Does the famous Yeti or Abominable Snowman have a cousin stalking the mountains of the Scottish Highlands? What is the “big gray man” haunting the UK’s second-highest peak that has scared even the world’s most experienced climbers almost to death!
The “big gray man” of Ben MacDhui is said to be a terrifying presence pounding about the Scottish mountains.
Known as Am Fear Liath Mòr in Scottish Gaelic, the supernatural presence or cryptid creature has caused experienced climbers to suffer feelings of panic and fear.
Few people have ever seen the creature, or perhaps not lived to tell the tale, but there have been plenty of strange sensations on the mountain felt by mountaineers. The gray man is said to stalk Ben MacDhui, which is situated in the Cairngorm in the eastern Highlands of Scotland and is the UK’s second-highest peak after Ben Nevis.
His huge size is the first thing that climbers notice. He is often felt before he is seen, and this has been described as a set of thumping footsteps at the mountain’s misty summit.
Climbers who say they have encountered the “Bigfoot-like” gray man say they suffer feelings of “eeriness” and “unease” when he is around.
He is at least eight-foot-tall and covered in short, grey hair.
He could be a relative to other better-known cryptids like bigfoot or the sasquatch; such is his terrifying size.
But unlike reports of encounters with possible relatives like bigfoot or the Yeti, a number of odd feelings and sensations have been reported from climbers who have realized the big gray man is near.
These include vast, dark blurs which obscure the sky, strange crunching noises, echoing footsteps that pursue the listener, an icy feeling in the surrounding atmosphere, as well as a physical feeling of a cold grip on or a brush against the observer’s flesh. All of which gives the legend of the gray man more of a supernatural feel than that of bigfoot or similar “ape-like” giant humanoids.
Sightings of the big gray man go back hundreds of years, and he has also been spotted in a Rothiemurchus Forest near Aberdeen.
One known encounter experienced by a university professor is particularly harrowing.
Professor J. Norman Collie was a respected scientist who was appointed Professor of Organic Chemistry at University College London in 1896.
His contributions to science include being responsible for the first-ever medical X-ray photograph.
Professor Collie was a keen mountaineer, and in 1925 he gave a speech at the 27th Annual General Meeting of the Cairngorm Club, the oldest and one of the largest hillwalking and climbing clubs in Scotland.
Speaking about an incident he recalled at Ben MacDhui in the Cairngorms 34 years earlier in 1891, he said: “I was returning from the cairn on the summit in a mist when 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.
“I said to myself, “This is all nonsense.” I listened and heard it again but could see nothing in the mist.
“As I walked on and 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 nearly down to Rothiemurchus Forest.
“Whatever you make of it, I do not know, but there is something very queer about the top of Ben MacDhui, and I will not go back there again by myself, I know.”
But Could There Be Another Explanation?
Although Prof. Collie was himself a man of science, other scientists offer a more rational explanation for the bizarre sighting of the “big gray man” – the conditions on Mt. Ben MacDhui itself.
Skeptics believe that the witness reports of the creature could all be attributed to illusions –tricks of the light– or hallucinations induced by the cold, fatigue, or low oxygen levels on the mountain.
The remote nature of the landscape could also be the reason why many climbers report feelings of fear or being followed.
Whatever the truth may be, the mystery of the big gray man will continue frightening climbers at Ben MacDhui for many years to come.