There are perhaps few figures of American history as storied and almost legendary as the American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier, and politician, Davy Crockett, often mentioned with the epithet “King of the Wild Frontier.” The Tennessee native would become instrumental in the fight to make the state of Texas independent of Mexico, and he is well-known for his last stand at the Alamo. Rugged and wearing his raccoon tailed hat, Davy Crockett has had myths spun around him to make him a larger than life hero, and there are countless books, movies, and articles written of his exploits, both real and imagined. Yet, hidden within the cracks are some truly bonkers experiences the frontiersman supposedly had, and one of these is the time he supposedly met a talking, paranormal Bigfoot.
This particular adventure of Crockett’s occurred at a time when there was a massive influx of settlers into Texas, following the American dream in droves by going out west to fan out through the wilderness in search of a better life. It would turn out that Crockett would be one of these, having set his mind on carving out a life in Texas after having served as both a Tennessee State Representative and a U.S. Congressman, the latter which he quit after losing an election and which left a sour taste in his mouth for politics, urging him to say the famous line, “Since you have chosen to elect a man with a timber toe to succeed me, you may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.” Angry and bitter, in 1835 he set off towards that unknown horizon and his eventual history making stand at the Alamo, along with his brother-in-law Abner Burgin, as well as friends William Patton, and Lindsey K. Tinkle in tow.
Things would not go particularly smoothly for them. This was an era in which an ongoing territorial dispute with Mexico loomed large over everything, and so they were wary as they entered Mexican held Texas. Once there they were stopped by officials and told to sign some documents, yet all but Crockett and Patton refused to sign the “Oath of Allegiance” that the Mexican government required of them, making them legally unable to take action against them. The two who had refused to sign were turned back, and so they were forced to continue on their own. Their journey took them through the Nacogdoches area and at some point they reached a thick, nearly impassable thicket, and went about the backbreaking work of cutting through it with their axes. Toiling away under the sweltering sun, Patton and Crockett decided to take a break and eat some lunch, and it was here where they would have a truly bizarre encounter.
Crocket purportedly took a seat upon a log, removing his sweaty shoes and digging into his small rations. As he ate his food, he sort of absent-mindedly tapped his axe against the wood, and that was when he claimed that an enormous bipedal beast that was “the shape and shade of a large ape man” and quite frightening in appearance materialized out of the trees and brush before him. He would describe the creature in a letter to his brother-in-law, Abner, as follows:
Whether it was the axe’s disturbance or possibly the heat of the sun which caused an apparition to slowly form in front of my eyes, I know not. As a Christian man, I swear to you, Abe, that what spirit came upon me was the shape and shade of a large ape man, the likes we might expect among the more bellicose and hostile Indian tribes in the Territories. The shade formed into the most deformed and ugly countenance. Covered in wild hair, with small and needling eyes, large broken rows of teeth, and the height of three foundlings, I spit upon the ground the bread I was eating.
This is all quite outlandish and surreal enough as it is, but making it all even stranger still was that in that same letter Crockett would claim that this nightmarish creature actually spoke to him. Whether these words were physically produced and articulated by the beast or were beamed directly into his mind Crockett does not say, but he was extremely unsettled by what he heard. He tells Abner:
The monster then addressed a warning to me. Abner, it told me to return from Texas, to flee this Fort and to abandon this lost cause. When I began to question this, the creature spread upon the wind like the morning steam swirls off a frog pond. I swear to you, Abner, that whatever meat or sausage disagreed with me that afternoon, I swore off all beef and hog for a day or so afterward.
It seems as if the creature might have had a point. Crockett went on to become a hardcore advocate of Texan independence from Mexico, becoming involved with the growing resistance against the Mexican forces. This would of course culminate in the almost legendary battle at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio in the spring of 1836, when for 13 days Crockett and his ragtag group of freedom fighters survived a siege and held off an army of men led by the Mexican dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The final Battle of the Alamo would only last around 90 minutes, during which time the Mexican forces would kill almost all 190 of the defenders, including Crockett, capturing a few prisoners only to execute them not long after. The battle would cement Crockett’s legendary, larger than life status, but it all makes it a bit eerie that he seems to have had all of this predicted by a talking ape man.
The obscure case of Davy Crockett’s strange encounter is quite the anomaly in the man’s action-packed life, all the more so in that he never ever mentions it again anywhere else, and it leaves us to wonder what to make of it. There has been a lot of speculation that this might have been a tall tale he had conjured up in order to entertain his brother-in-law, but the thing about Davy Crockett was that he was considered an honest man with strong Christian values and who prided himself on his word, and during the course of the letter on two separate occasions he swears that it is all true. Despite tall tales and myths growing up around Crockett’s legend, he does not seem to have been prone to telling tall tales himself, so it seems odd that he would just make this all up on a whim. Was it perhaps a hallucination, the result of a tired, harried mind out in the heat conjuring up strange apparitions from the imagination? Or did he really see something? If so, and if this was a Bigfoot report as it sounds like, then how do we explain the talking and the creature’s ability to just sort of evaporate into mist? Whatever the case may be, it is a very odd little account buried into the already storied annals of Davy Crockett’s many adventures, as well as a very strange historical oddity.