Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Legend of the Kentucky Yeahoh

Well, you can blame Daniel Boone for starting the Kentucky Bigfoot rumor mill. The American pioneer once bragged of killing a 10-foot hairy giant he called "Yahoo", possibly a nod to Jonathan Swift's novel Gulliver's Travels

"When you grow up in rural Kentucky, you know the land. You know the animals. And that was something that didn't fit," states Philip Spencer.

The Kentucky native says his interest in Bigfoot finds its roots in a personal experience. He claims he saw the creature in Anderson County as a little boy back in 1970.

"Approximately 8-feet tall, bulky arms. It was out in the field with deer," he said. "It just walked away into the darkness and left us sitting there, not sure what to think."

Spencer's research documents nearly a dozen Bigfoot sightings deep in the Anderson County woods, in a 6,000 acre area known as the Frazier Land.

The Wildman of Kentucky: The Mystery of Panther Rock

"This land has so many stories, so many tales," Spencer said.

Legend has it that the Frazier family caught the first glimpse of the beast in the late 1700s. Soon after the family arrived in the area, it abruptly left.

"Why would someone leave their home, huge amount of land with the opportunity to make money?" Spencer asked.

The area might have proved unfit for the Fraziers, but Spencer calls it Bigfoot heaven.

"It is everything Bigfoot could ever dream of. It is away from people and it has everything it needs here."

Kentucy has a long history of Yeahoh sightings and encounters, but the traditional narrative tells of a relationship that results in a half-human, half-beast offspring. Here are two versions of the tale:

THE HAIRY WOMAN - An Anecdote

"One time I's prowling in the wilderness, wandering about, kindly got lost and so weak and hungry I couldn't go. When it began to get cool, I found a big cave and crawled back in there to get warm. Crawled back in and come upon a leaf bed and I dozed off to sleep. I heard an awful racket coming into that cave, and something come in and crawled right over me and laid down like a big old bear. It was a hairy thing and when it laid down it went chomp, chomp, chawing on something. I thought to myself, "I'll see what it is and find out what it is eating."

"I reached over and a hairy like woman was there eating chestnuts, had about a half a bushel there. I got me a big handful of them and went to chewing on them too. Well, in a few minutes she handed me over another big handful, and I eat chestnuts until I was kindly full and wasn't hungry any more. D'rectly she got up and took off and out of sight."

"Well, I stayed on there till next morning and she come in with a young deer. Brought it in and with her big long fingernails she ripped its hide and skinned it, and then she sliced the good lean meat and handed me a bite to eat. I kindly slipped it behind me, afraid to eat it raw and afraid not to eat it being she give it to me. She'd cut off big pieces of deer meat and eat it raw. Well, I laid back and the other pieces she give over as she eat her'n. She was goin' to see I didn't starve."

"When she got gone again I built me up a little fire and br'iled my meat. After being hungry for two or three days, it was good cooked--yes, buddy. She come in while I had my fire built br'illing my meat, and she run right into that fire. She couldn't understand because it kindly burnt her a little. She jumped back and looked at me like she was going to run through me. I said, "Uh-oh, I'm going to get in trouble now."

"Well, it was cold and bad out, so I just stayed another night with her. She was a woman but was right hairy all over. After several days I learnt her how to br'ile meat and that fire would burn her. She got shy of the fire and got so she liked br'iled meat and wouldn't eat it raw any more. We went on through the winter that way. She would go out and carry in deer and bear. So I lived there about two year, and when we had a little kid, one side of it was hairy and the other side was slick."

"I took a notion I would leave there and go back home. I begin to build me a boat to go away across the lake in. One time after I had left, I took a notion I would slip back and see what she was doing. I went out to the edge of the cliff and looked down into the mountain, and it looked like two or three dozen of hairy people coming up the hill. They were all pressing her and she would push them back. They wanted to come on up and come in. I was scared to death, afraid they's going to kill me. She made them go back and wouldn't let them come up and interfere."

"Well, I took a notion to leave one day when my boat was ready. I told her one day I was going to leave. She follered me down to my boat and watched me get ready to go away. She was crying, wanting me to stay. I said, "No, I'm tired of the jungles. I'm going back to civilization again, going back."

"When she knowed she wasn't going to keep me there, she just grabbed the little young'un and tore it right open with her nails. Throwed me the hairy part and she kept the slick side. That's the end of that story." - Joe Couch - Perry County, KY - 1954

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THE YEAHOH - An Anecdote

"Once there was man out huntin', he got lost and after a while he begin to get hungry. He came to a big hole in the ground and he thought he would venture down into it. He went down in there and he found that the old Yeahoh lived in there. There was deer meat hangin' up and other food piled around the walls. The man was afraid at first, but Yeahoh didn't bother him and he went toward that meat to get him some. The Yeahoh walked over and looked at the knife and said, "Yeahoh, Yeahoh," a time or two. He cut it off a piece of the meat and he started eatin' it."

"Well, the man stepped over to the middle of the pit and took out his flint and built him up a fire. And the Yeahoh watched him and looked at the fire and at the flint and said, "Yeahoh, Yeahoh" again. The man put his meat on a stick and br'iled him a nice piece and started eatin' it. The Yeahoh watched him and acted like it wanted a piece. The man cut it off a piece of the br'iled meat and reached it over, and the Yeahoh commenced to eatin' it up and smackin' its lips and saying, "Yeahoh, Yeahoh."

"Well, the man lived there with it a long time and they got along all right. After so long they was a young'un born to 'em, and it was half-man and half-Yeahoh. And the Yeahoh took such a liking to the man it wouldn't let him leave. He got to wanting to get away and go back home. One day he slipped off and the Yeahoh follered him and made him go back. Went on that way for a good while, but he picked him a good time and slipped away. This time he got to the shore where they was a ship ready to set sail."

"He got on this ship and he looked and saw the Yeahoh comin' with the young'un. It screamed and hollered for him to come back and when it saw he wasn't goin' to come, why, it just tore the baby in two and held it out one-half to him and said, "Yeahoh, Yeahoh". He sailed on off and left it standing there." - Lee Maggard - Putney, Harlan County, Kentucky - 1950

Bigfoot in Kentucky

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