Jennifer Wilber is an author and freelance writer from Ohio. She holds a B.A. in creative writing and English.
What Is Grassman?
Grassman is a cryptid similar to Bigfoot that is reported to inhabit the grasslands of Ohio. It is also known as the Ohio Grassman and the Eastern Bigfoot. Grassman supposedly gets its name from the small, hut-like nests it builds from tall grasses. Grassmen are reported to stand about 7–9 feet tall and weigh around 300 pounds. According to witnesses and cryptozoologists, this cryptid is similar in appearance to Bigfoot, but it's shorter and slightly more human-like.
Sightings in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Sightings of this creature have been reported in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and surrounding areas. As an Ohio native, I have visited this park numerous times. Though I have never personally encountered the Ohio Grassman during my visits to the park, many other Ohioans claim they have. Based on the eyewitness accounts, I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to hike through the park at night. Are you?
Early Grassman Sightings in the 1800s
According to Paul Seaburn from Mysterious Universe, the first Grassman sighting by modern people happened in 1869. This early sighting reported a 9-foot-tall bipedal ape-like creature, who was seen eating grass and wheat.
Another Grassman sighting was reported later in the 1800s, according to the Cryptid Wiki. During this encounter with the creature, Grassman attempted to throw a man out of his carriage. The creature retreated when the man’s daughter, who was riding as a passenger, began throwing stones at it.
Grassman Encountered by a Family From Minerva, Ohio, in 1978
One of the most prominent sightings of Grassman happened in the small village of Minerva, Ohio, according to the Cryptid Wiki. In August of 1978, the grandchildren of two Minerva residents, Evelyn and Howe Clayton, encountered the creature while playing outside. The children ran inside screaming about a “hairy monster” outside. When the couple went outside to investigate, they found a hairy creature, which they estimated weighed about 300 pounds and resembled an ape with matted dark fur, sitting in a gravel pit on their property while playing with trash. The couple quickly ran back inside, though this would not be their last encounter with the Grassman.
Another night, the creature was seen looking in through the Claytons’ kitchen window. It disappeared, however, before Howe was able to get outside with his gun. Upon investigation by the local police, the creature was nowhere to be found, but there were still footprints from the animal left behind in the mud. A terrible smell, presumably left by the cryptid, still permeated the air.
Later that year, the couple saw the creature again on top of a hill by a strip mine near their home one night. They then observed two of the creatures on the same hill a month later in broad daylight.
Grassman Encountered by Hikers in 1995
An anonymous witness reported their 1995 encounter with a Grassman to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. On July 4, 1995, three men decided to go for a night hike along the railroad that runs parallel to Riverview Road, near Brandywine Ski Resort in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Around 11:30pm, the three hikers heard a high-pitched scream from the west, which they described as sounding similar to a coyote or peacock, but raspier. The sound lasted only 5 seconds, and the hikers didn’t think much of it, assuming it to be from some ordinary animal.
After hiking further through a marshy clearing, they headed into a heavily wooded area for several minutes before deciding to head back. Upon reentering the clearing, another high-pitched roaring sound came from the center of the marshy area of the clearing. This time, the sound lasted longer, about 8–10 seconds, and sounded like it was very close by, about 50 to 75 feet away.
Just then, a very large creature charged through the marsh right at the hikers. The creature, according to the witnesses, was bipedal and swung its arms as it ran through the water of the marsh. It moved extremely quickly for being chest-deep in mucky water. The hikers ran at full-speed back to their car. The creature stayed near the edge of the swamp, and the three hikers were able to escape unharmed.
Was the Howl of a Grassman Recorded in 2015?
Local Bigfoot researcher Charlie Page claims to have obtained an audio recording of Grassman’s howl in 2015, according to Mysterious Universe writer Paul Seaburn. This audio clip was recorded in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park near the I-271 overpass that borders Cuyahoga and Summit counties. Page recorded the sound from the scenic Hemlock Point, where he picked up multiple howl sounds from different directions, but seemingly from the same species.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is known for its caves and close proximity to local farms, which could provide ample shelter and food for a Bigfoot-like creature.
Video Evidence of Grassman Recorded in 2017
According to a video published on YouTube by the user Find Bigfoot, a Grassman may have been recorded on video in February of 2017. The uploader of this video believes that this could very well be a real Grassman or Sasquatch because of the creature’s posture, gait, and general behavior. He also believes that the creature resembles an authentic Sasquatch because it has a coned head and long arms. He feels that this is the best footage that he has seen of Bigfoot, or Bigfoot-like creatures, in several years.
Could Native Americans Have Lived Peacefully Alongside Grassman?
In the 1700s, Native Americans living in the Ohio grasslands spoke of a species of bipedal ape-men who lived in the area, according to the Cryptid Wiki. They called these creatures “The Wild Ones of the Woods.” These Native Americans would leave out food to the “Wild Ones” as a means of keeping peace with the creatures. Could the “Wild Ones of the Woods” spoken of by Native Americans be the same creatures as the Grassmen?
Differences Between Grassman and Bigfoot
Many cryptozoologists believe that Grassman is a separate species from Bigfoot. Grassman’s diet allegedly consists mainly of grass and wheat, while Bigfoot has a fondness for apples. Grassman is also apparently often seen in groups, unlike the more solitary Bigfoot. Unlike Bigfoot, Grassman is also often associated with a foul odor, similar to that of the Skunk Ape of Florida. Grassman is also purported to be more violent than other similar species.
Grassman: Fact or Fiction?
There have been a number of reported sightings of this cryptid primate throughout the years, but is there any truth to these reports, or is Grassman nothing more than a hoax and local legend? Do you believe in Grassman, and if so, is this Ohioan ape-man a distinct species from Bigfoot?
© 2018 Jennifer Wilber
Regina Rolland on February 10, 2020:
Years ago I was a correctional officer who worked for state of Ohio juvenile system and I transported prisioners to different facilities most of which are located near woody areas the one that scared me the most was in Columbus Ohio near Mohican state park I had to drive the van of prisioners up dark curvy winding narrow roads to get to the institution no street lights there were many times I felt like someone was watching from the row of trees I'd just passed and a couple times it looked like someone or something just look around a tree as I'm trying to see if I'm really seeing what I think I saw. Many days I prayed that van wouldn't break down. I believe something is out there Mohican,Maume, Saltfork and there was a place down below Cincinnati by Ohio river
Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on August 23, 2018:
Thanks, Jennifer, for such magnificent presentation of the "giant" human like beings with video footage in support of it. I have long believed in such beings but this is my first time hearing there were some in Ohio.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 23, 2018:
This is interesting as I grew up in Ohio near the Cuyahoga Valley and spent many wonderful days in that valley. I never heard of this, but I wasn't there in 1995.
I always thought these kinds of sightings were from an overactive imagination, but you never know for sure unless the creature is caught. Your article certainly covers many decades of sightings and might make people think twice about being in the valley at night.