Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Mysterious Kentucky Yahoos

There's been a long running debate about where Internet behemoth Yahoo! got its name. In literature, the Yahoos were large, hairy, man-like creatures as described in Jonathan Swift's classic Gulliver's Travels. Whether or not they got the name from Gulliver's Travels is anyone's guess.

Kentucky, according to legend, has its own Yahoos.

In the book Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer (1992), the author claims Boone told "tall tales" about "killing a ten-foot, hairy giant he called a 'Yahoo.'" Reportedly Gulliver's Travels was one of Boone's favorite books and he carried it with him when he ventured into the woods.

In a 1957 issue of the journal Western Folklore, folklorist Leonard Roberts reported that he had collected "four or five versions" of what he called "a curious and strange legend" he encountered in isolated regions of the Kentucky mountains. The stories involved large, hairy wild people who lived in the woods. In one version of the story, the wild person is specifically called a "Yeahoh." The Kentucky Yeahoh was described as repeatedly making the sound "yea-hoh, yeahoh"; Swift described his Yahoos as uttering their own sounds in a similar manner. Could the Kentucky legends be a reference to Swift's "Yahoo"? If so, it could be evidence that Boone's tall tales survived over one hundred years of retellings in the Kentucky highlands.

Of course we could just go out on a limb and say it's Bigfoot : )

posted at 2:19 PM by Jeremy Parnell

2 Comments:

Jeremy said...

Definitely Bigfoot : ) Here's some more about Bigfoot in the local area:

http://www.bfro.net/GDB/show_county_reports.asp?state=ky&county=Mason

1:12 PM
Ron L. said...

Yep, no doubt about it.........That's gotta be Bigfoot :)
I wonder what Bigfoot would think about one of the biggest internet empires in the world being named after him.
Probably not much.....but then again....he might file a lawsuit.

1:41 PM