It was a truly horrific and nightmarish beast that provoked both overwhelming fear and intense alarm within the minds and hearts of the fine folk that lived in the small, and somewhat isolated, Texan town of Sublime throughout the 1830s. It roamed the dense and mysterious thickets and fields of an area whose people became terrified of the unknown entity in their midst. And it rapidly became known to those that were forced to live in its dark shadow by the memorable moniker of the Wild Man of the Navidad.
So the notable legend goes, at the turn of the 1830s, strange and hard-to-identify barefoot tracks of two so-called “wild people” were often found both in and around the varied settlements of Texas’s lower Navidad, and specifically in the area of Sublime, which can be found roughly halfway between the cities of San Antonio and Houston.
Generally speaking, the tracks were relatively small, and consideration was given to the possibility that there was both a male and a female on the loose. Keen and alert guard-dogs on local ranches and properties would on occasion react both violently and furiously when the strange and unidentified visitors were believed to be quietly and carefully prowling throughout the area late after nightfall had enveloped the entire area. And there were even reports of the mysterious pair breaking into people’s homes and stealing food.
According to the legends and tales that inevitably surfaced in the wake of the initial wave of mysterious reports and encounters, a human skeleton was later discovered in the area – something that led a number of commentators to conclude that the wild woman’s larger, male companion had possibly died. Precisely what happened to the skeleton – if indeed it ever really existed, of course – remains unknown, and is lost to the inevitable fog of time, unfortunately. An initial attempt, organized by a group of men in the area, to hunt down the other mystery hominid utterly failed. On the second occasion, however, there was an intriguing development in this early, somewhat Bigfoot-like affair.
As inevitably is the case in camp-fire-style tales such as this one, it was a distinctly dark and stormy night, and a shadowy, monstrous and mighty form loomed perilously into view. Whatever he, she or it was, the unidentified visitor was relatively slim and unclothed, but was curiously and notably described as having a body that was covered – head-to-toe – in short brown hair. The brave band of men valiantly tried to seize the beast; however, it skillfully bounded out of the area with what was later described as truly astonishing speed.
The odd event remained utterly unresolved until a group of locals allegedly cornered a runaway male slave in the same area. This latest development in the strange saga seemingly satisfied local newspaper editors, who unanimously concluded that the wild man and woman of the Navidad were actually nothing of the sort at all. In reality, the media asserted, the tales were merely based upon nothing stranger than misidentifications of the aforementioned unfortunate slave – who had presumably escaped from his “masters” and who had been living in the harsh wilds of the Navidad for years.
Taking into careful consideration the fact that certainly not everyone was in agreement with that particularly down-to-earth conclusion, however, yet another valiant attempt was initiated to try and resolve the mystery of the unknown entities and their identities, and this time once and for all. A team of experienced hunters from Sublime decided that a complete check of the nearby thick, atmospheric woods was the only real, viable option left available to them, if matters were ever to be firmly laid to rest.
After several fruitless searches, the group well and truly hit the absolute jackpot when one of them reported seeing what looked to be a wild-looking human racing along an adjacent prairie. Men with lassos urgently pursued their quarry; while others with dogs ensured that there was no chance of it escaping into the heart of the dense woodland. Nevertheless, and initially at least, the hunters were wholly outwitted by the hairy man-thing. It was destined not to remain missing for too long, however.
Under a bright, moonlit sky of a type that would be welcome in any self-respecting horror movie, the heart-thumping excitement of the previous several hours was finally beginning to subside, when the hounds suddenly became agitated and nervous. Not only that: something, or someone, was loudly crashing through the thick bushes – and in the specific direction of the hunters, no less. The creature suddenly appeared again, bounded across the prairie, and raced for the protection and cover of the dense forest.
Whatever it was, this was most certainly no normal human being. Indeed, the nearest hunter reported that his horse was so afraid that it refused to go anywhere near the hairy monstrosity.
By this time, the wild thing was coming perilously close to the forest, and the lead hunter realized that it was quite literally a case of now or never. He excitedly spurred his horse on and threw his lasso. Unfortunately, it missed its target; the beast made good its escape, deep into the heart of the darkened forest.
Although the attempted capture of the beast of the Navidad had ended in complete failure, one important point should not go without observation or comment. The hunter in question had an excellent opportunity to note the physical appearance of the creature as both he and it charged wildly across the open prairie. Precisely like others who had come before him, the hunter described the man-thing as being naked, with bright staring eyes and a body covered in short, brown hair.
It was also said to be carrying something in its hand. Interestingly, nothing less than a five-foot-long, carefully-fashioned wooden club was reportedly later found in the same area where the furious and famous pursuit had taken place.
And thus was born the dark and unforgettable legend of the Wild Man of the Navidad…