Nov 22, 2022 I Nick Redfern

More on the Controversy Surrounding Unknown Apes: There Are More Than You Might Think

In my previous article I suggested that, almost certainly, should an unknown ape be found soon it will be Sumatra's Orang-Pendek. Or, one of it's cousins. There are, however, other unknown apes far beyond Bigfoot, the Yeti, the Australian Yowie, the Russian Almasty, and the Yeren. With that said, let's have a look at those other still-mysterious apes. In the 1940s, a naturalist who spent time working in Ecuador as a dealer in live animals, told cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson: “The so-called Shiru, I have heard of from the Indians and a few white hunters on both sides of the Andes but decidedly more so on the eastern slopes, where the vast mountains are still quite unexplored, and rarely, if ever visited. All reports describe the Shiru as a small (4-5 feet) creature decidedly hominid, but fully covered with short, dark brown fur. All agreed that the Shiru was very shy, with the exception of one Indian, who claimed having been charged after having missed with his one and only shot from a muzzle loading shotgun, a weapon still used by the majority of Indians along with the blowgun. These reports are rather sober and objective, and in no way tinged with the colorful imagination into which Latin-Americans are prone to lapse.”

(Nick Redfern) Multiple kinds of mysterious apes

Sightings of Bigfoot-style creatures are widespread across Canada, and particularly so the west coast. This is hardly surprising, given that pretty much the entire Pacific northwest of the United States is home to the legendary man-beast. It’s possible that the legends of the savage and infamous Wendigo of Canada may have developed out of near-fatal, and even deadly, encounters with violent, murderous Bigfoot. There are, however, several kinds of unknown ape-men in Canada that are far removed from the likes of Sasquatch and the Wendigo. One of these is the tongue-tying Geow-lud—mo-sis-eg. It’s a diminutive, goblin-like creature that is covered in black hair and prefers to live in caves and which lurks and feeds in deep woods, surrounded by dense marshland. 

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.”

It must be said, and it’s hardly surprising, that the island of Cuba lacks any really credible reports of what one would accurately term Bigfoot. In times past, however, 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. All of this suggests that the Guije, if they did exist, were some form of unknown monkey, or ape, despite the fact that such a discovery on Cuba would be phenomenal. 

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 (see 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.

(Nick Redfern) Legends going back centuries

In November 2007, an ambitious expedition was launched by the U.K.’s Center for Fortean Zoology to try, once and for all, to resolve the mystery of the Didi. Almost immediately upon arriving, the team was exposed to a number of accounts of Didi activity, many of which were downright hostile. For example, residents of the village of Taushida told of how, around 2003 or 2004, a Didi abducted a young girl from the area. According to the story, two pre-teens, a girl and a boy, were strolling across the plains when a huge, hair-covered hominid loomed out of a dense, treed area and charged in the direction of the terrified pair. In an instant, a huge arm grabbed the girl and the beast bounded for the camouflage of the surrounding woods. The boy, filled with fear, raced back to Taushida, to breathlessly report what had happened. Despite a quickly launched, intensive effort, the girl was never seen again.

Situated in south-east Asia and Oceania, 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 the pages of this book, 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. According to the legend, the presence of the animals was first noted when a tribe of people set up a village in an area known as Ua, at some point in the 1700s. All of the Ebu gogo on Flores lived deep inside an extensive network of caves, somewhere in the central part of the island, and which extended in length to almost a mile. Reportedly, the colony ran to around four dozen creatures. It wasn’t long before curiosity got the better of the Ebu gogo and they made regular visits to the village perimeter, watching the people from a safe distance.

Over time, the Ebu gogo gained more confidence and, finally, were invited to partake in a village feast. By all accounts, they ate and drank heartily, hence the name given to them by the villagers, which translates as “ancestor who eats everything.” As a demonstration that the Ebu gogo were something more than mere unknown apes, they loved to dance, had their own fairly complex language, and could even mimic – to an eerie degree – the words of the Nage people. Although, whether or not they actually understood the words they mimicked is very much a matter for debate. It wasn’t long, however, before matters began to deteriorate and tensions grew. Not content with the large banquets that the Nage invited the Ebu gogos to attend, the greedy creatures began raiding the farms of the villagers, grabbing crops and killing animals for food. According to legend, two children of the village were seized by the Ebu gogo and taken to the caves, where the ape-men demanded the children show them how to make fire. Fortunately, the terrified children managed to escaped, fleeing back to the safety of the village.  For the folk of Ua, enough was, by now, enough. They decided that the Ebu gogo had to be exterminated, one way or another. They came up with a plan: the village elders invited the creatures to a massive feast, one in which the Ebu gogo were encouraged to drink as much powerful wine as they could. The ever-hungry beasts didn’t need telling twice and they were soon stuffed and drunk. At the end of the night, the beasts staggered back to the caves, and fell into deep, alcohol-induced sleeps. 

(Nick Redfern) Anomalous apes and deep caves

Then, when the Ebu gogo were out for the count, the villagers hauled a huge amount of palm fiber to the cave, set it alight and asphyxiated the creatures as they slept. Reportedly, however, two of the Ebu gogo – a male and a female – were seen fleeing into the woods, something which suggests the possibility that they didn’t become extinct, after all. There is a very intriguing footnote to the story of the Ebu gogo of Flores. In 2003, at a cave called Liang Bua, in western Flores, the skeletal remains of a number of creature dubbed “Hobbit” were found. Examinations of the bones showed they were approximately three-foot-three-inches tall, humanoid creatures. They were given the official title of: Homo floresiensis. Vindication for the tales of the Nage tribespeople? Possibly, yes. Moving on: 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 cited in the pages of this book, 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. 

The islands that comprise Hawaii are the reported home of something similar, albeit significantly smaller than, Bigfoot. They are the Menehune. Although there average height is said to be barely two to three feet at the maximum, they have physical qualities that suggest they may have a linkage to the Human Race. Although they are covered in hair and have red-colored faces, their large eyes are reportedly filled with intelligence, and their short noses and pronounced foreheads echoes something akin to Cro-Magnon man, rather than a monkey or an ape. Tales of the Menehune cannot have been influenced by today’s fascination for Bigfoot. There is a very good reason for this: reports of the small, hairy residents of Hawaii date back to at least the 1700s. In 1786, for example, a census was held during the reign of King Kaumuali. Of the almost 2,000 people that took part in the census, almost six dozen were said to be of the Menehune tribe! That, alone, suggests they were a form of human, even if clearly not of the Homo Sapiens variety. A notable account of a very close encounter with more than twenty Menehune occurred during the latter part of the 1940s, when dozens of schoolchildren – overseen by their superintendent, George London – encountered the chattering group of hairy dwarfs playing on the grounds of an old church in the Waimea Valley. When they realized they had been seen, the creatures raced for the safety of a tunnel that existed under the old church – something suggesting the Menehune  were – and still may very well be – chiefly subterranean in nature.

As all of this tells us, there are numerous types of mysterious apes on our planet, not just Bigfoot and the Yeti!

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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