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Cryptid Wiki
East Java Map
Meru Betiri National Park is near the lower right corner
Type Hairy Humanoids
First Sighting Unknown
Last Sighting 2014
Country Indonesia
Habitat Jungle
Possible Population Small

The Siwil (also known as Owil, Si Wil, or just simply Wil) are said to be a race of wild humanoids living in the jungles of Java. They may be similar to other small humanoids living in Indonesia like Orang Pendek, Orang Mawas, Tirau, Ebu Gogo, Ine Weu, and Poti Wolo. The name itself comes from the Javanese word “sak cuil” or “secuil” which means “little”. These little men are usually reported from Meru Betiri national park in East Java and the neighboring locations.Siwil3


The Siwil’s height is reported to be below 1 meter. Naked in appearance, the Siwils are reported to travel in groups. They also have a slightly hairy body, with long hair often reaching the shoulder. Siwils are often reported near water sources, looking for fishes, shrimps, and crabs which is their favorite meal. They are also reported to possess some ability to craft simple tools, such as spears and small carrying bags for their food. When encountering humans, they will run away into the forest with great speed. Also they have the ability to jump to great height and length (compared to their body) to escape from humans' sight.


Historical record[]

Friar Jordanus in his book, Mirabilia Descripta (ca. 1330 AD), mentioned that pygmy men are found in Java, with the size of a 3 or 4 year old boy, with the body described as all shaggy like a male goat. They dwell in the woods, but only a few are found.[1]

Giovanni de Marignolli (1338–1353) recorded that when he visited the Kingdom of Saba (Java), he seldom caught sight of hairy men, who would flee into the forest when they perceived anyone coming. They did a great deal of work, sowing and reaping corn and other things, and people may trade with them by putting items in the middle of a path. Then the purchasers come forward and deposit the price, and take what has been set down. Giovanni concludes that:

...these monsters are not men, although they may seem to have some of the properties of men, but are merely of the character of apes; (indeed if we had never seen apes before we should be apt to look upon them as men!); unless forsooth they be monsters such as I have been speaking of before, which come of Adam's race indeed, but are exceptional and unusual births.[2]


Herry Budi Ermawan, a DPRD (municipal council) member, said that he had seen the tracks twice. He also encountered these little men when he was about to go fishing. He saw 5 of them fishing in the river with small tools, like spears. The dwarves ran away when they noticed Herry’s presence. A week later, he returned to the site with a camera. From a distance of about 10 meters, he snapped 5 photographs of them. Strangely, when the photos were processed, only the background was visible, with no trace of the dwarves.

Siwil footprint with Lighter

The Jejak-Jejak Misterius (Mysterious Tracks) team made an expedition to find them in 2011. Anang Ritarno (a nature lover) said that he had seen some tracks that were only as big as a lighter. When measured, the length (toe to ankle) is 9.2 cm whereas the width is 2 cm. The toe itself is 1 cm in length. The tracks were found near the estuary of the Nanggelan river, Wonoasri village, Jember. Anang himself said he had seen the creatures twice, in 1984 and 1999.

One of the sightings occurred between Nanggelan beach and Sukamade beach. He saw 8 dwarf men enjoying shrimps from 15 m distance. The men had shoulder-length hair, 60–70 cm in height, naked, but walked upright like normal humans. When they noticed Anang’s presence, they bolted off to the jungle.


Siwils jumping on rocky riverside

Miskarim (a Meru Betiri forest ranger) said that they are human-like in appearance, and can jump to great height and length when traversing the rocky terrain of Indonesian rivers. Onomatopoeically he said the sound as “au-au-au” (likening the sound to a monkey or primitive humans seen on TV).

When investigating the beach near Bande Alim, the Mysterious Tracks team succeeded in recording a video of the creatures. When facing the southern side of the jungle, where the edge meets the shore, 3 little humanlike creatures were recorded running away into the jungle. One of them seems to be carrying a net-like bag or a spear.


The video of Siwils caught by Mysterious Tracks camera

The video of Siwils recorded by Mysterious Tracks camera


The description of the Siwil is more humanlike than other short humanoids from Indonesia. For comparison, the Orang Pendek’s appearance is similar to a bipedal short gorilla while Ebu Gogo, Ine Weu and Poti Wolo appearance is similar to an orangutan. Siwils can make simple tools and live in communities, indicating higher intelligence than the other humanoids. They might be similar to the Mante tribe from Aceh. It can be concluded that the Siwil is closer to modern humans than animals.


See Also[]


  1. Yule, Henry (1863). Mirabilia Descripta: The Wonders of the East. London: The Hakluyt Society. p. 31.
  2. Yule, Sir Henry (1913). Cathay and the way thither: being a collection of medieval notices of China vol. III. London: The Hakluyt Society. p. 259-260.

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