Due to the breakout success of our first article, The Himuro Mansion Haunting, we're going back to Asia for the wild tale of a red haired, human like animal believed by the locals to be a man eating prehistoric caveman, and by scientists to be an extinct primate.
The story is a familiar one (Bigfoot or the local Yeti come to mind) but with some “all too human” peculiarities. So without further ado, here is the Tale of The Chinese Wildman:
Deep in the mountains of southern and central China there is said to exist a hairy humanoid creature known as the Yeren. Sightings of the Yeren, or Chinese Wildman, date back more than 2,000 years and are still reported today. Described as being a red haired bipedal animal, rising over six feet tall with a peculiarly fat belly and similarly strange pronounced buttocks, the Yeren bears a striking resemblance to many humans found in modern developed countries.
A popular seventeenth-century account from Hubei province reads:
"In the remote mountains of Fangxian County, there are rock caves, in which live hairy men as tall as three meters. They often come down to hunt dogs and chickens in the villages. They fight with whoever resists."
Most of the sightings are in the counties of Badong, Xingshan and Fangxian, and therefore the Yeren are thought by most to originate from Shennongjia Nature Reserve in Yichang, but none have actually been discovered there.. or anywhere else for that matter.
A 1976 encounter witnessed by several local bureaucrats brought the Yeren into the international spotlight for the first time. It is reported that early in the morning of May 14, while on their way home they encountered a “strange, tailless creature with reddish fur” on a rural highway in the Hubei province. The driver pursued the creature with his car, forcing him to scramble up a hill. Roughly halfway up the hill he slipped and came to rest in front of the car, after which the passengers left the vehicle and approached the creature for a closer look.
They described the creature as being over six feet tall, covered in thick brown and purple-red wavy hair, having a fat belly and pronounced buttocks. The eyes were human-like, but the face bearing much more resemblance to that of an ape.
Interest in the Yeren had increased and the first official inquiry was launched in 1961, but was inconclusive as the body, (reported as being slain by road workers) was unavailable to inspectors and formally declared to have been a Gibbon. Later, another formal investigation by the Chinese Academy of Sciences put 110 investigators into the forests of Fang county and the Shennongjia area. No sightings were reported but local witnesses were interviewed and alleged Yeren footprints, hair, and feces were collected.
Over the years investigators have collected dozens of alleged Yeren hairs from all around China and through laboratory examination have found that “the wild man is in the middle between bears or apes and human beings.” Physicists at Fudan University, studying samples from all over China, found that the proportion of iron to zinc was 50 times that found in human hair and seven times that in the hair of recognized primates. Other studies of note have concluded that the hair was neither human nor known primate hair but from an unrecognized primate with a morphological affinity to humans, which seems to be congruent with witness descriptions of the creature.
Zhou Guoxing, one of the expedition leaders, believed there seemed to be two types of Yeren: “a larger one of about two meters in height, and a smaller one, about one meter in height.” He also reported two types of footprints: “One is large, 30-40 cm, remarkably similar to that of man, with the four small toes held together and the largest one pointing slightly outwards. The other type is smaller, about 20 cm, and more similar to the footprint of an ape or monkey, with the largest toe evidently pointing outwards.” Zhou, believes that both living and dead specimens of the smaller Yeren are already in scientists' hands.
According to this source:
“One was killed on May 23, 1957, near the village of Zhuanxian in Zhejiang province. A biology teacher had the presence of mind to preserve the hands and feet. When Zhou learned of this in 1981, he went to the site and collected the specimens. After some considerable study he concluded that they "belonged to a kind of large stump-tailed monkey unknown to science." Subsequently he identified the animal as a stumptailed macaque. Not long afterwards just such an animal was captured in the Huang Mountain region and taken to the Hefei Zoo. Zhou wrote that this specimen is mainly ground-dwelling.... The body is large, about 70-90 cm in standing height. A tall individual could reach one meter. Its extremities are strongly built. It weighs more than 20 kilograms. A large male could weigh over 33 kilograms, while females would be smaller. The back hair is brown in color. The adult male has whiskers, and has a reddish color on the face.”
Anthropologist Frank Poirier of Ohio State University has suggested that many Yeren reports are probably sightings of the rare Golden Monkey, which is believed to inhabit the same region. An ironic anecdote tells us that Poirier himself was once mistaken for a Yeren, after villagers who had never seen a Westerner encountered a near-nude Poirier napping by a river.
Even with all of the reports (some claim over 400 reports in the last 20 years), scientists haven’t definitively proven what the creature is, or even the concrete existence of the Yeren. When theorizing about what the Yeren could be, many zoologists believe the creature is a surviving Gigantopitliccus, a giant bipedal primate believed to have gone extinct roughly 300,000 years ago, and today would share the same habitat.
Another popular theory is that the Yeren are in fact, a small pack of evolved orangutans. A source points out:
“Bipedalism has evolved independently in the ape family at least two times, so it is at least slightly possible that this has happened yet again with an isolated population of orangutans.”
- Monkey like beast
- Large pronounced buttocks
- Multiple sightings
- Formal investigations
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