|Yahoos from 'Gulliver's Travels'|
On Monday morning I had to walk down to the post office to mail a letter and while headed down the sidewalk one of the newspaper’s loyal readers stopped me to make the observation that it seemed that a lot of the local Bigfoot talk had died down in recent weeks.
I had to admit that the Bigfoot news has slowed down somewhat during the past month or so, and the reader wondered out loud if maybe Bigfoot was seasonal. He conjectured that perhaps Bigfoot becomes dormant during the warm weather months or that maybe they head to cooler places on the map when summer begins to approach. After all, he said, can you imagine walking around in the humid Alabama woods in August with all that thick hair.
As I pondered this idea, he hit me with a Bigfoot-related question that came from way out in left field: Had I ever heard the story about how Daniel Boone killed a Bigfoot? I had to admit that I had heard a little bit about that before but that I wasn’t clear on the details. He suggested that I Google it when I got back to the office.
As many of you know, Daniel Boone was a famous pioneer and explorer, who helped settle what we now call Kentucky, before his death in 1820. One of the best sources of information about Boone and his exploits is a 1992 biography by John Mack Faragher called “Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer.”
According to that book, Boone claimed to have killed a “ten-foot hairy giant he called a Yahoo.” Faragher noted that Boone was a big fan of “Gulliver’s Travels,” and he likely borrowed the name “Yahoo” from that book, which featured creatures called Yahoos that were giant beasts in human shape.
|American pioneer Daniel Boone.|
Boone was said to have told his story of killing a Yahoo many times, especially during the last year of his life. Some researchers have noted that they feel it’s significant that he told this story repeatedly in the final year of his life, almost as if he was no longer afraid of any ridicule he might receive from its telling.
Over the years, folklorists have recorded four or five versions of strange legends regarding the Yahoo creature in Kentucky. Almost all of these stories involve large, hairy people who live out in the woods or in caves. Researchers have also noted that these stories have endured and remained popular among the people of that area for nearly two centuries. Other names for this Yahoo creature include “Yeahoh” and “Yayhoo.”
Bigfoot researchers also say that Boone’s Yahoo story is the state of Kentucky’s most famous Bigfoot tale. They note that early pioneers like Boone would have likely been the first white men to set eyes on a Bigfoot and the idea of a rifle-carrying frontiersman like Boone killing one isn’t that farfetched. Most consider it a fair assumption that what Boone described as a Yahoo is what we now refer to as a Bigfoot.
In the end, I think it’s interesting that tales of Bigfoot-like creatures were being told in America as far back as the 1820s by such creditable sources as folk hero Daniel Boone. Before I close out this week, I want to say again that if any of you have had an experience with a Bigfoot-like creature in and around Conecuh County, please contact me so I can document your experience. Please contact me at The Courant by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.