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Fear Liath

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posted on Apr, 10 2010 @ 06:33 PM

Am Fear Liath Mòr (Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [əm fɛɾ ʎiə mɔːɾ]; also known as The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui or simply The Greyman) is the name of a presence or creature which is said to haunt the summit and passes of Ben Macdui, the highest peak of the Cairngorms and the second highest peak in Britain. It has been described as an extremely tall figure covered with short hair, or as an unseen presence that causes uneasy feelings in people who climb the mountain. Evidence of the existence of this creature is limited to various sightings and a few photographs of unusual footprints.

It was traditionally seen as a supernatural being, but Am Fear Liath Mòr has been compared to the Yeti of the Himalaya and the Sasquatch or Bigfoot of North America. References to wild 'Greymen' in Scotland and similar creatures elsewhere in Europe, sometimes called Wudewas or 'Wood Men', date back to the 13th century, and are believed by some to represent relict hominids.

In 1925, the noted climber John Norman Collie recounted a terrifying experience he had endured while alone near the summit of Ben MacDhui some 35 years before. "I began to think I heard something else than merely the noise of my own footsteps. For every few steps I took I heard a crunch, and then another crunch as if someone was walking after me but taking steps three or four times the length of my own." Collie was unable to make out the source of the noises because of mist, and continued "... [as] the eerie crunch, crunch, sounded behind me, I was seized with terror and took to my heels, staggering blindly among the boulders for four or five miles." Other climbers have also reported similar experiences, many describing uncontrollable feelings of fear and panic, some actually seeing a huge grey figure behind them, and others only hearing sounds or even succumbing to inexplicable feelings of terror while in the area.

In the Matt Lamy book 100 Strangest Unexplained Mysteries, Lamy notes a sighting in the early 1990's in which three men caught sight of a bipedal creature with an eerie, inhuman, face in a forest near Aberdeen. Several weeks later, whilst driving through the area at night, the creature appeared again and ran alongside their car even at speeds of 45 miles per hour, seemingly trying to enter the vehicle.

Similar panic responses have been reported in many North American Sasquatch encounters, and explanations involving infrasound or pheromones have been advanced. Cryptozoologist Karl Shuker has expressed belief that the creature is the guardian of an inter-dimensional portal in his 1997 book, The Unexplained. However, hallucinations and panic brought on by isolation and exhaustion, or an optical illusion similar to the Brocken spectre, are very plausible explanations for the Big Grey Man legend. A Brocken spectre, or 'glory', can occur in certain atmospheric conditions when the sun is at a particular angle. The subject's shadow can be cast onto low lying clouds around them, creating the illusion of a large shadowy humanoid figure. This is the most commonly advanced theory to explain the reported sightings.

Pretty interesting stuff.

As the article says

However, hallucinations and panic brought on by isolation and exhaustion, or an optical illusion similar to the Brocken spectre, are very plausible explanations for the Big Grey Man legend.
John Norman Collie seemed to be a experienced mountaineer, so he would be used to being isolated.

Here's his wikipedia page

Here are some more sites/articles on sightings/information, etc.

[edit on 10-4-2010 by FoxMulder91]

posted on Apr, 10 2010 @ 07:38 PM
It is interesting that you mention this as I have heard of such a creature (along with the lesser spotted two fanged haggis) and I have climbed in the Cairn Gorms often enough to know my way around and I have been up the awesome Ben Nevis five times now since the first time in the army back in 1992.

Anyway there have been occasions where I had a feeling of being watched and a heavy presence, an unease that I have always put down to the fact that I am high up in the mist and the wrong step could see me falling to my broken bodied death, my mind is stressed I am tired and I am aching all over.

There is a ridge I recall climbing through and that was a nightmare in itself that brings about much self doubt as it is exposed and both sides fall away into endless space with one side blasting a continuous sheet of wind up at a sixty degree angle so that it feels like it is trying to lift you off the mountain which is both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

A couple of years after I had traversed that ridge “annakeega” (spelling is off but the pronunciation is correct) someone else made a bad decision, he stupidly jumped from one spot to another and simply toppled over the edge and disappeared into the mist because he did not take into account the weight of his pack thus he took the quickest way off the mountain and to his death.

Anyway my point is that those hills are grim, dangerous and to the novice can easily end in injury or death and it is no wonder strange things get seen and felt up there. In bad light the winds are merciless when the weather turns and if you are alone the mind tends to play some vicious tricks on a person so in concentrating on staying safe I think it entirely plausible that the mind will start to struggle and invent things to help cope with the physical pain which just gets worse.

I have never heard footsteps myself but I have felt as if I was being tracked twice, a feeling that grew over time to be strong enough for me on one occasion about seven years ago to throw my pack down, get my back against a large rocky wall and to pull out my boot knife for a face off and a bit of a shouting episode filled with some toe curling expletives strategically thrown in for effect.

It is embarrassing now admittedly but with a feeling of heavy dread crushing down on me, difficult to describe as being anything other than “malevolently unfriendly“ I would dare anyone else to remain calm with only themselves for company.

Icy wind ravaged mountains, grey and white vistas devoid of any vegetation and it is terrifying because the mind is playing pitilessly with you and ruining what should be an exhilarating if exhausting time so yes a slight feeling of unease can rapidly snowball (pun) into something much more dramatic very quickly and I think this is a legend born from irrational fears rather than a Scottish yeti being a reality but I could be wrong of course.

By the way there are a lot of magnetic anomalies up in the Scottish highlands and I have even experienced some weirdness on my compass so that could account for the mind tricks as I have read that powerful magnetic fields can bring about strange effects from a powerful presence to headaches and so on. As far as I am aware the Scottish highlands have only weak magnetic fields in the rocks but I am no geologist.

Starred and flagged but grudgingly because I am due to trek up north soon on my own as I cannot talk a victim into coming with me... Might do the sea kayaking thing instead now seeing as you posted this thread and find an island for meditation purposes instead - meh

Note: Many people who climb up there have experienced similar things, it is pretty common and the more I think about it the more I believe it is down to the magnetic fields in the rocks - I love it up there

posted on Apr, 11 2010 @ 05:04 PM
reply to post by SmokeJaguar67

Thanks for the response and the first hand account. Very interesting stuff.
If you do end up going on a trek up north, let us know how it goes.

[edit on 11-4-2010 by FoxMulder91]


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