Virginia Mountain Lion Reports and Stories

David Tyree

Back in 2012 in nelson county va a small town of gladstone va. We own a farm. A cougar was spotted in the fields many times. I had emailed dgif to be to told there were no such things. Well a few yrs later one was killed in the town of gladstone va on the csc railroad tracks. About 7 miles east. I saw pictures of it and im gonna try to find friends that may still have them of that cat. My names David tyree. Very interested. Because my x father in law back in the 80’s and early 90’s done alot of coon hunting not far from our farm. Along the buffalo river. Was a old soap stone mine there once. Alot of holes. He told of stories of many times treeing a cat. Or killing a coon and the cat would stalk them smelling the blood on the walk to the truck. 

Nathaniel Edwards

Me my sister and my cousin all witnessed a large cougar size black cat cross the road on our ridge when we where younger and my sister also saw it in the day time in the field. Also around the same time my friend that lived about a mile from here was frequently seeing a large black cat and little ones with it. And around 1990 my parents saw a regular tan mountain lion on the ridge in broad daylight all in haysi va on tivis ridge and 3 cross the road.

 

Chris Kisling

Lady I work with saw a Big Cat 2weeks ago on 33 in Rawley Springs on her way to work. She said it was definitely a mountain lion.

Cranor Creeker

Hunted 900 acres in Caroline County. Next door neighbor had camera pictures of one in a field stretched out sunning. I brought up to him because I had a huge cat track on a fresh dirt pile where the owner was having bore dirt samples collected. It was right on the North Anna River.

Sue Ella

I saw a black panther in Keezletown back in the 70’s. A VERY shocking sight at the time!

Bobcat Wong

I was in West Virginia a few years ago wirt county I seen a black panther up in the hills it crossed the road.

 

 

 

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Virginia Wildlife: What the Dept of Game and Inland denies

Im sure many of you that ride through the mountains of Virginia or hike and camp our national forest have seen a great deal of the various wildlife that inhabits our land.

 I have witnessed a great deal of them such deer, sightings of bear as well as numerous encounters with them, Skunks, rabbits , Turkey, Fisher cat, Bard owls, bald eagles, osprey by the lakes, marsh hawks, red tail hawks, Coyotes and so many others I can mention but Im here to bring attention to a much more elusive stealthy and beautiful animal. 

The Mountain Lion aka cougar. Although the department denies ever recieving reports there is a great deal of eyewitnesses and one of them being myself. As an independent wildlife researcher and Cryptozoologist I am always observing my surroundings in the great outdoors and Have found the tracks that belong to almost every living creature that lives here in Virginia and the mountain lion is just one of many however Ive witnessed a black cat crossing the forest road in 2015. I have also gathered and picked up reports of farmers having them on their property. Who would trust as an incredible source an eyewitness or someone who denies reports?

Black Panther (cougar)

Mountain lion (common breed)
Perhaps you have witnessed one of these beautiful creatures yourself, please feel free to share your story with me.

Or maybe you have witnessed something much larger and out of the ordinary that you can’t explain and want to share with someone who will understand and believe you. As a Cryptozoologist I research and study the unknown an unclassified elusive primate also denied by many BIGFOOT!

Tell me about it with details date and location:

Contact: ecbro98@gmail.com

Daniel J. Benoit.                        (Field Researcher)

IS BIGFOOT IMPOSSIBLE?

My first question to the non believer and skeptic are you calling everyone who has seen a Bigfoot a liar ?

Why are only Single tracks being found? Common sense suggests consider the soil and terrain. Is it clear, soft, or hard?

Throughout the ages all across the globe eyewitnesses and people  just as yourself have remained quiet out of fear of ridicule and mockery that comes forward from the very same person you are today thinking that the existence is one big joke or a hoax.

Who is leaving behind the evidence left deep in our forest? Tracks belonging to no known species, large formations ruled out not being from weather. 

Many of you ask the same old questions regarding where is the body or with todays technology why haven’t we found one yet? This is where you are lost and unaware due to your lack of interest of not willing to research and to explore for yourself.

Are you aware of the hundreds of species still being discovered today that we never knew existed or throught were extinct? But wait Why didn’t we know about them with todays technology? See my point? Of course you dont let me add more here.

Many consider BIGFOOT as either human or as an undiscovered or unclassified primate, well no matter how we look at the subject they are both highly intelligent beings and a few non human primates possess more intelligence than we do. A large mountain gorilla being observed in its own natural habitat can simply disappear with out a trace right in front our own eyes this is because of the natural occurrence of them having the ability to hide with natural camouflage not no special powers. Primates a lone are shy and yet very cautious animals they are well alert to any unfamiliar presence in their territory and do observe us without revealing themselves. We can be feet in front of them and never know it.

Todays technology can help us but is limited. Remember technology is man made therefore its not perfect.

Many known primates burry their dead or dispose of them after they are done mourning after their loss. What becomes of the body or remains of a non human primate? I have done studies on primates quite in depth in order to compare with the possibility on how the facts may compare to Bigfoot. Well Without getting into the Subject and details of TAPHONOMY allow me to explain an important but yet simple fact about non human primates verses us human primates. When a non human primate dies and the breakdown process has gone through it’s steps and then we are left with skeletal remains well here is something very few know that the discovery of remains are very limited due to perseverance. Non human primate bones dissolve and breakdown quickly especially in highly acidic soil.

Now is this the case with Bigfoot? It very well may be but for those who look at Bigfoot as a human then this would not make sense as they are still scratching heads trying to come up with another logical conclusion or in some cases making up magical reasoning without no supportive data

These are known facts related to known non human primates.

This is just a small taste of something to really consider.

 

Wildlife & Bigfoot Knows

Well aware of their surroundings

Animal behavior can give you some serious clues about changes in the weather – and even about danger.

Activity patterns shift in anticipation of coming storms, and the magnitude of the shifts can tell you something about what the animals are thinking about the length and severity of the weather. We all know that animal behavior changes with the seasons. Certain creatures hibernate and are absent through the winter, some creatures migrate, and these patterns can tell us a lot about the timing of seasonal changes. If the winter or spring is coming early, animals know it before meteorologists do, and they time their activities accordingly.

But they also know about the smaller changes within the seasons, such as coming storms and unseasonal warm-ups. The key to recognizing changes in behavior, however, is to recognize the normal patterns, so you are going to have to get yourself out in the woods in order to learn the norms and note the changes. These things are hard to teach, and are best suited to experiential learning. You might have to force yourself to pick up a squirrel rifle from time to time and get out in the woods to hear what the wildlife wants to tell you.

In general, watch migratory birds for clues to the timing of the seasons. If birds show up or leave early for the winter, hold on! If birds return early for spring, spring is coming early. Keeping a few bird feeders will allow you to more easily monitor this, and to track daily activity patterns for clues to more short-term weather trends. Watch the foraging patterns of squirrels and chipmunks for clues to both long- and short-term weather trends.

Animals are also great indicators of approaching danger. The big thing to remember here is that, as far as the critters are concerned, you are an approaching danger. Remember all those movies where the point man raises his hand and then clenches his fist to get everyone behind him to stop? Immediately, some forest or jungle creature does something to let him know that the bad guys are crouched behind THAT bush in ambush? It seldom works that way in the real woods. The trouble is, all the critters in your immediate area are on alert for you. To get a good read on the critters around you, you are going to have to stop, stand still, and blend in until they forget you are there. This can take 10 or 15 minutes, and you will know it is working when the small animals and birds start moving and calling near you. It is amazing what you will hear and see with a bit of stillness and patience, and this is what you can use as a baseline for the “no danger woods. What you see and hear when you are on the move is a cautious or even frightened woods.

Reading the woods is another skill that only comes through experience; better get that squirrel rifle out again. There are some rules of thumb however that can get you started:

1. Crows, ravens, and blue jays are trouble-makers. These noisy birds love nothing better than to announce the coming of any creature that is trying to be stealthy. They also enjoy perching above any critter that is trying to hide, squawking their brains out. Jays have elevated this to an art-form, and they have messed up more than one hunt for me, but they have also told me when something was coming.

2. Squirrels like to chatter and scold. Not all the time, but when they are feeling cocky. They can alert you to a hider, if you have been still long enough to know they aren’t scolding you.

3. Any birds breaking cover and taking flight suddenly have probably been startled by something. Small game taking off on the run has probably been scared as well. Again, if you have been still and watching for some minutes before noticing something like this there is probably something other than you bothering the wildlife.

4. Your domestic animals can give you clues to approaching dangers, as well. Dogs aren’t the only good watch dogs. My horses often let me know if something or someone is nearby, and they even let me know the direction of approach by squaring their whole body up to it and pointing their eyes directly at it. They aren’t noisy about it, but if you watch your horses they can tell you a lot. Turkeys and guineas are also great for alerting you to the presence of just about anything.

If you learn the rhythms of the wildlife around you, they can tell you a lot. From the weather to the approach of a hit squad, the critters can clue you in if you take the time to learn their “language.” Get some bird feeders and then get yourself out in the woods, take the time to just sit quietly and pay attention, because if you don’t recognize normal animal behavior you won’t be able to recognize and interpret the changes.

5.  Sasquatch or Bigfoot we highly underestimate a creature we know little to really nothing about although some self-proclaim themselves as know it alls or experts when in reality there is none whatsoever. 

We believe they are a highly intelligent being lets entertain the thought of them being a non human primate of their own kind just for this note; We will not look at them as Human at all at this moment simply because we are dumb in general. 

We as humans are not always aware of dangers or what surrounds us in the wild not to mention what may be watching us as a predator waits out its prey for an attack. We hear about wild animals attacking people quite often don’t we , well again we are simply unaware. Not lets look at it through another view point. We can be at home laid back launging around reading a book or watching tv here noises or a knock at the door that get our attention yes we then become alert to what is not expected or was there before.

In the wilderness we are out of our element and we enter the home that belongs to so many species including Sasquatch who knows every tree to every animal that inhabits that domain and is well acquainted to their sounds and patterns through out the seasons. Do you expect to sneak up on a squatch when he/she is already alerted to your presence as soon as you enter their domain? Any animal thats in the general area has already gave off the warning bell and believe it or not all species cooperate together in order to survive within each of their own kind. This is a true fact. So think about going in the forest at night time, wildlife really knows what does not belong, your scent , your clumsy walk through the forest while trying to maneuver across unfamiliar terrain. Do you think a smart creature like Bigfoot is going to hang around for you?

Do you see why its important to understand and learn about our known wildlife before seeking what is considered to be unknown ?

My only hope is that this information makes sense and that you learn from what is presented.

ORBS ? REALLY

Many people capture illuminated, circular spots in their photographs. These spots are commonly known as orbs. Some people explain orbs as light reflected off surrounding surfaces; some explain them as light reflected off dust particles; and some explain them as spirits or other entities normally invisible to the human eye.

Little research has been done on this phenomenon, but Dr. Gary E. Schwartz and Adjunct Research Professor of Optical Sciences Katherine Creath at the University of Arizona did publish a study on orbs in 2005. 

They said most orbs can be explained by the reflection of the camera’s flash off of objects on the scene, or off of dust. However, Schwartz and Creath acknowledged that some orbs seem to defy conventional optical explanation.

An orb captured in a BBC documentary, for example, moved slowly before disappearing. Schwartz and Creath write: “It is not possible to explain orbic objects such as these that move in dynamic and unpredictable paths as being caused by stray reflections. It is also not possible to explain many of them as being caused by dust particles in the air.”

When it comes to presenting evidence of the paranormal, pictures and videos of orbs seem to pop up everywhere. Many enthusiast ghost hunters get all excited when they see orbs in their pictures. They will argue with you that they are proof of the paranormal. Troy Taylor, author of Ghost Hunter’s Guidebook and president of the American Ghost Society, call these type of people “orb-a-philes“. These “orb-a-philes” will swear by orbs and will not take any rational explanations into account. They will post these photos and videos all over the internet and try to convince people that this is positive proof that ghosts exist.

However, orbs are one of the most easily explained phenomenons in paranormal investigations. There are so many factors that come into play when debunking orbs in pictures and video. For serious paranormal investigators and ghost hunters, they will take a variety of environmental factors into consideration. In fact, many renowned paranormal researchers have discounted orbs as being paranormal for a number of different reasons.

Does this mean all orbs in photography can’t be paranormal at all? Not necessarily. The science of paranormal research has been debated for decades and will probably continue to be debated for decades to come. However, when it comes to orbs don’t be so quick to play the paranormal card. First, rule out all possible explanations.

Equipment Check

It is always a good idea to perform a check of all equipment prior to an investigation. Be sure that camera lenses are free from smudging and dust. Also, make sure your fingers don’t touch the lens during the investigation. Our fingers have natural oils that will leave a smudge residue. Smudging and dust could cause orbs to appear in your pictures. Even if you capture an orb with a pristine clean camera, it doesn’t mean it is paranormal. Consider the following factors before submitting orb pictures as evidence.

Dust

The number one culprit orbs appearing in photographs and on video are dust and debris. According to Merriam Webster dust is fine particles of matter. This could include dead skin cells, dirt, pollen, animal dander, hair, decomposing insects, dust mites, waste from dust mites, lint, insulation from the building, and the list goes on.

So what makes dust appear in film as orbs? The simple answer is retro-reflection of light off the dust particle. Many paranormal investigators and ghost hunters typically do their investigations at night. Because of this there might be flashlights involved, flash from cameras, infrared (IR) lights, and natural lights from the environment just to name a few sources of light that can cause this retro-reflection of light on dust particles. It doesn’t take much light to reflect off of these dust particles and cameras are quick to pick it up. However, this doesn’t mean orbs in photos taken during the day are proof of paranormal. It all comes down to retro-reflection of light regardless of the time of day or night.

Many “orb-a-philes” may argue that there was no dust in the area. This is simply something that cannot be proven. Although our human eyes may not be able to see dust particles prior to the investigation it does not mean that dust particles are not present. Remember, dust can be a variety of different things. Even paranormal investigators or ghost hunters can bring dust particles in from the outside on their clothing without even realizing it. Even still, a human body sheds 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells every hour. Now multiply that by how many people are at the location and how long they stay for the investigation.

Dust orbs can appear translucent to solid depending upon the type of dust or how close it is to the camera. Although most cases dust orbs are not bright but this doesn’t mean they can’t be.


Insects

Insects are another common problem in photographing orbs. They often appear as solid bright orbs of light. Insects are naturally curious when it comes to light sources. Have you ever noticed when you turn on a porch light that insects are attracted to it within minutes. They are just as curious even with soft infrared light.

Some people may argue that there were no insects at the location. This is hard to guarantee. Many insects are very small and typically go unnoticed by most people. For example, gnats and fruit flies typically go unnoticed unless there are several.

In many cases of having video evidence orbs of light that move across the screen are often debunked as insects. Even a small gnat can appear large the closer it is to the camera. Many times when insects are in-flight it creates an orb that appears to have a tail streaming behind it.

Moisture

When someone thinks of moisture they think of water or vapors they can see. However, our atmosphere is filled with moisture molecules that humans cannot see with their own eyes. Cameras are great at capturing moisture molecules sometimes.

One example is when a group of paranormal investigators were on an investigation at a private residence, they decided to go down to the creek where a woman’s body was dragged. Many of the paranormal investigators began taking random pictures during EVP sessions. Many of the photos came back with octagon-shaped orbs. This would be intriguing if the paranormal investigators weren’t standing on large rock in the creek. Standing in a water source and the light from the cameras created a beautiful display of orbs.

Not all moisture orbs are octagon. They can be a variety of shapes. They can also be a variety of colors as well. Have you ever seen a rainbow when watering your lawn or washing your car? Moisture and light create literally a rainbow of colors. Keep in mind though, that not all water molecule orbs have colors
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NEPHILIM: WHO WERE THEY? FIND OUT HERE

Many share the the belief or theory “the sons of God” and giants from Genesis 6. Some Bible teachers believe that angels took the form of flesh (actual incarnation) to engender offspring with women, thus “Giants” came into being (Nephilim). What do you believe?

Lets take a look at my biblical view and at what the Holy Scriptures tell us, surely if your a believer in the Nephilim being the origins of Bigfoot then you have no problem reading this or even if your not a believer in such theory then you would truly appreciate this mind settling blog.

This theological position from Genesis 6 is common — that fallen angels had sex with humans to create a race of giants — but I don’t subscribe to it.

This is is what the Bible says about the Nephilim:

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4, NASB)

A basic premise in the doctrine of man’s earthly dominion is that God gave His delegated authority to human beings on this planet. And God made only man as a fleshly being with a soul. Demons, which most theologians believe are fallen angels, have a soul/spirit, but no body. Animals have a body and mind, but no eternal soul/spirit. Man is uniquely made in God’s image as a triune being — spirit, soul (mind, will, and emotions), and body.

God gave dominion to man on the earth to rule as His regent because man was made in His image as a triune being. So only a triune man, made out of the dust of the earth, can have dominion under God. Demons cannot take on flesh — there is nowhere in the Bible that says that they can. Of course we know that angels, both heavenly and fallen, can appear in human form, but they remain spirit beings only.

Also, in Genesis chapter one, God says in verse 24, “…Let the earth produce living creatures according to their ‘kinds’…” A fish can not produce with a bird. And a man cannot produce with an animal — or a demon. All creatures on the earth produce only according to their ‘kind’.

In the passage in question, we see that the Bible says:

“…’the sons of God’ saw that the daughters of man were beautiful…”

The Hebrew for the term “sons of God” is ben elohim, which means literally “sons of God.”

A key of biblical interpretation is to allow the Scripture to interpret itself. People fall into error when they try to make the Bible say something to fit their particular doctrinal position when the text does not say it. In this case, the text simply says ‘sons of God’, which is a designation for humans. There is nowhere in the Bible where demons are called ‘sons’, and especially not ‘sons of God.’ 

There are three passages in Job that refer to the ‘sons of God’, that seem to indicate that these were godly angels, since mankind had not received access to God’s presence before the resurrection of Christ, and Demons had been expelled from God’s presence.:

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. (Job 1:6, NASB)

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD. (Job 2:1, NASB)

When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy… (Job 38:7, NASB)

Throughout the rest of the Bible, and particularly in the New Testament, when the term ‘sons of God’ is used it is referring to human beings.

In the genealogy of Jesus, Luke writes in chapter 3:38, ‘…son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God.’

Jesus referred to human beings as ‘sons of God.’

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matt. 5:9, NASB)

Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (Luke 20:36, NASB)

Paul also referred to humans as “sons of God”:

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:14, NASB)

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19, NASB)

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:26, NASB)

In Gen. 6:3, God says, “My Spirit will not remain with ‘mankind’ forever, because they were corrupt.” It says “mankind” — not a mix of man and demon. In verse 4 it says the Nephilim were “…powerful men…” Again, not powerful demon-men.

And in verse 7, “…the Lord said, ‘I will wipe off the face of the earth: man, whom I created…'” Here we see an explicit reference to who and what God intended to bring judgement to — man. God says nothing about demons or fallen angels here. That which God created, man, would be destroyed — with the exception of righteous Noah.

God alone is the Creator. Demons and angels do not have the power to create, so they could not have re-created, or reproduced with human beings. If these were a separate race created by demons reproducing with men — which would not be something God created — then I believe God would have made it clear that the demon-men were being destroyed along with the regular men.

But God only says that He will destroy MAN who he created.

If the demons were reproducing offspring with humans then, why don’t we see any other instance of this in the Bible — and why aren’t they doing it today? The answer, I believe, is that it simply isn’t possible.

We need to be careful that we don’t try to force the Bible to say what it doesn’t actually say. This is how cults and false religions are started and grow. Instead, we must use proper biblical interpretation that lets the Bible say what it says, adding nothing and taking nothing away.

God is sovereign, and He set the parameters for reproduction in Genesis chapter one, and no one, and no thing can reproduce outside of His plan.

Oldest Record of Bigfoot & History of the Man Mentioned.

The oldest account of Bigfoot was recorded in 986 AD by Leif Ericson and his men. During their first landing in the New World, the Norsemen wrote about manlike beasts that were “horribly ugly, hairy, swarthy and with great black eyes.”

Among his accounts, Leif told of seeing huge hairy men who towered over him and his men. The “huge hairy men”, according to Leif, lived in the Woods and had a rank odour and a deafening shriek. It should be noted that Leif Ericson and his men describe huge manlike beasts that were loud and foul-smelling and clearly distinct from native peoples. Apparently, Leif had several sightings of the “huge hairy men” before departing the island.

They called the creature “Skellring”. People believe that the creature “Skellring” is what we know today as Bigfoot. This is the earliest recorded encounter with Bigfoot, or Sasquatch.

I find this very intriguing and most credible. To have documented such creatures and to have experienced them says a lot coming from this time frame. Hoaxing was not a Vikings style. Explorers make/take notes of their Discoveries and travels.


On other notes and Translations

Since then, I’ve wondered if this is a common argument among Bigfoot enthusiasts. After some investigating, I have discovered that it is not an uncommon argument. This account from the show “Ancient Mysteries: Bigfoot” is typical:

The oldest account of Bigfoot was recorded in 986 AD by Leif Ericson and his men. During their first landing in the New World, the Norsemen wrote about monsters that were horribly ugly, hairy, swarthy and with great black eyes.

It’s almost always Leif Ericson who is credited with discovering not only North America, but also Bigfoot. It’s never one of the later Norse explorers. The year 986 also recurs, as does the description. There are also often references to Leif writing about or recording his encounter. Almost all these details are impossible.

Two sagas deal with the Norse discovery of America: Greenlanders’ Saga (Grænlendinga saga) and the Saga of Eric the Red (Eiríks saga rauða). In both sagas, Leif’s single voyage to the New World is described rather briefly. In both, the most significant things he finds are the grapes and vines which provide Vinland with its name. In Eric’s Saga, Leif sees no animals at all. In Greenlanders’ Saga, he sees salmon (lax) larger than any he had seen before. While large, the fish are not said to be hairy; there is no mention of feet.

The date 986 is very specific, and I haven’t figured out where it comes from. No one knows exactly when the Norse discovered Vinland, but, based on information from the sagas, the initial sighting seems to have taken place around 1000. Leif hadn’t been born in 986, and his father had not yet settled in Greenland. This is important: there is a logical progression from Iceland to Greenland to Vinland.

If the discovery occurred around 1000, it was more or less contemporary with the Christian conversion of Iceland and Greenland. Eric’s Saga claims that Leif accidentally discovered Vinland when he got blown off course traveling from Norway to Greenland on a mission from King Olaf Tryggvason to convert the Greenlanders. This story is generally agreed to be untrue, but the general time period is probably right. One of the perks of conversion was a shiny new alphabet. Well, okay, a slightly used alphabet. But not even the Icelanders (who took to writing with wild abandon) started writing within a week or two. The stories weren’t written down for centuries after the events described. It is true, of course, that the Norse had the Runic alphabet, but it seems unlikely that Leif schlepped around a supply of big rocks so that he could record a journal or captain’s log.

Absurd as they are, these details appear over and over, sometimes with extra absurdities added on. Rick Emmer, in his book Bigfoot: Fact or Fiction, says:

Vikings led by Leif Ericson made their way to the East Coast of North America in 986 CE. It was there that they reported seeing an “horribly ugly, hairy, swarthy and with big black eyes” (Ericson, Leif. 986 CE) creature. They called the creature “Skellring”. People believe that the creature “Skellring” is what we know today as Bigfoot. But it is possible that the Aboriginals were playing a prank on the vikings by wearing large animal hides. This Bigfoot sighting was the first to be recorded in North America.

I love the way he cites Leif parenthetically as his source, in (almost) proper APA style. One website suggests that Bigfoot were an aboriginal tribe:

[Leif described] encounters with huge hairy men, with a horrible odor and  piercing shrieks. L’Anse aux Meadows…is the only known village settlement by the Vikings in this area around 1000 AD. That region was inhabited by Native people from back to 6000 BP. Native people who surely had dealt with the local Bigfoot. Is it possible that the Vikings landed on a continent that had two tribes? One Native American and one being Bigfoot? If and [sic] upright human-like being can manage to stay well hidden from man, showing a good degree of intelligence, then when we refer to Bigfoot, are we not referring to the “other” tribe of the Americas?

A similar account was recorded by the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization:

It is a little known historical fact that the first Sasquatch encounter was perhaps observed by the vikings who settled on the island of Newfoundland in Eastern Canada….Leif kept a record of his journey across the Atlantic, from Iceland to Greenland, and of his experiences whilst in Newfoundland, the last point of land on his voyage. Among his accounts, Leif told of seeing huge hairy men who towered over him and his Berzerker crew (and the vikings are known to have been large men). The “huge hairy men”, according to Leif, lived in the Woods and had a rank odour and a deafening shriek. Apparently, Leif had several sightings of the “huge hairy men” before departing the island.

DESCRIPTION OF CREATURE:  Towering height, hairy, man-like, rank smell, deafening verbal tones., The natives of Newfoundland, the Beothuck (now extinct), most likely had similar relations to the Sasquatch like other native bands, especially those of Western Canada (ie Bella Coola). Leif’s accounts spoke of his meeting of a race of men (seperate [sic] from the “huge hairy men”), which were almost certainly the Beothuck.

It should be noted that neither Leif nor the later Norse explorers of Vinland were Vikings: properly speaking, “Viking” refers specifically to raiders. They certainly weren’t Berserkers. While the Norse explorers have become insane, frothing warriors in this account, Bigfoot has become huge, loud, foul-smelling and clearly distinct from native peoples.

So where does the story of Leif and Bigfoot come from? I believe it comes from Peter Byrne’s The Search for Big Foot: Monster, Myth or Man? and he drew on Samuel Eliot Morison’s The European Discovery of America: The Northern Voyages, A.D. 500-1600, though Morison did not mention Bigfoot. Byrne, who appears on the “Ancient Mysteries” program, refers to Morison’s account of the Norse discoveries, particularly:

an encounter by Leif Erikson and his men, during their first landing in the New World, with creatures that were pictured as “horribly ugly, hairy, swarthy and with great black eyes. 

While Byrne admits that this case is “borderline” and that the “creatures” were probably “simply Indians,” he still thinks it may have been Bigfoot. Why? Because they were hairy:

The Norse word “skellring” is a term of contempt. It means, roughly, a “babarian.” But what caught my eye . . . was the word “hairy.” The Norse were a hairy people themselves, big men with matted hair and beards. Why did they remark on the “skellring” being hairy? Was it because they were very much hairier than the Norsemen, even covered with hair, perhaps? If the encounter had been between, say, Tibetans, who are not a hirsute people, and the “skellring,” one could understand the reference to hairiness. But why the Norse mention?

Bio and brief history continued:

Born in the 10th century, Norse explorer Leif Eriksson was the second son of Erik the Red, who is credited with settling Greenland. For his part, Eriksson is considered by many to be the first European to reach North America, centuries ahead of Christopher Columbus. However, the details of his voyage are a matter of historical debate, with one version claiming his landing accidental and another that he had sailed there intentionally after learning of the region from earlier explorers. In either case, Eriksson eventually returned to Greenland, where he had been commissioned by Norwegian king Olaf I Tryggvason to spread Christianity and is believed to have died circa 1020. In the early 1960s, the discovery of the ruins of a Viking settlement in Newfoundland lent further weight to accounts of Eriksson’s voyage, and in 1964 the United States Congress authorized the president to proclaim each October 9 as Leif Eriksson Day.

Leif the Mysterious

Although various accounts exist, the differences in their details often make it difficult to separate fact and legend when discussing the life or Norse explorer Leif Eriksson. He is believed to have been born circa 960–970 A.D., the second of three sons of Erik the Red, who founded the first European settlement on what is now Greenland. As Erik the Red’s father had been banished from Norway and settled in Iceland, it is likely that Leif was born there and raised in Greenland. However, from here the facts become as diverse as the spelling of his name.

Vinland

By most accounts, around the year 1000, Eriksson sailed from Greenland to Norway where he served in the court of King Olaf I Tryggvason, who converted him from Norse paganism to Christianity. Soon thereafter, Olaf commissioned Eriksson to proselytize across Greenland and spread Christianity to the settlers there as well. Although Eriksson would eventually make it back to Greenland, it is the details and motives of his return route that are the subject of most debate.

In the 13th-century Icelandic account The Saga of Erik the Red, Eriksson’s ships are said to have drifted off course on the return voyage home, finding dry ground at last on the North American continent. They are most likely to have disembarked in what is now Nova Scotia, which Eriksson named Vinland, perhaps in reference to the wild grapes that his landing party saw there. However, The Saga of the Greenlanders, which dates to the same era, suggests that Eriksson had heard already learned of “Vinland” from another seamen, Bjarni Herjólfsson, who had already been there more than a decade earlier, and that Eriksson sailed there on purpose, landing first in an icy region he named “Helluland” (believed now to be Baffin Island) and the heavily forested “Markland” (thought to be Labrador) before eventually making his way eventually to the more hospitable Vinland.

Whatever his motives, or the lack thereof, Eriksson is generally credited as the first European to set foot on the shores of North America, nearly five centuries before Christopher Columbus would arrive in 1492. But all suggest that Eriksson was most likely a member of an early Viking voyage to North America, if not, in fact, the leader of that first expedition.

Return

Despite his exploration, Eriksson would never colonize the region, nor did his brothers Thorvald Eriksson and Freydis Eiríksdóttir or Icelander Thorfinn Karlsefni, who visited Vinland after Eriksson. Returning to Greenland, Eriksson spent his efforts spreading Christianity. His mother, Thjodhild, became an early convert and built Greenland’s first Christian church, at Brattahlid, Erik the Red’s home in the east of the settlement. As for Eriksson, he is believed to have lived out his life in Greenland, dying somewhere around the year 1020.

The exact location of Vinland is not known, but in 1963 ruins of an 11th-century Viking settlement were discovered at L’Anse-aux-Meadows in northern Newfoundland. Now labeled a UNESCO National Historic Site, it is the oldest European settlement to have been found in North America, and more than 2,000 Viking objects have been recovered from it, supporting accounts that Eriksson and his men wintered there before setting sail for home.

Legacy

In recognition of Eriksson’s pioneering voyage, in September 1964 the United States Congress authorized the president of the United States to declare each October 9 as Leif Eriksson Day, a national day of observance. Over the years, various groups have attempted to elevate the celebration, but due in part to the fact that Christopher Columbus’s later voyage resulted more directly in European migration to North America, its status has remained unchanged.

Despite this, Leif Eriksson’s voyage is commemorated by statues throughout the United States, and in Newfoundland, Norway, Iceland and Greenland, and Iceland’s Exploration Museum annually presents its Leif Eriksson Awards for achievements in the field of exploration.

Why is this not Taught in School ?

NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY OF THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY OF VIRGINIA

The Valley

The Shenandoah Valley is at the northern end of the Great Appalachian Valley, which extends southward from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia about 550 miles to Cartersville, GA . . . where Etowah Mounds is located.  The North and South Forks of the Shenandoah flow northward for about 80 miles, before they join near Front Royal, VA.  The much broader river then flows northward for about 40 miles until it joins the Potomac River in Harpers Ferry, WV. 

The Valley is defined on the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains and on the west by Allegheny Mountains.  However, the climate of the northern Shenandoah Valley is quite different than that of the southern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The annual precipitation in the Shenandoah Valley is about 55% of that in the Georgia Mountains, and unfortunately most of that precipitation comes in the winter months, not the growing season. Most of the precipitation between early November and mid-April is in the form of snow or sleet.  During the summer, the Shenandoah Valley has a climate like Western Kansas or Oklahoma, so crops like wheat, barley and alfalfa do well there.  Traditional Native American crops such as corn, beans, squash and sunflowers only grow well in the damp, black soil of the river and creek bottomlands.

When Dutch, Swiss and German settlers first arrived in the Shenandoah Valley in the mid-18th century, the uplands of the valley were dominated by Southern Long Leaf Pines!   This tree today only grows in the Southeastern Coastal Plain and is extinct in the Shenandoah Valley.   This species is somewhat dependent on fires to sprout its seeds.  It is possible that Native Americans regularly burned out the undergrowth, allowing a sub-tropical pine to adapt to a much colder climate.   The lower elevations of the mountainsides were then dominated by Eastern Hemlocks.  These trees are rare in the valley floor, but do still grow in shaded, damp areas at the feet of mountains.

The first floor joists of my mid-18th century farmhouse in the Shenandoah Valley were virgin Long Leaf pine logs that still had the bark on them.  Although over 240 years old, they were in perfect condition and showed no evidence of termite infestation.

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Our beloved Colonial Period farm in the Shenandoah Valley . . . surveyed by George Washington

The official history of the Shenandoah Valley

For many generations, Virginia’s students have been taught that the beautiful Shenandoah Valley was uninhabited when the white man arrived on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.  It had been used in the past as hunting lands by several Indian tribes, but no one was living there, except for a small, recently arrived, band of Shawnee living where Winchester now is located. So the white settlers didn’t steal the valley from the Indians.

In 1927, local historian John Walter Wayland wrote A History of Shenandoah County.  He said that since ancient times, the valley had been the hunting lands of the Iroquois Confederacy.  It contained a few small villages of the Shanantoa or Senandoa Indians, who were either Tuscarora Indians or allies of the Iroquois. The Senandoa Indians were very alarmed by the Tuscarora War between 1711 and 1715.

Wayland stated that probably in 1715 the Iroquois attacked the Catawba in South Carolina and the Cherokees in northeastern Tennessee, because they had assisted the British colonists against the Tuscarora.  He postulated that in revenge, the Catawba massacred most of the Senandoa.  The Shenandoah Valley remained Iroquois hunting lands until 1744, when Governor  William Gooch of Virginia purchased Iroquois claims to the valley for £200. 

The Shawnee, living in the vicinity of Winchester, VA, vacated the Valley in 1754, when the French and Indian War began.  Most Shawnee became allies of the French. However, the former chief of the Winchester band, Cornstalk, tried to keep his people neutral.  Hostile Shawnee warriors launched hundreds of raids into the Shenandoah Valley between 1654 and 1667, which virtually depopulated the region.  The Valley today is dotted with historical makers that memorialize the massacres committed by the hostile bands of Shawnees.  Many of the settlers were tied to pine trees and burned alive.

shenandoahvalley-birdseye

The forgotten history of the Shenandoah Valley

In 1649, 11 years prior to his Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, King Charles II of England gave 5.2 million acres in Northern Virginia to the Culpepper Family in return for their financial and political support. Thomas Lord Fairfax, would eventually inherent this grand estate through his mother, who was a Culpepper.  This is ironic since his grandfather was Thomas Fairfax, Lord General of the New Model Army, which overthrew King Charles I in the English Civil War.  This Fairfax avoided being hanged, drawn and quartered by Charles II because he refused to sign Charles the First’s execution warrant.

In 1665, Governor William Berkeley of Virginia signed a contract with the Rickohocken Indians in the southwestern part of that colony, in which the provincial government would furnish the tribe with large amounts of firearms and munitions, if the Rickohockens would provide the colony with large numbers of Native American slaves. Within a year, the Manahoac Indians, living on the new Culpepper estate were devastated by a series of slave raids.  By 1669, there were only about 50 Manahoac men still alive.

Historian Samuel Kercheval wrote A History of the Valley of Virginia in 1833. He was born in the Valley in 1767, when many of the earliest settlers were still alive.  Kercheval, who was a French Huguenot, became a decorated US Army officer, a highly respected attorney and historian, plus a friend of Thomas Jefferson.  It was Kercheval, who suggested that the US Constitution be kept flexible by allowing future amendments to be passed by a majority of states.  

Kercheval studied the evidence of when Shanandoa Indians were almost exterminated.  Without even knowing of the Rickohocken Indians existence, he estimated that the holocaust occurred between the time of King Charles II’s restoration (1660) and Bacon’s Rebellion (1676.)  That is exactly when the Rickohockens were most active in the Native American slave trade.  However, it is not known how long the Shanantoa had lived in the Shenandoah Valley before being massacred.  It is quite possible that they arrived in the valley from somewhere else in the 1600s.

Despite the statements made in Virginia history text books and local tourist brochures today, there WERE Native Americans living in the Shenandoah Valley when white men arrived in Virginia and even after British explorers and traders began visiting the valley.  It was never an uninhabited grassland, shared by many different tribes for hunting only.

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Petún or Tobacco Indians

At the time when Europeans were first exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and the lands beyond, the northern tip of the valley was occupied by the Petún People.  They were known to local settlers as the “Tobacco Indians” because they grew large quantities a tropical type of tobacco that was vastly superior to the nicotina rustica, grown by most Native American tribes in North America.  Their tobacco was so superior that the Petún didn’t bother with cultivating other crops or spending much time hunting.  They obtained most of their food by trading their valuable tobacco.   Their leaves were exported to all parts of Eastern North America, even into the semi-boreal parts of Quebec. 

The name of Petún Indians is quite significant.   It was one of the forms for the name of Lake Petén Itzá in Guatemala – the heartland of the Mayas, where tobacco was first domesticated.   It is also one of the forms of the name of the Putún or Potún . . . the Maya merchant class, who originated at Lake Petén.  The Potano of Northern Florida are another indigenous people in the Southeast, whose name seems to be derived from generic name of Maya transient merchants.

Postscript:  One of POOF’s readers have just written us with an article that states Petún is the Tupi word for tobacco in Brazil!  It may be derived from the name of Petún or Potun merchants, but the fact that it means tobacco in a major South American language is 100% evidence of a South American connection.

Current archeological orthodoxy states that the Tobacco Indians in the Shenandoah Valley were one and the same as the Wendat in the Kanawha Valley and the Tionontate in the Great Lakes Basin. The reason is that all three groups were sometimes known to the English as the Tobacco Indians. The Wendat and the Tionontate were definitely related linguistically and were almost simultaneously attacked by the Iroquois Confederacy during the Beaver Wars of the late 1600s.The Shenandoah Tobacco Indians were not attacked then. They supplied the Iroquois with premium quality tobacco.

During the Beaver Wars of the late 1600s, the Canadian Tionontate merged with the survivors of the Hurons to create one Wyandot tribe in Canada. The Wendat of West Virginia moved westward in stages to become two federally recognized “Wyandot” tribes in Kansas and Oklahoma.

It is unlikely that the Tobacco Indians in the northern Shenandoah Valley were the same ethnic group as the other two peoples. If one delves into the background of this assumption, it is pure speculation by anthropologists, based on ignorance of linguistics, plus the cultural traits of indigenous peoples in the lower Southeast. There is no colonial archive that provides an eyewitness account that the Shenandoah natives joined with the Wendat Indians, after they took refuge from the Iroquois near the West Virginia-Kentucky border. One day, the Shenandoah Petún were there . . . the next explorer found them gone.

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Paleo-American settlements

Beginning in the 1970s, some Virginia archaeologists, who thought “outside the box,” began excavating jasper and flint quarries along the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, southwest of Front Royal. These sites were called Flint Run, Fifty Site, Fifty Bog and Thunderbird. Radio-carbon dating revealed that these sites dated from the warming period of the last Ice Age and extended into the Early Archaic Period or about 11,000 BC to 6,500 BC.  Most of the weapons and tools found on site were typical of the Clovis and Dalton Cultures.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, highly respected archaeologist William M. Gardner of Thunderbird Associates in Woodstock, VA discovered something phenomenal that should have “turned the history books upside down,” but has been largely ignored by mainstream academicians and school textbooks. His team identified several LARGE, PERMANENT villages near shoals on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River and downstream from where the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River join together.  Some of these villages might have had as many as 1,000 residents!

All high school and university students are taught that Native Americans lived in small, family bands that migrated across the landscape in search of food until around 1000 BC.  Obviously, at least in the Shenandoah Valley, mankind began living in permanent settlements around 9,000 BC. This is about the same time that the first permanent settlements appeared in Middle East.

Stone Cairns and Circles

During the past two decades, archaeologists have identified numerous stone cairn cemeteries in the northern tip of the Shenandoah Valley and in northeastern West Virginia. The also can be found along the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Northern Virginia. There are also some ceremonial rings built out of stones in this region.  They are not nearly as numerous as those in the northern Piedmont of Georgia, but conversely have been studied much more scientifically.  The cairns have been determined to be cremation biers that date from the Middle Woodland Period up to the early Mississippian Period . . . except that officially Virginia does not have a Woodland Period mound-building culture or Mississippian Mound-builder Period in its archaeological lexicon.  Therefore, Mid-Atlantic archaeologists have given this culture the name, Stone Cairn Burial Culture.

In contrast, Georgia’s archaeologists fought so bitterly about the interpretation of its many more Pre-European stone structures during the late 20th century that very few were seriously studied. Nowadays, its anthropology professors refuse to even look at them or have their names associated with publicity about them.  In many locations, local elected officials in Georgia have unilaterally taken actions to preserve stone cairn cemeteries or stone walled terrace complexes, because Georgia’s archaeologists have refused to declare them “historic structures.”  

Virginia Terrace Complexes

Perhaps the most intriguing connection between the northern and southern ends of the Southern Appalachians are the stone walled terrace complexes. In 2012, at the same time that some Georgia archaeologists were trying to create a controversy over the long time claim by Creek Indians that they were part Maya, a curious archaeologist in Virginia obtained radiocarbon dates for a terrace complex overlooking the portion of the Shenandoah Valley, where the Petún lived.   

Only one agricultural terrace has been radiocarbon dated in Georgia.  It was begun around 1018 AD.  The oldest radiocarbon date for the terrace complex near Front Royal and Winchester, VA was around 1120 AD.  That is evidence that the terrace builders in Georgia, for unknown reasons, sent bands of colonists northward to the other end of the Southern Appalachians.

The archaeologists, involved in this project were concerned that they might become sucked into the then virulent “Mayas in Georgia” controversy and so did not publicize their work nationally.  As it turned out, however, scientists at the University of Minnesota later that year proved without a shadow of a doubt that Maya traders came to Georgia for many centuries to mine attapulgite, the main ingredient in Maya Blue pigment.

While hiking along the mountain ridges at the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I noticed old stone walls, but gave them scant attention.  My presumption, like everyone else at that time, was that they were the ruins of 18th century vineyards or orchards.

A Lost Civilization

Despite their complete absence from the professional literature, it is clear that Virginia’s densest indigenous population and most advanced indigenous cultures were located in the Shenandoah Valley. Captain John Smith noted the fact in his journals, but there is no evidence that he ever crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains into the region.  It is odd that Virginia historians and anthropologists did not note that statement long in the past and start looking for those towns.

The Native American population was concentrated in the northern and central portions of the valley, which had lower elevations, and a longer growing season than the southern valley and highlands of southwestern Virginia and North Carolina. Shenandoah County, VA has an average of 182 frost free days. The French Broad River Valley, north of Asheville, NC, averages 156 frost free days. Etowah Mounds in Georgia averages 215 frost free days.

Kercheval stated that when settlers arrived in what is now Shenandoah County, VA, virtually every farm in the bottomlands of the river and creeks, contained pyramidal ceremonial mounds, dome-shaped burial mounds, low, cobblestone covered mounds, the ruins of large villages or stone box crypt cemeteries.

Even today, the Highland Maya often bury their dead in stone box crypts, near their houses.  Stone box crypts are endemic in Georgia’s Nacoochee Valley, where the Native town of Itsate (Itza Maya’s name for themselves) was located. The same Itsate, who first settled in Northeast Georgia and built many of its stone-walled terrace complexes apparently spread northward to the Shenandoah Valley.

As late as 1865 there was a massive 25 feet high, 250 ft. by 250 ft. pyramidal mound near the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and the town of Mount Jackson. .Some mounds survived to be field fortifications during the Civil War, but soon afterward were leveled. There was a small dome shaped Hopewell Culture mound in the rear section of my farm that had been altered to be an artillery redan during the Battle of Toms Brook on October 9, 1864.  The remnants of burials and ceremonial mound survive today on the fringes of the valley and in Fort Valley, which is located between the Massanutten and Blue Ridge Mountains. The surviving mounds probably were burial mounds from the Woodland Period, since they are not located in the prime farming areas of the river bottomlands.

Many of the stone box graves contained extremely tall skeletons, up to seven feet in length. Colonel George Washington found an entire stone box grave cemetery with seven feet tall skeletons while directing the construction of Fort Loudon in Winchester. In almost all cases, the skeletons found in the Shenandoah Valley were burned, while the slate sarcophagi were used to veneer fireplaces. Seven foot tall skeletons are also found in royal burials in Georgia.  George Washington was not exaggerating.

Today, virtually nobody living in the Shenandoah Valley is aware that it once was filled with Native American mounds, earthworks, stone structures and large village sites.  When I became the first chairman of the Woodstock Historic Preservation Commission, absolutely no one locally or in state agencies mentioned the region’s Native American heritage.  State bureaucrats were only interested in Civil War battlefields and large houses where famous Civil War generals spent the night.

Muskogean (Creek) tribes in Virginia

Maps prepared in the late 20th century showed the ancestors of the Muskogean tribes occupying a region in the lower Southeast no farther north than North Metro Atlanta. Virtually all of Georgia was Creek until 1785, so these maps merely reflect the delusions of Cherokee-files.  These same maps show the Cherokees occupying a vast area, most of which never contained Cherokee villages.  Most of the traditional Chickasaw and Creek territories in Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina are labeled Cherokee.

At least as late as the 1500s, proto-Creek tribes definitely occupied the river bottomlands of northeastern Tennessee. In fact, all town names and political titles listed by the De Soto Chronicles in Georgia, the Carolinas and Tennessee are either Creek or Mesoamerican words, with the exception of Chiska, which is a Panoan ethnic name from eastern Peru.  Cherokee histories list some of these towns as Cherokee, merely because they were in North Carolina or Tennessee, but the Creek names have no meaning in the Cherokee language and their leaders clearly had Creek political titles.

Virginia ethnologists and historians have labeled two Virginia tribes as being Algonquian or Siouan because like their peers farther south, they never bothered to learn the Creek languages.  Their ethnic labeling were speculations based on the tribe’s Anglicized names. They were the Tvmvhiti and Okvonesi.

Tamahiti (Tvmvahiti): In the late 1600s, the Tamahiti (Tomahitan in Anglicized Algonquin) was a powerful tribe in Southwest Virginia. Their name is pronounced Täu : mäu : hē : tē. It is an Itza Maya word from Mesoamerica and means “Merchant People.”   The Tamahiti spoke a dialect that mixed Itza Maya words with Muskogean words/grammar from NE Mexico and Panoan from eastern Peru.

The pyramidal, platform mounds of the Tamahti can still be seen in Buchannan, Dickenson, Wise and Lee Counties in extreme southwest Virginia. It is highly likely that the Tamahiti once lived in river bottomlands as far north as the Potomac River.  There is a large platform mound on the Potomac River near Leesburg in Loudon County, VA.  In Georgia, the Tamahiti and Tamati usually constructed multiple mounds that were of modest size.  They are not associated with the largest mounds in the Southeast.

After the Creek-Cherokee War erupted in 1715, the Tamahiti skedaddled to southeast Georgia, where their close kin, the Tamati lived.  They soon joined the Creek Confederacy and ultimately moved to villages on the Chattahoochee River. Further evidence is that the word for corn among the Shawnee Indians living in the Allegheny Mountains was “Tama.”

Occoneechee or Okaneechi (Okvnesi):  Okvnesi is pronounced  Ō : käu : nē : jzhē.  Both English and Spanish explorers consistently wrote down a Muskogean si or se sound as “chee”.  The word means, “Descendants of the Oconee People.”  The Oconee are a major branch of the Creek Confederacy, with major concentrations of population formerly being around Okefenokee Swamp in SE Georgia; along the Oconee River in NE Georgia and along the Oconaluftee River in the Great Smoky Mountains, where the Cherokee Reservation is now.  Oconaluftee means “Okonee People – massacred” in Creek. The Okonee spoke a dialect that mixed Itza Maya words with Muskogean words/grammar from NE Mexico and Panoan from eastern Peru.  Okonee towns typically had one large pyramidal mound and several modest-sized mounds.

The Occoneechee tribe was located immediately to the south of the Shenandoah Valley in the 1700s.  Many of its remnant villages joined with the Saponi.   All references state that the Occoneechee Tribe was Siouan.  This is based on their later merging with the Siouan-speaking Saponi because very few Occoneechee words survive. 

Archaeological discoveries made while preserving historic architecture

tomsbrook-battleIn 1988, shortly after we were restoring our colonial farmhouse on Toms Brook in Shenandoah County, VA, representatives of the National Park Service showed up at the door to tell us that our farm was one of the key properties in the proposed Shenandoah Battlefields National Park.  The troopers of two former roommates at West Point, Brig. General George Armstrong Custer, USA and Brig. General Tom Lafayette Rosser, CSA had dueled around our house and in our pastures!  It was the only battle during the Civil War that Rosser lost.  In the process, Custer’s men captured Rosser’s dress uniform . . . but Custer had it shipped to Rosser’s wife.  

 I showed the NPS historians, the 1753 plat by George Washington and the original deed to Colonel John Tipton, later the co-founder of the State of Tennessee . . . but they called it the Thornton Farm.   That name will thoroughly perplex historians in the 22nd century.

You can read about the Battle of Toms Brook at this URL:  

Battle of Toms Brook at the Thornton Farm

Yes, the Thornton Farm was my farm.  The stone fence where Confederate cavalrymen took shelter was the stone wall next to my house and Spikers Hill was my front pasture.

The National Park Service requested permission to send archaeologists to our farm. It was granted.  The ground was saturated with the debris of the third largest cavalry battle of the Civil War.  However, the chief archaeologist shocked me when he came to the door one day and announced, “Richard, we have found an Adena Village AND a Hopewell Village on your farm.”  

That afternoon, I raced to the Shenandoah County Library to check out books on Virginia’s Native Americans.  There was no mention of either the Adena or Hopewell People being in Virginia.  I then drove over to the University of Virginia’s Anthropology Department.  The professor, who met with me, looked over the NPS report and grinned.  He said, “This couldn’t be possible. They must have mistakenly examined artifacts from Ohio.  There are no Adena or Hopewell sites in Virginia!”

While practicing in Virginia, I was the architect for the restoration of 47 Colonial and Federal Period houses and farms along the Shenandoah River.  It amounted to the only comprehensive archaeological survey in the valley, since I seemed to have been the first and last person, who ever looked for Native American artifacts coming out of Shenandoah Valley construction excavations. When the clients would pay for their services, I brought in the neighbors to my office, Thunderbird Associates, as consulting archaeologists.

One client, who would pay for an archaeologist, owned an entire horseshoe bend of the Shenandoah River near Woodstock.  Still visible, were earthen ramps that went up to a level plaza, the remnants of mounds and a stone enclosure around the entire bend.  Archaeologist Bill Gardner examined the site and dug several test pits.  He reported back that this was a large Late Hopewell village site.  My client could not afford to pay for a full-blown archeological study and Gardner got nowhere trying to convince his peers that the Hopewell Culture had moved eastward to the Shenandoah Valley, as it was dying out in Ohio. 

Totally inexplicable artifacts came out of the soil, when we were excavating the septic tank field for what would become James Carville’s and Mary Matalin’s Early Federal Period farm.  I began seeing polychrome potsherds, similar to the artifacts in Central America and northern South America. Then large stone artifacts began jamming up the ditch-digger attached to a Bobcat tractor. I was astounded to see that they were quadruped (four pedestal) metates for grinding corn and flat, rectangular sheets of slate and flagstone that in Mesoamerica and the Caribbean are used for tortilla or cassava cake griddles. 

The owner of the mechanical contracting company cussed and said that these things used be like weeds in the Seven Bends of the Shenandoah.  His family had a bunch of them around the house and yard that are used as potted plant stands. He warned me that if he ran into one of them damn Injun stone burials, he wouldn’t tell me, because if you find skeletons in Virginia, you have to call the County Coroner and stop all work.

I called up the University of Virginia’s Department of Anthropology.  I couldn’t get past the secretary. I heard a professor in the background laughing as he said, “These crazy people think every rock is an artifact.”   I blurted, “M’am I’ve studied in Mexico and taught Pre-Columbian architecture at Georgia Tech!”  She repeated my words, but the professor just laughed and said, “Mexico?”   That was the end of that.

Jay Monahan let me walk the old garden of his and Katie’s 1790 house, while it was under construction.  It was about 1/8th mile from the Carville house.  There again, I found polychrome and fancy Hopewell potsherds, but Jay was not particularly interested.  By then, Jay and I were on the Advisory Council of the NPS’s National Battlefield Protection Program.  He and I had a lot of fun walking Virginia’s Civil War battlefields, but like everybody else, it seemed, in Virginia, Native American history was just not anybody’s “cup of tea.”

A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon Samuel Kercheval’s 1833 book on the Shenandoah Valley.  He specifically mentioned that the stone metates, stone griddles and stone box crypts were so dense in the bottomlands of the Shenandoah Valley that early settlers had trouble plowing the fields. Kercheval speculated that Indians from Mexico or the tropics had once lived in the Shenandoah Valley.  He also mentioned that many families in his time had used the stone metates as yard decorations, just like the mechanical contractor said.   All this has been completely forgotten by many generations of Virginia academicians.

Now you explain this!

Almost a decade later, when I was living in Georgia again after a marital breakup, I looked up my ancestors’ Civil War records. All of my Creek ancestors initially enlisted in Cobb’s Legion and were heroes in the Battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg.  After Gettysburg, the remnants of Cobb’s Legion was dissolved and one of my ancestors was re-assigned to a small Confederate army in the Shenandoah Valley.   Would you believe that he was captured, while standing on picket duty in November 1864, at the entrance to the driveway of my Shenandoah Valley farm?

HABITUATING A PRIMATE THE REAL WAY

  Habituation is key to observing and researching primates in the wild. Do you believe your really Habituating Sasquatch? Well lets look at the study of habitation and what it involves.

How is it possible that gorillas and other wild animals can allow scientists to sit with them and follow them around, recording the details of their lives? The answer is “habituation.” It is a basic and important tool used for studying primates and other wild animals. 

What is habituation?

The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines “habituate” as “to accustom by frequent repetition or prolonged exposure.” It’s a technical word for a very common psychological process. When you first hear an unusual sound, say, like a car alarm down the street, you pay attention to it. But if the sound continues and nothing much happens, eventually you ignore it. Habituation is important for distinguishing changes in the environment and for differentiating between unimportant or harmless situations versus potentially dangerous ones. In animal behaviour studies, habituation specifically refers to the process of getting animals used to people. 

Why habituate primates? 

(See my studies in primates and bigfoot: The comparison)

Most wild animals fear people for good reason: humans are the most dangerous creatures on the planet. But there’s little we can learn about the behaviour of wild animals if we only see them running away. In open country, you can sit in your car with your binoculars and watch animals from afar. In savanna parks, where animals have become habituated to cars, you can sit in a Land Rover and watch animals at closer quarters. But in forests, which is where most primates live, there are few roads, and trees block the view from the road anyway. So if you want to study primates, you must go to their “hang-outs.” Habituating them to your presence becomes necessary.

The primatologist is much like the cultural anthropologist: he or she seeks to be accepted into a foreign society, not as a member, but as an observer. Primatologists strive to be ignored while they observe and record events. Whether the study subjects are human or nonhuman primates, the new observer may experience a period of intense scrutiny, and may receive both threatening and friendly behaviour before being able to work without altering subject behaviour.

How does habituation work?

For habituation to work, animals need to see people regularly over a long period of time in non-threatening circumstances. For a long time, the habituator will get only sporadic glimpses through binoculars and will have long hours of seeing nothing at all. However, for those who are patient, have an interest in natural history, and enjoy activities like bird watching, identifying plants and insects, hiking and camping, habituating primates can be enjoyable and immensely rewarding.

You can speed the process up by providing food (“provisioning”). Wild animals are almost always looking for food, so if you provide food regularly, they quickly figure it out, and can rapidly overcome their fear of people to get that food reward.  Scientists used provisioning in a number of early studies, but the risks of doing so became apparent and the practice stopped at many research spots including Gombe National Park, site of Jane Goodall’s famous chimp research. Please note there are great risks when using food in the nature. Consider the health and well being of other wildlife  ECBRO strives to provide conservancy among the wildlife as well as protection. ( See below Risks)

Are there any risks to habituation?

Habituation is not always a good thing for primates. If they lose their fear of researchers, they may also lose their fear of hunters and other predators, making them easy targets. Because primates reproduce slowly, the ilegal commercial hunting for meat is now a tremendous threat to many primate species.

Habituated primates can also be dangerous for people. When wild animals get used to eating garbage and picnic scraps that are left accessible by humans, they will lose their fear of humans and can become more aggressive. Vervet monkeys are known to steal food at regular picnic areas. Across Africa, many baboons and vervets have been shot as a result.

Intentionally using food to habituate primates can also pose a risk. Researchers have planted sugar cane to attract wild apes, such as chimpanzees in Mahale, Tanzania, and bonobos in Wamba, Democratic Republic of Congo. While provisioning makes habituation easier, it does create new problems in that it changes the behaviour of the animals.  It is also worthy to note that because primates are our closest relatives, they are particularly susceptible to many of our diseases.

The general rule of thumb is that it is dangerous for both people and primates to get too close, as primates can feel threatened by the encroachment. At Gombe, park regulations stipulate that short-term visitors must keep 10 metres (33 feet) from primates, with researchers (who must undergo quarantine and health checks) being allowed somewhat closer.

Healthy Habituation

In primatology today, scientists seek to study animals without changing their behaviour. This means habituation without provisioning. Not using food means habituation takes longer, and in some cases may be impossible, if for example the study groups are especially wide ranging.

Primate habituation should only be attempted in areas where hunting is not a risk, and where good regulations are enforced, to ensure that people keep a good distance from primates. Any houses, offices, rubbish pits and other structures in areas with habituated primates must be secured to prevent primates from stealing food and other items.

How long does habituation take?

The general rule of thumb is that each individual primate needs about 100 hours to get used to people. In species that travel in cohesive troops, like baboons, and or clans of possible Bigfoot in the area of study every member of the group can see you every time you make contact, so the 100 hours go by fairly quickly, about three months. Chimpanzees take longer to habituate, because the entire social group rarely comes together. Individual chimpanzees often travel alone or in small subgroups, so it can take many years for every member of the group to become habituated. In forest sites, such as Kibale National Park in Uganda or Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire, habituation of chimpanzees without provisioning has taken five or six years. Habituation may take even longer in savanna sites such as Semliki, Uganda, where chimpanzees range over huge areas and only rarely encounter researchers.

Jane Goodall ( Habituation photo )
So please consider the risks and well being of our big hairy SUBJECT OF STUDY & RESEARCH AN “APE OF ANOTHER SPECIES”

* ASK YOUR SELF “Am I really Habituating Sasquatch? Do I have constant contact or up close visual interaction on a daily bases.

See my other research and notes of primates with the bigfoot comparison.