Police Chief Confirms Pine Ridge Bigfoot Sightings

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 18th, 2006

I have now the following report (below) via direct communication from the Chief of Police for the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety- the law enforcement agency for the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Intriguingly, online skepticism surfaced this week that just because there are no newspaper reports (other than kill rumor denials in the Rapid City papers) about the Bigfoot sightings in South Dakota, these encounters are not truly taking place. Of course, the lack of appearance in the print or electronic media does not mean something is not occurring in the real world. Cryptomundo will continue to bring you the news as it happens, directly from what’s being seen in the field to your computer screen, whether it has been in a newspaper, on television, online, or not. This is not your grandparents’ cryptozoology. This is your news.

Paul Smith Bigfoot

Please click to enlarge this image of Bigfoot as drawn by Paul Smith, and sepia-colorized by Simon and Schuster designers for the cover of my book Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America. The sightings from South Dakota seem to describe a hunchbacked Bigfoot.

Here’s the Chief of Police’s report:

August 17, 2006

Hello, my name is James Twiss. I am a police officer on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I am passing on information regarding the rash of sightings of a tall man or Bigfoot on the Pine Ridge reservation. During one of these sightings, I had our department’s thermal imaging camera and along with about six other officers, did in fact pick up a large heat signature on the camera.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a recorder yet for the camera so we weren’t able to record it. We did watch as it moved away from us down a gully and it was missed by the other officers as they tried to find it using their flashlights. It is hard to explain as it must have already been past the officers before they arrived on scene. We watched it go into the creek area which runs through town. We heard a flurry of dogs barking but wasn’t able to locate it.

Also to set the record straight, the first two sightings was called in as a tall (10 to 15 feet tall) [man] who appeared to be wearing a stovepipe hat and long coat. It was reported to be peeking into a apartment complex commons room where there was several witnesses.

This is strange as in the early 1980’s my brother was a police officer and responded to a call with another officer in the country (35 miles north east of Pine Ridge) and when they arrived, the family was in the living room with their dogs and had turned their furniture into a fort in the living room and was armed with knives and whatever else they could find.

They advised that they had heard their dogs running into their front door and when they opened it the dogs ran in and was scared. The family reported seeing a large man (his hips was above the roof of their family car) wearing a stovepipe hat and had on a long coat. My brother and the other officer went outside where the man was reported to be and saw that the light layer of ice was broken and the mud was disturbed where something had moved towards the creek area. The family had the officers wait while they got together their belongings and had the officers escort them from the residence. This isn’t the only sighting we have here; they increase every spring and fall.

To revisit the Police Scanner Recording, please click here.


A moment of cultural clarification in the use of names, descriptions, and words. If you read the first paragraph closely, you will note that Chief of Police Twiss interchanges the use of the term “tall man” and “Bigfoot.” He then goes on later to describe a “tall man” that was seen earlier in July and in the early 1980s, as a “tall man” or “large man.” Among the Lakota, when talking about a “big man” that is the same as speaking about Sasquatch or Bigfoot.

In Peter Mathiessen’s 1980 book, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, the Oglala Sioux people are quoted about their relationship with their local variety of Bigfoot. The Lakota (western Sioux) call them chiye-tanka (chiha-tanka in Dakota or eastern Sioux) – chiye means “elder brother” and tanka means “great” or “big.” In English, though, the Sioux usually call him “the Big Man”.

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.

29 Responses to “Police Chief Confirms Pine Ridge Bigfoot Sightings”

  1. Bennymac responds:

    I don’t know, could a sagittal crest be mistaken for a stovepipe hat? Could the long coat be mange, or very long hair? Those two things (coat & top hat) seem out of place for a description of a Bigfoot.

    Keep the updates coming, this place seems very hot!

  2. One Eyed Cat responds:

    I have to admit, so many references to ‘wearing a stovepipe hat’ — and over several years apart to boot — have me wondering what could give that impression.

  3. Dark-Obsessor responds:

    Clothing items on any wild animal seem out of the ordinary. Perhaps it is just psyical anomolies…

  4. otrian responds:


    Long coat. Stovepipe hat.

    Are we dealing with big foot or the ghost of Abraham Lincoln?

  5. UKCryptid responds:

    A hat, a coat and the officers didn’t happen to have the recorder for the thermal imager, isn’t that always the way? Sounds like less of a bigfoot sighting and more of a peeping tom now. But who knows…

  6. dewhurst responds:

    The South Dakota Bigfoot have been noted over centuries for their sartorial elegance.

    The only thing I can think of is that the light combined with some kind of mutation might give the appearance if a hat-I do feel that if its pelt is shaggy enough in the darkness it may appear to have a coat on.

    Oh well lets hope the sightings continue and maybe just maybe even a photo for us to pull to pieces!

  7. shumway10973 responds:

    except for size, these are sounding more like springheeled jack than big foot, unless they are seeing the ghost(s) of some of their ancestors. Don’t get me wrong, I do hope and believe that these are the big guys.

  8. Bennymac responds:

    Nice, a Springheeled Jack reference!

    I had an image of a very tall chief Lone Watie (Josey Wales) at first.

  9. oldbutnotstupid responds:

    Who says these creatures are animals. Bigfoot has always been considered more human then animal.

    If they were observing people years ago, they may have something that looks like stove top hats and coats simply because they copied what they saw.

    Apes do that and so do humans. It may simply be a sign of their intelligence level, and not something to be cast off so easily as foolishness.

  10. Brindle responds:

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  11. cabochris responds:

    Chief James… You have got to have more info on all the recent Bigfoot sightings than just a “heat Signature” and tall hat? That could be of a SD bison or donkey? Please give us more.

  12. Loren Coleman responds:

    I have added an update above, “A moment of cultural clarification…” to remind folks that among the Lakota when using the phrase “Big Man,” they are indeed discussing what we in English more generally call “Bigfoot.”

    “Big Man” = “tall man” = “large man” = Bigfoot/Sasquatch.

  13. Kelly responds:

    I suppose Occam’s Razor applies here. Stovepipe hat and long coat suggests a guy dressed in said attire. No bigfoot here, just some hijinx. Then again, you never see Abe and Sasquatch at the same party do you?

  14. EEB responds:

    Perhaps an infant clinging to the back and peeking over the adult’s head could give the impression of the figure wearing a tall hat (as is possibly seen in the Memorial Day footage). This could also contribute to its hunchbacked appearance, as one of the officers described (as I remember, she said at first it looked like it was wearing a backpack). However, it seems like somewhat risky behavior for an adult to bring its offspring around human habitations so much.

  15. lastensugle responds:

    Nice update, the Pine Ridge sasquatch sightings are definitely some of the most interesting in years, I think.

    The stovepipe hat and long coat creature sounds really strange though, I don`t think shaggy hair/fur, a hunched back, those sorts of thing, could be mistaken for a stovepipe hat and long coat! The sasquatch sightings at Pine Ridge could be a breakthrough, but this other creature, if real, is something else. My guess would be someone dressed up, a stupid joke inspired by other “strange” sightings, sasquatch etc.

  16. oldbutnotstupid responds:

    eeb, I like your way of thinking. very interesting idea. could be right.

  17. One Eyed Cat responds:


    Normally you may be right that bringing the young into human closnesss could be ‘risky behavior.’ However, with the wild fire situation there, I can see a mother BF having no choice in the matter while getting the young to a safe location.

  18. Matt K. responds:

    People make reference to clothing all the time during Bigfoot sightings. Unless you’re already a believer, or a researcher, your first instinct is to try and make what you’re seeing fit. This causes you to make associations with things that you already know about. You don’t just automatically say “Oh, that must be a Bigfoot.” People say things like “a man in a dark colored snow suit with the hood up” or “a man wearing a long fur coat.” I’ve even heard the description being a dark colored rain suit. That’s just the way the mind works. If they say they saw a man in a stovepipe hat and long coat, I’d assume that means something with an elongated head, such as a saggital crest, and a long bulky body consisting of a solid color. What man is 10-15 feet tall? As far as the other story involving the same description years prior, memory doesn’t always serve us right. Just because the police officer said that was the description as related to him by someone else from over 20 years ago, doesn’t mean that’s what it was. Maybe it was something similar, and it has triggered in his mind that it is the same description due to him trying to make sense of all this. Or maybe that’s exactly what the description was, and it’s due to the fact of people from the region making references to things that they are familiar with. Just my three cents.

  19. Karon Booth responds:

    With both sighting reporting the stovepipe hat twice, in a period of 20 years, indicates people are seeing and interpeting the same thing.

    Don’t the alleged Yeti skull caps have an elongated cone projecting from the top of the head? Perhaps there is a relationship between the two.

  20. shieldmaiden responds:

    We also have to remember that the ancient Native Americans had lived side by side with these large hairy “men”. In fact it is said in stories handed down by some tribes that a tribe of big hairy people lived with them. They were much different and so they were banned from living in the villages.

    Can the heat sensors that Officer Twiss used be able to detect humans and animals?

    As for bringing a youngling ‘Bigfoot’ close to civilization it isn’t that at all uncommon. A woman that lives not far from me encounters a family of these ‘Hairy’ people that we call Bigfoot. And the ‘parents’ have brought around their offspring as if to show her. I believe if trust is formed anything in possible. This Bigfoot might have a small one with her and is carrying it on her back as suggested, or it could be a man dressed early for Halloween wanting to start up a scare. And a tall hat and long black coat would definitely be an inexpensive way to do that, plus the tall hat would give the illusion of great height.

    Happy hunting!

  21. WVBotanist responds:

    There is a lot of variability in stovepipe hats, they can be Abe Lincolnish or they can be somewhat like this http://www.historicalimagebank.com/gallery/view_photo.php?set_albumName=album115&id=NA2_Sioux_Chief_Long_Soldier_wearing_US_Army_hat_and_blouse_jpg

    or even more rounded like this


    So, I can see mistaking a very tall Bigfoot, complete with sagittal crest and uniformly colored, long dark fur, being described for an unusually tall person in a cloak, sporting some fine headwear.

    As far as Occam’s razor goes, the crux of the matter lies in determining which possible solution is the simplest of solutions, considering all data. Occam’s razor does not require abandonment of imagination – in fact, arriving at the simplest solution often involves considerable imagining to uncover. It simply requires eliminating portions of an explanation or solution that have no bearing on the overal predictive ability of the theory.

    In the case of a Bigfoot, the only assumptions required are that a) there is a bigfoot (context sensitive), and b) people could describe him as a tall man in a top hat and coat. Both required to arrive at a conclusion that the people actually saw bigfoot. Were this event taken alone, without the Bigfoot concept being pre-established (however debated), and used to suggest for the first time, the existence of a Bigfoot, the Occam’s razor would say no, way. As it stands, there isn’t enough data or complexity to either explanation to apply the razor, it just gets invoked in cases like this (not necessarily here) as strong opinion, belief, or faith, masquerading as a nominalist fact. In reality, Occam was describing how people think, anyway, much like a version of ‘The scientific method’ is employed every time something new is learned through experience.

    In summary, don’t let Occam’s razor or any expert in arguing the logistics of logical arguments cause you to dismiss a really good brainstorm. Just wait a bit before you buy that duct tape, there may be a more appropriate alternative.

  22. David Wolf responds:

    I’ll tell you one thing. I lived in ‘Bigfoot’ country in N. California. It was very rural and every house had at least one gun, usually loaded by the door with another one in the pickup. A reservation is about the same.

    Only a suicidal idiot would dress up in a gorilla suit, or top hat, and skulk around people’s houses.

    I never saw one, but know people who swear they had. Why lie when people would think you were crazy?


  23. talthar responds:

    Cool…I wondered how many folks would think of Springheel Jack when they heard that coat and stovepipe hat comment.

    Can a Mad Gasser connection be far off?

    Seriously, though, this is turning into one of the more intriguing Bigfoot stories that I’ve heard.

  24. harleyb responds:

    Actually my fellow Cryptomundo readers,the “Tall man” that they are referring to is the strange creature that another reader and resident of Pine Ridge rozzb said was called the “telephone man”.I don’t know much else about it but that’s what dude wrote a few weeks ago.He also wrote that the thing was said to have a pale face.I believe that its some sort of phantom or ghost,seperate from bigfoot.

  25. jplur responds:


  26. DWA responds:

    Per post 22:

    As someone who’s driven much of the Rez area, and who backpacked a week once in the heart of Bigfoot Country, I can vouch.

    If there is indeed something there near as big and as bipedal as the reports are saying — it ain’t human.

  27. Graylien responds:

    This reminds me a little of the Monkey Man of New Dehli. He had a similar penchant for jumping on roofs and was sometimes depicted as wearing a kind of helmet.

  28. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Yes, but the East-Indian Monkey Man, Springheeled Jack and the Mad Gasser of Mattoon all have a history of attacking (with the gasser, peeping as the Pine Ridge creature does and then “passively attacking”).

    But other than this peeping, and the helmet as reported on the “Monkey Man”, this is still really different from any of those cases.

    Honestly, the consistency of the “fur coat/stove-pipe hat” descriptions, even if it seems odd, makes me believe the sincerity of the witnesses. If you were going to make something up for attention, would you describe a ten foot tall hairy creature (the stereotypical bigfoot) or would you say you saw a Lincoln impersonator in a fur coat on stilts?

    I always try to remind myself that individuals can ONLY describe the unknown in terms of the known.

    While I’ll never be convinced 100% until I get to see a body or a living specimen, the reporting of the odd aspect of the “stove pipe hat head” doesn’t bother me so much as it would if we began doing as many in the UFO field do and sanitizing or ignoring reports that don’t fit our preconceived notions. Down that path lies dogma.

  29. sloth responds:

    Just found the site, I live just south of the Pine Ridge reservation. After reading the above stories I recall a man at the Prairie Winds Casino Halloween party 2 years ago that was on stilts, wore a top hat, a suit jacket and had his face painted pretty pale. I’d say dressed in this costume he was probably over 9 foot tall.

    Guy imitating the telephone man above. Or is he the telephone man?

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