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1879: Half Man, Half Beast

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 30th, 2010

Is this an early Bigfoot report, a wild newspaper hoax, a feral human account, or merely an unkempt hermit tale? You be the judge.

Sacramento Daily Union
Sacramento, California

November 8, 1879

A STRANGE CREATURE.

Two Hunters Chased by a Wild Man in the Antelope Mountains.

William Shegan, who came in from Antelope valley last evening with a load of produce, tells a Leader reporter a very strange and startling story of the experience of two men who were hunting in Antelope valley last week. He says that Peter Simons and John Gore had been out all day hunting ducks and such other game as came in their way, and as evening came on they took a short cut across the mountains on their way back to the ranch. The mountain over which the trail led them was a very rugged one – in fact, the wildest place in the Antelope range of mountains – and a few years ago used to be infested with the larger species of wild animals. As they were slowly picking their way around the edge of a large chasm, they heard a slight noise near a rugged cliff, and saw a huge, hairy object, apparently half man and half beast, spring from behind a cliff and start for the other side of the mountain, running with the speed of the wind. Mistaking it for a wild animal, one of the hunters, Gore, fired at it. The shot appeared to take effect in the arm, for, with a scream of pain, the creature halted, tapped the wound, and, turning, charged its pursuers, who, with empty guns in hand, dared not measure strength with such a foe. Dropping their guns, both sought safety in flight, and stopped only when compelled to do so from lack of ability to run further. The men say that they are positive that the creature resembled a man in general appearance. It was wild-eyed, and very fierce in its disposition, judging from the short time they saw it. Mr. Shegan’s story revives a long-forgotten but now distinctly-recalled yarn, to the effect that many years ago a lunatic, then a young man, escaped from his keepers in California and gained the fastnesses of the Sierra Nevada, where he evaded pursuit, and, it is thought, subsisted on the flesh of small animals killed through some means best known to himself. Several months ago, says Shegan, a strange creature answering the description of the being recently seen, with the exception of the grizzly beard, was discovered by a party of men who were hunting on the mountain some fifteen miles from Antelope, and it is thought that this may be the same. The hunters say they are positive that it was no optical illusion, but a genuine wild man, and a very fierce one at that. The creature’s arms, they say, were long and hairy, and it looked very much like a full-grown gorilla. They aver that it ran with remarkable swiftness, all the time uttering loud cries, as though in pain and enraged. They declare that it was only by their utmost exertion that they escaped their pursuer, and they say that there is not money enough in Nevada to hire them to again venture across its path. Mr. Shegan says there is talk of organizing an armed force in Antelope valley to go in search of this creature. – [Eureka (Nev.) Leader, November 1st, 1879]

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 “1879: Half Man, Half Beast”

  1. bccryptid responds:

    Yeah, I’d be “wild-eyed, and very fierce in its disposition” too if someone just shot me in the arm!

  2. J-Monkey responds:

    This sounds like many other wild man or Wendigo reports from the 1800′s, except for the fact they claimed to shoot the creature. I have heard several reports of people shooting at these creatures to no avail. So a confirmed hit is quite rare.

    It gets more interesting with the bit about the creature tapping the wound. This part bugs me, how long did the creature take securing it’s wound? If I had just shot a crazed wild man and had a few seconds to reload I would for sure!

    So in my opinion this is either a very rare Bigfoot sighting or a just another hoax.



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