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Man or Beast

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 6th, 2012

Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics
August 31, 1867

MAN OR BEAST. — The Milwaukie [sic; Milwaukee] Sentinel tells a strange story about a man-beast, lately discovered in the vicinity of Oak Creek, Wisconsin. For some months the farmers in that neighborhood had been annoyed by the disappearance of their fowls. Doors were opened and roosts were robbed in the most summary and mysterious manner; and sometimes even lambs disappeared. That these were not stolen by human hands was thought to be evident from the marks around of the fowls being eaten on the spot. One farmer determined to solve the mystery; and so, rifle in hand, he watched his premises. At about 11 o’clock he discovered an animal of some kind approaching his hen house with stealthy step, sometimes going on all fours, and sometimes erect. He fired, and a piercing shriek, like that of a human being, showed that the creature had been hit. It nevertheless made off to the woods, where it was seen the subsequent day, having the face and hands of a human being and the hairy body of a beast. But though wounded it made its escape, and though subsequently seen again, had not been captured at last accounts.

Thanks to Jerome Clark.

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.


3 Responses to “Man or Beast”

  1. corrick responds:

    Just my opinion, but I’ve long been disturbed by pre-1920’s American newspaper articles being offered up as possible cryptozoolical evidence. My exception would be articles found in local newspapers describing local events. That would mean the writers understood that local readers might be aware of those people and events happening in their community. The “Jacko” story is a great example.

    But this article is from a paper in New Hampshire about something that supposidly happened in Wisconsin. So where’s the article from an August edition of the 1867, Milwaukee Sentinel? Back since or even before the “Great Moon Hoax” in 1835, American journalism has been crammed full of stories claiming amazing things, except that they almost always happened somewhere else.

    I’m not at all suggesting these type of pre-1920’s articles should be ignored. Just a ranking. Local event, local newspaper, worthy of further investigation. Local event, recorded by a distant newspaper, for students of American folklore and historical journalism.

  2. Loren Coleman responds:

    First of all, no one said this was evidence for anything “cryptozoolical” (sic), let alone cryptozoological.

    Second, the above comment shows a somewhat lack of knowledge of the pre-1920s’ newspaper system. Before the Internet, before emails, before news services, and before any type of national news gathering and sharing entities, the way newspapers captured news from around the country was via direct quotations and citations from other newspapers.

    Think about it. That makes sense for the time.

    That was the method of information exchange then and yet it does not mean the credibility of the stories were increased or decreased by that system. It was what it was. Just because it was from “away,” however, does not specifically translate into these stories “always” being instant “folklore,” as is suggested in corrick’s comment.

  3. corrick responds:

    I understand your point, Loren and agree with much of what you wrote. So let me try and clarify my position.

    First, I am only referring to those articles that deal with unusual animal “marvels,” the kind that might pertain to cryptozoology like giant snakes, lake monsters, out of place animals, etc. And most particularly to those from the pre-1920s’.

    That when a distant news source cites an unusual animal sighting or event without any local source corraboration, then caveat emptor.



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