Real Name: Unknown (nick-named "Pedro")
Case: Unidentified Remains/Mysterious Legends
Location: San Pedro Mountains, Wyoming
Date: October 1932
Details: For generations, medicine men of the Crow, Shoshone, and Arapaho tribes have told stories of a mythical race of supernatural beings that performed feats of amazing physical strength. According to legend, the beings stood less than two feet high. For more than a century, the story of the "little people" was just a tall tale to the pioneers.
In October 1932, amateur gold prospectors Cecil Mayne and Frank Carr were exploring the San Pedro Mountains in Wyoming when they found an unusual mummified figure within a cave. It was six inches high and in a sitting position. It had a flattened skull and brown skin, with wisps of gray hair coming from the back of the head. They believed that it may have been part of the race of "little people". Several days later, Mayne returned alone to the cave and took it (despite the fact that the cave was a sacred Native American burial site). The discovery made headline news in the area. Some Wyoming residents believed that one of the Native American tribes had previously placed it in the cave.
Mayne did not seem to care what the mummy was; he was just interested in selling it. He soon found a buyer: insurance salesman Homer Sherrill. In 1934, he purchased it for $25 and then took it on the road. He used it as part of a sideshow attraction, charging people twenty-five cents to look at it. It remained an attraction for several years. In 1936, it ended up with Floyd Jones, who owned a drug store in Meeteetse, Wyoming. He displayed it in his store for several years. In the mid-1940s, used car salesman Ivan Goodman saw it at the store. He bought it from Jones for over $1,000.
In 1950, Goodman brought the mummy to Dr. Paul Martin of the Chicago Museum of Natural History for an analysis. He took photographs and x-rays of it. The x-rays revealed that it had a complete skeletal structure, as well as a full set of teeth. Initially, it appeared to be the mummified remains of a fully-developed human being which happened to be seventeen inches tall. However, after reviewing all of the material, Dr. Martin came to a different conclusion. He believed that it was an infant that suffered from Anencephaly; this is a condition in which infants are born without a brain and lack a complete skull. As a result, they may take on the physical appearance of an adult.
However, researcher Eugene Bashor claimed that other experts believed that the malformed skull could have been the result of a blow to the head. According to one expert, there were pieces of skull in the scalp that were hanging down, as if it were beat down as a result of trauma. Bashor further claimed that the scientists he spoke with believed that the mummy had other adult characteristics. He noted that it had a prominent full set of teeth, while an infant would have two sets of undeveloped teeth in the jaw. However, anthropologist George Gill stated that the experts he talked to believe that it was an Anencephalic infant.
In October 1950, Goodman loaned the mummy to Dr. Leonard Wadler, the alleged curator of a New York museum. Goodman believed that he could make a great amount of money if Wadler could prove that it was a North American relative of the pygmies, a race of people in Africa and Asia who stand four-to-five feet in height. However, Goodman died of a sudden stroke a short time later. Wadler kept the mummy. Some have speculated that Wadler was not a doctor and actually was a con artist.
To date, no one is quite sure what the mummy is, or what happened to it. It was last seen in Florida with Wadler in 1975 and has never been relocated. Gill hopes that it can be found so that it can be analyzed using modern scientific techniques, such as DNA analysis and carbon dating. Native Americans, meanwhile, hope that it can be recovered for its spiritual value. In their view, a sacred burial site was disturbed. Ultimately, they would like to return it to an appropriate resting place.
Extra Notes: This case ran on the February 2, 1994 episode.
This case was also featured on the series, Monumental Mysteries.
Some sources spell Cecil's last name as "Main".
Results: Unresolved. After the broadcast, a Native American couple came forward after they realized that they had a similar mummy in their possession that also originated from the San Pedro Mountains. The mummy was of a young girl, nicknamed "Chiquita". She was mummified in the same position as the other one, with her legs crossed and her arms folded across her chest. Gill analyzed the remains and determined that she had been born sometime during the 1500s. DNA testing revealed that she was Native American. Gill also determined that she had died of anencephaly (similar to what the San Pedro mummy was suspected of dying from). While the original remains have never been found, it is believed they both share the same characteristics.
Wadler was later discovered to have died in Florida in the 1980s. It is not known what happened to the mummy after his death. However, it is believed to still be in Florida.
- The San Pedro Mummy at Wikipedia
- Wyoming History - Pedro Mountain Mummy
- Pliocene Mummy - November 4, 1934
- Mummified Pygmy Found - December 15, 1934
- Casper Indian mummy still missing - July 24, 1979
- 'Little People' tales add to Casper lore - May 23, 1980
- Missing mini-mummy tickles youthful fancy - October 9, 1980
- Little people mystery still unsolved - April 25, 1982
- Man offers $10,000 for Pedro Mountain Mummy - February 3, 2005
- Did a mummy prove the Wyoming legend? - November 7, 2010
- Meet Chiquita: A tiny, blonde, 500-year-old Wyoming mummy - July 6, 2014
- Into the cave: Is 'Little Man Mine' site where mummy was found? - September 15, 2014
- The mysterious tiny mummy from the mountains in Wyoming - November 2, 2016
- The Truth Behind the Disturbing Mystery of the San Pedro Mountains Mummy - January 4, 2018
- Reddit Discussion of San Pedro Mummy