It was in 1868 that Franklin County, Mississippi received a most unwelcome visit from something ape-like and terrifying. The story was told in the St. Louis Dispatch on June 27, 1868. It all began when a group of men out hunting with a pack of dogs in the vicinity of the town of Meadville came across a number of large, human-like tracks, several of which seemed to suggest the feet of the creature faced backwards! As odd as it may sound, tales of backwards-facing feet abound in cryptid ape lore and can be found all around the world – as we shall soon see.
It was obvious that tracks weren’t the only things in evidence: the wild behavior of the dogs made that very clear. Their loud barking suggested that whatever had left the footprints was still around. It was. What was described as a “frightful looking creature,” roughly as tall as a grown man, “but with far greater muscular development,” appeared out of the trees and stood its ground, staring menacingly at the dogs. Reportedly, the animal had long, coarse hair that flowed from its head to its knees, all of which was a uniform dark brown color. Rather notably, what were described as “two very large tusks” projected from the upper jaw of the animal.
In no time at all, things turned violent and deadly. The beast raced out of the area, towards the Mississippi River, with the hunters and hounds in hot pursuit. Perhaps realizing that it was going to have to make a stand, as the men charged wildly through the woods they suddenly came upon the beast, as if it was seemingly waiting for them. The dogs were let loose, which proved not to be a good thing: the mighty animal grabbed one of the dogs, crushing the poor dog to death in an instant. The men opened fire, but the creature skillfully evaded all attempts to kill it and it was last seen taking an almighty leap into the river, eventually vanishing from sight. The matter was never resolved.
Notably, but weirdly too, tales of hairy ape-men with backwards-facing feet abound. Sumatra has the Orang Mawas (not to be confused with the Orang Pendek, which also has a legend concerning its “reversed” feet) , which is said to physically resemble the Human Race to an uncanny degree, except for the fact that they are covered in hair. They shun clothing and reportedly have feet that face the wrong way. On various islands in the Philippines, reports come of the Kibaan. Child-sized, covered in hair, and sporting gold-colored fangs, they like nothing better than to relax in trees and strum guitar-like instruments that they fashion out of local trees! And like so many hair-covered apes of unknown kinds, the Kibaan are reputed to have feet which point where they shouldn’t.
Many of the sightings of Australia’s Bigfoot – the Yowies – have occurred in and around the vast Blue Mountains that dominate the city of Sydney and what is termed the Sydney Basin. A firsthand report, from February 1842, offers a graphic description of the beasts. It was published, as a letter, in the pages of the Australian and New Zealand Monthly Magazine: “This being they describe as resembling a man of nearly the same height, with long white hair hanging down from the head over the features, the arms as extraordinarily long, furnished at the extremities with great talons, and the feet turned backwards, so that, on flying from man, the imprint of the foot appears as if the being had traveled in the opposite direction. Altogether, they describe it as a hideous monster of an unearthly character and ape-like appearance.”
Bizarre? No: beyond bizarre!