Bigfoot Story Teller (1918-2002)
Ray Wallace, 84, a controversial figure involved in 44 years of Bigfoot-related events, died November 26, 2002, at a Centralia, Washington, nursing home. The Washington State construction tycoon had been ill for some time.
It was at Bluff Creek, California, in 1958, which found Ray Wallace’s company building a new road through the northern California forest. In August through October, Wallace Construction Company’s employee Jerry Crew found huge humanlike tracks. Thanks to instructions from taxidermist Bob Titmus, Crew made the first plaster casts of a footprint from the hairy upright creature his fellow workers called “Bigfoot.” Crew took the cast to town, to quiet local ridicule, and showed it to a Humboldt County newspaper editor. The photograph of Jerry Crew with the giant plaster of Paris foot imprint went out over the newswires. It produced a revolutionary shift from small regional stories of Sasquatch to today’s global awareness of Bigfoot. Soon after the publicized Crew finds, Wallace and his brother Wilbur claimed other Bigfoot activity around the construction site; Wallace said he found tracks and droppings of Bigfoot.
Wallace was to be involved with the local tales of hairy giants for the rest of his life. Allegedly in the later in the 1950s, for example, Wallace offered to sell Texas millionaire Tom Slick a captured Bigfoot. Wallace failed to produce the creature when Slick came up with an offer. Down through the years, Wallace would carry on pranks, be tied to carved fake Sasquatch feet, and produce and try to sell dubious photographs and films. He was a great letter writer and would pen long passages to magazine editors about this photographs or telling of how he knew a Bigfoot was nearby guarding a mine full of gold. After awhile, most Bigfoot hunters and researchers took Wallace as merely a spinner of fanciful tall tales. Through his contributions to Strange Magazine, the Track Record, and indirectly to Fate Magazine, Wallace relished keeping his name in the limelight of the Bigfoot mystery.
Media reports in 1995 observed Wallace claimed he had evidence the hairy creature was a big fan of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. In March 1998, Ray Wallace offered a million dollars to the first person who could bring him a live baby Bigfoot. Saying he had tracked Bigfoot for forty years, Wallace claimed he wanted to raise a young Sasquatch to adulthood. Wallace told reporters he planned to raise a baby Bigfoot with “care and respect” and would like to train the creature to ride around with him in his pickup truck and help out with chores around his ranch. No one came forth with a baby Bigfoot.
Ray Wallace added an intriguing, mostly harmless story-telling element to the otherwise often serious pursuit of Bigfoot that various friends of his, such as Ray Crowe, Director of the International Bigfoot Society, enjoyed.
Public records note that Ray L. Wallace was born April 21, 1918, in Clarksdale, Missouri, to James and Emma (Huber) Wallace. He moved to the Toledo, Washington area in 1961, coming from Oregon. He served in the Army during World War II as an aircraft gunner. He worked as a logger and also in road construction in Washington, Oregon and California. He collected rare animals and enjoyed hunting, fishing and boating. He also enjoyed mining for gold and discovering oil.
He married his wife, Elna, on May 10, 1942. She survives him at home. Also surviving are three sons, Michael Wallace of Castle Rock, Larry Wallace of Winlock and Richard Wallace of Toledo; 10 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Preceding him in death were a son, Gary Wallace two sisters, Cora Blaine and Mary McKinly; and three brothers, Forest Wallace, Lester Wallace and Wilbur Wallace.
A funeral service was held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Toledo First Baptist Church with pastor Joe Martin officiating. Interment was at Lone Hill Cemetery in Toledo, Washington, on November 30, 2002.