Sunday, April 5, 2020



 So here I go again ....

The last several posts were fun for me at least. It was sort of fun for this old historian of science (one of my sinfully unused degrees --- sorry Professors Schofield and Jenkins) and it gave some clear opportunities to dig in very old deposits of strange matter. I realize that it might not have been quite as much fun for you. But I don't have a solution as we go into the 20th century. 
What I'm going to do is change the method of these posts. This won't be as deep or intense on any given case (my intuition), but, to be frank, I don't think that I could keep that up anyway even if that sort of mining is possible. 

As a compromise for my incompetence, what I'm going to try is to "just push a bunch of cases out there."  And then let's see what we will see. Maybe that will be enough fun.

Here's the first bunch. All turn of the century or thereabouts. 


The first three: All of these are supposed to be Yakima (Washington State) area incidents with the descriptions of the entities meeting the characteristics of a very commonly experienced entity from Native American legends spread up and down the Pacific coast but far inward as well. So, in the spirit of incompetence, let's begin with an error. I have three cartoons above. Over the six/seven years or so that I've been collecting these things and logging them, I've had plenty of opportunities to screw up --- two of those cartoons are the same case (I caught references for them twice and had already forgotten the first while logging the second.) Great, eh? 

Well, let's see how to save the day --- maybe I can at least find out some bluff that I could have run on you to claim that I really knew what I was doing all along.

One (two) of the cartoons illustrates a general experience had by many locals over many years but also a specific encounter claim. We can locate this in the Yakima Area of SW Washington, and also over the border into northern Oregon. The general experience (i.e. which could happen to anybody and had happened to many over the years) was an encounter with the so-called "Stick Indians." This word "Stick" does not refer to sticks as would be normal English, but is corrupt English for a local dialect word which sounds (a little) similar. That native word means things like "Wood" and "Forest." So the creatures referred to as Stick Indians are the dwarves of the forests. 

The specific incident was told the reporter by the widow of one of the witnesses. Once when he and his two brothers were hunting, they came upon "an old man" but not much larger than a baby (Let us say two-foot tall, which is right for "Stick Indians"). He was dressed in fine deerskin from a fawn, and carrying a small bow and arrows. No communication seems to have gone on, but the witness was moved to wrap the small man in blankets as he assumed that he was cold and tired. He placed the little being behind him on his saddle and, with his brothers, discussed what to do about the little man. The dwarf then just disappeared. 

Hmmm pretty good and highly strange. 

The second tale is less "comfortable" even though it was collected directly from the primary witness. This witness was also out hunting. It was raining and a fog crept in and forced a stop. He quickly set up camp and hunkered down with a meal of roasted deer recently killed. 

While eating, he begin to hear birds calling ... but these (at least to him) were not ordinary birds, but a dangerous form of Little People who use birdcalls to lead people off their paths. (These creatures play a game just like the Celtic Will-o'-the-Wisp or Jack O'Lantern, but with sounds rather than lights.) There is one tribe in this area (I don't know if the witness was a member) that has a special name for these dwarf indians: Panak Hlama Ichh La'ma (those who lead astray.) They are 2 foot gnomish beings with deep-set eyes. 

The witness was scared of them, and essentially froze for many minutes making no sound. He felt "if I answered the calls, I would go crazy, be lost five days and five nights." He quietly tended the fire all night. The following day was apparently a normal hunting day, (except that he was lost in these woods,) and that night he slept. He popped awake in the middle of the night. There at his campfire, a Pah-ho-ho-Klah sat dressed in his summer buckskin clothing. These are dwarves that are said to be cave dwellers of the mountains. (Roth in his comprehensive volume entitled American Elves lists this name as a group of Stick Indians, so called by the Tenino tribe right in the center of Yakima.) 

This time, watching the Stick Indian calmly working on his arrows using the fire's heat, the witness was not afraid. He went back to sleep. In the morning he awoke to sunrise and the retreating whistling sounds of the Pah-ho-ho-Klah. He was no longer lost and traveled back home camp. He was only three hours away from camp (even carrying the deer) and should not have been lost at all. 

I sort of like this one too, except it has the "just-woke-up" problem with the high-strangeness part. (hypnopompic state and dream-confusion and all of that.) 

So three cartoons for two cases. I did have a third Yakima incident or claim for this period but it was too "legendary": a very large man with red eyes who allegedly came to live with the tribe and was a healer. He supposedly died and his body gathered up by some object from the skies which flew the body away. WAY too slim in the evidence providence for me. 


But all of this stuff about size is getting to my more science side. I'm worried both about how to properly read these incident reports and how I'm cartooning them. The height of the beings naturally is the point where one focuses in, but I feel that I have just a big a problem on how I represent the "robustness, bulk, stoutness" of the beings. The writers/witnesses just don't do this very well. 

The following might well bore you, but I've just got to spew on about this issue a little. You won't miss much if you decide to flee for more entertaining locations. 

The cartoons of the Stick Indians, the beings which the old Mohegan Lady knew about, most of the Celtic gnomes etc are drawn as short (yes, I think that part is fine) and chunky. Is that legit? Most witnesses will say things like little men, or small boy-sized, or like babies, but they don't usually say things which really make a difference. What would it mean if someone said that "they" looked like "little indians?" 

Here are some pictures of Native Americans from the 1800s and earlier. I put these out there because the tribal cultures and their ways of referring to other entities began far before Europeans began defining things. Note that these pictures show peoples who are typically not extremely slim (definitely not ectomorphs) and are certainly muscular mesomorphs trending often towards a chunky body type. They are not your typical Hollywood romanticized slimmed up Lord of the Forest (I'm sure that they WERE Lords of the Forest, but not tall and wiry ones.) I would be surprised if the typical tribal representative was much taller than five foot in most cultures, but still packed plenty of muscle. 

So, if I'm illustrating a "little or boy-sized" Stick Indian, does my cartoon come at all close? 

Roth interestingly, divides his geographical area listings into two big classes of beings: "Pygmies" and Dwarves." The word pygmy is here to represent a small being of the general proportions of a human, and the word dwarf, one with a much chunkier build. My cartoon seems to be dwarfish. In fact, almost all of my guesses (where I have something to go on but not quite enough) tend to trend dwarfish whether in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, or now Yakima. Am I forcing a pattern which is not there?

Maybe. Not with malice though. It's something which "feels" correct for the cases as they come, but I'm willing to be wrong.  

I've surveyed six large geographical areas along the pacific coast as covered by Roth's reference. The beings which are far the commonest fall under his Dwarf classification, rather than his Pygmy classification (particularly for the Penutian/around Yakima, Salish/ Washington and north, and Wakashan/ Canadian Inner Passage areas.) Farther north was a case where a witness drew a cartoon of their own (below):

Eskimo-area case of a being with winter clothing gear and lots of hair --- and a chunky build. 

Someone researching Hawaiian cases of Menehune beings drew them like this:

Well, if I'm wrong at least I have company. 

What about the UK?

Nice slim "elves?"

Mesomorphic Leprechauns?  

 Or my standard: 

                                                  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Gnome?
 It IS a bit surprising that many of those old cases seem to be described in ways compatible with these "garden gnome" like characters. 

I'm done with that for the moment. Know just that I'm  doing what I can without full facts because I believe that illustration makes things MUCH more fun. Just don't take my "art" overly seriously. AND I WILL get to those other cartoons at the top of this post in the next one.

Stay safe and healthy everyone. 

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