1905’s Mowgli Report

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 18th, 2012

Mowgli (a feral child from India) attacking Shere Khan: detail from a rare clay bas-relief by John Lockwood Kipling, father of Rudyard KiplingThe Works of Rudyard Kipling Vol. VII: The Jungle Book, 1907.

During the period of 1905-1906, reports of hairy giants, forest bipedal hominoids, and wild people, what we might call “Sasquatch” today, were often termed “Mowgli” in British Columbia and elsewhere.

Here is an example found by archivist researcher Chuck Flood:

Seattle (WA) The Seattle Times, December 2, 1905, p. 3


Residents on Valdez Island Report That the Huge and Hairy Giant of Vancouver Island Haunts Their Home.

The Times Special Service.

NANAIMO, B.C., Saturday, Dec. 2. — According to arrivals from Comox today by the steamer City of Nanaimo, the residents of Valdez Island, near Comox, B.C., have been terrorized of late by visits from Vancouver Island’s now famous “Mowgli.” A rancher from Valdez Island reported that the wild man of Vancouver Island is at present on Valdez, and by the description of the creature which he solemnly swears he saw, including the corroboration of half a dozen others, the “Mowgli” is undoubtedly the same as seen near Horne Lake two months ago.

A family named Pitcock, residing on Valdez, last week was frightened one night about 10 o’clock while sitting at supper by seeing a ghastly face looking through the window into the room. The face was covered with long black coarse hair, only a small portion of the skin being visible. Directly the creature saw he was noticed he uttered a diabolical scream, which was heard by ranchers nearly a mile away, and vanished.

A number of young farmers with rifles searched the vicinity next day without success. Large prints of feet upon the soft earth of a flower bed under the window was the only sign of the monster who, according to those who have seen him, is nearly seven feet tall.

Utters Awful Scream.

Twice during the next night the family heard a scream similar to that uttered by the wild man. All that day a careful watch was kept, but there were no signs of the “Mowgli,” although there were a number of footprints corresponding with those seen before, which were found along the creek that passed the Pitcock household.

The boys, however, determined to capture the individual that has created a panic among the female residents and the next night a dozen well armed men concealed themselves near a stack of hay where the footprints of the “Mowgli” were traceable. About 10:30 p.m. horrible yells were heard I the direction of the creek and after waiting for an hour some of the posse determined to go in that direction. They had gone up the stream about half a mile when the light of a lantern carried by the “Wowgli” come into view. Hiding behind a tree the posse had a splendid chance to view this denizen of the woods. They describe him as very tall and powerfully built and with the exception of a few rags hanging from a belt at his waist, he was entirely
naked. His body was covered with long black hair and the face, which presented a most hideous appearance, was identified as the same as that seen at the Pitcock home the evening previous.

Farmers Are Frightened.

The men after recovering from their fright, broke from cover and one raised his rifle, but before he could find range the “Mowgli,” who had by this time discovered the farmers, threw himself into the icy waters and swam for the other side of the creek, and upon reaching it cried out in good English, “Don’t shoot,”, and plunged into the bush again and was lost from view.

Nothing more of him has been seen around the Pitcock residence, although two half-breeds of Alert Bay claim to have seen the same man a few days after.

– End –

Theo Paijmans has pointed out that this story also was published Boston Daily Globe, Boston, Massachusetts, 31 December 1905. He also chronicles the following other stories:

– 1905, Maryland, Unionville, gorilla creature, head twice as large as a man, long, large protruding teeth, cries sounding like ya-ho (hence the name yaho in the account, reminding us of the crypto-name ‘yahoo’or ‘yahhoo’);
– 1906, a couple of accounts on a flap in Pennsylvania of a gorilla like creature popping up at several places.

Chuck Flood notes: “There was a spate of hairy giant wild man stories in the Pacific Northwest press in 1905 and 1906; I’m trying to collect as many as I can. They were often referred to as ‘mowglis,’ which as I believe was a word first introduced in Kipling’s Jungle Books stories in the early 1890s. I don’t remember having seen that word used to describe giant hairy hominids outside the PNW, and it seemed to have soon dropped out of style. If you find any other references please let me know.”

A great deal has been written in Sasquatch studies and hominology about Yahoo having links to Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. It only makes sense that Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Books would also be the source of cryptid names.

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 “1905’s Mowgli Report”

  1. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    Seems like an early example of Native American myth being incorporated into a larger, predominant, Anglo society. I doubt that anyone here would claim Sasquatch wears a loin cloth and speaks English; the interesting thing is how quickly Kipling’s work influenced an audience in BC.

  2. choppedlow responds:

    Bigfoot speaks English….. That explains a lot. That’s why MMoneymaker can’t “find” him, because he can understand everything he is saying! And we all know that when MM talks, he hopes everyone within ear shot will hear everything he is saying!!! Time to bring in some Mexican researchers to finally break this mystery wide open!

  3. G. de La Hoya responds:

    According to Kipling, Mowgli means “little frog”.

  4. Bob K. responds:

    OK. So if this report is taken at face value, the following stand out:
    1) This Sasquatch – if that’s what it is – is wearing some clothing. I seem to remember old reports of British Columbian giants who have been seen wearing clothing, but I can’t recall the source of such reports. Have read ’em though.
    2) If I understand article correctly, the “mowgli” is actually carrying a lit lantern.
    3) It speaks at least some intelligible English.

    These items make sense if, as I understand the phenomenon, the Sasquatch has a part human pedigree through interbreeding as a part of its origin. While I believe that interbreeding with humans on the part of the current population is much rarer than in ancient times, I’m inclined to believe that on occasion it still does occur. In the case of this individual, a) inbreeding with a human may have taken place in a recent generation, or b) perhaps an abandoned juvenile individual was taken in for a time by a human family, only to leave when it became sexually mature/too wild to live with the host human family.

    A very revealing report indeed. Thanks for posting.

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