Alleged small Bigfoot capt ured in west ern
Physical description: Humanlike. Height , 4
feet 7 inches. Weight , 127 pounds. Covered in
glossy hair 1 inch in lengt h. Long, black headhair.
Hands and feet are hairless. Forearms are
longer t han a human’s.
Behavior: Makes a half-bark, half-growl noise.
Eat s berries and milk.
Distribution: Yale, Brit ish Columbia.
Significant sighting: On June 30, 1884, t rainmen
of t he Brit ish Columbia Express line 20
miles nort h of Yale saw a wildman lying close t o
t he t racks. They blew t he whist le and applied
t he brake, and t he creat ure jumped up and
climbed a st eep bluff. Conduct or C. J. Craig
and ot hers gave chase and aft er five minut es
t rapped it on a ledge. Craig t hrew a rock at it
and knocked it out , allowing t hem t o haul it
back down wit h a rope. Aft er reaching Yale, t he
wildman, whom t hey st art ed calling Jacko, was
kept for a few days by George Tilbury. A report
t hat Jacko had been sent t o t he jail at New
West minst er t urned out t o be false.
Present status: Grover Krant z has suggest ed
t hat Jacko was acquired by P. T. Barnum and
exhibit ed as “Jo-Jo t he Dog-Faced Boy” in his
circus, beginning in 1884. However, it is fairly
well est ablished t hat Jo-Jo was a Russian man,
Fedor (or Theodor) Jeft ichew, born in 1868 and
afflict ed wit h hypert richosis, which caused him
t o have long, silky facial hair.
Possible explanation: Probable hoax, based on
lat er newspaper account s.
The Jacko hoax was a Canadian newspaper story about a gorilla supposedly caught near Yale, British Columbia in 1884. The story, titled "What is it?, A strange creature captured above Yale. A British Columbia Gorilla", appeared in the British Columbia newspaper theDaily Colonist on July 4, 1884. On July 9, 1884, the Mainland Guardian newspaper in New Westminster, British Columbia stated "that no such animal was caught, and how the Colonist was duped in such a manner, and by such a story, is strange." On July 11, 1884, the newspaper British Columbian reported that about 200 people went to view "Jacko" at the jail where he was supposedly kept, but the people found only a man at the jail who fielded questions about a creature that did not exist.
The "Jacko" story has been used by Bigfoot advocates as evidence for the existence of Sasquatch. The original newspaper article describes "Jacko" as a gorilla and not a Sasquatch. Many books about Bigfoot and cryptids have featured the event and cite the original newspaper article. In 2008 Michael Cremo discussed the story as possible proof for the existence of Sasquatch. However, the writerJoe Nickell noted that the story was regarded at the time by the Mainland Guardian as a hoax. The "Jacko" story was featured on theA&E television documentary series Ancient Mysteries about Bigfoot, season 4, episode 18 narrated by Leonard Nimoy. The story was also mentioned on the Bigfoot episode of the television series In Search Of..., season 1, episode 5, also narrated by Nimoy. The Jacko story was mentioned in a 1976 documentary called The Mysterious Monsters.
Anthropologist Grover Krantz suggests that Jacko was purchased by P. T. Barnum and exhibited as Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy. Photos of Jo-Jo between 1884 and 1885 indicate Jo-Jo was replaced. However, Bigfoot researcher Chad Arment claims that Jo-Jo was not Jacko, as Jo-Jo could speak many languages and could write his name according to an article in the New York Times, October 13, 1884.
The story of Jacko – that of a small, apelike, young Sasquatch said to have been captured alive in the 1800s – is a piece of folklore that refuses to die, despite a superb investigative article published in 1975, co-authored by John Green and Sabina W. Sanderson. Although Joe Nickell regarded Jacko as a hoax, there was no evidence to support his claim, sustaining Jacko's unclassified status.
The investigation into the Jacko story did not began until decades later. During the 1950s, a news reporter named Brian McKelvie became interested in the then-current stories of the Sasquatch being carried by his local British Columbian papers. McKelvie searched for older reports. What he found was the Daily British Colonist July 4, 1884, article about Jacko. The account detailed the sighting of a smallish hairy creature (“something of the gorilla type”) supposedly seen and captured near Yale, British Columbia, on June 30, 1884, and housed in a local jail.
In 1958 John Green found and interviewed a man (August Castle) who remembered the Jacko talk of the time, but he said his parents did not take him to the jail to see the beast. Other senior citizens remembered the talk of the creature, but no one could produce any truly good evidence for or eyewitness accounts (other than the British Colonist story) of Jacko.McKelvie shared the Jacko account with researchers John Green and René Dahinden. MeKelvie told them this was the only record of the event due to a fire that had destroyed other area newspapers of the time.
The story’s appearance in Ivan T. Sanderson’s 1961 Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life propelled the Jacko incident into history. Other authors, including John Green, René Dahinden/Don Hunter, Grover Krantz, and John Napier, would follow. The story was repeated again and again.
John Green continued digging into story and finally discovered that microfilms of British Columbia newspapers from the 1880s existed at the University of British Columbia. Green then found two important articles that threw light on the whole affair.
The New Westminster, British Columbia, Mainland Guardianof July 9, 1884, mentioned the story and noted: “The ‘What Is It’ is the subject of conversation in town. How the story originated, and by whom, is hard for one to conjecture. Absurdity is written on the face of it. The fact of the matter is, that no such animal was caught, and how the Colonist was duped in such a manner, and by such a story, is strange.”
As Green has pointed out, the Colonist never disputed its critics. Green (with Sanderson’s widow) wrote of the Jacko story as a piece of probable historical journalistic fiction in the article, “Alas, Poor Jacko,” in Pursuit published in 1975.On July 11, 1884, the British Columbian carried the news that some 200 people had gone to the jail to view Jacko. But the “only wild man visible” was a man, who was humorously called the “governor of the goal [jail], who completely exhausted his patience” fielding the repeated inquiries from the crowd about the nonexistent creature.
Unfortunately, a whole new generation of hominologists, Sasquatch searchers, and Bigfoot researchers are growing up thinking that the Jacko story is an ironclad cornerstone of the field, a foundation piece of history proving that Sasquatch are real. But in reality Jacko may have more to do with local rumors brought to the level of a news story that eventually evolved into a modern fable.