May 13

The Arkansas Wild Man

I came across this article and wanted to share it. Exactly what was the Arkansas Wild Man, many believe that stories of Bigfoot, a gigantic hairy man-like creature with huge feet, originated in the Pacific Northwest. This is not precisely correct. Early settlers of the South reported encounters with strange Sasquatch-like monsters long before the first recorded sightings in Washington and Oregon.

As they pushed their settlements deep into the woods and their hunts even deeper, the early frontier people of the South often ran up against mysteries that defied explanation. One of the most bizarre involved a series of events surrounding a creature called the “Wild Man” by newspapers of the 1840s.

The earliest known recorded sightings took place in February and March of 1846 in the Crowley’s Ridge area of eastern Arkansas.Stories about the creatures appearance were carried in newspapers across the nation, with the Baltimore Sun reporting on March 13, 1846, that “his track measures 22 inches, his toes are as long as a common man’s fingers, and in height and make, he is double the usual size.”

Other reports followed, with a second surge of news coverage taking place in 1851. The New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette reported on May 29th of that year that an
expedition was about to leave Memphis to hunt for “the wild man.” The monster was said to be “of gigantic size and covered with hair.”

The same newspaper followed with a page one account on June 5th, quoting the Memphis Enquirer as its source for a report that the Wild Man had been seen chasing a herd of cattle:

…He was of gigantic stature, the body being
covered with hair, and the head with long
locks that fairly enveloped his neck and
shoulders. – The “wild man” after looking at
them deliberately for a short time, turned and
ran away with great speed, leaping from 12 to
14 feet at a time.

The Enquirer account noted that the monster had been seen in St. Francis, Greene and Poinsett Counties for 17 years, a statement that indicates that now lost reports may have been made as early as 1834.

Col. David C. Cross and Dr. Sullivan of Memphis were said to be organizing an expedition to search for the creature. This may well have been the first Bigfoot hunt in
American history. No written details of the results of their search have yet been found, but certainly could exist.

Another round of accounts appeared in the nation’s newspapers in 1856. On January 3rd of that year the Pittsfield Sun reported:

A wild man, seven feet high, is stated to be
roaming through the great Mississippi bottom
in Arkansas. Numerous travelers and hunters
have asserted that they have seen him, but
none have been able to get near enough to
give particulars concerning the strange being.

Not all accounts, however, were from the swamps of eastern Arkansas. A fairly bizarre report appeared in May of 1856 reporting a sighting in April on the upper Red River and noting that the creature had also been seen in Northern Louisiana.

According to this version, which appeared in the Wisconsin Patriot on May 10, 1856, the Wild Man was spotted breaking the ice of a frozen lake. He was “covered with hair of a brownish cast” and was described as being “well muscled.”

A party of men from Louisiana had gone into the wilderness on horseback to find the creature and decided to try to capture it. One man from this group had gone ahead of his comrades and decided to try to take the monster on his own. This was a bad idea:

..So soon…as the wild man saw the horse and
rider, he rushed frantically toward them, and
in an instant dragged the hunter to the
ground and tore him in a most dreadful
manner, scratching out one of his eyes and
injuring the other so much that his comrades
despair of the recovery of his sight, and biting
large pieces out of his shoulder and various
parts of his body.

In perhaps the most bizarre part of the story, the Wild Man supposedly made off with the injured man’s horse. The hunter’s friends set off in pursuit, joined by a party of Choctaw Indians that happened to be in the area. The chase led up into the Ouachita Mountains, then covered in snow from a particularly brutal winter, where the pursuers failed to capture their elusive prey.

Stories of a gigantic, hair-covered, man-like creature are told in Arkansas to this day, notably in the Ouachita and Ozark mountains and in the swamps of the Mississippi and Red Rivers. The famed Boggy Creek Monster is just one modern manifestation.



9 Responses to “The Arkansas Wild Man”

  1. Jim D

    We have been seeing quite a few of these newspaper accounts from the 19th century and the thing that strikes me is that they would send out posses of men, 20, 30 and up to a few hundred at a time and these old timers would sometimes capture their prey.

  2. Thomas W

    If you recall the poor woman in Stamford CT who was attacked by a neighbors chimp…..her eyes were ripped out, face bitten off, hands bitten off and I remember correctly her genital area was also damaged. Remove the tools (eyes) disable the weapons mouth, hands and feet and make sure the opponent cannot breed……Chimp/ape society while logical is fierce and cruel at times.

    Would a Sasquatch be that much different (sorry flute players).

  3. Tyler D

    Wow, such a brutal attack on that poor man. This sasquatch must’ve been of great size and tremendous strength to take off with his horse after attacking him. I very much enjoy these much older accounts because I believe them to be more genuine than some of the exaggerated reports of this day in age. People hoaxing these kind of accounts we’re rarely if ever reported in the 19th century. I’m sure there were quite a bit of skeptics back then but there we’re probably more believers than because the people of that era we’re frequently in rural areas. This question is a little off topic but if a chimpanzee has the strength of 6 full grown men, how much strength would you think a full grown male sasquatch has in comparison to a man???

    • r v

      So, someone comes at you with a gun for no apparent reason as you’re walking out of the movie theater- you’re twice his size and you beat him to the ground. Poor guy? *F* that horse-rider. Get some context, people. You wouldn’t allow someone coming into your backyard and messing with your dog, your BBQ, whatever. “Murica” became a thing when the Europeans raped it. We’re running into these guys because we can’t stop encroaching. Not that I wouldn’t want to protect myself, but at least see the situation for what it is: It’s encroachment upon another’s territory. That territory just isn’t recognized by the “gubment”. When the wolves and the grizzlies couldn’t withstand our firearm technology it just went the way it did. We’re getting closer to hemming the Sasquatch population more and more with every decade that passes. The showdown is inevitable, but don’t get self-righteous about it.

  4. phil c

    I currently live on crowley’s ridge in present day Joneaboro.AR. Last October you interviewed a woman from southeast Missouri who mentioned the old timers told her they migrated south I to AR. Crowley’s Ridge would the perfect thoroughfare.
    To give some perspective- It’s a ridge surrounded by nothing but delta around it; 70 miles from the Mississippi river(Memphis to the east) and about 45 miles from the foothills of tje ozarks to the west. Very rural for the most part.

  5. Papa - Yeti

    June 6, 1829 –

    ►On June 6, 1829, the nine – man party, armed to the teeth with rifles, swords and pistols, all set off. They encountered numerous bears, panthers and alligators, snakes and spiders but no sign of the monster. One afternoon two full weeks later, they came upon more giant tracks. They set up camp and made plans to go after the creature at first light.

    ►But what they failed to understand and take into account was that the Monster, like most all predators hunted in the cover of night. Well it was that very night, according to the reports by the few survivors that told to the Milledgeville (Georgia) Statesman, the hunters were viscously attacked by a “horrible monster covered with hair.” The Hunters quickly opened fire upon the huge hair covered creature, but the bullets seemed too little to effect upon the Huge harry Man –Ape (*Under calibers) the creature seemed unstoppable [*and in a massive adrenalin rush fueled rage].

    ►►►Death ► ‘Death by Decapitation’ ► “The huge being, nothing daunted, bounded upon his victims, and in the same instant received the contents of a total of seven rifles” the newspaper reported. Still the massive 13 foot tall creature charged, shrieking and roaring, (roaring out like a massive angry Lion’ and screaming like that of a dyeing tormented woman; he ripped the heads right off of several of the terrified hunters. “He did not fall.” The account continued,” until he glutted his wrath with the death of five of the men, which he affected by ringing off their heads from the bodies and throwing the headless corpses upon the ground,”

    ►Terrified survivors shot the beast until it finally fell. “Writing and exhausted, at length he lay upon the ground, with his hapless pray beneath his grasp.” The Newspaper article noted. The snarling Creature continued to lash out at the remaining hunters, “wailing and roaring,” until it died. The remaining dazed hunters approached the monster carefully. When they saw it was truly dead, they measured the beast and found it to be 13 feet in length “and its breath and volume of just proportions.”

    ►Fearful that all the commotion might attract other monsters, the surviving hunters gathered up their headless comrades’ rifles and fled from the swamp.

    To be noted:

    [►1920 – The term “abominable snowman” was coined through a mistranslation of the Tibetan word for the mysterious apelike monster yeti, “Wildman of the snow.” For the next two decades, reports of the creature were common in the Himalayan mountain range, but it was not until the close of World War II [1939 – 1945] that world attention became focused on the unexplained humanlike bare footprints that were being found at great heights and in frozen temperatures.]

    >I claim now ownership, and post for educational / entertainment reasons only.<

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