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Where the wild things are

21 May 2013

Mexico never has been a dull place.

Via Inexplicata:  The Journal of Hispanic UFOlogy

In 1792, Juan Vicente Guemes, Count of Revillagigedo, Viceroy of New Spain, decreed that a scientific mission should be sent to the northern Pacific coast: not to challenge the Russian whalers and hunters, but to compile an extensive ethnography on the inhabitants of those distant lands and a catalogue of the surrounding flora and fauna. The expedition, officially called the “Expedición de Límites al Norte de California” (Expedition of the Borderlands North of California)would include naturalist Jose Mariano Moziño Suárez de Figueroa, born in Temscaltepec, Mexico, whose writings on the culture of the nuu-cha-nulth would appear in the document known as “Noticias de Nutka” (News from Nootka, currently kept at Yale University’s Beineke Library.

It is believed that the first mention of the controversial creature known as Sasquatch or Bigfoot appears in this 18th century scientific work: Pages thirty-four to thirty-five of “Noticias de Nutka” include remarks by Moziño Suárez concerning an unusual beast given the name “matlog”.

“No sé qué decir de un matlog habitante de la Serranía de quienes todos tienen un temor imponderable. Figúranle un cuerpo muy monstruoso, poblado todo de rígidas cerdas negras, la cabeza semejante a la humana pero con los colmillos más grandes, agudos y fuertes que los del oso, larguísimos los brazos, y los dedos de pies y manos armados de largos y encorvadas uñas. Sus gritos solos, dicen ellos, derriban por tierra a quien los escucha, y que hace mil pedazos al desdichado cuerpo sobre el que descarga alguna manotada. Presumo que la historia del matlog tenga el mismo fundamento que la de la creación del hombre que acabo de referir, o que desde una época antiquísima haya recibido la tribu de que deben estos naturales su origen a algunas noticias de la existencia de Demonios […]

(“I do not know what to say about a matlog, a resident of the mountains, who fills everyone with unspeakable dread. They describe it as having a monstrous body, covered in all manner of rigid black bristles, with a head similar to a human’s bu with larger, sharper and stronger fangs than a bear’s, very long arms, with its fingers and toes armed with long and curved claws. Its screams alone – they say – can topple anyone who hears them, and it can shatter any unfortunate body into a thousand pieces in a single blow. I presume that the history of the matlog has the same basis as the creation myth of which I have just spoken, or that members of the tribe received word long ago that these entities owe their existence to demons […]) [translation by SC]

Moziño’s writings languished in oblivion unitl 1913, when they were translated into English by Iris Wilson. This translation would appear in a work by early researchers of the Sasquatch mystery – Don Hunter and René Dahinden – in the prologue to their classic book Sasquatch (NY: Signet Books, 1975).

Ok, Moziño didn’t bring back any evidence, but only was reporting what he heard about the mythical creature. In Alaska…  where the locals sometimes, er, stretch the truth  (“I can see Russia from my house”) and scary critters like Sarah Palin are just part of the landscape.  Not nearly as inexplicable as this story from Notiver (Veracruz, Veracruz) , where photographer Joel Soriano claims to have the proof that a Paso del Toro fisherman, identified only as “Juan”, caught a gargoyle.  The media would never make shit up, would they?


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