Random Reports of Bigfoot Wearing Clothes

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 4th, 2009

In T. Peter Park’s recent guest blog on “cultural hominology,” he discussed the rare reports of seemingly adult-sized hairy hominoids said to be wearing human-type coverings.

I wanted to mention one concentration of reports and some thoughts on what might be occurring in that location.

In the 1960s and 1970s, reports from the American West would occasionally surface of hairy bipedal Bigfoot being seen with tattered plaid shirts and ragged shorts on their bodies. In some research, there were intriguing attempts to relate these to files of paranormal encounters with sightings of upright entities said to be wearing “checkered shirts.” (Within parapsychology, there is a subfield of study regarding “checkered shirted ghosts.”)

Investigators generally did not know what to make of these Sasquatch wearing plaid shirts, but dutifully catalogued and filed them away, nevertheless.

In one specific concentration, in one specific valley, however, the random reports of a group of other clothing-wearing “hairy people” have bunched into a cluster that seems to indicate perhaps the sightings are more than merely misidentifications and mind-warping mistakes – or ghostly reports of phantoms.

These are the accounts and lore of the Bushman (one of many names by which they are known).

© Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe 1999, 2006; © Harry Trumbore 1999, 2006.

The Canadian Northwest Territories’ Bushman, Nakani, or Nuk-luk, as drawn by Harry Trumbore, from The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates.

George Eberhart’s excellent cryptozoology reference work, Mysterious Creatures is perhaps too expensive (from 2002 at $185) to be in most researchers’ collections, but should be in every library in the country.

Eberhart wrote an entry for the Bushmen or Nakani, which overviews, as I did in my field guide, one of the rare examples of a group of hairy hominoids employing discharged clothing and boots formerly used by humans.

Below is Eberhart’s entry:

Nakani. Cannibal giant of northwestern North America.

Etymology: Chipewyan, Gwich’in, and Slavey (Na-Dené), “bush man” or “bad Indian.”

Variant names: Arulataq (Central Yupik/Eskimo-Aleut, “bellowing man”), Brush man (Western Canada Gwich’in/Na-Dené), Bushman, Enemy (Dogrib/Na-Dené), Hairy man, Mahoni (in Peel River area, Yukon), Na’in, Nakentlia (Koyukon/Na-Dené, “sneaker”), Nant’ina (Tanaina/Na-Dené), Neginla-eh (Pacific Gulf Yupik/Eskimo-Aleut, “wood man”), Nik’inla’eena, Nuk-luk, Tinjih-rui (“black man”), Woodsman.

Physical description: Tall. Covered with short hair. Black face. Red or yellow eyes. Bearded. Long arms. Clawed nails.

Behavior: Usually nocturnal. Swift runner. Only active in summer or fall. Lives underground or in a den in the winter. Call is a high-pitched whistle or laughing sound. Nauseating odor. Steals dried salmon from smokehouses. Said to wear hard-soled shoes and a head scarf. Makes signal fires. Said to have a hypnotic power. Throws rocks and sticks as weapons. Kidnaps women and children.

Tracks: Human-like, but longer and narrower. Sometimes shoe-prints are found.

Significant sightings: Paul Peters watched a Bushman along the Yukon River near Ruby, Alaska, in the fall of 1960. It was walking along the rocky beach toward his dogs, which were whining and acting strangely. The Bushman was very muscular, covered in black hair, and about 6.5 feet tall.

John Baptist saw a man-like creature with a long, dark beard near Fort Liard, Northwest Territories, in April 1964. It uttered a wild growl and fled, leaving tracks. The following month an Indian woman saw the same wild man, and in June outside Fort Simpson a 14-year-old boy and his father saw a small, dark creature with a long beard who carried a stone club and wore a piece of moose skin around his waist.

Patty Nollnar and six other villagers of Nulato, Alaska, encountered a Bushman in 1970 along the Koyukuk River about 20 miles north of its confluence with the Yukon. They didn’t see it, but it threw a rock at them as they were resting around their campfire.

Distribution: British Columbia; Canadian Northwest and Yukon territories; southern Alaska; and around the Yukon and Koyukuk rivers in central Alaska.


As I go on to mention in the Coleman-Huyghe field guide, these Northwest Territories reports were gathered by Ivan T. Sanderson’s associate Frank Graves of the American Expeditionary Society. Both Mark Hall and I, in searching the files of the old Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained (SITU), discovered the records of Graves’ notes there.

Graves was looking into the accounts from the Nahanni Valley, the “Headless Valley,” so-called because of the strange vanishings and decapitations of prospectors there for over 200 years. Indeed, a dozen men had disappeared from there since 1904, and four bodies were found without their heads.

The folklore of the almost human-like phantom hairy Bushman, the disappearances from that area, and the beheadings from the “Headless Valley,” have entwined for decades. The finds of bootlike footprints and the clothing-borrowing habits of the Nakani all seem strangely related to the big picture there.

Considering this is said to be occurring in one of the most regularly frigid settings for humans and hairy hominoids, it may be an incidence of adaptive evolution and cooperation taking place rather subtly.

It is an area of research ripe for future investigations by youthful hominologists and cryptozoologists willing to journey north to continue the quest.

Sources: Michael H. Mason, The Arctic Forests (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1924), pp. 58–59; Cornelius B. Osgood, “The Ethnography of the Great Bear Lake Indians,” Bulletin of the National Museum of Canada, no. 70 (1931): 31, 85–86; Cornelius B. Osgood, “Contributions to the Ethnography of the Kutchin,” Publications in Anthropology, Yale University, no. 14 (1936): 154, 157; Cornelius Osgood, “The Ethnography of the Tanaina,” Yale University Publications in Anthropology, no. 16 (1937): 171–173; June Helm MacNeish, “Contemporary Folk Beliefs of a Slave Indian Band,” Journal of American Folklore 67 (1954): 185–188; Pierre Berton, The Mysterious North (New York: Knopf, 1956), pp. 10–11, 55–76; James W. Van Stone, “The Changing Culture of the Snowdrift Chipewyan,” Bulletin of the National Museum of Canada, no. 209 (1965), p. 105; John Green, Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us (Seattle: Hancock House, 1978), pp. 242, 301–302; Ellen Basso, “The Enemy of Every Tribe: ‘Bushman’ Images in Northern Athapaskan Narratives,” American Ethnologist 5 (1978): 690–709; Richard K. Nelson, Make Prayers to the Raven: A Koyukon View of the Northern Forest (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1983); Scott DeLancey, “Alaskan ABSM’s?” INFO Journal, no. 44 (May 1984): 16–17; Mark A. Hall, Living Fossils: The Survival of Homo gardarensis, Neandertal Man, and Homo erectus (Minneapolis: MAH Publications, 1999), pp. 88–92; Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe, The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates, (New York: HarperCollins, 1999; New York, Anomalist Books, 2006), pp. 52-53.

If you happen to have any spare Canadian or American Dollars, please consider a contribution to the International Cryptomundo Museum today. The need is great, and any donation is appreciated, for many tens and twenties build a way out of this valley. Please, today…

Thank you!

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
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.

17 Responses to “Random Reports of Bigfoot Wearing Clothes”

  1. Penamunde responds:

    Great not only do we have to worry about the swine flu pandemic, but now Sasquatch couture as well? Prove Bigfoot and don’t worry about the hemline.

  2. DWA responds:

    Whoo brother.

    I’d focus on the non-cultured, non-clothed hairy hominoids first. Shoot, we can’t even get a critical mass of scientific attention to those.

    Frequency and coherence seem to rule this one out. Eberhart’s entry even includes sightings without mention of clothes, and episodes where the animal wasn’t even seen. What, did it leave its Bean shirt behind on a bush?

    Most of what’s ascribed to these apparent Bean Bigfoot are the same kind of embellishments frequently found in native references to sasquatch (and, one should point out, known animals).

  3. Loren Coleman responds:

    Folks are missing the point if they project the sense that studying “clothed” Bigfoot means that the regularly naked, hairy hominoids will be neglected.

    I feel that is unlikely, and postings such as this merely are shared to make certain that varied aspects and off-the-beaten track interests in cultural underpinnings or behaviors are not left under-explored.

  4. Viergacht responds:

    I don’t think it’s at all improbable a sasquatch might pick up and use items of human clothing. Chimps, orangs and gorillas do the same thing.

  5. Bob K. responds:

    Here’s a thought [and I’m no primatologist]: has there ever been documentation of higher apes, captive chimps, gorillas, or orangs, which have had access to human clothing and attempted to wear said articles of clothing in imitation of humans?

    And if this particular group of violent Bigfoot from the Headless Valley had in fact been killing humans for some time, might the wearing of the victims clothing be an example of such imitation, or perhaps a way of displaying a “trophy” from their victim, or a combination of the two?

    It seems that there are also deviations from what we usually see from these creatures, such as

    1) clawed nails, and

    2) long, NARROW footprints, not to mention cloths wearing and fire building.

  6. cryptidsrus responds:

    If one is willing to accept the possibility that Ole Hairy may be at least PARTLY supernatural, then it’s no stretch to accept the fact that certain Bigfoot sightings may be “off the standard map”.

    It’s common sense.

    If one is willing to accept UFOs and Sasquatch in the same sentence, then one can accept this.

    Not to mention accounts from various people (including Native American shamans) who say Sasquatch are equally if not more intelligent than humans and are interdimensional. Not scientific, but compelling and worth studying anyways.

    I understand that this site more “comfortable” with materialistic, scientific accounts of the beast (as in “This is an undiscovered ape that exhibits intelligence”) and that Fortean, “supernatural” or “paranormal” accounts of the beast don’t tend to carry much water around here, but seriously—
    We need to look at ALL the evidence and not automatically dismiss anything that doen’s match with our specific understanding of the universe.

  7. shumway10973 responds:

    Here’s a thought.

    1) Seeing that other primates will “imitate” humans by wearing articles of clothing, it is possible these will do it too and

    2) If thought of as cannibalistic by the natives, then would the checkered shirt be something off a lumber jack or some poor person walking thru the forest? Many humans thru history have worn the skins and clothing of their prize kills.

  8. red_pill_junkie responds:

    “Headless Valley”? Yikes!!!

    Any volunteers to go exploring that charmingly sounding area? One at a time folks 😉

  9. wisaaka responds:

    I’ve heard these stories before, which could be described as clothed Bigfoot in North America, though I’ve always heard them associated with the “paranormal” (ghosts and/or natural omens-folklore). Usually described as being from 9-15′ tall and is said to be hair covered (in some instances) and wearing a plaid shirt that has been generally associated, as being a checkered shirt, In these (ghost) stories that I’ve read I’ve often wondered if in fact they were talking about what we call Bigfoot.

    As for “It is an area of research ripe for future investigations by youthful hominologists and cryptozoologists willing to journey north to continue the quest.” I would do that in a heartbeat if I had the gas money.

  10. coelacanth1938 responds:

    IMHO, Bigfoot are the descendants of Paleo-Indians that survived the great North American extinction 13,000 years ago. They appear the way that they do due to population bottlenecks.

    Back in the 1970s, there was in Southern California sightings of a Bigfoot in Burbank. An intrepid reporter and photographer both working for the Long Beach Press-Telegram went looking for him. What they found was a nearly naked, mysterious ‘homeless’ man who stood at least seven feet tall. Published photographs of the man (taken from behind to protect the man’s identity) showed a very robust individual whose skin coloration reminded me of an Australian Aborigine.

    Maybe instead of looking for Bigfoot in the wild, we should try soup kitchens instead?

  11. jmiles responds:


    During the summer of 1986 four residents of Walker County,Georgia, Robin Avans, Kevin Pettigrew, Todd Rope, and Tommy Brooks, were coon hunting near Centre, in northeastern Alabama. There they spotted a huge creature in the middle of an extensive soybean field.

    “He was real tall,” Avans said, about ten feet in height, slender, and appeared to be wearing yellow-brown “overalls.” This apparition was only covered with fur from its feet to its knees. The animal was upright and walking in long, stiff-legged strides. “It could walk in 15 minutes what it would take a man to walk in an hour.” When it entered the woods, the four hunters declined to pursue it.

    Avans reported that earlier in the summer a friend of his had “got a real good look” at a similar creature, clad in what he described as a “kind of monkey suit,” near Pigeon Mountain, west of Lafayette in Walker County.

    From my book Weird Georgia.
    Jim Miles

  12. sschaper responds:

    There could be a number of possible causes to this particular type of report, from folklore, to homeless people, including those ‘not all there’, hippies in the right time-frame (never underestimate the ability to exaggerate what seems strange to the observer), to relic populations of Clovis people, or if in Central and South America, the earliest Melanesian inhabitants. The latter wouldn’t be furry, but to the later native Americans, they would seem very hairy, just as the Japanese perceived Europeans 400 years ago. I don’t think they are the same as sasquatch or napes.

  13. WOLVES-TALON responds:

    When you find the fully clothed sasquatch, ask him or her if they found a camo coolie with a beer in it…..I left in the woods one day, a couple years ago..lol

  14. rbhess responds:

    Today’s modern sasquatch looks tastefully rugged in his plaid camp shirt and matching khaki loincloth, which can be paired with a blazer for that jaunty look at the club. This ensemble can be had for a tree root, three squirrel pelts, and a handful of grubs. Next on the dais….

  15. hammerhead responds:

    I fully believe the first american anology of bigfoot, the stealing and wearing of clothing items lead me to personally lean toward something else altogether, the neanderthal remnant theory is about the only thing that makes sense, what lept out to me was the account of the creature weilding a stone axe, missing and decapitated victoms, we know that neanderthals kept bear skulls as trophys…I believe that there is evidence to support that the clothing wearing sasquach is not related to the typical hairy hominid we know as bigfoot…two distinctley different phenomena altogether

  16. CryptidHuntr responds:

    Bigfoot wearing clothes? The world is certainley changing…just look at our economy….

  17. cryptogrl responds:

    I agree with hammerhead. I’d only add that clothed unknown hairy hominids are probably either relic neanders (especially if they are ‘dog faced’ & under 6 feet & stocky, muscular) or if over 6 ft are remnant Homo Heidi’s. Totally different creatures from Patterson’s ‘Big foot’, of more ‘well known’ popular culture.

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