What Is and What Isn’t a Bigfoot Story

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My research for the book has me knee deep in the history of the Bigfoot legend in North America. The hardest part, though, is weeding through stories that at first appear to be Bigfoot related but turn out to be something different. Some of these are hoaxes, some are jokes, some turn out to be fictional stories, and some are thought by some to be actual Bigfoot encounters but don’t follow the patterns of most experiences.

The Wendigo

One example of this is the Wendigo of Native American lore. There are some researchers who believe that the Wendigo is simply a name for Bigfoots. While the tribes that describe them attribute supernatural qualities to them, they believe the description of the creature itself matches Bigfoot. I cannot ascribe to this as the descriptions vary between tribes and only a few mention it being tall. It is almost always described as thin and cannibalistic. Cannibalistic in this sense means “eats humans” as the legend sometimes goes that Wendigo was originally human.

I don’t think stories of the Wendigo should very often be thought of as interpretations of Sasquatch encounters. Only if all the behavior and appearance falls within what one would expect should this explanation be considered. It seems that most Wendigo encounters fall into the realm of a spiritual or psychological experience.

Jacko The Ape-Boy

This story has been recounted possibly thousands of times since it first appeared in a British Columbia newspaper in 1884. Some still believe it to be true, and an example of a juvenile Bigfoot being captured. I will leave it to you if you want to dig deeper, but here are the basics:

A newspaper ran a story about a gorilla or gorilla-like creature that had been captured and confined to jail cell in British Columbia. In the 1950s a reporter dug up this old story and shared it with some pretty famous Sasquatch researchers, one of whom included the tale in a book. Since then, the tale has had a life of its own, leading even some seasoned scientists down its path.

The unfortunate truth, however, is that this was probably a work of fiction from the start. There are no records to back up the story outside of the article, and though some of the people mentioned existed, it seems they never mentioned the event. John Kirk uncovered that one of the people from the story was a prolific photographer, yet no photos of Jacko exist.

Newspapers used to do this a lot. They would publish a fictional story as a matter of entertainment, not really to fool anyone, just to provide enjoyable content. Think about it as if National Enquirer wasn’t its own publication, but just sold stories to different papers. This makes research hard sometimes. Often the article appears as a normal article, just like the rest. Further research, though, will find that the first piecele you saw was an excerpt and the larger story does indeed mark it as fiction.

April 1st is a Bad Day to Run a Story

The Boston Daily Times ran a story on April 1st, 1839 about a man named Robert Lincoln who worked for a lumber company out on an expedition and captured a “wild man” and “cubs”. It was quickly dubbed and American Ourang-Outang (sic) and the story was shared with newspapers all across the country for weeks. Mr. Lincoln was quoted as saying he would submit the creature for scientific inquiry and then sell it to an exhibitioner once he returned. Then nothing else of this tale was ever heard, as far as I can find.

It is probably an April Fools joke by the newspaper. They don’t state that, but the timing is curious. Also curious is the lack of follow up on this story anywhere. Ever.

Sometimes a “Wild Man” is Just a Man

When searching for stories of our elusive ape-like friend I find many stories of “wild men”. Unfortunately a lot of those stories are just about men who have shunned their local town in one way or another and live a more, shall we say, unfettered lifestyle.

The August 31st, 1826 edition of the Delaware Advertiser and Farmer’s Journal has two lines about such a case:

A wild man has been caught in the woods in Haverhill, Mass. He refuses to live in society.

Delaware Advertiser and Farmer’s Journal, August 31, 1826

There a few other stories that have a similar theme. They seem promising at first, but turn out to be known to be humans.

Digging Deep

The history of Sasquatch in North America is fascinating, but also a difficult research project. My hat is off to the authors who have done a lot of the leg work in my journey for me. Next week I will list the books I am using as references for the history portion of my book. For now, there is more digging to be done.

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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