; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Native People's Hairy Hominid Traditions

Here are a few accounts referencing cryptid hominids from the native people's point of view:

Apache Tribe Reveals Encounters With Bigfoot

Footprints in the mud. Tufts of hair on a fence. Ear-piercing screeches in the night. These are only fragments of the stories now coming from the White Mountains in Eastern Arizona.

For years the White Mountain Apache Nation has kept the secret within tribal boundaries. “We’re not prone to easily talk to outsiders,” said spokeswoman Collette Altaha. “But there have been more sightings than ever before. It cannot be ignored any longer.”

It is a creature the world knows as “Bigfoot”.

“No one’s had a negative encounter with it,” said Marjorie Grimes, who lives in Whitewater, the primary town on the reservation. Grimes is one of many who claim to have seen the creature over the last 25 years. Her first sighting was in 1982. Her most recent was in the summer of 2004, driving home from the town of Cibecue. She becomes more animated as the memory comes forth. “It was all black and it was tall! The way it walked; it was taking big strides. I put on the brakes and raced back and looked between the two trees where it was, and it was gone!”

Grimes’ son Francis has a story. Their neighbor Cecil Hendricks has a story. Even police officers have had strange encounters. Officer Katherine Montoya has seen it twice. On a recent night dozens of people called into the tribe’s radio station to talk about what they’d seen. Others came in person.


Oh-Mah - The 'Boss of the Woods'

I received the following email on November 5th, 2008:

My question to you is 'have I seen something unusual?'

In August of 2006, I was working in Northern California and was interested in finding bigfoot prints. I have a friend who is a member of the Hoopa First Nation. I contacted him and then spoke to an elder. I was taken to an area where some footprints had just been found. Being skeptical, I took my right boot off and stepped down next to the foot print. I am 7' 1" tall and weigh 395 pounds and wear a size 17 street shoe or a size 19 boot (as boot sizes are often mislabelled). I am of Scot and Lakota Sioux lineage and speak a number of First Nation languages.

After putting on my boots, we heard a screaming howl. My friends started saying Oh-mah was coming and we had to leave. My friend Dave told his elder about what I had done and we went back to the site three hours later. There were numerous large footprints surrounding mine and what I believe to be a large finger hole in the middle of my footprint.

I was contacted a couple of weeks later and invited back to the reservation as they normally lose a good portion of their apple crop to Oh-mah but in 2006 they didn't lose anything. They wanted to know if I could come back every year and walk around barefoot to intimidate Oh-mah and if I have any big friends my size.

Oh-mah either saw me with the much shorter native indians and thought I was another Oh-mah or recognized the footprint as a threat. The elder thought Oh-mah didn't want a confrontation with something almost as big as he and left the area.

The Oh-mah footprint was the same length as mine but an inch and half wider at the ball and 3/4 of an inch wider at the heel. The depth of the print was the same.

I have spoken with some so-called experts from the BFRO and from the Bigfoot Discovery Project and got laughed at but then they wanted me to come with them and speak to the bigfoot via bull horn in either native language. I rather not be used by someone who is too narrow minded for me to speak to the kononpaiochis (literally the people of the north who don't comb their hair -- bigfoot).

Sincerely yours,

Don Talks With Owl Campbell

Note: I have been told that the native tribes in this area (Hupa and Yurok) both use the name 'Omah' or 'Oh-mah' translated as 'boss of the woods'.


Giant Cannibalistic Man

The Algonquin on the western shores of Lake Champlain told of seeing the windigo or "giant cannibalistic man" who, according to legend, roamed the countryside. One modern-day Native American account of the windigo describes it as "a giant thing, swift"¦ and covered with hair, and has eyes like two pools of blood. And there's this smell, like rotting meat." This description is similar to Bigfoot reports today.

The Iroquois have a similar oral history of flesh-eating stone giants who possessed powerful physiques.

Across the border in Quebec, the Algonquin-speaking Attikamekw called these creatures Kokotshe.

In his ship's log chronicling his voyage of discovery on the St. Lawrence River 1604, Champlain wrote how numerous Indian tribes in the region had told eerie stories of a giant, hairy man-beast that was known to the natives as "the Gougou." Champlain wrote that so many of the tribes recounted such stories that he believed there must be some truth to the tales.

"And what makes me believe what they say, is the fact that all the savages in general fear it, and tell such strange stories of it."

In northern Vermont, Abenaki traditions tell of a huge, hairy, man-like creature known as the Forest Wanderer who would leave giant, human-like footprints behind. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, many early Vermont settlers in Essex and Orleans counties told of encountering a mysterious bear that moved swiftly through the woods on two legs, always managing to elude capture.

In the forests of Northern Wisconsin, Michigan and East Central Canada, between about 42 to 48 degrees of latitude, there have been a resurgence of reports of a large, bipedal carnivore, within the past several years. There is a notable resemblance in the descriptions to a being in the lore of native tribes: the Windigo, a tall, ferocious creature with a wolf-like head on the body of a man or bear. It also fits the descriptions from European legends of the werewolf.

The cryptic creature is reported to have unique characteristics that differ from the appearance of a Sasquatch or Bigfoot. Generally smaller and less stocky than a Sasquatch, it is said to be closer to the height of an average man, and the arms and legs are similar in proportion to the human. The hands or fore-paws are said to have long curving, sharp claws. The feet, judged by footprints, are said to be elongated somewhat like the human, but the toes are shorter and configured more like a canine. But the most striking feature, according to the accounts, is the elongated muzzle with large protruding canines and pointed incisors.

Accounts of sightings of the creature are often in conjunction with a fresh kill, usually a deer. Its demeanor is hostile and aggressive, according to reports. The non-human expression is said to be malevolent, and the glaring eyes and snarling grimace are said to provoke a deep sense of dread.


Chickasaw People and the Lofa

One day a number of men went hunting and camped a considerable distance from home. Afterward they scattered to see what they could find but remained within call of one another, having made an agreement that if anything happened to one of them he should shout for help. But one of them ventured farther than he was aware and got a long distance off. Presently he got tired and sat down to rest, but while he was there a lofa (means “skinner.” The being was thought to have long hair like an animal) came up and said: “What are you doing here? You are intruding upon my land and had better get up and return to your own place.”

But the Indian believed himself to be strong enough for any situation, so he sat still without speaking.

Presently the lofa ordered him off again and added, “If you do not get up and go away I will tie you up and carry you to my place.”

“You may do so if you can,” the man replied, and upon this the lofa seized him.

At first it seemed as if the man were the stronger of the two and he was able to throw the lofa down, but the latter smelled so bad that it was too much for his antagonist, and the lofa overcame him, hung him up in a tree and went away.

The man hung there all night, and when he did not make his appearance at camp the other hunters began a search for him and, when they found him, cut the grapevine by which he was fastened so that he fell to the ground. They asked him what had treated him in this manner but he would not speak and they thought he might have seen a ghost or something of that sort.

Some time later, however, he came to himself and related what had happened. Afterwards, thought he was very fond of hunting and knew that he would be successful, he would not venture out unless someone were with him.


Beware The Kushtaka

It all starts on a winter night in Juneau, Alaska. About 4 years back while I was a senior in high school, a few friends of mine were over at my house, a neighborhood on the side of a mountain surrounded by a forest. We were bored with our video games and TV, so we all decide to walk a trail in the woods. This is about 3am and we weren't worried about running into bears because it was their hibernation time. So we gear up for the zero degree weather and leave for a trail up the mountain that I had played at as a kid, running through the woods and building forts. So of course growing up in it, knowing it like my own home I wasn't too worried. We had crossed a bridge onto the trail and walked about a half mile when my friend stops and says he heard something up ahead. I say that it's most likely a deer or something, having seen much of Alaska's wildlife in these woods. So we keep walking and by this point he's a little nervous glancing around a lot. My third friend started to say it was probably the Kushtaka, a local legend of a creature that shape-shifts into something that lures you to your death. He freaks out even more and I tell him I've spent half my life in these woods and haven't seen one thing that was remotely strange.

About 5 minutes later we heard snow crunch under a huge pine tree about 10 yards in front of us. We stopped dead in our tracks, looking up the path towards the tree. I shine the flashlight in that direction and we catch a flash of something move behind the tree, almost like a bike reflector or something. We start walking slowly away from the tree, back down the trail, not looking away from the tree. Then we see a hand from behind the tree touch the ground and I stop dead, frozen with fear, not looking away with my flashlight directly on it. It took a few seconds for my friends to realize what I was looking at. Then they saw it too. My friend who had been scared this whole time goes nuts and starts putting together words that made no sense. Whatever was behind the trees leaned out to look at us. It's eyes reflected like a dog's from the beam of my flashlight, making its face blurry from the glare. Instantly we all run, not daring to stop.

No movement was heard until we had reached the bridge, when one of my friends fell on the ice. That's when I heard it bounding up the path towards us. I shine my light and there it is running towards us on all fours half screaming, half howling. It looks almost like a human but seemed to be a lot taller and skinnier, very pale in the moonlight and against the snow. It was completely naked. So I run and jump off the low bridge onto the frozen creek and yell for them to follow me. We run down the side of the creek towards my neighborhood. I have never run so fast and so far, but I kept on for fear of what I saw. During the entire run I could hear whatever it was running through the woods directly to the right of us, all the way until we got to the street light by a children's park.

To this day my friend and I still bring up crazy theories of what we had seen. My other friend, the one who had been so terrified, had never brought it up again. JB


Other Stories

Bigfoot sighting stories are no surprise to the Native American tribes living in the Sierra. To them Bigfoot was just like the bear, mountain lions, wolves and coyotes. Ron Goode of the North Fork band of Mono Indians states, "We have an understanding that Bigfoot was here, is here. That he once he existed. The Mono's have two names for him. One that was in the mountains, Kooseekoosnow, and then one for the foothills is Kakownow, Kakownah." Goode says he hasn't seen a Bigfoot, but thinks he smelled one. "It had kind of followed me along and really scared the heck out of me because I was running for a little bit and I could smell this thing and it smelled terrible."

I once received a telephone call from a woman in British Columbia who said she was the daughter of a Kootenai shaman. She stated that most Native tribes seem to believe Sasquatch is a non-physical creature. Some tribal elders mention that they have seen the creature shapeshift into a wolf. She said her father thought that the creatures lived in another dimension from our physical plane, but can come here as it wishes. He also believed that Sasquatch has great psychic abilities and that the creature can be visible to some people, while at the same time remain invisible to others in the same group.

Giants, Cannibals & Monsters: Bigfoot in Native Culture

A History of the Enduring Washoe People: And their Neighbors Including the Si Te Cah (Sasquatch)

In Search Of The Kushtaka: Alaska's Other Bigfoot The Land-Otter Man of the Tlingit Indians

Vermont Bigfoot Encounters and beyond