Cryptid Chronicle #1
There are monsters in virtually every backyard around the world. Legends and stories passed down from generation to generation among native peoples that speak of these creatures, which are so elusive only a relative few ever see them. Some of these unknown species are well documented with multiple eyewitness accounts and photographic evidence like “Bigfoot” and “The Loch Ness Monster”. Over the course of this Cryptid Chronicle series we will look at the more famous and lesser known creatures that keep cryptozoologists in pursuit across the globe.
Asia: The Ahool
In the Java jungle region of Indonesia there is a legend of a flying cryptid most say is a large bat like creature. The name ahool comes from what locals say is a strange cry the bat makes at night, usually three times in succession. It is described as having bat wings spanning at least 12 feet, dark eyes, red wings and covered in a gray or dark fur. Some accounts claim the creature has more of a primate or chimpanzee face, bat ears, and bat wings. Some legends suggest that it has strong hind legs it uses to snatch large prey. While it is said to eat mostly fish there are some stories of the beast attacking humans in the jungle. First reported to the western world by Dr, Ernest Bartels in 1925, the ahool can be found in the deepest parts of the jungle. While there are large specimen of fruit bats and hammer-head, the ahool seems to be at least twice the size of the largest known species.
South America: Mapinguari
This may well be the most unique cryptid in the world based on the varied stories and descriptions linked to this creature. The mapinguari (ma-ping-wahr-ee) has been described as a bipedal bear like creature standing 6-8 feet tall which inhabits the dense Amazon rain-forest. Described as having either two eyes or one eye similar to the Greek cyclops depending on the legend. Even more unique, some stories say the mapinguari has a second mouth in its stomach region. This second mouth is said to produce an offensive odor that may serve as a defense mechanism, though it is hard to imagine what kind of natural predator it would have. It is covered in a very tough fur that is impenetrable by arrow and rifle round. In 2007 the New York Times ran an article which included quotes from a local leader; “The only way you can kill a mapinguary is by shooting at its head,” said Domingos Parintintin, a tribal leader in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. “But that is hard to do because it has the power to make you dizzy and turn day into night. So the best thing to do if you see one is climb a tree and hide.”
American ornithologist David Oren interviewed nearly 100 locals who claimed to have seen this creature. Also he interviewed 7 local hunters who claimed to have killed or shot the beasts. Based on the interviews, Oren posits that the mapinguari may actually be a living large ground sloth. Many skeptics have claimed that the legend of the creature likely stems from cultural memories and stories of the ground sloth before it had gone extinct long ago.
The agogwe are small humanoids which are said to inhabit the forests of east Africa. Described as standing between 2-5 feet tall, with a yellowish complexion beneath a rust colored fur. The first non-African to report an encounter with the agogwe was Captain William Hichens, who was on a lion hunt to the region in 1900. Captain Hichens described the encounter in the London published journal ‘Discovery’ in 1937 as follows; “Some years ago I was sent on an official lion hunt in this area, while waiting in a forest glade for a man eater, I saw two small, brown, furry creatures come from the dense forest on one side of the glade and then disappear into the thicket on the other side. 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.”
Captain Hichens’ account of the agogwe would be corroborated just one year later when in 1938 British Officer Cuthbert Burgoyne wrote to ‘Discovery’ giving a similar account he had in 1927. His entry into the publication reads; “ We were sufficiently near to land to see objects clearly with a glass of 12 magnifications. There was a sloping beach with light brush above upon which several dozen baboons were hunting for and picking up shell fish of 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 among the baboons. They here certainly not any known monkey and they must have been akin or they would have disturbed the baboons. They were to 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 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 other hunters, and saw mother, father and child, of apparently similar animal species, walk across the further side of a bush clearing. The natives loudly forbade him to shoot”. Charles Cordier an animal tracker claimed to have followed a Kakundakari which is another name for the agogwe, in Zaire. But he was unable to find it.
Bernard Heuvelmans a cryptozoologist, theorized that the agogwe could have been australopithecine, which was a primate said to have lived 2.5 million years ago. Which would be an interesting discovery to say the least.
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New York Times
The National Paranormal Society