Nov 30, 2022 I Brent Swancer

Strange Cases of Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Hairy Humanoids Being Fired Upon and Even Killed

Bigfoot and other similar hairy humanoids have been fixtures of cryptozoology for quite some time, and while there have been many sightings and even photos and video footage taken, it seems that in these wild places there must surely have been those who were armed and who have engaged such beasts. While such reports are few and far between, it seems that these cases do exist, and here we will look at some rather bizarre and wild accounts of people shooting at and even sometimes killing Bigfoot and similar monsters. 

An early report of an alleged Yeti shooting supposedly occurred in the year 1903, somewhere in the Chumbi Valley of the Himalayas. At the time, the British Army was supposedly stretching a telegraph line as they advanced from Kalimpong, India, to Lhasa, Tibet, which was the capital city at the time, for the purpose of communicating back to Kalimpong as they moved onward through the mountains. When they arrived at a place called Jelep-La, on the Tibet-India border, a contingent of a dozen workers went out into the wilderness to work on the telegraph line but they did not come back as scheduled. As the hours stretched on it was thought that something was wrong, and so soldiers were sent out to investigate what had happened to the workers, but what they found was far stranger than anything they could have possibly imagined.

According to the account, the men came across a strange, massive ape-like creature standing ten feet tall, covered in dark shaggy hair two to three inches long and with a hairless face, sharp yellow fangs, and red eyes. The beast was purportedly hiding under large boulders near the pass, and although there was no threatening behavior from it and no evidence that it had attacked the workers, the soldiers apparently fired upon it and killed it. The body was then supposedly dragged back to camp, but was deemed too heavy to take with them and so it was left there. After this, no one knows what happened to the corpse, or whether it even ever really existed at all. According to John A. Keel’s 1957 book Jadoo, he had spoken to one of the soldiers who had been there, and he claimed that the report was recorded by the military, but there were no details on whether the body was ever retrieved. 

Interestingly, the famed cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson would claim in his 1961 book Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life that he had personally seen the official British report and would add some new details that contradict Keel’s own report on the matter. In Sanderson’s account, the body was not left there in the wilderness, but rather packed in ice and shipped off to Sir Charles Bell. Again, it is unclear what happened to the body after that, although it was assumed that it had been sent somewhere in England. Is there anything to either one of these versions of events? Was a Yeti shot and killed by the British Army in 1903? Who knows?

A more well-known report from the same era was written about by none other than the former U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt, who was widely known to be an avid hunter and outdoorsman. In his book The Wilderness Hunter, Roosevelt not only wrote about his own experiences with Bigfoot, but also related a harrowing and rather spectacular account he heard from a hunter he refers to only as “Bauman.” According to Roosevelt, the incident had happened when Bauman was trapping beavers with a partner among the mountains dividing the forks of the Salmon from the head of Wisdom River, in the state of Idaho. On this day they had been having no luck, and so they decided to go down a particularly remote mountain pass that they had never taken before, heading into uncharted terrain. Indeed, the landscape was so rough that at one point they had to get off their ponies and continue on foot, finally reaching a clearing where they set up camp for the evening, after which they went to hike around and survey the area for possible game. When they returned two hours later, they were surprised to see that their camp was in quite a state, of which Roosevelt writes:

They were surprised to find that during their absence something, apparently a bear, had visited camp, and had rummaged about among their things, scattering the contents of their packs, and in sheer wantonness destroying their lean-to. The footprints of the beast were quite plain, but at first they paid no particular heed to them, busying themselves with rebuilding the lean-to, laying out their beds and stores and lighting the fire. While Bauman was making ready supper, it being already dark, his companion began to examine the tracks more closely, and soon took a brand from the fire to follow them up, where the intruder had walked along a game trail after leaving the camp. When the brand flickered out, he returned and took another, repeating his inspection of the footprints very closely. Coming back to the fire, he stood by it a minute or two, peering out into the darkness, and suddenly remarked, “Bauman, that bear has been walking on two legs.

At first Bauman sort of laughed this off, and when it got dark they merely peered into the darkness wondering what had savaged their camp before going to bed for the night. However, that night the creature would come back. Roosevelt says of it:

At midnight Bauman was awakened by some noise, and sat up in his blankets. As he did so his nostrils were struck by a strong, wild-beast odor, and he caught the loom of a great body in the darkness at the mouth of the lean-to. Grasping his rifle, he fired at the vague, threatening shadow, but must have missed, for immediately afterwards he heard the smashing of the under wood as the thing, whatever it was, rushed off into the impenetrable blackness of the forest and the night. After this the two men slept but little, sitting up by the rekindled fire, but they heard nothing more.

The following day they went out to put out traps, and when they returned to their camp it was once again in a state of disarray, their lean-to torn down and equipment scattered about. There were also footprints everywhere, clearly impacted into the earth and looking very human, only much larger than an ordinary man’s. Bauman now knew that the thing was most certainly no bear, and that night they stayed on guard with a healthy fire roaring. At around midnight, the creature apparently took up a position across the brook, and stayed there on the hillside for nearly an hour watching them, sometimes emitting a “harsh, grating, long-drawn moan, a peculiarly sinister sound.”  The following day they went to gather their traps in preparation to leave, and as they did they had the strong sense that they were being followed, sometimes hearing twigs snap and branches rustle. At one point Bauman’s companion headed back to camp to unload the beavers they had caught, and Bauman stayed out until the sun began to dip towards the horizon. He finished his work and headed back to camp, where a gruesome sight awaited him. Roosevelt explains:

At last he came to the edge of the little glade where the camp lay and shouted as he approached it, but got no answer. The campfire had gone out, though the thin blue smoke was still curling upwards. Near it lay the packs wrapped and arranged. At first Bauman could see nobody; nor did he receive an answer to his call. Stepping forward he again shouted, and as he did so his eye fell on the body of his friend, stretched beside the trunk of a great fallen spruce. Rushing towards it the horrified trapper found that the body was still warm, but that the neck was broken, while there were four great fang marks in the throat. The footprints of the unknown beast-creature, printed deep in the soft soil, told the whole story. The unfortunate man, having finished his packing, had sat down on the spruce log with his face to the fire, and his back to the dense woods, to wait for his companion. While thus waiting, his monstrous assailant, which must have been lurking in the woods, waiting for a chance to catch one of the adventurers unprepared, came silently up from behind, walking with long noiseless steps and seemingly still on two legs. Evidently unheard, it reached the man, 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.

It is unclear why the creature would have attacked the man, but it was surmised it may have been because they had shot at it on that first evening and perhaps wounded it. Bauman apparently got out of there as fast as he could and that was that. Roosevelt never mentions the account again, and we are left to wonder just what happened here. In more recent times in the 1960s there was a farmer in the Umpqua National Forest, near Douglas, Oregon, who claimed to have not only shot and killed a Bigfoot, but to have managed somehow to drag it back to his home. He claims he left it outside in order to figure out what to do with it, but during the night a group of Bigfoot would supposedly descend upon the property to haul the carcass away to leave him with nothing. According to the British Colombia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, also in the 1960s was a report from 1965, in which a man claimed to have shot and killed a Bigfoot in Kitimat, British Colombia. He would claim that as he was trying to drag the body away he would be set upon by a group of the intimidating creatures that seemed dead set against him getting it out of there. As recently as 2000 there was a report from the BFRO of a man in Honobia, Oklahoma, who killed a Bigfoot as it was raiding his property, but another of the creatures would reportedly approach to carry the body off.

From the same era come some weird reports from the jungles of Vietnam. Even before fighting started in the jungles of Vietnam there had long been stories of something strange lurking in the remote areas here. Various peoples of the jungle choked interiors of Vietnam, Laos, and northern Borneo, in particular within the Vu Quang Nature Reserve, have a rich tradition of stories of a bipedal, hairy apelike creature known by various names, such as the Batutut, Ujit, or Người rừng, also written as Nguoi Rung, or “jungle people.” These “jungle people” are said to be around 1.8 m (6 ft) tall, stout and very muscular, with protruding stomachs and covered in hair ranging from brown to black in color, except for the knees, the soles of the feet, the hands, and the face, which remain bare. Although they inhabit isolated, remote jungle areas, the Người rừng are reported to be rather bold and aggressive, especially the variety from Borneo, which will apparently attack humans without thinking twice about it. They are said to travel in troops and are most active at dusk or during the night. The locals of these regions consider these creatures to be merely a fact of life, but the Batutut was not really known to the outside world until war began to impede into their domain.

During the days when troops toiled and fought in clouds of mosquito clouded jungle, dodging enemy bullets and hiking relentlessly through the humid, oppressive heat, there would be numerous reports from soldiers of strange creatures prowling through the forests that were neither human nor ape, and would come to be known as “Rock Apes.” Accounts of encountering these creatures seem to have been commonplace throughout the Vietnam War, from both sides of the conflict. In many cases, the strange beasts were mistaken for enemy troops, only to startle soldiers when they were actually seen up close.

In one 1968 account from jungle veteran Robert Baird’s diary, he describes an incident in which his unit began hearing inexplicable noises along the outer perimeter of their camp late at night. Not knowing if what they were hearing was normal jungle life or the enemy, a Mexican American corporal, nicknamed “Poncho,” took it upon himself to go out to investigate in the evening. Poncho determinedly marched up the hill to the communications bunker to see what was going on. When the corporal was on his way back, he was witnessed to let off several short bursts of fire from his weapon before hurrying back to camp in a somewhat unsettled, agitated state. Almost immediately, the unit’s Lieutenant had been on the radio demanding to know who was firing and at what. When Poncho reached the camp, he excitedly related that he had been walking back and had noticed a bush that had not been there before. When he had leaned down to take a look, it had then allegedly “snorted” at him, causing him to panic and fire. Baird would later say:

What he had encountered was the ubiquitous Rock Ape of Vietnam. I would come to learn that they were nearly everywhere, and quite fearless. That is what we had heard near the wire that night.

In another encounter from 1969, a patrol was caught off guard by enemy fire, after which everyone took cover. It was then that something strange made its presence known to one of the group. As the witness was laying there avoiding getting shot, there was a figure that broke out of the thick vegetation which at first seemed to be a large man, but as it ran past it was clear this was something else altogether. The figure was described as being around 7 feet in height, impressively built, and mostly covered with reddish hair. Whatever it was moved extremely quickly, but was then caught by some bullets in the crossfire, after which it stumbled but didn’t go down. It was then that the enemy began yelling something to each other excitedly that the witness could not understand before running off, with one of the enemy even leaving his weapon behind in a panicked haste. The American patrol regrouped and headed to a more secure area, and that night they were assailed by a barrage of strange, animalistic noises from the night, sounding like whines, barks, howls, and grunts. The next day, some of the patrol requested permission to go investigate what had been seen and heard the previous day, and as a search was under way they came across an enemy soldier that seemed to have been viciously torn apart. The patrol was so disturbed by the gruesome sight that they ran back to their base by the hill, and one of the witnesses would later say:

The rest of the time we were in Vietnam, I never heard the sounds or saw anything like it again. The talk of what we had seen spread very quickly, and some of the locals called it a name that I can neither pronounce or remember, but the translation if I recall was 'Stench Monkey' or 'Foul Monkey', something like that. I can’t remember for sure. What I do know is that it bothered me so much that I transferred from there, to a job on a helicopter so that I wouldn’t have to be in the jungle anymore.

American troops in Vietnam

Some of the rock ape accounts are truly dramatic and frightening. One such account given by a Michael Kelley, of D Co 1st/502d Infantry of the 101st Airborne Division describes not one Rock Ape, but hundreds of them. In the account, in 1969, 8 of the strange creatures came casually walking up a trail on a ridge of Nui Mo Tau and surprised a platoon that was in the middle of having lunch when they turned a ridge about 10 meters from where the men were situated. According to Kelley, the platoon at first immediately thought they were Viet Cong and “all hell broke loose.” The squad of men opened up with M-16s, M-79s, and grenade launchers, lighting up the forest in a vicious display of booming firepower and flying pieces of vegetation. Kelley himself was at the far end of a clearing, about 50 meters from where the barrage of continuous shooting had started, and he grabbed a weapon to run to join them along with the platoon Sgt., taking cover under a toppled tree.

For a few moments, Kelley and the platoon Sgt. stayed hidden as the cacophony of gunfire erupted everywhere. When they finally gave each other the nod to engage, they popped out from behind the tree, ready to see a sizable enemy force descending upon them judging by the nonstop barrage of relentless gunfire. What they saw instead was the platoon firing away at “ghostly images” that were swooshing through bushes and trees all around them. The mysterious intruders were described as being around 5 and a half feet tall, and all but one was light brown to reddish brown in color. The other was almost black and was a particularly aggressive large male, which reportedly madly rushed at men through the thick underbrush, snarling and with teeth bared. Throughout the frightening encounter, the ape-like beasts reportedly made sounds that sounded exactly like dogs barking. Then, the creatures, whatever they were, abruptly melted away into the forest, disappearing as if they had never been there. When the surprised platoon regained their composure, they searched the bullet riddled, gun smoke permeated area and found no sign of any dead bodies of the animals, and oddly not even any fur or blood. Kelley would remark on the surreal scene:

This may sound very strange to you, but although I had no or little concern about killing the enemy, the killing of innocent animals turned my stomach and could enrage me if done without being a necessity. But I searched the site and but found not a drop of blood, which totally amazed me given the amount of firing that had gone on. I wonder to this day if the men were shooting just to scare the Rock Apes away or whether they were really just poor marksman! The men who'd suffered the surprise looked a bit worse for wear, and I'm sure a few had to wash their shorts out as a result of the unwelcome visit. It really scared the crap out of them, I kid you not!

In another rather spectacular report published in the New York Times letters on April 18, 2010, a man named Graeme Webster tells of a curious event that occurred at a strategic artillery summit on the western end of the DMZ called “The Rockpile.” One evening sometime in 1967, Marines from the Fourth Marine Regiment were assaulted by a large number of Rock Apes, which were said to inhabit the caves of the area. The Marines fought back in a prolonged burst of firepower which lit up the night. In the morning, there were allegedly corpses of the ape-like creatures strewn about, and they were included in the sitrep briefing body count. This incident sounds very much like the battle between Marines and Rock Apes that allegedly occurred at Hill 868, the Battle of Dong Den, which also was claimed to have left bodies of the dead beasts in its wake. It is unclear what happened to any of these bodies in the aftermath. In addition to bodies, there have even been live Người rừng allegedly captured, with one notable report being that two of the creatures were caught by tribesmen near Đắk Lắk Province in 1971. Again, it is uncertain whatever became of these creatures, although considering it was war time and most had more serious issues weighing on their minds, one wonders if anyone ever actually went there to investigate the veracity of the claims at all.

A much more recent account of a Bigfoot type creature being shot at and even killed comes to us from May of 2014, in Paint Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. According to a report in The Mirror, police were initially called by a witness named John Winesickle who claimed to have found a Bigfoot footprint. After this, a rather strange series of events would play out, of which the report says:

Within hours, Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society received an email from an enthusiast who said he had overheard chatter on a police scanner after an unidentified hunter claimed to have shot a Bigfoot. The message read: “Officers confirmed there was an unidentified animal shot and killed. Details are a bit fuzzy at this time.” Just 40 minutes later, the society received an even more bizarre email. It read: “Hello, YES, this is legit, a strange report came over the scanner here in Somerset, PA, just a few miles from Flight 93 memorial.” The message also told of how a follower monitoring a scanner heard police joking about the shooting claim. It said: “It was about 20 minutes later that he said he heard a police officer radio back and state, ‘There was a body’. “He said the next radio transmission to the officer was, ‘Call the centre’.” The email also mentions a “large helicopter” in the area. It added that the sound was so loud it shook his house, so he went outside to take a look. It was then that he observed a formation of four Army Apache helicopters moving in the direction of Somerset.

The official police report would read that they had found nothing but bear footprints and certainly no Bigfoot body. What was going on here? Is this some sort of cover up or something else? These are all very spectacular and harrowing accounts to be sure and we are left to wonder. Is there anything to any of this? Have such creatures really been caught in the crosshairs and even killed? It seems in our gun-happy culture and considering the remote locales of these places it should be only inevitable that if they exist they should come across armed people who would be willing to do them harm. There is no way to know if any of these stories are true or not, but it certainly adds a new dimension to the hairy hominid phenomnenon as a whole, and they are damn strnage cases at the very least. 

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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