The Pacific Northwest, lovingly referred to as the PNW, is a cryptid hotspot. Nobody knows why the spookiest of creatures tend to hang out in this neck of the woods, but they sure do make for good campfire stories. Keep reading to learn about your next favorite monster!
Tacoma Narrows Octopus
This massive cephalopod is rumored to linger in the waters between Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula, simultaneously striking terror and wonder into the hearts of those who dare to work and play in this chilly channel. The alleged 600 pound creature may be just an oversized Giant Pacific octopus, but with an average weight between 22 and 160 pounds, the likelihood of this creature’s otherworldliness feels more believable.
This cryptid haunts this specific waterway due to the ruins lodged in its depths. When the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (perhaps better known by its infamous nickname, “Galloping Gertie”), collapsed in 1940, all 5,939 feet of carbon steel plummeted into the water below. Nowadays, the ruins are an octopus hotspot, attracting divers from all over the world. If you visit the Tacoma Narrows, the Giant Pacific octopus may not be the only cephalopod you find hiding in the deepest, darkest corners of the ruins…
Lake Chelan Dragon
If wondering what creatures lurk in Washington’s deepest, darkest lake doesn’t give you goosebumps– I’m not sure what will. Clocking in at a whopping 1,486 feet, Lake Chelan has mystified people for centuries. Stories from Native cultures refer to the beast as N’hah’hahat’q, and they considered the dragon to be an evil spirit capable of great harm and destruction.
According to legend, the beast destroyed water vessels, killed people and even decimated towns. Witnesses over the years have described the monster as a long, scaly cross between an alligator and a snake. Rumor has it the beast also sports sharp teeth and wings. Nightmare fuel! Despite the creepy cryptid residing in its waters, Lake Chelan is a beautiful place to enjoy water recreation or relax on the beach.
I simply couldn’t write about cryptids in the Pacific Northwest without mentioning Sasquatch. This hairy bipedal derives its name from the Salish ‘Sasquits’, but also goes by Wendigo and Bigfoot. Indigenous cultures have shared stories of large, hairy creatures for thousands of years, yet the Sasquatch is just as elusive today as it’s always been.
People speculate the cryptid possesses special powers and can lure humans into straying off the moral path. Others believe the Sasquatch has more honorable intentions, only showing face when humans must be reminded to choose the high road. Either way, the smelly, seven foot tall creature has woven its way into popular culture all over the Pacific Northwest. This cryptid has been featured in advertising, literature, music, film, television, food and beverage. So don’t discourage– even if you can’t find Sasquatch in the wild, you’re bound to have a close encounter pretty much everywhere else.
Ringing in last (but certainly not least) is Sasquatch’s lesser known cousin, Batsquatch. This cryptid is aptly named due to its Bigfoot-like body with wings attached. Batsquatch is rumored to have emerged from the depths of Mt St Helens when it erupted in 1980, blasting an enormous amount of rock and volcanic ash into the atmosphere. Eyewitness accounts describe the creature as being tall with blue fur, yellow eyes and sharp claws.
Much like the Sasquatch, Batsquatch has its fair share of pop culture influence. Just ask Rogue Nation, a brewing company with a hazy IPA called Batsquatch. Just as details about this cryptid are hazy, so is Rogue’s homage to the creature. And if naming an IPA after a cryptid isn’t the most PNW thing ever, well, I’d like to hear a fact that personifies the region more.
Explore For Yourself
Whether you believe in creepy creatures or not, these cryptid-adjacent attractions across Washington are fun for skeptics and believers alike:
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