Pikes Peak: Snowbeast & Masonic Mountain

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 11th, 2009

The mystical mountain of Pikes Peak is the focus of MonsterQuest on March 11th. First, the blurb on the program and then a bit about that name game, Pikes Peak.

Wednesday March 11th 2008 at 9PM / 8PM central on HISTORY

High in the rugged wilderness of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains a large hairy creature is said to be preying on the elk and frightening residents. The stories date back centuries with the earliest settlers describing terrifying encounters with a large beast whose scream bellows across the hills. Even today ranchers and hikers report a monster they can’t explain that may be attacking their horses. MonsterQuest will sift through the evidence and determine what may be killing the elk. The aerial search ascends to 11,000 ft in search of fresh evidence that could lead to the creature; as the ground team scales the side of Pikes Peak to hunt for the legendary Snowbeast.

Here’s the background on the peak’s name.

Pikes Peak (originally Pike’s Peak, see below) is a mountain in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, 10 miles (16 km) west of Colorado Springs, Colorado, in El Paso County. The mountain was named after Zebulon Montgomery Pike Jr. (January 5, 1778 – April 27, 1813), an American soldier, explorer, and Freemason, whose Pike expedition, often compared to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, mapped much of the southern portion of the Louisiana Purchase.

Pike was born in Lamberton, New Jersey, now a part of Trenton. His father, also named Zebulon Pike, was an officer in the Continental Army under General George Washington and served in the United States Army after the end of the Revolutionary War.

One famed ancestor of Zebulon Pike is John Pike (1613-1688/1689), who was a founder of Woodbridge, New Jersey and a judge and politician of the early colony of New Jersey.

During the period of exploration in Colorado, many would refer to the mountain as “Pike’s Peak,” after Zebulon Pike, the man who first documented it and attempted to climb to its summit. The attempt failed to reach the summit as it was made during the winter months. The snow drifts were reported chest high at the time of the climb.

Edwin James was successful to reach the summit in his attempt during a summer month’s attempt. Later, some suggested “James’ Peak,” after Edwin James, the first man who successfully climbed to the summit. However, in this area there was another “James’ Peak” which made identification of the peak a confusing issue. The name went back and forth until it was settled with a uniquely identifiable name.

Originally the peak was called “Pike’s Peak”, but in 1891, the newly-formed US Board on Geographic Names recommended against the use of apostrophes in names, so officially the name of the peak does not include an apostrophe. In addition, in 1978 the Colorado state legislature passed a law mandating the use of “Pikes Peak” only. Even so, the old name is often seen.

Several people make the mistake thinking that Pikes Peak was named after the shadowy Masonic figure Albert Pike, who was related to Zebulon, through their mutual ancestor John Pike.

Albert Pike (December 29, 1809–April 2, 1891) was an attorney, explorer, soldier, writer, and Freemason. Pike is the only Confederate military officer or figure to be honored with an outdoor statue in Washington, D.C. (in Judiciary Square).

Albert Pike was elected Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite’s Southern Jurisdiction in 1859. (Some have said that the Civil War was an occult battle between the northern and southern branches of Freemasonry.) He remained Sovereign Grand Commander for the remainder of his life (a total of thirty-two years), devoting a large amount of his time to developing the rituals of the order. Notably, he published a book called Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in 1871, of which there were several subsequent editions. Pike is still sometimes regarded in America as an eminent and influential Freemason.

Is Pikes Peak of significance to Masons?

In 1899, there was a small time capsule inserted into a rock atop Pikes Peak by 500 Masons – who arrived on a special train for the ceremony.

In 1999, on the 100th anniversary of that event, more than 200 Masons from Kansas and Colorado rode the Cog Railway to the summit of Pikes Peak, removed a small bronze plaque and withdrew the copper time capsule. They intended to put a new one in its place – to be opened in another 100 years – but they had misjudged the size of the hole cut into the rock by their 19th century colleagues, and the capsule didn’t fit.

In September 2000, a group of 22 Masons returned to the peak to discover that the bronze plaque atop the rock had been pried off and taken. In its place were several small capsules containing Scriptures and anti-Masonic statements.

The Masons reported the theft to rangers and then inserted their new stainless steel capsule into the flat, 10-foot-square rock, sealing it with concrete. The capsule, like the old one now on display in a Kansas bank, contains a Bible, an American flag, a list of Masons who made the trip and instruments such as a compass and ruler that have significance for the group, founded in the 1600s by European stonemasons.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

15 Responses to “Pikes Peak: Snowbeast & Masonic Mountain”

  1. Andrew Minnesota responds:

    Looking forward to tonight’s episode, and thanks for the interesting history of the location!

  2. JohnAdams responds:

    That’s interesting. My family used to take vacations every year to Lake City, CO. and part of our stops were a few days in Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek. I’ve been to Pikes Peak about 7 or 8 times…but, I never knew of any bigfoot legends in the area (wish I had now!)

    Hope they find some exciting evidence.

    As for the Masons…my Grandfather has been a Master Mason for over 50 years (I only know this cause he has a framed certificate from them on his wall on the achievement), yet, I know very little about them. My Aunt, his sister, I just found out was also a member of the Eastern Star as she just passed away on the 8th and they read at her wake last night.

    Perhaps I’ll ask him tonight about Pike Peak and see if it has any significance to him or not. I’ve never had any Masonic conversations with him, so who knows.

  3. Ceroill responds:

    Good ol’ Zebulon! I always loved that name.

  4. RyanWinters86 responds:

    I remember this place… They found hair and tested it for DNA and the results came out very similar to the DNA found at Snelgrove lake.. Should be interesting.

  5. cmgrace responds:

    I never knew about the Masonic significance associated with Pikes Peak. It is an awesome place. I will be taking a hiking trip to the Crags on the west side of the mountain this summer where a lot of the reports of Bigfoot have come from. I’ll let you know if I see anything and I’ll be sure to bring my camera along.

  6. iftheshoefits responds:

    Another item of interest with the elements of Zebulon Pike and a possible bigfoot is the Elkins Creek cast.

    Pike county Ga. with the county seat of Zebulon is named after Zebulon Montgomery Pike Jr.

    Elkins Creek runs through Pike Co. and empties into the Flint River.

    Elkins Creek is the site that one of the best bigfoot footprint cast came from. The cast contained dermal ridge detail and was inspected by Jimmy Chillcut.

  7. MattBille responds:

    I can see Pikes Peak from my front yard, and after 15 years here I never get tired of looking at it. I never heard the Masonic stuff, though – always interesting to learn more about one’s front yard.
    As Loren knows, I was called during some early research for this show and, among other tidbits, I stopped in the Colorado Division of Wildlife here in Colorado Springs to ask whether they had bigfoot sightings called in.

    Very nice female Division of Wildlife officer: “Occasionally.”
    Me: “What do you do?”
    Officer: “We take down their information.”
    Me: “Do you keep it? Is there a file?”
    Officer (politely) “No.”

  8. steveokanevo responds:

    It was my understanding that the FreeMasons were developed from the surviving Knights Templar. When the majority of the Templars where executed on the false basis of hieracy the remaining few developed the now masonic symbols in order to communicate between each other while remaining hidden. Thus forming the FreeMasons.

  9. skyninja responds:

    Hello! Long time viewer here, first time poster.

    Thank you put the notice up of this episode! I would have missed it otherwise, and this one hits close to home as it’s, well, my home, and I’ve had two experiences in these hills which I attribute to the CO bigfoot (jokingly to my friends, sincerely to myself).

    The first was about four years ago, hunting near some beaver ponds about 15 miles outside of Lake City (where I grew up). I found some tracks that struck me as mighty strange, and didn’t match up with anything that I knew of. I went back a couple of days later and took some pictures, but as they’re not incredibly distinct I’ve only shown them to my friends, figuring there’s already plenty of blobfoot prints floating around already. That is what sparked my active interest in cryptozoology and brought me here.

    The second was about a year ago. My sister and I hiked into the San Isabelle Natl. Forest for some high action one on one paintball. We were a couple of miles in, far away from any possible innocent bystanders, and we began calibrating our paintball guns (shooting them against trees and such to get the right velocity). After a dozen shots or so, we were both surprised to hear our shots being answered by what sounded like sticks beating together. I judged it to be coming from about a quarter mile away, off the trail. We stopped, and listened. The pounding repeated randomly a few times, then stopped. We shot off a few more rounds, and it started again. This went on for a good 15 minutes, and I thought the sound to be moving towards us. That might have been my imagination. I was an outspoken bigfoot advocate by that time, and I jokingly voiced my hopes for an encounter, but as it turns out, the possibility seemed to feel a bit more likely than were were comfortable with, so we vacated the area. I still wish I had the guts to investigate.

  10. flacats responds:

    Good episode in that they might actually have found proof. I get tired of watching the show for an hour and finding out that they cannot prove any of there theories.

    The footprint test was good and the one biologist had a hard time disproving the footprints found in the soil.

  11. mystery_man responds:

    I just can’t over MattBille’s story. They didn’t even bother to keep any file at all? What a complete waste of potential sighting information. It’s really a shame. You’d think they’d at least keep it somewhere if they had gone through any trouble at all to take it down in the first place. It just goes to show you what anyone even trying to look for potential evidence is up against, when even the wildlife service doesn’t take it the least bit seriously.

    I can imagine the scenario that this could lead to next.

    Me: So have you ever come across any supposed physical evidence of Bigfoot at all?
    Officer: Well, we have come across some strange hairs left at the place of a sighting.
    Me: Where are the hairs now?
    Officer: Same place the sighting reports are.
    Me: You didn’t keep them?
    Officer: (After a thoughtful silence.) No.

  12. Aaronious responds:

    Thanks for the info Loren. Didn’t know about the Masonic interest. I lived in Co Springs, Woodland Park and Florissant, before moving on to the northern areas of the state. I never had the pleasure of hearing screams bellowing across the hills, even when I was living at 9,000 ft.

    Here’s to hoping the episode is a good one.

  13. Daryl Colyer responds:

    Good episode. I liked Keith’s data and the GIS work.

    Hey mystery_man, that sort of dismissiveness is pervasive.

    I know from my own personal experiences and I have a number of accounts from individuals as well who tried to contact officials with reports of encounters, only to be casually dismissed, mocked or ignored; it happens all too often.

    Often the response is: “So what do you want me to do about it?”

    Or: “It’s probably some of the locals joking around…”

    Or: “Bigfoot doesn’t exist, so what you saw must have been something else…”

    Or (the most common response): “………………………………….”

    There are only a few from whom I have gotten positive responses. Most, not all, but most, are just indifferent or not at all comfortable discussing it.

  14. RyanWinters86 responds:

    I thought it was a good episode.. I felt the elk theory (That bigfoot actually follow elk) was very revealing and that Bigfoot are also spotted in lower elevations in the winter and higher elevations during summer just as the elk are… Very interesting episode.

  15. sschaper responds:

    So, the Masonic connection is that there isn’t one? O-kay.

    I’ve been to the top of Pike’s Peak as a boy – in a car – and many tens of thousands do this every year. I remember (barely) when Cripple Creek was a ghost town. Things are far, far more built up today. I find it hard to believe that a troop of napes would live right on the shoulders of that mountain. I could see, maybe, one passing through from the Sangre de Christo.

    As to the tapping one of you heard. Are you sure it wasn’t a woodpecker? It’s been a while since I’ve been out there. How familiar are you with that region, and the behavior of its wildlife – including alarm calls?

    BTW, the Knights Templar were a thoroughly Roman Catholic order, but they became so rich that the King of France craved their gold and he, not the Pope, disbanded them.

    The Freemasons were invented by 17th century Deists such as the famous George Herbert’s brother. They do not go back to the Knights of the Temple. Anytime anyone becomes famous, it seems like the Freemasons claim that person was a member.

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