In 1958 a bulldozer operator named Jerry Crew found huge human like foot prints. The story was published in the Humboldt Times with a photo of Jerry Crew holding one of the large casts. The people in the area had been calling the mysterious track-maker "Big Foot", which columnist Andrew Genzoli shortened to "Bigfoot" when he published his article.
For most this was the first time they had ever heard of the large, hair covered, bi-ped and this was the unofficial date the the “Bigfoot” was “discovered” in modern times. Even many scientist mistakenly think that this is the first mention of such a entity in print, that before 1958 nothing matching the description of a Bigfoot had been mentioned or written about. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When historians would record Native American history the routinely categorized stories about a “hair covered” tribe of giants as legends and myths. Native American Tribes from New York to Alaska have stories of encounters with the Bigfoot. Many tribes routinely dealt with them and even traded goods with them. The Bigfoot were given “tribe” status in many cultures. Myths and legends do not get “tribe” status. Only a real peoples would be given this status in Native American culture.
Below is a list of just a few of the tribes and names that were given to what we know as Bigfoot.
The below list was compiled by: Kyle Mizokami, Henry Franzoni, and Jeff Glickman
The below list may have duplicates but it illustrates how many tribes recognized the Bigfoot.
|Bukwas - Kwakwaka'wakw Indian|
Just as the Native American's had different names for what we now call Bigfoot, so did our early American society. Before 1958 the Bigfoot was known by the name “Wild Man”. One of the earliest accounts of a Bigfoot by European explorers was from a Spanard named Jose Mariano Mozino. He wrote about Bigfoot” in his book Noticia de Nutka published in Spanish in 1792. Below is his description of the Bigfoot:
“I do not know what to say about the matlox (Sasquatch), inhabitant of the mountainous districts, of whom all have an unbelievable fear. They imagine his body as very monstrous, all covered with stiff black bristle; a head similar to a human one but with much greater, sharper and stronger fangs than those of the bear; extremely long arms; and toes and fingers armed with long curved claws. His shouts alone (they say) force those who hear them to the ground, and any unfortunate body he slaps is broken in to a thousand pieces “.
So not only did the Bigfoot exist prior to 1958, the Native Americans had a long history of interaction with them.
When the continent was being settled in the expansion that followed American Revolution people began to encounter these “hair covered giants” on a regular basis. Some of these encounters would be retold and published in the news papers of the day. Instead of calling these creatures Bigfoot, they were commonly known as “Wild Men”. In my research it became apparent that these “Wild Men” were common place in from the late 1700s until the late 1930's. They were seen occasionally in and around rural and mountain communities. Some infants and adults were even captured from time to time. They were so common place that it was not that unusual to see one or encounter one. Like other wild life in the forest the “Wild Man” was accepted as just another creature of the wild.
Some time during or right after World War II people in our society had a “collective bout of amnesia”. It corresponded with the baby boom and the continued urbanization of American right after the war. Our society became more urbanized. Only farmers and out door enthusiast were spending a majority of their time in or near wilderness areas. The only wild animals most Americans encountered were in the zoo or on TV.
Now when a hunter or hiker reported seeing a “Wild Man” they were scoffed and laughed at, called crazy, accused of misidentifying another animal such as a bear. This belittlement lead to the people living in the rural areas of America keeping these encounters with the “Wild Men” to themselves. What was once common place had now become taboo to talk about. No one wanted to be branded crazy or a liar.
In 1958 the “Wild Man” was given his modern name, Bigfoot, by Andrew Genzoli. What is interesting is almost immediately the major news services picked up the story and almost as quickly the scientific community declared that such creatures were just legend and myth. Science was and is revered in our society. If a scientist says it, we as a people tend to believe it. The wisdom of the day was “Scientist can't be wrong, their motives are pure, they are in pursuit of the truth.”. The common belief of the day by a majority of the public was “If Bigfoot existed then modern science would have discovered it by now”. So in our collective public consciousness Bigfoot became a myth, a legend, a figment of our imaginations. No person in their right mind would believe in such foolishness. So the transformation was complete. The Bigfoot went from a common resident of wild to myth and legend in the span of one generation.
From the early 1800s to through the 1940s you see story after story on the “Wild Man”. One of the more interesting facts is how similar and consistent the description of the Wild Man is from decade to decade. You can take a news paper article from the 1820's and compare it to a modern day BFRO report and the similarities are astonishing.
The “Wild Man” never left the forest, he did not go into hiding, he is not as rare and elusive as many believe. No, the truth is we left the “Wild Man”, we “matured” and “grew up, we moved to the cities and the suburbs and in the process we forgot that the “Wild Man” even existed.
Maybe it is time we refresh our collective memory and once again the “Wild Man” will be remembered.