One of the most popular trends of late has been the search for Cryptid (undiscovered) animals and the most popular of which is Bigfoot. Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Skunk Ape, Sabine Thing, Caddo Critter and any of a dozen other names all describe the same animal that is claimed to be seen by thousands of people all over the world so why should Texas be any different. What follows is a fun article not meant to argue for or against the existence but discuss some history and possibilities and above all cause us to think.
As far back as Texas has been Texas and even before that the Tales of large bipedal humanoid groups of animals have been passed down and told around campfires and bedtime stories. The Native tribes of Texas had their own tales and accounts. The Cherokee called it the Kecleh-Kudleh other tribes had names like Lofa, Na’in, Oma and so forth. There is literally no native tribe that does not have a word or name for what we now call Bigfoot. If any place on Earth could harbor such creatures Texas is it.
Historically Davy Crockett told of an encounter with a creature in 1836.
It was covered in hair and 3 foundlings tall(8 plus ft) covered in coarse fur and having rows of broken teeth. This occurred while on his way to the Alamo near Nacogdoches Texas. Davy said that the creature even spoke to him warning him to leave Texas. Though not of Texas Daniel Boon also gave accounts of Bigfoot. Boone claimed to have fought and killed a 10 foot tall hair covered giant he called a “Yahoo”. President Teddy Roosevelt in his book “The Wilderness Hunter” recounted the story of two trappers who encountered a Bigfoot and one was subsequently killed by it. Many other famous Texans and non-Texans have related stories and encounters with Bigfoot type creatures over the centuries but no other time have we seen so many tales coming from every corner of Texas as we do now. I don’t know if we are hearing about them more due to social media and the overabundance of stimuli such as movies and videos.
East Texas alone has had more than 208 sightings reported in the past few years. One such sighting was in Panola county where a bowhunter witnessed a bigfoot attack a couple of hogs and carry them off. Yet another sighting was by James Hendrix and his wife Carrie of Livingston who witnessed a hair covered upright walking creature cross a road and then a field. The Piney Woods and Big Thicket account for the majority of the reported sightings in Texas. Fishermen and hunters report sightings every year most have no reason to lie because they seek no fame or fortune. Most who report sightings don’t even want their names known.
The “Beast of the Navidad”or Wildman of the Navidad was one of the first accounts of a Bigfoot type creature in Texas. This creature was first reported along the Navidad river close to what is now Sublime Texas in Lavaca county. The settlers originally called it “ The Thing That Comes” because it would come at night. No one would see it yet evidence of it’s having been there was clear. Missing Dishes and tools were common when it had come. Sometimes it would even bring back things it had taken previously. Reverend Samuel C.A. Rogers reported seeing many sets of strange tracks, both large and small along the banks of the river. As a circuit riding preacher he traveled up and down the river visiting settlers and towns. Rogers also wrote the account of the hunt for the creature. The hunt had more than 50 men and horses along with tracking and bay dogs. They set to the trail of the most recent tracks. Soon the hounds had caught the scent and bayed something in a tree. The account states that what was treed was a man yet not a man. Covered in long hair and wearing rags it spoke no language that was recognized by the men. The creature was subsequently captured and imprisoned. Its fate is not well known. Some say it was sold and others it was killed. It is also said in some versions of the tail that a female was also captured.
Could there actually be a large bipedal animal roaming the woods of Texas? Before we dismiss it totally we must ask what have we discovered lately? In 1995 the Bili Ape or Lion Eating Ape was discovered in Bili, Republic of the Congo. They stand 6ft tall and weigh in at over 300lbs. They are more closely related to Chimps than Gorillas. The Mountain Gorilla itself is a recent discovery as science goes. Until the early 1900’s the Mountain Gorilla was a legend and believed myth. Until Capt.Robert Von Beringe shot two and sent them to the Berlin zoo.
The White Cheeked Macaque is a mid-sized monkey like animal discovered in Tibet only 2 years ago. Omuras Whale is a 35 ft long species that has only been seen a couple of times yet in the past year we have gotten video and photographic evidence of their existence. Giant Squid had only been known by the rotting corpses washed up on beaches until just a few years ago when technology allowed the first ever deep ocean filming of one. The Vu Quang Ox was discovered in the jungles of Vietnam in 2007 and was thought to be a myth. In the past few decades we have discovered literally thousands of new species. From the Sunduland Leopard to the Olinguito and thousands more new species are found almost daily. Does this in any way prove the existence of Bigfoot? Not at all, what it does prove is that for all of our knowledge and all of our exploration we have only scratched the surface of what may or may not be out there. We are not taking a side here at TF&G just merely exploring the possibility, fun and excitement that there might be some things still left in the wilds yet to be discovered.
Texas is a hot bed of activity in the Bigfoot world second only to the Pacific Northwest in sheer numbers of sightings. Just across the state line we have the Creature of Boggy Creek, in deep East Texas we have the Sabine Thing which has been seen from as far South as Orange all the way up to its head waters in Hunt County.
The Caddo Critter has been seen along the banks of Caddo Lake and the many creeks and sloughs that surround it. Can we just discount all of the eyewitness sightings as hysteria or outright falsehoods? Sightings have been reported by Dr.’s, Preachers, Teachers and Law Enforcement Officers. Most who’s word is at any other time beyond reproach and generally considered above question. Are they? Are they stretching the truth or spinning yarns? Who Knows. I personally don’t think we have a worldwide conspiracy stretching over hundreds of years. Do I have the answers? I sure don’t but that’s what is fun about the whole thing. You don’t have to believe in Bigfoot right now if you don’t want to.
You can think its totally hogwash and that’s ok, but if you enjoy thinking there may be some things out there we have not discovered and corrupted. If you want to believe that we have not exhausted our ability to dream and imagine things greater than ourselves more mysterious than our mundane existence still exists then that too is ok. What harm is there in exploring Texas looking for things that may or may not exist. Many things have been discovered and proven they existed while looking for things that never did.