San Francisco Chronicle, January 29, 1894. My headline here plays off of the title and lyric of “The Giant of Illinois,” the mournful and mysterious but insuperably beautiful song by The Handsome Family (lately also covered by Andrew Bird).
A signature trait of the Wild Woman is that she rarely seems to manifest in mixed company. She appears to the men on some occasions, and to women and/or children on others, but not to all at once. I like the detail that this one wields a club rather than the usual knife. So much more bluntly phallic.
It’s odd that neither Forteans nor feminists have perpetuated this trope. Nor even that tiny overlapping body of Fortean feminists.