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Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1888. Q: Do you know the difference between Bigfoot and bosh?

By the throbbing and undulant ‘roids of Cthulhu, could you bury the lede any frickin’ deeper here, sport? Whatever your critter is, it better be pretty scary after that protracted drum roll.

Hmm. Okay, not unimpressive as these unconfirmable cryptid thingies go: six feet tall; rotund; semi-hominid; quasi-ursine; hairier than a bar of soap in a frat-house shower stall, yet disturbingly clean-shaven up and down the inseams. That’s a decent monster who deviates from the cliches, and whom I wouldn’t care to meet in Dead Man’s Hole nor elsewhere.

Umkay, spooky enough. By now I’m more freaked out by the spelling of “canyon” as “canon” with a tilde over the “n.” Still, hirsutism + human face + shaven inseams + unnatural vertical agility in remote Californian box canyons does = some monstrous shit. Moving on:

Oh great: they killed some fleeing, deformed Indian hermit dude. Like life in Dead Man’s Hole wasn’t jolly enough for the poor bastard until our tourist adventurers came along.

But: I like it that the murderer here is named Cox, because actor Ronny Cox plays the most civilized, least murderously-inclined character in John Boorman’s awesome adaptation of James Dickey’s superb novel Deliverance.

I guess 400 pounds gives them an alibi for not presenting a body to the local coroner. But how did they conclude this was a hybrid? Couldn’t he have been the product of maternal impression? Suppose his mom had been terrorized by a catamount or grizzly bear? Never leave Occam’s razor behind on a hunting trip.

Dead Man’s Hole: pretty apt place name, all told.


  1. “By now I’m more freaked out by the spelling of ‘canyon’ as ‘canon’ with a tilde over the ‘n.'” I can’t imagine why they would feel the need to spell it that way, since I’m sure “canyon” was not a new or unknown word in English at the time, but “cañón” is actually the correct Spanish spelling. Perhaps since these events took place in California (which had only been a state for 38 years at that point), they thought using the Spanish spelling would add a sense of exotic adventure, the way dropping in a French word adds class.

  2. Orthographically unfathomable to me as well. But it turns out that this story (unlike most of our lusus naturae) had some legs. It has been deemed a willful journalistic hoax in some quarters. The tale was originally reported in the San Diego Union on April 1st; the version above is from a Yankee paper a week later.
    Me, I’m not entirely persuaded that the April 1st date is probative: In a world in which rampaging monster stories were routine, 1 out of 365 would be reported on that date. Plus I just realized I don’t know anything about the history of “April Fools.” How old is that jive, anyway?

    • If folklore is to be believed, April Fool’s Day has its origins in the fact that the new year used to start in March/April, rather than January. When people mistakenly celebrated the new year on April 1, they were seen as fools. Eventually this evolved into a general occasion for playing pranks.

        • mrparallel
        • Posted November 23, 2009 at 4:04 pm
        • Permalink

        So it’s like the annual version of the old when-does-a-new-century/millennium-start thing.

        I must say, on aesthetic grounds it seems smarter to start the new year in March/April. January is not quite the cruelest month, but it is on the wrong side of February.

  3. I’m not sure how this assertion of semi-cannibalism is supported.But the salient detail here is that there was a secret apartment.

    • I’m guessing that would involve his human half eating humans?

      But the salient detail here is that there was a secret apartment.

      Just as I hoped.

      Friend Quincy here is tossing off erudite references to bad Italian crime dramas of the 70s,

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