If you want to go searching for unknown hairy hominids, there is certainly no shortage of places to check out. Sumatra has the Orang-pendek. The forests of the Pacific Northwest are home to Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. Check out the Yowie of Australia. Or, the Yeren of China, which may also be the Abominable Snowman/Yeti of the Himalayas. But, who would have thought about seeking out an unknown ape on the island of Cuba? Yes, it's a little-known fact that Cuba has its own equivalents of Bigfoot. Although, it must be said that they are significantly scaled-down versions, to say the very least!
Today, reports of unknown animals on Cuba are far less prevalent than they were in times long gone. But, that doesn't make the old tales any less intriguing. For the most part, the reports come from the eastern portions of Cuba. Tales tell of human-like creatures, around three feet in height, and covered in dark hair - sometimes dark brown and on occasion black. There were said to have been two types of very similar animals: the Chichiricu and the Guije. They were shy, largely harmless, animals that kept away from people and who were known for their bulging bellies. But, if confronted, they could become highly dangerous. And, due to the strength they were said to possess, occasionally fatal. Apes? Monkeys? The jury remains steadfastly out.
As for their habits, both were said to shun daylight, preferring to surface, and hunt, at night; something they were said to be highly adept at, given their speed and immense strength. Just like so many mysterious "man-beasts" around the world, the strange creatures of Cuba seemed to straddle two domains: our world and the realm of the supernatural. Paralleling some of the really weird stories of Bigfoot in the United States, the Chichiricu and the Guije were said to be able to make themselves invisible to the human eye.
When it comes to the issue of the supernatural side of all this, take note of the following words of Cuba Headlines, in relation to the matter of Cuba's very own Mini-Foot:“Some people have seen him like a monster with goat legs and a caiman tail. He behaves like an astute and evil goblin. It is said that he is faster than a horse and jump great fences better than a grasshopper. In addition, he becomes invisible like crossing a door."
There are also tales of the Chichiricu and the Guije kidnapping girls and women - a tradition that can also be found in relation to U.S.-based tales of "Wildmen" in the 19th century. Accounts of half-human and half-Guije/Chichiricu creatures can be found in the old tales, suggesting cross-breeding, which is extremely unlikely. This is all very thought-provoking and illuminating, but it's important to note that there is an explanation for the Cuban creatures that takes matters in a very different direction. A down to earth direction.
Cuban historians have suggested that the legends of both the Guije and the Chichiricu were created as a clever way to keep young children away from dangerous, fast-running rivers and deep lakes. Certainly, it would make sense. On the other hand, though, tales of such monsters in their midst might well have made more than a few kids eager to seek out the beasts for themselves.
Should we write-off these tales as simply that: tales? Maybe ones designed to ensure that young kids kept away from rivers and lakes? Who knows? On the other hand, though, perhaps there is a degree of truth behind at least some of these old stories. Possibly, in its past, Cuba really was home to such creatures. Just maybe, they are still out there. Of course, it's stretching things to an incredible degree. But, never say never...