There is a Yeti in the back of everyone’s mind; only the blessed are not haunted by it. ~ old sherpa saying

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ivan T. Sandseron on "Flix," The Creature in Conser Lake

In my book The Ghost of Conser Lake, (unpublished) I cite an interesting passage from Ivan T. Sanderson’s book Abominable Snowmen about the creature. (You can read a previous section of the book here. Mention of “Flix,” the Bigfoot like being that appeared in Millersburg, Oregon in the late 1950s -early 1960s, is one of those interesting high strangeness BHM (big hairy monster) cases. Here’s a section from my book, with added comments in parentheses.

Flix Gets Around

Flix made the news for a good two years. He was seen off and on in the area during that time. Clarence Starr, owner of the Owl Cafe in Albany at the time, told Westby (Betty Westby, the reporter who wrote several articles about Flix for the Democrat Albany Herald newspaper) that the monster “had trampled down a lot of mint on his farm and that he will not be able to harvest much of his crop.

An elderly woman “who came from one of the early pioneer families,” the paper noted, walked into the Greater Albany office to give her story of her encounter with Flix:

“That monster was in our pasture last night. My neighbor took a shot at it. He found some blood on the ground, so he thinks he hit it. We saw its tracks, and the women in our neighborhood are scared to go anywhere at night or even sit on porches or leave the doors or windows open. I think he sheriff an state police should Hunt this creature down before it kills someone.”

The newspaper tried to explain to the woman a “big white cow” had recently escaped from its owner’s truck and that this is what she saw, but “she refused to believe our explanation.”

Mrs. Penning in Devers-Conner, about 30 miles south of Millersburg, told Betty Westby she heard "dripping sounds," even though it was August. (Interesting that Mrs. Penning described the “dripping” sound; remember that Flix’s footsteps were also described as “squishy.”) Looking out her living room window she saw a “large, light form,” hurrying away, and heard a “low pitched cry that seems to start from its toes, tapering off to a squeal like a pig’s.” Penning also fond fingerprints on her bedroom window, and Westby spectacled that they were web shaped, due to the four fingered, spread-out shape of the prints.

Three years later, the story of the Creature of Conser Lake was still news. In an article by Martin Clark, Albany Journal staff writer, he comments on writer Keith Sosebe’s upcoming talk on the “monster.”

Leaping from the shadow of a deep gully, the thing stood fully 7 feet tall in the ghostly moonlight. Petrified with mingled horror and curiosity, the young people sat motionless in their car. Suddenly, the apparition took at enormous leap over the gully and slipped away trough a tangle of boughs.”

By October, Flix, or a similar creature, was reported in Stanton, Oregon, 30 miles from Millersburg. (Oregon) It seems that Flix moved within an approximate 30 mile radius. This is assuming it was the same creature of course. Calls came into the Stayton police station of an “eight foot tall hairy monster,” and monster hunters were quick to look for the creature. Fortunately the police stopped a group of teens, armed with guns and beer, who decided to go monster hunting, before they could do any damage.

A Herd of Flixes?
Cryptozoologist and biologist Ivan T. Sanderson discussed the Conser Lake monster briefly in his book Abominable Snowmen:Legend Come to Life, citing a small item that appeared in the January, 1961 edition of FATE magazine, reporting that the “monster” was “still on the loose.” Sanderson also writes in Abominable Snowmen that a source wrote Sanderson in October of 1960, insisting that there was not only the one Flix, but several “Flixes” in the area. According to Sanderson’s unnamed friend, there were more than one BHM, several in fact, and fingerprint as well as footprint casts were taken. Referring to Flix, the letter writer described the creature:

he makes extremely high pitched sounds. his hair or fur had slight glow in the dark . . .feet make a squishy sound. Has been seen at day and night and seen to disappear into the lake.”

This last part about Flix disappearing into the lake gives some support to the theory about BHM, and/or Bigfoot, living underground. Sanderson also supported this idea. The letter writer mentions a “Hal Starr” who has had contact with more than one of these creatures. In the correspondence sent to Sanderson about the Conser lake “monster,”
the letter writer reports that “Creatures (italics mine) were still being sighted on a farmer’s farm.” The name given was Hal Starr; is this the owner of the Owl Cafe mentioned earlier?(Cal,or Hal?)

Flix himself verified Sanderson’s source that there was more than one creature. The creature told psychic Jane Waterby (Waterby was a friend of Betty Westby's and the two visited the lake to try and communicate with Flix.) that he wasn’t the only creature of his kind:
"I am sorry for you alien friend. What are you called?”
“I am called Flix. there are many like me, but I am the one called Flix.”

Another typical, yet frustrating detail Sanderson’s friend gives is the writer’s comment that a “finger print [was] lifted off a house window including a plaster cast of a foot print.” Sanderson's friend also said he had physical evidence:
“Have personal taped accounts of this creature . . . this includes photographs.”

But no photographs, fingerprints, footprints or recordings have turned up. As with much of UFO, cryptid and Fortean phenomena, evidence is as elusive as the phenomena itself.

copyright Regan Lee
March 1, 2009

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