The Bayer Stone Head: What Is It?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 2nd, 2006

What face stares out from the nearly thirty-pound stone head found in the ground in 1932, in New Paltz, New York? Are the features extremely ape-like or child-like? How does it compare to the Columbia River stone heads discussed in the Sasquatch literature?

Does the stone head’s smile remind us of that Tsimishian carved mask’s smile (below) dated to several hundred years ago from British Columbia, and mentioned as relevant to Sasquatch research?

Stone HeadStone Head

Compare them. See for yourself:

Paltz Stone Head

Click image for full size version

Paltz Stone Head

Click image for full size version

Paltz Stone Head

Click image for full size version

Paltz Stone Head

Click image for full size version

Stone head owner David Chisholm, who only marginally has become aware of Bigfoot studies recently, passed along to me photographs of the carved stone head.

The head is about the size of a child’s head, being 8 7/8 inches tall and 8 inches thick; the circumference is just under 24 inches.

As mentioned above, it was found in New Paltz, New York, in 1932. It was dug up by William Bayer at the age of 9 while he was helping dig a grave. As the young Bayer related the story to his son (who is David Chisholm’s friend) years later, he surmised it was at about four feet deep when he found it. There was no Indian mound involved. It has been a Bayer family’s possession since it was found in 1932, until Chisholm recently obtained it. The stone has been used as a doorstop in Wisconsin for almost 50 years. It has been relatively unknown by the Bigfoot community, and only was recently mentioned to other interested parties and discussed elsewhere. (Chisholm came to me independently with his questions and information several days ago, but I wanted to do some background checking – as I do with all submissions to Cryptomundo – before documenting this here.)

Today, the carved head is owned by David Chisholm. The Bayer family’s and Chisholm’s attempts to have the stone head aged or authenticated have been frustrated by individual investigators who take photographs and do not follow through. He has given me permission to consider this find here, to discover if anyone knows about any other such carved heads from the East, and what his next best step would be to authenticating this relic.

One person in the past said the head was “several hundred years old,” partially due to the carving styles on it. But Chisholm is still looking for someone with credentials to example, authenticate, and shed more light on its origins. Needless to say, however, he will not relinquish physical control, for obvious reasons. Since he lives in the Washington D. C. area, perhaps there is a key person at the new American Indian museum or the Smithsonian who might be interested?

Within Sasquatch research, carved stone heads have been discussed for some time; see especially anthropologist Roderick Sprague’s well-known article hyperlinked here.

Found along the lower Columbia River in Oregon, these stone heads were first described by pioneer paleontologist O. C. Marsh in 1877. Please see below, various images of these Pacific Northwest carved heads.

Stone Head

Stone Head

Stone HeadStone HeadStone Head

Is the carved head found in New York State the only one known from the East? What other types of stone heads exist within the archaelogical record for the East? It is much larger than the PNW examples, which weigh around seven pounds. What does the size tell us?

The “Bayer Head” is an intriguing find. What could it be showing us? A good representation of a Windigo (an Eastern Bigfoot to some)? A carving of someone’s pet? A North American Ape head chiseled in stone, which was seen elsewhere on an ancient trade route of the Iroquois, among various southeastern First Nations? A likeness of a person? Native American art of a child? A long-haired individual? What?

Update: For additional info, please click here.

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 “The Bayer Stone Head: What Is It?”

  1. captiannemo responds:

    The stone head should be checked for signs of acid aging etc.

    The Cardiff giant was thought to be real at first.

    The carving inside of the eyes looks too fresh. I would not be surprised to see it on eBay sometime soon.

  2. oldbutnotstupid responds:

    The stone its self looks like a hematite or limonite concretion. The sides and back look natural as if water worn over the years. The front is also more then likely natural, but has been enhanced to look like a regular man made item. Stone concretions that can fool someone like this are very common. Ask anyone who has been in an iron mine or coal mine. I say a cheap, poorly done fake suggested to the faker by its natural shape. An eBay special.

  3. Roger Knights responds:

    I hope there are some diagnostic indicators that would take a lot of effort to fool. Does a carved stone placed in the ground accumulate a sort of patina over a long period? I think this was one of the authenticating features of the Kensington runestone, although my memory’s fuzzy.

  4. Roger Knights responds:

    Notice the long upper lip–that’s apelike.

    PS: In my comments above on patina, I meant that there should be such a patina on the carved portions of the face, and it should be the same depth as the patina elsewhere.

  5. daledrinnon responds:

    This definitely looks apelike to me, but the patina needs to be checked. It looks to me like the eyes are carved through the patina. If it is genuine, it need not be Bigfoot: it might instead represent one of Coleman’s NAPES. It has a definite chimp look to it.

  6. joppa responds:

    Interesting artifact. However, even if it is identified as Native American and can be dated to any culture (i.e. Mississippian, Hopewell, etc. ) it’s meaning is open to several interpretations.

    Some early Indian cultures were fascinated with human deformaties and disabilities such as dwarfism, mongoloids, blindness, etc. Life was short and hard for these peoples. Many of these stone carvings also represent real people as well as still born children and fetuses.

  7. Scotty responds:

    I’m more interested in the significance of those carved masks from British Columbia. If they are several hundred years old, then that’s going back before even Europeans knew what chimps and gorillas looked like, so what creature were those masks modelled after?

  8. things-in-the-woods responds:

    This is interesting, whatever it is. However, we are going to have a heck of a time dating it in any absolute way. It certainly looks like it has a polished appearance- this may, however, be due largely to repeated handling since it was excavated in the thirties (or, of course, before it was buried). Typically, buried stone artifacts show little in the way of a patina unless exposed to some particular chemical weathering. It is when exposed to the elements that weathering occurs significantly. For instance, flaked stone tools that have been buried for tens or even hundreds of thousands of years are often just as sharp as newly worked artifacts.

    I agree with some posters that some of the work on the eyes seems to have been done through the ‘polish’. Similar areas of recent damage appear on the nose and side of the head. These are almost certainly areas of damage caused since excavation. However, I don’t think that invalidates this as a potential ancient artifact. Although there is recent work on the eyes their basic form is also polished, suggesting that any recent work on the eyes was simply to emphasize existing features.

    Equally, although the general shape of the rock may be natural, it also seems to have been modified (perhaps to emphasize its natural shape– as on the 270,000+ year old Berekhat Ram Figurine from Israel), and as this modification (the hair, the mouth) also seems polished, so even if this isn’t ancient, it probably dates from the thirties (thus it probably isn’t a modern fake).

    Still, as I say, we are never really going to be able to say anything much definite about it. And here is a lesson for everyone- don’t just pull things out of the earth- mark where they are and contact someone who knows what they are doing. The reasons archaeologists are so painstaking in excavating and recording is because when removed from their context of deposition artifacts lose almost all of their useful information.
    Artifacts out of context almost might as well be thrown away.

    Still, interesting.

  9. Fausta responds:

    I deal in antiquities and see ancient and “non” ancient stone work all the time. It appears to me to be a crude human-ape type head with some modern alterations to promote the eyes and perhaps some of the mouth. In hand it would be very easy to see. It is a common practice to take a weathered piece which may even be old itself and attempt to modify it to look more “Roman” or “Egyptian”. In this case someone has tried to make a natural object or extremely crude carving look more “Ape-like” or at least crudely “Human-like” with some modern additions.

  10. Nachzehrer responds:

    Hi Scotty,

    I spoke to an art historian about them once. He said that, yes, they do look like apes or monkeys, but they probably represent seals. I thought that was silly until I looked at some pictures of seals.

  11. alanborky responds:


    Purely going by the pics, the substance it’s made from catches the light here and there in ways hinting at degrees of translucence, hence the reference to resin; also there are indications of what looks like pooling before the ‘resin’ finally set (not to mention the dark to black colourisation occurring to the rear, as well as dabs of what looks like white paint).

    The very first thing that caught my attention, though, is many alleged eyewitness accounts (not to mention the Patterson film) have left me, at least, with the distinct impression Bigfoot has a fully furred face, the area around the eyes being the exception to this. This chap, though, is clean shaven, so to speak, and reminds me more of Homer Simpson circa the period when he had youthful hippy length hair – well, him or King Louey from Jungle Book.

    The damaged areas, though widespread, all look pretty much the same age – i.e., very recent – and most, if not all of it, appears to have been created by someone simply bouncing it several times off a hard, irregular surface of some kind.

    Finally, if I’m not mistaken, there are what appears to be a pair of spindly, low relief hands covering the ears (hence my reference to “hear no evil”), one of which looks to have been reinforced by something that looks like biro.

    Maybe it IS authentic, and it really WAS dug up in 1932, but to me it looks more like something someone knocked up in five minutes to prove to themselves people interested in things like cryptids are complete gullible fools who so want to believe in their beloved cryptids they refuse to listen to reason.

  12. Loren Coleman responds:

    To re-state the obvious: This item was used as a doorstop for over 50 years. White paint on it and other abuse to the object would not be surprising. This is not a piece that was kept untouched, under glass at a museum since its alleged discovery in 1932.

    According to what has been said about the stone head carvings from Oregon, the original carvers were not working with a type of stone that allowed them to detail hair as they might have in other substances. Determination of the type of stone and its location of origin would be helpful for the Bayer Stone Head.

  13. Chisholm responds:

    The color is brown paint, William’s uncle painted it brown. The best estimate to its color is the base. The eyes, William’s uncle cracked a marble and glued the halves in for eyes, they fell out some years ago. I surmised that it is glue residue in the sockets. I had the thought of removing it and started to scratch it out and then had second thoughts so I stopped.

    I think the best chance of getting any authentication is to have a person of knowledge in the field of archeology or anthropology look at the head to see if it warrants further examination and then build a team of experts in the fields of science to investigate and come up with their conclusions.

    I am not adverse to traveling for legitimate research.

  14. jayman responds:

    An examination of the piece under magnification should easily tell if it has been worked with metal tools. If so it would effectively rule out a pre-European contact date.

  15. RockerEm responds:

    Wow. I believe, as I always have, anything the mind can imagine can be real. But this newest find looks pretty fake to me compared to the other sculptures.

  16. daledrinnon responds:

    Chisolm’s posting explained the condition of the object to me as far as my obvious objections went. This is not in its original condition, but the trouble is that we need to determine exactly what that original condition was. That would take an expert’s prolonged examination up-close and probably also involving probing the surface (ie, removing samples). I don’t think that it is a determination that can be made here just looking at the photos.

  17. greywolf responds:

    Well IF this was found in a 4′ hole in 1932 and has been a door stop for 50 years why would someone back then fake it and for what gain? There appears to be none. IF it is real it could be very important. You should research its history and try to find who made it then call it real or fake. To do so with out real research is pseudoscience at best.

  18. Bonehead_AZ responds:

    What we have is that this was reported to be found while digging a grave some 70 years ago. I am assuming they were digging a grave for a human, not a pet.

    I don’t know much about dating ancient artifacts, but I do know a little bit about cemeteries.

    Since this event took place in New York, it was likely the gravesite was in an existing cemetery, or in an area where people had been buried in the past.

    I think it would be important to find out what type of cemetery it was and where it was located. If it was in an area where slaves were buried years earlier, it could explain why this was simply “found” in the ground. Some former slave cemeteries were later utilized by the general population, especially back East. There was virtually no marking of slave gravesites.

    In years past, all gravesites weren’t plotted carefully, especially if it was used prior to the 1920’s — which is highly likely given the date of the find. There are some cemeteries in NY that have been around for hundreds of years.

    Not to be gruesome, today remains are often “discovered” while digging a new grave. Sometimes this is due to the ground shifting, but other times it is because the cemetery has been in use for so many decades that it is not known where all the gravesites are located.

    And we all know it has been tradition to bury items with the deceased.

    I think it is highly likely that if this was indeed found in the ground in the 1930’s, and it was at a cemetery, it was probably something that was buried with someone in the past.

  19. mystery_man responds:

    That’s a good point, Greywolf. I wonder though if it is a hoax, who is to say it was really kept as a doorstop for 50 years? They could have just said that to give the story more plausibility and make people believe exactly what you mentioned. I agree that it is going to be important to research the history of this thing and get some good hard data on it before proceeding or jumping to any conclusions. There is not a lot we can do with just these photos except speculate.

  20. Nachzehrer responds:

    Another possibility is that the head is a 19th century caricature of an Irishman. These were often grotesquely simian.

  21. Scotty responds:

    Hi Nachzehrer,

    No disrespect meant to the art historian you spoke to, but having worked with seals as a young man and having lived in a cabin on a west coast island and hunted them for food, I can’t find any resemblance between seals and those masks. Perhaps the person you spoke with just didn’t believe in the possible existence of Sasquatch and could only imagine the masks as representing seals. I managed to find a couple articles I found interesting, one concerning masks and another regarding carved stone heads.

    In 1887, the paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh wrote, “Among the many stone carvings (from the Columbia) were a number of heads, which so strongly resemble those of apes that the likeness at once presents itself.” Around 1914, a Leutenant G.T. Eammons obtained one of two wood facemasks that were collected from the Tshimsian and Nisga’s tribes on the coast of British Columbia. He described the mask as “a mythical being found in the woods, and called today as a monkey.”

  22. Time213 responds:

    You ask “What other types of stone heads exist within the archaeological record for the East?”

    In the southeast, at Sequoya Caverns and Ellis Homestead, Valley Head, AL, at the end of one of the cave tours there is a large stone head on display that was found lying in a hay field some years back. It is the property of a Mr. Clark Byers. From what I can remember it is about two feet wide by a foot and a half or so high.

    The stone head is flat and in the shape of a half circle and is carved with what appears to be a native american wearing a headress. It looks similar to the Mayan carvings in a way but more primitive.

    I’ll see if I can scan the pic I took of it this past summer and e-mail it to ya.

    For more info on it, you can contact the owner of the land through this link.

  23. Nachzehrer responds:

    Some of the heads certainly are ape-like but I do think seals are a more likely possibility. Compare the most ape-like of the heads with this picture for example. There are the same “wide-awake” eyes, similar nostrils, even lines that could be whiskers.

  24. Carol Maltby responds:

    I live near there, so let me put it in some context for you. While I don’t know where in New Paltz this was found, it could be relatively close to two other claims of Bigfoot sightings in Ulster County. I’m going to assume for our purposes that a New Paltz origin for this might be more likely to be in the western part of the town, closer to the caves in the Shawungunk Ridge.

    An entry on BFRO relates a 1985 sighting by two women of a large hairy biped near the entrance to Ice Cave Mountain in Cragsmoor. This would be about a 10-12 mile hike from western New Paltz.

    There is a report of an alleged “baby” Bigfoot found on a 1997 videotape shot near Lembo Lake in Modena, of Route 44/45. This would be only about 5 miles south of western New Paltz, and about a 10-12 miles hike also from Cragsmoor.

    The Shawangunk Ridge (pronounced “Shongum”) is an imposing mountain ridge in southern Ulster County. It is often referred to as “The Gunks” by the many climbers who find its cliffs to be great climbing. I’ve read about at least one secluded area in the Gunks that as far as anyone knows has not been previously documented as being known by anyone in modern or historical times.

    Loren, if you can get more information on the exact place where it was found, I could see what the area is like next time I’m down there (which may not be for a while, though). If you prefer to do so privately, I can give you my email address.

  25. dontgd responds:

    Skeptics say that we are trained by evolution to look for faces, etc. It’s Ape-like because we know what apes look like. Think of the Komodo dragon translated into the symbolic, artistic Chinese Dragon. There could be many things beyond North American Apes. What strikes me, though, is the insistence that this was a 1932 item. Two friends at my 10th high school reunion told stories about me at Marching Band Camp. I was never in the band. Two of the guys had independently (?) translated an event from University Orientation into Marching Band Camp and that was merely 10 years later! The 1932 date and the four foot depth is nothing more than a guess to me because I have valid reasons to doubt them.

  26. Riley responds:

    It looks like a sculpture by Clark Ashton Smith.

  27. dogu4 responds:

    A simulacrum of the speleotheme variety, as anyone who has spent time amid cave formations can readily relate.

  28. taiina responds:

    This appears to be a stone sculpture of a Native American male. What some perceive as a grin, or an apes’ lip is instead the man’s neck with a necklace or scarf around his neck. His actual mouth/lip is a slight indentation below his nose. A university physical/cultural anthropologist may come to residence to check out piece at least for a visual inspection. He/she may recommend a reputable private/public agency to properly carbon date, etc.
    Interesting piece, authentic or not; some of us can only afford replicas.

  29. taiina responds:

    Patina is aquired by time exposure and handling, not by an item being interred.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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