Woodland Daily Democrat
, April 9, 1891

What Is It?
An Unheard of Monstrosity Seen in the Woods Above Rumsey


Mr. Smith a well-known citizen of Northern Capay Valley in Yolo County, California called on us today and tells us the following strange story, which we would be loath to believe if it were not for the fact that he is an old acquaintance of this office, and has always borne a spotless reputation.

Several days ago, Mr. Smith together with a party of hunters, were above Rumsey hunting.

One morning Mr. Smith started out early in quest of game, he had not gone far when his attention was attracted by a peculiar noise that seemed to come from an oak tree that stood near by.

Looking up Mr. Smith was startled to see gazing at him what was apparently a man clothed in a suit of shaggy fur. Having heard of wild men he naturally placed upon his guard, but thinking that he would see "what virtue there was in kindness," he called to the supposed man to come down, as he was filled with nothing but the kindest motives.

This speech did not have the desired effect, rather the opposite, for the strange thing gave grunts of unmistakable anger. Believing that discretion was the better part of valor our informant stood not upon the order of his going, but went at once in a beeline for the camp.

After placing some distance between himself and the strange creature, the hunter turned around just in time to see it descend the tree. Upon reaching the ground, instead of standing upright as a man would, it commenced to trot along on the ground as a dog or any other animal would do.

Smith then realized that it was no hermit he had seen, but some kind of monstrosity such as he had never heard of, much less seen before. The hunter stood amazed and spell bound for a moment, but soon gathered his scattered senses again and was soon making his best speed to camp, where in a few breathless words he was telling his companions of what he had seen. They were disposed to laugh at him at first, but his sincereness of manner and his blanched cheeks soon proved to them that he had seen something out of the usual order of things.

A hasty council was held, and the party decided to go in search of the monster, so taking their guns and dogs they were piloted by Mr. Smith to whom they soon came in sight of the unnamed animal. In the meantime it had commenced to devour the contents of Mr. Smith's game bag that he had dropped in his hasty retreat. The creature would plunge its long arms or legs into the bag and pulling forth the small game that was in it transferred it to its mouth in a most disgusting manner. An effort was made to set the dogs upon it, but they crouched at their master's heels and gave vent to the most piteous whines. The whines attracted the attention of the nondescript, and it commenced to make the most unearthly yells and screams, at the same time fleeing to the undergrowth some half a mile distant, upon which the while party immediately gave chase.

They soon gained upon the strange beast, and it seeing that such was the case suddenly turned, and sitting upon its haunches commenced to beat its breast with its hairy fists. It would break off the great branches of trees that were around it and snap them as easily as if they had been so many toothpicks. Once it pulled up a sapling five inches through at the base, and snapping it in twain brandished their lower part over its head much after the same manner a man would sling a club. The hunters seeing that they had a creature with the strength of a gorilla to contend with beat a hasty retreat to camp, which soon broke up fearing a visit from their chance acquaintance.

Mr. Smith describes the animal as being about six feet high when standing, which it did not do perfectly but bent over after the manner of a bear.

Its head was very much like that of a human being. The trapezes muscles were very thick and aided much in giving the animal it brutal look.

The brow was low and contracted; while the eyes were deep set giving it a wicked look. It was covered with long shaggy hair except the head where the hair was black and curly.

Mr. Smith says that of late sheep and hogs to a considerable extent have disappeared in his vicinity and their disappearance can be traced to the hiding place of the "What is it?" Among those who have suffered are Henry Sharp, Jordan Sumner, Herman Laird, and J.C. Treadle.

Here is a chance for some energetic young man to start a dime museum and acquire a fortune within a very few years. Anyone wishing to learn more about this peculiar monstrosity can do so by calling on our informant who will no doubt take a delight in piloting them to the dangerous vicinity of the late scene of action.

© Woodland Daily Democrat, April 9, 1891
Newspaper Story contributed to Bobbie Short's Bigfoot Encounters by Bill Wells, 16 March 2001

Back to Newspaper & Magazine Articles

Portions of this website are reprinted under the Fair Use Doctrine of International Copyright Law as educational material without benefit of financial gain. This proviso is applicable throughout the entire website at