Last night, on Phantoms & Monsters Radio, Steve Stockton and I were talking about our families and their heritage in the southern Appalachians. A listener then forwarded the following account today:
"My grandmother was half Cherokee Indian, and her mother, my great-grandmother, was full-blooded Cherokee. We think she was born in or around 1840 in eastern Tennessee near the North Carolina border in the Great Smoky Mountains. My great-grandmother married a white Frenchman who was a trapper. This story was passed down and told to me.
My great-grandmother youth was told that the creature we call Bigfoot was just another inhabitant of the wilderness of the Appalachian Mountains. The native Cherokees called them Tsul 'Kalu, roughly translated as the 'sloping giant.' It was told that these creatures stood twice as tall as humans, covered in brownish coarse hair with large shoulders, large dark eyes, and a sloping almost conical head. It is said that these Bigfoot lived and in ways associated with the indigenous native Cherokee people of the Appalachians.
The story told by my great-grandmother was that one evening as the fires were burning down a soft moaning noise was heard from an area not far from the tribal settlement. It came from near a large creek. Several of the elder men took torches and began walking down a trail towards the creek where the moaning noise was coming from. Supposedly a few of the women followed behind. At one point, near the creek, everyone stopped to listen for the noise. After a few minutes, the moaning was heard and as the men moved toward the location of the sound they soon realized the source of the moaning was a human size creature. It was a juvenile Bigfoot. It seemed that it had been separated from its mother. This seemed very unusual. The Cherokee elders as some of the women made their way down to the men. The women instinctively knew something wasn't right about the situation and convinced the men to allow them to bring the young Bigfoot back to their encampment. The young Bigfoot was obviously scared and lost.
The women stayed up all night with the young Bigfoot giving it food and drink as it stayed mostly in a fetal posture and moaning, wanting its mother. The fires of the camp frightened the young Bigfoot but the women did their best to comfort it during the night.
In the morning the young Bigfoot had fallen asleep for a short time and awoke scared as it was surrounded by the tribal inhabitants. The women again stepped in to comfort the young creature as it calmed down. The nurturing of a mother transcends from different species. Later in the day, after the cooking fires had been lit, some young Cherokee children came running into the camp saying that a bigger creature, like the young one, was following them from the creek. It was lingering outside of the encampment. Then the tribe heard a loud roar, sending shivers through every animal and human in the near area. The larger creature entered the outer brush that surrounded the camp. The young creature began to whimper and stood to its feet. It ran into the brush as the entire camp watched the two creatures embrace. In the background, an even larger creature was then seen as it stood quietly.
A few of the elders got up and walked toward the creatures. There were no signs of aggression displayed by either of the creatures or by the elder men of the tribe. There was nothing but silence as both the creatures and humans looked at each other. The creatures then turned and walked back into the forest.
It has been said that there were numerous occasions when contact was made between the tribe and these creatures throughout the region. Each time they passed, without having to say a word. They were both inhabitants in the mountains and forest, living as brothers." NM
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