As much as I love to picture Bigfoot whimsically walking through the forest patting all the animals on the head as he walks by, he is not, of course, always described as being that way.
In several witness encounters and oral history passed down he is described as behaving much differently. Here’s an excerpt of some of his scarier legends from Native American history as written by the Cowboys and Indians Blog.
“The Yokut believe when you see a Bigfoot, it’s not a good sign. It means he’s coming to take somebody who’s going to pass over to the other side. There’s even a Hairy Man song that women sing during a funeral, to make sure he does take that soul over.” The Yokut aren’t alone either. You’ll find stories of Bigfoot-like creatures in the oral tradition of dozens of North American tribes under a slew of names — Sasquatch and Skookum among them — each ascribing slightly different qualities to the creature. For the Yurok and Karuk of northwest California, Bigfoot is just another denizen of the forest, worthy of cautious respect, just like a bear or a cougar.
But for the Me-Wuk of the Yosemite area, Bigfoot is a boogeyman — not unlike the witch from Hansel and Gretel — snatching children from their tribe and eating them. There’s even a place in the Stanislaus National Forest, Pinnacle Point Cave, where the tribe believes the Bigfoot consumed its victims. “This cave really did have human remains in it that were excavated back in the 1960s,” Strain says. “And what’s interesting is that you have to actually rappel down into this cave to see it. So how did a tribe, that didn’t have any climbing equipment, have a traditional story that the cave had bones in it?” If that’s not strange enough, the indigenous peoples of coastal British Columbia, nearly 1,000 miles to the north, share a nearly identical legend of the cannibal Dzunukwa, “The Wild Woman of the Woods” — often depicted on totem poles displaying a behavior that comes up time and time again in Bigfoot accounts: whistling. “I’ve had many tribes tell me, ‘If you hear whistling at night, don’t go outside,’ ” Strain says. “Because that’s a Bigfoot trying to lure you out.”
I have to say, the whistling legend is one that scares me the most, I’ve been out in the woods so many times where I’ve heard whistling that sounded out of place, (not at all like a birds whistle). If you’re out in the woods often you can easily hear sounds that just don’t belong. The whistle sound is very human makes me even more alert because if it were a human why isn’t he making himself known?
We have to remember, well I have to remember that he is flesh and blood, the forest is his home and I am trespassing through, we may meet someday face to face, and if we do I need to remember he may be about to whistle….
Art by Daniel Eskridge