Cave at Nevada State Prison holds secrets, mysterious footprints

Mystery Wire

Warden Mike Budge at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City knew there were prehistoric prints left by a gigantic "big-footed" creature inside the ancient cave on the prison grounds. After all, he helped close the cave 24 years earlier, he gives a tour to investigative reporter George Knapp and photographer Matt Adams -- the only TV crew allowed access to the mystery prints. Originally aired Nov. 24, 2005, on KLAS TV in Las Vegas.

Nevada State Prison Warden Mike Budge. (KLAS-TV)

MYSTERY WIRE Prison wardens don’t often hand out shovels to inmates and tell them to start digging, but it happened at a maximum security prison as part of a search for mysteriously large footprints

The mystery started more than half a century ago on the grounds of the Nevada State Prison, when the warden at the time reported finding a cave that contained amazingly large human-like footprints … made by what some suspect was either a sloth or a sasquatch. The cave, however, was covered up after the discovery.

Fifty years later, a new warden asked inmates to help dig it out. Sure enough, they found unusual prints.

Warden Mike Budge describes the prints: “A large human … those are what, about 18-24 inches.”

“They run 19 to 22,” says corrections officer Adolph Stankus. “They have about a 2-and-a-half to 3-foot stride, which would be a proper stride for a man of my height, only with a giant foot.”

The prisoners found other ancient prints as well, made by woolly mammoths. Mark Twain even wrote about the prints.

What large-footed creature made those marks long ago? The exclusive story on

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