In the worlds of cryptozoology and the paranormal there have come all manner of strange encounters with bizarre humanoids. There are Bigfoot, Dogmen, even Goatmen and humanoid rabbits, as well as all manner of others that remain truly unclassifiable. Among these are reports of something almost absurd in its sheer weirdness, that of reports that seem to describe some sort of humanoids that are half man and half deer. If it sounds utterly bonkers, it's because it is, but there are numerous reports of these entities, so strap yourself in for a trip through some thoroughly wild accounts of Deermen roaming the wilds out past the fringes of the truly outlandish and bizarre.
A few odd encounters with so-called Deer Men have made the rounds on Reddit, and one of these is from a poster called “Elrihm,” who says that this happened to him when he was around 12 years old and had moved to a rural farmhouse with his family somewhere in the United States while their usual house was being repaired after a fire. He says that at the time he had been staying in a loft with a large window facing out over the remote property, and it is through this window that he witnessed something extremely outlandish one evening. The witness says:
I was just settling in for the night with my little lantern and my book when something passed by the window. I shrugged it off as the reflection of a car going by and started reading my book. It happened again and this time I got up and went to the window. This is where it gets weird. Standing in the middle of the yard was a deer. It stood on its hind legs and its neck was bent at an odd angle, like it was broken or something. It walked with a strange grace--especially for something that appeared to be so out of place--through grass, across the road and disappeared into the woods.
At no point during seeing this creature was I afraid. I was actually very calm somehow and even went to my sleeping bag and went back to my reading--not evening thinking about what I had just seen. This is really out of character for me, to say the least. I'm the type to get worked up over seeing a bug in the house. The next morning, I told my mother what I saw and she seemed totally unaffected. She just told me not to tell anyone and sent me off to school. I assume she thought I was seeing things due to the stress of the fire, but I know exactly what I saw and I was not dreaming or even close to falling asleep when it happened. We moved to our new house about three weeks after I saw the Deerman. I've only told a few people about what happened and I've never seen anything like that since, but I am terrified of going into the woods. When I think about it now it's super scary and I'm not sure why I was so calm.
What was this otherworldly entity and what did it want? Another Reddit report comes from user “newtype06,” who had his own bizarre experience while out on a Boy Scout camping trip. On this evening he and some others were taking a short hike through the woods surrounding a corn field, and they came to an area that had been harvested and cleared. Out in the moonlight they saw something out there that was unlike anything they had seen before or since, of which the witness says:
We see a thing, we assumed it was a deer. The problem was it REEKED like a rotting corpse and we could hear very heavy almost distressed breathing from the thing. What had us initially think it was a deer were the very obvious antlers on its head. We make some noise to scare whatever it is, screaming, growling, making a general ruckus to no effect. This thing stands up on two scrawny hoofed (we think) legs and looks right at us, its eyes glinting in the moonlight like an animal in headlights. When it saw us it was dead silent. No more breathing or anything. This thing looked to be at least 6-7 foot tall, hunched over, pale skin and patches of fur like an animal with mange, lanky like a deer with an elongated face. It lets out a cataclysmic sounding howl. It was like a woman, a man, and a dying rabbit screaming all at the same time.
I remember every single hair on my body standing on end. We were FROZEN in fright! It begins to move toward us in a creepy shuddering motion, like it was a sickly robot, and we scream and flee toward the woods and the campfire/bonfire the adults had going. I remember glancing backward while running, myself in front of my best friend and seeing it very nearly on us. It's arms swung as if they were strings tied to a nail with very visible fingers on its hands. It seemed to have too many fingers in fact. The huffing it made and the stench became all the stronger as we fled. We make it back to the fire and see that it's no longer following us, the adults asking us what was wrong and why we looked so sheet white and scared. They heard the howl thinking it was us dicking around. We ended up moving our tents (made of plastic sheeting) by the adults campsite and bonfire to be safe, the adults standing watch all night to make sure there are no rabid animals or crazy people in the woods that would harm us. It was by far the most scary thing I've ever had to go through. We haven't heard of this thing since.
Bizarre, indeed. One account from Cryptozoology News was made in northeast Ohio by a witness who claims that he was at his cousin’s house playing hide and seek outside one day when he was 14 years old. It was reportedly around dusk, and they were playing near a wooded creek when it was the witnesses turn to search, and as he did he claims that he heard the sound of leaves crackling under foot. He turned to look expecting to see his cousin, but instead saw a deer through the brush that appeared to be oddly standing up on its hind legs, unusual for a deer but which would prove to be even stranger than that. The report reads:
It was getting dark and I was the one searching. I heard leaves crumpling, and when I turned to look, I saw what looked like a deer on its hind legs. I clearly remember seeing “dog legs” running, but the rest of the body was straight up. And it ran with incredible speed, and I knew it wasn’t either of my cousins hiding. I ran as fast as I could back to the house, and my one of my cousins was running in too, he saw the same thing. It still creeps me out to this day, because my uncle always told us how he saw weird things on that property.
A sighting of a similar creature that appears to have also had the ability of shapeshifting was made in the state of Delaware in 1993. The witness claims that he was around 8 years old at the time and he had been staying with his family at his grandparents’ house in a rural, forested area near the town of Hockessin. One morning he says he woke to a clear day with the sun shining in through the window and also the surreal sight of the silhouette of a deer with a huge rack of antlers standing just outside. Things would get bizarre rapidly, and the witness says of what happened next thusly:
It was RIGHT there, like almost pressed against the window in profile. I stared in awe. And that is when it changed. In one smooth movement, it reared up on its hind legs and it was no longer a deer, but a man. There were only two men in the area, my grandfather and my dad, and it was clearly neither (not sure if that made it better or worse). Grandfather was very built for his age, dad had a gut. This silhouette was clearly younger, muscular but not in the “like a brick” way my grandfather was. It exuded strength. And scared the hell out of me. It stared to the side for a moment, and then strode off with purpose. Looking back, I want to tell myself it was just the imagination of a half-awake child, but I remember the awe and the utter fear I felt when the “deer” changed.
This report is especially otherworldly and paranormal in nature, with the mention of what seems to be shapeshifting of some sort, and a similar report comes from the files of researcher Albert Rosales, from a witness on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, in South Dakota. In 2010 the witness says that he was driving home from a late shift at work along Highway 63 when he came to a patch of thick fog. Peering through the murk ahead he claims that he could see a group of women standing around what appeared to be a ditch, all of them wearing oddly old fashioned clothing. He was apparently so mesmerized by this sight that he turned his vehicle around and drove back, only now instead of women there were some deer standing right where they had been. He parked the car and looked out onto the animals finding it extremely odd that they should be there where those women had been standing just moments before, and he had the distinct feeling that they were staring back at him and studying him. This was unnerving enough that he was on his way, and it makes one wonder just what was going on here.
Yet another very strange Deer Man sighting was made as recently as 2012, in the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma. In this account, a Kyle Heying claims that he was out at the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in order to take photographs of the night sky there with a friend. On this evening at around 10 PM, the usual sounds of the forest suddenly became muted and the local wildlife started to display some decidedly bizarre and uncharacteristic behavior. First some elk came running by and then a herd of bison, which all came uncomfortably close before hurrying off, and it seemed almost as if these animals were trying to get away from something scaring them out in the dark forest beyond.
This was enough to spook the men into packing up their stuff and calling it a night, and as they did they allegedly felt a strange change in air pressure and all of the sounds of the woods just stopped to send a profound silence crashing down upon them. The two unsettled men then heard something rustling about out in some tall grass nearby, jarring in the otherwise void of silence that had blanketed the area, and it seemed like whatever it was was coming towards them. He claims that he and his friends had then picked up some rifles they had with them, wary of what was apparently approaching. They started the car and began to drive off when they saw something step out in front of the vehicle that they would never forget, a creature which the witness describes as having a head like an elk but which stood upright on two human legs and which had two human arms and “dark red” eyes. As they passed it, the nightmarish creature lurched forward to hit the car, and Heying floored it away as fast as the vehicle would go until they were about 3 miles away, where they stopped their flight to regain their wits. Heying would say of what happened next thus:
We were scared shitless. Things got even quieter when we stayed there. While there we heard one ear-piercing screech or scream, almost a hunting screech of some sort that made my hair stand on end and gave me goose bumps even worse. With that we left the mountains completely, we felt as though we were not wanted there that night. The way the wildlife acted, the figure that we came across that the animals had to have ran from, and then the scream of which I can only find references to happens to be the Banshee. I cannot forget that figure we saw, as well as the scream. It was not human but it was not of any wildlife I am familiar with from out there.
Just as odd is a report from 2017, featured on the site Phantoms and Monsters, from a witness called “Paul,” in the state of Virginia. On this evening he says that he was sitting out back on his porch having a cigarette and talking to his friend on his mobile phone. The area is described as thickly wooded, and from somewhere out in the night he heard something run across the yard and crashing through the brush. He figured at this point that it was just a deer or some other animal, and kept talking to his friend on the phone, but things would get steadily stranger. The witness would say:
Suddenly I hear a noise down by the dock. I was like, 'There it is again.' For some reason, my first thought was, there's some kids playing around down there. I don't know why I thought that but that's the first thing I thought. Anyway, I got up and I went running over towards the stairs to go down to the dock. And they're steep stairs and when I get to the stairs, I get to the top of them and I look down and there's this thing running up the stairs towards me and I was just in shock. (Jimmy asks what he saw) It was, like, it was a person but it had a deer head. And it was running up the stairs so fast, it was crazy that it could even move that fast and it was staring right at me. And I'm just standing there and I'm staring at it. And it had red eyes. It actually had red eyes. One friend said it means it was demonic. I said, I don't think it was demonic or anything.
Anyway, it ran right up to me. It kept staring me in the eyes and I was staring right back at its eyes, just kind of in shock, I guess. When it got right up to me, it actually said something which I don't know what it said. I just remember, I just know it said something like four or five syllables real fast. It seemed like it said words but I don't know what they were. And then it ran right...it just kept running and ran right by me. I could have touched it...it was within inches of me. The stairway is only four feet across. I had hardly told anybody about this because it was just the craziest thing I have ever seen. That's what someone suggested but I said, 'No, no, it was moving way too fast.' It was...it was moving so fast that when I thought about it later, I was like, man, it was almost like in a different dimension or something. That's all I could think.
I think it was being that had a human body and a deer head. And the antlers weren't like the deer around here. They weren't like the white-tailed deer here. They were more spindly. They were spindly and there was more...a lot more like ties or branches than normal. I actually saw a branch once, and I was like, Oh my god, that branch looks like one of the antlers on that thing I saw.
There have been supposed Deer Man sightings up in Canada as well, in particular the region of Alberta. In one peculiar report from the site The Deerman of Central Alberta, we have a witness near the small village of Donalda, in central Alberta. The witness was allegedly driving along down a remote rural road called Range Road 174 and says he had gotten lost. He pulled over to the side of the road to get his bearings straight and that’s when up ahead he noticed something very frightening indeed. He describes the creature he saw as a “half man/half deer on all fours standing perfectly still.” As he looked on, the bizarre beast then stood up to its full height, standing around 7 feet tall and began to walk on two legs towards the car, which was when the witness could detect an odoriferous stench permeating the air. The creature supposedly had “skittish” movements, and snorted as it made its way towards the terrified witness. The creature apparently approached to within feet of the car, after which the witness sped away and looked back to see it go back down onto all fours and slink away into the wilderness.
Another report from the same site comes from a husband and wife who had been driving at night in the vicinity of the town of Mirror, located in Lacombe County, Central Alberta. It was a spring morning, and a thick fog had enveloped the road at the time, forcing the witnesses to slow their vehicle down to a crawl. It was then that they would have a brush with something from beyond our understanding, and the report reads:
While they drove slowly through the fog they both claim they saw something moving in and out of the fog with such great speed that it couldn’t have been a man. While they continued to drive they could swear it looked like a Deer but it was too large to be a Deer. Not wanting to scare the known skittish animal the Husband slowed to a stop and waited for a moment or two. In the hopes of having it run away in the hopes of not hitting it.
Slowly, the Husband began driving again and was forced to slam on the brakes as standing just a few feet in front of them was the Deerman. It stood perfectly still and slowly stood up on its hind legs and is said to have towered over they’re car. Without a second thought, the Husband slammed on the horn and stepped on the gas, the fear took hold of him, and he didn’t want to have his life end if that was in the cards or not. He didn’t want to find out and was protecting the life of his wife. Just before his car was to make contact with the Deerman, it bolted into the fields covered by the thick fog. The couple had no idea what they saw and didn’t stop until they reached their driveway.
What could such entities as we have looked at here possibly be? One of the most popular ideas is that these are examples of what are called "Skinwalkers," shapechanging entities mostly known through the lore of the Navajo Native Americans, who call them the yee naaldlooshii, which literally translates to “he who goes on all fours.” They are typically described as having once been powerful witches or medicine men who, through magical means that vary from tradition to tradition, have acquired various supernatural powers, chief among them the ability to shape-shift into various animal forms such as coyotes, crows, wolves, bears, cougars, owls, and others, including deer, as well as half-human abominations that merge the features of animal and man. They are also said to be extremely fast, strong, and agile, and have an assortment of other powers, such as the ability to mesmerize, instill supernatural fear, read minds, sow confusion, and to possess the bodies of others for short durations. They are usually described as being rather animalistic looking, even in human form, are often naked, but not always, and are generally seen as being almost impossible to kill, with one of the only ways to use a bullet or knife covered in special white ash.
The most common method for becoming a Skinwalker is said to be for the medicine man or witch to in a sense bring a dark curse upon themselves by performing rituals and rites of pure evil. In order to be imbued with their dark powers they, in addition to gruesome rituals, are said to be required to commit great atrocities, grotesqueries, or grave taboos, often including the murder of a loved one and other horrific acts. If all is all done correctly, they are infused with the insidious curse and all of the sinister powers it comes with. This most often results in the newly minted Skinwalker being banished from the tribe, after which they wander the wilderness, stalking and tormenting anyone they come across, feeding off of the fear they conjure in those who look upon them. They are in a sense cursed to walk these barren badlands forever, and they are at once both evil monsters and tragic figures, but they have brought this down upon themselves. This is the main lore, although there are variations, but it is hard to get complete details as this is a legend very much kept within the tribe, almost never spoken of to outsiders and rarely discussed even among the Navajo, as it is considered taboo to do so and can even draw the attention of the creatures.
This is an interesting notion with regards to reports of Deer Men, but the thing is that these creatures have been sighted far out of the range of the Navajo, so is it something similar? It could also be that we are looking at some sort of interdimensional phenomenon, with these creatures passing over to our reality from some other place, or it could be something else altogether. Who knows? For now these remain truly strange anomalies, seemingly a mixture between cryptozoology and the paranormal, and they are representative of a phenomenon well off the beaten path and inhabiting the very fringes of weirdness.