Sasquatch, Yeti, Skunkape – the different names and classifications go on and on. But, one name that’s instantly recognizable is Bigfoot.
In the United States the term ‘Bigfoot’ can be found used well back into the 1950’s but the legends of a large, typically bipedal, ape-like beast go back much further throughout history and across a huge array of cultures.
In Australia you may hear Bigfoot called a Yowie, in Mongolia an Almas, and in many places it may just be referred to as a hoax. Nonetheless, let’s dig into the different names, behaviors, and experiences from around the world and where some of the claims of existence come from.
Generally translating to ‘Wild Man’, the Almas or Alma are supposedly native to Central Asia and Mongolia – specifically the Pamir and Altai Mountains. Rather than other categorizations like the Yeti, the Alma are said to be more man-like than other ape-related categorizations like the Yeti. They are described as being 5 to 6.5 feet tall and covered in a brownish red hair or fur. After an alleged sighting, Hans Schiltberger wrote the following, “On the same mountain there are savages, who are not like other people, and they live there. They are covered all over the body with hair, except the hands and face, and run about like other wild beasts in the mountain, and also eat leaves and grass, and any thing they can find. The lord of the country sent to Edigi, a man and a woman from among these savages, that had been taken in the mountain.”
The Barmanou is another primate-like cryptid described in similar terms to much of the rest of the names on this list. It hails from Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan where tales come from shepherds in very isolated areas. In Pakistani folklore, the Barmanou are said to abduct women and allegedly try to mate with them.Similar to many North American counterparts, this cryptid is said to make guttural grunting noises. Most articles centering on the Barmanou mention the tragic story of Spanish Zoologist Jordi Magraner who was murdered in 2002 while searching for first-hand accounts and conclusive evidence of a creature. While the events surrounding the death are not fully known, it is likely that the politically charged climate in that area at the time were a factor.
Big Gray Man of Ben Macdhui:
The description of this alleged creature is pretty straight-forward – a Big Gray Man. Accounts come from the Scottish Highlands, specifically the mountainous area on the highest peak of the Cairngorms, Ben Macdhui. Crunching footsteps on gravel, ghostly sightings in the mist, and feelings of dread or demise have all been reported. In 1958 The Scots magazine published the recollection of an experience by notable mountaineer and naturalist Alexander Tewnion. It stated the following, “…I spent a ten day leave climbing alone in the Cairngorms… One afternoon, just as I reached the summit cairn of Ben MacDhui, mist swirled across the Lairig Ghru and enveloped the mountain. The atmosphere became dark and oppressive, a fierce, bitter wind whisked among the boulders, and… an odd sound echoed through the mist – a loud footstep, it seemed. Then another, and another… A strange shape loomed up, receded, came charging at me! Without hesitation I whipped out the revolver and fired three times at the figure. When it still came on I turned and hared down the path, reaching Glen Derry in a time that I have never bettered.” Some explain away the sounds of footsteps as simple boulders falling along the slopes of the ground.
Dewy Lake Monster
Also known as the ‘Sister Lakes Sasquatch’ or ‘Michigan Bigfoot’, tales of the Dewy Lake Monster come from the Lower Peninsula of Michigan near Dewy Lake. In 1964 The News Palladium quoted a sheriff department spokesperson who gave this chilling statement after several sightings were reported. “We don’t know what it is. We don’t even know if it exists, but there have been complaints by 10 reputable persons and we have to check them out.” Deputy Sheriff Ernest Kraus was quoted saying he, “…had no reports of any circus gorillas having escaped but the description of several persons matches that of a gorilla – hair up to the neck and wide spread eyes. Whatever it is, it could have been in that swampy and wooded area for some time.”
Named for the structures that this creature apparently makes out of grasses, the Grassmen, Ohio Grassmen, or Kenmore Grassmen have been made more popular than some other bipedal ape-like cryptid thanks to the Minerva Case. In 1978 the Clayton family, residents of Minerva, Ohio, alleges that their grandchildren came back to the house after playing outside terrified about something they saw. They said it was a hairy monster. Apparently when the Claytons went outside to check on things they saw it for themselves, in the same spot the children said it was in. Apparently they saw it many more times following that day, even prompting Mr. Clayton to get his gun one evening after the creature was seen looking at them through a window. Police were called but found no physical evidence other than a foul odor hanging in the air and potential, inconclusive footprints. The Clayton family alleges that they had several more encounters and note that their family dog was found deceased with its neck broken one day prior to the first sighting.
The Mogollon Monster is a cryptid tale coming from Arizona – specifically the Mogollon Rim. There are several different descriptions of the Mogollon Monster but most of them are very similar to what people think of when they hear the term ‘Bigfoot’. Very tall, lots of hair, and a strong pungent smell. This creature is also said to produce a very loud blood-curdling scream.
Orang Pendek and be translated from Indonesian as ‘short person’ and is a cryptid that is said to call Sumatra home. Witnesses describe it as a bipedal primate that is between 30 and 60 inches tall – making it the smallest on this list. Debbie Martyr has been researching the occurrences surrounding the Orang Pendek for 15 years and has said that “The animal is so strong, the villagers would whisper that it can uproot small trees and even break rattan vines. The legs, in comparison, are short and slim, the feet neat and small, usually turned out at an angle of up to 45 degrees. The head slopes back to a distinct crest—similar to the gorilla—and there appears to be a bony ridge above the eyes. But the mouth is small and neat, the eyes are set wide apart and the nose is distinctly humanoid. When frightened, the animal exposes its teeth—revealing oddly broad incisors and prominent, long canine teeth”.
Perhaps the most recognizable of all the names other than the broad term ‘Bigfoot’. The word Sasquatch predates Bigfoot and the word itself has a variety of different origin stories. The large majority of stories, myths, and accounts that specify a creature as Sasquatch come the Pacific Northwestern region of North America. Tales tell of a large, haired, ape-like beast known to make whooping noises as well as using branches or pieces of wood to make noises – typically referred to as tree knocking or wood knocking. Many people that claim to have had a Sasquatch sighting or experience say that they too have heard these noises and that these creatures will respond to their own whooping or wood knocking as if to communicate. According to a poll released by the Associated Press in 2014, more Americans believe in the existence of Bigfoot or Sasquatch than the Big Bang Theory. Many footprints, tree breaks and photos/videos claiming to be evidence of the creature have garnered the attention of a large community of believers and created ‘Bigfoot/Sasquatch’ hotspots across the country.
Yet another well-known term for a cryptid with a similar description to ‘Bigfoot’ is the Florida Skunk Ape, or sometimes just called Skunk Ape. As the name suggests this creature is thought to live in the southern region of the United States with accounts primarily coming from Florida. Other names that are commonly associated with the Skunk Ape are Swamp Cabbage Man, Swamp Ape, Stink Ape, Myakka Ape, and Swampsquatch.
In the Western region of Hubei there are claims of a ‘wild man’ or ‘man bear’ that have garnered more than 400 sightings over the last few decades. Descriptions date back more than 2,000 years as a human/ape looking creature over six-and-a-half feet tall covered in fur. There was a state-sponsored expedition in 1977, but it failed to produce any scientific evidence. Some claim that the local government of Hubei is falsifying modern claims in an attempt to increase tourism, going as far as creating package holidays for those that would like to attempt to find evidence for themselves.
The Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, is said to be a large bipedal from the cold, snow-covered Himalayan Mountains. Most evidence of the Yeti comes in the form of very large footprints found in the deep snow. Some have claimed that the indigenous Lepcha people held faith in a ‘glacier being’ that allegedly had an ape-like appearance.
The Yowie is a creature spoken of in traditional Aboriginal Australian folklore. Described as being between 6 and 12 feet tall it is among the largest of the cryptids described in this list. Reports of the Yowie have an incredibly vast range not just in physical description but also behariourly. Some say massive footprints are left and that it was shy while others state the exact opposite. One theory is that the Yowie is derived from a supernatural line or folklore revolving around dreamscapes and spirit journeys.
There’s certainly more names that describe things similar to the Bigfoot that we’ve all come to know and there’s definitely more to say about each of these, but let’s save that for another day. One thing that can be said for certain is that it’s uncanny, and perhaps not coincidental, how many similarities exist between the worldwide phenomenon that is Bigfoot sightings.