Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 18th, 2012
Mowgli (a feral child from India) attacking Shere Khan: detail from a rare clay bas-relief by John Lockwood Kipling, father of Rudyard Kipling; The Works of Rudyard Kipling Vol. VII: The Jungle Book, 1907.
During the period of 1905-1906, reports of hairy giants, forest bipedal hominoids, and wild people, what we might call “Sasquatch” today, were often termed “Mowgli” in British Columbia and elsewhere.
Here is an example found by archivist researcher Chuck Flood:
Seattle (WA) The Seattle Times, December 2, 1905, p. 3
WILD MAN TERROR TO FARMERS
Residents on Valdez Island Report That the Huge and Hairy Giant of Vancouver Island Haunts Their Home.
The Times Special Service.
NANAIMO, B.C., Saturday, Dec. 2. — According to arrivals from Comox today by the steamer City of Nanaimo, the residents of Valdez Island, near Comox, B.C., have been terrorized of late by visits from Vancouver Island’s now famous “Mowgli.” A rancher from Valdez Island reported that the wild man of Vancouver Island is at present on Valdez, and by the description of the creature which he solemnly swears he saw, including the corroboration of half a dozen others, the “Mowgli” is undoubtedly the same as seen near Horne Lake two months ago.
A family named Pitcock, residing on Valdez, last week was frightened one night about 10 o’clock while sitting at supper by seeing a ghastly face looking through the window into the room. The face was covered with long black coarse hair, only a small portion of the skin being visible. Directly the creature saw he was noticed he uttered a diabolical scream, which was heard by ranchers nearly a mile away, and vanished.
A number of young farmers with rifles searched the vicinity next day without success. Large prints of feet upon the soft earth of a flower bed under the window was the only sign of the monster who, according to those who have seen him, is nearly seven feet tall.
Utters Awful Scream.
Twice during the next night the family heard a scream similar to that uttered by the wild man. All that day a careful watch was kept, but there were no signs of the “Mowgli,” although there were a number of footprints corresponding with those seen before, which were found along the creek that passed the Pitcock household.
The boys, however, determined to capture the individual that has created a panic among the female residents and the next night a dozen well armed men concealed themselves near a stack of hay where the footprints of the ”Mowgli” were traceable. About 10:30 p.m. horrible yells were heard I the direction of the creek and after waiting for an hour some of the posse determined to go in that direction. They had gone up the stream about half a mile when the light of a lantern carried by the “Wowgli” come into view. Hiding behind a tree the posse had a splendid chance to view this denizen of the woods. They describe him as very tall and powerfully built and with the exception of a few rags hanging from a belt at his waist, he was entirely
naked. His body was covered with long black hair and the face, which presented a most hideous appearance, was identified as the same as that seen at the Pitcock home the evening previous.
Farmers Are Frightened.
The men after recovering from their fright, broke from cover and one raised his rifle, but before he could find range the “Mowgli,” who had by this time discovered the farmers, threw himself into the icy waters and swam for the other side of the creek, and upon reaching it cried out in good English, ”Don’t shoot,”, and plunged into the bush again and was lost from view.
Nothing more of him has been seen around the Pitcock residence, although two half-breeds of Alert Bay claim to have seen the same man a few days after.
- End -
Theo Paijmans has pointed out that this story also was published Boston Daily Globe, Boston, Massachusetts, 31 December 1905. He also chronicles the following other stories:
- 1905, Maryland, Unionville, gorilla creature, head twice as large as a man, long, large protruding teeth, cries sounding like ya-ho (hence the name yaho in the account, reminding us of the crypto-name ‘yahoo’or ‘yahhoo’);
- 1906, a couple of accounts on a flap in Pennsylvania of a gorilla like creature popping up at several places.
Chuck Flood notes: “There was a spate of hairy giant wild man stories in the Pacific Northwest press in 1905 and 1906; I’m trying to collect as many as I can. They were often referred to as ‘mowglis,’ which as I believe was a word first introduced in Kipling’s Jungle Books stories in the early 1890s. I don’t remember having seen that word used to describe giant hairy hominids outside the PNW, and it seemed to have soon dropped out of style. If you find any other references please let me know.”
A great deal has been written in Sasquatch studies and hominology about Yahoo having links to Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. It only makes sense that Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Books would also be the source of cryptid names.