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11 3 82 Cinn Gazette wildingCincinnati Daily Gazette, December 3, 1882. “Demoralized”–I love it. It’s like: “She presented such a wild look in the half light, and asked for food in such a wild fashion, that Roberts was bummed out.” But let’s read on. 11 3 82 Cinn Gazette wilding 2

Jeepers, you can just smell the moral panic coming off this one. But then again, if you cross-reference this lady’s prowess at hurdling with the high-jumping skills of the Wild Girl of Catahoula, it raises the possibility that we have an unsung species of cryptid on our hands. Everybody’s been too hung up on boring old Big Foot to take heed of these naked, feral, knife-wielding female Olympic contenders in our midst.
11 3 82 Cinn Gazette wilding 3

Oh well then, as long as there’s a reasonable explanation for it.



  1. I’m not sure that the contemporary phrase “bummed out” really captures the nineteenth century meaning of “demoralized.” I think a better translation might be “bereft of courage.”

    That said, as an adoptive Cincinnatian lo these past fifteen years, I think a better frame of reference for this story might be Toni Morrison’s Beloved. What you have shared here is a beautiful story that speaks eloquently to Cincinnati’s ambivalent role in the fucked-up pageantry of American slavery. Cincinnati is to this day America’s southernmost Northern city, and as such the last refuge of any number of scoundrels. Fuck this town, which remains haunted by cannibal Negresses, even if we deny it in each petty motion of our daily lives.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    • >I think a better translation might be >“bereft of courage.”

      Yeah, I was just having a little anachronistic fun with that.

      I too thought of Toni Morrison when I read this, though also of EC Horror comics. Either way, the cannibal negress surely plays as a vengeful revenant of slavery. The bloodhounds refusing to chase her is an especially spooky touch.

  2. Happy Halloween!

    • And to you!

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