Mythical Creature of the Week: Big Hairy Guys

Tales of giant hairy beasts roaming the forests and inhabiting the lonely places at the edge of civilization have been embedded into our subconscious and passed down through the legends of Indigenous tribes and encounters by everyday eyewitnesses. Stories of these creatures range from them being mere “gentle giants” who are protectors of the wilderness to monstrous cannibals who steal women and children in the middle of the night.

Before the term “bigfoot” became well-known, these creatures were popularized as Abominable Snowmen or Yeti from Asia, primarily the region of the Himalayan mountains. These beasts, unlike their European or American cousins, were said to live high up in the coldest parts of the mountains. Their fur was said to be predominantly white, but there have been accounts of them being covered in black or even reddish-brown hair. They are said to have a foul temper and often emit horrible screams at villagers and steal their cattle.

Throughout the world, big, hairy beasts abound in folklore and art. Legend has it that the Danish hero Beowulf once fought one of these beasts, a creature known as Grendel. The “Wild Man” of medieval Europe–a tall, naked hairy human resembling more a satyr than an ape found in many sculptures and lawn adornments–is also seen as a bigfoot-type being and as a motif of nature versus civilization.

 In the US these hairy hominids are referred to as Bigfoot, a term coined in the late fifties when strange tracks were found by a bulldozer operator named Jerry Crew in northern California. Before that, local newspapers were often flooded with reports of tall, smelly and hairy humanoid-like creatures that they often referred to as “wildmen.” These creatures ranged anywhere from six to over nine feet tall and were covered from head to toe in long stringy hair from dark auburn to even gray, depending on the area in which they were seen. 

Bigfoot has become a pop culture phenomenon within the past few decades. On television, he was featured in shows like The Million Dollar Man, Bigfoot and Wildboy and snack-food commercials in which a nature loving Sasquatch is frequently teased by campers. These giant hairy beasts have even managed to become movie stars; the most well-known is the lovable Harry from Harry and the Hendersons. The Star Wars films also feature two big hairy beasts–one who is more like a traditional Bigfoot and the other a yeti. Can you name these two types of creatures?

Miss Mary’s Take & Make: Big Hairy Guys


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