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  • Jumping Wild Men June 28, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    wild man jumper

    ***Dedicated to Mike Dash and Theo***

    Beach has been having the time of his life looking at nineteenth-century Big Foot reports thanks to a very useful book by Chad Arment, Historical Bigfoot. All page numbers in the next paragraph come from that volume. What Beach loves about the book is that nineteenth-century Big Foot reports are so much more about folklore than zoology: well, perhaps that’s true of modern sightings as well… One thing that particularly caught his attention was the jumping.

    ‘The wild man, after looking at them deliberately for a short time, turned, and ran away with great speed, leaping from twelve to fourteen feet at a time’ (1851). (49) Arkansas

    ‘The [wild] boy’s favourite stunt was to take hold of his feet with his hands and balance on his rump, then bounce forward. The idea seemed to be to see how far he could go without his feet or hands touching the ground. Sometimes he made twenty feet.’ 1921 (73) British Columbia

    ‘His jumps were measured and found to be from twenty to twenty-three feet long’. Michigan (1891), 186.

    ‘A kangaroo man’, ‘with a few bounds was out of sight’. We learn in another article (which is sarcastic but still bears on this argument) he ‘has been seen to jump from one mountain peak to another’ Oregon (1900-1901) 266-167.

    Also, from Beach’s records. There is an 1879 reference to St Joaquin Wild Man jumping ‘over the bushes in his path like a deer’: Hud Chron, 19 Sep 1879, 4. There is a 1923 reference to a wild man from Berkshire (England) ‘leaping over hedges’ Dun Ev Tel, 30 Mar 1923, 7; the Illinois Lion Man (an old friend) made ‘astonishing leaps’; a Yorkshire Wildman ‘ran with wonderful air sometimes leaping into the air’, Kent Chron 27 Aug, 1864, 3; an Arkansas wild man went ‘leaping from twelve to fourteen feet at a time’, Black Stan, 25 Jun 1851, 4.

    There are, of course, several supernatural jumping creatures from European folklore, and Beach suspects that these accounts trace back to boggarts and other bogles of the Northern European imagination. By that reckoning the nineteenth-century wild man in North America is just a country cousin of the most famous jumper of them all, Spring Heeled Jack, who went in for urban leaping. Any other big jumpers available from folklore: drbeachcombing At yahoo DOT com And does anyone want to have a go at explaining these apparently impossible jumps?

    By this reckoning is Tarzan jumping through the trees just a fictional reflex of the garden green European wild man?

    21 July 2015: Open Door writes ‘you say that wild men jump, perhaps. But this seems to be something that is often associated with paranormal entities: ghosts (tic), spring-heeled jack (tic), fairies (tic), demons (tic, lots of these). The real question is WHY are paranormal entities made to jump: perhaps it shows their contempt for the natural world and the limitations of the human body?