The Ray Wallace Debate – Part IV

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 6th, 2006

Wallace Track

Blue Creek Track

How can anyone not see that, indeed, Ray Wallace and/or his associates did use the carved wooden tools, such as this left foot fake (seen here on the right) in the series from Blue Creek Mountain, 1967 (one example track is shown here)? Blue Creek Mountain is near Bluff Creek, California, of course.

The divisive nature of this debate is obvious. Those who deny Ray Wallace was involved in actual hoaxing continue to engage in black and white thinking. I am one of the foremost supporters of the reality of Bigfoot, and you would think that because I want the "bad Wallace data" out, I am a Sasquatch skeptic and mindless debunker. Unbelievable.

Am I exaggerating? Hardly. In an email sent to me on February 17, 2006 about this Wallace debate here at Cryptomundo, John Green writes: "On this subject you should stop acting like a stubborn fool. Throughout this argument you have been able to produce no evidence, not even direct eye-witness testimony, that Wallace ever faked prints anywhere, let alone any in California or any that anyone took seriously."

People from that era are dead or beginning to die. Eyewitnesses are not a dime a dozen, but they do exist. Testimony is there, if one appreciates what is being said. These men’s stories are slowly being revealed in their obituaries, through their comments in documentaries, and what their families are remembering of the pranks they pulled as young men. There never was a large number of Wallace-fakery events, but the testimony of the tracks they left is hard to ignore. But some people still do. And a double-standard is being applied.

John Auman, 71, of Glenoma, Washington State, "who worked in the northern California forests with the late Ray Wallace says the 16-inch footprints Wallace made — using big, wooden feet strapped to his boots — weren’t a prank at all…[Auman] remembers the tracks as a theft deterrent, not just a joke…the big footprints scared off vandals who’d been coming to worksites and stealing fuel, batteries, engines — whatever wasn’t nailed down." (Source: Seattle Times, December 9, 2002.)

Jim Rakoz, 71, of Battle Ground, Washington State, died September 13, 2004. His wife, Jean Rakoz remembered "her husband and his logging friends swapping stories of enduring Washington legends. In his hometown of Toledo, he helped spread the Bigfoot myth, laying Sasquatch tracks with the Wallace brothers." (Source: The Columbian, September 18, 2004.)

Jim Rakoz was there and said he was involved in the faking, having told his relatives while he was still alive. I interviewed Rakoz’s son and brother, both of whom confirmed that Rakoz helped put down tracks with Wallace, including the intriguing detail that they would often first have the fake feet step through pig and horse manure.

Tracks found at a Wallace construction site by Steve Matthes in 1960, were identified at the time as fakes by him. Matthes says that was the reason he got out of hunting Bigfoot in 1960. And while all the Wallace fakery stories began coming out in 2002-2003, Steve M. Matthes had already mentioned these Wallace site fakes in his book, Brave and Other Stories (Carlotta, CA: Vera O. Matthes, 1988), in a chapter entitled "The Great Hoax," specifically on page 289.

You see, if the stories came from the associates of Wallace in the 1950s, they have become part of Bigfoot testimony and are believed. The road-crossing sighting on October 12, 1958, of a Bigfoot by Wallace-hired men, Ray Kerr, 43, and Leslie Breazeale, 35, is taken as gossip. The story of Bigfoot throwing a huge tire and drum down a gully, and other parts of the Bluff Creek story that have been repeated as further evidence of the Bigfoot encounter issued from, humm, Ray’s brother, more often than not.

Breaking down the "eyewitness testimonies" about where tracks were reportedly left, what 50 gallons drums were thrown down what embankments, and what Bigfoot was seen crossing the road in the headlights of a car, around Bluff Creek, in 1958, one begins to see that these witnesses turn out to be Wallace relatives, friends, and specially-hired employees. Many of these stories have passed into the almost folkloric status of Bluff Creek’s "first" Bigfoot reports as if all of them happened one day after another, when in fact they are spread out in time and space, with many Wallace compatriots connecting the dots. Ray Wallace did not have to be "on-site" for the pranks to always occur.

Think about it. Notice who says what they said they saw and when. The question, "consider the source," goes in two directions. Is there any more reason to believe all the Wallace-associated "reports" of Bigfoot around Bluff Creek in 1958, any more than there is to believe all the stories coming from Wallace associates 40 some years later that these were hoaxes? You can’t have it both ways – disbelieving Wallace and friends in 2002-2006, but believing everything they said in 1958. Why are we supposed to believe Wilbur Wallace’s reports of 50 gallon drums and huge tires being thrown around Bluff Creek in 1958, as having any substance to them? Why are we supposed to believe Ray Kerr and Bob Breazle, the conveniently just-hired Wallace employees, who said they saw a Bigfoot on a road near Bluff Creek in October 1958? But then, why are we now asked to not believe similar people, like Jim Rakoz and others, who said they were involved in the Wallace pranks?

Other older hints are ignored too.

In an Ivan Sanderson letter of February 21, 1960, to George Agogino, he recorded his doubts about Wallace. Sanderson told Agogino that after Sanderson’s True article was published he received a letter from a man who was rather convinced that something real was there: "But along the line, he now gives full details of the Mad River sighting and tracks of 1957, and mentions casually that the road there was also being built by Ray Wallace. Then I get another letter addressed to me, care of True, from a lady who owns a motel in southern Oregon, which tells me that she had another Wallace brother and two other men, whom she named, living with her all the winter of 1958-59, who used to spend much time sitting out on the porch and doing some drinking. She reported that she had overhead them (as her office was next door) having a terrific laugh over the Bigfoot business and describing in detail how Ray Wallace had made them with their, and others’, assistance by making imitation ‘feet,’ weighing them, and then being hauled up and down the slopes (by the new road) by means of the cables they used for clearing the logs out of the way.”

In one of the post-Wallace death television documentaries, old Wallace associates are shown demonstrating how a truck would pull a person, using a rope or cable, behind the moving vehicle to increase the stride when the fake prints were placed on the road, near the work site. But even John Green has mentioned, the stride was not important. It was the depth of the prints that made some people wonder. However, the depth too can be increased due to velocity and impact.

Elsewhere in the 1960 letter, Sanderson commented: “First, almost everybody who did not believe the tracks were made by an unknown living entity seemed to have the same idea. This was that Ray Wallace made them. The reason – that he was a great ‘funster.’ ”

Once again, the "let’s ignore Wallace totally" camp has chosen to ignore what has been recorded on this situation, including the "eyewitness" testimony. Why? Because it does not fit into their cosmos that they were deceived by a prankster, or that they have ignored the minor acts Wallace produced in the way of fakery.

One way that the "let’s ignore Wallace" school of thought has worked is by, more often than not, using the right fake foot when, indeed, it is the left fake foot that is a key.

Of course, if you hold up for a photographer a fake foot, it appears to be the opposite foot from the one laid down in a print. The human mind often does not do the reversal easily, unless a conscious effort is made to imagine the print being placed down into the dirt, dust, and mud. For the Wallace skeptics, it is easy to just place a similar looking but not identical print next to a fake wooden foot tool and then proclaim they don’t match.

But looking at the wooden tool that the Wallace associates used to put down the prints, as Mark A. Hall and I have noted, these are the ones that are there in the literature as the "beautiful prints" of a Bigfoot.

Sadly, the most "beautiful prints" in some books are tracks authored, most assuredly, by Ray Wallace and his friends.

Wallace fake imprints can be found in many Sasquatch/Bigfoot books. Most are labeled as Bluff Creek 1958, 1959, and 1960, or Blue Creek Mountain 1967.

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.

7 Responses to “The Ray Wallace Debate – Part IV”

  1. mrbf2006 responds:

    Loren, great work on this expose’! I think that indeed the Ray Wallace story has hurt the credibility of Sasquatch researchers, but some of these researchers seem to be so unshaken in their absolute faith that there is no evidence that Wallace faked tracks that they lose their objectivity. John Green, great researcher he is (indeed, he is “Mr. Sasquatch”), a man I have a great deal of respect for, seems to have blinders on regarding this issue, and it’s unfortunate and tragic. He needs to regain his objectivity and stop poo-pooing the significance of the Wallace hoaxing. He needs to realize that you, Loren, are not talking about the Crew tracks, just some of the other tracks found. If anyone is being stubborn, it’s Green, not you, Loren.

  2. chrisandclauida2 responds:

    As researchers we must be true to the science we try to use. We must approach every piece of evidence with an open and sceptical mind. Those that are suspect should at the very least have an asterisk by them.

    In this instance it isn’t hard to separate the fakes from the real or suspects. If I understand it correctly almost all of Wallace’s tracks are of a certain M O. Meaning all are along a road in almost perfect substrate with the actual prints being a few variations of one design. This should actually be helpful in discounting his fakes.

    Lets face it. If you remove all suspected Wallace prints you still have a huge amount of print evidence that is legit. I think the problem is some people have gone on record saying certain prints are genuine and are too large in the ego department to say otherwise. Sadly this is true even with evidence like the obvious proof in the pictures at the top of this page.

    Bottom line is we as researchers should be at the front screaming foul when we see a hoax or suspect one. Doing so only lends to our credibility.

    A most important fact to remember is that no one is an expert in a field where there is not proof of existence of the subject of study. Until then it is all theory and conjecture. Without the specimen to study and prove or disprove the various ideas none of it is set in stone yet. pun intended

  3. airforce47 responds:

    Ray Wallace probably did fake some footprints at one time or another or one of his friends did or assisted him in some way.

    However, I don’t believe that every footprint Ray claimed to have faked was faked or hoaxed. It does behoove us to closely examine any cast from that era for possible hoaxing.

    We’ll have hoaxers until the species is officially discovered and listed. We’ll just have to uncover them and show what they really are as we’ve done with Ray Wallace. My best,

    Larry Lesh

  4. aaha responds:

    Ray was a prolific storyteller and pathological liar. In his later years he suffered delerium that made him incapable of deciphering what was true and what was false. This is one of the classic symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

  5. dewhurst responds:

    On a completly different subject I was wondering if anyone could shine further light on the Myaaka Skunk Ape photos (the ones that look rather like an orang utang ) that an old lady was alleged to have taken in her back garden some time ago.

    Has the investigation moved on or has anything been proven or disproven regarding these rather fascinating photos?

    I have seen them on a few web pages but have not seen any results of further investigation.

  6. john green responds:

    I have always found it hard to credit that Loren (and his friend Mark Hall) continue to cling to their belief that Ray Wallace faked all the footprints found in the Bluff Creek area in the 1950s and 60s, but if the above article represents the depth of their examination of the evidence I guess it is not surprising.

    Taking Loren’s points one at a time:

    The picture Loren chose to present shows the bottom view of only one of the pair of carved wooden feet produced by the Wallaces as evidence that Ray faked the original “Bigfoot” tracks in California. Aside from the bottom of the toes being flat it is a fairly close representation not of the original 16-inch “Bigfoot” but of some casts of the many “15-inch” tracks that were found, photographed and cast over a 10-year period. However the carving of the opposite foot, which is held so the bottom cannot be seen, is not a close representation of anything. It is crudely carved to only an approximate shape, with three of the toes not even separated.

    (Loren’s remarks about getting right and left feet confused in comparing carvings and track photographs are just a red herring. They do not apply when comparing a carving with a cast.)

    And if Loren were to take the trouble to compare closely the shapes of his two illustrations, using an overlay grid for instance, he would find that they are only superficially a match, while if he showed all the photos from that same line of tracks (on Blue Creek Mountain) it would be obvious that to match them all would require many sets of wooden feet with a wide selection of shapes.

    Loren’s problem, of course, is that he never saw the tracks in question, which showed wide variations, and you can double that for the 13-inch tracks that were with them. Rene Dahinden and I (one of whom took the photo track that he uses) studied the tracks, and there were hundreds of them, for a couple of days. The suggestion that they could have been made by someone walking on sets of carvings is just plain silly.

    As to Loren’s “eye-witnesses”, the yarn he quotes (from a newspaper story, not a personal interview) about Ray faking the tracks to keep people from vandalizing his equipment has actually been around from the beginning and is obviously just a tall tale. It paints Ray as a complete fool, which he certainly wasn’t, to have tried such a nonsensical scheme, and it certainly does not fit the facts of the situation on the Bluff Creek job in 1958. Potential vandals would have to have arrived on the road Ray’s crew was building, passing through a camp which virtually straddled that road and had people living in it 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Ray’s problem, according to accounts at the time, was not vandalism, but replacing employees who left the job after seeing the huge tracks made overnight where they were working. (I never heard any of those stories first hand because, of course, the people said to have left were no longer there.)

    The second “eyewitness” account, actually a second-hand story, tells of participating with Ray Wallace in faking tracks, but apparently near his home in Toledo, Washington, not in California.

    There is, of course, no reason to argue that Ray never faked any tracks anywhere, he quite possibly did, but it is interesting that amid all the fuss no evidence connecting him with any known track discovery has come to light, nor any account of his claiming to have faked tracks. (Ray’s family told Rick Noll that Ray never told them he had faked the Bluff Creek tracks, they just assumed it.)

    It is interesting also that in spite of a $100,000 offer for anyone who can show how the Bluff Creek tracks could have been faked by the Wallaces, who have the wooden feet supposedly used, have not come forward to try. And for a TV news episode at which one of the Wallaces had agreed to give a demonstration, once he learned that there would be people there who had casts of the actual tracks to make comparisons, the wooden feet were suddenly in someone else’s possession, that person wasn’t home, and the Wallace wasn’t coming.

    There is at least one real eye-witness still available who had the best of opportunities to study the original “Bigfoot” tracks, a civil engineer who in 1958 was a teenager employed as “stake setter” working ahead of the bulldozers on the Bluff Creek road job, but Loren doesn’t seem to have contacted him. He has no use for the suggestion that wooden feet could have made the tracks that he saw, not just on the road but on the steep banks. He is the person who describes the construction camp as having people in it 24/7, and he is also still in touch with the Wallace family, and tells of an effort made to get him to back them up in the scam they have been having so much fun with.

    Then there is the Blake Matthes story.
    The fake tracks he tells of seeing were not at “a Wallace construction site”. Loren should read the book again. Matthes’ account makes it clear that he was there after Wallace’s contract was finished, in fact he didn’t even seem to know that road construction was involved, not logging. Someone obviously made fake tracks in an attempt to play a joke on the group Matthes was with, who were known to be looking for Bigfoot tracks in the area, but after some initial excitement the prank did not succeed. The perpetrators may even have been careful not to have their creations taken too seriously, since the last two tracks in the second set they made were both of the left foot. A photo indicates that the fake feet used were probably modeled on Bob Titmus’ “15-inch” casts, but they are not a match for any of the carvings so far shown by the Wallaces.

    And did all the stories of remarkable goings-on at Bluff Creek originate with people in some way associated with the Wallaces? Loren’s broad-brush assumption that such was the case simply is not correct. Some did, and it could have been Shorty Wallace who pulled the pranks on Matthes group, I wouldn’t put it past him, but many peple reporting track finds and telling stories of observations indicating feats of superhuman strength had no apparent Wallace connection. Among such witnesses that Rene and I interviewed on one trip to that area were the owner of the logging operation that went into that country after the road job was completed and a man who was employed as a government inspector while the logging was going on. That man also told of finding the big tracks on more than one occasion far off in the woods where no-one would have reason to expect they would ever be seen. Such stories were just icing on the cake, however, no-one is arguing that they were necessarily true, any more than were the far-fetched scenarios put forward at the time by people who didn’t bother to investigate but were nevertheless eager to explain everything away.

    Among those scenarios, which Loren and Mark seem to have fallen for hook, line and sinker, is the yarn that the tracks going up and down steep banks were made with heavy weights pulled up and down with cables, and the one about long strides being made by people pulled along behind vehicles. Those are things that could be demonstrated (I am told the pulling-along attempt on TV was a fiasco) and until they are they belong with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

    It was only the tracks, and in fact only those that seemed beyond any possibility of human fakery, that caused people like Bob Titmus, Rene and myself to take the Bluff Creek situation seriously.

    It is getting rather tiresome to have people who weren’t there proclaiming that we botched our investigations and they, from what they have read or imagined, have all the answers.

  7. Loren Coleman responds:

    Of course, John Green’s comments are appreciated, but indicate, once again, that he is selectively reading what I, and for example the folks here commenting, have been writing about the Wallace fakes.

    The red herrings are Green’s, whether they are the changing sizes between 15 and 16 inch tracks that Grover Krantz discussed in his books, or the $100,000 offer in which the “exact” conditions are for the Willow Creek people to verify. And of course, it is even more classic to read Green saying I did not interview some Wallace associates when I have. John Green is calling me a liar on that one, and that’s just uncalled for. That hardly seems necessary. Green’s “rebuttals” are old ones that have been answered often, and only go to reinforce the black and white stance he is taking on this issue, making it personal versus topic specific.

    I’ve never said all of the Bluff Creek area tracks in the 1950s and 1960s were Wallace fakes. Neither has Mark Hall or others in their critical works on Wallace. Actually, just the opposite. However, denying any of the Bluff Creek tracks are Wallace fakes, as Green does, flies in the face of the evidence.

    Yes, Green was there and he wishes to remind us all of that numerous times. Saying that one was there and took the photos of the tracks, that this mere fact makes them then “real” and thus that *one* person has all the answers is not a great debating point. Indeed, it is those photos that hint at the overall nature of the Wallace fakes in the data. And psychologically defending one’s evidence because you were the source is an understandable position. But it also certainly speaks to the blinders that this one person may be wearing, for example, when discussing the 1967 tracks.

    The vast majority of people “weren’t there.” Darn, most of the people reading this weren’t even born when these incidents occurred. But that’s hardly any reason we should non-critically “believe” every thing that John Green tells us or shows us about anything that happened at Bluff Creek or Blue Creek Mountain.

    I consider the reality that some actual Bigfoot tracks were left in that area, especially in 1958, as well as the Wallace associates faking others. I don’t really care, one way or another, if John Green ever sees the bad data in his database, anymore. Many of us already do, and he has lessened the legacy of his great contributions by ignoring the obvious.

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