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. 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. The driver slammed on the brakes, and the two went on a search for the creature armed with a gun. However, despite searching the area around the cement factory, they found nothing.
The Face in the Rocks
Sometime in the late 1990s, a rock climber returned from a camping and climbing trip in Joshua Tree to find something unusual in photos of the campsite. The campsite had been set near a crevice that was not quite big enough to be a cave. The photograph unmistakably showed a face that the photographer described as being like a primate.
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.