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Saturday, January 28, 2012


On Monday 23rd I was at the British Library's Newspaper Library to try and find more items of Hong Kong's cryptozoology. Unfortunately this was unsuccessful (except for the German article, see below). However, I did find two items of interest on databases I haven`t used before. Firstly, a story of an Irish wild man, on the 17th – 18th Burney Collection Newspapers: The London Journal dated July 16, 1720-July 23rd 1720 -

'We have a very odd Creature here, like a Man in Shape, but covered like a Bear; they tell us he came from Ireland, where he lived till he was Twenty Years old, and run wild in the Woods: All the Parts of his body are overgrown with long black Hair, which they having stiffened and rubed backwards makes him look very deliciously [sic-R] it seems, and the Women go in Shoals to see him. They shew him for Two-pence a Piece and an innumerable many Customers they have had but as they expose him no lower than his Waste, their Trade begins to fail them, and the Females Curiosity to abate.' (1)

Well, apart from the sociological interest of a human/wild man being exhibited, which we all know happened, there is the obvious cryptozoological question and identity with N. American wild men/mystery hominids, as in Bio Fortean Notes 2: as in the case of a `What-is-It` reported in the Galveston, Texas, Daily News of March 25 1888, with long black hair. I`m sure there are many other similar cases.

The Irish wild man is said to have come from Ireland but it is not clear to where; presumably London as that is where the paper was published.

The rhino (or what?) story was from the Johannesburg (?) Star in c. 1920 from the African Newspapers database. This is the story:

THE STRANGE ANIMAL IN THE CONGO - Hunter`s Interesting Statement.

Mr J.R. McClang writes to the “Star” – I was interested to read of the discovery of the strange animal encountered by an engineer while hunting in the Belgian Congo. The animal so described is similar to one I shot in one of the closed districts of Uganda, but smaller.

The following are the circumstances – I was travelling in the direction of the river Nile, in Uganda, in the year 1909, when I suddenly saw what I thought to be a rhino. Upon close examination I found this animal was not of the rhino species, but quite a strange animal I had never seen before. It was longer than the full grown rhino, and about the sameheight, but broader. This animal had two tusks, about 3 feet long, and a long horn between the nose and the top of the head at least 2 feet long and very thick. I was so astonished at seeing such an animal that I stood gazing at same, within 80 yards, for at least two minutes. I then aimed for the brain and shot. He must have got my scent and swerved his head. I lowered my rifle for the heart shot, fired, and got him in the lung. This I could tell by the thick blood he left in his track. His spoor was similar to an elephant`s, but broader. I followed up his track`s and found him behind some bush on the banks of the Nile. I fired my heavy bore 577 – both barrels. Both bullets went through his spine and he rolled into the river. That`s the last I saw of him. My native trackers were old hands at the game, and I questioned them closely, but they were as astonished as myself, saying they never saw such an animal before.

When I was hunting in the Wamba Forest, now in the Belgian Congo, I had 300 pigmy natives with me and they were very keen on taking me deeper into the forest, where they said I could get the very big elephants with three tusks, and in my dealings with the little pigmies I found them very keen and the best of trackers and very truthful, but owing to fever I had to leave that part. I hope to be leaving by the end of next month upon a big game hunting expedition and I am going very deep into the marshy part of the great Congo forest as long as my health is good.

1. The London Journal 16/7/1720-23/7/1720
2. Johannesburg Star c. 1920

I also found this reference in London: Notizen uber die Fauna Hong Kong`s und Schanghai`s by Geory von Frauenfeld – Sitzungsberichte der Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Classe der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften 35 (1859): 240-272 If or when I get a copy of this, is there anyone out there who can translate German into English?



Anonymous said...

I think the second animal is what is commonly called a Water Rhino and even Water Elephant" such things are said to have large tusks and a single horn on the snout, but to use the tusks mostly in fighting. I believe this is further the same as the Emela-Ntoula.

The "Irish Wild Man" is repeatedly referred to by Porshnev, and if it the same case, it was supposed to have died but to have been famously dissected later. I think perhaps Porshnev might have a couple of wires crossed there, but it is an exciting possibility.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Bos said...

The Congolese animal reminds me of a modern and maybe convergent version of Chilotherium, an extinct type of semi-aquatic rhinoceros with protruding canine teeth.