Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gorilla in the wilderness

Historical research takes on many forms. Just ask Carolyn and Leonard Harr. The local couple were doing research and came across some interesting newspaper articles. They have shared the articles with me.

"The Wild Men of California" is a story about the a gorilla or wiild man seen in the area of in the mountains in Orestimba Creek. It was written Nov. 10, 1870 in the Titusville Morning Herald (The First Daily Paper in the Oil Regions). The newspaper is still in existence in Pennsylvania.

The writer tells his story that the wild man is not a myth.

"I know that it exists, and that there are at least two of them, having seen them both at once not a year ago. Their existence has been reported at times for the past twenty years, and I have heard it said that in the early days an ourang-outang escaped from ship on the southern coast; but the creature I have seen is not that animal, and it if is, where did he get his mate? Import her as the Web-foot did their wives?"

The hunter saw the tracks of enormous feet and decided to lay in wait for the visitor. A few hours later, he saw the wild man near his campfiire.

"The creature, whatever it was, stood full five feet high and disproportionately broad and square at the shoulders with arms of great length. The legs were very short, and the body long. The head was small compared with the rest of the creature and appeared to set upon his shoulders without a neck. The whole was covered with dark brown and cinnamon-colored hair, quite long on some parts, that on the head standing in a shock and growing close down to the eyes, like a Digger Indian. As I looked, he threw his head back and whistled again and then stooped and grasped a stick from the fire. This he swung round and round, until the fire on the end had gone out, when he repeated the manuevre. I was dumb, almost and could only look. "

Later, the wild man was joined by what the writer thought was female. Then they disappeared in to the brush.

An April 1871 story first appeared in the New York Times and was reprinted in The Petersburg Index( Petersburg, Virginia).

That paper said that over the ensuring time, the wild man appeared throughout the United States — then disappeared for a few months before resurfacing again. He eluded caputre wherever he went.

Theories on the sightings include the idea that the wild men were gorillas.

1 comment:

Elias Funez said...

I love this story, I came across this while cruising around on Google Earth preparing for my hike into the Orestimba Wilderness. It kind of freaked me out when I was out there by myself for a week.