Stovepipe Hat Bigfoot?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 22nd, 2006

Some folks at the Pine Ridge Reservation say there are two separate things being seen. A Bigfoot and a Tall Man or Big Man. Could there be an overlap in reports?

This is the Harry Trumbore illustration from The Field Guide of Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates (p. 45) of Pitt Lake, BC’s "Sasquatch" seen in June 1965.

Pitt Lake Giant

Could eyewitnesses of some Bigfoot at Pine Ridge be misintreprating the head shape of these creatures for a stovetop hat?

And what are we to make of reports of the "Big Man" with a cape?

Reports of Bigfoot stealing shirts and pants off clotheslines have been recorded. Sightings of hairy "Bushmen" with discarded boots and Bigfoot with checkered shirts have happened.

We may not be fully conscious of how many of these incidents occur because they are so unbelievable.

Here’s another Trumbore sketch of reported local hairy hominoid, the Tano Giant, which has been seen using an animal skin as a cape.

Tano Giant

What is really going on at Pine Ridge?

What is clearly becoming apparent is that some people wish to be heard about the differences in what is being seen. We all have been reading this through Chief of Police James Twiss’ statement at Cryptomundo and the comments of people close to the event. For example, here’s the way PynkSpyder puts it in an email:

Okay, some things are not being said. I’m from this reservation, and, really, you couldn’t go 5 minutes without the topic coming up during that week. I heard from an OST officer, who is a good friend to both my father and my uncle, that a few units were able to corner a Bigfoot like creature in Pine Ridge. His description of it was much different from that in the statement. He said it was extremely tall (between 12 and 15 feet), had hair covering its entire body, with the exception of its face which was black, and red eyes. He also said it smelled horrible…like a sewer.

During the same week, there were several reported sightings of creatures, not always the same. I remember there was one incident in Oglala, but that creature was definitely not Bigfoot–it had hooves. Bigfoot sightings are not at all uncommon on our reservation. In Oglala alone, I know of 3 sightings just last year. Bigfoot is part of our beliefs. It’s said that whenever one appears, it’s a bad omen. It’s bringing news of a tragedy that’s going to happen, or it’s giving a warning.

Finally, I think you guys are a little confused. Tall Man and Bigfoot are not the same thing. “Tall Man” is something from old stories–bad spirits of giants, who once roamed the Earth, but became so arrogant that they challenged the thunder and lost. Bigfoot, on the other hand, is not bad. I have many family members who have seen Tall Men, and they are definitely not the same thing as Bigfoot.

As I metnioned to one Maine Fortean, Jim Boyd, whom I was talking to this about, some of these "Tall Man"/"Big Man" reports do remind me of a few of John A. Keel’s "Grinning Man" cases. Some of them. Others, however, do not. Hardly cryptozoological, unless misidentifications are occurring there. I don’t really want to open this door too widely here. Before you know it, we’ll all be discussing Indrid Cold and then I’ve have to disappoint people with the fact that Woodrow Derenberger, who is the source of the Indrid Cold stories, was a hoaxer.

Meanwhile, back at Pine Ridge, something a little more credible appears to be happening. Tall Man, Big Man, Bigfoot. What kind of wicked comes this way?

We all are learning here. I must recall again, historically, in Peter Mathiessen’s 1980 book, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, it was the Oglala Sioux who told that author about their local variety of Bigfoot. The Lakota (western Sioux), Mathiessen said, called their Bigfoot chiye-tanka (chiha-tanka in Dakota or eastern Sioux) – chiye means "elder brother" and tanka means "great" or "big." He found in English, though, the Sioux usually called the Bigfoot with the term, "the Big Man". Perhaps Mathiessen didn’t fully explore that two different things were being discussed?

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.

35 Responses to “Stovepipe Hat Bigfoot?”

  1. lastensugle responds:

    Good update. I still believe the folks at Pine Ridge, who apparently know sasquatch (and also,I guess,the shape of his head!)quite well, would be able to tell the difference between sasquatch and something wearing a stovepipe hat! Interesting bout the 12-15 feet tall sasquatch, that`s a big one!

  2. Shihan responds:

    Loren, are you planning on going to Pine Ridge? or are you already there? Seems that this might be a great opportunity to record new and perhaps better evidence first hand.

  3. Dudlow responds:

    Russian researchers have reported their version of the Sasquatch (Almasty, Almas, etc.)and ‘Wild Man’ as separate phenomena, implying entirely different species; one being ape-like (for example, our Bigfoot), the other being proto-hominid-like (Wild Man, Caveman, Cro-Magnon, Neanderthal, etc.). The distinctions between these (and possibly other) relict species are common to (but not limited to) both the Ural and Caucasus mountain regions.

    American cryptozoologist Mark A Hall, among others, has suggested that similar species distinctions may also exist in North America; specifically in Alaska, the Yukon and certain areas of British Columbia. There are enough reports on record to suggest this may be true.

    If my recollection is correct, it would be the ‘Wild Man’ (non-ape, relict proto hominid) who is sometimes seen sporting sacks, wearing animal skin clothing and even hats. So, while the ‘Wild Man’ with the hat is apparently not all that uncommon in Russian literature, they do take pains to point out that he is the ‘Wild Man’ and not the Sasquatch.

    This might suggest that the Pine Ridge Reservation is being visited by at least two different relict bipedal species.

    I sometimes wonder just how well (or poorly) these different, competing, species get along, existing side by side as they occasionally must. Do they ignore each other, deliberately avoid one another or are they openly hostile to one another, in the competition for limited resources? And is one more (or less) indifferent to the idea of being seen by man?

    It may be worth pointing out that in both the Russian and (somewhat more limited) North American literature, the Sasquatch tends to be more or less passive towards man while the ‘Wild Man’ tends to be openly aggressive towards man, to the point of tracking down and killing on sight. (Ouch!) Who might you rather have living in your neighborhood?

  4. LSU_Crypto responds:

    I think when you get beyone the typical 7-8 foot sasquatch and start getting into 12-15 foot range you are leaving the realm of possibility.

  5. lastensugle responds:


    Interesting idea about two interacting species, I would think they had learned to get along by now, would best for both parts (we`re the ones to stay away from). Besides, there would easily be resources for both. If they were fighting, maybe we would find traces of it/bodies more often?

    I think Almas of eastern Europe are a relict population of Neanderthal, not sure about the North American hominids, but I agree with LSU_Crypto that no matter which species, 15 feet is a bit much.

  6. jayman responds:

    Dudlow, what you describe about the Russian “Wild Man” or Almasty does not jibe with certain things I have read, which describles the creatures as docile, if very shy. People where they occurred supposedly protected them from outsiders and would sometimes give them old rags to wrap themselves in. They would sometimes take shelter in unused human buildings, but would retreat when the owners returned. In the book “In the Footsteps of the Russian Snowman” an encounter is described where a young shepard in the Caucasus region encountered three Almasty sitting under a rock ledge. He alerted the village, and a number of people observed the creatures for hours at close range. They sat hunched, with their heads down, occasionally peering up at the crowd and mumbling, making no effort to flee or attack. Older people warned the young man not to molest them or try to capture them. The Almasty usually seems to have been considered an extremely primitive human being, not an animal.

    In Alaska and the Yukon the “Bushmen” were sometimes blamed for headless bodies found in the bush. But this could be yet again another kind of creature. It gets a little hard to believe though that there could be so many different hominids running around.

  7. LeCope responds:

    Interesting, but everyone seems to have overlooked that comment in the actual eye witness description in the audio, that it looked like it was dancing around a light pole. This seems to be a pretty important piece of the description. I’m not making any judgements on this, or any other part of the description, stovepipe hats and backpacks and all that, but dancing? Why aren’t people asking more about this part? Somebody said, maybe a swaying creature would look like it was dancing, but the audio clearly says “dancing AROUND a light pole”.

  8. One Eyed Cat responds:

    This is interesting, and certainly more complicated then first thougth.

    While the shape of the head in the first drawing could suggest a hat, As I recall from photos, Stovepipe hats were rather tall in their own right. A long neck with such a flat head, is completly out of charactor with any sasquatch report I have ever read.

    Dunno, this will take some invesigating to understand the background ‘stories’ before we can hazzard any guesses what is going on there. There is much to understand before we can hope to understand what all this means

  9. Sky King responds:

    LSU_Crypto Says:

    I think when you get beyone the typical 7-8 foot sasquatch and start getting into 12-15 foot range you are leaving the realm of possibility.

    I agree absolutely. A creature of that size has very little chance of sustaining itself. And the musculo-skeletal problems are well known from the medical history of human cases of gigantism.

    I also very much disagree that North American Sasquatches are “apes” of any sort. They are clearly humanoid, from their intelligence and behavior.

  10. Brian Gaugler responds:

    Were there ever any actual credible reports of the “Grinning Men”? I just know what I’ve heard from Keel’s books, and he isn’t exactly the most reputable of sources..

  11. twblack responds:

    Well I have to agree the 12-15 ft range seems a little more to the myth side. But if you think about it if you would see BF at 7-8 ft it would startle you no matter what. That the brain may say to you hey that thing was 15 ft tall. How many times has someone caught a fish being 5-6lbs and they swear it was 12-15lbs. Just an example maybe not a good one but I think you all know what I mean. If BF has been around for all this time it would make a little sense he has seen us wearing clothing and maybe he has picked up on that himself to stay warm in the cold or something like that. Just another thought.

  12. Lakesbear responds:

    I grew up on the Pine Ridge Rez & I know that there are some strange stuff down there. I moved away but return only when I have too. I heard alot of BIGFOOTS & when I was a kid 1 used to scream in the hill where I lived. Also my mother saw a BIGFOOT looking in at her while she was washing the dishes. YEAH BFRO should go down that way. Maybe they might get lucky &take a picture of a BIGFOOT.

  13. spazel1 responds:

    This story of a stove pipe hat and a coat or cape, um, what size would these items of clothing have to be in order to fit? A cape would probably look like a scarf, a jacket would most likely not fit as the hat would not.
    Just something to think about. I don’t see bf having the same body dimensions as even the largest human man.

  14. Dudlow responds:

    Hello, jayman. You are correct about the confusion surrounding the Russian findings and concerning the rather mumerous group of suggested proto-hominids and apes they have observed over there. In the Urals alone, it is claimed there are at least 4 different types of bipedals, possibly more. Go figure!

    A reasonable smattering (about a dozen articles) of the Russian reports by Russian researchers can be found on the ‘Bigfoot Encounters’ website, under Newspaper & Magazine Articles. It’s a reasonable place to start. More than anything else, it just opens the can of worms and possibilities a little wider.

    I find it interesting that so little of their research has been translated and reached the western world; especially considering the fact that their proto-hominid research programs were officially inaugerated at Moscow University in the 1930s. They have a huge, almost 50-year, head start on us here in North America. I would love to know what they have learned, especially during those early years when there was a lot of internal military action across their barren landscapes.

  15. Senor Chubba responds:

    Great stuff- keep it coming. I want to echo Bill and say thank you Loren

  16. ilexoak responds:

    Yeah, somehow 15 ft. is approaching the size of a house! Although, the famous “Arundel Mills” sighting of 2001 was reportedly in the 12 ft range. Not far from here in fact.

    Was wondering if anyone else picked up on the “dancing” reference on the tape. Sure would like some elaboration on that one. The ‘stovepipe hat’ sure makes that one sound like a prank more than anything.


  17. afigbee responds:

    Haven’t there been reports of Bigfoots carrying infants around on their shoulders so the infants sort of looked over the tops of their heads?

    In the dark that might give the impression of a stovepipe hat.

  18. afigbee responds:

    Sometime in the early 70s there was a story from central or southern Illinois about a creature that was around 12ft tall that stalked around scaring people at night and turned over a car.

    It was said that the thing smelled as if it had climbed out of a sewer.

  19. crypto_randz responds:

    We were already down that road with ang and chow. Its already off to a bad start, we are going to see nothing but drawings and speculation.

  20. Pvolitans responds:

    Stovepipe-shaped skulls could best be explained by the photographs on this website.

    A 12-15ft stature might not be plausible for homo sapiens per se, but we should not exclude the possibility of a separate species with our finite understanding based on our current hominids.

    Loren, hope the link provides for good reading and could help explain the sightings.

    Pvolitans – thinking of using the skulls for “The Towers of Hanoi”.

  21. shumway10973 responds:

    Let’s not forget folks, that the souix, as well as most native american groups, are in tune with more than the physical world. Remember above they talked about the difference between tall man and big foot. I wouldn’t be too surprised if someone were to go there, that there may be a sighting of a tall man (at least of its ghost). The stove top hat and such are in no way describing big foot, unless we are talking about a completely different species who has a major cranial area, but that would make it look more like the mad scientist/professor in Sky High, not a stove top hat. It would be different if we were talking about a top hat. I still wonder if what the sightings of stove top hats aren’t someone seeing an ancestor (whether a ghost or some sort of hic-up in time. I know that sounds far fetched, but there have been reports of that lately).

  22. Mnynames responds:

    Someone already mentioned the likelihood that the heights being reported are exaggerated, which I agree with, but since we’ve sort of opened up the talk here to matters of a less tangible nature, I must say I am reminded of an Australian cryptid- the Mirrii Dog or Mirriuula.

    Like the Black Dogs and Bog Hounds of the British Isles, these phantom canines cannot possible represent natural animals, and yet that doesn’t stop them from being reported just the same. Reports are remarkably consistent- They have bright red eyes on the sides of their heads, prominant pointed ears, and appear quite small…at least at first. The longer one looks at a Miriuula, it seems, the larger it appears to be, growing until it is about the size of a small horse. They, like their British cousins, also seem to be able to vanish at will, back to the impossibility from which they came.

    I’m in no way saying that’s what we have here, or even that such things exist, but the size thing I thought was worthy of mentioning. IF (And it’s a big one) BF is a spirit instead of flesh and blood, then size constraints seem a bit meaningless.

    Also, some people here seem to be trying to fit a 15-foot-tall man in a hat and cloak into the guise of a more diminutive wild man, which also seems to be a bit of a stretch. What the heck he actually could be, I must admit, is a bit beyond me…

  23. sasquatch responds:

    I think we should catch ONE species before we start talking about multiple types of wild men/sasquatches etc.

    As far as the size; I see no reason why they couldn’t be over ten feet tall, their bone structure is much broader and heavier than mans as evidenced by the Patterson subject.

    Also if you look at the size difference between male and female gorillas- Males are easily twice the size; then figure “Patty” is between six and seven feet high and at least 400 lbs. A male could concievably be 10 ft.(or more) and upwards of 1000 lbs. Kodiak and Polar Bears stand over 10 feet high when they get up on there back legs, and the sasquatch live in very similar environs- at least to the kodiak bears.

    Remember; the POLICE are supposedly the ones saying this SD sasquatch was 12-15 FT. Cops are trained to carefully observe characteristics of suspects and circumstances. I think it’s presumptive to discount it just because it sounds amazing. I’ve heard many accounts of extreme height-one in the Golden Colorado area that was over 12 feet.

  24. stevedrum responds:

    BF is covered in fur so why would it need to put clothes on? Wouldn’t the fur keep it warm? It seems to work for other animals.

  25. superd responds:

    Heck I always thought there was 5 to 10 different species , if you consider different eye shines, five toes verse 4 and three toes, flat face verses snout, really hairy – little hair, and then hair colour, black to reddish to grey to white. We’ve got black bears brown bears, grizzly, polar, panda, etc. Why not sasquatch too.

  26. shumway10973 responds:

    just wanted to say that what I said above only is what I am thinking for the stovepipe hat thing. I cannot understand how anyone would mistake a crest for such a hat. Although, I will admit the reports mentioned here about the ufo in philadelphia (I believe it was) in the ’60s, said something about big foot like beings exiting the craft, then the craft disappearing. seeing how most people ignore sightings of both ufos and big foots, it would be difficult for anyone to find correlation’s between them. I believe that the average sighting of big foot is just what we have been believing it is all this time, a north american ape of some sort. Smart enough to stay away from mankind as much as possible, though obviously curious (looking in windows and all). The other reason I brought up the ghost idea for the hat, is because in this particular area these people should at least be familiar with big foot, if nothing else legend and folklore of their people. It is also possible that the someone is trying to really spook them by wearing the hat and coat on stilts or something. We have seen enough fake big foots to know that people will do stupid things for no good reason.

  27. jayman responds:

    Hi Dudlow, if you have not read “In the Footsteps of the Russian Snowman” by Dmitri Bayanov I highly recommend it. Yes, they are way ahead of us in this area in many ways. But, you are led to the conclusion that multiple creatures must exist. In the website you reference above, be sure to read the “Zana” story, it’s fascinating.

    The novel “Neanderthal” by John Darnton is entertaining and seems to have been based somewhat on the Alaska/Yukon tales, as the surviving Neanderthals collected human heads as ritual objects. But the location was placed in central Asia.

  28. spazel1 responds:

    I believe the stilt idea. I can’t believe bigfoot would wear human clothing, sorry, Even if bf wanted to imitate a human I’m sure that it would become very angry with the fit of the clothing.

    I would not doubt that 12+ ft. would be accurate, some humans are 7′. That’s just the human species human.

    I also heard the officer report on audio that it appeared to be dancing. Dancing? Panicing Maybe?

    I think the hump back is a baby.

    btw, I really like this site. Great work and very interesting ideas from all.

  29. bill green responds:

    i believe when the police officier saw the creature looking like it was danceing near the pole actually maybe the creature was swaying back & forth maybe becouse it courious of the officier knowin that no harm was comeing the creature seen. i hope the police officer is reinterviewed by researchers here.

  30. LeCope responds:

    The officer in the recording reported that it was “dancing around a light pole”, not swaying, not panicing. She states it quite clearly, as much as you all would love to overlook this detail, as it is too difficult to explain…Try as you might to justify it biologically, but let’s be realistic. I have a hard time believing that a 15 foot tall bigfoot with a top hat and an overcoat was dancing around a light pole.

    Do I believe that people saw something? Yes. Could it be a bigfoot? Sure. There are just too many questions that remain unanswered, infact many remain unASKED.

    It seems that we, collectively, attacked the Johor Hominid business, and it didn’t seem half this wierd to me. Now, with all this hat and dancing going on, why aren’t people more skeptical.

    Oh, and Native Americans are normal human beings just like everyone else, there is no greater connection to the spirtual world or whatever…those comments are not helping anybody get to the bottom of this.

  31. cabochris responds:

    It just might be time to file “Pine Ridge” into the circular file! Sorry, but there seems to be nothing here? Think about it. A 15′ Bigfoot would have to leave tracks. So where are the track photos?

    A lady friend who was born and raised in SD on a farm, never heard of BF in SD. She wondered if local habitat could support such a creature anyway?

    Perhaps based on Native American lore and sightings, BF just might actually roam the hills of SD and this subject needs further research. But it seems like the Pine Ridge reports are lacking in body :). What I mean is, we are not getting a very clear picture of what is going on there. To me that sort of red flag indicates that nothing much is. This might all turn out to be a case of “wishful thinking”?

    The only thing better than discovering BF in my neck of the woods, would be a BF discovery at Pine Ridge. But I do not think that is going to happen anytime soon. Based on what I read here, I give these PR reports a “5” on a scale of 1-12. They are interesting, but seemingly not too promising?

    I feel BF research should be kept more on a scientific level. This is how BF will be proven eventually. In my mind BF is real. I believe I have tracked one in deep snow for several hundred yards, while hunting elk in a remote area of Washington State. It was barefoot, took 4-5 foot 2-legged and clearly left and right upright strides and stepped over downed trees, that I had to climb over, with ease. As a Washington State Advanced Hunter graduate, I know my tracks. And I am pretty certain what made those!

    Silly BF reports just hinder the work of dedicated BF researchers. Especially in the eyes of the public. When it comes to Bigfoot, my father is a skeptic. There is no way I would ever tell him about “stovepipe hats and dancing around the may-pole”! He would laugh me right out of the house! And I would not blame him either. How would he be able to take anything I say about BF serious after telling him that? Especially if police are involved.

    When it comes to BF researchers, all of them want to be the first to discover the Bigfoot! But of course, the first person to discover BF will become famous. Additional related discoveries will mean little thereafter. So, some BF hunters seem to discover solid proof every month! When these people play such silly games, BF research takes 2 steps backwards.

    So I believe when “red flags” pop up in a BF report, not much time should be wasted in further checking them out. If nothing substancial is there, move on! In my mind a report has to be at least 60% credible.

    Please prove me wrong about Pine Ridge-I’ll cheerfully eat my words. But with that many sightings there, a real Bigfoot will leave tracks, hair or scat!

  32. Mnynames responds:

    I dunno, I find these reports rather compelling, if a bit odd. I can only assume that someone is on the scene asking the questions that need to be asked of the people that should be answering them (Find that police officer and ask her what exactly she DID mean by “Backpack” and “Dancing around”, for example). If there isn’t, then LeCope is right- somebody’s not doing their homework.

    BTW, While I consider myself well-versed in Native American history, and to a somewhat lesser extent culture (Both of which I value greatly), Let me echo LeCope here by saying that these people are, ultimately, just people, prone to the same vices and faults (And virtues too, for that matter) as any of us. To stereotype them, even in a positive way, in my opinion does them a disservice, for it lessens our ability to seem them for who they truly are, in all their complexity.

  33. crypto_randz responds:

    Nothing more than a hoax. 12ft and 15ft bigfoots, come on, if they exist, why can anyone videotape these oven top bigfoots. This is another johor bigfoot stunt. Only way you make believers out of skeptics go and get a body of one these humanoids.

  34. DefinitiveCloser responds:

    LSU_Crypto Said:

    “I think when you get beyond the typical 7-8 foot sasquatch and start getting into 12-15 foot range you are leaving the realm of possibility.”

    Hah! Sorry, Bigfoot believers talking about “leaving the realm of possibility” just cracks me up. Oh well, I’m one myself, however I would not be so quick to discount a 12-15 foot tall Bigfoot. In Heuvelman’s “On The Track Of Unknown Animals”, Part Two, Section Six, “The Not So Abominable Snowman” he relates:

    “This opinion was confirmed in 1957 by a Tibetan lama called Punyabayra, who said that the Tibetan mountain peole knew three kinds of snowmen: the nyalmo, the rimi, and the rackshi bompo. The nyalmo are real giants, between 13 and 16 feet high, with enormous conical heads.”

    Is it not possible that the Yeti’s North American cousins could be so divided into two or prehaps even three seperate species? Maybe the most commonly seen Bigfoot is more related to the 7-9 foot rimi, and the large one in the account is more related to the rackshi bompo. Perhaps the 13-16 foot Bigfoot is much rarer than the 7-9 foot, which would account for the rarity of its sightings, or perhaps when people say they have seen a 16 foot tall creature they are immediately declared to be exaggerating. If the Tibetan Snowmen are indeed related to the North American Bigfoot, they may share the “enormous conical heads” (sagittal crest), which seen from a side angle could look not unlike a stovepipe hat.

    Note: The sagittal crest is clearly seen in the Patterson Film, but because we cannot prove it is not fake, I did not rely on it as evidence that Bigfoot does have one.

  35. mystery_man responds:

    Well, it doesn’t speak well of bigfoot’s fashion sense. Stovepipe hats are so yesterday!

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