Bammat, AKA Incognitum (The Unknown)
"And the Bammat. Big, the Bammat is." Miss Tully lighted the pipe. "The Behemoth, you mean," Mr. Yandro suggested. "No, the Behemoth's in the Bible. The Bammat's something hairy-like, with big ears and a long wiggly nose and twisty white teeth sticking out of its mouth-" And Mr. Yandro trumpeted his laughter. "Oh! You've got some story about the Mammoth. Why, they've been extinct - dead and forgotten - for thousands of years." "Not for so long, I've heard tell," she said, puffing. "Anyway," he went on arguing, "the Mammoth—the Bammat, as you call it—is of the elephant family. How would anything like that get up in the mountains?" "Maybe folks hunted it there," said Miss Tully, "and maybe it stays there so folks will think it's dead and gone a thousand years...."
I forebore to say that something had come close and looked from among the trees behind him. It was big and broad-headed, with elephant ears to right and left, and white tusks like bannisters on a spiral staircase. But it was woolly-shaggy, like a buffalo bull. The Bammat. How could such a thing move so quiet-like? I didn't let on I was nervous.... I knew, plain as paint, that if I tried to back up, to turn around even, my legs would fail and I'd fall down. With fingers like twigs with sleet stuck to them, I dragged around my guitar, to pluck at the silver strings, because silver is protection, against evil. But I didn't. For the Bammat stuck its broad woolly head, and it shook that head at me once, for silence. It looked me between the eyes steadier than a beast should look at a man, and shook its head. I wasn't to make any noise. And I didn't. When the Bammat saw that I'd be quiet, it paid me no more mind, and I knew I wasn't to be included in what would happen then....
The Bammat is an improbable creature of the Appalachian hill-country: big, shaggy, elephant-like with large ears and huge tusks, wild and savage, and possessing a terrible and uncanny wisdom in its eyes and stealthiness in its footsteps.
The Bammat once strode freely across the North American continent, with Native Americans telling stories to white colonists about herds of hairy elephants lurking in the dark corners of the continent and frontiersmen reporting seeing strange, mammoth-like "hairy elephants" in remote places of America as recently as the 20th Century, but the Bammat, by and large, had quickly vanished from the sight of prying eyes by the time white colonists began exploring the continent.
The Bammat is not to be confused with a mere animal, as the Mammoth, Mastodon, Elephant, and their kind are reckoned to be: the Bammat is ancient, monstrous, intelligent, and possessed of its own language and a great and terrible culture, wisdom, and memory of hidden things and deeds done in hidden places of what would become the North American continent, in the days before Hyperborea froze and Lemuria slipped beneath the sea. Modern man has long forgotten the secret and terrible pacts once held with Bammat and man persists to this day in breaking those forgotten treaties, but Bammat still holding true its part of its bargains with other and still more monstrous races, remembers what man has forgotten, grows ever more resentful of those trespasses, and will one day repay them in horror, sorcery and doom once man has pushed Bammat too far.
- "The Juneau (Alaska) Free Press says that the Stick Indians, near the headwaters of the White river, positively assert that within the [1880s] an animal has been seen by them which, according to description, must be a mastodon. One of the Indians said that while hunting he came across an immense track sunk several inches in the moss and larger around than a barrel. The Indian followed up the curious trail, and at last came in full view of his game. These Indians as a class are the bravest of hunters, but the immense proportions of this new kind of game filled the hunter with fear, and he took to swift and immediate flight. He described it as being larger than the post trader's store, with great shining, yellowish tusks, and a mouth large enough to swallow him at a single gulp. He said the animal was undoubtedly the same as were indicated by the huge bones scattered over that section. The fact that other hunters have told of seeing this monster, and the numerous bones found in that section, give a certain probability to the story. On Forty-Mile Creek bones can be found projecting partly from the sands and among the driftwood along the stream. One ivory tusk projects nine feet out of a sandbank and is larger around than a man’s body. A single tooth would be a good load for a strong man to carry...." (Surviving Mammoths and Mastodons)
Associated Mythos Elements