This is a matter wherin I had early input in a matter that Ivan Sanderson and his widow claimed no knowledge of the subject. In 1967 in Kentucky, a mysterious creature that walked on its hind feet and stood between 6 and 7 feet tall was stealing cattle. I had read the account in a scholastic magazine and sent in a report to the SITU. At that time I received the reply "It sounds as though you are talking about an ABSM" and sure enough, the event is included in the "Miscellaneous Bigfoot" sightings included in John Keel's Mysterious Beings, Formerly Strange Creatures From Time and Space, listed under Kentucky in 1967. Only that was not the whole story: the creature had been caught and killed and was reported to have both catlike and doglike features, a sort of short-faced bear that weighed something like 650 pounds and was clearly not a black bear. When I had a radio interview on the Oopa Loopa cafe some years back, the owner of the Internet cafe said he had heard of the incident because he had lived near that area at the time. The animal had been baited out by a calf tied to a stake and then shot when it came for the calf. Rick Ozman ( http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5HISDSKVDSASIOBLDIYZIUX6YA
Owner of the Blog) gave the Native name for the creature over the air which sounded like Wod or Wog. At any rate, his recollection confirmed mine and much improved over the news clippings which the SITU had on the subject.
In going over the various "Big Hairy Monster" reports of the Eastern United States, I began to notice that some of them were describing a sort of short-faced bear generally conforming to this sighting, often compared to a cat-faced bear or an African lion standing on its hind legs. The usual designation in the Apallachian mountain region and the Ozarks is "Booger Bear" to distinguish it from the common black bear, and it is said to be much larger (and particularly taller with a higher profile) and tending to walk on its hind legs. Sightings of such creatures are recorded in collections published by John Keel, Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark, but the general category not recognised in those collections. It is found over a wide area including Texas and Oklahoma to Florida and up into Canada indefinitely far, but over all that area only in small local enclaves where reports come with some regularity. The reports are much more common in mountain country than elsewhere but reports also occur in swamps and along river courses (they seem to travel along the riverbeds)
Arctodus, the Original "Grizzly Bear"
Ivan T. Sanderson mentions in Living Mammals of the World that what the early settlers in the West were calling a "Grizzly Bear" was a specialist predator on bison in the high plains area, a much different and much larger bear than the animal which we call the Grizzly, and one which appeared to be extinct with the killing off of the bison. I take this unidentified bear to be a survival of the Ice-Age giant Shortfaced bear,Arctodus simius or "Monkeylike bear-creature." in an article about the puroported Vetularctos in Natural History magazine,reports of an unknown "Bulldog bear" able to carry off a moose were stated to come from Northwest Territories and even into Northern British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. It was presumed these reports were related to a survivingArctodus. The reports of this bear are outside the usual range of Grizzly bears and in fact the range of Sanderson's "Grizzly Bear Bison-eater" lived in an area outside of the usual range of the Grizzly bear. The reports of Shortfaced bears in the Midwestern areas of the USA are likewise outside of usual Grizzly bear range but are in the range where the Ice-age Arctodus once lived.
Similar reports also come from Far-Eastern Siberia.
Bering Sea huntsman Rodin Sivobolov of north Kamchatka reintroduced the cryptozoological creature in the late 80’s. From the description of natives, Sivobolov learned of a beast know alternatively as the Kainyn-Kutho (god bear) and Irkuiem (‘pants pulled down’). It was described as having forelegs longer than hind, and a bulge of fat between its legs that often reaches the ground, resembling pulled-down pants and giving the animal its second name. In 1989 there was a report of a mystery bear feared by Kamchatkan reindeer herders, and said to come across the Chukchi Sea on Alaskan ice floes. N.K. Vereshchagin proposed the most radical theory, in which he suggested the bear was surviving Actrodus simus, a giant prehistoric bear that stood almost 6 ft at the shoulder. It matched the Irkuimen in the fact that it had forelegs longer than hind, and in fact it had the limb proportions of a Gorilla.
McFarlanes bear of Canada’s Northwest Territory had an unusual cream-colored coat and an unusually formed head. Supposedly, one was shot at the Anderson River, and the animal’s skin and skull are now somewhere in the Smithsonian. Another account, possibly describing the same specimen, tells of a bear that was killed at Rendezvous Lake in 1816. An early taxonomist described the animal as ‘Buffy whitish’ with a golden-brown muzzle, and identified it as a new genus and species, Vetularctos inopinatus, claiming it probably was descended from the prehistoric short-faced bear. It could just have been an aberrant specimen, a unique subspecies, or a polar/grizzly bear cross (Ursus martimus x arctos). The specimen was later located in storage at the Smithsonan and DNA tests said it was an ordinary grizzly bear; however since the skin had been in storage together with many brown bear hides over many decades, some form of contamination could not be ruled out.
Reconstructions of Shortfaced Bears, Monkeybears, Bulldog Bears or even sometimes called "Man-faced Bears"
The Milne From Peru, Columbia, and Bolivia, is described as an enormous black bear living in the deep jungles of South America. The most famous encounter was by the famed explorer Leonard Clark in 1946, while floating down the Ucayali River in eastern Peru. He first came across the animal's footprints in the riverbank, measuring 14 inches long and resembling those of a giant man. The second day he found the source of the strange tracks – as they floated down the river, they passed a huge black bear, clawing apart a rotted tree infested with ants in order to get at the larva. As they passed, one on the crew members sharply slapped his paddle in the water, startling the bear so that leapt into the river and began to swim across. As the rafts neared the bear, it turned and swam towards them, either because it was curious, angry, or wanted to crawl out of the river. When the bear was within 3 feet of the raft, the crew leapt overboard, and knowing the animal would upset the craft, Leonard shot it with his pistol. Without his crew, unfortunately, Leonard could not drag the bear's carcass aboard before the piranhas started feeding on it, and was forced to abandon his specimen.
This depiction of an Ucumar shows a bear's distinctive ears, eyes and nose. The nails rather than claws on the hands and feet come from the asumption that the creature is like Bigfoot.
One of the first documented sightings of the Ucu took place in May of 1958 when a group of campers in Rengo, 50 miles from Santiago, Chili, reported that they saw what they could only describe as an ape man. Police were called out to investigate; they took reports from the witnesses, one of which was Carlos Manuel Soto who swore that he had seen an enormous man covered with hair in the Cordilleras, one of the Santiago’s 6 provinces.
In 1956, geologist Audio L. Pich found seventeen inch long human like footprints on the Argentina side of the Andes Mountains at a height of over sixteen thousand feet. The following year similar tracks where discovered in the province of La Salta, Argentina. Not long after, residents of Tolor Grande informed newspaper reporters of a nightly chorus of what they described as eerie calls emanating from the near by Curu-Curu Mountains. The cries, which where attributed by the locals to a creature known as the Ukumar-zupai, frightened the community for some time, and according to anthropologist Pablo Latapi Ortega, traditions of these giant creatures continue to this very day in Argentina.
Size: 5 – 7 feet tall in more tropical areas [Patagonian Giant Ucu, 6-12 feet tall]
Variant names: Sachayoj, Ucu, Ukumar-zupai (in Tolar Grande). In Bolivia and Peru, the spectacled bear is known as Ucamari or Jucamari.
Physical description: Half man, half bear. Covered in long, shaggy black hair. Small eyes. Large hands and feet. sharp fangs in mouth.
Behavior: Bipedal. Makes eerie, ululating calls (“uhu, uhu”) at night. Eats vegetation and animal matter, wild fruit and honey.
Tracks: Humanlike. Length, 14-17 inches.
Habitat: Mountains, caves, wildreness and rocky areas.
Small and large Shortfaced bears, skeleton comparison from Bjorn Kurten.
Shape of Skeletons compared for La Brea Lion, Spotted Hyena, Brown Bear, Wolf and Arctodus the giant Short-faced bear, by Bjorn Kurten.
Short-Faced Bear Map: Bjorn Kurten assumes that the larger Shortfaced beard of the Arctodus type colonised South America along the Atlantic coast while the smaller, Tremarctos-type shortfaced bears colonised alomg the Western part of the continent, along the Andes. The larger bears also went inland from the coast and could well be the ancestors of the Milne in Colombia and the Ucumars of Chile and Argentina
Map for distribution of bears in the world. In the case of the Larger Shortfaced bears, they are mostly reported in areas where brown bears aren't usually supposed to be found, except for the Irkuiem in Kamchatka, and they are supposed to come from Alaska.
[Please note also that bears are absent from large parts of Tibet in this map from Wikipedia]
Ivan T. Sanderson, Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life (1961)
..........Living Mammals of the World (1956, p. 201, under URSINES, Brown Bears)
John Keel, Strange Creatures From Time and Space
Jerome Clark and Loren Coleman, Creatures of the Outer Edge (1976)
Simon Chapman, The Monster of the Madidi: Searching for the Giant Ape of the Bolivian Jungle (London: Aurum, 2001)