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Deer People - (part two)

So what are Deer People?

People have offered several solutions and explanations.

The one most offered is mistaken identification. Poor lighting distorts a normal deer. Or large dogs are mistaken for a deer. Many of the sightings involve the deer standing directly in the headlights.

Here's an experience from a South Dakota college student. The student had ended up at the emergency room due to pain and was finally returning back to the dorm, one way trip of around 20 miles. It was 2 am and "Jackie" was feeling sleepy and decided to pull over to the side of the road for a minute or two and try to wake up. 

It was a pitch dark night; only the headlights of the car provided any illumination. A deer was suddenly in front of the car. There was woods on one side of the road and farmland on the other, so Jackie figured the deer was just going across the road to find something to eat. A couple more deer crossed, about five in all.

While watching them cross the road, Jackie noticed that one of them had back legs that looked like they were broken. Feeling pity for the poor deer, it took a moment for Jackie to realize that if the deer's legs were broken, it would be unable to walk. Looking closer, the deer's gait was off; it was walking in a jerky motion -- almost more of a hop than a walking stride.

After they had passed, Jackie realized that in addition to the legs, the neck was too long; the ears were too long; the legs looked inverted, almost bowed. Whatever the creature was, it was not a deer.

Jackie swung the car back onto the highway and raced off with  "...every nerve in my body telling me that I just saw something I shouldn't have. I got back to my dorm in record time and basically ran across campus, feeling like I'd escaped death. I never told anyone about that. I figured that since it was late, and I was on painkillers, and very tired, that maybe I'd imagined it. But still, every time I see a deer, a real deer, my body freezes, thinking about what I may have seen that night."

Another 2 am sighting with plenty of headlight beams comes from Lebanon, Pennsylvania on July 22, 2021. The witness and a friend were driving home. Earlier in the evening they had visited with friends. Part of their conversation concerned reckless deer that loved to hit cars rather than you hitting them.

The two were following a tractor trailer. To their left was a cornfield and the witness saw glowing eyes among the stalks. The witness said to the  driver that he bet the deer was going to jump out into the road. As he continued to watch the deer, he realized that the creature was about a tall as the corn. The friend then cried out that it was no deer. As they drove past it, freaking out, the witness was sure that he could faintly see a very small head with huge glowing eyes, close together. The witness had never before this night ever thought about cryptid creatures.

Let's round it off with a daylight sighting. This one also points out the non-deer like behavior of some of these sightings. On first glance, they act like deer or even blend in with deer, but then second looks either show unusual behavior. Sometimes the body changes, and they appear very different from first glance.

This daytime sighting comes from Missouri, date unknown. The witness was around 10 years old. Their grandfather liked to take the kids bowling but instead of following the main roads, preferred to take his "short cut". This short cut took them through a wooded area, what locals called "untamed land". The tall trees had a clearing near the road.

In that clearing, there was a group of deer. They normally saw deer when driving that way and the witness liked watching them. But this day, there was something different. There was a buck standing a bit away from the rest; closer to the road than the rest of them. The clearing was of tall grass and the deer was standing in it, about 40 to 50 feet away from the road.

"That deer was looking straight at our car. Moving its head as we drove by so it could keep watching. Deer has monocular vision [eyes on either side of the head for a wider field of view], so they look at things from the side. A deer with its nose pointed perpendicular to you is looking at you. That deer was facing us. That deer was tracking us. That deer had forward facing eyes. That deer was a predator. That deer was not a deer. That is all I remember -- and I shouldn't remember it at all."

Many like to tell witnesses that they have seen deer afflicted with CWD - Chronic Wasting Disease - sometimes referred to as "zombie deer disease." CWD is a horrible affliction. It is a prion disease which if fatal. Symptoms can take up to a year to appear in those infected. The disease hits deer, elk, reindeer and moose, among other animals. The symptoms include drastic weight loss [wasting], stumbling, listlessness, lack of fear of humans and other neurologic symptoms. It can affect animals of all ages. It is fatal and there are no treatments or vaccines.

Witnesses are adamant that the creatures they have seen are not suffering from CWD. On one blog, a witness had this to say :

"NOT chronic wasting disease, which looks completely different. And not a deer with some weird tumors. 'Deer' which seem normal at first glance but move . . . wrong, like they have joints where there shouldn't be any. And they don't behave properly. And their heads/faces are not quite right. . . .  Oh, and they raise your hackles instantly and very very strongly. I have a personal experience with them up on Skyline Drive in Luray VA area, but also one in the Catskills in NY . . . "

Another witness on another blog talked of CWD and how it compared to their sightings. "I grew up in the woods and mountains my whole life, and I have seen deer with CWD and while that is horrible there is something else out there." He went on to describe one he encountered. ". . .  one I've seen was a very large deer, and was not wasting away/losing mass. It visibly had joints in the normal places, but when it walked, its legs bent between those joints. It also have [sic] forward facing, predator eyes. In one instance, I was riding my horse and it chased me almost the full 3 miles home. Another time it stared at me and my cousin, and slowly turned its head nearly upside down from the joint right behind its head."

And they continued : "I have researched the Chronic Wasting Disease and have seen deer with it and up close. That was NOT what I saw the times I've seen this thing. All I know is that it is not a deer."

Along with the CWD explanation, deformities are thrown in, known as the "freak deer". There is a genetic factor that can cause deformities in the bones of the facial area. The nose area will appear longer than usual, even look "floppy". This could be the explanation for this next encounter, although it would be an extreme deformity.

A witness from Missouri reported a strange encounter from June 2020. It concerned a deer like animal with a trunk. He was driving down a country road, passing between two hills when an animal came out from the woods on his right. At first he thought it was a deer but the color seemed wrong, a reddish color similar to an Irish retriever. Then he noticed that it had a trunk. Not long like an elephant's but it hung around 6 inches past the lower jaw. The whole end of the mouth was hidden by this trunk. The eyes were large and seemed to protrude. It stood on the road for a second, standing around 30 feet from his car. Then it walked into the woods on the left hand side of the road, disappearing into the trees.  The encounter took place in the middle of the day, in bright sunlight.

Lastly, we have the standard Native American solutions offered : Wendigo or shapeshifter.

Many are confused on just what a Wendigo is in Native lore. They like to lump the term in with the ever growing, mostly incorrect, list of Native names for bigfoot. Wendigo is not a bigfoot. And it doesn't appear to be these Deer People either.

The Wendigo is said to be gaunt to the point of emaciation. The desiccated skin pulled tautly over its bones, the bones pushing out against its skin. It is ash gray [the color of death] and its eyes are pushed back deep into their sockets. In short, it is said to look like a skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. It is often drawn with elk like horns on its head. It is said to be a cannibal and would possess humans, causing them to murder and eat their family and other tribal members.

Wendigo by Homerik

None of the encounters I've come across describe this type of creature.

But perhaps Shapeshifter might fit. There are many descriptions of various shapeshifting entities in folklore and Native lore. It is entirely possible that these Deer People are some sort of shifter. They appear to be one thing and with second looks, or closer examination, they appear to become something else entirely. Part human, part deer, part canine.

Patrick Waters was a passenger in a car one night in 2009. The encounter took place around 15 miles outside Hermosa. Patrick was asleep when the driver woke him up to tell him they had just passed a good looking woman standing in the tall grass by the roadside. He wanted to know if they should go back and offer her a ride.

Patrick's mom had raised him with warnings to never pick up hitchhikers near the reservation late at night because they may be shapeshifters.  So Patrick told his friend to just keep driving. If she was a real woman, she would find her own way home. A couple of miles further down the road and the driver called out "There she is!". And a woman stood there by the road. Patrick told him to drive fast.

They were nearing a part of Battle Creek when the driver again called out "There she is again!" He sounded frightened and when Patrick looks, the woman was standing on the pavement this time. She was wearing what looked like a dress.  Her upper body was human and she had human hands. She was pretty with long dark hair. Her eyes reflected white in the headlights. She stood around 5'9". However, her legs were deer legs and where her feet should be were hooves. The legs were the color of mule deer, with the markings.

The driver hit the gas. Patrick looked back and saw instead of the woman, a deer shaped figure chasing their vehicle. They were going around 80 mph, tearing down the narrow two lane country highway with bling turns, just to get away from her. They finally reached the truck stop in Hermosa, where they remained for several hours. They no longer go near the reservation as evening approaches, never going there at night.

I have one last story. The first part as related by Kyle Heying is the most circulated version. I ran across, on a blog, a version alleged to be from his friend who was with him that night. I'll let you decide which version you want to believe.

This last story is from Oklahoma, 2012, from the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge.

The commonly told story attributed to Kyle Heying is as follows. He was out with a friend photographing the night sky. While doing so, a number of wild animals, including elk and bison came rushing past, like they were escaping something from the nearby forest. Everything went silent afterwards. The men picked up their gear and began to head back to the their vehicle, feeling unnerved. They heard a sudden rustling in the long grass so they kept their guns ready while loading their equipment. As they were starting to drive off, a deer man emerged from the shadows and began to lurch towards them. Totally terrified, the driver hit the gas and they sped off.

Said Heying : "We were scared . . . ; things got even quieter when we stayed there. While there we heard one ear-piercing screech, or scream, almost a hunting screech of some sort that made my hair stand on end and gave me goose bumps even worse. With that we left the mountains completely, we felt as though we were not wanted there that night. . . . I cannot forget that figure we saw, as well as the scream. It was not human but it was not of any wildlife I am familiar with from out there."

The description given : it stood upright like a man; had human like arms and legs; head resembling an elk; glowing red eyes.

And here is Heying's friend [and driver's] story of how  things went down - a little different than the story as told by others.

". . .  My old friend . . .  and I took my telescope out to the Fish Lakes area for stargazing and doing some astrophotography. While parked in the parking lot right before the gate area we started hearing noises from the animals around us. First the deer ran by, then armadillos came by, then the elk, then the buffalo moved off, then even the coyotes moved way off in the distance and then it grew silent. I mean that  silent where you know something is wrong. So we started getting suspicious and then started hearing a noise that was from something moving around in the tall grass that had to be on two feet. Shined lights out there and saw nothing. But then it kept getting closer, sounding like it was rushing at us then backing away. So we jammed all the telescope and cameras with their tripods into the trunk and got in and drove off fast down back to hwy. 49. We figured okay maybe it was just some animals and we were fooling ourselves so we drove to the rest area just SW of Mt. Scott . . . Drove up into the parking area and there was what looked like a damn person nude with a fricking buffalo headdress on their head staring right at us from next to the tree there. So I slammed the gas pedal and drove us the heck over to Medicine Park. So we set up over there to take some night time pictures there, when it got absolutely silent again. That was when we heard that scream which was not an owl, that one is easy to figure out, wasn't a rabbit either and they scream when in pain or attacked by a bird like a hawk. It was a scream I never heard before. Anyway after hearing that we said f*** it and drove home. I have never tried setting up to stargaze out there since. Who knows what we saw and heard."

Buffalo skull
 
But until more people come forward with their encounters and experiences, there is little information to examine and collate.  But definitely something to research. People are seeing something out there. And it isn't bigfoot or dogman.


Nancy

"I'll spark the thought; what you do with it is up to you."



This Post By TCC Team Member Nancy Marietta. Nancy has had a lifelong interest in the paranormal and cryptids. Nancy is also a published author and her book, The Price of war, has been met with great reviews.



[Some sources include : The Shadowlands message board; Into the Wonder : Darrell pursiful's fiction and folklore blog; Cryptid wiki; obscUrban legends wikia; mysteriousuniverse.org; phantoms and monsters pulse of the paranormal; reddit.com; pinebarrensinstitute.com; cryptoville; cdc.gov; legendsofamerica.com; americanhauntings.com.; "I know what I saw" by LInda S. Godfrey.]


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