Maine 1895: Hairy Wild Man Kills Lumbermen

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 4th, 2011

Yes, I get mail, all the time. Some of it is extremely intriguing. Looked what turned up in my email inbox yesterday.

Did a hairy hominid roam the woods north of Bangor, Maine, killing lumbermen? Certainly a record of something bizarre was recorded in 1895. Have you any confirming new items of these incidents in your local news archives? Articles like these were picked up by papers coast to coast.

Great Consternation Caused by the Deeds of a Wild Man.
Unlucky Lumbermen Slain and Their Bodies Mangled in a Shocking Manner.
San Francisco, California
The Call
November 27, 1895, page 1.

Great Consternation Caused by the Deeds of a Wild Man.
Unlucky Lumbermen Slain and Their Bodies Mangled in a Shocking Manner.

BANGOR, ME., Nov. 26. — A lumberman who returned to-day from the forest in the north of the State brings the most harrowing intelligence of the doings of a wild man in the lumber region of the west branch. He states that great consternation has been caused and a large number of lumbermen have left the camps and returned to their cities rather than face the monster.

For over two months quite a number of men have disappeared from the camps and when found bore the semblance of having had an encounter with some wild animal, their bodies in every instance having been terribly mangled and torn. A lumberman who returned to a camp a little north of this city a week ago startled all by stating that while at work he had been attacked by this wild man, and it was only by the help of his ax that he had been able to defend himself from the murderous attacks. Since that time he has been seen by the crews several times, but on their approach he fled into the deep woods with the speed of a deer.

He is described as being so nearly like an animal that it is almost impossible to detect him from one. He has a long, shaggy beard, and is covered with a huge, skin coat. The general belief is that he is a sportsman who has become lost in the deep forests, and after wandering around for weeks has gone hopelessly crazy, and already there have been over half a dozen instances of a similar character in the State.

The crews of the lumbering camps are out hunting for the man and hope by shooting him in the leg to effect his capture.

Please note the specific description of the “Wild Man” is of a “being so nearly like an animal that it is almost impossible to detect him from one. He has a long, shaggy beard, and is cover with a huge, skin coat.”

This old apparent case of a Windigo/Eastern Bigfoot or Marked Hominid might be explainable as a feral human*. But the use of the word “hair coat” in 19th century journalism can mean an actual coating of hair, the cylindrical, keratinized filaments characteristically growing from the epidermis of a mammal, in this cast a human, or it can refer to a coat made from the hair of another mammal being worn by a human.

The reference theory, that this was a lost hunter, is no more useful in defining what this “wild man” was than the explanations of circus train wrecks used to explain “black panther” encounters.

Wild men were frequent subjects of art, and the overlap between feral humans and cryptid hominids is well-established.

The famed painter Albrecht Dürer completed two significant pieces on wild men. One is a portrait of Oswolt Krel flanked by two panels, and the other is an engraving, Coat-of-Arms with a Skull.

Of course, Dürer was known for creating a stylistic version of what he was seeing. The objects he painted were generally considered to have been real. Prime examples are of the nobles he captured on canvas and the animals he depicted.

The above article was sent to me by Chuck Flood, Fortean archivist.
* In The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates by Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe (NY: Anomalist Books, 2006), we examine the oft-used “feral human” angle to explain “hairy hominid” reports.

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.

4 Responses to “Maine 1895: Hairy Wild Man Kills Lumbermen”

  1. bray_beast responds:

    I’m just gonna go there.


  2. alegler responds:

    Loren – I just sent you this article from the Boston Daily Globe – September 1895.


    Town’s Bugaboo

    Winsted, Conn, Has a Wild Man Sensation.

    Selectman Riley W. Smith “discovered” the freak…

    “I stepped Inside the clearing and saw at a glance that the berries were there as I expected. But almost Immediately with my first glance at the place I saw
    this strange creature. The instant I saw him his back was toward me.

    “He was at the other end of the clearing, 40 feet away…

    “His hand was reached out as though he was picking the berries. I think I Interrupted him in a feast. He stood about 5 feet 10 Inches, I should say, and weighed perhaps 150 pounds. He was naked, and his back and legs were covered, with hair, apparently two or three Inches long, lie had very long, black hair from his head also, reaching down below his shoulders.”

    “Almost the instant I saw this creature he became aware that I was around… he turned his head just so he could see me over his shoulder, and giving out
    a sound such as I never heard before, gave one bound over the bushes and disappeared Into the woods.”

    Considering this is 2 months before the Bangor, ME article and about 350 miles away, I wonder if there is any connection.

    Were the killings in Bangor committed by the same “person”?

    Or did this sighting influence the story of a “wild man” running loose in Maine killing lumbermen?

  3. sasquatch responds:

    Lumbermen are generally very strong individuals who would not be easy to tear apart as the story says.

    It was either a bear or a sasquatch, another human would NOT be able to do this kind of damage on the tough strong working men of the forest. They would also have to be able to overcome axes, and probably guns.

    I don’t think it was a “wild” person. If this really happened it was an animal(s).

  4. John Melland responds:

    That was a really good article. I have hunted north of Bangor in the past and sometime’s feeling not so alone and hearing strange calls at almost sunset. Alton bog is definitley a place to visit and is extremely spooky after dark. I haven’t been able to find any actual proof of Bigfoot while there. I have heard of more recent report’s from the area north of Bangor crossing the I-95 interstate back in early 1990’s. I live here in Idaho now but have lived in Maine and did so until 2009. I have lived as far south as Sanford and as far north as Presque Isle. I do believe that I was followed one night in Winterport at about 2:30 a.m. My mother has Bigfoot activity about every spring and fall in Hudson. So far just vocalizations have been heard by her and my older brother and some undistinguishable tracks by her house in the snow a couple times.

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