The 1999 Washington State Elk Abduction Incident

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
August 9, 2019
Last Updated
September 4, 2020
Estimated Reading Time
7 min read
Posted in
Aliens, Abductions

A truly bizarre incident from February 1999 near the forests and mountainous terrain of Washington State would see three farmworkers seemingly witness an attempted alien abduction of an elk, apparently singled out by the strange aerial craft.

A blended picture showing two depictions of cattle abduction

What is the truth behind the Washington State Elk Abduction?

It is an interesting case for several reasons, not least due to there being multiple witnesses to the encounter. Furthermore, animal and cattle mutilations are known to have been reported in the state of Washington previously. It would appear that this was an animal abduction taking place right in the middle of the day, with multiple people witnessing it, to boot.

The case remains unexplained today, despite two well-established UFO organization investigating the incident within days of it taking place. Just what happened that gray afternoon in the upper northwest? And what might it mean in relation to other cases of alien abduction and cattle mutilation?

A Disc-Shaped Object Out Of The Dull Gray Sky

Slightly before noon on a gray day on the 25th February 1999 three state forestry workers would witness an incident that would alter their lives greatly. While planting seedling trees in the woodlands near Mount St. Helens in the upper northwest of the United States, a disc-shaped object came into view. It would slowly and calmly enter a valley, coming from the north of the three forestry workers’ position.

As well as the calm manner with which it moved, there appeared a very “purposeful” nature of its movements. It was also completely silent as it cut through the air, the witnesses noticing a “wobble” as it did so.

A superimposed UFO over trees in Washington State

Why might aliens target animals?

It was then that the three men called out to the rest of their crew (eleven more men in total), who were on a hill facing the other way. They would turn around and, along with the three initial witnesses, would watch the bizarre scenario unfold.

It would become pretty obvious to the forestry crew that the bizarre craft was seemingly moving in the direction of a herd of elk nearby. For their part, the elk continued on as normal, apparently unaware or unconcerned with the approaching anomaly that was quickly seeming like an aerial Jaws heading toward its prey.

Only when the metallic disc was almost on top of the herd did they begin to become agitated and aware of its strange presence. Then, an already bizarre incident became even stranger.

Separated From The Herd

Although no one seemed to see the exact circumstances, one of the elk quickly became isolated from the rest of the herd. It was, according to the witnesses, quite obviously an adult elk, so it’s possible it was a conscious decision to draw attention away from the others. Whatever the reason, though, the object soon zeroed in its attention to the separated animal.

The members of the forestry work crew watched in disbelief as the object hovered directly over the top of the lone animal. Then, the stricken elk seemingly rose into the air as if a pair of huge and invisible hands had lifted it.

Depiction of a UFO targeting elk

Depiction of a UFO targeting elk

The “wobble” of the object would get decisively worse at this stage. The elk, however, would remain firmly in the invisible grip of the bizarre disc-shaped craft.

The object began to move upwards slightly. As it did so, the elk would rotate under it while also appearing to get closer to the actual disc itself.

Initially, the object, still with the elk hovering below and moving in unison as if suspended by an invisible rope, would head towards the east. However, after first moving back to the west and then performing a complete 360-degree turn, it would begin to ascend. And it would do so at a greatly increased speed than it previously moved.

Also, at this stage, the elk was no longer visible. As no one had seen it drop to the ground, it was assumed by the witnesses at this stage that the captured animal must have somehow been taken inside the strange craft.

Immediate Report And Investigation

The witnesses would claim that the rest of the elk remained tightly packed together as if for protection. Furthermore, they, whether consciously or not, did the same, working for the remainder of the day within close proximity of each other.

On 1st March, just under a week later, a report of the incident was made to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC). They would go out to the location in question. However, NUFORC’s director, Peter Davenport, would also contact the Director of Investigations for the MUFON branch in the state of Washington, Robert Fairfax, who would assist in leading the investigation.

The field where the UFO activity took place

The field where the UFO activity took place

They would speak to the three main witnesses as well as inspect the location of the sighting for themselves. Furthermore, they would also witness the corpse of an adult and pregnant elk that was discovered along a roadside several miles away by another group of forestry workers. Whether this was the elk that was “taken” is uncertain. However, it is highly likely that it was.

Even stranger, there was no obvious injuries, wounds, or mutilations to the elk. As Davenport would state, “it was healthy, albeit it was dead”. Not even one single broken bone was found from an apparent fall to the ground. It was as if the animal had been placed where it lay, or simply lay down of its own accord.

Perhaps even stranger, despite other signs of dead animals almost immediately becoming prey to the many wild scavengers of the area, none would seemingly touch the body of the dead elk. Despite it laying where it was found for at least eight days.

A Genuine And Credible Mystery?

Although the incident remains without a full and satisfactory explanation, it remains one of the most intriguing encounters on record. And certainly, one that many would agree is credible.

For example, of the witnesses, Davenport would highlight how some of them had worked for the company in the area for almost 20 years. It wasn’t “likely that they would risk their jobs to pull a stunt” and make up such a drastic story. Furthermore, it was his stern belief that the witnesses were “sincere and believable”. Further still, although the corporation employing the workers wished to remain anonymous, they would vouch for each of the witness’s credibility.

A depiction of a UFO over a mountain

Many researchers believe the incident to be particularly credible

Perhaps another indication of their genuineness was their insistence to a person that there be no publicity from the incident. Initially, the entire group was intent on keeping the incident between themselves only. However, when their supervisor saw them later in the day, it was immediately obvious something was wrong. Ultimately, however, he would “have to pry it out of them”.

Some would even go on to state they had suffered bizarre and persistent nightmares in the weeks that followed.

We should perhaps also note, as Davenport does, that the incident occurred on privately owned land. The landowners had been more than happy to allow investigators access to the site. However, they didn’t want the location made public. This means, as Davenport states, the lack of detail on the location could be used by skeptics to dismiss the case entirely.

Further Fascinating Details From A Fascinating Case

Follow-up reports would suggest that many of the witnesses would develop an interest in UFOs following the incident. Whether this is an expected reaction or not is perhaps down to opinion. Many would state to investigators several weeks later that many members of their own families refused to believe their account.

Many of them also become extremely uncomfortable whenever they had work anywhere near to the location of the incident. This would continue for some time.

A superimposed UFO over a lonely highway at sunset

Many witnesses developed a sudden interest in UFOs following the encounter

Some further extraordinary details would also come to light in the weeks following the encounter. For example, one of the witnesses would claim it appeared as though the craft was actually “increasing in size” shortly after capturing the elk. Another witness, however, would wonder whether this was a “trick of the light” and the overall angle of the craft.

What is intriguing, however, are the reports of “strange lights” or “flashes” during this precise time. One UFO researcher questioned whether these lights and the apparent increase in size of the craft may have actually been “plasma”, which is often witnessed around orb-like sightings. This would also suggest that the craft, as solid as it appeared, was much more flexible.

Perhaps even stranger with this in mind are the comments of one of the witnesses. They would claim that he could shake the notion that the craft was actually some kind of ancient prehistoric animal.

The Stevens Pass Incident

Perhaps it is also worth mentioning, if only in brief, another sighting in the mountain regions of Washington State that took place a little over a year later in the summer of 2000. The account was broadcast on local radio. It would claim that several witnesses rang in to report a strange “round, green object” in the skies near the mountain regions. Furthermore, both government and private radar had also picked up the sighting (this remains unofficial, however).

One witness, a driver with several passengers in his vehicle, would state how they had been forced down Goat Trail Road because of repairs to the main highway. As they made their way along the road, however, they would witness the bright green object hovering in the air. Every now and then it would move up or down and then come back into its resting position.

Then, without warning, it would take off with breakneck speed. Rather unbelievably, even to the witness, despite him bringing the vehicle to a stop for several moments, none of his passengers witnessed the bizarre aerial display.

A superimposed UFO over a lonely highway

Washington State is a UFO hotspot

The witness would continue on with his journey. He would eventually speak of the sighting to close friends and family, none of whom would initially believe him. That was until the aforementioned report on the radio around a week or so later. However, following this, the witness didn’t hear anything else about the sighting. Nor did he manage to find any other witnesses to the incident.

Whether there is a connection to the Elk abduction the previous year is not clear. That strange aerial activity is taking place in the mountains and forests of Washington State, however, is perhaps something we can state is happening with a lot more clarity.

That Old Question – Aliens? Or Shadow Government?

Undoubtedly the encounter is one of the most bizarre and disturbing. Whatever did happen that afternoon near Mount St. Helens it would certainly appear to be something significant enough to unsettle 14 grown men. Ones, in some cases, with years of experience working in the outdoors and wilderness of the Washington state environment.

What intelligence was behind the strange craft? Is it some kind of top-secret military drone-type weapon? And if so, what kinds of experiments would it be conducting on animals such as elk?

Or might the intelligence belong to an extraterrestrial visitor? And if that is the case, is this even more worrying than a secret military project? Just what are the reasons for their actions? Might they view humans much the same as the separated elk, essentially fair game?

And what of the state of the dead elk itself, if we assume the carcass on the roadside was indeed the same as the one taken by the disc-shaped craft? The lack of injuries means the actual cause of its death remains a mystery. Why did it not succumb to the scavengers who were quick to strip similar bodies of their flesh upon death?

Let’s assume once more that this was indeed the same elk as the forestry workers witnessed. Can we also assume there was some form of radiation of contamination that such scavengers noticed? Or might it be something much more primal that keeps such predators away? Something that they could sense that unnerved them and urged them to keep their distance?

Whether any further information of the incident comes to light, only time will tell. The case, though, remains one of the most intriguing on record.

Check out the video below. It looks animals and aliens in a little more detail.

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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