Reports of the giant, hairy ape-men of North America known as Bigfoot, Sasquatch, whatever you want to call them, go back pretty far into history. After all, these were creatures often considered sacred by the tribes of these regions who claimed that they existed. Among all of the various historical reports of these hairy giants some stick out as odder than most, and these must certainly include those bizarre accounts of people being kidnapped and even held captive by these beasts. Here we will delve into a selection of some such reports going back into history, and they are very odd, to say the least.
Our earliest report of this kind of frightening Sasquatch encounter takes us back to 1871, when a 17-year-old Native Chehalis girl by the name of Serephine Long mysteriously vanished in the woods at Mount Morris, in British Columbia, Canada. No trace of her could be found, and after a year of no sign of her she was presumed to be dead. It was for this reason that the tribe was shocked when in 1872 Serephine stumbled out of the forest looking dazed and disheveled, but very much alive. While at first she merely mumbled unintelligibly, when she was able to talk she came forward with quite the strange tale, indeed. According to Serephine, on the day she went missing she had been out foraging for cedar roots and lost to her thoughts when something large crashed through the brush and a thick, hairy arm grabbed her. Before she could scream another massive hand clamped over her mouth and she found herself being hoisted in the air by an enormous “wild man” and flung over his shoulder, after which it took off into the wilderness. Serephine would say of it many years later:
I was terrified, fought, and struggled with all my might. In those days, I was strong. But it was no good, the wildman was as powerful as a young bear. Holding me easily under one arm, with his other hand he smeared tree gum over my eyes, sticking them shut so that I could not see where he was taking me. He then lifted me to his shoulder and started to run. Although I was frightened, I could not but admire his easy breathing, his great strength and speed on foot.
They eventually arrived at what appeared to be the beast’s lair, somewhere up on the mountain, although she had no idea where because she had not been able to see where they were going. It was only when she was tossed unceremoniously onto the stone floor that she was able to properly look around and she would say of what she saw and her ensuing ordeal:
I sat up, and saw that I was in a great big cave. The floor was covered with animal skins, soft to touch and better preserved than we preserve them. A small fire in the middle of the floor gave all the light there was. As my eyes became accustomed to the gloom, I saw that beside the young giant who had brought me to the cave, there were two other wild people- a man and a woman. To me, a young girl, they seemed very, very old, but they were active and friendly and later I learned that they were the parents of the young Sasquatch who had stolen me. They fed me well on roots, fish, and meat…I asked the young giant how he caught and killed the deer, mountain goats and sheep that he often brought into the cave. He smiled, opening and closing his big hairy hands. I guessed that he just laid in wait and when an animal got close enough, he leaped, caught it and choked it to death. He was certainly big enough, quick enough and strong enough to do so.
Over the year that she was supposedly held captive she explained that the Sasquatch had always kept a very close eye on her, never letting her out of their sight but otherwise treating her kindly and feeding her well. However, she had been engaged to be married and she desperately missed her fiancé and her home. She asked in the bits and pieces of their language that she had managed to pick up whether she could return home, but she was always refused. At one point she became rather sick and believed that she might actually die if she did not see the village medicine man, and so she begged the young male Sasquatch to be allowed to go home. She would explain of what happened next:
At first he got very angry, as did his father and mother, but I kept on pleading with them, telling them that I wished to see my own people before I died. I really was ill, and I suppose they could see that for themselves, because one day after I cried for a long time, the young Sasquatch went outside and returned with a leaf full of tree gum. With this he stuck down my eyelids as he had done before. Then he again lifted me to his big shoulder. When he saw that I could see again, he shook his head sadly, pointed to my house and then turned back into the forest. I hope that I never again shall see a Sasquatch.
Making this account even more spectacular is that some versions even claim that she gave birth to a heavily deformed child shortly after returning home, and that it had only survived for a few hours. What are we to make of all of this? Another early report was related by the 19th century pioneer Susan Allison, who wrote of an account of an unnamed Native Okanagan man who claimed to have been kidnapped by a Sasquatch in the hills near Okanagan Lake, in Canada. The man would tell her that one day he had been out watching fishing traps because something had been stealing fish from them. As he did this he drifted off to sleep, but he was then woken by a strange noise from the woods, and he would say of what happened next:
I heard a shrill shrieking whistle, and my senses were oppressed by a vile, suffocating odour. Suddenly I woke to a consciousness of being lifted off the ground. Upwards I was lifted until I found myself on a level with a monstrous face. I was too frightened to observe much, for a huge pair of jaws opened, and emitted a laugh that sounded like thunder. I expected every moment to be put into that huge mouth and devoured; but the great creature in whose hands I was, stooped down and lifted up my blanket which had fallen to the ground, and wrapping it carefully around me, placed me in the bosom of the goatskin shirt he wore. I struggled until I got my head into the air, for there was a fearful smell of garlic about this huge creature that nearly choked me. Soon he began to whistle. It was the same sound I heard in my sleep and thought was the north wind. The Big Man calmly filled the basket with fish out of my trap, then, slinging it onto his shoulders, began to ascend the mountain still whistling with all his might. Once he stopped and taking me out of his breast he took a fish and tried to cram it down my throat, but seeing me choke he desisted, and putting me once more in his bosom went on his way whistling.
They eventually arrived at a cave that seems very similar to the one described by Serephine, with a fire crackling and animal skins strewn across the floor. The witness would explain of what happened next:
Taking me out of his shirt, the Big Man tied me with a rope by the leg to a log that lay near the fire. There he stood looking at me, and then for the first time I had a good look at him… I was ever esteemed a large man, but standing by the Big Man my head was scarce level with his knees. His body was covered with garments of goatskin and was white, and he had a long bushy beard that hung down to his waist.
It was not long before another Sasquatch arrived, who had with it three deer carcasses, which they put over the fire. The creatures then chattered back and forth with each other in some strange, alien language with “voices like thunder,” and when the meat was done they offered the terrified man some. He would say:
They gave me a portion, and seemed much amused to see me eat. Suddenly one of the Big Men gave a howl of pain, and moaning, held out his hand for his friend to look at. The other Big Man examined it tenderly and big tears of sympathy streamed down his cheeks. Standing on his knees I could see that a fishbone had run into this thumb and as their fingers were altogether too clumsy to remove it I seized the bone in my teeth and pulled it out. The Big Man smiled, looked grateful and soon dried his tears. I afterwards found that these Big Men were extremely sensitive to pain, the least hurt would make them cry and moan.
The man was purportedly held captive for months, but was able to escape one day as the two hairy giants slept. Again it is quite the dramatic tale, and it’s hard to know how true any of it is. Yet another account was related by the anthropologist James Teit, who wrote of an encounter that supposedly happened sometime in the 1800s in Keremeos, a village about 23 miles southwest of Okanagan Lake. In the account, a woman was kidnapped by a Sasquatch and carried through the forest all night long, before arriving in the “giant’s country” where there were many other Sasquatch. Teit would write:
In the giants’ country there was no fire, for they knew not how to make it. They ate all their food raw. Neither did they know how to catch fish, although they were very fond of them. They did not care much for water, and never washed themselves. During the course of her captivity, the Okanagan woman taught the giants how to make fire, and how to catch and cook fish. In return, the giants taught the woman their language, and treated her as one of their own. After living in the giants’ country a few years, she desired to see her own lands and friends. She told her husband he need not fear her people for they were very nice, and would treat him well. He took her on his shoulders, and, travelling every night, they soon reached Keremeos. The giant hid in the bushes while the woman went to the houses, and made herself known to her friends, who had thought her dead. She called her husband the giant, who came forward in great fear. She told him the people would not harm him. They built a very high lodge for the giant and his wife, who dressed in bearskins, like all giants. They made buckskin clothes for them, and persuaded them to discard their bearskins, and burn them.
At some point, some of the village warriors became afraid of this new guest and supposedly attacked him with tomahawks and spears, after which it escaped into the woods to never be seen again. Strange, indeed. Finally, we have the case of a man called simply “Harry,” who was a trapper of the Muchalat tribe from the village of Nuchatlitz, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. On one of his trapping excursions, he was woken at his camp by a Sasquatch wrapping him up in his own blanket and taken to the creature’s own camp, where there were several others of its kind. The beasts reportedly merely watched him for some time and poked at him in curiosity before losing interest and ambling off, after which the man ran all the way back to his village and vowed never to go out into the wilderness again. These are all very curious accounts, indeed, and not only show that the Bigfoot phenomenon goes way back, but also that it has always been pretty damn weird.