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Bauman Story


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(in response to Jerrywayne's post in the NAWAC thread, I don't want to derail his thread further)


I'll point out the parts that I think lend itself very well to a Sasquatch or what we call TODAY a Sasquatch or Bigfoot. People reading it can judge for themselves......



"Frontiersmen are not, as a rule, apt to be very superstitious. They lead lives too hard and practical, and have too little imagination in things spiritual and supernatural. I have heard but few ghost stories while living on the frontier, and those few were of a perfectly commonplace and conventional type. But I once listened to a goblin-story, which rather impressed me.

A grizzled, weather beaten old mountain hunter, named Bauman who, born and had passed all of his life on the Frontier, told it the story to me. He must have believed what he said, for he could hardly repress a shudder at certain points of the tale; but he was of German ancestry, and in childhood had doubtless been saturated with all kinds of ghost and goblin lore. So that many fearsome superstitions were latent in his mind; besides, he knew well the stories told by the Indian medicine men in their winter camps, of the snow-walkers, and the specters, [spirits, ghosts & apparitions] the formless evil beings that haunt the forest depths, and dog and waylay the lonely wanderer who after nightfall passes through the regions where they lurk. It may be that when overcome by the horror of the fate that befell his friend, and when oppressed by the awful dread of the unknown, he grew to attribute, both at the time and still more in remembrance, weird and elfin traits to what was merely some abnormally wicked and cunning wild beast; but whether this was so or not, no man can say.

When the event occurred, Bauman was still a young man, and was trapping with a partner among the mountains dividing the forks of the Salmon from the head of Wisdom River. Not having had much luck, he and his partner determined to go up into a particularly wild and lonely pass through which ran a small stream said to contain many beavers. The pass had an evil reputation because the year before a solitary hunter who had wandered into it was slain, seemingly by a wild beast, the half eaten remains being afterwards found by some mining prospectors who had passed his camp only the night before.

The memory of this event, however, weighted very lightly with the two trappers, who were as adventurous and hardy as others of their kind. They took their two lean mountain ponies to the foot of the pass where they left them in an open beaver meadow, the rocky timber-clad ground being from there onward impracticable for horses. They then struck out on foot through the vast, gloomy forest, and in about four hours reached a little open glade where they concluded to camp, as signs of game were plenty.

There was still an hour or two of daylight left, and after building a brush lean-to and throwing down and opening their packs, they started upstream. The country was very dense and hard to travel through, as there was much down timber, although here and there the somber woodland was broken by small glades of mountain grass. At dusk they again reached camp. The glade in which it was pitched was not many yards wide, the tall, close-set pines and firs rising round it like a wall. On one side was a little stream, beyond which rose the steep mountains slope, covered with the unbroken growth of evergreen forest.

They were surprised to find that during their absence something, apparently a bear, had visited camp, and had rummaged about among their things, scattering the contents of their packs, and in sheer wantonness destroying their lean-to. The footprints of the beast were quite plain, but at first they paid no particular heed to them, busying themselves with rebuilding the lean-to, laying out their beds and stores and lighting the fire.

While Bauman was making ready supper, it being already dark, his companion began to examine the tracks more closely, and soon took a brand from the fire to follow them up, where the intruder had walked along a game trail after leaving the camp. When the brand flickered out, he returned and took another, repeating his inspection of the footprints very closely. Coming back to the fire, he stood by it a minute or two, peering out into the darkness, and suddenly remarked, "Bauman, that bear has been walking on two legs."

Bauman laughed at this, but his partner insisted that he was right, and upon again examining the tracks with a torch, they certainly did seem to be made by but two paws or feet. However, it was too dark to make sure. After discussing whether the footprints could possibly be those of a human being, and coming to the conclusion that they could not be, the two men rolled up in their blankets, and went to sleep under the lean-to. At midnight Bauman was awakened by some noise, and sat up in his blankets. As he did so his nostrils were struck by a strong, wild-beast odor, and he caught the loom of a great body in the darkness at the mouth of the lean-to. Grasping his rifle, he fired at the vague, threatening shadow, but must have missed, for immediately afterwards he heard the smashing of the under wood as the thing, whatever it was, rushed off into the impenetrable blackness of the forest and the night.

After this the two men slept but little, sitting up by the rekindled fire, but they heard nothing more. In the morning they started out to look at the few traps they had set the previous evening and put out new ones. By an unspoken agreement they kept together all day, and returned to camp towards evening. On nearing it they saw, hardly to their astonishment that the lean-to had again been torn down. The visitor of the preceding day had returned, and in wanton malice had tossed about their camp kit and bedding, and destroyed the shanty. The ground was marked up by its tracks, and on leaving the camp it had gone along the soft earth by the brook. The footprints were as plain as if on snow, and, after a careful scrutiny of the trail, it certainly did seem as if, whatever the thing was, it had walked off on but two legs.

The men, thoroughly uneasy, gathered a great heap of dead logs and kept up a roaring fire throughout the night, one or the other sitting on guard most of the time. About midnight the thing came down through the forest opposite, across the brook, and stayed there on the hillside for nearly an hour. They could hear the branches crackle as it moved about, and several times it uttered a harsh, grating, long-drawn moan, a peculiarly sinister sound. Yet it did not venture near the fire. In the morning the two trappers, after discussing the strange events of the last 36 hours, decided that they would shoulder their packs and leave the valley that afternoon. They were the more ready to do this because in spite of seeing a good deal of game sign they had caught very little fur. However it was necessary first to go along the line of their traps and gather them, and this they started out to do. All the morning they kept together, picking up trap after trap, each one empty. On first leaving camp they had the disagreeable sensation of being followed. In the dense spruce thickets they occasionally heard a branch snap after they had passed; and now and then there were slight rustling noises among the small pines to one side of them.

At noon they were back within a couple of miles of camp. In the high, bright sunlight their fears seemed absurd to the two armed men, accustomed as they were, through long years of lonely wandering in the wilderness, to face every kind of danger from man, brute or element. There were still three beaver traps to collect from a little pond in a wide ravine near by. Bauman volunteered to gather these and bring them in, while his companion went ahead to camp and made ready the packs.

On reaching the pond Bauman found three beavers in the traps, one of which had been pulled loose and carried into a beaver house. He took several hours in securing and preparing the beaver, and when he started homewards he marked, with some uneasiness, how low the sun was getting. As he hurried toward camp, under the tall trees, the silence and desolation of the forest weighted on him. His feet made no sound on the pine needles and the slanting sunrays, striking through among the straight trunks, made a gray twilight in which objects at a distance glimmered indistinctly. There was nothing to break the gloomy stillness which, when there is no breeze, always broods over these somber primeval forests. At last he came to the edge of the little glade where the camp lay and shouted as he approached it, but got no answer. The campfire had gone out, though the thin blue smoke was still curling upwards.

Near it lay the packs wrapped and arranged. At first Bauman could see nobody; nor did he receive an answer to his call. Stepping forward he again shouted, and as he did so his eye fell on the body of his friend, stretched beside the trunk of a great fallen spruce. Rushing towards it the horrified trapper found that the body was still warm, but that the neck was broken, while there were four great fang marks in the throat. The footprints of the unknown beast-creature, printed deep in the soft soil, told the whole story. The unfortunate man, having finished his packing, had sat down on the spruce log with his face to the fire, and his back to the dense woods, to wait for his companion. While thus waiting, his monstrous assailant, which must have been lurking in the woods, waiting for a chance to catch one of the adventurers unprepared, came silently up from behind, walking with long noiseless steps and seemingly still on two legs. Evidently unheard, it reached the man, and broke his neck by wrenching his head back with its fore paws, while it buried its teeth in his throat. It had not eaten the body, but apparently had romped and gamboled around it in uncouth, ferocious glee, occasionally rolling over and over it; and had then fled back into the soundless depths of the woods.

Bauman, utterly unnerved and believing that the creature with which he had to deal was something either half human or half devil, some great goblin-beast, abandoned everything but his rifle and struck off at speed down the pass, not halting until he reached the beaver meadows where the hobbled ponies were still grazing. Mounting, he rode onwards through the night, until beyond reach of pursuit."



So what can be gleaned from this? 


1) Roosevelt may have felt a little sheepish sharing this story and he states he doesn't know if Bauman's superstitions were getting the better of him. But the story impressed Roosevelt enough to go ahead and write about it in his book "Wilderness Hunter".


2) Bauman's partner came to the realization that the tracks he was observing were walking on two legs. And he states thus, and then they discuss the possibility of it being a Human. Why would two trappers discuss Bear tracks possibly being bipedal and human like in nature?


3) They also report a strong odor. Do we receive reports like this today? Yes.


4) They also report a strong harsh moan. Again today? Yes. And more importantly again, should two trappers know what sort of sounds a Bear makes? I'd hope so.


5) Bauman reports that the same tracks they had been observing (bipedal and human like) are definitely the culprit in the attack and death of his partner.


6) Bauman flees the scene convinced he is dealing with something half human or half devil..........a goblin beast.




So you don't feel any of this could be associated with what people describe as Bigfoot or Sasquatch today? Ok, if not? What myth do you associate it with?




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Hello Norseman,


Whatever it was it was stealthy, cunning, and a stalker. It was comfortable in darkness, and apparently not prone to being much of a menace when the two people were together. When separated though it was another story it would seem. It did not attack Bauman when he was alone collecting beavers who was preoccupied and might have been easily snuck up on. Instead it preyed upon another who was alone and apparently unaware of being stalked. After being shot at it also didn't seem to be worried about it being repeated. Or it was a different one! Many more questions can be found for this rendering without much trouble. Like, seemingly knowing that Bauman was not going to be around for a while while the death of his partner was being played out. It would appear that there was more than one involved in my opinion. More disturbing is what looks like a planned intent. I also wonder if Bauman called the footprints just that instead of "paw prints" for a specific reason because of his observations of the trackways. It sure looks that way.

Edited by hiflier
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Jonathan Swifts Yahoos from Gulivers Travels 1726.






If the censure of the YAHOOS could any way affect me, I should have great reason to complain, that some of them are so bold as to think my book of travels a mere fiction out of mine own brain, and have gone so far as to drop hints, that the HOUYHNHNMS and YAHOOS have no more existence than the inhabitants of Utopia.








"a brute in human form," 1726, from the race of brutish human creatures in Swift's "Gulliver's Travels." 


Appalachian History.




Long before it became the brand of a search engine, the creature whose uttered cry gave it a name haunted Kentuckians. 





And from the 1844 edition: “They have an evil spirit, which causes them great terror, whom they call ‘Yahoo’ or ‘Devil-Devil’: he lives in the tops of the steepest and rockiest mountains, which are totally inaccessible to all human beings, and comes down at night to seize and run away with men, women or children, whom he eats up, children being his favourite food…The name… of Yahoo being used to express a bad spirit, or ‘Bugaboo’, was common also with the aborigines of Van Diem[e]n’s Land [Tasmania]…â€

The tribes mentioned here are located in the region around Botany Bay (near Sydney and slightly westward), site of the first British settlement in Australia in 1788. Gulliver’s Travels was written in 1726. Did the aborigines, like early Kentuckians, absorb Swift’s tale from the new colonists and make it local, or did Swift, to create his characters, draw on much older aboriginal folktales, possibly passed along to him by seafarers pre-dating Cook? The debate continues.




I can tell you there is something out there that screams it's own name. It's not hard to connect the dots from there. Yes it is bigfoot, unless you prefer Devil Devils.

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Hi, Norseman,


It's a good story, but I believe it describes a bear attack.  Described as Trappers, I wonder what their experience was with bears? 

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Jerrywayne wrote:


Sorry for this late reply.


I think you have retro activated “myth creation†as it relates to sasquatch. Look at your example of Roosevelt’s Bauman story. In your mind Roosevelt “came out and shared a Bigfoot story.†Yet, Roosevelt didn’t. Your example shows that the Bigfoot myth creation of the last few decades has incorporated old accounts that do not relate to Bigfoot. This is an erroneous case building to give Bigfoot a back-story, a history that it does not have. Roosevelt’s story is relevant only because it puts a two-legged culprit at the center of an old-timer’s campfire story. The future president does not relate it to an ape. Only Bigfoot enthusiasts, cryptozoologists, and Forteans see this story as an endorsement of an 1800’s sasquatch.


In his book, BIGFOOT EXPOSED, anthropologist David Daegling noted the Bauman story is “unmistakably mythological in structure.†Furthermore, “Roosevelt was inclined to think the offender was a known, but unidentified, wild animal, and Peter Byrne notes that the injuries suffered by Bauman’s unlucky partner fit the description of a bear attack. Roosevelt prefaced the account by suggesting that Bauman was susceptible to supernatural suggestion ’when overcome by the fate that befell his friend, and when oppressed by the awful dread of the unknown, he grew to attribute, both at the time and still more in remembrance, weird and elfin traits to what was merely some abnormally wicked and cunning wild beast.’ Roosevelt was decidedly noncommittal in his endorsement of the story and clearly skeptical of Bauman’s reliability as an eyewitness.â€


Daegling suggests that if the Bauman story really were a sasquatch event, “then we have an account suggesting that Bigfoot has a penchant for killing, and perhaps dining on, territorial interlopers.†This should give NAWAC team members pause.


Another erroneous Bigfoot back-story is the David Thompson account, supposedly showing an early 1800’s sasquatch track find. In truth, Thompson himself identified the tracks as those of large bear. He seemed a bit puzzled because others thought the tracks might be from a mammoth. Nowhere does he claim the tracks were from a bipedal animal. Here is a link to the Thompson track way and mammoth connection that does away with the story treated as a Bigfoot story: http://lewis-clark.org/content/content-article.asp?ArticleID=2860


Ever wonder why, with the Jacko story, no one at the time said “hey, this is a young sasquatch or the ape native to these parts?†The probable answer is that no one had any knowledge of indigenous apes.


Even if you look at the Jerry Crew incident which produced the term Bigfoot, at first no local folk had a clue as to who or what had left the tracks. Talk of a giant Indian kid, a runaway from a 1930’s CCC camp, bear, and even Lemurians from the caves of Mt. St. Helens were in the media. When John Green showed up, he linked the tracks to an animal he hypothesized existed in British Columbia too: a giant, bipedal ape, America’s version of the yeti. And the rest is …. history.




Sorry for the split response!


In my post above I go over the Bauman story. I think Roosevelt was a little sheepish in his recounting the Bauman story......but obviously it impressed him enough to include it in his book. Which for me is ultimately an endorsement. And back to the main point..........this is a past US President. Again, if Barack Obama included a story like this in a book recounting his hunting tales? Would you not at least admit that this "Mountain devil, Half man/half beast" whatever you want to call it from that era? Was certainly on the radar scope as a myth? Remember..........we are NOT debating the validity of Bauman's story. We are debating whether or not the Bigfoot myth is purely a concoction of the Bluff creek stories and tracks of the 1950's. Or if it existed prior.


As for the Thompson story, your confusing terminology. Non of the Indians present thought they were looking at a elephant track. They were arguing over whether it was a Bear or something else that looked similar to a bear but wasn't. The Indian guides that were accompanying him held that it wasn't a Bear track. The tracks were in snow which may account for the missing toe, which should have been there whether it was a Sasquatch OR a Bear.


You state that the trackway was absolutely not bipedal, which is really the crux of the whole issue. Why would Thompson write about this event several times in the span of forty years? My feeling is this........ again Indians know just like Bauman and his partner that Bears do not walk on two legs. The track measured 14x8 inches.........IF they had observed a hind foot of a old VERY LARGE Grizzly bear? Then where is the tell tale fore foot track in the trackway that is going to be much much shorter than 14 inches?


14 inches is a very large Grizzly bear, not so much for a coastal Brown bear, but Brown bears do not reside in Jasper NP. On the other hand? A 14 inch long track is somewhat short for a Sasquatch, and I feel this is what the Indian guides where talking about when they insisted it was a "young mammouth".


I would bet my bottom dollar that the term "mammouth" is simply a translation of what the Indian name was for whatever animal they were trying to describe to him. First of all the Woolly Mammoth was not given it's scientific name classification until 1828. And secondly they are not going to be having a discussion about whether or not it's an Elephant track or a Bear track..........






I see NO toes.........observed with that Elephant track.




I can barely make out the toes here, but nothing I would associate with a Bear............ever.


When fleshed out? This story I feel very well could be describing a bipedal Sasquatch track. Thompson never mentions specifically it's bipedal, but when you read between the lines? Why the confusion first of all? And second of all, no mention of the tracks being anything other than 14x8 inches in dimension. So if it was a Bear? It was indeed walking bipedally.




Normal Bear tracks look like this. Fore, hind, fore, hind. And notice how much shorter the fore paw is than the hind paw.


This whole Woolly Mammoth hypothesis is utter nonsense, I have no idea who came up with it, but it's not the first time I've heard of it. It's ridiculous. What your then saying is that Indians of the Rocky mountains knew what a Elephant track looked like and debated with Thompson as to whether it was a Bear or a Elephant.


Ok, your last statement, John Green came up with the whole Ape theory right?


Why then are they having "Ape hunts" in 1924 up in Ape canyon?




Again where are you getting your information from? This story was published in the Oregonian IN 1924. So there is no chance that Fred Beck told his story much later, and only then added that they were Apes AFTER the whole Bluff creek deal in the 1950's.


You simply wrong bud, this myth has been with us for quite sometime. And not just native American accounts. The only point I'm going to concede to you is that your absolutely right in observing that this myth has had several explosions in popularity.

Hi, Norseman,


It's a good story, but I believe it describes a bear attack.  Described as Trappers, I wonder what their experience was with bears? 


If you were making a living trapping in the late 1800's in Idaho? I would suspect they had quite a bit of experience with Bears.


The point of contention between Jerrywayne and me is not whether any of these stories are true. He is asserting that the modern myth of Bigfoot was created at Bluff Creek in the 1950's. I'm asserting that it's much older than that. And he doesn't want to take Indian legends into account. So I'm basically going down my laundry list of stories of Euro/American origin, and presenting the facts to him.

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We do have bear attacks in Montana, to include Glacier and the northern strip of Yellowstone, National Parks. I've never heard of one resulting in this: "...broke his neck by wrenching his head back with its fore paws, while it buried its teeth in his throat." Those that survive an attack are typically bitten, clawed and, sometimes batted around if they assume a fetal position. A bear will certainly tear into anything with an odor of food, but wanton destruction of a lean to constructed of native material before it had even been slept in sounds a bit much. The early part of the story relating to the lone hunter killed the previous year and whose half eaten remains were discovered by prospectors may or may not be the work of the creature in this story. If he was killed by the same creature, it might very well have left the body, which would certainly have been scavenged by other animals.


Thanks for starting this Norse, I've only read synopsis of T.R.'s account, never the entire story in his own words. It certainly displays many similarities to BF reports to this day, other than the killing, which might have many explanations, i.e. a "rougue animal", a wounded animal or the mate of a wounded/killed animal. T.R.'s attempts to explain the story as the result of superstition could simply be his method of coping with information far outside his life experience.

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We have strange killings to this day, the 411 books include a very strange story involved a Bear Biologist from MSU that was archery hunting by himself in the Yukon. 


I will say this about the Bauman story, if it was a known animal? Specifically stalking stealthily and targeting the neck is a Cougar thing..........not a Bear thing. But if a Cougar is hunting you? He has plans to eat you. Surely he could have gotten some man steaks long before Bauman showed up on scene.


Again the whole story could be hogwash.........we don't know. BUT, a US President included it in his book, AND they were debating over whether the tracks observed were that of a Bear.........or a Human. Ummmm have we not heard this over and over and over again Ad Nauseum? Is this confusion not apart of the Bigfoot myth? I definitely think it is. A hind foot of a big Bear and a Sasquatch track vaguely resemble each other. The clincher is that Bears do not walk any distance on their hind feet, so they should have been seeing fore, hind, fore hind trackway. That's why Bauman's partner said the "Bear" was walking around on two feet, and it's also why Bauman laughed.


Even if Bauman is lying? It's a freakin Bigfoot story...........no question in my mind. Obviously there was enough of a myth present then for him to get in on the act and tell his own yarn about it.


And then we have Thompson's tale a half century earlier, straight up the Rocky mountain chain from Idaho to Jasper. And again, what is the crux of the story? They are debating over what exactly the tracks are...........a Bear? Or something else? Something the Indians are calling a Mammouth.........


Maybe Bauman had read Thompsons account?

Edited by norseman
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There are only two choices, BS or bigfoot.  


Bear?  Laughable suggestion if you've read the story above and know anything about bears.   Consider the behaviors, the tracks, etc.   Does not fit.


My best guess, reading between the lines, is it's an authentic account but it has been embellished in retelling.   The behavior is suggestive of a bigfoot trying to chase off people it doesn't want around.   We all see the parallels between this account and the body of reports, right?   I don't think it was attacking when they shot it, I think it was coming in when it thought they were asleep to investigate, to get a closer look at the people too stubborn or stupid to leave.    If they'd stayed asleep, everyone would have come out alive.  (I've been approached the same way and I'm still alive.)   What does not fit, though, is the description of kill by biting and fang marks.   My guess, T.R. or the person who told him the story embellished the story for drama.



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Even if Bauman is lying? It's a freakin Bigfoot story...........no question in my mind. Obviously there was enough of a myth present then for him to get in on the act and tell his own yarn about it.






Case in point,  Daniel Boone too.........

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It's a ghost story, told in camps and in bars since time immemorial.

Maybe, but without a doubt its a hairy stinkey ghost story if a ghost story.......

What did I win?

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There are lots of US ghost stories except what the the stories describe is entirely bigfoot in nature but the writer does not know that

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If, as you claim, bigfoot was commonly known to frontiersmen and/or trappers, why aren't there bigfoot furs on record?  It seems odd that out of all the animals in America, bigfoot is the only one not hunted for its fur. 

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If, as you claim, bigfoot was commonly known to frontiersmen and/or trappers, why aren't there bigfoot furs on record? It seems odd that out of all the animals in America, bigfoot is the only one not hunted for its fur.

In this thread we are talking about the myth not the animal itself. But my guess is they made crappy top hats.......:) idk

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The Bauman Story was one of many I have read over the years that has always stuck in my mind. Whether it  is true or not, its a heck of a story. 

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