It may seem as if the wastelands of the deserts are completely devoid of life. With their never-ending expanses of bleak scrub and sand dunes this all appears as if it must be a barren realm that might as well be on another planet. Yet not only does life thrum here behind the scenes, eking out a living in these badlands, but there are also quite a few reports of mysterious creatures from here of a surprisingly humanoid nature. Here are some of the strangest.
One of the most bizarre and unsolved cases of a desert humanoid creature of some sort is an enormous beast that has come to be known as the Yucca Man. The tales seem to originate in the 1960s, in the vicinity of the of the Twentynine Palms military base, located in the Mojave Desert of southeastern California and southern Nevada. Here in this remote, desolate location there would be a series events that has remained unexplained for decades, and which hints at some sort of desert-roaming humanoid entity. The first sighting that really put the phenomenon on the map allegedly occurred in 1971, when a Marine from the base who was on guard duty reported hearing something out in the desert scrub, which sounded like heavy breathing from some very large creature, as well as grunts and growls seemingly circling his guard station. When he warily went out to investigate, expecting to see some wild animal, he claimed to have been confronted with a gigantic, 8-foot-tall hairy ape-like creature with glowing red eyes. In some versions of this account the Marine is knocked down by the beast, only to awaken hours later and find his rifle twisted and bent like a pretzel.
This would be far from the last anyone would here of the strange creature, with frequent reports of dogs going haywire, and of hikers encountering a fetid stench beginning to come in at a steady rate in the following years, and there was a spate of such odd occurrences at Joshua Tree National Park throughout the early 70s, with numerous campers telling of a large beast rummaging through their campsites and even attempting to open their tents, as well as park employees telling of sighting monstrous man-like forms prowling the desert that were estimated as being up to 12 feet tall. There were also massive footprints found and several indistinct, predictably blurry pictures of the creature or creatures were taken. Such sightings made their way into several Southern California news publications at the time, and one June, 1973 report from the Antelope Valley Daily Ledger-Gazette described the creature and some reports thus:
The creature likes to run around houses and leaving footprints. That is its MO in the East Lancaster area where footprints were found around several houses recently. One woman reported that the creature ran around her house and scratched at the door. A small boy sent to tell his father supper was ready was found hours later crying near the corral. When asked what happened to him, he answered that a big, furry man would not let him pass.
In that year, 1973, there were many sightings of the creature in the area of Lancaster, in the western Mojave Desert in California, such as a sighting made by three separate Marines and other disparate witnesses as well. It got to the point where in this year there was a near tragedy when two search parties were out Bigfoot hunting in the wake of the mysterious reports and almost opened fire on each other. Sightings continued, and in 1979 there was an account given by an elderly couple, who claimed that the beast had stepped right out in front of their car to tower over the vehicle, before lumbering off into the night, leaving enormous tracks behind. In that same year there were two additional sightings from Hemet, California, of a massive 10 foot tall creature that left behind footprints a foot and a half long.
Around this time there was a string of sightings of all sorts of strange phenomena near the Edward’s Air Force Base, about 22 miles (35 km) northeast of Lancaster. Here there were numerous reports of base personnel sighting hulking humanoid figures in the dark, which allegedly used a series of underground tunnels to move about. Oddly, there were many purported UFO sightings in the area at the same time, but whether or not this has any connection is unknown. One of the more far-out reports from the base was collected by Bigfoot researcher Edwards Bobbie Ann Slate, and concerned one of the creatures that apparently had bright blue eyes. The report was given by a base policeman, who said:
Heading back to the main base, I noticed maybe 200-300 yards to my left, these large blue eyes. I do a lot of night hunting and it was strange — they were larger than anything I’d ever seen before. The [blue eyes] had to be about four inches apart and seven feet off the ground. I stopped the truck and sat there watching them. It was too dark to see any body shape to the thing. The blue glows proceeded toward my truck at a right angle for about 100 yards and then stopped. The movement of the eyes was extremely fast. Another thing that bothered me was that they didn’t bob up and down. It was like two lights on a wire moving from one point to another.
This particular creature, nicknamed “Blue Eyes,” has apparently been regularly seen by base police and has been widely discussed amongst them right up into the present. Several other personnel at the remote desert base at the time also came forward to anonymously report that large, Bigfoot-like creatures had been routinely spotted through night-vision equipment skirting the perimeter of the base, often with red glowing eyes, walking through it, or even venturing into the many underground tunnels in the area. The witnesses explained that the presence of the creatures was officially classified, and that they had been specifically ordered not to fire upon them. There had allegedly been several instances of catching the creatures on surveillance cameras at the base, but this footage was labeled as classified and never released to the public.
It is not even necessarily Bigfoot-like creatures that have been seen, as there are reports of indistinct shadow men and even shape-changing entities from the base, as well as what seem to be just disembodies glowing eyes. What is going on here? Also from Southern California are more modern reports of some sort of hair-covered, semi-bipedal creature with glowing red eyes that has ben seen loping or running along at high speeds along Highway 14, and which has come to be called the “Sierra Highway Devil.”
Another odd, red-eyed humanoid monstrosity from the same area is what has come to be called “The Cement Monster,” named for its appearance at a concrete mine near Big Bear Lake owned by the Mitsubishi Cement Corporation. In 1988 the beast was seen by two U.S. Marines who were on their way home from a skiing trip to the area when they saw the creature looming over an abandoned strip mine in the area. One of the witnesses, a Ken Cross, would tell researcher Douglas E. Trapp thus:
From the left side of the road something very large seemed to stand up on two legs and run across the road. The bottom half looked human, covered with hair. The top half wasn’t very visible, but appeared monsterish, scary in other words. The headlights only got the bottom half, and the damn thing ran out about 150 feet in front of us. It made it across the road in three strides. I distinctively remember seeing the arms pumping back and forth just like any of us would do if sprinting across the road in front of a car. It appeared to be 8 feet tall.
In the sun scorched, burning wilderness of a place called Borrego Sink, 45 mi SE of Borrego Springs, California, there have been reported terrifying encounters between man and mystery beast. The desert may seem to be a strange place to find Bigfoot, but not only have they been reported in this savage wasteland, but they seem to be of a rather aggressive variety, especially the ones that have come to be known as the Borrego Sasquatch. One such incident occurred in 1939, when a man was camping alone in one of the many dry gulches of the area. The man was awoken in the middle of the night by a band of two-legged hairy creatures stalking about his camp on the fringes of the campfire’s light. The beasts were described as having white or silver fur and possessed piercing red eyes that glowed in the dark. The pack of creatures circled the camp menacingly for some time but seemed to be somewhat afraid of the fire and kept their distance until they finally slunk off back into the desert.
Thirty years later in the same region, a man by the name of Harold Lancaster had his own frightening encounter as he was camping in the Sink. Lancaster described how an enormous, hair covered, bipedal creature stalked out of the wilderness and lumbered straight towards him in an intimidating manner. The man, fearing that he was about to be attacked, fired his revolver into the air in an effort to scare the monster away. Whatever the creature was, the gunshots did the trick and the thing reportedly jumped around 3 feet into the air before glaring at Lancaster and running off into the brush.
Borrego Sink is not the only place in the desert with its share of ominous man-beasts. In a place called Deadman’s Hole, located 7 miles from Warner Springs on Hwy 79, a string of vicious, unsolved murders occurred back in the 19th century that have long been blamed on a malicious, marauding Sasquatch. In 1858 the first victim was killed under mysterious circumstances, followed by more slayings over the years; a Frenchman who was slaughtered in his cabin, a prospector named David Blair who was killed by what looked like a knife attack, and a woman named Belinda who was strangled and mutilated. The story may have just been chalked up to an insane killer on the rampage had it not been for a curious story that surfaced in 1888. Two hunters were out hunting in an area known as Dark Canyon when they came across a cave full of the scattered remains of various mutilated animals.
As they investigated the cave, the hunters reported being attacked by a huge, man-like beast covered in matted black hair and with huge hands and feet. According to the hunters, they opened fire on the beast and killed it, after which its body was apparently moved to San Diego and shown to police. At the time, a paper called the San Diego Union ran the story and claimed that the rampaging mystery creature had been the one responsible for the murders, causing quite a public stir in the process. Oddly, the paper ran a story the following day dismissing the article as a mere April Fool’s joke. It is unknown if there was ever really a body or if the creature really existed, but what is known is that the mysterious murders remain unsolved.
Another strange case involving some sort of humanoid creature comes from the deserts of the Mexican State of Chihuahua. At the end of 1989 and the beginning of 1990, a group of teenagers were on a mission to explore the caves of a place called Cerro Pajarito when they came across something that would haunt them for the rest of their lives. As the group was exploring one of the caves, they came upon the discovery of a dead deer and a doe that were freshly killed and exhibited three odd perforations on their necks that formed a triangular pattern. In the surrounding area, there were footprints that looked like those of a puma, but it soon became apparent that no puma had done this.
The group suddenly heard blood curdling squealing sounds and the air became pervaded by a stench described as smelling like burning wood. The terrified group of teenagers looked and saw a hunched over, humanoid figure crouched upon a rock outcropping about 15 meters away from them. The creature apparently started bounding towards them and one of the groups emptied his pistol at it, although the bullets seemed to have no effect. As the panicked group turned tail and ran for dear life, they reported passing yet another humanoid creature that was described as being metallic green in color and standing only 80 cm high. What could this have possibly been? Who knows?
The desert is indeed a very isolated domain of intense natural beauty and solitude. Anyone who has been there can attest to that. There is just something about these places that holds to it a certain mystique and allure that it is hard to pinpoint, and there are vast mysteries lurking here. What are these humanoid entities that we have looked at here, and how or why do they manage to remain in this forbidding landscape? Are these cryptids, some sort of desert Sasquatch? Are they ghosts, demons, interdimensional travelers, or something else? No one knows, and they serve to add to the allure of these oft-forgotten and avoided places.