Who is this hairy hominid?
The name “Bigfoot” has come to denote any unknown relic hominid that is reported throughout the world.
However, each unknown creature does have is own label, such as the Yeti or Abominable Snowman in the Himalayas. It is described as a creature smaller and less erect than Sasquatch, something likened to a “rock ape.”
Other examples of the world’s relic hominids are the five-foot-tall, dark brown and hairy Shiru in the mountains of Ecuador, and the “giant” Mapinguary of the Mato Grosso in Brazil.
The folklore surrounding these kinds of creatures has been lingering for centuries, and Utah is no stranger to the reports. I have come across numerous stories and sightings relating to Utah Bigfoot, from sightings around Provo Canyon to the High Uintas.
In the area surrounding Saratoga Springs, I’ve heard rumors of “strange three-toed beasts.” I’ve been researching hominid folklore for decades and the one Bigfoot related question I am always asked is, “Is Cain Bigfoot?”
This relates to the Biblical lore where Cain, the son of Adam, murdered his brother Abel and is thus condemned by God to aimlessly wander the Earth for eternity.
This seems to be a Utah/Mormon exclusive piece of folklore, and I’ve read and heard many different interpretations of this story, but it stems from an encounter by former Latter Day Saint Apostle David W. Patten.
From a biography written around 1900, sometime in 1835 while on a mission in Tennessee, David W. Patten “met with a very remarkable personage who had represented himself as being Cain who had murdered his brother Abel. I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me for about two miles. His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark … He said he had no home, that he was a wanderer of the Earth. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he earnestly sought death, but could not die and his mission was to destroy the souls of men … I rebuked him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the virtue of the Holy Priesthood and commanded him to go hence and he immediately departed out of my sight.”
On one hand, it is easy to see how this could fall into Bigfoot lore and become a large part of Latter Day Saint vernacular folklore as such.
Still, I’d argue that this story, if true, has little to do with actual Bigfoot and is more likely related to daemon/trickster spirit lore, something more metaphysical than cryptozoological. But that’s just this folklorist’s opinion.
Utah has an abundance of Urban Legends and folklore, and it just so happens, Utah Stories writes about them often. Check them out here.
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