Native Village
Youth and Education news
 Volume 3  February  2011

Did a mummy prove the Wyoming legend?
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Wyoming: The Little People said to live in the Wind River Range are good. Just don't make them mad.  Eastern Shoshone elder Morning Starr Moses Weed knows what happens if you do.

Many years ago, Weed's father-in-law rode up a thin trail into the Wind River mountains to check on his cattle. One of the Little People appeared. He stood knee high, but otherwise looked like normal human. He told Weed's father-in-law that it was his trail, and the rancher couldn't use it. But the Shoshone rancher went ahead anyway.

The Little Person shot Weed's father-in-law with a poisonous arrow, making his arm useless.

But they're not all bad, Weed says. Other stories tell of the Little People saving lives or helping Shoshones find their way home.

The Shoshones aren't the only people to describe a race of Little People. For centuries, other American Indians have had variations of their own.

But white settlers to the Wind River area believed the stories were myths -- until the mummies were found.

In 1936, Eugene Bashor first saw one mummy in a circus tent in Casper. It was said to be the remains of a 65-year-old man who weighed less than a pound.

Bashor saw it again in 1948. A used car dealer had it sitting on his desk. Then a con-man swindled the mummy away from the dealer. The dealer died a mysterious death and the mummy disappeared.

Bashor spent the next 50 years searching for the Pedro Mountain Mummy. He'd wander the Pedros, looking in caves for signs of other mummies. And he advertised nationwide for leads.

In 1971, the University of Wyoming hired its only physical anthropologist, George Gill. Because of his background in studying human remains, students told Gill about the Pedro Mountain Mummy. They brought him brochures of the mummy. Was it a human? Was it from a race of knee-high people? They wanted to know

Soon, more people began investigating the mummies and the Little People. Others came forward with mummy-like creatures. Gill found one perfect likeness, but analysis showed it was a well carved potato head.

Then in 1994, Gill and Bashor went on Unsolved Mysteries. Host Robert Stack explained the vague details of the mummy and asked for help from the public.

A Cheyenne family who watched the episode produced a family heirloom found by a great-grandfather. It was a girl, slightly smaller, with striking features. Analysis concluded the tiny mummy was most likely a premature human baby. Carbon dating put her age around 300 years old.

The family took its mummy back to Cheyenne and has since moved. Gill doesn't know where.

Bashor, 84, no longer believes in a race of little people. But Gill still believes in the mystery of the mummies, the legends that preceded them, and the possibility of some connection.

Weed says there are too many stories, with too many details, for them not to be real. "They're good little fellows," he said. "If you don't make them mad."

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