Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 17th, 2010
Woodland Daily Democrat
June 25, 1891
“THE WHAT IS IT”
Seen Once More – It Has Not Reformed
Once more the wild and woolly “What Is It” has been seen. It does not seem to have reformed as yet, as it is as frisky as ever. This time the person who saw it was a Mr. Herman Gilbert, who was up in the head of Capay Valley looking for a suitable piece of government land that he might homestead.
He says that he was near Rumsey, where he was stopping with some friends. On last Monday morning [June 22] he started out with his brother-in-law, expecting to be gone a day or so, as he wished to combine business with
pleasure. They came to a nice little valley about half a mile long on Tuesday afternoon, and as it was cool, well watered and full of nice green grass, they determined to pitch their tent there. This they did, and about half an hour later Mr. Gilbert went to the spring near by to water the horses, and was surprised to see around it tracks very much resembling that of a man, but thought nothing of it. Incidentally, when he returned, he mentioned it to his brother-in-law. He then, for the first time, heard of
the terror, and suggested that the two return and track the mysterious animal to his lair. This they did, and as they followed the foot prints, they found that they led to the other end of the valley. Just as they came to the end of the defile and were about to turn down the mountain side, they heard a peculiar cry, half human and half brutish, and quite near them. As may be supposed, they wended their way very carefully and slowly. Before
they had gone half a mile, they came upon a path. The gentlemen were too sharp to walk in it, and followed the direction it took by walking in the underbrush near by.
Just as they reached the bottom of the mountain, they came into a deep ravine and there, walking up and down, could be seen “his nibs” himself. Mr. Gilbert says that the beast seemed to be mad at something, and would beat its breast, which was covered with gore, and the sound made thereby was like distant thunder. It had lost some hair since last seen, so the gentleman should judge, for the cuticle was plainly discernable and was of a dark color, much like that of a horse.
Near by was a rude cave where the anomaly lived. About it could be seen bones from which flesh had been eaten. The stench arising from the decaying matter was horrible. The muscles of the creature were very powerful, and
the animal made an exhibition of its strength once by lifting a huge rock that would weigh at least three hundred pounds and throwing it, without any apparent effort, a hundred feet.
After watching the “What Is It” for some time the gentlemen crept quietly back, and as soon as possible left the locality, determined not to make any closer acquaintance with the Capay curiosity.
Thanks to Jerome Clark.