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Carnoferox

Evaluation of Historical Bigfoot Encounters

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This is a continuation of the interesting discussion about purported Bigfoot sightings throughout history on the Patterson-Gimlin thread. I felt it was getting too off-topic for that particular thread, so I started this new one. Post historical accounts of Bigfoot-type creatures here, especially ones set in America, and we can discuss and evaluate their credibility.

Edited by Carnoferox
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We've already tackled the oft-recounted "Bauman story" (actually originally published under the title "The Wendigo"), which turns out wasn't written by Theodore Roosevelt but rather Ernest Thomson Seton and is most likely a piece of fiction.

Edited by Carnoferox
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I have this one, which I dug out earlier.

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085421/1904-07-08/ed-1/seq-6/#date1=1836&index=7&date2=1922&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&lccn=&words=creature+hairy&proxdistance=5&state=&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=hairy+creature&phrasetext=&andtext=&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1

Cited as being an early BF encounter, but at source it turns out that the witness describes the subject, despite being covered in hair and having unusually long arms, as being 'unmistakably and uncompromisingly human'.

The article also goes on to say that according to local indigenous lore the man was the result of 'an imense hairy creature, either baboon or ape', which escaped a Spanish ship and ultimately setting up home with a local woman. 

Again, this isn't consistent with modern reports. 

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I can't find any decent info about Ape Canyon but if someone can we can discuss that.

Also, another story I recall but can't find good unbiased info is the wildman escape from train on January 8th, 1905

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I'm not going to trawl through it tonight, but I'll post it up tomorrow. You can find the original article reproduced by searching July 16th 1924 The Oregonian, and what's his name's booklet How I fought Apes on Mount St Helens or whatever. The title is available from the Wiki article references. 

It's bonkers. Psychic apes and hypnotic killer Indians. What it's not is modern BF lore. 

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Besides the article featured in the Oregonian in 1924, Fred Beck (the only known witness to the events at Ape Canyon) didn't recall his story until 1967.

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I found out some more about the history of the Bauman encounter. It turns out that it did actually appear in the first edition of Theodore Roosevelt's The Wilderness Hunter in 1893. However, the story does not appear in the second edition published in 1910 (the original one that I was looking at). The Bauman story wouldn't be published again until it was included in E. T. Seton's 1932 collection Famous Animal Stories, where it appeared under the title "The Wendigo". In reality this is probably where more people read the story.

Edited by Carnoferox
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There's less reports available from further back in time. This is largely because there weren't any report databases prior to recent times and the fact that none of the people that had experiences prior to a certain point in time are around to submit a report. You can still find reports that were published in newspaper articles. The BFRO has quite a few archived:

http://www.bfro.net/GDB/newart.asp 

 

Edited by OntarioSquatch

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Wikipedia has this not so confidence inducing statement to make a bout Ape Canyon:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ape_Canyon

Fred Beck, one of the miners, claimed they shot and possibly killed at least one of the creatures, precipitating an attack on their cabin, during which the creatures bombarded the cabin with rocks and tried to break in. Beck detailed his claims in a 22-page booklet[3] written in 1967, in which he identified the creatures as mystical beings from another dimension, explaining that he had experienced psychic premonitions and visions his entire life of which the apemen were only one component.

Yikes.  Once again we are left with evidence tainted by the sanity of the witness reporting it.   In what other instance would evidence be offered up as worth consideration when the eyewitness appears to be delusional?    Patterson a  known  fraud, Beck delusional, certainly a tough case to defend if you truly believe these things exist. 

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9 hours ago, oldrover said:

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085421/1904-07-08/ed-1/seq-6/#date1=1836&index=7&date2=1922&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&lccn=&words=creature+hairy&proxdistance=5&state=&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=hairy+creature&phrasetext=&andtext=&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1

Cited as being an early BF encounter, but at source it turns out that the witness describes the subject, despite being covered in hair and having unusually long arms, as being 'unmistakably and uncompromisingly human'.

The article also goes on to say that according to local indigenous lore the man was the result of 'an imense hairy creature, either baboon or ape', which escaped a Spanish ship and ultimately setting up home with a local woman. 

Again,  this isn't consistent with modern reports. 

I would think that that particular description aligns nicely with modern Bigfoot lore (it is how many describe the subject of the PGF). So, too, does Beck’s account of supernatural “psychic apes” (see Kewaunee Lapseritis, Janice Carter Coy, Mary Green, et al). Bigfoot-kidnaps-woman - although being mostly the stuff of tabloids and "monster erotica" it is still part of the modern Bigfoot "lore"...

It should be noted, however, that modern Bigfoot lore (post 1958) is very diverse encompassing virtually anything describing a wild, hairy, human-like being of varying size. Other than that – anything goes. Historical accounts show similar diversity…

There are plenty of reports of such hairy man-like beings in the historical archives (pre 1958) – for some examples:

http://www.bigfootencounters.com/stories/bigfoot-casebook.htm

http://www.nyfolklore.org/pubs/voic35-3-4/bigfoot.html

http://www.bigfootencounters.com/sbs/campingout.htm

http://www.pabigfootsociety.com/historical-bigfoot-articles.html

Australian examples (work in progress) - http://home.yowieocalypse.com/Reports_of_the_Wild_Hairy_Man_Contents/

Furthermore, Western English-speaking folk in particular have had a long fascination with Hairy-/Wild-men (evidenced by the Wodewose and Green Man of medieval art and literature). Bigfoot is the modern name but it is certainly not a modern phenomenon…

Bigfoot may not be a real creature but many people do appear to have real personal/subjective experiences with it both now and historically just as we do with other mythical/mystical beings...

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2 hours ago, Night Walker said:

I would think that that particular description aligns nicely with modern Bigfoot lore (it is how many describe the subject of the PGF). So, too, does Beck’s account of supernatural “psychic apes” (see Kewaunee Lapseritis, Janice Carter Coy, Mary Green, et al). Bigfoot-kidnaps-woman - although being mostly the stuff of tabloids and "monster erotica" it is still part of the modern Bigfoot "lore"...

 

Very good points, all of which I take completely on board. I will be replying more fully later. I think though that we can 'broadly' distinguish between a modern pseudo-scientific type of bigfoot, or more accurately as you say wildman lore.  

I really appreciate the fact that you've brought the Yowie into this, it's got a strange linguistic tie in with another bit of 'early' BF lore. 

One thing that I would dispute though, is your saying that this myth is particularly prevalent among English speakers, it's universal. 

Edited by oldrover

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Finally a fresh new topi.. oh God damnit bigfoot again.

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 From Farmer on the other thread, which is by mutual agreement moving the discussion to here-

think maybe we're coming up against each others preconceived bias' here. The description you posted of the matlox sounds relatively consistent physically with modern day reports of BF  with of course some embellishment or colloquial biases thrown in. As for the violent behavior there are several native traditions which speak of violent BF behavior , even wars with them,  and the creature's eventual decision to simply withdraw from mankind rather than engage. Now off the top of my head i can think of three different videos where a native person is saying this but IDK yet if I can back it up with any supporting evidence from the era.  

Yes, I think I'm may well be being reductive about this topic (this also applies to Night Walkers earlier comments). I do see a distinction though between modern reports which I'd call bigfoot, and the more universal 'wildman' traditions.

I suppose it's because I'm looking at it from a single Western European perspective, i.e that bigfoot, as I've always been aware of it was purported to be a purely flesh and blood primate, and that this view which I assumed was universal today in the West were in contrast even to our own earlier traditions. I am aware that this is a generalisation but I've always assumed it to be broadly true.

I still see distinct and exclusive features in the 'modern' and historical tradition. Beyond that I'm not really sure how to put it. 

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Whether or not you believe in Bigfoot's existence, it is undeniably a cultural phenomenon that has evolved over the years. We will try and put bias aside here to discuss purported historical accounts.

Now back to the to weirdness of Fred Beck's Ape Canyon story.

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39 minutes ago, oldrover said:

 From Farmer on the other thread, which is by mutual agreement moving the discussion to here-

think maybe we're coming up against each others preconceived bias' here. The description you posted of the matlox sounds relatively consistent physically with modern day reports of BF  with of course some embellishment or colloquial biases thrown in. As for the violent behavior there are several native traditions which speak of violent BF behavior , even wars with them,  and the creature's eventual decision to simply withdraw from mankind rather than engage. Now off the top of my head i can think of three different videos where a native person is saying this but IDK yet if I can back it up with any supporting evidence from the era.  

Yes, I think I'm may well be being reductive about this topic (this also applies to Night Walkers earlier comments). I do see a distinction though between modern reports which I'd call bigfoot, and the more universal 'wildman' traditions.

I suppose it's because I'm looking at it from a single Western European perspective, i.e that bigfoot, as I've always been aware of it was purported to be a purely flesh and blood primate, and that this view which I assumed was universal today in the West were in contrast even to our own earlier traditions. I am aware that this is a generalisation but I've always assumed it to be broadly true.

I still see distinct and exclusive features in the 'modern' and historical tradition. Beyond that I'm not really sure how to put it. 

Referring to the Wildman traditions, I did hear a compelling argument once that many of those sightings were native shaman doing their spirit journey thing which makes sense as it relates to some of the early european sightings. 

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Link claiming that the "apemen" in the incident were actually YMCA campers rolling boulders down the side of the canyon.

https://sasquatchandfriends.wordpress.com/2016/07/03/fred-beck-meets-the-ymca/

The claim apparently originated from the book The Story of Lige Coalman by Victor H. White.

 

Edited by Carnoferox
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7 minutes ago, Carnoferox said:

Link claiming that the "apemen" in the incident were actually YMCA campers rolling boulders down the side of the canyon.

https://sasquatchandfriends.wordpress.com/2016/07/03/fred-beck-meets-the-ymca/

I like the way the article ended 

So. According to Coalman, the whole infamous Ape Canyon incident started with a few kids goofing around and a couple of “superstitious old-timers.” Before he knew it, forest rangers were planting prints in an effort to keep the public’s interest and boost the local economy. The Coalman account does not seem entirely outside the realm of plausibility. Never mind the fact that Fred Beck’s story took place in 1924 whereas this one takes place in 1926, and there were more than two prospectors involved in the famous account. Never mind the fact that the history of bigfoot sightings goes back way farther than White wants to admit.  I mean, come on, what do such details matter when you’re dealing with stories as good as this one? 

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The date discrepancy is noteworthy; it could be just a memory flaw, or it could be indicative of a lie.

The article also mentions a December 6, 1965 article about Bigfoot with "mental powers". I was able to find a transcript of that article here: http://www.bigfootencounters.com/articles/chronicle1965.htm 

The article briefly mentions a man trying to communicate with Bigfoot with ESP. Do you think Fred Beck was even slightly influenced by it in his 1967 account?

 

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24 minutes ago, Farmer77 said:

Referring to the Wildman traditions, I did hear a compelling argument once that many of those sightings were native shaman doing their spirit journey thing which makes sense as it relates to some of the early european sightings. 

The thing is, that the wildman tradition is a universal theme common to all cultures. It varies, but it's still fairly consistent. From the Ebu gogo of Flores and the remarkably similar Vedda stories of the Nittaweo, and I think, the Cree Indians, to the Polynesian giants of Hawaii, New Zealand and even Guadalcanal.  

There's no single explanation other than these are basic memes we've always carried with us. 

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12 hours ago, oldrover said:

Very good points, all of which I take completely on board. I will be replying more fully later. I think though that we can 'broadly' distinguish between a modern pseudo-scientific type of bigfoot, or more accurately as you say wildman lore.  

I really appreciate the fact that you've brought the Yowie into this, it's got a strange linguistic tie in with another bit of 'early' BF lore. 

One thing that I would dispute though, is your saying that this myth is particularly prevalent among English speakers, it's universal. 

Yowie = Yahoo. Author Paul Cropper would agree but Graham Joyner, the fellow who first collated early Australian Hairy Man reports in the 70s, would not...

I agree that the Hairy-/Wild-Man is universal but with our own English-based ethnocentricity we often struggle to notice and comprehend the personal and cultural nuances particularly of foreign Hairy-/Wild-Man accounts - forcing them to conform to our own overarching preconceptions. Farmer mentions the shaman connection to some early European sightings (and even some modern ones) and it is a good example of a mindset that is completely alien to most. 

Re: "There's no single explanation other than these are basic memes we've always carried with us" - that may not be the case. Those that we call "aliens" not only genetically modified modern humans in ways we cannot detect but also have developed time-travel technology. Seriously though, given the universality of the phenomenon there may be something more than the transmission of culture over time taking place. Like the Night Hag, when it comes to Bigfoot people from different cultures may be experiencing and relating the same thing using similar descriptive terminology. Bigfoot may "exist" (i.e. be experienced) even when there is little/no cultural component for the individual, therefore, it may be some form of "core experience" - perhaps one that may be triggered intentionally under experimental conditions (perhaps we have much to learn from the shamans in this respect). As a testable Bigfoot hypothesis it would at least be an interesting experiment...

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3 minutes ago, Night Walker said:

Yowie = Yahoo. Author Paul Cropper would agree but Graham Joyner, the fellow who first collated early Australian Hairy Man reports in the 70s, would not...

I'm assuming you're 'on to' the Danial Boone/Jonathan Swift thing that (without a particularly firm references) I was alluding to. I believe I have read Joyner, but in all honesty I'm not sure. And I will have to check again. Frankly, this area is a little, to say the least, out of my own area. 

The etymology that is, rather than the zoology concerning the the Yowie/Yahoo. 

10 minutes ago, Night Walker said:

I agree that the Hairy-/Wild-Man is universal but with our own English-based ethnocentricity we often struggle to notice and comprehend the personal and cultural nuances particularly of foreign Hairy-/Wild-Man accounts - forcing them to conform to our own overarching preconceptions. Farmer mentions the shaman connection to some early European sightings (and even some modern ones) and it is a good example of a mindset that is completely alien to most. 

Yes, indeed. I couldn't agree more with that. And this is an area where I believe the divergence between bigfoot and traditional lore is most evident. In that I see a notable difference in context between the two. My stance is that when the Western interpretation takes over and takes on a form of its own, indigenous tradition, which it's markedly diverged from, can no longer be used as support, because it's been subject to a cultural hijacking. 

 

21 minutes ago, Night Walker said:

Seriously though, given the universality of the phenomenon there may be something more than the transmission of culture over time taking place. Like the Night Hag, when it comes to Bigfoot people from different cultures may be experiencing and relating the same thing using similar descriptive terminology. Bigfoot may "exist" (i.e. be experienced) even when there is little/no cultural component for the individual, therefore, it may be some form of "core experience" - perhaps one that may be triggered intentionally under experimental conditions (perhaps we have much to learn from the shamans in this respect). As a testable Bigfoot hypothesis it would at least be an interesting experiment...

Personally, I tend to think that's an over elaborate hypothesis. That's not to say that I think it's necessarily wrong, just that a simpler explanation is more likely.  I think that inherent to all humans is the need to invent someone/thing more basal than ourselves in order to reflect our own unease and more socially unacceptable instincts back to ourselves, and illustrate how out of place they are by assigning them to a mutually pre-agreed 'lesser' group.. But, I suppose that too could be considered as being a core experience.  

 

 

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The Orangutan in England: An Explanation of the use of Yahoo as a name for the Australian Hairy Man.

57 minutes ago, oldrover said:

And this is an area where I believe the divergence between bigfoot and traditional lore is most evident. In that I see a notable difference in context between the two. My stance is that when the Western interpretation takes over and takes on a form of its own, indigenous tradition, which it's markedly diverged from, can no longer be used as support, because it's been subject to a cultural hijacking. 

"Cultural hijacking" makes it sound like a conscious act of terrorism. It's actually a natural process that works both ways, you know - Bigfoot can act as a means to reinvigorate indigenous traditions in the modern world. Thinking about it in negative terms may not be so helpful when it comes to understanding the process of what has happened in the past, is happening now, and is going to happen again whether you like it or not...

Quote

Personally, I tend to think that's an over elaborate hypothesis. That's not to say that I think it's necessarily wrong, just that a simpler explanation is more likely.  I think that inherent to all humans is the need to invent someone/thing more basal than ourselves in order to reflect our own unease and more socially unacceptable instincts back to ourselves, and illustrate how out of place they are by assigning them to a mutually pre-agreed 'lesser' group.. But, I suppose that too could be considered as being a core experience.  

Perhaps it is over-elaborate (I think of it as being ingeniously simple) but if Bigfoot doesn't objectively exist then no single explanation will explain all and this is one area that is markedly overlooked. It took a folklorist to make the Night Hag-sleep paralysis connection because he took people and their accounts seriously rather than berating them on the implausibility of what they did or didn't see, hear, feel, etc. I think we need more of that when it comes to Bigfoot...

For more on "core experiences" - Beings Without Bodies: An Experience-Centered Theory of the Belief in Spirits

Edited by Night Walker

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