That devils and wood goblins could be the names of real beings I heard for the first time in 1964 from Professor Boris Porshnev. In the summer of that very year I joined an expedition to the Caucasus, and that was the time of legend come to life for me, a very memorable and amazing event indeed. One thing is to read it in a book, and quite another to hear the local people use matter-of-factly such names for the hairy bipeds they encounter. Back in Moscow, I went to the best public library and delved into books of folklore and demonology. Some time later this resulted in a manuscript, "In Defense of Devilry", approved by Porshnev and a friend of his, an outstanding ethnographer; but nobody wanted to publish my work. With political changes in the country, the perestroika (i.e., back to capitalism), I expanded the manuscript and changed the title (the church was getting more say in politics) to "Wood Goblin Dubbed Monkey: A Comparative Study in Demonology". As epigraphs I used the following remark by a satirist, "Many things are incomprehensible to us not because our concepts are weak, but because these things are not covered by our concepts", and Thomas H. Huxley's thoughts in his book, Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature, 1863: "Ancient traditions, when tested by the severe processes of modern investigation, commonly enough fade away into mere dreams: but it is singular how often the dream turns out to have been a half-waking one, presaging a reality". Offered the work to many publishers without success, but finally it was published in 1991. The economic situation was catastrophic, so nobody cared for wood goblins and the like. I sent copies to several scientists and received laudatory responses, but to this day not a single review of the book has appeared in print.
The relationship between “realists” and “folklorists” in hominology has not been easy or productive, and this has induced me to re-examine its background and to try to lay down some basic rules.
There are philosophers who insist that “reality” exists only in the mind of the beholder. I know of no logical argument to counter this assumption, which can be regarded as an extreme case of “folklorism.” Presumably, such a philosopher, if kidnapped by a sasquatch, like Albert Ostman, would be consoled by the thought that the drama is only taking place in his head.
On the other hand, we know that an archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, who, proceeding from the ornate imagery of the ancient Greeks, confronted the world with the reality of Troy. Schliemann was a realist, and there can be little doubt that if he and other archaeologists had asked and followed the advice of “folklorists” on the reality of Troy, its precious relics would still be lying underground. This example shows that there can be totally different entities bearing the same name, and our failure to recognize and differentiate such entities leads to a lot of confusion and useless arguments. The name Troy applies, on the one hand, to a figment of an ancient poet's imagination, studied by specialists in literature and mythology, and, on the other hand, to a real historical city, whose study is the business of archaeologists and historians.
Of course, the two entities are interconnected in some way; one was the cause of the other, and both can have some overlapping characteristics, but, on the whole, their natures are so different that it would be most unwise to judge the one, say the historical city of Troy, by our knowledge of the other, the mythological Troy.
I believe the same analogy applies in hominology, the term we apply in the Soviet Union to the study of Sasquatch-like creatures. There are real hominoids (that is, creatures of biology—we know this from several categories of evidence combined), and there are imaginary ones (those of mythology). Our opponents say that one kind is quite enough (those of mythology), which dispenses with the necessity for real ones. But I say nay—the existence of mythological hominoids is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition of the existence of real hominoids. The argument was set forth by us in 1976 as follows:
Folklore and mythology in general are an important source of information for science. But hominologists look for myths about these creatures not only to find a real basis for the myths and to supplement their knowledge of the problem. They also need the myths as such, for they are yet another “litmus test” confirming the historical reality of hominoids. If, in the course of history, people had encounters with “troglodytes,” then these most impressive beings could not have escaped the attention of the creators of myths and legends. Of course, the reality of relic hominoids cannot be supported by recourse to folklore alone, but neither can it be refuted by such references, as our opponents have attempted to do. Is the abundant folklore, say, about the wolf or the bear not a consequence of the existence of these animals and man's knowledge of them? Therefore, we say that, if relic hominoids were not reflected in folklore and mythology, then their reality could be called into question. Fortunately, this channel of information is so wide and deep that much work can be done in this sphere: it is necessary to re-examine and re-think a good many anthropomorphic images playing important roles in folklore and demonology.
The last sentence above seems to find support in the words of Wayne Suttles:
"If there is a real animal, shouldn't there be better descriptions in the ethnographic literature? Not necessarily. Anthropologists do not consciously suppress information, but they sometimes do not know what to do with it. There are ethnographies of peoples whom I know to have traditions of Sasquatch-like beings that make no mention of such traditions; I suspect that these omissions occur not because the writers had never heard of the traditions but because they did not know how to categorize them. (Suttles 1972), (...)
Why is it difficult for ethnographers to categorize such material? Probably because they have no idea what is real and what is imaginary in it. And the fact that the informants do not know either cannot be of much help to the scientist, who should always attempt to draw a line between fact and fiction.
Hence, ideally, "realists" and "folklorists" in hominology should sit down together and, without violating each other's territory, sort out the mountain of folklore on hominoids. When Suttles says that "a large non-human primate would not really steal women" (Suttles 1972), I am afraid he trespasses on the turf of other kinds of experts. When a nineteenth-century Russian ethnographer said that the large breasts of a female wood-goblin ("forest woman") had been made up by ignorant peasants to symbolize heavy precipitation, he simply ascribed his own ignorance and fantasy to his informants. What about the image of a "tree-striker" that has the habit of "knocking down dead trees"(Suttles 1972)? Well, if it's a hominoid's way of feeding on larvae, the image has a basis in reality. (End of article citation. My emphasis).
Wayne Suttles, cultural anthropologist at Portland State University, authored the article "On the Cultural Track of the Sasquatch" in the journal Northwest Anthropological Research Notes,1972, reprinted in The Scientist Looks at the Sasquatch, 1977, a collection of articles, edited by Roderick Sprague and Grover Krantz. The volume had a second edition in 1979, with added articles, including "The Improbable Primate and Modern Myth" by Richard Beeson, University of Idaho. He wrote in it: "Even more incredible are the majority of reports of sasquatch females which time after time describe these animals as having large, hairy, pendulous breasts (Green 1970:77; 1973:50)", "Among primates, large pendulous breasts are indicative of a level of sexual sophistication that can only occur in very intelligent, symbol-using animals. Man is one such animal; the sasquatch is not." "Let us look again at the female sasquatch. It is reported to be both very hairy and to possess large pendulous breasts. One is about as likely to find that combination in the order of primates as a fish on a bicycle"(pp.175,176). This reminds me of the "blast" by Dr. William Montagna, director of the Regional Primate Research Center at Beaverton, Oregon, aimed at the Patterson/Gimlin documentary footage, which he called "this few-second-long bit of foolishness": "The crowning irony was Patterson's touch of glamor: making his monster into a female with large pendulous breasts. If Patterson had done his homework, he would have known that regardless of how hirsute an animal is, its mammary glands are always covered with such short hairs as to appear naked"(Primate News, Vol.14, No.8, September 1976).
As to Richard Beeson, his conclusion was as follows: "To summarize and conclude: we have examined the existing literature containing several hundred first-hand reports of the sasquatch. These reports present the physical and behavioral profile of an animal whose essential traits are for the most part highly improbable and, in respect to some, entirely impossible. (...) What the sasquatch represents, I believe, is a modern form of myth and we are privileged to be able to see it in the making" (The Scientist Looks at the Sasquatch II, The University Press of Idaho, 1979, pp.192,193, my emphasis).
I imagine how in the future the above will entertain and instruct students of science, having become classic examples of ill-considered judgment in science. Today, 30 years on, most cultural anthropologists remain as skeptical as Richard Beeson was, but at least three, known to me in America, have become full-fledged realists in the sense I indicated. One of them is Kathy Moskowitz Strain. In May she gifted me her book Giants, Cannibals & Monsters: Bigfoot in Native Culture, Hancock House, 2008, 288 pages. I greatly enjoyed reading it in the summer, but only now find the time to comment. The book is marvelous not only for its stories but also for its illustrations which are a great many photos of Native people of different tribes in North America. In Acknowledgements Kathy writes that "Christopher Murphy worked very hard on the layout of the book". Chris, in his turn, wrote me, in part, about his work on this volume: "As I read it, I visualized the stories being told by natives around a campfire with wide-eyed children transfixed with the story-teller. It was then that I realized that the book must contain images of the different people in their regular walks of life, all placed with their stories. In this way the reader would get a better appreciation of the stories, and at the same time realize just how diverse the native people are in North America. (...) We are fortunate that there were early photographers who liked to take photos of natives -- who by the way are highly photogenic. I would say generally the photos of native people are 80-100 years old or older. I don't think any native seen is now alive, even the wonderful little kids and young people."
So Kathy Strain has done for North America in the field of native folklore what I've done for the former Soviet Union. The difference though is in the presenation of material. I grouped different ethnic tales according to their similar or identical description of one or another trait of "wildmen" and "demons" (their appearance, food, behavior, etc.), while Kathy presents native tales, one after another, as told by members of this or that native tribe. So I'll follow her order of presentation, citing tales and phrases of particular interest, putting the latter in bold type. My comments are in italics.
p.51. The Shasta. The Tah-tah-kle'-ah (Owl-Woman Monster). Before the tribes lived peaceably in this country, before the last creation, there were certain people who ate Indians whenever they could get them. They preferred and hunted children, as better eating. These people, the Tah-tah kle'-ah, were taller and larger than the common human. They ate every bad thing known such as frogs, lizards, snakes, and other things that Indians do not eat. They talked the Indian language, and in that way might fool the Indians. (...) But at the last creation they came up only in California. Two were seen there. They were women, tall big women, who lived in a cave.
Wonder what "the last creation" means. Mention of homin cannibalism is ever present in North American native folklore, much more so, to my knowledge, than in Eurasia. Wonder why. Note that cannibalism is found to have been practiced by both Neanderthals and Homo sapiens, in the case of the latter in some indigenous cultures even today. Does "Owl" mean Tah-tah-kle'-ah were nocturrnal? Their body size, food, and dwelling are all realistic. That they "talked the Indian language" is a stumbling block and pressing question. Did they really talk it or only pretend in order to "fool the Indians"? Or both?! Today, a sasquatch, uttering Indian words, is by no means "a fish on a bicycle" for me. And what an amount of valuable information in such a short passage!
pp.58,59. The Wintu. The traditional Wintu word for giant man is Supchet. Story of Wineepoko and Supchet. (...) This grouse that sits on limb of fir tree is a magic grouse put there by Supchet to fool Indian people. (Supchet says to the human hunter Wineepoko's son):"Have you shot at my dear pet grouse? One is sitting there on limb on tree." Wineepoko's son said, "yes, but I could not hit it." (...) Supchet says to Wineepoko's son, "you look young and strong, what say let's wrestle?" (...) But Wineepoko's son said, "no, I don't want to wrestle." (...) ...then they wrestle and fight for a while until Wineepoko's son gave out. Then Supchet threw him down hard on the ground, took his heart out, took it home, going west.
A good example of homin-human competition for game in hunting. Note Supchet's magic ability to fool humans. Homin-human wrestling and fighting bouts are a standard feature in Eurasian folklore.
pp.80,84. The Shoshone.(The Cannibal Giant caught an old woman and her granddaughter in the wood where they were gathering pitch from pine trees. The giant killed them and took them home. He ate their bodies) The grandfather went out to look for his wife and granddaughter when they didn't come home. He found the giant's tracks and followed them to his cave where he found the giant asleep. He had his bow and arrows with him but could not kill the giant. So he shot at his penis and that is how he killed the giant. The giant is like a rock".
Quite recognizable realistic details and traits, known to investigators from fieldwork and witnesses, including cases of stumbling on sleeping homins. Native story-tellers know, just as we do, how difficult it is to kill a giant, but the method of killing described here is probably a flight of fancy.
pp.84, 85. Tso'apittse was a rocky giant with pitchy hands. When children are naughty their parent tell them the giant will come down from the mountains. (...) (The giant killed and ate a young woman. Her husband told his father what had happened. He and his father started making lots of arrows). His father said, "You can't hit these Tso'apittses, their bodies are made of rock. Their only vulnerable place is in the anus. (...) When his anus is exposed, shoot at it." (...) Then the young man took the arrow with the obsidian point and shot and it hit Tso'apittse's anus. (...) The young man watched Tso'apittse squirm and die."
More on the same theme.
p.87. When Tso'apittse comes, the children are held there by some power and the parents get away alone.
Sasquatches "made people sleep and took their fish away." "Henry Allen had heard they could 'make people crazy' but did not know how this was done"(Wayne Suttles, ibidem, pp.57,61).
p.91. The giant preys on Indians, tossing them into a basket slung across his back. (...) Tso'apittse is a hairy devil.
A basket slung across the giant's back is mentioned in many tales, so I wonder if it's an imaginary detail, for it is never reported by present-day eyewitnesses.The nearest thing we have from Russia is mention of "a box made of birchbark" from which "wood goblins" took out and ate something (probably berries), as observed by a witness ("In the Footsteps of the Russian Snowman", 1996, p.181).
p.102. The Comanche. Piamupits or Mu pitz is a cannibal monster who was terrifying cave dwelling ogre, about 12-feet tall and covered in hair. Sanapia, a Comanche medicine woman, described Mu pitz as a very tall, hairy giant with big feet, He is huge and has a foul smell. (...) Comanche elders put out food for the Mu pitz because he still roams Oklahoma. Comanche grind Mu pitz bones into a powder and use it to treat sprains and bone problems. They tested the bones first to see if it had special power by putting the bone on their tongues.
Note that the elders "put out food" for the homins (I'll touch upon this later). That powdered Mu pitz bones were used as medicine corresponds to similar practices in Tibetan medicine concerning other parts of the "wildman" body: "His meat may be eaten to treat mental diseases and his gall cures jaundice." ("In the Footsteps of the Russian Snowman", p.67). If these beings are imaginary, then their bones, meat and galls are imaginary, too. Wish our American colleagues would attempt to learn more about those powdered bones, and, best of all, get hold of them.
p.103. Source: Daniel A. Becker. May 1940. A giant lived in a cave located on the southern slope of Elk Mountain in the early days before the white man came. Exacting two buffaloes every fortnight from the Indians living south of the mountain, he was a constant and fearful menace. As the years went by and the buffalo became more scarce because of the frequent buffalo hunts of the many different tribes of Indians, the fulfilling of the giant's request was made increasingly difficult. Slowly the white men came in. They also organized buffalo hunts.
Finally, when the Indians found it almost impossible to furnish the required number of buffalo, they held a council. A young brave was designated to confer with the giant concerning their problem. Cattle were to be suggested as a substitute.
Approaching the entrance of the cave, the brave called, "Great Giant, I come before you to ask an important question."
"What is it you want?" said the giant.
"There are not enough buffalo on the prairies or in the mountains. Will you accept the beef of cattle instead? We have been eating it for years and find it very delicious."
"Cattle are very small, but I shall be satisfied if your tribe will bring me twenty," replied the giant.
Cattle were thus substituted for buffalo, but the change of the diet did not agree with the giant. The coming of so many white men, bringing confusion to the quiet mountain country, was also disquieting to the giant. The Indians, trying to appease his wrath, brought him forty beeves.
Finding his new diet more and more disageeable, and the encroachment of the white man unbearable, the giant left his cave for a more secluded spot in the larger mountain range farther west.
This is one of the most important items of information in North American hominology. First of all, note the year when the story was recorded: 1940. That is long before research in this field began, so no bias in favor of hominology could have appeared. Second, the tale sheds light on the rules and history of homin-human interactions. On the one hand, we learn of competition and fierce struggle between these two types of hominids; on the other, of deification and worship of "wildmen". How to expain this contradiction? I believe these differences refer to different historical epochs and different environments. Homo sapiens, while building civilization and getting civilized, needed plains for agriculture and animal husbandry, thus pressing and driving homins from fertile plains into marshy lands, forested mountains, or deserts. As sapiens population increased, humans began to encroach on homin territories again, but in these environments those who had evolved into "wildmen" and "forestmen" had an edge over humans. Thus began worship and deification. A third stage in relationship came when heathen cults began to be replaced by monotheistic religions, and the willd hairy giant was declared to be a devil. Here is an extract from my last book, partly touching on this theme:
In heathen times, the demons were not devils and goblins but “gods” and “lords of nature.” People worshipped them not out of superstition but for quite sensible and pragmatic reasons. Going to hunt or to fish they entered the territories of those wild hairy giants, and seeking a modus vivendi with them, people had to sacrifice a part of their trophies and catches to the homins. That is the origin of religious sacrifices, whose echoes are still reverberating in folklore.
One folklore item from the European part of Russia, cited in my book, says that in olden days hunters “had to prepare gifts for the ‘lord of the forest' for allowing them to hunt on his property.” In later times the relationship “progressed” and an item from Siberia says that hunters there engaged in barter trade with wood goblins: the latter supply squirrels and get generous gifts of vodka in exchange. It is most remarkable that squirrel bodies are delivered at night and if the hunters fail to skin them before morning, “the squirrels revive and run away.”
Folklore strongly recommends hunters not to build their cabins on the forest path of the wood goblin. And custom forbids whistling in the forest and in the home so as not to alert and invite the goblin.
Folk demons also actively interact with fishermen. That homins partake (i.e., steal) of fishermen's catches is well on record, but that they can also help people catch fish was news to me. According to Georgian folklore, all fish in the river are controlled by a water goblin. If a fisherman leaves food and a jug of wine on the bank and speaks nicely of the demon, he will send a lot of fish into the net.
A Mordva fisherman (in the Volga area) discovered a crying goblin child in the fishing net and let it go. Ever since he always had good catches. Ethnic Russian fishermen would throw a bast-shoe into the water and yell: “Hey, devil, drive fish into our net!”
But the demons' greatest contractors were herdsmen. It is reported that in Russia they made secret “contracts” with wood goblins who helped pasture the herd, find lost cows, and protect them from wolves and bears. The service was paid for with food and animals from the herd. Such deals were popular with the peasants, but kept strictly secret because they were viewed as very sinful by the Orthodox Church. It is worth mentioning that in ancient Rome fauni were said to protect herds from wolves, and a celebration was held in their honor on the 15th of February, called Lupercalia.
Another kind of interaction and category of homin whom I call “visiting demons” are those who approach human habitation for one reason or a combination of them. The most common is food, another clothes, a third the warmth of the hearth. An item from Tajikistan says that when the children asked their mother to give them more pancakes for supper, the mother answered, “If I give you more, what shall we leave for the adjina? She will come at night, and finding nothing may become angry.”
There are stories in Tajikistan that when the cry of an infant is suddenly heard from a barn, it means that a demon has given birth. People give food to her, “she eats, takes the baby, and goes away.”
In Georgia, the ancient clan of Naraani was said to have befriended a dev. They “fed him well,” leaving food warm in the ashes of the hearth. When the family went to sleep, he would come and have his fill.
If food is not offered, the demons would steal it, all kinds of it, especially vegetables and fruits from gardens and orchards.
As a rule, demons are seen naked, but there are many exceptions, and clothing is the next item of interest for them to come into contact with humans. It is advised, when encountering a goblin in the wood, to offer it bread or a piece of clothing, even a torn-off sleeve if nothing else is available. On record are Ukrainian and Bielorussian songs telling how rusalkas beg human girls to give them shirts, no matter how old or tattered. No wonder, demons usually sport threadbare garments, often worn the wrong side out. As a result, when Russians saw a man in a shirt worn inside out, they used to say: “Look, he is (dressed) like a leshy!” (Bigfoot Research: The Russian Vision, 2007, pp.32,33)
p.104 The Woman Who Married a Giant (Source 1930). (The giant kidnapped her) She thought over many plans to escape and make her way back to her camp (and succeeded only thanks to the help of Brother Bullfrog and Brother Crane)
p.106. The Mosopelea. The traditional Mosopelea name for bigfoot is Yeahoh, which means "monster" and is directly related to the sound the animal made.
The Yeahoh. Source: Interview of Lee Maggard, Putney, Harlan County, Kentucky, 1950. Once they was man out huntin', he got lost, and after a while he begin to get hungry. He come to a big hole in the ground and he thought he would venture down into it. He went down in there and he found that the old Yeahoh lived in there and had deer meat hanging' up and other foods piled around the walls. The man was afraid at first, but Yeahoh didn't bother him (...) and said, "Yeahoh, Yeahoh," a time or two. He cut it off a peice of the meat and it started eatin' it. (...) Well, the man lived there with it a long time and they got along allright. After so long they was a young'un born to 'em, and it was half-man and half-Yeahoh. And the Yeahoh took such a liking to the man it wouldn't let him leave. He got to wanting to get away and go back home. (After an unsuccessful attempt, the man made his escape). This time he got to the shore where there was a ship ready to set sail. He got on this ship and he looked and saw the Yeahoh comin' with the young'un. It screamed and hollored for him to come back and when it saw he wasn't goin' to come, why, it just tore the baby in two and held it out one-half to him and said, "Yeahoh, Yeahoh." He sailed on off and left it standing there.
Two things are striking and amazing here. One is that "Yahoo", which seems a variation of "Yeahoh", is applied to wild hairy bipeds by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver's Travels and by the inhabitants of Australia. Second, the tale, with some local variations of the plot but with the obligatory tearing of the baby "in two" at the end, is truly world-wide. I've read several from different parts of the globe, including this country, and wonder how such international "consensus" in folklore could have come about.
p.108. The Sioux. The traditional Sioux words for a bigfoot-like creature are Chiye-tanka (big man) and Iktomi ("The Trickster" or "Double Face").
"They are fond of playing tricks on humans, such as sneaking up and kicking them, tying them to trees with thongs lashed to the genitals, etc" (Wayne Suttles, p.62). "Demons in Russia (...) also love dancing and merrymaking, especially all kinds of pranks, so that Russian peasants called them 'jokesters' and 'pranksters'. A favorite prank of rusalkas was to catch wild geese on the river and entange the feathers of their wings so that the birds could not fly. Or they would let the fish out of the fishermen's net and fill the latter with slime and water-plants, or divert themselves by putting out a fishermen's or hunter's campfire with the water dripping from their hair covering"(Bigfoot Research: The Russian Vision, pp.31,32). Janice Carter knows well from experience bigfoot tricks and pranks performed on her farm.
Chiye-tanka or Big Man is a kind of husband of Unk-ksa, the earth, who is wise in the way of anything with its own natural wisdom. Sometimes we say that this one is a kind of animal from the ancient times who can take a big hairy form; (...). The Big Man comes from God. He's our big brother, kind of looks out for us.
p. 128. The Ojibwa. The traditional Ojibwa name for a wild man is Puck Wudj Ininees. p.129. And I shall ever be called Puck Wudj Ininees, or the little wild man of the mountains."
The first story in Kathy Strain's book, beginning on p.15, is titled "The Cannibal Dwarfs". Some quotes from other books: "I wonder if you have ever heard of the Little Red Men of the Delta? (...) They are said to be about the size of a ten year old kid and able to climb like monkeys and to live back from the bayous. They talk a lot but keep out of gunshot range and mostly go into the water. They are people and the muskrat trappers say they often wear scraps of discarded lines (linens?) old jeans and such"(compare with Russian homins. - DB)(Ivan Sanderson, Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come To Life, 2006, p.96). "... the earth dwarfs ('little earths') who lived in nooks, crannies, and forest recesses and could control the game and steal human souls"(Suttles, p.61)."Little people in the Indian culture live in the hills surrounding the reservation. They are extremely rare, hardly ever seen and are considered sacred. They are normally not over four feet tall, but sometimes can grow to the height of a normal person. (...) I have personally met and interviewed several people who claim to have seen and interacted with the little people"(David Paulides, The Hoopa Project, 2008, p.222). "It appears that El Duende, according to these people, is a dwarf who lives in deep canyons and desolate valleys (in the Colombian Andes, South America.-- DB), where he can often be heard crying like a baby or, when he is in a boisterous mood, making noises rivaling thunder. Natives firmly believe that he is very fond of horseback riding, but being so small, is unable to sit on the horse's back, so he sits on the animal's neck, making stirrups by plaiting the mane in such a way as to be able to put his feet in it"(Aime F. Tschiffely, Tschiffely's Ride. New York, 1933, p.182). "... soon afterwards we began to hear bits and pieces of Aboriginal lore that seemed to refer to a widespread belief in the existence of similar tiny hairy men in various parts of Australia"(Tony Healy and Paul Cropper, The Yowie: In Search of Australia's Bigfoot. 2006, p.121). Wild hairy bipeds, both giants and dwarfs, are reported in the Caucasus. The latter have also been observed in Africa. Aside from the Orang Pendek investigation, pigmy homins remain a completely unexplored subject of hominology.
p. 131. The Shawnee. The Shawnee were original residents of Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. The current population resides in Oklahoma, Alabama, and Ohio. The Shawnee language is in the Algonquian stock.
The Hairy Woman
Source: Interview of Joe Couch, Appalachia, Virginia, 1954. Western Folklore–Volume XVI, January 1957, No.1.
One time I's prowling in the wilderness, wandering about, kindly got lost and so weak and hungry I couldn't go. When it began to get cool, I found a big cave and crawled back in there to get warm. Crawled back in and come upon a leaf bed and I dozed off to sleep. I heard an awful racket coming into that cave, and something come in and crawled right over me and laid down like a big old bear. It was a hairy thing and when it laid down it went chomp, chomp, chawing on something. I thought to myself, “I'll see what it is and find out what it is eating.”
I reached over and a hairy like woman was there eating chestnuts, had about a half a bushel there (How did she carry them? -- DB). I got me a big handful of them and went to chewing on them too. Well, in a few minutes she handed me over another big handful, and I eat chestnuts until I was kindly full and wasn't hungry any more. D'rectly she got up and took off and out of sight.
Well, I stayed on there till next morning and she come in with a young deer. Brought it in and with her big long fingernails she ripped its hide and skinned it, and then she sliced the good lean meat and handed me a bite to eat. I kindly slipped it behind me, afraid to eat it raw and afraid not to eat it being she give it to me. She'd cut off big pieces of deer meat and eat it raw. Well, I laid back and the other pieces she give over as she eat her'n. She was goin' to see I didn't starve.
When she got gone again I built me up a little fire and br'iled my meat. After being hungry for two or three days, it was good cooked–yes, buddy. She come in while I had my fire built br'illing my meat, and she run right into that fire. She couldn't understand because it kindly burnt her a little. She jumped back and looked at me like she was going to run through me. I said, “Uh-oh, I'm going to get in trouble now.”
Well, it was cold and bad out, so I just stayed another night with her. She was a woman but was right hairy all over. After several days I learnt her how to br'ile meat and that fire would burn her. She got shy of the fire and got so she liked br'iled meat and wouldn't eat it raw any more. We went on through the winter that way. She would go out and carry in deer and bear. So I lived there about two year, and when we had a little kid, one side of it was hairy and the other side was slick.
I took a notion I would leave there and go back home. I begin to build me a boat to go away across the lake in. One time after I had left, I took a notion I would slip back and see what she was doing. I went out to the edge of the cliff and looked down into the mountain, and it looked like two or three dozen of hairy people coming up the hill. They were all pressing her and she would push them back. They wanted to come on up and come in. I was scared to death, afraid they's going to kill me. She made them go back and wouldn't let them come up and interfere.
Well, I took a notion to leave one day when my boat was ready. I told her one day I was going to leave. She follered me down to my boat and watched me get ready to go away. She was crying, wanting me to stay. I said, “No, I'm tired of the jungles. I'm going back to civilization again, going back.”
When she knowed she wasn't going to keep me there, she just grabbed the little young'un and tore it right open with her nails. Throwed me the hairy part and she kept the slick side. That's the end of that story.
I see this as a traditional story pretended to be a factual testimony, which impressed its listeners with realistic and valuable for us details. Of interest is the difference in their attitude toward fire. Marie-Jeanne Koffmann recorded in the Caucasus similar stories of Almasty entering and sharing a cave with a human stranger.
p. 136. The Bella Coola. Boqs (bush man) . Source: Legends Beyond Psychology, by Henry James Franzoni III and Kyle Mizokami.
[The boqs] somewhat resembles a man, its hands especially, and the region around the eyes being distinctly human. It walks on its hind legs, in a stooping posture, its long arms swinging below the knees; in height it is rather less than the average man. The entire body, except the face, is covered with long hair, the growth being most profuse on the chest which is large, corresponding to the great strength of the animal. (...) It is said that a woman was once drawing water at the edge of a stream when a boqs, concealed on the other shore, extended its penis under the water to the further bank and had intercourse with her. The contact rendered her powerless, as if turned to stone; she could neither flee nor remove the organ. Her companions tried unsuccessfully to cut the organ until one of them brought a salalberry leaf, whereupon the monster, dreading its razor-like edge, withdrew.
A marvelous super-hyperbole on a fully realistic theme of homin-human relationship. Here is another extract from my book:
The Sexual Connection
Folklore and demonology present this as one of the most prominent factors in human-demon relations. To begin with the ancient world, according to legend the Babylonian King Gilgamesh habituated and befriended the half-man half-beast Enkidu with the help of the priestess of the goddess of love, Ishtar. Enkidu is said to have been shaggy with “hair that sprouted like grain,” he ate with the gazelles and drank with the wild beasts at their waterholes. He protected wild animals from hunters, so a hunter went to King Gilgamesh with a request for help. The king recommended that the hunter take a priestess of Ishtar with him to the waterhole and instruct her to take off her clothes, thus enticing Enkidu away from his animal friends. The ruse succeeded and the wildman enjoyed the woman's favors for a week, being gradually persuaded to eat bread and drink wine with the shepherds. He became their friend and helped them by driving lions away from the flocks. Subsequently Enkidu found himself in the palace of Gilgamesh and became the king's best friend and aid in hunting. He also helped Gilgamesh in fighting the monstrous demon Humbaba, actually a wildman in the forested mountains of Lebanon.
Lustfulness was a distinguishing trait of satyrs in ancient Greece. Historian Diodorus Siculus wrote that, “this animal [!] shamelessly seeks cross-breeding.” The situation is reflected and recorded in the medical terms “satyriasis” and “nymphomania.”
But for readers in the West, most significant and impressive is one more reference to the Holy Bible. Among the commandments by the Lord that Moses gave to Israel was this: “And they shall no more sacrifice their victims to devils, with whom they have committed fornication. It shall be an ordinance for ever to them and their posterity.” (Leviticus 17:7, The Holy Bible, Douay Version, reproduced from the first edition of The Old Testament, printed at Douay in 1609.)
Another translation in The Holy Bible, London, 1850: “And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.”
A third version, published in The New English Bible, Oxford, 1970: “They shall no longer sacrifice their slaughtered beasts to the demons whom they wantonly follow.”
Let us note that, according to the Hebrew text, Moses did not use the words “devils” or “demons” in this commandment by the Lord. Again the term “se‘irim” (hairy ones) was used, which presented a sticking point for the translators. “Hairy ones,” and moreover sacrifices to and fornication with them, called for an explanation; “wild goats” would not fit in this case (The New International Version of the Holy Bible has "wild goats" in place of "se'irim" in Isaiah 13:21 and 34:14). So “devils” and “demons” were found two preferable terms, for who does not know that devils and demons are seducers and perverters of mankind?
Christianity also condemned “pagan gods” for lustfulness. Saint Augustine wrote that fauns and satyrs, “called at present incubuses,” have intercourse with women. “This has been testified to by so many people and so positively that it would be insolent to deny this.” In the Middle Ages in Europe, many victims of the Inquisition were tortured and condemned to burn for sex with demons.
In Asia, the 12th century Persian scholar Nizami al-Arudi wrote that “the Nasnas, a creature inhabiting the plains of Turkestan, of erect carriage and vertical stature, […] is very curious about man. […] And if it sees a lonely man it abducts him and is said to be able to conceive by him. This, after mankind, is the highest of animals…” Modern scholars say the Nasnas is an imaginary creature, a kind of faun.
Sexual relations with demons is a topic present in all works on folklore that I have read. In Tajik folklore, the female demon “pari” seeks the love of a hunter and pays him with wild goats that she sends him in gratitude.
In Chuvash folklore, the female arsuri (goblin dubbed monkey) would run in the wood in front of a man, laughing impudently, showing him her genitalia and beckoning to him. The name “arsuri” is applied by the Chuvash to a shameless woman.
In Circassian folklore it is said that the shaitan and his female partner jinne can be caught. However it is not advisable to catch a shaitan because he will offer strong resistance. Jinne is a different matter. If caught, she can be used as a woman. Sometimes she herself is seeking sex with humans, coming to herdsmen for the purpose.
In Bielorussian folklore there is a beautiful poetic incantation intended for young male peasants in case they are accosted by an enamoured rusalka. It is pointed out that the man should not look at her, but at the ground, and say the following (in my rather inadequate translation):
Water dweller, wood denizen, wild, unruly and whimsical girl! Go away, get away, don't show up at my homestead! […] I kissed the golden cross and abide by the Christian faith, so can't mix with you. Go to the pine forest, to the forest lord. He has prepared a bed of moss and grass and is waiting for you. You are to sleep with him, not with a Christian like me. Amen. (Bigfoot Research: The Russian Vision, 2007, pp.36-38).
p. 140. The Chehalis. The Chehalis (also known as the Sts'Ailes) occupy an area near the Fraser River in their homeland of British Columbia. Their traditional word for a bigfoot-like creature is Saskehavis, meaning “wild man.” John W. Burns, a teacher for the Chehalis reserve in Harrison Mills from 1925-1945, coined the word “sasquatch” based on the various names used by tribes within the Salishan language group. In 1980, the Chehalis band in British Columbia adopted a sasquatch image as their symbol.
What happened to Serephine Long?
Source: “The Hairy Giants of British Columbia,” by J.W. Burns, 1940. The Wide World, January 1940, Vol. 84, No. 502.
I was walking toward home one day many years ago carrying a big bundle of cedar roots and thinking of the young brave Qualac [Thunderbolt], I was soon to marry. Suddenly, at a place where the bush grew close and thick beside the trail, a long arm shot out and a big hairy hand was pressed over my mouth. Then I was suddenly lifted up into the arms of a young sasquatch. I was terrified, fought, and struggled with all my might. In those days, I was strong. But it was no good, the wild man was as powerful as a young bear. Holding me easily under one arm, with his other hand he smeared tree gum over my eyes, sticking them shut so that I could not see where he was taking me. He then lifted me to his shoulder and started to run.
He ran on and on for a long long time–up and down hills, through thick brush, across many streams never stopping to rest. Once he had to swim a river and then perhaps I could have gotten away, but I was so afraid of being drowned that I held on tightly with my arms about his neck. Although I was frightened I could not but admire his easy breathing, his great strength and speed of foot. After reaching the other side of the river, he began to climb and climb. Presently the air became very cold. I could not see but I guessed that we were close to the top of a mountain.
At last the sasquatch stopped hurrying, then he stooped over and moved slowly as if feeling his way along a tunnel. Presently he laid me down very gently and I heard people talking in a strange tongue I could not understand. The young giant next wiped the sticky tree gum from my eyelids and I was able to look around me. I sat up and saw that I was in a great big cave. The floor was covered with animal skins, soft to touch and better preserved that we preserve them. A small fire in the middle of the floor gave all the light there was. As my eyes became accustomed to the gloom I saw that beside the young giant who had brought me to the cave there were two other wild people–a man and a woman. To me, a young girl, they seemed very very old, but they were active and friendly and later I learned that they were the parents of the young sasquatch who had stolen me. When they all came over to look at me I cried and asked them to let me go. They just smiled and shook their heads. From then on I was kept a close prisoner; not once would they let me go out of the cave. Always one of them stayed with me when the other two were away. They fed me well on roots, fish and meat. After I had learned a few words of their tongue, which is not unlike the Douglas dialect, I asked the young giant how he caught and killed the deer, mountain goats and sheep that he often brought into the cave. He smiled, opening and closing his big hairy hands. I guessed that he just laid in wait and when an animal got close enough, he leaped, caught it and choked it to death. He was certainly big enough, quick enough and strong enough to do so.
When I had been in the cave for about a year I began to feel very sick and weak and could not eat much. I told this to the young sasquatch and pleaded with him to take me back to my own people. At first he got very angry, as did his father and mother, but I kept on pleading with them, telling them that I wished to see my own people again before I died. I really was ill, and I suppose they could see that for themselves because one day after I cried for a long time, the young sasquatch went outside and returned with leaf full of tree gum. With this he stuck down my eyelids as he had done before. Then he again lifted me to his big shoulder.
The return journey was like a very bad dream for I was light headed and in much pain. When we re-crossed the wide river, I was almost swept away; I was too weak to cling to the young sasquatch, but he held me with one big hand and swam with the other. Close to my home, he put me down and gently removed the tree gum from my eyelids. When he saw that I could see again he shook his head sadly, pointed to my house and then turned back into the forest.
My people were all wildly excited when I stumbled back into the house for they had long ago given me up as dead. But I was too sick and weak to talk. I just managed to crawl into bed and that night I gave birth to a child. The little one lived only a few hours, for which I have always been thankful. I hope that never again shall I see a sasquatch.
This story is absolutely sensational!!! Who is Serephine Long? Not a word of explanation in the book. If she is the heroine of the story, she must be not less, and probably more, famous than Albert Ostman. In case, of course, the story is true. Albert Ostman was interviewed by John Green and Rene Dahinden, grilled by newsmen, cross-examined by a magistrate, a zoologist, a physical anthropologist and a veterinarian. Who interviewed Serephine Long? The name of Albert Ostman is known to every hominologist worth his salt. Who has ever heard of Serephine Long? Chris Murphy appears to be the first, after Burns, to mention her name in his book "Meet the Sasquatch", 2004. He cites John Burns: "But perhaps the strangest experience happened to a Chehalis woman, Serephine Long. She told me she was abducted by a Sasquatch and lived in the haunts of the wild people for a year." Another quote: "I've never personally encountered a Sasquatch myself. Yet I've compiled an imposing dossier of first-hand accounts from Indians who have met the wild giants face to face and know survivors of the tribe still live today. I was always aware when the Sasquatch were in the vicinity of our Indian village, for then the children were kept indoors and not allowed to venture to my school. The Chehalis Indians are intelligent, but unimginative, folk. Inventing so many factually detailed stories concerning their adventures with the giants would be quite beyond their powers". This is also one of my own criteria in assessing eyewitness accounts. One more quote: "Many of my other Indians (besides Serephine Long.-- DB) are sincerely convinced the Sasquatch live in the unexplored interior of B.C. And with the Indians, whom I know and trust, I also believe."(Meet the Sasaquatch, pp.31,33). Thank you, Chris, for providing this information, but you ought to urgently do something else: to see if John Burns's archive is still in existence, with that "imposing dossier of first-hand accounts" in particular. And, of course, try to find Serephine Long's relatives and interview them.
How come this crucial information is coming to light only now, and only through interference from abroad? My explanation concerns John Burns's reputation with some veterans of the Bigfoot investigation in North America. Burns not only coined the word "sasquatch" -- he equated the latter with humans, not apes, and for this reason has been ignored by most bigfooters.That Sasquatch, at least some of them, are people of subtle and well developed mind is apparent from Serephine Long's account more than from anything else. Assuming the account is true, every word of it is as precious as gold. For the moment, I opt to single out only her telling that Sasaquatch have a language.This supports the groundbreaking claims by Albert Ostman, Janice Carter and Scott Nelson. Can also add from Wayne Suttles: "They called these people 'wild tribes' who traveled by night and attacked lone wayfarers. (...) They spoke a language unintelligible to the Snohomish" Also that the giants can "talk like an eagle, owl, screech owl, and bluejay"(The Scientist Looks at the Sasquatch,1977, pp.57,58). And one more extract from my book may be in place:
The basic difference of demons from all real creatures, including apes and monkeys, is their desire of sexual relations with man. Clearly, this circumstance is responsible for their unprecedented and unique role in the history of mankind. A Russian specialist on oriental folklore and the Koran wrote in 1893 about the demons called “jinn”: “The peculiarity of their nature is that they can have sexual intercourse with people.”
A natural question then is: What comes as a result of such intercourse? Folklore is quite talkative on this score. An item from Siberia: “Sometimes a she-devil lives with hunters in the forest and becomes pregnant from them, but she tears the infant apart at its very birth.” The Circassian jinne can also kill her crossbreed baby, in case her human husband reveals her presence to his neighbors.
A success story in crossbreeding is reported by Kazakh folklore, telling of a horse herdsman who encountered a female almasty in the steppe and thought, “Be it a shaitan or a human, it doesn't matter.” He lived with her and “they had three children born to them.”
Bashkir folklore explains the origin of the name of the Shaitan-Kudey clan by the fact that once a brave Bashkir caught and married a female shaitan and their posterity formed the said clan. Nogai folklore notes the rapid growth and unusual strength of the offspring of their legendary hunter Kutlukai and his almasty wife. Their son became a national hero and all Nogai nobility descend from him.
If we give credence in this respect to folklore, then hominology is faced with the question: What is the genetic status of “demons,” i.e., homins, in relation to Homo sapiens?
“Good” species are not supposed to produce fertile crossbreeds. Still, division into species and subspecies of closely related organisms is often a matter of speculation and agreement. Primatologists are aware of fertile hybrids of different monkey species. Another case in point is the example of wolves and coyotes, considered to be different species. Yet they carry the same number of chromosomes and there exist no genetic barriers to their interbreeding. If not for behavioral differences, which keep them separate, one species would have long ago absorbed the other.
The homin-human situation appears to be similar; the barrier to crossbreeding is neurological and behavioral, not genetic. For these reasons it can be overcome in principle and in practice, but the process has been “invisible” and very protracted.
One more example in favor of this view is a quote from Essays on Russian Mythology (1916) by D. K. Zelenin: “People believe that if a rusalka is made to wear the cross, she will become a human being. Such cases are reported from the Vladimir Province, where two boys married baptized rusalkas.”
As regards North America, Dr. Ed Fusch reports crossbreeds between Indians and the “Stick Indians” (Sasquatch, “Night People”) in S'cwen'yti and the Stick Indians of the Colvilles (1992). (Posted by Bobbie Short on her Bigfoot Encounters site and supplied to me by the late Don Davis.) (Bigfoot Research: The Russian Vision, 2007, pp.39,40).
I have covered only a half of Kathy Strain's book, so it's too early to come to final conclusions, but one or two preliminary ones should be stated already. Hope it's clear to the reader by now how important the knowledge of relevant folklore is for our field of study. North American hominologists have set some world records in practical terms. I mean the Patterson/Gimlin documentary, the number of footprint photos and casts, the priceless Carter Farm evidence. But in terms of theory, in a theoretical vision and understanding of the phenomenon, Russian hominologists are ahead. And this is because folklore and demonology have been regarded by Boris Porshnev and myself, in his footsteps, as a very valuable source of evidence from the very beginning. Had the Kathy Strain book been in existence 30 years ago, the situation, in terms of theory, could be different today in your continent as well.
(**To be continued)
With hearty thanks to Kathy for the book,
and best holiday and New Year wishes to all,
International Center of Hominology
**Part two of Bayanov's paper on Folklore is uploaded here:
**Part Three of Bayanov's paper on Folklore is uploaded here:
** Part four of Bayanov's paper on Folklore is uploaded here:
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