In this case I am going to focus on some South-Californian "Man-creatures" which seem to me NOT to be the same thing as the Northern-Californian Sasquatch/Oh-Mah-Ah.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The Borrego Sandman (1939 - Present) - California The Monster State - Part 2
Many of you are undoubtedly familiar with the legends of Bigfoot and all of his ape-like kin who are reported to dwell in the numerous remote wilderness areas and swamps throughout North America. These vast areas where man seldom treads provides a perfect refuge for these creatures where food and water are plentiful and protection from the elements can be easily attained.
It may come to your surprise that the legendary monster is also a desert dweller as well.
As hard as it may be to fathom there are many reports from the vast deserts of Southern California of Sasquatch-like creatures roaming the sand, much like they do in the lush forest. These very dry areas with little vegetation, and almost no water supply would seem like the last place that a 6-t0-10-foot-tall animal that weighs upwards of 400 pounds, and not to mention is covered with thick fur, would want to call home, yet the sheer number of Bigfoot sightings in these areas are too numerous to ignore.
In the late 1960s reports of Bigfoot sightings in the desert towns of Lancaster and Palmdale reached a feverish pace that lasted well into the 1970s, then tapered off. Though these areas border on the Mojave desert, they also border on the Angeles National forest, so it wouldn't seem to unlikely that the creature could have been lured out of the wilderness and into the desert for some unknown reason.
More bizarre are the stories that have surfaced from nearby Edwards Air Force Base, that is farther inland and farther from the forested areas near Los Angeles, of frequent intrusions by creatures that match the description of Bigfoot. As the story goes, Base Security is in possession of several surveillance video tapes that plainly show giant, up-right, apes trespassing in the numerous underground tunnels under the facility. How, or where, the Bigfoot break into, or gain access to these tunnels has never been revealed, obviously for security reasons, but reportedly these incidents happen rather often, and are a nuisance.
The Mojave Desert and Death Valley are two of Southern California's more famous barren areas, but there is also a stretch of inhospitable desert that stretches from the Mexican border northward to the edges of the San Bernardino mountains. This area to has had it's share of Sasquatch sightings over the decades, and this is the area I wanted to focus on today.
The desert wilderness of the Anza-Borrego area has been home to many a tall-tale and several strange events over the past several hundred years. Many a desert rat has emerged from the region with tales of a mysterious Spanish ship filled with pearls inexplicably marooned in the sand, or of a Viking boat embedded in the rock, strange lights in the night skies, and most commonly, of vast quantities of gold just waiting for some lucky prospector to cart out.
It was undoubtedly the lure of these reported gold deposits that first lured the white man into this desolate area and it is from one of these fortune hunters that the first report of Bigfoot, or the Borrego Sandman as it is known in these parts, came. Reportedly in 1939 a prospector, who when interviewed in the 1970s wished to remain anonymous, was attacked by a large group of upright-walking-apes as he camped near the Borrego Sink. The frightened man described the creatures as very large, covered in white fur, with glowing red eyes. The only thing that saved the man from the attack was the fact that the monsters were afraid of his camp fire.
Another report of giant footprints from that same general area came from a man named Victor Stoyanow in 1964. His story was retold in a famous article in SAGA magazine entitled, "America's Terrifying Woodland Monster-men" in 1969. The piece also featured the story of Harold Lancaster, a miner who encounter the Sandman in 1968. Here is an excerpt:
Gold prospectors and treasure hunters frequently seek their lost bonanzas in isolated areas. Since 1964, treasure hunters in the Borrego Valley desert in California have whispered about "the Abominable Sandmen of Borrego." The arid area is near the Mexican border, it is virtually uninhabited. There are many fissures, caves and crevasses in the Superstition Mountain region and prospectors say the Cocopah Indians have told of a subterranean labyrinth under the mountain, Maj. Victor Stoyanow was seeking an access into the Superstition Hills in January 1964, when he noticed large, humanoid tracks in the sand dunes. "The prints ran in pairs, generally parallel and averaged about 14 inches in length and nine wide at the instep," Major Stoyanow declared. He returned to the desert on several other occasions, made plaster casts of the prints, and snapped photographs."Curious as I am, I hope that the person who discovers what kind of beast it is doesn't happen to be me." Major Stoyanow said after his thorough investigation into the tracks.
The San Diego Union ran an unverifiable article some years ago of a "sandman" that was shot by hunter Frank Cox at Deadman's Hole, near Warner, California in San Diego County. The beast was described as a cross between "a man and a bear." The head was rather small, with protruding teeth and powerful jaws. The muscular creature had feet that measured 24 inches in length and the body weight was estimated to be 400 pounds.Harold Lancaster, treasure hunter, was prospecting in the Borrego Sink, east of the settlement of Borrego Springs. California in July 1968, when he saw a "sandman." "I was camped up on a mesa one morning when I saw a man walking in the desert," he reported. "The figure came closer. I thought it was another prospector. Then, I picked up my binoculars and saw the strangest sight in my life."It was a real giant apeman," Lancaster said. "I had heard about the screaming giant apeman up in Tuolumne County that frightened people for a couple of years. Another person and I even went up there to look for the thing. I decided it was a hoax and never expected to actually see one."
As the "sandman" drew closer, Lancaster became worried. "That thing was big. I was no match for it," he reported. "I had a .22 pistol on my hip but it would have been like shooting at a gorilla with a pea shooter. I was afraid the beast might get too close. So, I fired a couple of rounds into the air. The sandman jumped a good three feet off the ground when the sounds of the shots reached him. He turned his head, looked toward me and then took off running in the other direction!"Why didn't Lancaster shoot the alleged sandman? "I was afraid," he admitted. "They should be protected. They're a form of a human, a primitive species. It would be murder to kill one. They should be studied."
Reports from the area continue to this day. In 1998 some hikers discovered a set of strange footprints near Boundary Peak, close to the Mexican border. Likewise in 1993 a hiker saw a Bigfoot, um ...... using the restroom on the La Jolla Indian Reservation. Reports have also surfaced from military personnel at Camp Pendleton who had encounters with the creature while on maneuvers during the 1960s and 1980s.
The Fontana Speedway Monster (1951 - 1992) - California The Monster State - Part 3
The southern California city of Fontana has had a long and glorious history in auto racing. As most of you probably know, the city is the present home of the Autoclub Speedway which holds a yearly major NASCAR race along with other racing events of different types.
What many of you might not know is way back in the 1950s there was a drag-strip in the area that was considered one of the best in the country. The Mickey Thompson's Fontana International Dragway, as it was called, lasted for almost two decades before a series fatal accidents forced it to close in 1972.
The area is now a housing tract known as the The Village of Heritage and lies about a mile east of Etiwanda Blvd on the north side of Foothill Blvd.
It seems that these race events that took place for two decades in the area attracted more than legions of die-hard race fans, they also attracted a very curious monster.
The height of these sightings took place in the early 1960s when race patrons would regularly spot a giant, harry, Bigfoot-like creature crossing a field adjacent to the track in full view of the grandstands.
The Bigfoot was seen so regularly that it earned the name "Speedway Monster".
Though the animal was witnessed by hundreds of people, no one ever worked up the courage to investigate it.
It is hard to speculate why a creature that is known for being reclusive and shy of humans would trek so close to a race track filled with people and to mention the load noise produced by the cars?
One can only assume that it was curious about what all the fuss was about or more likely that the creature was making plans on rummaging through the tracks trashcans for left-over burgers and hot dogs after everyone cleared out.
Though the speedway closed it's doors in the early 70s reports of the "Speedway Monster" continued in the city of Fontana and the nearby San Bernardino Mountains continued.
In 1975 a group of Boy Scouts were woken up by a Bigfoot rummaging through their campsite near Barton Flats, likewise in 1976 a young man came face-to-face with the creature outside his cabin near Big Bear.
The area of Lytle Creek, in Cajon Pass, near Fontana has been a 'hot-spot' for Bigfoot sightings for decades.
In 1991 Fontana resident John Davis reported that a harry creature on two legs raided his chicken pen.
The most interesting, post Fontana Speedway, story came in 1992 when several motorists on Foothill Blvd spotted a family of Bigfoot walking along the railroad tracks the crossed over the the busy street. The location was reportedly close to the local Ace Hardware store.
This report is so interesting to me personally because my wife's family had move to nearby Rancho Cucamonga at about that same time. I can tell you from first hand experience, that the area of Fontana was no longer a rural area filled with farms and vineyards in 1992. It was an up and coming community with new housing areas and shopping centers.
To believe that a family of Bigfoot would have wandered into this busy area is nothing short of fantastic ........ if it is to be believed?
Then again the "Speedway Monster" has never been known to shy, so who knows?
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
In the time since I last wrote about both the "Borrego Sandman" and the "Fontana Speedway Monster" I have managed to stumble upon more reported sightings of both creatures while doing research on another. Not wanting to proceed with an article about another of California's legendary creatures, and not wanting to add to the other two articles, I have opted to write a follow-up article instead.
It seems that the Bigfoot that reportedly inhabit California's southern regions have been a lot more active over the decades than I first realised.
Here are a bunch of stories that I happened to come across while doing my research:
As I had mentioned in my previous article, the Borrego Sandman, is said to inhabit the rather desolate desert areas of Southern California that reach from the Mexican border to the San Bernardino Mountains to the north.
It may come to the surprise of those who follow stories about Bigfoot and other mysterious creatures that the first report of these creatures by European settlers did not come from either the East Coast, Midwest, or Pacific Northwest. It actually came from southern California in 1769, when Spanish priests founded the first mission in San Diego. Local Gabrieleno Indians told the padres about "harry devils" that lived nearby. In fact, according to written accounts, the Indians actually lived in fear of these large, foul-smelling, "wild-men" and refused to anywhere near their reported home called "towis puki" (camp of the devil) on the southern bank of the Santa Ana River.
The area of "Deadman Hole" near Holcomb Village, just west of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, was a water stop on the old Stagecoach lines during the mid to late 1800s and the reported site of several alleged murders that were blamed on Bigfoot. In 1876 one the passengers who ventured out of the safety of the coach while it's horses stopped to take a drink reported seeing a large, naked, harry "thing" watching him from behind some scruff.
After that, several people met their demise at the site, either strangled or beaten to death by an unknown person or thing. Of course, the monster got the blame, whether it actually did the killings or not.
In March 1888 two local hunters, Charles Cox and Edward Dean, set out to hunt down the monster and put an end to all the murders. According to a report in the San Diego Daily Transcript (newspaper) the pair found, and killed, what they were looking for, a creature that was described as a gorilla, with the face of an Indian, and fangs like a bear. The body of the creature was transported to San Diego where it was to go on public display, though before it did, it mysteriously disappeared.
In April of 1876, the San Diego Union reported on an encounter with a "missing link" near Warner's Ranch, also west of Anza-Borrego, by a young man named Turner Helm. According to Helm the creature had dark fur like a bear and a face like an American or Spaniard.
Moving forward in time now to 1964, when a father and son were pelted with rocks by a"shaggy" creature while hiking near Escondido, then later that very same summer, a juvenile Sandman was blamed for the death of three cows on the MGM Ranch near Jamul, again to the west of Anza-Borrego. This time the creature left behind plenty of large human-like tracks in the soft dirt.
In 1985 a set of large, human-like, tracks were found in the mountains near Anza. A local hiker, who reported the story to the BFRO, noted "I have hunted that area and hiked around there over the years. Many times I have been out there and knew or had some feeling of another presence. I don't mean like small animals or anything of that sort; just some unexplained feeling that someone or something has been watching me or following me."
It seems that the Borrego Sandman has had a long and very interesting history for sure.
The Fontana Speedway Monster
As I mentioned in my prior article, the "Speedway Monster" was seen in the area of the Mickey Thompson's Fontana International Dragway during the 1960s. What I didn't know was that this creature who reportedly wandered the fields near the track and rummaged through it's garbage also had a violent side.
In July of 1965 a young boy was attacked by the monster as he walked home. According to the account the creature surprised the lad by jumping out from behind some bushes. As he tried to wrangle away from the monster his clothes were torn to shreds. The child manged to get loose and run away, the monster reportedly didn't give chase.
On August 27th of that same year a young woman named Jerri Mendenhall was attacked while in her parked car on a residential street in Fontana by a mud-covered monster that smelled "like a dead animal". The creature reportedly crabbed her through the open drivers-side window. Frightened, the young woman put the car in gear and stepped on the gas to escape. Again, leaving the monster in the dust.
Oh, and here is a little history. Back in the 1800s an area between what is now the towns LaVerne and Pomona, near Fontana, was known to local Indians as "Toybipet" ("devil woman who was there) the reported hunting ground of a female Bigfoot.