Jul 16, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Beyond Bigfoot and the Yeti: How Many Types of Mysterious Apes Are There?

How many types of mysterious apes are there? it's hard to say for sure, but there's no doubt that things go way further than just Bigfoot and the Yeti - as you'll see now. We'll begin with Russia's Almasty: It should not come as a surprise to learn that the vast wildernesses, thick forests, and massive mountain ranges of Russia are home to Bigfoot-type beasts. They are known to the local folk as Almasty. For some researchers, the creatures are unknown apes. For others, they are nothing less than still-surviving pockets of Neanderthals. Both scenarios are amazing, in terms of their potential implications. But, whatever the true identity of the Almasty, there’s very little doubt that it exists. The sheer number of witness reports makes that very clear. The Almasty is a creature that has a long history attached to it, something which also adds to the likelihood of it being a genuine animal of very ancient proportions.

Ivan Konovalov was a forest warden who, for thirty years, worked in the Kirov Region. He told of his 1985 encounter with an Almasty: “It was snowing on the day when I was walking along the fir wood and suddenly heard a snap of twigs. I turned around and saw an awesome creature covered with dark hair that was much taller than me. It smelt strongly. The beast leant against a pine tree and started bending it down to the ground. “The tree was rather thick, but it cracked under the creature’s burden. Then the creature started breaking the tree against the knee. Its hands were as thick and long as its legs. Quite of a sudden, the creature felt something and turned its ‘face’ to me. I saw two black eyes and the impression at the bottom of the eyes deeply impressed me. I still remember the look of the eyes. Then the creature flung the tree and quickly left. But I stood thunderstruck and could not move a finger.” 

(Nick Redfern)

There is no doubt that Australia’s most famous cryptid ape is the Yowie. It resembles Bigfoot in both size and appearance to an incredibly close degree. It stands around seven to ten feet tall and is covered in a thick coat of hair. Far less famous, though no less fascinating than the Yowie, is Australia’s Wakki, also known as the Njmbin, the Junjudee, the Waladherahra, as well as by many other names, depending on the relevant Aborigine tribe that tells of its existence. Like the giant Yowie, the Wakki is covered in hair and walks upright. It rarely, if ever, however, exceeds five feet in height. One of the most fascinating accounts of an encounter with a Wakki was reported in the pages of a Sydney, Australia-based newspaper, The Empire. The date was April 17, 1871 and the story revolved around the encounter of one George Osborne, an employee of the Illawara Hotel, in Dapto, New South Wales. Osborne’s experience was related in the newspaper by himself, in his own, unaltered or edited words:

"On my way from Mr. Matthew Reen’s, coming down a range of about a half a mile behind Mr. John Graham’s residence, at Avondale, after sunset, my horse was startled at seeing an animal coming down a tree, which I thought at the moment to be an Aboriginal, and when it got to within eight feet of the ground it lost its grip and fell.  My feelings at that moment were anything but happy, but although my horse was restless I endeavored to get a good glimpse of the animal by following it as it retreated until it disappeared into a gully. It somewhat resembled the shape of a man, according to the following description.” Osborne said of the animal: "Height, about five feet, slender proportioned, arms long, legs like a human being, only the feet being about eighteen inches long, and shaped like an iguana, with long toes, the muscles of the arms and chest being very well developed, back of the head straight, with the neck and body, but the front face projected forward, with monkey features, every particle of the body except the feet and face was covered with black hair, with a tan colored streak from the neck to the abdomen. While looking at me its eyes and mouth were in motion, after the fashion of a monkey."

Moving on: from Borneo, situated east of Sumatra, come stories of an approximately four and a half foot tall ape-man referred to as the Batatut. Like so many other man-beasts, this one is covered in hair. There is, however, one intriguing difference: the Batatut sports a noticeable, thick mane of hair that runs down the back of its head, not unlike that of a horse. Somewhat ominously the creature is said to have a particular liking of human meat – and an even greater liking of human livers. A fascinating, and very credible, account that may have a direct bearing upon the story of the Batutut is that of zoologist, John MacKinnon. In 1970, while on Borneo he stumbled upon a series of unusual, small, human-like footprints. He said: “I stopped dead. My skin crept and I felt a strong desire to head home…farther ahead I saw tracks and went to examine them. I found two dozen footprints in all. I was uneasy when I found them, and I didn’t want to follow them and find out what was at the end of the trail. I knew that no animal we know about could make those tracks. Without deliberately avoiding the area I realize I never went back to that place in the following months of my studies.”

In the Central American country of Belize exists an enigmatic and mysterious entity known as the Duende (also spelled Dwendi, depending on the particular region of Belize). A fascinating commentary on the Duende surfaced in 1961, from one of the world’s most respected seekers of unknown animals, the late Ivan T. Sanderson. He said: “Dozens told me of having seen them, and these were mostly men of substance who had worked for responsible organizations like the Forestry Department and who had, in several cases, been schooled or trained either in Europe or the United States. One, a junior forestry officer born locally, described in great detail two of these little creatures that he had suddenly noticed quietly watching him on several occasions at the edge of the forestry reserve near the foot of the Maya Mountains. “These little folk were described as being between three foot six and four foot six, well- proportioned but with very heavy shoulders and rather long arms, clothed in thick, tight, close brown hair looking like that of a short-coated dog; having very flat yellowish faces but head-hair no longer than the body hair except down the back of the neck and midback.”

(Nick Redfern) Bigfoot and the Yeti Aren't the Only Mysterious Apes

In times past, Cuba was said to be the home of a hairy creature of similar appearance but of far smaller proportions. Some researchers believe the creatures may still exist, living in deep stealth and out of harm’s way. Very little is known of these legendary animals that are said to have lived in the eastern parts of the island and that became known as the Guije – also known on Cuba as the Jigue and the Chichiricu. With a maximum height of around three feet, their appearance is that of something which is part-human and part-monkey. Particularly noticeable about the Guije are their bulging stomachs and their long claws – the latter being most atypical of monkeys. Despite their small stature the Guije exhibited great strength. Few reports of the creatures being seen during daylight exist, something which strongly suggests they were nocturnal in nature.  

Situated on the northern coast of South America, Guyana is a place that, like so many other locales dominated by thick jungles and high mountains, can boast of being the domain of a Bigfoot-style entity. It is known by the people of Guyana as the Didi. Interestingly, although the Didi resembles Bigfoot in the sense of it having a humanoid form, and covered in hair, there is one big difference: the monster of Guyana possesses razor-sharp claws, which is at variance with all other apes. This has given rise to the theory that the Didi may actually be a creature known as Megatherium, a huge sloth that died out millennia ago – or, just perhaps, it didn’t. On the other hand, many witnesses to the Didi have remarked on its eerie human-like qualities, despite its savage, primitive appearance.

Indonesia is made up of a huge amount of islands; in fact, literally thousands. One of those islands is Flores, which has a square-mileage of more than 5,000 miles and a population of close to two million. Its wild animal population is notable and includes the deadly Komodo dragon and the huge Flores Giant Rat. Flores may be home to something far stranger, too.  The Nage people of Flores tell of a somewhat human-like ape called the Ebu gogo. As with so many of the smaller variety of creatures described within this article, the Ebu gogo was covered in hair, had distinct ape-like qualities, but walked upright, like a human. At barely three feet tall they were hardly on a par with Bigfoot, but that does not take away the fact that, for the Nage people, the creatures generated a great deal of folklore and history.

A strange denizen of the dark, jungle-saturated mountainous regions of Peru, the Isnachi is a beast that is seemingly wholly monkey-like in nature and appearance. Unlike some of the beasts referred to in this article, it appears to completely lack human-like traits. Very much like a chimpanzee in size, the Isnachi is noted for its large, barrel-like chest and huge, powerful arms. Rather oddly, it has a long, pig-like or dog-like snout, giving it somewhat of an orang-utan-like appearance, even though it is perceived as a monkey, rather than as an ape. Little more is known of the Isnachi – chiefly because of the fact that it rarely, if ever, descends below seldom-travelled landscapes of around 1,500 meters – aside from the fact that when it finds itself confronted by people, the creature displays extreme states of aggression. 

Many thanks to good friend, Richard Freeman, for use of a copy of his book and the cover image

Next to Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman, probably the most talked about cryptid ape is the Orang-pendek, a small, bipedal creature that dwells in the thick forests of Sumatra. Although expeditions to find the creature have certainly come to the fore in the last couple of decades, the people of Sumatra have a history and lore of the animal that dates back to the beginnings of recorded history on the island. Given that the Orang-pendek walks upright, just as we do, and stands at a height of four and a half to five feet in height, its name is highly appropriate. In English, it translates to “short man.” Most witnesses to the creature describe it as having black or brown hair; however, a somewhat reddish colored hair has also been reported, in a minority of cases. Also echoing the idea of the Orang-Pendek having somewhat human qualities, it is sometimes said to have a head of long, flowing hair extending to the shoulders – but which may actually be something more akin to a mane. 

And, we'll end with the Chinese Bigfoot: the Yeren. While Yeren have been seen in a number of areas of China, certainly the one area – more than any other – that is a hotbed for sightings is Hubei, a province located in central China. It’s a vast place dominated by numerous mountains – including the Daba Mountains and the Wudang Mountains – and the Jianghang Plain. Hubei is also a province through which flows the massive, near-4,000-mile-long Yangtze River. It’s specifically the western portion of Hubei in which the Yeren has been spotted – an area noted for its dense forest and treacherous mountains. As for what the Yerens are, that is the big question: at the top of the list is Gigantopithecus, a massive, presumed extinct, ape that certainly dwelled in China hundreds of thousands of years ago – and which, perhaps, may not be quite so extinct, after all. And, who knows how many other mysterious apes are there out there?!

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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