THE MAN WHO TOUCHED
J.F. had heard these stories, but he is not the sort of man to put stock in such things, and Mr. Bigfoot was probably one of the farthest subjects from his mind that night in the wilds of Modoc County, California, when he returned alone to the borrowed cabin of a friend after a day of hunting.
It was one of these nights when you can barely see your hand in front of your face, but J.F. didn't bother to take a light as he went out a short while later to fetch something he'd left in the pickup. He groped his way through the darkness to where he'd left the vehicle parked, beyond the light from the cabin window.
His thoughts were elsewhere, and, half-consciously, he reached through the open window of his pickup for the item he knew he had left on the seat. His hand fell upon something that shouldn't have been there.
J.F. weighs 260 lbs. and is not a timid man. Unlike most persons, perhaps, who would have jerked their hand away as if from a hot stove, he was slow to alarm and, still rather distractedly, started feeling around on the object. Then he did become fully aware of the present and his blood began to turn cold. What his hand felt in the almost complete darkness was warm, it was hairy and it was alive! It was huge and it was sitting upright in the seat of the pickup no less.
That's as much as J.F. learned about the thing, for then he withdrew his hand as if it had been about to be struck by a rattlesnake. He backed away. "What the hell..." he probably said (knowing him), and he was really beginning to feel the hair crawl on his neck. He retreated to the cabin, stumbling over things in the darkness, to fetch a flashlight and find out what or who had entered and was sitting in his pickup.
Inside, he stalled long enough to take a much-needed drink. When he returned to the truck with the flashlight, there was nothing there.
J.F. admits he did not feel like remaining out there right then and looking for any further signs of his visitor. He returned to the cabin, and in the morning there were no tracks or other clues as to what he had touched. But J.F. knew about Mr. Bigfoot and there was no doubt in his mind that his hand had been upon the chest of the hairy "wild man" seen and described by so many persons.
Could it have been an animal? There are only two wild animals found in that area that are large enough to fill the bill - - bears and cougar's. J.F. is familiar enough with animals to know that what he touched did not feel like either of these. The creature did not respond to his touch - it did not move, recoil, snarl or hiss. A dog is the only other possibility.
It's more than difficult - it seems rather ridiculous to imagine any animal, wild or domestic, to have climbed or Jumped through the open window of a strange vehicle and sat upright on the seat and allowed a strange man to approach and feel of it without the least reaction. And then to have disappeared again so mysteriously.
A cougar WOULDN'T have let a man lay his hand upon him. A bear MIGHT, but not very likely, and he would have to have climbed ponderously in and out of the truck window, which would have left marks and hair. There were neither. And a bear so fearless as to ignore a "man's touch would hang around the cabin until he'd thoroughly explored it for food and left many signs. There were no signs of bear.
As for it having been a dog - have you ever touched a strange dog without it either growling and pulling away from you or else responding in a friendly manner? Besides, J.F. also knows what dogs feel like. He has six of them.
Besides his conviction that what he had touched was not an anima, at least any KNOWN animal - the very action and lack of any reaction of the creature is our best evidence that J.F. had actually laid his hand upon Mr. Bigfoot.
Our opinion of this creature is that it is more human than animal. He seems to have an affinity for human beings, seems to desire experience with them; is prevented only by fear of what they might do. He has been seen by motorists, therefore he has seen people in automobiles. We can well imagine how this pitiful creature then upon finding an empty motor vehicle might desire to learn, in the safety of the darkness, how it feels to be inside one of these strange objects. And whether he crawled through the window or opened the door, he probably had found himself trapped when J.F. approached and, having no alternative, decided the safest bet was to sit quietly, so long as the man didn't make any menacing moves. It is apparent that Mr. Bigfoot is not vicious. And only an intelligent creature could reason thus...that his best move was none.
Perhaps he took pleasure in the contact with another human being? Perhaps he has all the feelings of a human being - perhaps he IS human after all. Maybe there are more than one; maybe "he" is a "she". But the typical description by those who have seen him, her or it is of a "huge, hairy, manlike creature."
One report by a pilot who spotted Mr. Bigfoot from the air has him "ten feet tall". It is difficult, however, to judge from the air the height of an object on the ground. And imagination as well as exaggeration is bound to come into play in such experiences.
Ishi - sole survivor of the Yahi Indians - lived like a wild man in this same general area, until starvation forced him to "mm himself in". Until then no one suspected his presence, but had they seen him - even in winter when he wore furs - they certainly wouldn't have mistaken him for anything but what he was a frightened Indian.
And the pattern of Ishi's life while alone in the wilds was quite different than that of Mr. Bigfoot. Ishi stayed close to the area of Deer Creek, his tribal homeland. Mr. Bigfoot, on the other hand, seems to range quite extensively and seems to like to "flirt" with civilization. Ishi remained hidden from civilization for fear the white man would kill him in retaliation for whites killed by the Indians (in the 1850's a posse of miners and cattlemen thought they had massacred all of the Yahi, but an old man and two youngsters, one of which was Ishi, escaped and lived secretly until only Ishi was left), while today there could be no such basis for fear on the part of Mr. Bigfoot, if he is merely a renegade Indian. If he truly desires contact with civilization - and evidence seems to indicate that he does - then the only logical basis for his timidity would be that he is intrinsically different in some way from civilized man that would make him seem monstrous to us, and us to him
If Mr. Bigfoot is not a renegade Indian or a white man, nor yet an animal, what is he? If he is, - as Russian scientists speculate regarding the Yeti - a member of a prehistoric people related to but distinctive from Homo Sapiens who have managed to survive into modern times when by the rules of evolution they should have long been extinct, then there would have to have been a family or tribe of them living continually on the North American continent for at least as long as the time when it was no longer possible to cross from Asia to America via the Bering Strait. It would have been difficult for such a family or tribe to have escaped unnoticed by the Homo Sapien people who have occupied North America - especially the Indians.
If we had ready access to records of all the American Indian histories and legends we probably would find much reference to tribes of strange non-Indians with whom most of the ancients had dealings.
Our personal interest happens to have centered on those Indians indigenous to Mr. Bigfoot's territory in northeast California and those nearby - the Paviotso, the Modocs, Washoes, Eastern Shoshone and the Goshutes etc. And what do we find in their legends or the Legends of the Yurok in the northwest corner of California?
The Washoes, whose tribal land is...or was on the eastern slopes of the Sierras, across from Mr. Bigfoot's stomping ground, have a very persistent legend regarding a tribe of giants who once dwelt near them and who apparently were beneath them intellectually. They warred against these giants and without much trouble annihilated them. Some of these might have escaped - as did three of the Yahis - and crossed the Sierras where their descendants today exist by hiding from the California tribes and the white man in the deep forest - where Mr. Bigfoot often has been seen.
The Paiutes of Walker Lake verify this tale, claiming they assisted the Washo in this battle and after the giants' extinction moved into their former territory themselves. Giant human bones HAVE been found in this area, as we reported earlier.
In the last century a creature was captured in Canada whose description is similar to that of Mr. Bigfoot - except that this one was a female. We don't know what became of her or what scientists of the day who examined her decided - - as this was from an old newspaper account, and no subsequent editions were available.
Further research might prove, however, to make a good case for a non-Homo Sapien tribe or family, which has survived until today in the forested mountains of North America. Mr. Bigfoot _MAY_ be the last of this tribe...or the entire species. Pathetic as was the saga of Ishi and the Yahis; -that of Mr. Bigfoot would be far more tragic. Imagine yourself alone in a world where there are no other creatures like yourself, willing and wishing to associate with the creatures who do inhabit the world but being so different from them that they flee from you in terror or try to kill you!
To never know the
touch of another hand
..J.F. shudders when he remembers the sudden
touch of his hand in the darkness upon a hairy, living body. But somewhere
in the lonely mountain vastness, a mind as human as yours and mine, but
locked in a body more ape than human might remember that touch with a
hopeless pain of longing.
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