American Folklore

American Folklore: Washington

American Folklore: Washington

Washington is a state in the northwest of the United States, and it has a long history of human habitation. One of the oldest human skeletons in North America was found there. Europeans are not known to have discovered it until the late 1700s. It has some unique folklore. Here are some of the highlights of it.

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Admitted to the union in 1889 as the 42nd state, Washington is not to be confused with the city of Washington, D.C. Washington is not just a city — it is an entire, large state on its own. It is one of the wealthiest states in the nation, as well as the most socially progressive, and consistently rates highly for high life expectancy and low unemployment.

The ancient tribes who lived in Washington were notable for their totem poles, high tech canoes, and elaborate and artistic masks. Salmon fishing, whale hunting, hunter-gatherer lifestyles, and some farming were common ways of subsistence for the early Washington tribes.

The first recorded visit of a European to Washington was in 1775 by Don Bruno de Heceta of Spain. He was captain of the ship Santiago, which was part of a two-ship flotilla, with the other ship being the Sonora. He explored the coastal areas of Prince William Sound in Washington. Even before this exploration, Spain believed the Pacific Ocean and all of its coastal communities belonged to them, and this included coastal Washington.

Additional explorations of Washington, from the coast, took place in the late 1700s by the British and the Spanish. It eventually became an American territory and then state. It has some unique and interesting folklore all its own. Here are some of the highlights of it.

The UFOs of Mount Rainer

On June 24, 1947, a pilot named Kenneth Arnold saw nine UFOs flying over Mount Rainer. This was the first UFO sighting of this size in the area, and it drew a lot of attention from the public. In fact, it started a Mount Rainer UFO craze. Other people began to report UFO sightings all over the country after this, and the US government even set up a project to investigate these mysterious sightings.

Oddly enough, this sighting came only ten days after the infamous UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico. It was this sighting that really put UFOs in popular culture. However, the Mount Rainer sighting came so soon after Roswell that a connection between the two events cannot be discounted. Perhaps they were from the same planet or even part of the same fleet of ships. Either way, Mount Rainer maintains its status as a hotbed of UFO activity and UFO seekers.


You can’t talk about Washington without talking about Bigfoot, as Washington is the best-known state for Bigfoot sightings. It has the highest number of Bigfoot sightings of any other state, with around five hundred in total so far, since the first Bigfoot sighting was reported.

People have intricately investigated Bigfoot in Washington, as well. In fact, there was an Army Special Forces soldier and Washington State Trooper, who, preferring to remain anonymous, reported feeding several Bigfoot creatures in a forest in Washington. In his close proximity to them, he discovered they have their own language and one that is apparently quite distinctive. He said they were between six and seven feet tall, and each weighed about five hundred pounds.

The Ghost of Princess Angeline

Born with the birth name Kikisoblu, this Native American woman was the daughter of Chief Seattle of the Suquamish tribe. She was born near modern-day Seattle in 1820, and the nearby English settlers dubbed her “Princess Angeline” because of her regal bearing and beauty. After the U.S. government forced her people onto a reservation far away from Seattle in the 1850s, she and several of her tribe refused to go. Instead, they stayed in Seattle where they lived and worked.

She loved Seattle and has apparently continued to stay there. To this day, people report seeing her ghost at the Pike Place Market in Seattle. Usually, she is sitting on a blanket with several handwoven baskets on it that would be for sale was she not of the ghostly persuasion these days. She appears as a living person, and tourists often approach her, but she disappears if they get too close.

What is Caddy?

Most sea monsters are found in freshwater. However, Washington has its very own sea monster just off the Pacific Coast. Called Caddy, it is believed to have moved to Washington from Cadboro Bay in British Columbia, Canada. Those who have seen it, and there have been many, have described it as having an incredibly long neck and the head of a horse. It has been spotted as far away north as Alaska, and as far away south as San Francisco. Lots of videos of Caddy have even been taken as proof of its existence, and one woman once claimed in 1991 that she saw Caddy walking up the steps to the beach as she walked her dog along the shore.

The Magical Hole of Ellensburg, Washington

In the 1990s, there was a local radio show in Ellensburg, Washington called the Art Bell Show. A man named Mel Waters began calling into the show stating he had found a sinkhole with magical properties on his property. He said it was more than 80,000 feet deep, as measured by the fishing line that went down for around fifteen miles before it touched the bottom. He claimed a dead dog belonging to a neighbor that was lowered into the hole was brought back to life and was seen by others in the neighborhood walking around afterward.

He called into the show many times before 2002, telling about the other magical properties of the hole before a local newspaper reported that no one by the name of Mel Waters lived in the area. He stopped calling the show, and his identity has never been confirmed. While some people believe the story of the magic hole to be a hoax, others believe it to be true, and still, look for it today.


Will Moneymaker

Will established Ancestral Findings in 1995 and has helped genealogy researchers for over 25 years. He is also a freelance photographer, husband of twenty-eight years, father of four children, and has one grandchild.