Cryptozoologist Scott White of the International Bigfoot Society spoke to an elderly woman named Rita Swift, who told him a story told by her grandfather.
Her grandfather’s name was George Huhn, and in the late 19th century he worked as an engineer on a train that ran along the US-Canada border.
One night, while they were passing through a forest somewhere in the middle of nowhere, their train hit something on the tracks and it was something so large that it damaged the cowcatcher – a device made of metal rods that was attached to the front of the train.
Below is her story:
“My name is Rita Swift. I live in Orange Co. California. In 1945, my grandfather George Huhn told me a story about the time his train hit a large Ape creature and bent the cow catcher on his train.
“This was in the 1880’s and he was an engineer on a train that ran along the borders of the US and Canada. It was night, and all of a sudden their train hit something and they stopped the train, because the cowcatcher was dragging on the tracks.
At first they thought it was a moose, but when they all got out with their lanterns, they discovered this huge smelly Ape, hung up in the catcher. They had only lanterns for light, and they were in the forest, basically in the middle of nowhere.
“It took most of the crew to pick it up and lift it into an open flat car. They noticed it was structured differently from a Gorilla of Ape, and smelled so bad, the crew got the smell on them.
“They left it on the flat car, because it took at least 2 hours to straighten out the cow catcher. Good thing my great grandfather was also a blacksmith. They were at least 2 hours from the next water tower and station of sorts.
“The break man noticed Indians sneaking around in the forest, but thought they had disappeared. When they were ready to go, the crew checked on their smelly passenger, but he was gone.
“They looked for tracks and decided the Indians had dragged it away into the forest and across a stream. They found the tracks and pieces of hair and of course the smell. They washed up in the stream and were glad to get rid of it. The smell had even remained in the flat car.
“My great grandfather took pieces of the hair back, and gave it to a doctor he knew in Michigan. They had all decided the creature had escaped from a circus or sideshow. Great grandfather thought it was 8 feet tall and weighed at least 500 lbs.
“It took six men to carry it off the tracks. When my daughter was a student at California State University at Fullerton in 1986, I met a Professor of Anthropology. The reason I was there, was I donated Indonesian Fighting Swords to her dept.
“They were very old and had belonged to my husband. I just didn’t feel comfortable having them in my home anymore. I noticed in her office she had information on the walls about Big Foot. I told her the story and she believed it was documented.
“My grandfather said the Ape had a different face than what he remembered of a Gorilla. He said the teeth were like humans, but extremely wide and large. The body hair was thick dark brown, with light tipping and the eyes were large and dark. He said they agreed it was a male because of it’s genitalia.
“Grandfather continued as a railroad engineer on the Colorado Wyoming line until he retired in 1925. He fought off outlaws with his six shooter from the cab. I have a photo of Grandfather with the crew, stopped in Eads, Colorado, with a large cannon hole in the side of the engine.
“This was in 1898, when some outlaws on horses pulled up an old Confederate cannon along the tracks, and fired at the engine. The crew chased them away, but left the train damaged. They were on their way to Durango carrying bank money from Denver.
“Grandfather would never tell stories that were not true. He was a devout Methodist, and said his prayers so loud every night, the whole house could hear him.
“He had originally come from Amish in Mercer, Co., Pa., but left to fight for the Union in the Civil War. His father did not accept his decision, and he never returned to Mercer Co. He was born in 1845 and died in 1947, in Claremont California.”
Human-Bear Cryptid Sighting told in 1883 Newspaper
The newspaper article from 1883 discussing the sighting of three human-bear cryptids.
The Salt Lake Herald featured a story in 1883 about three businessmen who stumbled upon a wild woman with three children who seemed to be half human and half bear.
The Human-Bear Cryptid Sighting in Louisiana
The newspaper article can be viewed in context here. We have reproduced it below.
A Queer Family: Consisting of a Mother of Three Children Who are Part Man and Part Animal
The Salt Lake Herald, Sunday 30th September, 1883
Messrs. F. Rosengay, Allen M. Vandal and Edward P. Strong, for some time past have been traveling through portions of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi inspecting pine lands.
These gentlemen are the emissaries of a grand syndicate. Or, at least, so they claim, which has been formed in Minnesota for the purpose of buying immense tracts of land in the south and forming a complete system of saw mills from which to furnish lumber for the world, but more especially for shipment into Mexico, where they claim they will always find a ready market at good prices.
These gentlemen are all men of means and very kindly in their deportment, making friends in every portion of the country they have visited, and bring with them undoubted credentials as to their honor and integrity, therefore some credit must be given to the following relation, which each of them declares to be nothing but facts.
It might be as well to state here that nearly on the line between St. Tammany and Washington parishes resides a man about 50 years of age, who answers to the name of “Crazy Aleck.” This dilapidated specimen of crazy humanity resides in the most lonesome portion of the parish that it would be possible to find, seldom making his appearance among the settlers, and then only when forced to do so from hunger.
He is harmlessly insane and sometimes when he visits a place to secure a snack of something to eat will become quite communicative and tell some wonderful stories concerning his forest home; but where he resides no one knows or cares, and his queer stories were never heeded, being regarded as the fancies of a madman’s brain.
But upon several occasions “Crazy Aleck” has told a story concerning “a woman and some bears” which sounded ridiculous and improbable in the extreme, but which, nevertheless, has proved to be true.
This is the narrative related by the three gentlemen first named:
Hearing while in the lower portion of Mississippi, that some very desirable land lay in Washington and St. Tammany parishes, LA., and that is could be procured very reasonably, our party started for that section. Upon arriving at the desired point we obtained accommodations at a farmhouse and the next day started on horseback in a tour of inspection; well, we had gone over considerable ground during the day and started on the return about 4 o’clock.
Mr. Vandal, who had become weary of riding, had asked one of us to lead his animal and that he would walk on while we stopped now and then to make observations and take notes, as was our custom upon such journeys.
Vandal got some distance ahead of the two of us who had the horses, and suddenly we saw him come around a bend in the road a short distance ahead of us on a dead run; we started up our horses to meet him, and when he came up, almost out of breath, he said: “Tie your horses to a tree and come up the road; there’s the greatest sight you ever saw.”
We did as he requested and followed him up the road some 300 yards, when putting his fingers to his lips, to indicate that we must be silent and cautious, he started to creep through an undergrowth on the side of the road and we followed.
At this juncture we were much startled to hear a deep coarse laugh issue from a space apparently a short distance in advance of us.
It was a human laugh, evidently, but still it was so hollow and unearth like that it sent a chill of terror through us all; this laugh was followed by another, and then another of the same kind, and these were succeeded by a long hearty laugh, apparently that of a female.
Partly recovered from our astonishment, at a motion from Vandal we creeped on about thirty yards to the edge of the thicket, and there in an open space, a few yards beyond, we beheld the most astonishing sight that ever greeted mortal eye.
Seated on the trunk of a fallen tree was a dilapidated looking specimen of feminine humanity, whose small bit of clothing was naught but rags and whose hair hung about her shoulders in a tangles mass; she was apparently about sixty years of age, was of medium stature, and dark, as though from long exposure to the sun and weather.
Near by her were three of the most hideous objects one could imagine, evidently playing, and she seemed to be watching them attentively.
To describe these three objects (you could not call them human) is very difficult.Their heads were shaped like human beings, the tops, ears, eyes and neck being perfect, but the mouth and nose coming together broad and thick, more on the order of a bear; the arms resembled perfectly those of men, but from the waist down they bore the shape and semblance of a bear, being covered entirely with long, coarse, black hair. The feet were also similar to those of a bear, being flat, and seemingly armed with immense claws.
For some time we watched them with mute astonishment, as they wrestled and played, now dancing erect as a biped, and then on all fours as a quadruped, and now and then giving a vent to their horrible laugh.
How long this would have continued we do not know, but jut here Strong let his excitement get the better of his discretion and changed his position, partly exposing himself to view, and at the same time making a slight noise. The noise attracted the woman’s attention, and she evidently saw Strong, for uttering a cry of alarm she started through the under growth on the other side of the opening with the speed of a deer, closely followed by the three queer-looking creatures, running on all fours.
As soon as we had recovered from our astonishment we attempted to follow them, but they were too swift of foot, and fearing we would become lost in this, to us strange section, we were forced to return.
The next day in company with several other gentlemen, we scoured the section thoroughly, but could find no traces of the strange family. “I have traveled far,” said Mr. Vandal, “and seen many wonderful things, but this human-bear family, as I call them, surpasses my experience heretofore by far.
Theories about the Human-Bear Cryptid Children
If we assume this story is credible, what could be going on here?
Some cryptozoologists believe the wild woman in this account may have found some orphaned bigfoot children and chosen to raise them as her own. Bigfoot and other strange cryptids have been spotted all over America and it’s possible that these young creatures were simply an undiscovered species being cared for by a reclusive woman.
It’s somewhat more likely that the children were in fact human but perhaps horribly deformed. The extreme body hair and strange facial features could be a genetic abnormality. The “claws” could have simply been unkempt toenails that had grown to an unsightly length.
Perhaps the children were actually bear cubs that that the woman had taken. If they had mange it’s possible that they would resemble humans a bit more closely. A recent viral video showing a bear in a Chinese zoo that people believed was actually human shows that some bears can be uncannily human-like.
A video of a bear showing strangely human qualities.
What do you think the truth is about the part-human- part bear family? Let us know in the comments.
A Native American artwork depicting the Dzoonokwa, a similar creature to the Stick Indian.
The Native American Salish tribe recounts tales of a cryptid known as the Stick Indians, which remarkably mirror many reported sightings of Bigfoot.
Description of the Stick Indians
Stick Indians are a nocturnal creature rarely sighted held in high regard by the Salish people. They are described as being hairy, humanoid creatures with a tall and slender frame. They are said to be able to move incredibly fast and silently.
The description of Stick Indians varies between tribes, with the Salish viewing them as large, hairy, Bigfoot-like beings, while the Cayuse and Yakama portray them as dwarfs of the forest.
In some tribal traditions, Stick Indians are believed to possess the power to paralyze, hypnotize, or drive humans insane. In other accounts, they simply lure people off their paths by creating spooky whistling sounds or laughter in the woods at night.
Stories circulate of Stick Indians potentially devouring humans who become their victims, abducting children, or harassing women. These entities are also said to seek fierce revenge against those who harm or disrespect them, even if such actions were unintentional.
Stick Indians reportedly speak a language resembling the sounds of birds and other animals rather than human speech.
Stick Indians are said to subsist primarily on hunting and fishing, and it appears they do not establish any permanent settlements, preferring a nomadic lifestyle. Their attire is reportedly made from deer skins and other elements found within the forest.
The origin of the term “Stick Indians” is speculated to come from their forest-dwelling habits and animal-like characteristics. Another theory suggests that the name derives from their mischievous behavior of inserting sticks into tepees, lodges, and even pranking sleeping individuals.
These entities show similarities to the Pukwudgies of folklore, primarily being harmless until provoked. In the darkness of the night, Stick Indians are known to engage in light-hearted mischief in nearby villages, such as pilfering fish from nets, sneaking away with food, or even undressing sleeping villagers.
However, these creatures’ true capabilities are said to surface when they are threatened or their lives are disrupted by humans. Known for their vengefulness, Stick Indians allegedly possess powerful mental influence abilities. These powers, reported to induce fear, confusion, and anxiety, vary in intensity and effect, with some accounts suggesting they can hypnotize or even drive people to insanity. They are particularly adept at disorienting travelers by mimicking animal noises and whistling.
Several instances of missing persons are often attributed to the Stick Indians, who are believed to abduct those who disrespect them as a form of retribution. The folklore especially warns children about wandering into the forest at night, as tales abound of Stick Indians kidnapping children and raising them as wives or slaves.
Living History’s Mysteries covers the Stick Indians
Stick Indian Sightings
A user on the HWHikers forum named kbatku posted his encounter with some Stick Indians back in 2008.
He recalled that on New Year’s Eve in 1991, him and his wife ventured into Boulder Cave to meet some friends and celebrate the New Year. Despite being dark, they were equipped with flashlights and warm clothes, and the trail was clear of snow.
As they navigated the trail through the pine forest, they started hearing distant noises resembling the laughter and shouts of playing children. They initially dismissed this, attributing it to a nearby cabin or camp, but there was no evidence of any other people in the area. The laughter seemed to fade in and out, as if carried by the wind, only to return moments later.
Once they reached the cave, they relayed their peculiar experience to their friends. However, as the night progressed with music, conversation, and laughter, the strange incident was temporarily forgotten.
When they started their journey back, the mood had changed, the forest seemed somewhat ominous. They discovered a peculiar object propped against the base of a tree, which they believed was left for them by whatever caused the laughter. The object was a small figurine made of tiny sticks, moss, pine needles, and lichen, intricately assembled, as if by tiny hands.
Taking it home, they scrutinized it for some time, but it eventually gave off a creepy vibe, and they discarded it. Years later, while recounting this experience to a Native coworker, he suggested that they had encountered “Stick Indians”.
Have you ever seen a Stick Indian? Tell us about it in the comments.
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