The story begins in October of 1932 when two prospectors (Cecil Mayne and Frank Carr) looking for gold blasted into some rock in the San Pedro Mountains in Wyoming. After the blast, a small room was revealed and there sitting on a small ledge was Pedro the pygmy. The mummy was sitting with its arms crossed which covered its legs, weighed about 1 pound and was only 7 inches tall (in the sitting position, an estimated 14 inches if standing). Some of the more strange features with the body of Pedro were a flattened skull, large bulging eyes and a jelly like substance that was found on top of its head.

Almost everyone across the nation dismissed the story as a hoax immediately after its discovery saying that it was either a dummy or that the two prospectors stole a baby with medical defects from some kind of medical facility. Undeterred, both Mayne and Carr petitioned any scientist interested to come and test the mummy. In 1950, the mummy was x-rayed and an almost fully formed skeleton was shown to be inside the remains. It was also shown that there were numerous bones broken including the spine, collarbone and skull.

Unfortunately there were only two detailed studies done with the x-rays of Pedro since its discovery. One was performed the same year the X-rays were taken in 1950 and was done by Dr. Henry Shapiro. The second was done around 1980 by Dr. George Gill. Each of the studies only focused on the x-rays but they reached far different conclusions on what exactly Pedro was.


Dr. Shapiro’s findings included that the remains were from a fully functioning 65 year old man at the time of death. Also found were large canine teeth that were in direct contrast to the rest of the body size. Dr. Shapiro used the term “vampire-like” in describing them. It was also Dr. Shapiro’s findings that the cause of death for Pedro was from blunt force trauma to the skull. This finding would confirm the broken bones in the skeleton seen in the X-rays. As for Dr. Gill’s study done on the mummy, he was able to reach some of the same conclusions but differed with Dr. Shapiro on one major issue. He came to the conclusion that the x-rays showed nothing more than a premature baby or even a child with anencephaly which is a disease where the skull gets abnormally misshapen often resulting in a swollen or flat look. [Anencephaly results in the fetus developing little or no brain and is invariably fatal-DD]

So what exactly is/was Pedro? Unfortunately the answer may never be known as the mummy has disappeared and has not been seen for more than 30 years. The last known owner was Leonard Wadler who passed away in the 1980’s and since then the mummy has not turned up anywhere. Wadler’s family claims to know nothing about the mummy and insists they are not hiding it. There is currently a $10,000 reward for the person who finds the missing mummy. We can only hope that Pedro will show up sometime in the future to put this mystery to a rest but I for one, would not count on it.

As far as the X-rays go, I read them as indicating an unborn but developed fetus with an empty skull packed full of dirt. The limb bones show large areas of unossified cartiledge and the knee and elbow joints are incomplete. The teeth are unerrupted tooth buds and not formed like errupted teeth: no doubt that is what gave the impression of vampire teeth because the teeth do not have the fully-developed form of conventional incisors, canines and molars.The entire mouth area reads as unossified "gums" with no developed bone for the teeth to root in. And actually, I doubt if the creature so much as drew a breath of air in the outside world. Its chest cavity is also completely collapsed.  Best Wishes, Dale D.


From Mysteries of the Unexplained, Reader's Digest General Books, The Reader's Digest Association, 1982.

He was found sitting cross-legged on a ledge in a small cave in a granite mountain. His hands were folded in his lap, in the timeless attitude of a Buddha. He appeared to be middle-aged. His
skin was brown and wrinkled, his nose flat, the forehead low, the mouth broad and thin-lipped. And he was 14 inches tall.

The mummy was discovered in 1932 by gold prospectors blasting the walls of a gulch in the Pedro Mountains, 60 miles southwest of Casper, Wyoming. After studying it, puzzled scientists ventured the theory that it was a mummified pygmy and possibly the progenitor of the American Indian. When it died, it was given a ceremonial burial.

Displayed in sideshows for several years,
the Pedro Mountain Mummy was eventually purchased by Ivan T. Goodman, a Casper businessman, and taken to New York City. The remains, X-rayed by Dr. Harry Shapiro of the American Museum of Natural History and certified as genuine by the Anthropology Department of Harvard University, was thought by some to be those of a 65-year-old person. The speculation generated interest in the legends of the Shoshone and Crow Indians of Wyoming about a miniature people, only inches tall.

Following Goodman's death in 1950 the mummy passed into the hands of one Leonard Waller and disappeared, but interest in it continued nationwide. In 1979 pictures of Shapiro's X-rays were given to Dr. George Gill, professor of anthropology at the
University of Wyoming
. The withered little body, he concluded, was that of an infant or a fetus, possibly of an unknown tribe of prehistoric Indians. He believed that the infant had been afflicted with anencephaly, a congenital abnormality that would account for the adult proportions of its skeleton. Discoveries of mummified remains are not uncommon in Wyoming, which has an arid climate. As Dr. Gill pointed out, the Indians may have found other mummies of similarly diseased infants and quite naturally assumed that they were the remains of small adults. This in turn would tend to support the legend of a "little people."

But Pedro, as the mummy is known, remains a scientific curiosity. "All we have are tantalizing bits of information," Dr. Gill remarked. He and other anthropologists still hope to locate the missing mummy for further examination. (The Casper Star-Tribune, July 22 and July 24, 1979; The Casper Tribune Herald, October 22, 1932; C.J. Cazeau and Stuart D. Scott, Exploring the Unknown, p. 222


Article from Frontiers of Anthropology Monday, January 30, 2012



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