing figure departed into the night, leaving one very unnerved kid behind. In a couple of minutes, the truck started again and Brian sped to his original destination.

This account was reported in local and even national media. Brian Canfield was the first person to actually have his name associated with a Batsquatch sighting. In fact, the coining of the “Batsquatch” name was inspired by this sighting. Canfield’s friends and family testified that he was an ordinary and dependable young man with no bad habits or traits. Of course, many had a field day with his report and he was smeared as a drunk or a drug addict when investigation revealed neither of those traits.

1994 was also the year that a mountain guide and liquor store owner Butch Whittaker reported an encounter with Batsquatch. Whittaker claimed to have been flying a small plane to Mt. Rainier when he saw the devilish humanoid flying close to the plane. Whittaker says he was able to snap pictures of the winged beast but as is typical in paranormal stories, the photos remain unseen. Many take Whittaker’s claims with an extra large grain of salt.

An unusual sighting from 2009 suggests that Batsquatch may haunt other areas than Washington state. In this case, California’s Mount Shasta was the location for the incident. For those who don’t already know, Mt. Shasta seems to be a magnet for weird happenings. UFO’s and Bigfoot have been frequently sighted in the area and it is also rumored to be a gateway to otherdimensional realms. Now we can add old Batty to the mix! A group of hikers were frightened out of their wits by a large man-like flying creature with an enormous wingspan. Witnesses stated clearly that the creature had the “head of a bat”. All who saw it were overcome by a feeling of absolute dread, similar to what witnesses of Mothman reported.

Reports from Washington state still occur but are infrequent and often vague. There have been numerous obvious hoaxes in connection with Batsquatch, most coming from folks having a laugh about such an “absurd” creature. But beneath the hoaxes and unconfirmed reports, there is still enough of a genuine mystery to arouse interest.
On the opposite side of the world from Mt. St. Helens, there is another place which is said to be haunted by winged humanoids.  This is an Indonesian island called Seram and the flying monsters are known as “orang bati”. Said to be cadaverous humanoids with bat-like wings and features, the resemblance to Batsquatch is easy to spot. But the tales of the orang bati are a mixture of pure folklore, what seems like reports of an actual flying cryptid and exaggerated propaganda about a fierce but human tribe. 
A National Geographic expedition in search of the orang bati concluded that the creature was actually a flying fox bat. The flying fox is the largest species of bat known and seeing one of these winged beasts at night could easily frighten someone into thinking they were something larger and more grotesque.

That leads to the question: is Batsquatch a flying fox? It would seem extremely unlikely but not impossible. The flying foxes are denizens of the tropics and couldn’t weather a frigid winter in the Pacific Northwest. Unless perhaps they found some sort of shelter like a warm cave. And the few Batsquatch witnesses might be susceptible to fear-induced exaggeration, but describing a three-foot high bat as a nine foot tall humanoid is a pretty huge jump. Giant bat cryptids such as the Ahool have been reported elsewhere, but again, it would a rather large leap for such a creature to either migrate to the Pacific Northwest or for a separate isolated colony to exist.
A more esoteric theory posits that the huge Mt. St. Helens explosion may have opened a temporary rip to another dimension or time and allowed a Batsquatch to come through. Looking at reports of the paranormal, one can find examples of monstrous flying creatures being seen in the vicinity of great disaster. The notorious Mothman appeared in conjunction with the collapse of the Silver River Bridge in West Virginia. Strange flying beings were seen near Chernobyl at the time of the nuclear accident there. Is the Batsquatch related to these uncanny beings?

And of course, we can’t discount the possibility that the Batsquatch is nothing more than a tall tale that got out of hand and took on a life of its own. The sightings of this creature are sufficiently vague and rare enough that there’s a pretty good chance that the whole thing stems from the sighting of a misidentified animal or even an outright lie.

It is the opinion of the Good Doctor that if the Batsquatch does exist…and that’s a mighty big “if”… then it is a stranger to our world. Nothing in terrestrial biology suggests that there could be a bat-ape hybrid native to Earth. Maybe a flying monkey that escaped from Oz?

Still, keep an eye to the sky the next time you’re hiking around Mt. St. Helens. No telling what it might be…

This is Dr. Abner Mality, turning out the lights!