Mystery Beasts in Carolina Folklore

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All through the Southeastern United States, there are numerous renditions on the frequent legend of Boogers, Bogey Males, and nocturnal manlike beasts mentioned to roam the hills.

As a toddler, I used to be at all times fascinated by one such story advised by a household pal who, at all times with a little bit of hesitation, described an odd trying, man-like animal that he and his cousin startled one night time whereas it was invading a hen coop on the hill behind his aunt’s residence in Madison County, North Carolina.

“I don’t know what it was,” he would inform my brother and me. “For all I do know, possibly it was some form of loopy previous man.” After all, this assertion appeared scary, for the reason that previous man was mentioned to have been coated in black hair, aside from the areas across the face and the arms, which our pal described as “odd, and crooked” in look.

Even at that younger age, I had discovered the prospects of a creature like this present in North Carolina—presuming it existed in any respect—more and more unlikely. Even when it had a available meals provide, the place would such an animal search shelter, and extra importantly, how may a breeding inhabitants of them stay so effectively hidden?

Surprisingly, there seems to be a little bit of a historical past of such issues within the Outdated North State. One of many earliest tales of such an animal appeared within the Statesville Landmark on Thursday, January 3, 1878. The incident in query reportedly occurred in Caldwell County, North Carolina, and tells of a gaggle of prospectors who encountered an uncommon creature close to the world of Globe Valley.

Described as a “peculiar specimen of humanity,” the prospectors initially debated whether or not they need to transfer towards the creature, when instantly one in every of them referred to as to it, after which the next ensued:

“[The wild man] began towards the get together a number of steps, stopped nonetheless and commenced to pound himself within the breast along with his ponderous fists. There he stood for 2 minutes, evincing no energy of speech. Instantly he turned and bounded off with the pace of a deer. The get together then repaired to the home of one of many males, secured a gun, pistol, and different articles of warfare, and went in pursuit of the scary being. They searched the steadiness of the day, however nothing could possibly be seen of the item of their pursuit. Throughout the search, they ascended the crags of Blowing Rock and found a small cave, by which was discovered a mattress of leaves and plenty of bones resembling these of the opossum. It’s supposed this cave has afforded this wild man a house for a few years.”

Of explicit curiosity was the outline given of the creature. “Our correspondent describes the wild man as being about six ft 5 inches tall, with broad shoulders and lengthy apeish arms; easy face and funnel-shaped head. His physique is roofed with darkish brown hair, close to two inches lengthy. His head and a fantastic portion of his brow is roofed with lengthy luxuriant, darkish crimson tresses.”

Whether or not or not the report is genuine is irrelevant. Even when the story is merely a tall story, there’s nonetheless a really distinctive side to it which is usually neglected within the “trendy” debate over the existence of creatures like Wildman. Many writers who’ve tried to make heads or tails of the trendy Wildman phenomenon assert that modern descriptions of the creature as being apelike didn’t seem till the Fifties, most notably with studies like that of the well-known and infrequently rehashed William Roe eye witness encounter of 1957.

After all, anybody who has taken time to look fastidiously (and deeply) at literature pertaining to tales concerning the North American Wildman is aware of that this merely isn’t true; descriptions that present a distinctively ape or gorilla-like look for such alleged “wild males” date again a lot additional than this. Additionally, because the report above illustrates, options that embody a peak at the very least barely above that of the common man (right here, it’s given as roughly “six ft 5 inches tall”), together with unusually lengthy arms (“broad shoulders and lengthy apeish arms”), and even the conical form of the cranium or sagittal crest (right here described as a “funnel-shaped head”), all appear to have appeared in print by at the very least the latter a part of the nineteenth century.

So I’d argue that, even when one takes an antiquated newspaper account like this with a grain of salt (as we actually ought to), it nonetheless supplies us with an outline that may be very effectively consistent with the trendy concept of a Wildman. If nothing else, this does present that such descriptions have been showing in print effectively upfront of the “trendy” period of Wild man, which many will assert did not start till the Fifties at greatest. 

Curiously, almost one century after this unbelievable account, and in the identical normal area, such tales would proceed. Within the video beneath, a rustic pastor named Johnny Tomlin shares his personal recollection about one thing he noticed in 1975 along with his spouse and her uncle close to Lenoir, North Carolina, that seems to be very comparable in look to the animal from the newspaper account from almost a century earlier:

As I’ve already prompt, it could be a lot simpler to concede that the newspaper account featured earlier presents us with trigger for doubt. Nonetheless, can we are saying the identical of comparable tales that proceed within the trendy period, the likes of Johnny Tomlin’s account from the video above?

At occasions, tales like these from the agricultural southeast—usually chalked as much as being merely legends and folklore—appear to boost extra questions than solutions. Returning to the questions I requested about such issues even in my youth, we’re left to account for the place such an animal would search shelter, and extra importantly, how a breeding inhabitants of them may stay so effectively hidden. It appears unattainable, and but tales like these of Johnny Tomlin, seldom although they happen, do persist.

I’d be considering listening to from any of our readers which have had comparable experiences the place members of the family, or they themselves, have seen what they imagine to be an animal much like this, in any other case generally known as “Wildman” or Wild man. If you need to share your story, you may e mail me right here, or attain out through the social media accounts linked in my bio beneath.

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