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The Wildman of 1870

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 24th, 2010

[Unfortunately, articles from this era reflect the times. The usual apologies for the disgusting temporal racism.]

San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, July 30, 1870, p. 5
San Francisco, CA

A WILD MAN OF THE WOODS. — The people of Magnolia and Chatawa have had a sensation of their own during the past ten days. It did not come in the shape of a base ball match or an atrocious murder, or of the accidental poisoning of an entire family, but simply in appearance of a wild negro, an insane Fifteenth Amendment, whose wardrobe is a scanty as that of Adam before the fall, or any colored brother who roams the forests or fields of Congo or Dahomey at this day, from the monarch downward. The creature, judging from his actions, must certainly be insane. When first seen in that neighborhood, he was observed by a white man near Magnolia, seated upon a fallen tree, eating pine cones. On being approached, he ceased to eat, threw himself on all fours, and began scratching up the earth like a terrier on the scent of a rat or other vermin, until he managed to get out of sight.

When next seen it was eight miles below, near the railroad station at Chatawa. Every effort to get him to talk to any one, even of his own color, failed, and on being approached he fled away rapidly, until he was seen no more. He manifests no savage or brutal qualities, but seems to entertain an absolute dread of intercourse with human beings. He appeared to be about 25 years of age, well built and healthy. His finger nails have grown to an enormous length, resembling the claws of some wild feline animal. It is believed that he was originally a runaway, and that he has for years lived in the woods and swamps, and is not aware of the emancipation of his race. Some parties also believe that he is identical with the wild man described in Harper’s Weekly, as having been seen near Vicksburg a year or more ago.
New Orleans Picayune, June 10.

Were these various “wild men” reports of feral people or early accounts of Bigfoot?

Thanks to Charles Flood.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


2 Responses to “The Wildman of 1870”

  1. thatericn responds:

    Hello –
    — Anyone reading this article should not let the San Francisco publication confuse them. Magnolia and Chatawa are in Mississippi, roughly half way between Vicksburg and New Orleans. Given the time period and location, as well as the description of this unfortunately individual, the only conclusion I can come to is that this was a quite human victim of mental illness. Considering the immeditate history of slavery, war and violence of Reconstruction in the south, one can hardly be surprised at having a poor, unfortunate soul pushed to the breaking point.
    — Please do not read into my comment any discouragement of investigation of historical “wildman” accounts. They may well prove to be key research sources. It’s just that this story sounds like a disturbed, psychotic human being. One hopes that someone of good heart and intentions was able to eventually assist him.
    — Eric

  2. skeptik responds:

    I think he’s quite clearly recognized as human..



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