The San Pedro Mountains of south central Wyoming are located 60 miles southwest of Casper, Wyoming. Two prospectors, Cecil Main and Frank Carr found more than they bargained for when gold mining the rich area.
In 1932, the pair discovered a small cavern after using dynamite to blast a section of the mountainside. When the dust cleared, the men entered the cave, which had been totally sealed from the outside world by thick layers of rock. The 15 foot long and 4 foot high cave was home to a man, later named Pedro.
Pedro was described as a pygmy like man, positioned cross-legged on a ledge. The tiny mummy measured just above six inches in his regal position. Pedro’s skin was brown and wrinkled, featuring a flattened cranium, flat nose, heavy lidded eyes, a long thin lipped mouth, and a full set of adult teeth. It is claimed that Pedro was so well preserved that his finger nails were visible!
The prospectors took their find to Casper, Wyoming to be examined by scientists. Invasive testing was done in effort to determine who Pedro really was. X-rays showed a perfectly formed, adult skeleton. X-rays also indicated that Pedro had met a gruesome death as broken bones, a damaged spine, and skull damage from a heavy blow were also present. Brain tissue and congealed blood were still visible on Pedro’s tiny head.
While modern testing may have provided additional information about Pedro’s origin, medical condition, and the history of his remains, questions remain unanswered as Pedro’s body has been lost for many years. After testing, Pedro was put on display during side shows in the 1940s until he was later purchased by Casper businessman Ivan Goodman. When Ivan died, Pedro is said to have gone to New York businessman Leonard Walder and never seen again.
The origins of Pedro remain a mystery. Since Pedro was found reports of other skeletons of little people have emerged. Theories that the bodies were part of a pygmy race attempted to explain the phenomenon. Local Native American tribes tell a different story.
To some tribes, the little people, or Nimeriga, had magical or healing powers. The little people were just 20 inches to three feet tall. In some tribes, they are referred to as “tiny people eaters.” Still other stories describe the little people as leprechauns or fairies.
Wyoming’s Shoshone Indians tell stories of being attacked by the Nimeriga with tiny bows and poison arrows. Their stories suggest a gruesome history as the Nimeriga were known to use blows to the head to kill their own kind if they became too ill to be an active part of the Nimeriga society.
Photographs and affidavits leave little doubt that the discovery of Pedro was real. Questions surrounding the 1930’s discovery continue to linger. Who was Pedro? How did he come to be enshrined in the cave? What was the cause of his gruesome end? For over 60 years and for countless more, mummy-seekers and folklore believers will just have to wonder.
Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men.
– William Allingham’s The Fairies