Mar 25, 2011 I Micah Hanks

Rock Apes and Wild Men: Mad Monkeys on the Attack!

You're winding your way through the underbrush of some archaic and exotic tropical greenwood. You think you're alone, save only the nagging mosquitoes that dance alongside your eardrums, whining with hunger for droplets of your blood, whose buzzing are suddenly overpowered by a shrill, soaring scream from someplace nearby. You turn instinctively to see where this noise might have originated, or even to catch a glimpse of the devil who made it. As your pace quickens, you realize that your footsteps begin to echo, as the noise of a second set of feet are moving almost in sync with yours from several steps behind. Whatever it is that is pursuing you walks on two legs.

Indeed, it is well known in cryptozoological circles that reports of bipedal ape creatures stem from every continent, with virtually every country hosting its own variation of creatures known throughout the world as Wild Men. While recently researching a few lesser-known reports of anomalous primates from around the world, I stumbled onto some real goodies, particularly those which stem from areas such as Eastern and Central Africa, Vietnam and India. Additionally, many of these forest-dwellers also manage to bear a host of Fortean peculiarities; sort of like extracurricular "bonuses" in addition to their already meritorious cryptozoological status.

One striking series of reports deals with creatures which are sometimes called "Rock Apes" in various areas of the tropics. Specifically, these reports stem from areas within Vietnam, as recalled primarily by veteran Kregg P. J. Jorgenson in his book Very Crazy G.I.: Strange but True Stories of the Vietnam War. Jorgenson notes one instance where a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol team claimed to have witnessed the creatures, which looked like apes of some sort and were approximately five feet in height. Each carried itself with the trademark upright mode of bipedal transportation, as attributed to other anomalous hominds around the world.

Similar reports deal with folkloric creatures from the Flores Island near Indonesia, pertaining to creatures called "Ebu Gogo." These creatures, described as resembling the "Rock Apes" of Vietnam almost in every aspect, are also cited as being mischievous, trickster-like personages. Some legends even detail strange incidents where the creatures have kidnapped human children, hoping to learn things from them such as how to cook their food! Much like the Ebu Gogo, traveling a little further off toward Sri Lanka reveals folkore with almost identical creatures, known colloquially there as Nittaewo.

Yet another very similar report stems from East Africa, dating back to the turn of the last century, when in 1900 the explorer Captain William Hitchens described seeing "two little brown men" who walked together out of a wooded area, joining a group of baboons nearby. According to Hitchens, "They were certainly not any known monkey and yet they must have been akin or they would have disturbed the baboons. They were too far away to be seen in great detail, but these small human-like animals were probably between four and five feet tall, quite upright and graceful in figure." Hitchens recounts a similar story related to him after his own sighting, where in Portuguese East Africa an associate of his, along with his wife and three native hunters, "saw a mother, father and child, apparently of the same species, walk across the further side of the bush clearing. The natives loudly forbade him to shoot."

These creatures, which the natives called Agogwe, were certainly not like other apes in the region, especially if these descriptions are indeed accurate. What can be made of such reports of strange human-ape "hybrids" in the remotest parts of the world? In many instances, the creatures described in such regions are seemingly even more human-like than their western counterparts (i.e. Sasquatches and proposed "ape men" of the Americas). We know that in the archaeological record of this planet, many species exactly as those described above have existed throughout history; what today, if anything, aside from the obvious presence of modern man throughout most of the world, would preclude the existence of "primitives" of this sort even today?

Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.

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