Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ape Men (Neanderthal?) sightings in South America

nondescript ape-man
The human-like "Nondescript", an ape-man from the early 1800s, former British Guiana, South America. From [1]

There have been many posts in this blog aiming at supporting the idea that perhaps some of our distant relatives, either Homo erectus or our close cousin, Neanderthal, somehow got into America long before modern humans did, and survived until recent times, and in the process, gave birth to the many native American myths about "ape men".

Today I will write about South American ape-men. Note, not the Canadian - American bigfoot, but instead, a creature sighted in South America, closer to Patagonia than those North American beings. Lets cover the strange nondescript ape-man.

Human like ape beings have been reported in South America since it was discovered. Today I will focus on the region of Guyana:

First Report, 1769

English naturalist Edward Bancroft wrote about them in 1769, [2]. He mentioned the creature that All the natives called “Wild Man” and it is clear that they were not “Apes”, which he dealt about in the following paragraphs.

These Wild Men were about 5 feet (1,5 m) tall, the walked in an upright position and had “human form, thinly covered with short black hair” the “Indians” “greatly dread them and instantly flee as son a sone is discovered”. They share some features with the Trauco hominid found in Patagonia: “they will attack themales, and ravish the females of the human species.” [2]

Second Report and a specimen

British naturalist Charles Waterton (1782-1865) described his four voyages to America in his book Wanderings in South America (1825) which has many observations of the American fauna. Among these creatures was one very peculiar one, an “ape-man” which he named “Nondescript”:

I also procured an animal which has caused not a little speculation and astonishment. In my opinion, his thick coat of hair and great length of tail put his species out of all question; but then his face and head cause the inspector to pause for a moment before he ventures to pronounce his opinion of the classification. He was a large animal, and as I was pressed for daylight, and moreover, felt no inclination to have the whole weight of his body upon my back, I contented myself with his head and shoulders, which I cut off, and have brought them with me to Europe....

[Footnote: My young friend Mr. J. H. Foljambe, eldest son of Thomas Foljambe, Esq., of Wakefield, has made a drawing of the head and shoulders of this animal, and it is certainly a most correct and striking likeness of the original.]

The drawing is the one shown at the begining of this post.

This incredible speciment which he brought with him to the UK, was obtained during his fourth voyage to America in 1824, when he visited the Demerara River in what is now Guyana.

The embalmed specimen can be seen at the Waterton Gallery at Wakefield Museum in Britain. [4]

According to the museum, the “Nondescript” was created by Waterton, who used his specialised taxidermist skills to fashion the head and shoulders from a howler monkey carcass. He worked on the face so that it looked just like the face of a customes officer who inconvenienced him when he returned from his 1821 trip. The man is said to be named Lushington.

ape-man specimen
Nondescript at Wakefield Museum. From [4]

Third report, 1868. The “Didi”

It was forty years later later, in 1868, that a British surveyour, who worked for the government of the colony of British Guiana, Charles Barrington Brown, reported these “ape men” once again, this time they were called “Didi”:[3]

The first night after leaving Peaimah we heard a long, and most melancholy whistle, proceeding from the direction of the depths of the forest, at which some of the men exclaimed, in an awed tone of voice, "The Didi." Two or three times the whistle was repeated, sounding like that made by a human being, beginning in a high key and dying slowly and gradually away in a low one.…

The "Didi" is said by the Indians to be a short, thick set, and powerful wild man, whose body is covered with hair, and who lives in the forest. A belief in the existence of this fabulous creature is universal over the whole of British, Venezuelan and Brazilian Guiana. On the Demerara river, some years after this, I met a half-breed woodcutter, who related an encounter that he had with two Didi—a male and a female—in which he successfully resisted their attacks with his axe. In the fray, he stated, he was a good deal scratched.

Closing comments

So here we have some true and maybe some false reports concerning ape-men in Guiana, in north eastern South America. They are not the run of the mill South American monkeys, these are ape-men. Perhaps the remains of the original Neanderthal or H. erectus people that reached the Americas long ago.

[1] Charles Waterton, (1825). Wanderings in South America, the north-west of the United States, and the Antilles, in the years 1812, 1816, 1820 and 1824: With original instruction for the perfect preservation of birds &c. for cabinets of natural history .(Google eBook). Mawman. pp 293.
[2] Bancroft, Edward, (1769). An essay on the natural history of Guiana, in South America: Containing a description of many curious productions in the animal and vegetable systems of that country. Together with an account of the religion, manners, and customs of several tribes of its Indian inhabitants. Interspersed with a variety of literary and medical observations. (Google eBook), T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt. pp 131.
[3] Charles Barrington Brown, (1876). Canoe and camp life in British Guiana
[4] Waterton Gallery at Wakefield Museum.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2011 by Austin Whittall © 

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