Jay Stewart – Bigfoot Encounters 1975
Written March 1983
Date: 2nd week of July 1975
Time: 1st Encounter, Approx. 5:00 am
2nd Encounter, Approx. 6:30-7:00 am
Nearest Town: Ely, Minnesota
County: St. Louis
Nearest Road: Inaccessible by vehicle. Take County Road 88 to County Road 116 (Echo Trail) North of Ely to Fenske Lake on Right. At the Eastern end of Fenske Lake, you have to Portage a Canoe to Little Sleten Lake (Short Portage). Then paddle to the eastern shore. From there, another Portage (North to Sleten Lake (Long Portage).
Season: Summer (Daytime temp. at about 75 degrees in the part of the North). Night Time Temp approx. 54 degrees
This area is heavily wooded with mostly pine trees with some birch trees, dozens of natural lakes and some swampy areas and small streams. Lakes in this area are surrounded by huge rocks and boulders left behind from the Glaciers. Abundance of Deer, Beaver, Ground Squirrels, Loons and a few Black Bears. This is part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
I traveled to Fenske Lake each summer from 1967 until 1978 on vacation.
We always stayed at the Fenske Lake Campground until 1972, when we started staying across the lake at Mackie’s Cabins which is now known as Fenske Lake Cabins.
The main focus of our vacation was to get out in the North, relax, and fish and see the beautiful scenery including the many streams, lakes and waterfalls.
Each year we would take a canoe out to another lake for an overnight camp-out away from civilization. The area we were in was probably only visited by maybe a dozen people a year. Very remote area!
We sat out in the morning and paddled across Fenske Lake where we portaged our canoes over to Little Sleten Lake. We stopped a few times to see what we could catch in the Lake. Not having much luck we portaged our Canoes over to Sleten Lake. We dropped off our gear and set up camp on the Northeastern Shore where there is a rock outcropping.
My Aunt and Step Father set up on the Rock point about 100 feet from the water’s edge. My Cousin and I decided to pitch our tent further back but still beside the lake about a 200 yards away. We setup out tent about 30 feet from the edge of the lake and on the side of an animal trail probably used by Deer, Bear and other smaller critters. It was the only flat spot and it was near the end of the lake were it began to get shallow and sort of swampy. There was a Beaver Dam directly across the Lake that looked like it had raised the water level by about 3 feet over the years. The Beaver Dam was approx. 100 feet long. One of the longest that I have ever seen.
After we were all set up, we got back in our canoes and spent the afternoon fishing Sleten Lake which has a large population of Large Mouth Bass. Sleten Lake has several solid rock islands. We caught a lot but released them all. We did not want to attract Black Bears to our Camping area.
After we got back we made dinner with food that we had brought along for the trip, made a campfire and sat around for the evening. At about 10:00PM we settled into our tents and went to sleep.
During the night, I was awakened by something messing around with our tent. The tent shook a little, then a scraping sound on the nylon fabric down the side towards the front of the tent. Then the tent shook again like something was messing with the ropes that were attached between the tent and tent stakes. The moon was at ¾ that night and I could see the shadow of something huge through the nylon tent on what I think was the West Side.
The other noticeable thing is that there were hard footsteps being made on the ground. I have been in the woods all of my life and have spent the night out in the northern woods of Minnesota and Canada several times and have never heard this type of hard pounding footsteps. I have seen dozens of Bears and they have never made such a sound except the occasional snapping of a twig or leaves that they had stepped on. Most of this area was covered in a bed of pine needles and matted down on the trail. No human could make these foot step sounds in the matted pine needles. My cousin was still asleep and snoring as he always did.
I thought I saw something moving in the darkness at the front of the tent where the tent flap was left open to get a breeze through the tent (Again the moon was about ¾ full. The tent was just a “pup” tent 6’ x 8’. I sat up in my sleeping bag and went face to face with something trying to look into the tent through the tent flap! At approx. 3 feet away was the head of some type of animal staring at me with red-orange glowing eyes and I could hear its heavy breathing. I literally could feel the air on my face from the breathing! I put my hands down on the floor of the tent and quickly moved
my butt back further in the tent and away from the front of the tent. Now, let me make one thing clear at this point! This animals head was huge and upside down. It was bending over and looking in. This was not a bear or a deer. This was something that had bent over at the waist and was peering in the tent. I have hunted all my life and the only time that I have seen eye shine is when I shined a flashlight into an animal’s eyes or headlights from a car. His eyes where glowing without any external lighting.
Side Note: My cousin and I had talked before we fell asleep. I had been a little bit afraid since we were so far out in the middle of nowhere. During that conversation I distinctly remember him telling me that the only thing that we had to worry about in the woods is the animal that walks on two legs! But his meaning was; only worry about other people that could harm you and not to worry about animals. Note End
What I think was 20 seconds passed and whatever was outside of the tent soon left our area. I could hear a few more hard footsteps, then nothing. Thinking that I had just had a very bad dream with my heart pounding, I scooted back forward in the tent and laid back down and somehow got myself to go back to sleep.
At about 6:30-7:00AM, I woke up to a chilly morning (probably 54-56 degrees in this area in July) on the lake and soon had to go relieve myself.
I got out of my sleeping bag, pulled on my pants and slipped out the front of the tent to find a good tree. I walked about 20 feet northeast of the tent and began to relieve myself on the side of a pine tree. The Sun was coming up through the trees and I was looking around the woods. The woods were quiet and nothing was stirring. There was another large diameter pine tree about 35 yards away. I saw something peer around it. Then I saw a shoulder appear. At first, I thought it was a Bear getting down out of the tree or, getting ready to run up it, away from me.
It was not! I was face to face, again, with the animal that I believe was the same thing peering in the tent just a few hours before! It was standing at nearly 9 feet tall with 4-6 inch hair all over its body. The hair was so dark brown it was almost black. As the morning sun peeked through the trees, I could see a shiny reddish hue to the hair and a very dark gray (charcoal) face. There is no Black Bear that could ever attain that height and there are no Grizzlies in this area. The shoulders of this animal were at least 42”-48” wide!
It looked right at me, then, appeared to lean back to hide again behind the tree. It could not hide well even though it seemed to be standing somewhat sideways. It then looked out one more time and then turned and walked up the hill away from me and soon disappeared. To give you a very simple description of what I saw would be as if you took “Harry” from the movie “Harry and the Henderson’s” and darkened his hair, take the goofy smile off his face and made it dark gray, you would see what I saw. Size and mass would be very near perfect! His eyes were about 6- 7 inches apart, very black with no white showing. His nose was flat and wide. The nostrils appeared to be pointing more forward than downward like ours. There was no visible month as it was obviously closed and surrounded by hair.
I was not afraid as he posed no threat to me! This animal or unknown creature that I now know as Bigfoot/Sasquatch was at no point making any harmful movements towards me, nor did I know what I was looking at and therefore I had no reason to fear it. I was more mystified and curious. The morning sighting was nothing more than a game of peak-a-boo, or seemed to be, for him. Just plain curious!
Not long after he walked away and disappeared into the woods my Cousin in my tent and my Step-Father and Aunt in the other tent awoke and we all
got together, stoked the fire and made breakfast. We tore down our camp and packed. All four of us took the first of our supplies down to where our canoes were pulled up on the bank which was smooth rock. When we got close to the canoes and off to the right, we noticed a large 15 pound Northern Pike lying on the rock bank.
The Pike was lying straight as an arrow on its belly. The head and tail were intact and all of the meat was eaten from the top of it and part way down its sides. The belly was intact and the intestines were still inside. We all thought that we had been visited by a Bear during the night.
At no point did I say a word about what I saw. On the 3 hour journey back to Fenske Lake I did a lot of thinking about what I saw and decided to keep this to myself as I have learned over the years, that most everyone that has seen one has done also. I was afraid of being laughed at.
Since that early morning, I have done a lot of my own research. In the late 70’s it was through just newspaper articles. There was no such thing as the “internet” back then. That is where I saw frame 352 from the Patterson/Gimlin Film which was taken several years (1967) before my sighting. When I saw it and read about it, it brought goose bumps to me. It was then that I fully realized what I had encounters with! I had also gone to the Theater and watched the “Legend of Boggy Creek” but thought it to be a SciFi Flick and not a real account of what happened in Fouke, AR.
When I returned to school that Fall, I had the opportunity to write an essay in English Class. Needless to say, there was only one thing that I wanted to write about because it was all I thought about almost every day. It was at this time that a light clicked on in my head and now looking back, I think that the Bigfoot had went night fishing and had caught the Northern Pike in shallow water. A Bear would have just torn it apart. This Pike was eaten carefully as to not digest any bones or intestines. Just the good meat mainly
from its back. It had been placed on the rocks straight as if it had been eaten like we would eat corn on the cob. So, the journey is on. These “beings” are real and I will find out more about them in the future. I will do whatever it takes.
I have attached a picture of a Daytime Bedding Area where he stayed everyday. It is located to where he would always know if anyone like me entered the area and otherwise it is surrounded by hillside too steep for a human to ascend.
The following photo is unrelated to the incidents above, but was captured by Jay, while in another area doing research. He calls it “the boogers bed” and it is an interesting find. He says the bed ended up torn to pieces, due (he believes) to him disturbing the area too much.