Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 9th, 2006
Many people visiting here and reading about the Pine Ridge reports of Bigfoot have asked for a better feel of the land. The following is a report by a Cryptomundo correspondent that it is worthy of sharing, as it gives some good insights into the terrain, the people, and the Sasquatch of the area under discussion, as well as the commonplace nature of the sightings being submitted.
I have lived in the Black Hills all my life and, unfortunately, have never seen a Bigfoot. I do know people that swear they have. My stepfather is one of them. I was skeptical because he is prone to story telling. However, he mentioned that his Grandpa Albert Pourier was with him during his sighting. I decided I would try to verify the story.
Without informing my stepdad of my plans, I cornered my greatgrampa Al and asked if he had ever seen a Bigfoot. His story was a verbatim retelling. Even down to the horses’ reactions. This is what they both told me:
Back in the late 60s my greatgrandfather hired on to run cattle with various ranchers who lived in or near the Badlands. He himself, and my stepfather at that time, lived on Cuny Table. Cuny Table is a large mesa/butte (near Stronghold Table of Thunderheart fame) in the far western Badlands of South Dakota. It lays about 20-30 miles north of Oglala and Pine Ridge as the crow flies.
One night he [greatgrandfather] got word from a neighbor that some cattle had wandered onto another’s land, and my greatgrandfather’s boss wanted him to go herd them to their home pasture. It was getting late in the day (about noon or a little after), but that never posed a problem to my greatgrandfather since he had lived in the area all his life, and horses were merely an extension of his own being. Besides, he had three able-bodied grandkids that could help him.
Only one of them, my stepdad, actually went on this round-up, since the others had to stay with their grandma who “felt that something was wrong with the air.” So, the two went off on their horses.
It would be hard to explain their ride to anyone who has not seen the Badlands. In many places, the Badlands are literally mazes. Anyway, they had to go down a trail into this maze and then snake their way through to the other side. Again, my greatgrandfather knew the area very well so he was not worried about the lateness of the hour. If worse came to worse, they could spend the night in a line cabin that was there at that time. My stepdad, however, felt as if they were being watched the entire time. Albert just kidded him and told him that he had let his grandma scare him with her “premonitions of bad air.”
Once they were out of the Badlands maze, they had to cross over a fairly long stretch of prairie. The line cabin was about two-thirds of the way across this plain and they stopped there to water and rest the horses. It was getting to be 5:00 PM or so, but it was summer so they had enough light to get to the cattle, head them to the right pasture, and then get back to the cabin a little after dark. They headed off after the rest.
At the end of the plain, there is a large slope that goes down into the flood plain of the Cheyenne River. All along this basin there is a small forest of cottonwoods, scrub oak, and other deciduous trees flanking the river on both sides. They had to cross through this, and the river, to get to where the cattle were. It was now getting to be late evening with shades of dusk setting in.
As they were coming down the slope to go into the basin, the horses started to shy and balk. This seemed unusual to both my stepdad and greatgrandpa since these were well conditioned animals use to coyotes, bobcats, and even mountain lions that live in the area. They coaxed the animals down the hill, though. When they were almost to the bottom, my stepdad noticed and mentioned an awful smell. My greatgrandpa caught it, too. Wayne, my stepdad, voiced his opinion that they should maybe go to the road (an old, hardly traveled dirt road that usually washed out at that time) four miles away and cross the river there. Of course, greatgrandpa Al was not going to hear anything of the sort. Horses, like young men it seemed, got scared by bad smells to easily. Again, they coaxed the animals to move ahead.
They had moved just a little into the trees when the horses started rearing and snorting in fear. The smell had suddenly become stronger, almost overpowering, according to Wayne. While there was a dusky light still shining, it was much darker in the trees.
A noise very close, something between a short scream and a yell they both said, sounded just a few feet to one side. The horses immediately went stock still and then Al’s turned around.
Here is where the stories really creep me out. Wayne, who is about six feet tall, sits closer to 8 ft on a good sized cattle horse, said Bigfoot kind of strolled out of the woods across their trail. He [the Bigfoot] looked Wayne directly in the eye on level. Wayne said the thing may have been a little taller, covered in black hair with a rough leathery looking patches in the facial region. He turned his horse and saw what Al saw.
Al’s horse turned around. Greatgrandpa thought the animal was going to bolt back the way it had come. Later, he thought it was so nothing would sneak up on it. He saw a female Bigfoot. He thought she was pushing 8-9 ft in height. This Bigfoot kind of crouched and slouched across the path, though, and bared its teeth at the riders and the horses. She also swung her arms in a “haymaker” fashion according to Al, like she wanted to attack the intruders. Al noticed that the female’s head sloped a little. Wayne said it was different on the male. He “looked like he was wearing a ‘poobah’ hat covered with black matted hair.”
The pair of creatures casually moved away from the riders, I guess, while constantly checking to make sure they were not being followed. Al, who was never known to be scared, told Wayne to hurry. They bolted out of the trees, up the giant slope and “flat out hauled until their horses were lathered up.”
They stopped at the cabin to quick-comb the horses and give them some water, but then mounted up to go home. Wayne asked Al why they did not hole up in the cabin with the rifles they had there. Al simply said, “When chiya-tanka roams, one it is best to be at home.”
The saying alone sounds like it is something that has been in the family forever, but I never got the opportunity to ask Al why that was so before he died.
Now that I have related the story, I am going to go and speak with my stepdad some more.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.