The legend of Bigfoot is a famous one, as is that of the yeti that supposedly lives in the Himalayas, but far fewer people have heard of a similar figure spotted many times in the area around the Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. The earliest report of Yucca Man dates back to 1971.
The first sighting came from a source not normally given to believing in paranormal activity. A Marine on guard duty at the base in Twentynine Palms was found the morning after his shift with his rifle bent in half.
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Although he was barely coherent, the Marine managed to convey that a huge man had come out of the dark toward him. As the man drew closer, the Marine realized he was very hairy. He lifted his rifle and ordered the figure to halt, but the figure took his rifle from him, bent it in half and knocked the Marine unconscious.
Reportedly, both the FBI and the CIA were brought in on the investigation. There were at least two other sightings of similar figures that night. One report described one as being about 12 feet tall with a smaller figure accompanying it.
People reported being alerted by their barking dogs to the presence of something unusual in the neighborhood. That same year, there were also reports of sightings from employees at Joshua Tree.
A couple in 1979 said their car was stopped one night by a large, hairy man near their condominium in Desert Hot Springs. They described him as stepping from behind a yucca bush and standing in front of the car.
The creature’s chest, they said, was the size of a refrigerator, and its arms hung down below its knees. It had long, tan hair. It then went away into the night.
Evidence was left behind at another Yucca Man sighting that same year in Hemet, California. Seen on two different occasions, the creature left 17 footprints that were a foot and a half long and six feet apart. Two prominent Bigfoot researchers later staked out the area in hopes of a sighting to no avail.
Big Bear Lake and the Cement Monster
In the Lucerne Valley, there is an urban legend about a so-called “Cement Monster” who lives in an abandoned cement factory. In 1988, two servicemen were returning from the lake when a creature so large they could only see its lower half ran in front of their car.
Here’s what Ken Fox says:
“I used to be stationed at Twenty-nine palms from ’86 to ’89. I spent a lot of time in the Joshua Tree Monument, but never saw anything of real interest if you know what I mean.Where I did see something was with my Marine buddy Mike, in the spring, March of 1988 after leaving Big Bear Lake.
“We had been snow skiing all day at Big Bear. Now as you probably know, the quickest way to get back to Twenty-nine palms is to take the shortcut route through the desert, I believe it goes through or very near Apple Valley. It eventually comes in the back way to Yucca Valley after passing through Landers.
“Yes, now you know the highway right? Okay here goes one of the coolest things that I ever saw during the 1980’s!Mike and I had just left Big Bear. It was about 9:00 p.m.
“We were completely down from the mountain and just entering the desert, still kinda going downhill. On the right hand side of the road there is a cement factory sort of all by itself. There isn’t any civilization around for about 10 miles or so which isn’t uncommon for the Mojave Desert.
“Mike was driving, I believe I saw it first. From the left side of the road something very large seemed to stand up on two legs and run across the road. The bottom half looked human covered with hair, the top half wasn’t very visible, but appeared monsterish, scary in other words.
“The headlights only got the bottom half, and the damn thing ran out about 150 feet in front of us. It made it across the road in three strides. I distinctively remember seeing the arms pumping back and forth just like any of us would do if sprinting across the road in front of a car. It appeared to be 8 feet tall.
“Now for the interesting part. I didn’t say anything, I just kinda glanced over at Mike. He just kinda glanced back at me. Then we both looked right at each other, “What the Hell was that!” I said, “That was the Cement Monster, after him!” Mike slammed on the brakes and turned around.
“I started digging through the glove box looking for his wife’s pistol. I said, “Go down that dirt road,” still looking for the pistol. About 300 feet down the dirt road was the old cement factory, but no sign of the thing that ran out in front of us. So we drove around a little but didn’t see it.
“We talked about it a few times before our enlistment’s were over. The strange thing is that we just accepted that we had simply seen some sort of a prehistoric man, and that was that, and it was no big deal, and maybe some day we might be privileged enough to see another.”
Whether Yucca Man is merely an urban legend, a paranormal being or a wild creature that has mostly eluded the gaze of humans is unknown. However, one day, researchers might find the answers that explain these many tales of wild men or creatures that seem to stretch across the globe.