Oral traditions of many
American tribes, including the
and Crow, tell
people” who stand from just 20 inches to three feet tall. In
some tribes they are known as "tiny people eaters,” in others they were
known to have been spirits and healers, and some believed them to be
magical, similar to leprechauns or fairies. In any event, the
legends were well known among
across the nation, long before the Europeans set foot upon these lands.
this small race of people were known as the Nimerigar and their legends
told of the little
people attacking them with tiny bows and poisoned arrows.
The Nimerigar were
also known to kill their own kind with a blow to the head when they
became too ill to be an active part of their society. Though
part of the legend, this practice of sometimes killing the infirmed
was a also a regular part of life for many of the nomadic
The Pedro Mountains of south central
courtesy Bureau of Land Management.
Though many believe
people” to be only the stuff of legends, several discoveries point
to the contrary, the most significant of which, was a 14” inch fully
formed mummy found in 1932. Called the Pedro
Mountains Mummy, he was discovered when two men were digging for
gold in the San Pedro Mountains about 60 miles southwest of Casper,
working a rich vein and running only into more and more rock, Cecil
Main and Frank Carr used dynamite to blast a section of the
mountainside to get at the gold. After the dust cleared, a cave
could be seen in the rock face. The small cavern was about 15
feet long and 4 feet high and had been totally sealed off from the
outside world by a thick wall of rock.
As the men entered
the cave they were surprised to see a small a pygmy-like man sitting
cross-legged upon a ledge. The tiny mummy was only about 6 ˝
inches tall in its seated position, and estimated at 14 inches tall in
a standing position. Its skin was brown and wrinkled, its
forehead low and flat, its features displaying a flat nose,
heavy-lidded eyes and a very wide mouth with thin lips. The face
looked like of an old man. It was so well preserved, its
fingernails could still been on its hands and the top of its head was
covered in a dark jelly-like substance that was still pliable.
The two prospectors took their find to
and in no time, scientists came from all over the nation to have a
look at the mummy. Sure that it was a hoax, extensive tests were
performed when the professionals assumed it was a pieced-together work
of taxidermy. However, the anthropologists would soon be
surprised to see that x-rays displayed a perfectly formed, manlike
skeleton. The tests also showed that the mummy had been killed
violently, as the spine was damaged, a collarbone broken, and the
skull had been smashed in by a heavy blow. The soft substance at
the top of the head exposed brain tissue and congealed blood. After the tests were complete, the scientists estimated that the mummy
was a full grown adult who was approximately 65 years old at the time
of his death. One odd finding was that its teeth were overly
pointed, having a full set of canines.
These examinations were allegedly performed by
the American Museum of Natural History and certified genuine by the
Anthropology Department of Harvard University. However, alternate
reports also say when the mummy was examined by the University of Wyoming,
the body was found to be that of a diseased child.
The mummy was displayed in sideshows for
years, before it was purchased by a Casper businessman named Ivan T.
Goodman. When Goodman died in 1950, the mummy passed into the hands
of one Leonard Walder, a New York businessman who died in the 1980's.
It has not been seen publicly since and it's whereabouts are unknown.