Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Teddy Roosevelt and Bigfoot

I was inspired by Jennie's post Theodore Roosevelt in North Dakota. Teddy Roosevelt had an active outdoor life. As I read the post, I remembered something about Teddy Roosevelt having ran into Bigfoot. Alas, I was mistaken.

Teddy Roosevelt never wrote or spoke of seeing Bigfoot himself but he did relate an account of someone else. In 1892, a German fur trapper by the name of Bauman was hunting with a friend around a section of the Salmon River in the Bitterroot Mountains between the state of Idaho and Montana. Their encounter with Bigfoot was recorded in a book (The Wilderness Hunter) by Teddy Roosevelt.

Here is an except from the story:

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.

I wonder if this is the only intersection of presidential history and Bigfoot lore?

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