"Ngoogounogounmbar, the swallowing monster of Western Pygmy legend [In Mokele-Mbembe territory-DD] can turn into a crocodile or dragon-like beast, but his primary form is that of an ogre-like man who resembles Lulu, the giant swallowing ogre of Ituri Forest legend. 'Ngoogounogounmbar is very tall, as tall as the tallest trees, with enormous feet and hands, and also an enormous mouth which opens vertically instead of being horizintal [a trait probably derived from a crocodile's mouth-DD] He is completely white with a long white beard that descends all the way down to his feet, but he keeps it rolled up in his belt...when he takes a child, he seizes it by the neck and swallows it in a single gulp, headfirst.He transforms himself at will into an animal-into a crocodile by preference perhaps, or a fantastic animal midway between a serpent and a hippopotamus, and dwells in the caverns near the great waterfalls' [Henri Trilles, The Soul of the African Pygmy, p.168] Later on, Hallet compares the Lulu Monster to the Abominable Snowman and the Water-monster form of it to the Loch Ness Monster(p.215) It is also interesting to note that the Water-Elephant (an errant elephant seal perhaps ) has a trunk only two feet long. Hallet also mentions that the Ogre has a companion hairy dwarf of the same nature he is-or in other words, this "Abominable Snowman" has a "Protopygmy" relative.
Incidentally the transformation of giant, troll or ogre into a dragon is attested in European Folklore, the Fafnir slain by Siegfried being one example, but it also happens commonly in Folktales of Greece, the Balkans, and Russia, where the "Dragon" can be described in anthropomorphic terms more often than not.
What is obvious to me but which nobody else seems to have noticed is that the Lulu Monster is undoubtedly the same thing as the creature that Sanderson spells Muhalu and Heuvelmans spells Mulahu.
Agogwe=Kakundakari_And_Tokoloshe=Kikomba [CFZ Blog Posting-REPOST]
At first, I doubted the Australopithecine identity for these African Cryptids. Now this looks to me like a very good fit (Footprint for robustus form hypothetical but made in proportion to relative sizes) The robustus form is on a scale comparable to a European fossil Neanderthal: human-sized but somewhat below average height, and well above average weight.
The tracks are Australopithecus tracks from Laetoli and the robust one morphed to larger size-both forms of tracks then compared to the corresponding Cryptid's tracks as illustrated by Sanderson. The Agogwe illustration at far left is taken from the original publication and the Kikomba (Apamandi) illustration is from Heuvelmans. The central gracile and robust Australopithecine figures are from Jay Maternes from Time Life book's Early Man and IMHO have never been bettered.
The supposition that these creatures are Australopithecines comes from the Anthropologists who were looking for the Australopithecine fossils: on several occasions native workers told the fossil-hunters "We know that animal" in the case of the robustus kinds, the Natives specified "We have that animal with the ridge (sagittal crest) on the head, but it is a very bad thing to speak of". Turns out they meant the Tokoloshe and witch doctors are said to call on Tokoloshe spirits to do their dirsty work for them. For several years my closest friend and co-worker was a South African and he told me much about these creatures. It does seem from the description that the PHYSICAL creatures are sorts of humanoid-Chimpanzees, hairy and burly, but of less than average human height. That would correspond tho the species robustus, the species boisei is even larger from its fossils.
I have reprinted this material from the CFZ blog for February 13, 2011 (and my last regular blog for the CFZ blog) because there is some suppostion that the larger one of these creatures could have some connection to the reports of the "Dodu". In the case of the Dodu, I really think it is a local boogeyman being used as a front for poaching operations, BUT at this point I think that both the larger and smaller Australopithecines are around in the Congo area and environs, and responsible for reports in those areas. There is also evidently a more humanlike "Wildman" responsible for some reports, but I am thinking now that there are no other APE reports from Central Africa that are anything other than some very unusual gorillas and chimpanzees.
The various descriptions of larger and smaller creatures also cover the five different categories of "Mr X" in Kenya, except that some of those categories seem to describe individual hermits or outcasts.
Larger, Paranthropoid creature or Kikomba and below it, the smaller Agogwe or Kakundakari type.
Kikomba, Painting from a French Cryptozoology site above: sketches from Heuvelmans' book below.
Large Bipedal Ape: (Kikomba, Apamandi, Abamaanji, Zaluzugu, Tshingombe, Ngoloko, Milhoi, Muhalu, African "Bigfoot")
Central Africa has very sporatic reports of apes or ape-like creatures distinguished by a bipedal gait. The reports are so rare, in fact, that in Ivan Sanderson's Abominable Snowmen book he essentially declared that Africa was apparently devoid of such creatures. But some reports have been recorded since the publication of the book. Tracks attributed to the animal have been found and supposedly indicate an ability to run or even jump bipedally. The face is ape-like and grays with age like other hominids.
One report of a hairy biped from Kenya, called the Ngokolo, has been lumped into this category, despite showing many strange characteristics. It measured eight feet long when stretched out dead, was as wide as two people, and smelled awful. It was covered in gray hair three feet long near the head or top of the body. The ape-like face had a receding chin and forehead, large eyes, and a small mouth with big teeth. Oddly, it possessed very large, flapping elephantine ears. Even more bizarrely, the feet had a thumb with three smaller toes and the hands had a thumb and an index finger with a 2.5-3 inch claw. Reports of similarly sized hairy bipeds, none mentioning the bizarre hands, feet, or ears, occured in the Congo until the early 1960's. The "Lobsterclaw" deformity would be individual and not a mark of the species, and humans are known to have the mutation. One of my co-workers at the University Library had that defect. The feet might otherise remble the "Apamandi" although this one was reported as much larger. The long head-hair or beard, turning white with age, would be what is described of the Mulahu, Muhalu or Lulu. Charles Cordier has a (partial) footprint supposedly from the "Apamandi" which does indeed look rather like some "Yeti" footprints, but that is very vaguely stated since the name is also applied to Charles Cordier's more apelike tracks
The Tano Giant was seen in the Gold Coast sometime before 1911. It was described as a "white ape of extroardinary stature" that was "past all men" in size. It's arms alone were reportedly as thick as a man. The skin was described as being white, but the hair was black. The head was flattened and oddly described as being the size of a large monkey's. The mouth was monkey-like and had big teeth. Despite not having thumbs, the giant supposedly kept the skin of a bush cow to wrap itself in when it got cold. Its habits were extremely aggressive, it carried off one woman and several children, who were later found disembowled and mutilated. It also supposedly broke the gun of a hunter. The only thing that scared it away was fire.
This story closely resembles tales across the world of cannibalistic giants, and may have no more basis in reality than Grendel or any other similar tale. It seems almost certain that this is a complete invention, but it could have a very tenuous base in reality. It certainly sounds like something out of a bad adventure story.
Tokoloshe, the South African Cryptid Identified as having the same skull as the fossil "Paranthropus" or robustus species of Australopithecine.
[Marionette from South Africa]
Bipedal Hairy Pygmy (Agogwe, Kakundakari, Doku, Mau, Mberikimo, Chimanimani, Tokoleshe, Abonsei, Ijimere, Sehite)
This animal, commonly refered to as an agogwe, is a small ape-like biped inhabiting Central Africa between the Kalahari and Sahara deserts. The agogwe is said to stand around 2 to 4 feet tall and its footprints (with a opposable toe) are a mere five inches in length. Marked differences between it and known apes include a rounded forehead, small canines, long red hair, and yellowish red skin. Rather oddly, it forms what may be a symbiotic relationship with baboons. Other reports describe the creatures as cave-dwellers. The animal was a topic of discussion in the 1920's, but its popularity has subsequently diminished.
The most common theory on the pygmies is that they are Australopithecines. Footprints did have a somewhat diverged toe (far from opposable though) and the overall height and description fit. Other individuals have suggested that they are actual human pygmies, but extremely atavisic, or possibly misunderstood, ones.
However, the reports do admittedly sound very much like an Australopithecine, or possibly a dwarf form of Homo erectus. The fact that these animals haven't been reported any more for decades is a significant problem, and like other creatures discussed here, they may have gone extinct (assuming they existed) before they were ever described. Alternately, the lack of a European colonial presence may make it much more difficult for reports to come out. It still seems doubtful that anything is behind these reports, but if there ever was or is, an ancient hominid would probably be the best candidate.
Adapted from a column by "The Cryptozoologist",
Abominable Snowmen, by Ivan T. Sanderson, (1961), Chapter 9. Africa—the "Darkest"
Reports of what appear to be pygmy types of ABSMs turn up on the west and east sides of the continent—that is on the southern edge of the Guinea Massif and on the eastern side of the main upland area about Tanganyika and Mozambique. Those from the former consist of a single series of statements made to Bernard Heuvelmans by a scientific correspondent who investigated some reports in what used to be the Ivory Coast. As these are original and unique, I have sought permission to reproduce them here in their entirety. Apart from them, I have only vague folk tales from the Nigeria area of the former existence of pygmies in that country.
In the Ivory Coast, almost at the opposite end of Africa, there is a legend of reddish hairy dwarfs identical in every respect with that in Tanganyika, as I learn from private information kindly supplied by Professor A. Ledoux of the Faculty of Science of Toulouse University. In 1947 he was the head of the Zoological Department of the Institute of Education and Research at Adiopodoumé, which was then being formed 12 miles from Abidjan.
One evening a young African who worked in his laboratory came and saw him after dinner and went rather furtively about asking him the simple question whether there were pygmies in Africa. The professor told him that they were found in Central and Equatorial Africa and lent him a book on the subject. All the same he was puzzled at this conspiratorial manner and asked him why he wanted to know. Because, the African replied, one of his colleagues in another scientific department of the Institute had seen one not far away on the previous day.
The professor raised his eyebrows.
"A pygmy, here?" "Yes, about 500 yards from here."
The professor nearly fell out of his chair in surprise. The Institute was
surrounded by forest, but though it was thick in places it was very well known and natives were constantly passing through it. The story seemed most suspect.
"Why didn't your friend come and tell me at once?" he asked suspiciously.
The young man explained that since the whites disbelieved the rumours about pygmies in the neighbourhood his friend had been loath to be laughed at or thought to be mad. But he knew the man well enough to know that he had not made it up, so he decided to make inquiries for him himself.
Professor Ledoux was more and more intrigued and insisted that the eyewitness should come and see him. He promised that he would not make fun of him and would not tell anyone his story.
The next day [the Professor tells me] I had a visit from the boy responsible for the observation. He was well-educated and had a certificate for primary studies. I asked him about the circumstances in which he saw the "pygmy."
It happened near the Meteorological set when they were taking their daily readings at 8 o'clock in the morning. Among the roots of a silk-cotton tree (Bombax) there suddenly appeared a little man with long reddish fur and long hair on his head—"same like white man"—but also reddish. [The long hair on the head, like a European's, was reported by all the Africans Professor Ledoux questioned. This feature could obviously not apply to true pygmies.]
At once the little red man and the large black one took to their heels in opposite directions. For, according to the legends, the little forestmen brought bad luck. You only saw them once in a lifetime and you had to be alone.
I went to the place with my two informants. It lay in the shadow of thick forest, but was not too overgrown since the silk-cotton tree grew near a path. It was very likely that if there had been anything there it would have been easy to see.
I asked to be informed at once if a similar meeting occurred again, but this never happened.
Professor Ledoux admits that he was then very incredulous. It seemed unthinkable that within 12 miles of a big town like Abidjan, and 500 yards from huts inhabited by 6 Europeans and some 300 Africans, there could be unknown creatures in forest which though thick was far from virgin. Moreover the African who claimed to have seen the mysterious pygmy did not come from the Lower Ivory Coast but from the Middle Coast, which is wooded savannah country. Perhaps the great forest, which
is most impressive, had over-excited his imagination. And in his solitary walks in the forest the professor had often put up bushbuck. If the African had seen the russet back of one of these antelopes among the bushes it was not impossible that his imagination should have led him to think that it was one of the "little hairy men" of the legends. At all events when the professor showed him a book containing pictures of Central African pygmies he insisted that his creature was not like them.
Despite his scepticism Professor Ledoux decided to make discreet inquiries about the native legends and what they were based on. He questioned several Africans who trusted him, and he pretended that he fully believed their stories, thus putting them at their ease and getting much more detailed information. In this way he came to visit most of the neighbouring villages.
As a matter of fact I did not obtain any important information, for while there were plenty of men who "had seen" (?) them, they were reticent on the subject, always concluding that they were probably mistaken for all the encounters had taken place at nightfall. This is likely enough.
There was one relatively exact fact. In March 1946 a team of workmen under one Djaco—who later became my lab-boy and my informant and who died of poisoning in 1949—together with a European of whom I can find no trace, were supposed to have seen one of these little red men, at about 8 in the morning, in a tall tree in a very wooded little valley about half a mile from the future site of the station. The European asked what it was and the Negroes explained what a rare thing it was to see such a creature and the evil effects of doing so.
I was at once deluged with stories of dwarfs with their feet back to front, people who lived half in the lagoon and half on land (I think that manatees must be responsible for this legend). These tales were of no interest to me, but I mention them so that the record should be complete.
He then questioned the Europeans who had travelled in the Ivory Coast:
One of them told me the following:
During one of his expeditions in the course of 1947 the great elephant-hunter Dunckel killed a peculiar primate unknown to him; it was small with reddish-brown hair and was shot in the great forest between Guiglo and Toulépeu, that is, between the Sassandra and Cavally rivers. Its remains disappeared while it was being carried home, no doubt having been disposed of by superstitious porters. Dunckel even offered to take my informant to the place and he in turn invited me to go with them.
In 1951 the professor's new boy, in reply to his usual barrage of questions, told him that when he was young, probably around 1941, he had himself seen a hunter at Seguéla bring back a little man with red hair in
a cage. The local official had put clothes on it for decency's sake and sent it to Abidjan by way of Bouaké. The boy did not know what happened to the little prisoner afterwards.
This tale seems to me to have been embroidered somewhat. If the creature was really human it would not have been put in a cage, and if it was an ape the official would not have worried whether it was decently dressed. Either it was a creature half way between man and an ape, or more likely, it was an unknown primate which had been dressed up as a joke, as tame monkeys so often are.
Professor Ledoux remarks that these tales of an unknown reddish-brown primate in the Ivory Coast are overlaid with the very firmly held belief that there are pygmies in the forest between the Sassandra and Cavally rivers.
According to an African technician of mine from Toulépleu called Méhaud Taou, an intelligent boy keenly interested in these questions, there was recently a system of barter between the negroes and these forest creatures; various manufactured goods were left in the forest in exchange for various fruits. This was supposed to have gone on until 1935. The little men who practised this barter were hardly known even to the negroes themselves. The Guérés called them Séhité.
It is possible that these Séhités may be true pygmies like those in Central Africa.
The professor's inquiries among the Europeans brought out a significant fact. Those who had never spent any length of time between the Sassandra and the Cavally denied out of hand that there could be any little men in the forest, whether they were true pygmies or unknown primates. On the other hand those who had lived in this area were seriously prepared to consider that pygmies might have lived there in the past and also that there might be a real basis for the legend of the red dwarfs. His own impression was that the legends and rumours in the Ivory Coast were based on the fairly recent presence of pygmies and the present existence of reddish-haired primates whose exact nature was still problematical.
The reports from the east side of the continent are more numerous and varied, and come from more separate sources. Central to these is a statement, that has been repeatedly republished, by one Capt. William Hichens in Discovery for December, 1937, included in an article entitled "African Mystery Beast." This goes as follows:
Some years ago I was sent on an official lion-hunt to this area [Ussure and Simbiti forests on the western side of the Wembare plains] and, while
waiting in a forest glade for a man-eater, I saw two small, brown, furry creatures come from dense forest on one side of the glade and disappear into the thickets on the other. They were like little men, about 4 feet high, walking upright, but clad in russet hair. The native hunter with me gazed in mingled fear and amazement. They were, he said, agogwe, the little furry men whom one does not see once in a lifetime. I made desperate efforts to find them, but without avail in that wellnigh impenetrable forest. They may have been monkeys, but, if so, they were no ordinary monkeys, nor baboons, nor colobus, nor Sykes, nor any other kind found in Tanganyika. What were they?
Subsequent to the publication of this observation, a gentleman by the name of Mr. Cuthbert Burgoyne wrote to the publication Discovery, seconding Captain Hichens' story with the following:
In 1927 I was with my wife coasting Portuguese East Africa in a Japanese cargo boat. We were sufficiently near to land to see objects clearly with a glass of 12 magnifications. There was a sloping beach with light bush above upon which several dozen baboons were hunting for and picking up shell fish or crabs, to judge by their movements. Two pure white baboons were amongst them. These are very rare but I had heard of them previously. As we watched, two little brown men walked together out of the bush and down amongst the baboons. They were certainly not any known monkey and yet they must have been akin or they would have disturbed the baboons. They were too far away to see in detail, but these small human-like animals were probably between 4 and 5 feet tall, quite upright and graceful in figure. At the time I was thrilled as they were quite evidently no beast of which I had heard or read. Later a friend and big game hunter told me he was in Portuguese East Africa with his wife and three hunters, and saw a mother, father, and child, of apparently a similar animal species, walk across the further side of a bush clearing. The natives loudly forbade him to shoot.
Once again Bernard Heuvelmans has brought to light two further reports, albeit brief. The first appeared in The Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society in 1924, from the pen of one Mr. S. V. Cook. This states that:
Fifteen miles east of Embu Station there rises from the Emberre plains the lofty hills of Dwa Ngombe, nearly 6,000 feet high. They are inhabited, the Embu natives say, by buffalo and a race of little red men who are very jealous of their mountain rights. Old Salim, the interpreter at Embu,
tells me with great dramatic effect how he and some natives once climbed to near the top when suddenly an icy cold wind blew and they were pelted with showers of small stones by some unseen adversaries. Happening to look up in a pause in their hasty retreat, he assures me that he saw scores of little red men hurling pebbles and waving defiance from the craggy heights. To this day even the most intrepid honey hunters will not venture into the hills.
The final scrap of confirmation comes secondhand from Roger Courtenay who tells in his The Greenhorn in Africa a story related to him by his guide named—as is almost invariable, all down the east side of Africa—Ali. Using Courtenay's own words, this goes:
"But have you heard of the little people who live in the Mau—small men, who are less men than monkeys? Less than shenzi (i.e. loathsome foreigners), these little men, and almost monkeys in their lives and ways." And he went on to tell how his own father, who was driving his sheep to pasture on the slopes of Mount Longenot, fell into the hands of these gnomes when he went into a cave, following the trail of blood left by one of his cattle that had been stolen. He was stunned from behind, and when he came round he found he was surrounded by strange little creatures. "The Mau men were lower even," he told his son, "than those little people of the forests [the pygmies] for, though they had no tails that I could see, they were as the monkeys that swing in the forest trees. Their skins were white, with the whiteness of the belly of a lizard, and their faces and bodies were covered with long, black hair." To his great surprise the shepherd noticed that his spear was still lying at his side. "The Mau men who are so nearly monkeys did not know what was the spear. It is possible they did not know I could have fought with it and killed many of them."
... Relics of goodness knows how many races could still be lingering on in the montane forests of Africa. Let us not forget that it
was not till 1910 that the second largest land animal in the world was found in Africa (Cotton's Ceratothere, or Ceratotherium cottoni)—a kind of Rhino—and the fabulous Okapi (Okapia johnsoni) turned up. The Congo Peacock had to wait till 1936!
The other concurrent oddity was from quite another part of Africa, 1400 miles distant, and in an area from which we had not previously had any reports. This is actually a very astonishing report and one that should be taken most seriously in view of the almost constant surprises that are coming out of Southwest Africa and Angola. This part of Africa is rapidly assuming the guise of truly "The Darkest," for big game never even known to exist there is turning up, and among it are many record specimens, while it is the home of the otherwise nonexistent, Giant Sable Antelope, and so forth. This apparent ABSM was originally reported in the Evening Standard of Salisbury for November 18, 1959 but did not become
fully recognized until after the Ufiti or Fireti affair broke. It reads as follows:
Windhoek, Wed.—The authorities in South-West Africa and farmers in the vicinity of Outjo are wondering whether a large shambling ape or monkey which has been seen on farms near Outjo is not a gorilla. People who have seen the animal state emphatically that it is not a large baboon. According to their descriptions, the animal closely resembles a gorilla. Its footprints are also like those of a gorilla. A farmer, Mr. Thuys Maritz, who's Ovambo herdboy reported that the animal had stolen his blankets and food, tried to track the animal down but lost the trail over rocky ground. The spoor clearly showed that the animal walks on two legs. Occasionally, prints resembling knuckle impressions were found next to the spoor. The footprints are about 5½ in. wide and resemble marks made by a human hand. The five fingers or toes are clearly defined. The authorities have appealed to farmers not to shoot the animal but to try to capture it alive. The nearest place where gorillas are known to live is in the Belgian Congo, nearly 1000 miles from South-West Africa.
[This stands as a likely report of the larger, robust-Australopithecine type-DD]
When we come to the last great area for alleged "unknowns" in Africa we do not, thank goodness, have to deal with experts. However, we have to rely on travelers, big-game hunters, and other nonexperts who are sometimes almost as bad. [Oh, for the good old days of bulldozer-operators, and timber-cruisers!] However, there is one very bright gleam ahead and this—and almost for the first and only time—is a real, honest-to-goodness, fully trained, truly expert, and also successful professional "animal collector"; none other than Charles Cordier, the Swiss, who has persistently brought back to museums and zoos what they really want; properly housed and fed, or properly preserved. Here at last is a man whom we can not only rely on for common sense reporting, but who really knows his animals and his zoology, as well as a great part of the world. You may place more reliance on what he says than upon almost all of the rest of the involuntary and even the voluntary ABSM hunters combined.
This information comes to me once again from Bernard Heuvelmans
who had just [at the time of writing] received it from Cordier who (January, 1961) was somewhere in the Congo. Charles Cordier wrote Bernard: "We met three tracks of hind feet—no knuckle marks—in soft mud near water. The tracks were most unusual," he says. Also, they were not those of a gorilla; and, Cordier goes on: "I ought to know, I have a silverback. These 12" tracks were no gorillas." [The gorilla imprint should be compared with the photograph of one made in plaster in Appendix B.] This find was made, as far as we know of now, somewhere in the Bakavu area. The track-maker is obviously some new form of large Pongid.
This brings up a whole string of stories from less reliable sources. These begin with something that has been named the Tano Giant, and was first described by one, Louis Bowler, half a century ago. It has some funny features, and some illogicalities. It states:
Far away in the primeval forests of the Upper Tano, in the Gold Coast Colony, a strange tale is told by the natives of a wild man of the woods, which would appear from the description given to be a white ape of extraordinary stature and human instinct. The natives who live in the village near to the haunts of this freak of nature are terrified out of their wits. They barricade their doors at night, and place broiled plantains and cassava on the jungle paths leading into the village to propitiate him and appease his hunger. They declare he comes to the village at night, and only runs when fire is thrown at him. The women especially are almost scared to death, and go in a body to their plantain farms. It appears that two women while gathering plantains were confronted by this creature. One he seized and flung over his shoulder carrying her off; the other ran screaming with fright back to the village. No trace of the other woman has been found. Several children have been taken by this creature, their mutilated bodies being found with the whole of their bowels devoured.
The hunter and women who have seen this animal describe him as "past all man" in size; his arms they describe as thick as a man's body; his skin "all the same as a white man," with black hairs growing thereon. The hands have four fingers but no thumb, the head is flat, and, as they describe it, "left small for big monkey head," meaning that it was very near or like a large monkey's head. They say the mouth "was all the same as monkey with big teeth sticking out, and he carries a skin of a bush cow," which the natives say "he carries for cloth when small cold, catch him,"
meaning he wraps himself up in it when feeling cold. A hunter tried to shoot him, but he smashed the gun and broke both the hunter's arms. Many other incidents are related of this terror of the Upper Plains.
The most outstanding aspect of this report is, to me, that once again it is of something definitely Hominid and that came out of a montane forest onto orchard-bush, as in the Southwestern case from Windhoek. This is indeed unusual. The other outstanding fact is the mention of the absence of a thumb. I understand that it is believed that the thumb of Plesianthropus was exceptionally small for the size of its hand, and was placed very high up on that hand. Is it possible that it might have been carried pressed against the side of the palm and so not be apparent? The fact that this creature was alleged to have a light skin covered with black hairs is also novel. The whole account is actually more than just aggravating in several respects because it stands absolutely alone as far as I have been able to find out. Naturally, one presumes that it is but a traveler's tale picked from native imagination to give it a tone of authenticity; yet, among such tales—and I have hundreds—it is one of the few that seems in some way to have validity.
Perhaps this is because I got to know the West Africans rather well myself once; and, while I fully appreciate their great storytelling abilities, I did find them essentially most down-to-earth people when it comes to the question of their native fauna. West Africans told us some of the wildest-sounding things about their local animals but, in almost every case, they made good on their words by producing the darned things. They are not the sort to think up "thumblessness," a white skin, or a head "left small for big monkey head." If they said that—and these purport to be firsthand accounts, not traditional tales—they meant it, and precisely. The disemboweling of the children also seems to smack of the real thing. I know just what the teller meant to imply: namely, "Don't try and tell me this was a leopard because I know, even if you don't, that that is not the way they start to eat you."
The only other African ABSM that has been mentioned, and this several times, and by several different travelers, is the Muhalu. This is a muddled issue as may be seen from the following extract from the book Hunting We Will Go by Mrs. Attilio Gatti. This reads as follows:
Then there are rumors about strange anthropoids. One is a large ape which is said to live in the Rainy Forest, the pygmy tribes call it the Muhalu. Commander Attilio Gatti, the well-known African explorer, has repeatedly declared that he, for one, believes in the existence of the Muhalu and willingly accepts the descriptions of the pygmies who say that it is exceptionally large, walks erect habitually, and is covered with very dark, possibly black, fur, except for the face, where the hairs are white.
Another again, and the worst of all, is a big animal with a coat of long hair, black on the back, white on the other parts of the body. And it is enough to be seen by this monster, for one to die in the most atrocious agony.
We found awaiting us a man from Soli's to say that the pygmies had been on the trail of a Bongo mother and young one, and that if the Bwana would come they were sure they would capture the little one.
So Tille decided to have one more fling. He also decided to take a group of our own boys with him to act as porters. Before they could start, however, an event occurred which reduced all Kalume's men to panic.
Ever since we had been in the Ituri we had heard repeated tales and rumors of a great animal called by the Bondande, "muhalu." Of all things that could arouse terror, this muhalu was the King Bee. Tille had been extremely interested in the matter and believed that the creature really did exist and was a hitherto unknown fifth anthropoid or subhuman.
At this time, however, he had done no more than talk about it now and then. Now, on this morning, one of our men rushed into the clearing, his face gray with fright, babbling about the dread muhalu. His stories were conflicting. First he said it had knocked him down, and this seemed odd because the natives firmly believed that a muhalu had only to look at a man and that man would instantly die. Then the boy said he had seen the muhalu first and ran away. No matter what had actually happened, the news that a muhalu was in the vicinity nearly paralyzed our men.
Tille insisted on going to investigate at the point where the boy claimed to have seen the beast. I don't know how he succeeded in dragging that boy, half-dead with fright, or in flicking the pride of Lamese and two of the other men until they agreed to accompany him.
He did find enormous footprints, and several stiff black hairs in the hollow of a tree where the evidence showed the brute had been sitting. Neither hairs nor print corresponded to any other known ape.
But the panic of our natives had grown so fast that Tille could not stem it. Even Kalume begged us, with all his heart, to leave Tzambehe and come down to his village. All of our natives, though they had no wish to abandon us, were preparing to leave.
In this area, namely the southern face of the Ubangi-Shari Massif, it would seem that we have to deal with two quite separate entities—one an unknown Pongid, and another a Hominid, or ABSM. Despite the rather obvious exaggerations of the descriptions given by locals—and notably by the Pygmies, with whom it is extremely difficult, if really at all possible, to communicate—neither appear really to be too outrageous. Perhaps one is the terrestrial ape that leaves the odd prints now recorded by Cordier, while the other is something akin to the Tano Giant. There are a set of tracks recorded from Bakumu which the locals say were made by what they call the Apamandi, which they there describe as a very heavily built small man, clothed in black hair, but having a light skin. These prints are approximately eight inches long, very short and broad, and have the strange distinction of having the second toe longer than either the first or third, and being somewhat separated from the first or big toe. The significance of this toe proportion will become apparent when we come to investigate the Meh-Teh, or Snowman of the Himalayas.
The accounts of these two [or is it but a single] creatures are very vague, fragmentary, and rare. Yet, if you visit the northwestern edge of the Ituri Forest you will find that it (or they) are taken quite for granted as being rare, but by no means excessively rare, units of the local fauna; living in the upper montane forests to the north, and from time to time coming down on to the lowlands. I have talked to many people who have been into this, previously unadministered, area but only those who were specifically interested in its fauna, or who spent time investigating the ideas and knowledge of the locals, had ever heard of it. Those who did so,
however, all seem to be of the opinion that there is a race of gorilla in the area, or that there is at least some large terrestrial ape there. When I asked if, in their opinion, it could be a primitive Hominid rather than an advanced ape, the opinions have been violently divided. Most returned my query with a perfectly blank stare; but some said "Yes" and invariably went on to talk about the possibility of some larger form of Australopithecine having survived thereabouts—and they usually
pick on Plesianthropus, probably because that form has been so well publicized, along with reconstructions of it.
Africa is undoubtedly the land of Pigmies and of some Great Apes, but it does not seem to sport any giant Hominids. At least the Africans don't imply this, even if they do refer to the Tano character and the Muhalu (or one of them) as being very big. Our real Oh-Mah types would be the perfect target for African bogeyman stories, but they just don't appear here, and we shall not meet them again until we reach just the place where they ought to be.