Researching Bigfoot History

Rock Art Photo by Rabah Al Shammary on Unsplash
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What’s something most people don’t understand?

My blog app on my phone sends me prompts to get the creative juices flowing. I usually ignore them, as they are more designed for blogs that cover a wide variety of topics. The prompts almost never can apply to the world of Bigfoot research and writing. But today is an exception.

The prompt above immediately triggered a response from me. “Most people don’t understand how long the Bigfoot legend has been around!” I thought. Now, I covered this some in my last post. But it is relevant to me right now as I am working on the chapter of my book that will deal with the history of Bigfoots in North America.

To Include, Or Not To Include?

When outlining my book I debated whether or not to include a history of Bigfoots at all. My reasoning was that if anyone buys a book called “Profiling Bigfoot” they are most likely already into the subject enough to have read other material about it.

Ultimately, I decided to include a brief history. This would not only be for the uninitiated, however. I want to make sure to that it includes the oldest North American stories I can find. It may be that you have never heard of anything prior to the Patterson-Gimlin Film or the Jerry Crew incident. You may have heard vague references to Native American tales, but no real detail as to which tribes, areas of the continent, etc.

I don’t want this to be like a Batman movie, where you have to sit through Bruce Wayne’s parents being murdered for the tenth time you’ve seen it. You know what happened – you just want to see Batman fight crime. But I do want to give an overview that isn’t usually presented. The history of Bigfoots and their interactions with humans goes all the way back before written history in North America, yet the story is rarely told that way.

Better Context

Even when a long history is mentioned it is usually one or two throw away lines. Something along the lines of “Native Americans have had these creatures in their legends for centuries.” I’ve decided to go a little deeper here, and leave out some of the more well-known modern stuff.

I am especially interested in the early European settlers’ accounts of “wild men”. Looking beyond the words “sasquatch” and “bigfoot” gives a much richer tapestry of the behavior and distribution of these animals and how those may have been affected by population expansion.

For the even earlier accounts we have rock paintings and other visual representations left behind that are quite compelling. I plan to cover a few of these as well.

A Few Examples

The Hairy Man Pictographs

Maybe the oldest in the way of “written” accounts, the Hairy Man Pictographs are rock paintings on the Tule River Indian Reservation in California. These paintings are purported to show “Hairy Man”, a creature that matches the descriptions of Bigfoots. They have been dated to have been created between 1,000 – 1,500 A.D. They were first documented in 1889.

The pictographs clearly show humans and other fauna, and the “Hairy Man” is bigger and stands out and even shows what may be a sagittal crest. The crest is a feature often reported in Bigfoots. The Tule themselves believe this creature to be the same as a Bigfoot, and Hairy Man figures in their creation story as the reason for human bipedalism.

A great but short study can be found here:

The “Wild Men”

Just a couple of examples here (still doing research, and I have to save something for the book):

In the year 1774, a savage, or wild man, was discovered by the shepherds, who fed their flocks in the neighborhood of the forest of Yuary. This man who inhabited the rocks taht lay near the forest, was very tall, covered with hair, like a bear, nimble as the Hifars [sic], of a gay humour, and, in all appearance of a mild character, as he neither did, nor seemed to intend, harm to any body.

The North Carolina Journal, December 18th, 1797, Page 4

The wild man, described as “huge, hairy and nearly nude,” has been seen three times in as many months according to the reports.

Shawnee Evening Star, March 2nd, 1934, Page 5

Save it for the Book

There are many more of these accounts, and sifting through is going to take a while. I want to be fairly brief in the history, but I also want to provide good references and interesting material that you may not have heard or read. I am enjoying writing this portion of the book a lot, but I’m afraid I will spend too much time on it.

Oh well, if you love what you do it’s not work.

Chad Gatlin

I have been a Firefighter, a Radio Personality, a Writer, and an Insurance Agent. Now I am adding Author to that list! I have had a long interest in the weird and unexplained, and love to discuss and debate these subjects.

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