Hello Gentle Readers,
We are venturing off our usual diatribe of bizarre desert weirdness to discuss the legend of Tahquitz up on the San Jacinto Mountains. Bigfoot, Goatman or Crazy Demon? Indian legend gone haywire? You decide.
Why are we straying off our beloved desert to go up to high country? Well, it’s because we have been receiving several unsettling reports of a hairy hoofed creature spotted in the general vicinity of Tahquitz Canyon. It seems to be something of a cross between Bigfoot and Goatman. And we are always suckers for a good Indian legend. Native Americans just know how to tell a scary story.
HERE IS ONE READER’S STORY
Amy from Victorville writes:
We had been hiking up on San Jacinto all day and it was getting late in the day so we were coming down. But we were still pretty high up. It was getting dusk and we were hurrying down before it was dark. My partner and I stopped for a minute to rest and drink some water when we spotted what looked like a hairy stooped over Bigfoot. No lie! We were shocked as he looked at us for about ten seconds and then sprang off on goat-like hooved feet! He must have been about 50 feet away from us but we know what we saw.
This creature was hairy and would have been about six feet tall if he had stood up straight but he was all stooped over like he was old maybe or had a deformity of his spine. I don’t know. It was weird and strange. He was making a low, guttural noise. It didn’t sound like he was happy to see us at all. I don’t know what we would have done if he had come toward us.
We hot footed it out of there after that and have not been back. Has anyone else seen this creature?
AND THEN THERE IS BOB FROM PALM SPRINGS
My brother and I were hiking on Mount San Jacinto in the early fall, 2020. We were trying to escape the pandemic and get some sanity by being back in nature. We were about two hours in the hike when we saw what appeared to be a bear about twenty yards away from us. So naturally, we were quite alarmed and started backing off.
It suddenly straightened up (sort of). He looked right at us with these beady red glowing eyes, making a loud, rough growling sound. It was still rather hunched over and not perfectly straight but it was big! Scared us you know what! We high tailed it back down the mountain. I don’t know what it was but it wasn’t a bear and it wasn’t human. It was pure evil.
We won’t go back without pepper spray or a gun, scared us to death. I have hiked for thirty years and never saw anything like that in my life.
THE LEGEND OF TAHQUITZ
What is it about an Indian legend that we love? According to the local legends of the Cahuilla, Kumeyaay, and Luiseno Native Americans of Southern California, Tahquitz is a spirit who makes his home on Mount San Jacinto. The legends vary somewhat but all seem to focus on the fact that Tahquitz is a bad spirit indeed, evil even. Most stories paint him as a devil or spirit of death who steals people and possibly even their souls. It is said that he even eats his victims up there on the mountain.
You might find Tahquitz in the form of a meteor or lightning bolt if you venture up San Jacinto. He can also be seen as a green fireball on the mountain at times.
Tahquitz Canyon is on the Aqua Caliente Reservation. It is an important area to the native people so be respectful if you go there.
Here is the Cahuilla Version of Tahquitz
Mukat, the Creator, formed Tahquitz to be the first shaman. As we know, shamans are the equivalent of physicians and healers in Indian tribes. As the main shaman, Tahquitz was to use his power for good and not evil. Tahquitz was the guardian spirit of all shamans, mentor if you will to ALL shamans, and his job was to give similar power to the Native American tribal shamans to do good and to heal.
However, Tahquitz started using this power for evil, even harming the people that he was supposed to help and protect. Naturally, the Cahuilla people were mad about this and so banished him to a canyon now called Tahquitz Canyon. Tahquitz climbed high up the San Jacinto Mountains and found a cave to live in, high up on a rock face that is now known as Tahquitz Peak.
His spirit still can be found in the canyon, sometimes as a streaking green fireball or as lightning bolts across the sky. He can be heard deep inside the San Jacinto Mountains, rumbling and vibrating, causing rock slides, and all manner of destruction.
If you are brave enough to hike the Canyon, go to the Cahuilla website and look for the details on hiking Tahquitz Canyon. It is on the reservation and you will need to pay a fee and have permission to hike there.
Well, we don’t quite know what to say about Bob and Amy’s encounter, if this was from the Indian legend Tahquitz himself, or just some hairy misfit, living out his pandemic days on the mountain.
What is your take on this? Let us know what you think and if you have seen similar stuff.
As Always Filling in for Madam X,