Last Update was April 20th, 2014:

Our Willy
The Ghost of Bear Mountain
by Floyd D.P. Øydegaard

Between 30 and 35 years of age and standing somewhere between 5'4 and 5'7. A noticable limp due to a broken thigh bone from a gunshot wound five years prior to his death on Bear Mountain . It was "a nicely healed femoral fracture." said UCSC Forensic Anthropologist, Diana Smay, "The right leg was 2" shorter. The skull disclosed a broken nose." A Harrington & Richardson American (AKA H&R Bulldog) five shot .38calibre double action revolver (produced as early as 1883 one of 850,000) was found laying on the right hand, (hand bones missing.) Carried spectacles for reading and had an 18K gold watch (made between 1875-77) on a solid gold chain (designed for a vest) and possibly in a right hand pocket. (Or was there a waistcoat/vest for the watch?). Suspender parts patented 1888 were found as well. Could have been headed somewhere near Felton to visit someone, or running away from somewhere. Was he transient logger or teamster? (image of Teamster seated on his water wagon in front of the Felton Hotel c1890's). Or had there been an altercation? A smashed bullet was found with the bones and yet there was no trauma that might varify the fatal wound(s).

There was a wooden toothbrush , Diana Smay said, "The teeth are in pretty good shape. A little bit of periodontal disease, which wasn't uncommon, some malalignment, and a cavity, but aside from that, no tooth loss, no abcessing...I've seen MUCH worse teeth, believe me!") May have used the contents of the "Pumpkin Seed" flask (a flat round bottle with a long neck covered in wicker and corked) to ease the pain of a bullet wound (Speculation on my part: running from a gun fight?). Had a few dollars in gold and silver, a pocket knife, and four short .38 calibre rounds in a right hand pocket with possibly other items of paper, which have all become mulch.

Sometime in the winter rains, never getting any further than what is called Bear Mountain today, something happened. Whether awake for a while in that spot (no trauma to any of the bones discovered) or was thrown there in the sprawled position after death to lay there for a century isn't known. The left arm was out stretched and the bottle was near that hand. (hand bones all missing here as well) The right arm was closer to the body with the gun near this right hand, along with all the pocket items mentioned above.

Legend builds! Already some "historians" and media "legend makers" have speculated that "he" was a "violent man" because of the gun. That he had the gun in one hand and the bottle in the other. That he was wealthy because he may have worn a monocle. (Originally they found half of his spectacles and wasn't $18 a lot of money then?!)

touch these bones for an image of Willy!

Facts (so far): Many folk had pistols in their pockets then. Especially when in the "wilds" of Felton. (That same pistol was available through Sears for around $4.80 in 1908!) May have died with boots on, but they were not found. Carrying some money (only coins survived) that could have been the entire "wealth;" $18+! (Two weeks pay from a nearby logger's camp?) Because of the dates on the coins 1892 or earlier, 1894 or so, is possibly his last year!

We Make Him A Member of SOTP

The proclamation reads: "He kept his place at the head of the engine with a loaded pistol at the ready! Never missed a single train robbery from 1983 until August 17th, 1996, when the law dragged him away!
"So by virtue of his being there from the beginning, (the tracks were laid in 1966) waiting for his whiskey bottle to be refilled, and more patient than most of our members. We hereby make him a full member of Shadows of the Past! (posthumously of course!)"

May he rest in peace if he was a simple man (as I suspect), or rot in Hell if he was the killer the media desire!
SOTP gave him a simple marker and one minute of silence, in either case.

On September 16, 1997 the remains, we have been told, are possibly that of a woman, so said another Forensic Anthropologist at UCSC, Alison Galloway, "This could be a male who is very gracile and with wide hips - or it could be female."

April of 1998, the remains were placed in the Evergreen Cemetery with grand ceremony via the Clampers! Shadows attended as color guard: Dick Staley, Richard Draga, Uncle Sherman, Brian Sorey, & James Kanne, with chief mourners, Bart, Dr. Eights, Widows Anderson and Rasmussen.

List of Items found:

Coroner Sgt. Tanner had these items on 9/16/97 when I viewed them. (Except those items noted!)

  • Initially the skull was discovered first and thought to be a discarded Halloween prop.
  • The bones. Missing most feet bones and most hand bones. Missing pubic bone (see pelvis) and center of chest. Lead particles found under xray of right femor . Five year old wound caused by a bullet. The right leg was 2" shorter than the other one.
  • Rusty gun a five shooter H&R.38 Ca. (see description above) It was missing one bullet in chamber as it was rotated past that one... don't know condition of the bullet in the chamber the hammer sat on.
  • "Pumpkin Seed" glass whisky flask. (original flask was dropped and boken)
  • Covered case gold watch. ("the watch seemed in perfect condition.") No inscription... 18K marked on case. Elgin Nat'l Watch Co. #338397 (1875-1877) workings rusted away and crystal was discovered shattered. Face in good condition.
  • Solid gold chain A two pocket style with a fob (fob missing)
  • Wooden handle of a tooth brush .(the boar bristle style.)
  • Bullets. four .38 calibre bullets (short)
  • Spent (smushed) lead bullet. (See Image).
  • One bone button.
  • Pewter or tin fly buttons. Made in Paris.
  • Porcelin buttons found by RC employee.
  • Another four hole button found with words "Made by...." not with Coroner.
  • Change: $10 gold 1892 S, $5 gold 1886 S, $1 gold coin (or $2.5?), half dollar 1875, three quarters: (2) 1878 CC 1891 S, a V nickel 1867, V nickel 1891. (All but the smaller gold coin and one 5 cent pc. with Sgt. Tanner)
  • Two suspender slides , silver plated. with markings: Wilson Brothers, Patd. Sept 25, 1888 on obverse. With a fancy pattern of scrolls on front. Not with coroner.
  • A suspender snap with leather remnants. Male and female. Female has lion with sword design on front and "C.F. Co." on obverse (top) with a "funny" little "letter" mark (logo) at bottom. (like a "C" with a small "o" inside and an "F" connected to a "C" only the "Co" is backwards to the "FC")
  • Small metal suspender buckle.
  • Small "medicine" bottle. Not with Coroner.
  • Fragments of what may have been a heavy winter coat. Herringbone pattern brown wool.
  • Spectacle parts. (At first it was thought to be a monocle as only one lens was found....later Coroner Tanner has only one lens and it was a magnifier for reading. 1890's style oval and size.
  • Pocket knife. multiple blade, rusted badly.
  • Round Ball found by RC employee.
    Most images photographed by author and many are thanks to the UCSC Forensic lab and the kindness of Alison Galloway

    20 April 2014 - ADDED INFORMATION: "....that the revolver in question is most certainly an Iver Johnson "American Bulldog" in .44 Webley caliber not .38 short. Also the frame of the gun is bigger than the .38s of the time, and you can tell the stubby fat bullets are .44 shorts. H&R didn't use the trademark bulldog head grips, those were all Iver Johnson. I used to have one years ago that I sold to a collector in England. They are fairly scarce in .44 caliber.  If you are interested in these types of revolvers and the history there is an excellent book called "The British Bulldog Revolver, The forgotton Gun That Really Won The West" by George Layman." - Thanks to Erik Winter for his added knowledge.

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