Posted by: Craig Woolheater on December 27th, 2013
John Mionczynski rides Serendipity, his custom-built BMW motorcycle, along his driveway outside of Atlantic City, Wyoming. (Photo by Brad Christensen)
Photo from this article: Men in Cryptozoology: John Mionczynski
One of the two most genuine men I have ever met in Sasquatch research, John Mionczynski, authored the following article.
Who’s the other you ask? Dr. John Bindernagel of course…
In 41 years of cataloging and following up on sasquatch reports, I have noticed enough consistent elements in the evidence to conclude that this species like any other species of wildlife has predictive characteristics of behavior and food habitats. One of the more interesting observations that sets it apart from other wildlife is the presence of the remains of prey animals with a particular kind of disarticulation of the spine as the apparent cause of death in areas that have a history of credible sasquatch sighting reports. The break occurs in the neck between the first and second cervical vertebrae and is not isolated to one species of ungulate prey. This last statement is especially important since mountain lions can in theory break the spinal column in this location. Although they usually bite the nose of a prey species and suffocate their victim, one technique practiced by lions occasionally is to overtake a running animal at high speed by jumping on its back and latching on to the hide just behind the skull near the occipital foramen and flip over the side or front of the animal causing it to lose balance and roll over itself. The momentum of the prey animals body propelling over the head which is now anchored down to the ground by the weight of a hundred pound cat can cause a paralyzing “snap of the neck” or breakage of the cartilage in the joint of one of the cervical vertebrae including the joint between C1 and C2. Coyotes cannot achieve this kind of kill in large ungulates, usually attacking the rump or the soft underside of the neck causing the prey, usually a sick or lame animal, to bleed to death or suffocate due to a dislodged trachea. Bears, even grizzlies who are primarily vegetarian/insectivores, when they do kill an ungulate usually use other methods such as disemboweling of the sick or lame.
Additionally, in most of North America mountain lions show a very strong preference for deer as the ungulate of choice. I doubt that they ever attack a healthy mature elk, yet I have seen adult elk killed by a C1-C2 breakage. These are very large vertebrae held together by an extremely well reinforced mass of connective tissue and cartilage in a mature elk.
I began thinking that sasquatch may be responsible for these mortalities in 1972 while I was investigating a case where a sasquatch was seen almost every evening after dark rubbing against and even peeking in windows of a remote cabin where a man was living. He described the sounds of screams and other animal sounds coming from the vicinity of his horse corral some 80 yards through willows and cottonwood trees behind his cabin. He had already removed the five head of horses from the corral several days before I arrived, after a week of his horses panicking at night, ultimately resulting in the horses charging through the barbed wire fence causing major injuries to them. He was convinced the 8′ tall primate, the sounds, and the spooked horses were all related. He also walked me around the corral and showed me the carcasses of six mule deer recently killed in and around the corral site. Although most had been fed on by coyotes in the previous three or four weeks, they all showed evidence of two distinctive anomalies. 1.) all had their necks broken very aggressively at the C1/C2 joint and 2.) the hides appeared to be pulled off the thoracic and upper abdominal portion of the carcasses about like peeling a banana. It had the look of the way rabbit hunters split a rabbit hide just behind the head and pull the hide apart with two hands leaving the hide still attached at the four legs and head. It is difficult to imagine any other animal doing this and a careful examination revealed no cut marks from a knife. A human would require heavy equipment such as a tractor, backhoe, a come-a-long, or six to eight strong men to achieve the same end.
The most recent kills in the above case showed the clearest evidence of this neck breakage and hide peeling as they were estimated at one and three days old and coyote damage was not as extensive as the older specimens.
The odd combination of kill method, ‘peeling’ of the hide, and repeated sightings with tracks by the man and his wife in the same window of time plus the spooking of the corralled horses (which had never happened before) were all too much coincidence to think these things unrelated.
Several hair samples collected from one of the 16 1/2″ tracks were analyzed at two institutions and found to be non-human primate after which it was sent to Dr. Walter Birkbe a respected primatologist and specialist in primate hair, well know at the time as a skeptic on the subject of sasquatch.
His comments were not made public but unofficially he remarked, “you’ve sent me my first stumper”. It was definitely primate but not a known primate and not human.
My personal life was effected in two ways by the above findings 1.) I was threatened with my job as a result of speaking openly about these findings and 2.) I spent the rest of my career covertly investigating every sighting I could in the Rocky Mountain states and surrounding areas.
As a result of these investigations, I have found several examples of the same coincident anomalies outlined above. Some were too long after the fact to be certain that the disarticulation at C1/C2 was the cause of death although it seemed like the case and for the same reason the peeling of the hide was hard to determine due to scattering of the remains by scavengers who can make quick work of dismembering and chewing up and ungulate carcass in the Rocky Mountains.
One case of an elk was reported to me by a hunter in 2008. He described it as having the head pulled back over the dorsal spine and rigor mortis had set in with the neck hyper extended upwards and backward with hide partially pulled back from the neck. It was buried under heavy winter snows by the time the story came to me, so by the time I could get to dig out the remains the following spring, they were scavenged and deteriorated by predators and the elements, but clearly connective tissue still held the spine together except for an undeniable breakage between C1 and C2. This was the only separation in the backbone. C1 was still securely attached to the occipital foramen of the skull. The cartilage that was left showed clear evidence of twisting and bending trauma while fresh and pliable. (See photo) The hide was under snow and pine duff 20 feet away but all together with only leg bones still attached. It was curled up and rigid but a close scrutiny of the inside of the hide revealed no knife cuts nor did the edges.
There had been a sighting of a large bipedal hominoid figure on this ridge a short distance away by two hunters during the previous hunting season and numerous reports of sightings, rock throwing, pine cone throwing, screams, and tracks in this area dating back to the 1890′s.
In another incident, also in the Rockies but 500 miles from the previous incident, I discovered an adult horse that had been killed apparently by a traumatic break of the C1-C2 joint following a sighting of sasquatch and a rock throwing incident in the same location at night. These two locations are just 300 yards apart. Again, the hide from the neck back to the tail had been neatly peeled away with no sign of blade marks. Sixteen inch tracks were in the vicinity.
Native stories of sasquatch abound in the Rocky Mountain states amongst Ute, Paiute, Arapaho and Shoshone but interestingly the earliest non-native story I’ve been able to track down from the state of Wyoming in the 1890′s involves the following report. Two ranchers riding in the SnowyRange mountains near the town of Centennial looking for their cows spotted a small group of elk grazing in a meadow. Suddenly the elk were startled by something and broke into a run. From the trees came two large hairy manlike figures both running on two legs. One quickly overtook the last elk in the group, jumped on its back and took it to the ground. It then grabbed its nose and bent the head back until it touched the animals spine and held it there. This larger of the two then threw the elk over its shoulder and both walked back into the trees. The average mature elk in Wyoming weighs between 600 and 700 lbs. Sixteen inch tracks were in the vicinity.
As a field biologist, I have spent most of my life in the backcountry looking at things, and I have never found these kinds of anomalous cases anywhere except where a history of sasquatch reports is well established. These signs may not be evident to a person not specifically looking for them especially in a carcass more than three or four days old, but I believe it may be an important and useful piece of evidence.
~ John Mionczynski
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.