|- A Brief History Of Bigfoot In Southern California Star Trek (1966-1969)(NB MONSTER ISLAND NEWS
|‘Huge, scary, aggressive, fast, and threatening’. These terms are used to describe several Bigfoot-like creatures
said to inhabit the desert regions of southern California. These mysterious giant apes go by many different
names, The Borrego Sandman, The Speedway Monster, Zoobies, Devils, and the Yucca Man.
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 the East Coast, Midwest, or even the Pacific
Northwest. It actually came from southern California. In 1769, 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 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
"Deadmans 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 is the reported site of several alleged murders
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, hairy "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. They blamed the monster of course, regardless of the fact if it actually killed them or not.
In April of 1876, the San Diego Union reported 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.
In March 1888, two local hunters, Charles Cox and Edward Dean, set out to hunt down the monster and finally put
an end to the murders. According to the San Diego Daily Transcript the pair found, and killed, what they were
looking for. A creature described as a gorilla with the face of an Indian and fangs like a bear. The creatures’ body
was to be transported to San Diego where it was to be on public display but mysteriously disappeared before
Undoubtedly, it was the discovery of gold deposits that first lured the white man to this desolate area and it is
from one of these fortune hunters that the first report of Bigfoot or the Borrego Sandman as it has been called in
these parts, originated. 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
said to have saved the man was the fact that the monsters were afraid of his campfire.
Another report of giant footprints from that same general area came from a man named Victor Stoyanow in
1964. His story, re-told 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 encountered 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, 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 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 and 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 ape-man," Lancaster said. "I
had heard about the screaming giant ape-man 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 are a form of a human, a primitive species. It would be
murder to kill one. They should be studied."
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 and then tapered off. Though these areas border on the Mojave Desert, they
also border on the Angeles National forest, it does not seem too unlikely that the creature could have been lured
out of the wilderness and into the desert.
More bizarre are the stories of frequent intrusions by creatures that match the description of Bigfoot that have
surfaced from nearby Edwards Air Force Base an area further inland and much further from the forested areas
near Los Angeles. As the story goes, Base Security has possession of several surveillance video tapes that
plainly show extremely large, up right apes trespassing in the facilities numerous underground tunnels. 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.
In 1964, a father and son found themselves being pelted with rocks by a “shaggy" creature while hiking near
Escondido. Later that same summer, a juvenile Sandman was implicated in the death of three cows on the MGM
Ranch near Jamul, west of Anza-Borrego. This time the creature left behind plenty of large human-like tracks in
the soft dirt.
The city of Fontana has had a long and glorious history associated with auto racing. As most of you probably
know, the city is the present home of the Auto club Speedway, which holds a yearly major NASCAR race along
with other racing events of different types. What many of you might not know is 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’ lasted for almost two decades before a series of fatal accidents forced it to close in 1972.
The area is now a housing tract known as the Village of Heritage and lies about a mile east of Etiwanda Blvd on
the north side of Foothill Blvd. These race events took place for two decades and attracted 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. Bigfoot had been seen so regularly that it earned the name "Speedway Monster.”
Though witnessed by hundreds of people, no one ever worked up the courage to investigate it. It is hard to
speculate why a creature known for being reclusive and shy of humans would trek so close to a racetrack 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 leftover burgers and hot dogs after everyone cleared out.
In July of 1965, the monster attacked a young boy as he walked home. According to the account, the creature
surprised the lad by jumping out from behind some bushes. As he tried to escape from the monster, his clothes
were torn to shreds. The child managed to get loose and run away; the monster reportedly did not give chase.
On August 27 of the 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 grabbed her through the open drivers-side window. Frightened, the young woman put the car in gear
and stepped on the gas to escape leaving the monster in the dust. Though the speedway closed its doors in the
early 70s, reports of the "Speedway Monster" continued in the city of Fontana and the nearby San Bernardino
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 1985 a set of large, human-like, tracks were found in the mountains near Anza. A local hiker reported the story
to the BFRO. "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."
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 busy street. The location was
reportedly close to the local Ace Hardware store.
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. The first sightings of the Yucca Man began in the early 1970s as more and more
people began to populate the remote desert regions east of Los Angeles. As families migrated out of the
congested city to the cheaper outlying areas in the desert stories of a large harry monster began to circulate
amongst the relocated suburbanites. At first, no one really paid much attention to these reported encounters that
many believed were just the product of bored imaginations. All of that, however, was about to change.
On a cold February night in 1971, a lone guard manned a post outside an armory on the outskirts of the Marine
Base near Twenty-Nine Palms. Without warning, the otherwise unearthly quiet was suddenly shattered when a
large mass appeared out of the dark desert landscape. The guard raised his riffle and commanded the being to
"halt.” Much to the young man’s surprise, the large figure did not stop but instead charged right at him at an
inhuman rate. As the figure grew closer, the Marine realized what was approaching, rapidly, was not a man at all,
but a huge, upright running, hair-covered creature. Paralyzed by shock, the young guard stood his ground, too
frightened to move the mysterious creature threw the young man to the ground rendering him unconscious. When
the guard’s relief arrived several hours later, they found him almost incoherent with his riffle nearly bent in two.
After the incident both the CIA and FBI were contacted to conduct an investigation. Much to their surprise, the
locals were more than eager to tell their stories about giant man-beasts in the area. In fact, the very same night
as the attack on the guard, two creatures had been seen roaming through a neighborhood, relatively close to the
base. When a local couple looked out of their front window to see what was upsetting their dog, they saw the two
Yucca Men crossing the front lawn. Then some time later, the same creatures were seen near a horse corral
some distance away The investigation also revealed that several employees at the Joshua Tree National
Monument had seen Bigfoot-like creatures on numerous occasions.
Eight years later, in May of 1979, a young couple were leaving their condominium complex in Desert Hot
Springs, north of Palm Springs, when a large hairy creature emerged from behind a yucca in front of their car.
According to the driver the animal, which had "a chest the size of a refrigerator and arms that hung down below
its knees,” was so large that he could only see it from the mid-section down. The beast that reportedly was
covered in long tan colored hair disappeared quickly back into the night leaving no footprint evidence.
Again, in 1979, a 12-foot-tall Bigfoot made a visit to Hemet California some distance to the south of Palm
Springs twice in a period of a week. This time, however, the creature left 17 tracks in the mud along a rural road
during its initial visit. The tracks measured 18 inches in length, and spaced 6 feet apart. Noted Bigfoot
researchers Douglas Trapp and Danny Perez both conducted an investigation of this sighting, even going as far
as to perform a "stakeout" of the location where the tracks were found. Alas, the monster did not return.
In 1988 a couple of service men from Twenty-Nine Palms were returning home from a day of fun in the sun at Big
Bear Lake at about 9:00 p.m. when they encountered a creature that the locals call the "Cement Monster", due to
the fact that it is said to live near an old cement factory in Lucerne Valley. As the two men approached the old
factory, a large upright running creature moved across the road in front of their car. As was the case 9 years
earlier in Desert Hot Springs the animal in question was so large that the men could only see its lower half. The
two men looked at each other in disbelief for a moment before one of them exclaimed, "What the Hell was that?"
The other replied, "That was the Cement Monster, after him!" The driver hit the brakes while the other reached for
a gun that was in the glove box. The two adrenaline filed men searched up and down the road and around the
cement factory, but never found any sign of the creature. The pair concluded that they had seen some form of
prehistoric man and returned to their journey home.
Like many legends, scientists discount the existence of Bigfoot. Widely considered merely a combination of
folklore, misidentification, and hoax rather than an actual living animal. This based on the lack of scientific
physical evidence as well as the sheer number of creatures that would be necessary to maintain a breeding
population. Even so a few scientists, such as Jane Goodall and Jeffery Meldrum, have expressed interest and
some measure of belief in the creature. And yet, there are several scientific organizations devoted to the
scientific investigation of Bigfoot. What is the conclusion? Just ask anyone who has had an encounter and then
make up your own mind.
|Modern Sightings Of Bigfoot in Southern California
Written By: Ken Hulsey
Back in 2010 I wrote a series of articles about local legends here in Southern California. The
articles featured stories about sea monsters, lizard men, UFOs and of course Bigfoot. These
features were very well received by readers and many of them made it onto local websites. In
2012 my wife Terri and I capped off the series with a joint effort entitled "A Brief History Of
Bigfoot In Southern California" which basically recapped many of the local stories that had
been recorded throughout history dating back to 1700s. That story has been since quoted in
numerous articles about Bigfoot and linked to by dozens of Cryptozoology websites.
In fact this story proved to be so popular that I have been contacted by a producer of the
Discovery Channel program "Monsters and Mysteries in America" about using it and myself in
a future episode about the subject. No word on if or when that will ever happen.
I have also been contacted by numerous eyewitnesses who have seen something that
resembles Bigfoot here in Southern California in recent times. Up until now I have keep
records on these sightings in hopes of writing a follow-up piece.
Since our 2012 article has seen a lot of new page views I figured the time to dust off those
reports had come. Here is a summary of many of the eyewitness reports and shared stories
that have been sent to me over the past four years.
(1980s) A local San Bernardino resident states that when he was young his family routinely
saw a family of Bigfoot in the foothills near their home. Reportedly if the boy and his family got
to close to Bigfoot family they would throw rocks to drive them away.
In 1985 a hiker in Modjeska Canyon (in Orange County) saw a large creature covered in black
hair at about twenty yards away watching him as he used a drinking fountain. When the animal
realized it had been spotted it ran away very fast, sometimes on all fours. The hiker stated that
he had seen large human-like tracks in the area for years, but believed they belonged to a
homeless man. He also mentioned that on several occasions his dogs would refuse to go in
In 1997 a group of five teenage boys spotted a large hairy creature moving through the brush
in the Mojave River bed near Hesperia, CA. Two days later one of the boy's sisters rode
through the same area on horseback to investigate their story and came face to face with the
creature. A local paranormal investigator searched the area and found an area that looked like
a large animal had slept in it and large human-like tracks.
In November of 2000 a couple taking a late night hike around Hemet Lake (Riverside County)
were startled by something large crashing through the forest some 400 yards away. The pair
couldn't get a good look at whatever it was but noted that it was large and dark colored. The
couple left the area for awhile, but returned later hoping that whatever it was had left. Upon
returning they found that the picnic area had been ransacked. One of the large metal trashcans
had a huge dent in it, like it had been punched by something with incredible strength.
In May of 2003 a Hesperia, CA resident found that one of her parents geese had been killed
and eaten. Whatever had killed the bird also tried to rip the roof off the families chicken coop
and left behind large four-toed footprints. It should be noted that there were a large number of
similar stories coming out of the nearby town of Phelan at the same time that were linked to
In 2007 a resident of Hesperia, CA spotted a Bigfoot while horseback riding in a dry river bed
in the foothills north of Silverwood Lake. She also stated that this was not her first encounter
with a Bigfoot in the same area. Years earlier a similar looking creature had spooked her
families horses several times.
In January of 2008 five local (Norco, CA) residents witnessed a large hairy man in the Norco
River bottom. A local investigator surveyed the area of the sighting and found 22" barefoot
human-like prints some distance away.
In August of 2008 a couple camping near Idyllwild, CA were woken up by the sounds of
something hitting a nearby tree trunk. The couple's dogs coward in fear as whatever made the
noises walked by their tent with heavy footfalls.
Also in August of 2008 a Native American resident of Yucaipa, CA was woken up by
something making horrible screaming noises in his back yard. The man was able to scare off
the animal, but it returned the next night. This time he got a good look at the thing, which he
described as large and hairy.
In January of 2009 a father and son spotted a large hairy creature watching them from behind
a tree in the woods near Silverwood Lake (Angeles National Forest). The animal reportedly
swayed back and forth as it watched them. It was this movement that drew the hikers attention.
The pair also mentioned that they had felt uneasy throughout their hike prior to seeing it.
In 2012 a resident of Mount Washington ( a neighborhood in the San Rafael Hills of Northeast
Los Angeles ) claims that her property was visited on numerous occasions by a large creature
with long hair and muscular build. The creature in question often times rummaged for food in
the trash, crawled under the house, ripped the family's gate off it's hinges and looked into the
homes second story windows.
|The Borrego Sandman (1939 - Present) - California The Monster State
Written By: Ken Hulsey
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
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-to-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
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
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.