Wild Men in the press

From Kook Science

A collection of miscellany clippings relating to Wild Men, including all manner of individuals, be they identified or no, from hermits to escaped mental patients to the American ourang outang (or wood ape).

Newspaper articles


"Wild Man of the Woods", Salt River Journal (Bowling Green, MO), 1840-02-15 

[NOTE: This is a reprint of an article from the Boston Daily Times, originally published 1 April 1839.]


From the Boston Times.
Wild Man of the Woods.

Robert Lincoln Esq., agent of the New York Lumber Company, has just returned from St. Peter's river, near the head of Steamboat navigation, on the Upper Mississippi, bringing with him a living wild Man of the Woods, with two small cubs, supposed to be three months old.

Mr. Lincoln went out to the North West as agent of the New York Lumber Company in July last, with a view to establish mills on the pine lands near the Falls of St. Anthony; & he has given us a detail of the operations of the company, and the circumstances which led to the capture of the extraordinary creature mentioned above.

The company set out on their expedition in July last. The workmen and laborers with the principal of the machinery went by the way of New Orleans, and at that city they chartered a steamboat and proceeded up the Mississippi. The whole business was under the direction of Mr. Lincoln. They had on board all the necessary tools and saws, together with the apparatus for a gristmill horses, cows, a good stock of of provisions, arms, ammunition, &c. &c.— These passed directly up the river, & reached St. Peters in safety.

During the winter, Mr. Lincoln, and several of his workmen made frequent excursions, in pursuit of game, which was very abundant, and their camp one continued scene of festivity. The Indians brought in large quantities of furs, which Mr. Lincoln purchased for a mere trifle, and lined his cabin throughout, which rendered his rude hut very warm and comfortable.

About the fourth of January two or three of the carpenters who had been out in pursuit of a gang of wolves, that had proved very troublesome, came into the camp and reported that they had seen a huge monster in the forest, on a branch of the Mississippi, having the form of a man but much taller and stouter, covered with long hair and of a frightful aspect. They stated that when seen he was on a log, looking directly at them, and the moment they raised their muskets, he darted into the thicket and disappeared. They saw him again in about half an hour, apparently watching them, and then they turned towards him he again disappeared. Mr. Lincoln was at first disposed to think lightly of the matter, believing that the men might be mistaken about the size and height of the object, or supposing it might have been a trick of the Indians to frighten them. He was informed however by some of the natives that such beings had often been seen on the St. Peters, and near the falls on the Mississippi; and they proposed to guide a party of workmen to a bluff where it was thought they might be found.— The men were already for the adventure, & arming themselves with rifles & hunting knives they started in pursuit under the direction of Mr. Lincoln and the Indian guides. On the way they were joined by several of the natives, and the whole party numbered twenty three.

They arrived at the bluff in the afternoon, on the 21st day of January, and encamped in a cave or grotto at the foot of the hill.— Early next morning, two of the Indians who were sent out to reconnoitre, in about an hour returned, and said that they had seen the Wild Man on the other side of the hill. The whole party immediately prepared for the pursuit. Mr. Lincoln gave positive orders to the men not to fire on him unless it should be necessary in self defence as he wished to take him alive. The Indians stated that although a powerful creature, he was believed to be perfectly harmless as he always fled at the approach of man.— While Mr. Lincoln was giving his men their instructions the Wild Man appeared in sight. He ordered them to remain perfectly quiet, and taking out his pocket glass surveyed him minutely. He appeared to be eight or nine feet high, very athletic and more like a beast standing erect than a man. The Indians had provided themselves with ropes prepared to catch wild horses, with which they hoped to ensnare and bind the creature, without maiming him.

The instant the company moved toward him, he sprang forward with a horrid and frightful yell which made the forest ring.— The Indians followed close upon him, and Lincoln and his men brought up the rear. The pursuit was continued nearly an hour, now gaining upon the object of their chase, and now loosing sight of him. He finally darted into a thicket, and they were unable to find him.

They then began to retrace their steps towards the place of encampment, and when within about a mile of the cavern the Wild Man crossed their path within twenty rods. They immediately gave chase again and accidentally drove the creature from the forest to an open prairie. At length he suddenly stopped and turned upon his pursuers. Mr. Lincoln was then in the advance. Fearing that he might attack them or return a the woods and escape, he fired upon him and fledged a charge of buck shot in the calf of his leg. He fell immediately, and the Indians sprang forward and threw their ropes over his head, arms and legs, and with much effort succeeded in binding him fast. He struggled however most desperately gnashed his teeth and howled in a frightful manner, They then formed a sort of litter of branches and limbs of trees and placing him on it they carried him to the encampment. A watch was then placed over him and every effort made that could be devised to keep him quiet but he continued to howl piteously all night. Towards morning two small cubs about three feet high and very similar to the larger monster came into the camp, & were taken without resistance.

As soon as the monster saw them he became furious — gnashing his teeth and howled, and thrashed about until he burst his cord and come very near effecting his escape. But he was bound anew and after that was kept more carefully watched and guarded. Next day he was placed on his litter and carried down to the mills on the St. Peters.

For two or three days Mr. Lincoln says he refused to eat or drink, or take any kind of food, but continued to howl at intervals an hour at a time; at length however he began to eat but from that time his howl ceased and he remained sullen and stupid ever since. The cubs took food very rapidly, and became quiet and playful.

Mr. Lincoln is a native of Boston and some of the workmen engaged in his mills are from this city. He arrived here on Sunday afternoon in the Brig St. Charles, Stewart, master from New Orleans; with the Wild Man and two cubs, and they were all removed from the vessel that evening. By an invitation of Lincoln, who is an old acquaintance, we went down to his rooms to examine this monster. He is a horrid looking creature, and reminds us very strongly of the fabled satyrs as we have pictured them to our own mind. He is about eight feet three inches high when standing erect, & his frame is of a giant proportion in every part. His legs are not straight but like those of any other four footed animal and his whole body is covered with a hide very much like that of the cow.

His arms are very large and long and ill proportioned. It does not appear from his manner that he ever walked on all-fours.— The fingers and toes are mere branches armed with stout claws. His head is covered with thick coarse black fur, like the main of a horse. The appearance of his countenance, if such it may be called, is very disgusting — nay, almost horrible. It is covered with a thinner and lighter coat than the rest of the body — there is no appearance of eye-brows or nose, the mouth is very large, wide, & similar to that of the baboon. His eves are quite dull and heavy and there is no indication of cunning or activity about them. Mr. Lincoln says he is beyond doubt carnivorous, as he universally rejects bread and vegetables and eats flesh with great avidity. He think he is of the ourang outang species; but from what we have seen, we are inclined to consider him a wild animal somewhat resembling a man. He is, to say the least one of the most extraordinary creatures ever brought before the public from any part of the earth, or water under the earth, and we believe will prove a difficult puzzle to the scientific. He lies down like a brute and does not appear to possess more instinct than common domestic animals. He is now quite tame and quiet, and is confined with a stout chain attached to his legs.

It is Mr Lincoln's intention to submit these animals to the inspection of the scientific for a few days in order to ascertain what they are; and after that to dispose of them to some person for exhibition. Mr. Lincoln himself, will return to the St. Peters in the course of three weeks.



"Wild Man of the Woods", Tarboro Press (Tarborough, NC), 1851-06-28 

Wild Man of the Woods. — A gigantic man of the woods has been discovered in Green county, Arkansas, and a party has been organized to endeavor to catch him. When last seen he was pursuing a herd of cattle, who were flying in a state of great alarm, as if pursued by a dreaded enemy. On seeing the party who discovered him he looked at them deliberately for a short time, turned and ran away. With great speed, leaping from twelve to fourteen feet at a time. His footprint measured thirteen inches each. He was of gigantic structure, the body being covered with hair, and the head with long locks that fairly enveloped his neck and shoulders.



"A Louisiana Wild Man of the Woods", Bedford Gazette (Bedford, PA), 1860-05-11 

A Louisiana Wild Man of the Woods. — A wild man of the woods, who speaks French in a manner not at all wild, is furnishing a local topic in the New Orleans papers. He was caught in a clump of bushes on a plantation, thirteen miles below the city, armed with a revolver, which unpleasant instrument he popped at every passenger along the road. Having frightened an entire parish out of its wits, a strong force was mustered to capture him, and that job was safely accomplished. Nobody knows him, nor will he give an account of himself.


"A Wild Man", National Opinion (Bradford, VT), 1869-07-30 

A Wild Man.
A Hideous Monster Roaming About The Neighborhood of Woodhull and Troupsburgh, N.Y.

A correspondent of a Hornellsville paper tells the following veracious story:

For the very strange story I am about to relate, I scarcely expect to, nor do I solicit belief. Indeed were it not that hundreds of reliable men and women in the county of Steuben are ready and willing to vouch for its truthfulness, I would never ask you to put it in print. The facts are as follows:

During the four weeks last past a wild man has been prowling around the woods in the towns of Woodhull and Troupsburgh, in the southern part of this county, coming frequently into the highways and cleared fields, to the intense terror of women and children, and even strong men, So great is the excitement in some parts of the towns mentioned, that schools have been broken up, parents not daring to send their little ones along the highways to the schoolhouses. At first the whole thing was considered a hoax, intended merely to frighten old women and children; but as many prominent citizens vouched for the actual existence of the wild man, and the disturbance of the schools was making it a matter of public importance, the people of Woodhull and Troupsburgh determined to ferret the matter out. Accordingly, on the 12th inst., about 200 men assembled at the residence of Mr. S. G. Brown, and proceeded to search the woods in that immediate vicinity, Under the leadership of Capt. J. J. Buchanan and the writer of this article, crowds searched the woods for hours, but with no success further than the finding of camp fire and the track of a barefooted man imprinted in the soft mashy part of the forest; and the whole party, at about 3 o'clock, p.m., returned to Mr. Brown's house, and getting ready their teams started back to Woodhull village. The party had proceeded scarcely fifty rods from Mr. Brown's house, when on the outskirts of the woods, and within 20 rods of the band of searchers, appeared the veritable wild man of the woods! Myself, Capt. Buchanan, and others, immediately started in full pursuit. We approached within six or eight rods of this strange being without attracting his notice, when suddenly, with a wild, unearthly shriek, he notified us that we were perceived. I drew my rifle, intending to halt him or send a bullet through his skull ordered him to halt, when he sprang with the agility of a deer toward the wood. I did not fire, because, on second thought, I doubted my right to take the life of any human being, however wild, until he had at least violated some law.

So far I have related facts: which will be vouched for by at least 100 persons, I will now give you a perfect description of this wild man — or animal — or 'What is it,' — as he, she, or it appeared to me. He was barefooted, bare headed, and wore no clothing except an old pair of soldier's pants; his hair, which was black, sprinkled with gray, was from two to three feet long, frizzly and matted, hanging over his face, neck, shoulders and back, reaching half way to the ground; his beard reaching to the waistband of his pants, was jet black, This, together with a springing, jerking hitch in his gait, gave him more the appearance of a wild animal than a human being; and though I am not of a nervous temperament may all the saints in heaven shield and defend me from ever meeting such a fiendish looking being face to face again. The long matted hair; the thick, black, uncombed beard; the wild, glaring, blood-shot eyeballs, which seemed bursting from their sockets; the savage, haggard, unearthly countenance; the wild, beastly appearance of this thing, whether man or animal, has haunted me continually by day and night; and I do not wonder that when this strange being rapped on the school house windows, children were frightened out of their senses and refused to be pacified; for although I have seen the chiefs of fifty different tribes of Rocky Mountain Indians, painted for the war path, and have looked with wonder on the stuffed gorilla, Barnum's 'What is it,' the man monkey, &c., I never beheld anything halfso hideous as the wild man of Woodhull woods.

I will close by saying that twenty five years ago a man named William Little suddenly disappeared from Woodhull, and has never been heard of since; and as the farm on which the wild man spends most of his time was formerly owned by the absentee, it is supposed by some that the wild man is none other than William Little himself, returned: in this disguise to the home of his youth. But I hardly think this theory the true one. I do believe, however, that a woman and a baby are somewhat mixed up in the matter.


"A Wild Man of the Woods", Idaho World (Idaho City, Idaho Terr.), 1870-07-14 


A Wild Man Of The Woods.— The people of Magnolia and Chatawa have had a sensation of their own during the past ten days. It did not come in the shape of a base ball match, or an atrocious murder, or of the accidental poisoning of an entire family, but simply in the appearance of a wild negro, an insane fifteenth amendment, whose wardrobe is as scanty as that of Adam before the fall, or any colored brother who roams the forests or fields of Congo or Dahomey at this day, from the monarch downward. The creature, whose actions so far as they have been observed, must certainly be insane. When first seen in that neighbourhood, he was observed by a white man near Magnolia, seated upon a fallen tree, eating pine cones. On being approached he ceased to eat, threw himself on all-fours and began scratching up the earth like a terrier on the scent of a rat, or other vermin, until he managed to get out of sight. When next seen it was eight miles below, near the railroad station at Chatawa. Every effort to get him to talk to any one, even of his own color, failed, and on being approached he fled away rapidly, until he was seen no more. He manifests no savage or brutal qualities, but seem to entertain an absolute dread of intercourse with human beings. He appeared to be about twenty-five years of age, well built and healthy. His finger nails have grown to an enormous length, resembling the claws of some wild feline animal. It is believed that he was originally a runaway, and that he has for years lived in the woods and swamps, and is not aware of the emancipation of his race. Some parties also believe that he is identical with the wild man described in Harper's Weekly as having been seen near Vicksburg a year or more ago. — N. O. Picaynne.


"Wild Man of the Woods", St. Tammany Farmer (Covington, LA), 1878-10-26 

Wild Man of the Woods.


[Louisville Courier-Journal, October 24.]

The wild man brought to the city yesterday by Dr. O. G. Broyler, of Sparta, Tenn., is truly a mysterious and wonderful creature. He will be exhibited throughout the country by Manager Whallen, of the Metropolitan, who is a third-owner of this remarkable being, who promises to successfully baffle all scientists who desire to give a satisfactory explanation of his unnatural appearance. Before entering into the details of his capture, which form quite a thrilling and interesting episode, a description of the curiosity, which promises to excite more attention than Barnum's "What Is It?" will be given. At a distance the general outline of his figure would indicate that he is only an ordinary man. Close inspection shows that his whole body is covered with a layer of scales, which drop off at regular periods in the spring and fall, like the skin of a rattlesnake. He has a heavy growth of hair on his head, and a dark, reddish beard about six inches long. His eyes I present a frightful appearance, being at least twice the size of the average sized eye. Some of his toes are formed together, which give his feet a strange appearance, and his height, when standing perfectly erect, is about six feet five inches. A nervous twitching of his muscles shows a desire to escape, and he is constantly looking in the direction of the door through he entered. His entire body must be wet at intervals, and should this be neglected he begins to manifest great uneasiness, his flesh becomes feverish, and his sufferings cannot be alleviated until the water is applied. At times he is dangerous, and yesterday morning, when Mr. Whallen attempted to place him in a wagon, in which he intended to bring him to the theatre, it occupied some time. The strange creature acted in the most mysterious manner, refusing obstinately for some time to get into the wagon. He has quite a sharp appetite, having eaten a meal yesterday morning and would have fully satisfied at least four men. With the exception of fish, his meals are all prepared, in the ordinary way, but the fish is eaten entirely raw. Dr. Broyler says that when alone he will sometimes mutter an unintelligible jargon, which it would be impossible for any one to understand, but that, in the presence of visitors, he remains perfectly silent. Yesterday afternoon, from one to four, a private exhibition was given, and a number of physicians were present, among them Drs. Brady and Cary Blackburn, who said that he was a great curiosity. Dr. Blackburn said that his scaly condition could not be attributed to any skin disease, but undoubtedly he was born in that condition. He will be on exhibition in the private rooms of the Metropolitan Theatre this afternoon and to-morrow between the hours of one and four o'clock. Only physicians and those specially invited will be allowed admission. His exact age is not known, but for the past eighteen years he has been running wild in the Cumberland mountains in Tennessee, near the Caney Fork and Big Bone Creek. He has been the constant terror of the community, although he was never known to attack any one until the day of his capture. Dr. G. G. Broyler, of Sparta, Tenn., says that since the surrender of the Confederate army it has been his intention to capture this creature and exhibit him throughout the country. The doctor says the parents of the wild man are respectable citizens of North Carolina, named Creslin. That their son is unquestionably a mysterious freak of nature they did not deny, but they could not account for his scaly skin. At the tender age of five years, having always beep possessed with a roving disposition, he left his home and plunged immediately into the mountainous regions of Tennessee. Here he lived as best he could, subsisting on the products of the country, such as roots and herbs and small animals that he could capture. When in the water he was in his element. He would dive down into the dept of the inland lakes, remaining under water for a considerable length of time, and finally emerge with both hands tilled with small fish, which he would devour at once in the raw state. Dr. Broyler says that until about eighteen months ago he had not attempted the capture, although he had been watching the creature's actions for the past twelve years. 'About the 15th of September' he started into the mountains fully determined to succeed in the capture.

The "Wild Man of the Woods," as he was termed by the people of the vicinity, was unusually fleet of foot and possessed of a great deal of agility, bounding over the mountainous ravines in the most fearless manner. During the chase they kept the wild man constantly in, sight, and their plan was to tire him out, in which they finally succeeded. He was pursued through the wild mountainous country, over lakes and precipices, until his pursuers almost despaired of success. Stratagem was finally resorted to. The lariat was thrown at him without success, and then a kind of net-trap was formed, into which he was decoyed and captured. He ran fearlessly into the net, and became entangled in the meshes. Captured, but not conquered, a struggle ensued, in which Dr. Broyler was seriously wounded. The wild man fought with his hands after the fashion of a bear, and bruised and scratched the doctor in a frightful manner. At last they quieted their unwilling victim and brought him to Sparta. The doctor immediately telegraphed to Mr. Whallen, who purchased a third interest in the wonder and had him brought to Louisville yesterday morning. The presence of this wild man in Louisville has excited considerable attention among the doctors, and also a large crowd of curious persons, who are anxious to see the wonderful creature. There will be only one exhibition in this city, which takes place at the Metropolitan Theatre Saturday evening.


"Wild Man of the Woods", Lewiston Teller (Lewiston, N. Idaho), 1889-09-12 



About three weeks ago a strange acting man was seen near Nolan's ranch on Moran Prairie, about eight miles from here, and when approached he took to the timber, and has only been seen but a few times since. He goes about making a doleful sound, and is evidently insane. He subsists upon vegetables, and once, when he went into a garden in that vicinity, an effort was made to talk with him, but he would make no reply, and kept out of reach of the man who was trying to find out something of him. The man attempted to get between the strange fellow and the brush, but his motive was keenly observed by the wild man, who darted like a flash into the brush out of sight.

The sheriff here was notified, and Deputy Pugh was sent out Tuesday to find him, but, after tramping around most of the day with several men living in that vicinity, the search was abandoned.

A watch will be kept upon the garden which he frequents for vegetables, and another effort will be made to capture him and discern who he is.

Some time ago a sheep rancher living around there became insane, and it is thought that this is the same man. — Review, Sept. 5.


"Manufacturing Wild Men", Daily Bulletin (Honolulu, HI), 1893-02-03 

This article relates to the reporting of Daniel J. MacGowan (1814-1893), an American missionary doctor, on the artificial manufacture of wild men in China via the kidnap and surgical torture of youths.


How the Gentle Art is Practised in China.

There are many curious trades in the world, but the most strange must surely be the "artificial manufacture of wild men." Yet a well-known English doctor in China has just certified from his own personal experience that this art is regularly practised in the Flowery Kingdom.

First, a youth is kidnapped, then bit by bit he is flayed alive, and the skin of a dog or a bear is grafted piece by piece upon him. His vocal chords are next. destroyed by the action of charcoal to make him dumb, and the double purpose of causing "etiolation" of the skin, and the utter degradation of the mental faculties accomplished by keeping him immured in a perfectly black hole for a number of years. In fact, by treating him like a brute for a sufficiently long time he is made into one. At last he is exhibited to the entirely credulous Chinese as a wild man of the woods, and his possessors reap a rich harvest. The priests, it seems, are adepts at the art. When a kidnapper, however, is caught by the people he is torn to pieces, and when the authorities get him they torture him and promptly behead him. — Chicago Inter-Ocean.





He Creates a Big Sensation in the Streets and in Court.

Reuben A. Whitmore, about fifty-five years old, a powerful, well-built man, six feet high — a modern Hercules was brought to Frederick city from Rocky Ridge, Saturday morning, where he had been arrested by Sheriff A. C. McBride, who found him living in a wild state in a dilapidated shanty in the woods. As he passed along the streets from the Pennsylvania station to the court house he attracted much attention. His large frame was entirely enveloped in an old log-cabin quilt, the surface of which, being torn into shreds, rendered his appearance all the more picturesque. He wore a pair of old boots, with his toes protruding through the ends, while upon his head was a derby hat of antique design, about five sizes too small for his massive head.

For ten years past he has led the life of a hermit in a hut, which he built with slabs from a nearby saw mill, the only aperture in it being a door at one end. His only companions in this hut in the woods have been two hogs, two cows and a calf and several dozen chickens and a dog. All of these occupied the same hut with their owner. Sheriff McBride said he experienced no difficulty in getting in the hut. The man had not awakened from his sleep and the chickens were still perched on his legs when he was aroused.

In one corner of the hut was a small stove with only one joint of pipe. When fire was made the hut was filled with smoke, and the man argued that people lost one-half the heat, which escaped with the smoke out of a chimney. He is known in that section as "Buffalo Bill." Although of respectable and well-to-do parentage, he prefers the primitive mode of life he has been following.

He was arrested at the instance of a number of farmers who feared his eccentricities might take a violent turn. He reluctantly yielded to being placed under arrest, but finally consented to go, after requesting that his live stock be well cared for.

His hair was about fifteen inches long and hung down in thick and matted locks over his shoulders, while his face was covered with a long heavy beard and mustache. He was taken before the court for a jury to determine whether he was of sound mind or not. He was perfectly cool and answered all questions in a rational manner.

In his statement before the jury he said: "I inherited some money from my people years ago, but time and again have I been cheated out of it. I also rented a large farm, but lost money. Then it was that I purchased my present place, containing half an acre, and have been prospering ever since, as you will observe by my appearance and healthy condition of my companions."

Being asked by States's Attorney Hinks when he washed and changed his clothing, he said: "I have not done either in the last ten years." This reply caused the young attorneys to draw away from him and allowed him ample room.

On being asked how he spent his time, he said: "I have devoted many years to the question of perpetual motion and eventually solved the problem. I have been negotiating for the sale of my patents to a Northern gentleman, to whom I submitted my models, but as he wanted credit and did not have the million dollars in cash, I stopped all dealings with him."

Being asked as to where the model was, he said: "For fear of its being stolen, I destroyed it, but still have the 'wheels in my head' and could easily construct them upon short notice for a ready purchaser."

The jury adjudged him unable to properly care for himself and committed him to the Montevue Hospital, where he was shorn of his locks with a pair of sheep shears and given a good bath by several of the attendants, much to his dislike, especially as he said his hair served him as a pillow. The sum of $171 was found concealed in his clothing by an attendant before the rags he wore were burned.

"Wild Man of Wisconsin", Little Falls Herald (Little Falls, MN), 1899-06-30 


Wild Man of Wisconsin.

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis., June 27. — A wild man was captured in the woods 50 miles north of this city, and has been placed in county jail here. He is about 60 years of age and has lost nearly all resemblance to a human being. His hair and beard is about two feet long and his clothes consist of a solitary gunny sack.

"WILD MAN OF WISCONSIN! Strange Being Who Has Frightened Women for Years", Carlsbad Current (Carlsbad, NM), 1899-08-05 



Strange Being Who Has Frightened Women for Years.

(Chippewa Falls, Wis, Correspondence.)

Not since Black Bart, the highwayman, terrorized the northern peninsula of Michigan and part of Wisconsin, has there been as much excitement in this region as there was this week owing to the capture of the wild man in the woods fifty miles from here. The strange creature is now in the jail here and is utterly unable to give any account of himself. He is evidently insane and has the peculiar cunning so often shown by lunatics. He refuses to utter any intelligible sound, if indeed he is able to after his long life of solitude in the woods, and the authorities are in a quandary as to what disposition to make of him.

For a long time reports have been coming to the office of Constable Burnett about a wild man having been seen here and there in the forests. The stories came from places far remote, but all tallied as to his general description, saying he was an aged man with beard and hair flowing over his face and shoulders and matted as though he had been in the woods away from civilization for a long time. He was described as very difficult of approach, as he made his way through the woods by a series of springs like those of a kangaroo, using both arms and legs in his strange methods of locomotion. Not much credence was placed to this feature of the stories, as it was supposed that those who saw the wild man were so scared or excited that to their imaginations he appeared to be springing through the air the an animal.

So many reports were heard of the crazy man that farmers, hereabouts as well as other settlers, became decidedly timorous about leaving the woman and children unprotected in their homes lest he should come into the towns or settlements and attack somebody in his insane fury, and many requests were made of Constable Burnett that he should organize a posse and go forth to search for and capture the wild man. To all these he was obliged to say that the whereabouts of the man were so much a mystery that it would be foolish to begin a general search of the mighty forest extending for miles in every direction, although the constable was as anxious as any one that the fellow should be captured.

The Search is Begun.

Finally, however, word was received here that the wild man had been seen in the woods at a place about fifty miles away and that he could easily be captured, as he seemed to have no weapons or implements of defense, and Constable Burnett at once took a train to the nearest railroad station to where he was said to have been seen. There he soon organized a posse of fifty men and the search began. The party divided up into squads and began beating the woods in every direction, having arranged a signal to call all together if the man should be found, and when the search had gone on a few hours the signal was sounded by the squad headed by Constable Burnett.

When the others gathered they saw the object of their search sitting in the fork of a tree a short distance from the ground and glaring wildly and angrily at the men who surrounded him. His only covering, aside from bis long hair, was an old gunny sack twisted around his shoulders. In the form of a robe and he was indescribably dirty and repulsive looking. The wild gleam in his eyes betrayed his insanity and it was decided to use caution in capturing him. On his head was a dirty old coon skin cap, which was not at first noticed, so matted and tangled was his hair.

The circle around the tree was gradually narrowed down, leaving the wild man no chance for escape unless he were able to break through the ring of determined men who advanced upon him with ropes and clubs intent upon taking him alive. When the space separating the tree from the invaders was not more than ten feet the wild man suddenly sprang from the tree with a how! of rage and rushed directly upon his pursuers. Toward the point he evidently selected for escape all the men suddenly sprang and in a moment the wild creature turned again and with the peculiar spring which had been described to the sheriff attempted to flee. He threw his weight upon both hands and feet and with a strong movement of the legs like a kangaroo, threw himself forward, to land again upon his hands and feet six feet away.

Captured at Last.

His remarkable speed in this odd manner of locomotion completely surprised the pursuers and he nearly escaped, but several who were fleet of foot ran in a roundabout course among the trees and headed him off. Then ensued a terrific battle. The men sought to cast ropes around his limbs, but he struck and bit at them viciously. Half a dozen hands seized him at once, but with marvelous strength for so old a man he wriggled himself free from the detaining grasps and sprang forward again. When he was captured a second time one of the foremost in the posse threw himself upon the wild man and the two rolled upon the ground in a fearful struggle, striking and scratching at each other. The farmer endeavored to grasp on the throat of the wild man, but the latter was too wary and tore off the hand half a dozen times. Meanwhile the rest of the posse were hovering around the two struggling men, seeking to lend aid to their companion, but fearing to injure him by interfering. At last the farmer who was wrestling with the crazed man proved the stronger of the two and succeeded in turning his adversary on his back. At once a dozen strong men seized the wild man and ropes were thrown around him and he was rendered incapable of doing any further damage.

A wagon was procured and the man was hauled to a railroad station and thence brought to this place. He appears to be about 60 years old, but cannot give any account of himself. He will not tell where he came from, although some of his mumblings have been construed to mean that he hails from Canada. This, however, the officials do not believe. By some he is thought to be the man who was unaccounted for after the disastrous fire in Hinckley, Minn., in 1894.

Every one was accounted for either living or dead at that time except one man and it is thought that this creature may be that man who, crazed by the fear of the conflagration and the scenes he witnessed there, fled to the woods and has roamed there ever since, living on wild animals and birds and sleeping in hollow trees and caves.


"Wild Man in the Woods", Yakima Herald (North Yakima, WA), 1902-02-18 



A Most Startling Discovery is Made by Two Hunters in the Wilds of Michigan.

Adolph Meiser and John Slattery, two young men from Crystal Falls, Mich., who were hunting partridges on the headwaters of the Deer river, about 14 miles from that city, met what they assert was a wild man. His hair was long and shaggy and long whiskers nearly covered his face, showing that they had been growing for some time. The hunters got within 30 feet of the man before they saw him or he them, and all were surprised when the stranger snarled at them.

Meiser attempted to talk to him, but all the response he could get was: "Public, public, public." When Slattery and Meiser moved forward the stranger gave a terrible yell and darted into the bushes. He ran like a deer, bounding over the windfalls and stumps.

The strange man was large, but had become emaciated from exposure and hunger. The clothes he had on were in shreds exposing his body to view. He carried part of a gun barrel and a tent pole in his hands and when found was eating the carcass of a dead skunk.

The Crystal Falls men hurried to town and reported the discovery, and a posse was organized to hunt for the man. It is thought that the man is some unfortunate hunter who has been lost in the woods and become insane from fright. The territory where the man was seen is a large stretch of woods, and a person might roam there for months without meeting anyone. The posse will stay out until they find the man.

"SEE WILD MAN IN THE WOODS, Herbert, Wis., Farmers Asked by a Stranger to Chop Off His Head", Evening Statesman (Walla Walla, WA), 1906-08-20 



Herbert, Wis., Farmers asked by a Stranger to Chop Off His Head

ELLSWORTH, Wis., Aug. 20. — Farmers near Herbert are greatly excited by the actions of a "wild man" who has been wandering about in the woods begging everyone he meets to take an ax which he carries and chop off his head. He makes his headquarters in a deserted house and is supposed to be in a half-starved condition. It is probable that the wild man is Martin E. Peterson, of El Paso, who returned from the state insane hospital at Mendota about two weeks ago.

"PROWLS AT NIGHT, Wild Man in Woods Near Tacoma Frightens Children", Morning Astorian (Astoria, OR), 1907-09-13 



Wild Man in Woods Near Tacoma Frightens Children.


Seen Near a School House on the Outskirts of Town He Hides in Bushes — Parties are Out Hunting for Wild Man Who Feeds on Roots and Berries.

TACOMA, Sept. 12. — Wandering about in the vicinity of the Franklin school at Twelfth and Lawrence streets, wearing a breech-clout, and with his long, matted hair hanging over his shoulders, an emaciated-looking man was seen yesterday about dusk by several school children, and a search for him will be made by the Tacoma police.

Frightened, the children fled for the nearest house, screaming loudly, while the man plunged into the bushes bordering the road and hurried in the opposite direction, This is the second time the "Wild man," as the children call him has been seen. At each appearance the children have been frightened.

Several children more bold than the rest hesitated before running last night, and told their parents the man's hair was long and matted. His face was drawn and pinched, and his skin was tanned and burned to a reddish brown. Scars are thick on his legs, where he has been scratched by bushes. His finger nails are long, and the children say that his ribs stand out plainly. His eyes are sunken in their sockets.

The children's first story was discredited, but their repeated conversations about the "wild man" caused their elders to investigate. Searching about the woods and underbrush, tracts of where the man had been sleeping were found. Small holds in the ground showed plainly that he had been grubbing with his hands and sticks for roots. Berry bushes have been stripped clean. The man is rarely seen in the day time, but prowls at night. He made no attempt to prowl about the houses, but has confined himself to the woods.

"WILD MAN IS CAPTURED", Evening Statesman (Walla Walla, WA), 1908-12-03 



Found Naked on the Doorsteps of a Farmhouse in Morning

BELLINGHAM, March 30. — A wild man of the woods was captured at a farmhouse near Lawrence yesterday and was brought to the county jail in the afternoon. He is not known to any one in that neighborhood, and his identity is a complete mystery. Early yesterday morning he appeared at the home of Mr. Davis, who resides near Lawrence. When Mr. Davis arose in the morning he was astonished to see a man standing on the doorstep and mumbling to himself.

Mr. Davis at once sought aid of the neighbors and they succeeded in catching the wild man and holding him until they could put some clothes on him. The man has a religious mania and says that he is an angle escaped from heaven.

He says he died seven years ago and has just returned to the earth. He says he communes with the spirits of which he is one. He was brought to town and placed in the county jail.


"WILD MAN IN WOODS BRINGS SCARE TO NATIVES", Hartford Herald (Hartford, KY), 1910-11-23 



Bedford, Ind., Nov. 21. — The appearance of a supposed wild man in the woods seven miles southeast of here, is causing much excitement among the people in that neighborhood. Women and children have become greatly alarmed, the latter saying the man tries to entice them into the woods. The women refuse to stay at home alone at night and a man hunt is being organized.

It is believed to be some demented man wandering in the woods, but those who have seen him declare him to be a wild man.

"WILD MAN LIVES 2 MONTHS IN WOODS", Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM), 1913-08-25 



Reading, Pa., Aug. 25. — Subsisting on berries and herbs for nearly two months, John Brown, 36 years old, known as "the wild man of Mount Penn," was captured by county detective, Sparely, and assistants, after a search for hours through the heavy underbrush and the thickly wooded district had been made.

The man was given medical attention and later removed to the county home pending the appointment of a commission in lunacy.

When found Brown's clothing was torn in tatters and his hair was long and matted.

Brown said he went on the mountain to live, as he had no other place to go when he lost his position at a Reading factory and was unable to get work.

"Carried a Swarm of Bees in a Wooden Leg", Day Book (Chicago, IL), 1913-11-06 


Moberly, Mo. — A "wild man," who has been in the woods 23 years because of love affair, caught in Randolph county coon club hunt. He carried a swarm of bees in a wooden leg.

"GOVERNOR FINDS WILD MAN, Fur Clothes and Wooden Leg of His Own Make and He Carries Bees With Him", The Madisonian (Richmond, KY), 1913-12-23 



Fur Clothes and Wooden Leg of His
Own Make and He Carries Bees
With Him.

Moberly, Mo. — In the famous annual Missouri coon hunt here, attended by Gov. Elliott W. Major, National Committeeman Edward Goltra of St. Louis and the majority of the state officials, a wild man was captured who had lived in the woods since 1890. He had a wooden leg which he had carved from a tree limb and in a hole in the leg he carried bees which he had captured. He also had bees in a curious old fashioned stove pipe hat which he wore.

Goltra captured the coon, which is the prize of the hunt, its teeth having been filled with gold by a dentist. The hunter capturing the coon is conceded the best hunter.

Nearly seven-hundred persons participated in the events at the camp of the Randolph County Coon club. Five squads of hunters with more than one hundred hounds left camp at 10 o'clock at night and plunged into the sycamore forest on Elk Fork Creek.

Goltra had the distinction of bringing down the first coon. He, with Judge Charles Clark and Judge Thomas J. Seehern, also had the unenviable distinction of remaining in the dense woods all night, losing their way and forcing the party to walk to Evansville.

A party headed by Mayor Rolla Rothwell of Moberly drove a wild man from the brush. He finally was surrounded and captured by the party and brought to camp. After he had been fed and given liquid refreshments he told the hunters his name was Thomas Siebler.

He had lived in the woods on the hunting preserves since 1890, following a disappointment in love. His clothes are of fur from rabbits, foxes, coons and possums. He had made but one trip to a large city in his life, that being in 1889, when he went to St. Louis to buy a wooden leg.

"WILD MAN ROAMS COLORADO WOODS, Defies Whole Power of United States to Come and Get Him", Bemidji Daily Pioneer (Bemidji, MN), 1919-02-11 



Defies Whole Power of
United States to
Come and Get Him.


For Forty Years This Shaggy, Filthy
Specimen of Humanity Has Lived
Life of Recluse Because of
Love Affair.

Denver, Colo. — A real, dyed-in-the-wool wild man, who hadn't heard of the war and has lived on the highest mountain peak near Pagosa Springs for 40 years, has been discovered. He is no back-to-nature freak or summer resort hermit, but a genuine shaggy, filthy specimen of humanity whose first action when discovered by a United States marshal was to tell that individual to go to a warmer climate. He followed it up by hurling a defy full in the face of these United States to come and get him for running horses on government land without permission, declaring he was just itching for a fight. As the wild man, whose name is William Hardick and whose age is given as seventy-five, is being sued in the federal courts on a civil action, it is doubtful if he can be arrested.

Knew Nothing of War.

When the marshal gently reminded him that one Willie Hohenzollern had once remarked he would stand no nonsense from the United States, and pointed out that sald Willie is now a fugitive in Holland, the wild man admitted that he had never heard of either Willie or Holland. The marshal sarcastically inquired if he knew there had been war on with Germany. The wild man responded he wasn't sure whether Germany was a tooth wash or a disease, but that anyway he had never heard of the war.

"Happy man," murmured the marshal enviously, although he carried out his stern duty of serving the wild one with a subpoena to appear in the United States district court as defendant in an action to recover a grazing fee of a trifling amount.

Hardick was tracked to his cave in the mountains by the marshal, assisted by "Denver" Latham, a rancher who, lives eleven miles from the recluse and was the only one who had ever seen him.

In Wild Animal Den.

There was no pathway to-his refuge, which was formerly the den of wild animals, nor a mat with a "welcome" sign to greet the invaders. Hardick met them with the business end of a heavy rifle pointed in their direction and asked what they wanted. The arm of the law assured him their mission was peaceable, but the wild one recognized Latham and lowered his gun. His matted hair and beard would have given a barber heart failure, while the color of his skin showed that he and water had not been on friendly terms for many a moon.

Questioned by Latham, the caveman said he managed to get ammunition for his rifle "some way" and that he never lacked for food except one winter five years ago when he descended to Latham's ranch and begged a handout.

Yes, it's said a love affair drove Hardick wild, and solitude, whiskers and the mountains accomplished the rest.


"IS TERRORIZED BY WILD MAN", L'Anse Sentinel (L' Anse, MI), 1921-12-23 



Adirondack Community in
Veritable Reign of Terror
Over Mystery Man.


State Constabulary Scour the Woods
in Search of His Hiding Place,
but Fail to Solve the Mystery
— Appears Daily.

Malone, N. Y. — For several weeks a veritable reign of terror has existed among the people of that part of this country, called the "back woods," which rejoices in the euphonious name of Skerry. Women sleep ill o' nights, children are kept from school, or guarded by adults on their way there and back, lonely females cower behind locked doors and men wag their heads in gossip as they ponder over the puzzle of the wild man, cause of all the pother.

That there is a wild man inhabiting the woods, appearing and disappearing strangely in the more settled districts, apparently content with waving a big club and threatening children, seems beyond dispute. For has he not been seen over and over again by women and children, sometimes clothed only in the garb of Adam and sometimes wearing a gunny sack? And always he is waving that big club.

Search in Vain.

The puzzle of the masculine population of Skerry is to find his hiding place, for he has proved a veritable will-o-the-wisp. It is generally conceded that it must be in a big swamp on the Deer river, which is peculiarly suitable setting for a modern Tarzan; but this belief is due to the fact that he has not been found elsewhere rather than to any evidence akin to proof. Posses have been organized and search of the woods made, and the state constabulary of this village have been called upon in vain to solve the mystery.

This man appeared in Skerry about the middle of last month. He was an Irishman, was lame, and clothed in overalls, without coat or hat. He inquired of Abe Patton and, later, of Charles Trin, both Skerryites, the way to a lumber camp, and received from each minute directions to guide him. No one has ever met him since, unless he be the wild man, and apparently he never reached the camp. The next day two woodmen, named La Hare and Payne, reported that they had heard cries of some one in trouble, coming from the woods, and that they halloed and followed the cries. into the forest for fully three hours without coming up with the man. The wife of La Hare has added to the mystery by reporting that on the same day she saw from a back window of her home a strange man, naked to the waist, holding his hands above his head, and wandering through the brush. Soon afterward he disappeared into the woods.

Makes Appearance Dally.

Since then almost daily there have been reports of the man's appearance and mysterious movements, but though large numbers of men have scoured the country for him, none has been able even to get sight of him. At times as many as 100 men, under Sheriff Steenberge and the state constables have been engaged in this search. Their failure has only added to the nervous strain under which the women of Skerry live, and which has resulted in steps to protect children. This action has been spurred by the reports of one boy chased by the man with threats to kill him with his club, and of a little girl, left alone in her home, who was terrorized by the apppearance of the man and his attempt to force his way into the house. Upon these reports state troopers made another attempt with the aid of a police dog to run the man down.