In the latter part of December 1885, what sounds very much like a Bigfoot was allegedly encountered in the wilds of Oregon, United States. It fired up the media, and particularly so the Carson City, Nevada Morning Appeal. On December 31, the following was reported by the staff of the newspaper: “Much excitement has been created in the neighborhood of Lebanon, Oregon, recently over the discovery of a wild man in the mountains above that place, who is supposed to be the long lost John Mackentire. About four years ago Mackentire, of Lebanon, while out hunting in the mountains east of Albany with another man, mysteriously disappeared and no definite trace of him has ever yet been found. A few days ago a Mr. Fitzgerald and others, while hunting in the vicinity of the butte known as Bald Peter, situated in the Cascades, several miles above any settlement saw a man resembling the long-lost man, entirely destitute of clothing, who had grown as hairy as an animal, and was a complete wild man.”
The report continued: “He was eating the raw flesh of a deer when first seen, and they approached within a few yards before he saw them and fled. Isaac Banty saw this man in the same locality about two years ago. It is believed by many that the unfortunate man who was lost became deranged and has managed to find means of subsistence while wandering about in the mountains, probably finding shelter in some cave. A party of men is being organized to go in search of the man.”
The report is interesting, as it suggests a link between the mysterious beast and the odd disappearance of a couple of hunters. Of course, it’s absurd to imagine that either the vanished John Mackentire or his colleague could have sprouted a body of thick hair as a result of living wild in the woods for just a few years. Such as scenario is not just unlikely; it’s downright impossible.
This aspect of the story does, however, provoke a very important question: might the hairy animal – and, quite possibly, others of its kind – have been directly responsible for the disappearance of the two men? It might seem an outlandish scenario to suggest. But, let’s look at the story: when the creature was seen, it was “eating the raw flesh of a deer.” If the beast had a taste for the meat of animals, it may be the case that it also had a voracious appetite for human meat, too. Mackentire and his friend may not have just vanished, after all. They might have been…devoured and digested. Cases of violent activity on the part of Bigfoot, when confronted by people, are far from unknown.
It’s not every day that a U.S. president makes comments and observations on Bigfoot. But, as incredible as it may sound, President Theodore Roosevelt may have done exactly that in the pages of his 1890 book, The Wilderness Hunter. The president, who was also a keen hunter and an avid outdoors-man, told a story that sounds eerily, and chillingly, like a close encounter with a killer-Bigfoot. An extract from his amazing, more than a century old, story follows:
“Frontiersmen are not, as a rule, apt to be very superstitious. They lead lives too hard and practical, and have too little imagination in things spiritual and supernatural. I have heard but few ghost stories while living on the frontier, and those few were of a perfectly commonplace and conventional type. But I once listened to a goblin-story, which rather impressed me. A grizzled, weather beaten old mountain hunter, named Bauman who, born and had passed all of his life on the Frontier, told it the story to me. He must have believed what he said, for he could hardly repress a shudder at certain points of the tale; but he was of German ancestry, and in childhood had doubtless been saturated with all kinds of ghost and goblin lore.”
Roosevelt added: “So that many fearsome superstitions were latent in his mind; besides, he knew well the stories told by the Indian medicine men in their winter camps, of the snow-walkers, and the specters, [spirits, ghosts & apparitions] the formless evil beings that haunt the forest depths, and dog and waylay the lonely wanderer who after nightfall passes through the regions where they lurk. It may be that when overcome by the horror of the fate that befell his friend [italics mine], and when oppressed by the awful dread of the unknown, he grew to attribute, both at the time and still more in remembrance, weird and elfin traits to what was merely some abnormally wicked and cunning wild beast; but whether this was so or not, no man can say.”
According to Roosevelt, the mysterious creature attacked Bauman’s friend and “…broke his neck by wrenching his head back with its fore paws, while it buried its teeth in his throat. It had not eaten the body, but apparently had romped and gamboled around it in uncouth, ferocious glee, occasionally rolling over and over it; and had then fled back into the soundless depths of the woods.”
Then, there is the matter of the mysterious “Dyatlov Pass” saga of February 1959. In August 2013, the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper noted: “Peering through the windswept snow on a dark February day, the rescue party finally came on the first sign of life — the flapping remains of a tent pitched on ski poles on an uppermost slope of Kholat Syakhl, ‘Mountain of the Dead’ in the native language of northern Siberia. But where were the nine young Russian students who should have been sheltering beneath the canvas? Curiosity turned to mystery as human tracks were seen in the snow heading downhill away from the tent in single file for a third of a mile…barefoot human tracks.”
When it comes to what really happened, more than a few theories have been suggested. One of the most sensational (and controversial) scenarios suggests that a violent Yeti – or a primitive, hair-covered human – was the cause of all the death and mayhem. In November 2015, here at Mysterious Universe, Martin J. Clemens wrote: “Last summer, the Discovery Channel aired a two-hour special titled Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives, starring avid outdoorsman and self-titled American Explorer Mike Libecki. The show was the perfect platform for Libecki’s assertion that the Dyatlov party was slaughtered by a crazed Yeti…”
Whatever the truth of the tales of deadly Bigfoot and Yetis, it’s worth keeping the above firmly in your mind, should you one day be unfortunate enough to cross paths with such a creature. It might not be the shy, placid animal that many suggest it is. It might be your worst nightmare.