Over the years, decades and even centuries, reports have surfaced of deadly Bigfoot – and of creatures that somewhat resemble the United States’ monster, but in other parts of the world. In his 1890 book, The Wilderness Hunter, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote: “Frontiersmen are not, as a rule, apt to be very superstitious. They lead lives too hard and practical, and have too little imagination in things spiritual and supernatural. I have heard but few ghost stories while living on the frontier, and those few were of a perfectly commonplace and conventional type. But I once listened to a goblin-story, which rather impressed me.”
Roosevelt added that the story came from a “mountain hunter” named Bauman, “…who, born and had passed all of his life on the Frontier.” According to what Roosevelt was told, on one occasion Bauman and a friend were trekking through the Bitterroot Range (on the Rocky Mountains) when something terrible happened. Bauman’s friend was violently killed by a creature in the woods – while the pair were separated. When Bauman returned to their camp (and in Roosevelt’s own words):
“At last he came to the edge of the little glade where the camp lay and shouted as he approached it, but got no answer. The campfire had gone out, though the thin blue smoke was still curling upwards. Near it lay the packs wrapped and arranged. At first Bauman could see nobody; nor did he receive an answer to his call. Stepping forward he again shouted, and as he did so his eye fell on the body of his friend, stretched beside the trunk of a great fallen spruce.”
Horrified, Bauman rushed to his friend, but it was all too late. The man was clearly dead. It was the nature of his death that was particularly disturbing. Back to Roosevelt: “Rushing towards it the horrified trapper found that the body was still warm, but that the neck was broken, while there were four great fang marks in the throat…While thus waiting, his monstrous assailant, which must have been lurking in the woods, waiting for a chance to catch one of the adventurers unprepared, came silently up from behind… Evidently unheard, it reached the man, and broke his neck by wrenching his head back with its fore paws, while it buried its teeth in his throat. It had not eaten the body, but apparently had romped and gamboled around it in uncouth, ferocious glee, occasionally rolling over and over it; and had then fled back into the soundless depths of the woods.” Whatever the creature was, its tracks made it clear to Bauman that it walked on two legs – exclusively. A deadly Bigfoot? Maybe.
There are several similar reports of violent and even deadly Bigfoot on record. But, for today’s article, I’ll share with you the story of yet another such dangerous, mysterious animal, one which is said to live on the other side of the world – that is, if it hasn’t gone extinct. A West African country, Senegal is home to two distinct types of unknown ape with somewhat human-style qualities, one of which exhibits extreme hostility towards people. Its name is the Gnena. At around two to three feet in size, it lacks the bulk of Bigfoot. This does not, however, prevent it from being a potentially formidable opponent.
The Gnena are very strong creatures, muscular, and possessing fierce tempers. As for their physical description, they are noted for their coats of extremely long, dark hair that hangs in lank fashion from their bodies. Somewhat strangely, they have large heads that are significantly out of proportion to their bodies and have piercing, yellow eyes. When confronted by people, the Gnena will invariably intimidate them with dog-like barks, and will, if it’s deemed necessary, launch an all-out attack. The Gnena are not exclusive to Senegal, however: reportedly, they live deep in the forests of numerous African countries, including the Cameroons, the Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Mali.
Within Senegal, the Gnena has a rival in the man-beast stakes. Or, at least, it did until around the start of the 20th Century. That’s when reports of the creature began to fade away. It is called the Sansandryi. Although the fairly placid Sansandryi were said to have been far more ape-like than human, they apparently enjoyed wearing human clothes, whether stolen from villagers or found discarded. They reportedly had a sizeable colony in the forests surrounding the Casamance River, until around 1900 when something unknown put an end to their presence and they were never seen again – so far as we know, of course.
Clearly, the Gnena and the Samsamdryi are not the same thing. Should you ever find yourself in Senegal and you encounter a mysterious, hair-covered, human-like thing, let’s hope it’s the latter and definitely not the former!