Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 25th, 2007
Click on the above image of George Haas, Loren Coleman, and Archie Buckley, San Francisco, 1975, for a larger sized version.
Archie Buckley, an early and important member of the Bay Area Group – the Bigfoot researchers of the San Francisco Bay area – died on June 18, 2007. Of all dates, I am not surprised to hear that Archie made it to this significant point on the calendar.
Archie died exactly on the 37th anniversary – to the day – of his most memorable meeting with a Sasquatch.
On June 18, 1970, in the Trinity National Forest, California, Archie Buckley first attracted Bigfoot to his camp by what he said was “friendship and fish.”
His contacts would continue through that summer. During fishing trips and other visits, several Bay Area-based Bigfooters, including Sharon Gorden, Richard Foster, Ben E. Foster, Jr, and Archie Buckley, had multiple Bigfoot sightings there including seeing a Bigfoot throw a rock, one prowling around a campfire, another flipping a car aerial, some communicating by gesture, and another being attracted nearby. Tracks, a dead fawn and feces were found. It was an active area, and they were kind enough to tell me where to go camp to see for myself, five years later.
In 1975, when I was living in San Francisco, I was able to meet and interview many early Bigfooters, including Jim McClarin, George Haas, René Dahinden, and Archie Buckley. I spent the most time visiting with Haas at his Oakland home/office, and with McClarin in the field.
On various occasions, Buckley would visit Haas, and once Dahinden, Haas, Buckley, and I were all there at George Haas’s apartment at the same time.
There’s a famous picture (left, directly above) found in some books and making the rounds on the internet of Haas, Dahinden, and Buckley in front of the brick siding of Haas’s apartment. Historical footnote: I took that photo on the day of that memorable meeting of Bigfooters. There’s another one rarely seen of Haas, me, and Buckley, shown above top, which Dahinden took.
Listening to the stories, most never published, which Haas and Buckley shared with me, I backtracked and camped in the same area in the Trinity Alps where the members of the Bay Area Group had their famed Bigfoot encounters.
In Season Three of “In Search of” with Leonard Nimoy, Archie appeared with his fellow BAG Bigfooters, in Episode #57, entitled “Monster Hunters,” first aired on November 9, 1978. The documentary television program showed them searching for Bigfoot in northern California, and Archie became a media star – for one show. He never appeared in any future Sasquatch documentaries, and he and members of BAG melted into the forests, after that. They reportedly kept up contact with the Trinity Alps’ Bigfoot, but were not interested in any further media attention.
I found Buckley to be a unique person. He was hearty, friendly, and an incredible expert on feet, due to his work with veterans who had foot disabilities, battle wounds, and most of all, amputations. He took his special expertise in feet and was able to read footprints with a keen eye to how the animal, hominoid or hominid, was walking, striding, and/or running.
In “Report on Sasquatch Field Findings”, published in The Sasquatch and Other Hominoids (edited by Vladimir Markotic), Buckley said that he found evidence of a dozen different Bigfoot in the California Sierra and Trinity Mountains. In studying their footprints, he wrote that “the weight bearing is directly over the astragalus, with initial pressure points on the calcaneus (heel) and the first and fifth metatarsals.”
Buckley made exacting observations: “William Hampton, a departed Wintu Indian friend, and a former roommate of Jim Thorpe at Carlisle, and I have, on separate occasions, observed heel tracks where a Sasquatch slid down a mountainside to hide his footprints. On another occasion, [the Bigfoot] literally backtracked in his trail at night to throw me off his tracks the next day.”
Buckley was always coming up with statements and findings like the ones above, foreshadowing by over three decades others’ current interests and thoughts on the structure of Sasquatch feet.
Archie Buckley will be missed. Gone now is another great one.
The following standard notice is the Inside Bay Area obituary being shared around the Bigfoot community, as found by Larry Lund.
Arthur Archie Buckley
August 15, 1917 – June 18, 2007
Beloved family patriarch, passed away June 18, 2007 at Canyonwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Redding, California, just two months shy of his 90th birthday.
He was born at the Alameda Sanitorium on August, 15, 1917. He was raised at 1041 Regent Street. He attended Porter Elementary School for kindergarten through eighth grades. He graduated a triple-block athlete from Alameda High School in 1936.
Archie matriculated to Chico State University where he continued his amateur athletic career while he studied to be a teacher. A plaque commemorating his track and field records is still on display at that university. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Education in 1941.
Mr. Buckley had just begun his teaching career in Willows, when he met the love of his life, his future wife of 65 years, Rhea Littlefield of Marysville, California. They were married on January 10th, 1942 in Carson City, Nevada.
As soon as the school year was finished, Archie enlisted in the U.S. Army. He quickly became a medical administrative officer. For most of WWII he was stationed at McCloskey General Hospital in Temple, Texas where he served as the Chief of Physical Reconditioning at the Army’s largest hospital specializing in amputation and neurosurgery. It was here that he became a pioneer in the new field of physical therapy.
I believe that he was the first to have Detroit engineers alter automobiles for use by amputee veterans.
After the war, Captain Buckley was offered a position with the Veteran’s Administration in Oakland where he continued his mission to help veterans overcome limitations and live up to their new potentials. His work was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, July 18, 1959.
He was an officer of the National Rehabilitation Association, the Association for Physical and Mental Rehabilitation, and the Association of Medical Rehabilitation Directors and Coordinators. He was a member of the U.S. Board of Civil Service Examiners for physical therapists. His career ended early after being stricken first with polio, and then with a bone tumor in his pelvis.
He retired in 1969 from the VA Hospital in Martinez.
His avocations in life all involved being outdoors. He loved playing and watching amateur athletics. He hunted game birds, and fished California’s waterways his entire life. Archie loved being surrounded by nature, whether it was his ample garden, Yosemite, the San Leandro Marina, or some other wilderness area in North America.
These passions continue to leave their impact on his many descendents with connections to the Forest Service, amateur and professional athletics, love of animals, and an appreciation of the natural world.
Living a long and full life often means laying to rest many of your family and friends, and Archie was preceded in death by his three brothers Leo, Delmas, and James Buckley, his two sisters Loretta Lyons, and Rose Cummings. He is survived by his wife of 65 years Rhea Buckley, a resident of San Leandro since 1948; daughter Diane Hudson, son-in-law Jack Hudson of Dublin; son Bill Buckley, daughter-in-law Celeste Buckley of Redding; daughter Sharon Winton, son-in-law Butch Winton of Shasta; grandson Cole Hudson and wife Tamora, great-grandchildren Marlena, Karissa, and Chase all of Stockton; granddaughter Whitney McNair and husband Todd, great-grandchildren Parker and Riley of Cupertino; grandson Brandon Buckley and wife Christine, great-grandchildren Charlie and Maggie of Pleasanton; granddaughter Holly Luke of Sterling City; granddaughter Heather Buckley of San Ramon; niece Yvonne Pontes of Castro Valley; nephews Jimmy Lyons of Alameda, Michael Lyons of Pleasanton, Robert and Richard Buckley both of Livermore. Family and friends are invited to attend the funeral service held at Chapel of the Chimes, 32992 Mission Blvd., Hayward, CA 510-471-3363
Published in the ANG Newspapers on 6/22/2007.