Bigfoot casts a long shadow in Native American lore and American frontier folk legend.


Mention the name Bigfoot and most people will picture the 1987 film Harry and the Hendersons. Or maybe the controversial 1967 clip shot by filmmakers Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin, where a tall, hairy, bipedal ape — or a man in an elaborate costume, depending on whom you believe — strolled across Northern California’s Bluff Creek and into America’s pop culture consciousness forever.

But the story of Bigfoot started long before the monster-crazed years of the Atomic Age. In fact, the folklore of the frontier is rich with Bigfoot tales. Newspaper accounts from the 19th century are brimming with giant wild men, wood apes, and the like, many of which bear a striking resemblance to the descriptions of the creature that persist today — tall, hairy, bipedal, somewhere between a man and an ape, and, more often than not, stinky.

On the Tule River Indian Reservation, in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills, a set of giant pictographs tells an even older story — the creation tale of the Yokut people and the gatekeeper of their spiritual world, a figure known as Hairy Man.

The pictographs feature a veritable mountain menagerie, including coyote, beaver, eagle, condor, and bear, all well-documented animals who also serve a supernatural role in the tribe’s origin story.

“They’re somewhere between 3,000 and 1,800 years old,” says Kathy Strain, Forest Heritage Resource and Tribal Relations Programs Manager for Stanislaus National Forest and author of Giants, Cannibals & Monsters: Bigfoot in Native Culture. “The Hairy Man is actually 8 feet tall.


“[The Yokut] believe when you see a Bigfoot, it’s not a good sign. It means he’s coming to take somebody who’s going to pass over to the other side. There’s even a Hairy Man song that women sing during a funeral, to make sure he does take that soul over.”

The Yokut aren’t alone either. You’ll find stories of Bigfoot-like creatures in the oral tradition of dozens of North American tribes under a slew of names — Sasquatch and Skookum among them — each ascribing slightly different qualities to the creature. For the Yurok and Karuk of northwest California, Bigfoot is just another denizen of the forest, worthy of cautious respect, just like a bear or a cougar.

But for the Me-Wuk of the Yosemite area, Bigfoot is a boogeyman — not unlike the witch from Hansel and Gretel — snatching children from their tribe and eating them. There’s even a place in the Stanislaus National Forest, Pinnacle Point Cave, where the tribe believes the Bigfoot consumed its victims.

“This cave really did have human remains in it that were excavated back in the 1960s,” Strain says. “And what’s interesting is that you have to actually rappel down into this cave to see it. So how did a tribe, that didn’t have any climbing equipment, have a traditional story that the cave had bones in it?”

If that’s not strange enough, the indigenous peoples of coastal British Columbia, nearly 1,000 miles to the north, share a nearly identical legend of the cannibal Dzunukwa, “The Wild Woman of the Woods” — often depicted on totem poles displaying a behavior that comes up time and time again in Bigfoot accounts: whistling.

“I’ve had many tribes tell me, ‘If you hear whistling at night, don’t go outside,’ ” Strain says. “Because that’s a Bigfoot trying to lure you out.”

The Pacific Northwest is filled with these intriguing tales, but look across the cultural landscape and you’ll find giant footprints everywhere.

Rachel Plummer was a white woman captured by a Comanche raiding party in Texas in 1836. Two years later, she was free and published an account of her time as a Comanche prisoner across the Southwest. Included was a detailed rundown of the animals of the prairie as shown to her by the Comanche, including prairie dogs, mountain sheep, elk, wolves, bears, and finally this: “Man-Tiger. The Indians say they have found several of them in the mountains. They describe them as being of the feature and make of a man. They are said to walk erect, and are 8 or 9 feet high.”

In Buffalo Bill’s autobiography, The Life of Honorable William F. Cody, he even mentions receiving a giant thigh bone from the Pawnee Indians of the Plains, who claimed it came from “a race of man … whose size was about three times that of an ordinary man.” They were not contemporaneous with Cody’s time, though — they were part of a creation myth that described a race of giants who were wiped out in a flood.

Buffalo Bill wasn’t the only frontiersman with such a tall tale. Daniel Boone boasted of killing a “yahoo” in Kentucky, an animal he described as a 10-foot “hairy giant.”

Even President Theodore Roosevelt had his own Bigfoot story, passed to him by a “weather-beaten old mountain hunter” named Bauman, and detailed in his book The Wilderness Hunter. Two mountain trappers walk into a wild and lonely mountain drainage in search of beaver, and — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — have their camp ransacked by a large bipedal animal with “a strong, wild beast odor.” Only in this case, Bauman’s partner ends up dead, while he hightails it out of the mountains, leaving his friend’s body behind to escape the “great goblin-beast.”

Perhaps the most fantastic Western account of Bigfoot took place in Oregon in 1924, when five gold prospectors claimed a family of “ape men” attacked them on the east side of Mount St. Helens.

Prospector Fred Beck insisted that he shot one of the Bigfoot in an initial encounter before a group of the beasts returned for revenge under cover of night — pelting the miners’ cabin with boulders, attempting to break down the door, and even knocking Beck out with a rock tossed through a hole in the roof. After sunrise, the attack stopped, at which point the prospectors made a run for civilization.

The story caused such a stir that even the U.S. Forest Service investigated it, sending two rangers back into the forest with Beck to find evidence.

“[A] ranger scrambled down the supposedly inaccessible canyon and found — nothing,” The Oregonian wrote.

The tale still resonates with those who believe, however, and the name Ape Canyon remains to this day on trail maps of the area.

Chase most of these stories and you’ll find nothing but questions and shadows. Buffalo Bill’s giant bones never made it to the Smithsonian. Ape Canyon was heavily damaged in the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. And no definitive physical evidence has ever been found to support the existence of a large bipedal ape in North America.

Nevertheless, the stories endure. Wherever there’s wilderness or even a moderately thick stand of timber, from the swamps of Florida to the coastal rainforests of Alaska, you’ll find these Bigfoot tales. Passed down from generation to generation and recited around campfires, they make the woods around us seem deeper, darker, wilder — and a whole lot hairier.

Tamed and Articulate Bigfoot Stars in Political Ad

In an amusing combination of the paranormal and politics, a Congressional candidate in Minnesota has released a rather clever commercial that stars Bigfoot. Produced by the campaign of Democrat Dean Phillips, the odd ad takes aim at his opponent, GOP incumbent Erik Paulsen, in the race for Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District seat. Arguing that his Republican adversary has been particularly elusive when it comes to meeting with constituents, the commercial enlists the legendary cryptid known for being ‘hard to find’ in an ingenious way of making that point to viewers at home.

The ad begins with Bigfoot musing that “I thought I was good at hiding … then Erik Paulsen comes along.” In a nod to the decades-long search for Sasquatch, the creature subsequently marvels “how can you have tens of thousands of people looking for you all the time and not one of them find you?” Puzzled by Paulsen’s purported ‘ability’ to go unseen, the Bigfoot then sets out on a mission to prove that the politician actually exists.

What follows is a wildly funny twist on the reality show staple of ‘Bigfoot hunting’ with the Sasquatch lurking in the lobby of a pharmaceutical company and hoping to capture the ‘mythical’ Paulsen on film. As if to confirm Phillips’ charge that his opponent is indebted to big business donors, the creature celebrates when his stakeout at the corporation takes only seven minutes rather than the weeks that he had expected. The commercial culminates with the candidate being ‘captured on film’ and the stupefied Sasquatch declaring “Erik Paulsen really exists.”

We’ll leave it up to the pundits in Minnesota to parse out the legitimacy of Phillips’ critique of his opponent. That said, there should be little debate that, as far as political ads go, the commercial is a surefire winner since it’s hard to forget a testimonial coming from Sasquatch. Whether the famed cryptid can bring the voters out to the polls in November, though, remains to be seen.

Aliens Blamed for Abducted Ducks


An Australian woman who had eight of her ducks go missing under mysterious circumstances suspects that aliens may be to blame! Desi Friend explained to a local newspaper that the weirdness occurred back in May when “over the course of two weeks, one by one they disappeared into thin air.” The systematic strangeness was made all the more perplexing by the fact that there were no signs of forced entry at the enclosure nor clues left behind by whatever caused the ducks’ departure.

“A wild dog couldn’t have got past my dog and would have left feathers or a mess,” she mused, “and a snake couldn’t have eaten eight ducks in three weeks.” Friend also noted that the birds could not have simply flown away because their wings had been clipped. Meanwhile, the other animals residing in the enclosure, like chickens and a rooster, remained untouched, suggesting that something was specifically targeting the ducks.

With all that in mind, Friend believes that there was one potential culprit that could have been behind the sophisticated operation: aliens. Incredibly, part of her reasoning for this rather fantastic conclusion lies in the perceived quality of the birds that were taken. “Whoever has taken the ducks has taken all the good ducks,” she lamented, “so it must be alien forces, that have left me my two worst ducks.” While one might worry about what became of the abducted ducks, we can’t help but feel a bit bad for the pair who were left behind to wonder why they weren’t good enough to take.

Dangerous Looking Sasquatch Spotted in Winnipeg

A Sasquatch has been spotted darting around the urban landscape in the downtown. What is even more concerning is that the big hairy hominid is wearing a Jason mask. Yes, the evil Jason from ‘Friday the 13th’ infamy.  Why a Jason mask? What is the intentions of this Squatch? Are the intentions nefarious and evil? No community deserves to have a psychopathic huge ape that walks on 2 legs on the loose.

Local newspaper the Midtown Plaza Bulletin took action and brought in renown paranormal investigator Mel Ryan. Mel has covered exorcisms at the now destroyed Demon Hotel, rooted out annoying ghosts at the old Archives building and confronted evil specters at the infamous Vaughn Street Jail, to name but a few of his audacious exploits. Mel immediately immersed himself into locating the rogue Sasquatch.

With the help of veteran clairvoyant Dean McDay and a resourceful bloodhound named Doctor Nose, Mel cornered the enigmatic Squatch at the dog park on Assiniboine Avenue. Mel immediately snapped a photo.

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With a Jason mask covering its face and holding a soccer ball under its right arm, it stood and faced the stunned intrepid paranormal investigator. Mel was dumbfounded. What is going through this creature’s primitive mind? As Mel reloaded to take another photo the Squatch, with super-human strength, threw the soccer ball towards him. Mel ducked in the nick of time, the speeding ball just missed his head, Mel’s glasses went flying. By the time he crawled around and located his glasses the Sasquatch disappeared down an adjoining back lane.

Mel called his psychic friend Dean McDay instantly. McDay predicted the Squatch was headed towards The Forks. Mel Ryan ran at full speed to the green area in downtown Winnipeg known as The Forks. Doctor Nose was distracted by the other hounds running around the dog park. He wanted to join the doggy fun.


Mel made it to The Forks in short time. It didn’t take long before he spotted the elusive cryptid at the Oodena Celebration Circle.

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Donning the Jason mask and petting a raccoon, the Squatch was reclining in the sand. With the beast making no attempt to flee, Mel ran back to his SUV to get his rocket propelled stun grenades. That weapon was capable of immobilizing a bull elephant, surely it would knock out cold the red furred Squatch.

As it often turns out with the Bigfoot creature, when Mel returned it was nowhere to be seen. Mel was disappointed, if only Doctor Nose had not abandoned him for the smell of other dogs at the dog park, this may have ended differently.

The investigation continues. Updates shortly.

Winnipeg has a history of urban Sasquatches. Why in Winnipeg, its anybody’s guess. The beasts have been spotted all over the downtown area and along the river.

Some images:

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The brave citizens of the city even have tours:


For more information on the Demon Hotel, please see