|First Sighting||Magellan in 1520s|
|Country||Chile and Argentina|
|Habitat||Magellan Strait Islands and Andes Mountains|
Far in between, fully documented cases of Bigfoot creatures are reported across the globe. Between 1950 and 1960 several newspaper articles were printed locally in the countries of Argentina and Chile about a mysterious sighting of what could possibly have been a South American Yeti or Neanderthal Man. La Gazeta, a now defunct newspaper from the city of Santiago Chile reported that Local farmers and one government engineer at the time investigating the possibility of radioactive material in the area claimed finding large strange prints of a creature that was neither human nor any animal found in the region.
The government engineer reported that the prints he saw were very similar to the ones found in the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet -- which at the time became a worldwide sensation. The footprints and reports of the Yeti like creature came from the high plateaus of the Andes Mountain range which borders Chile and Argentina. The reports by the newspaper stated that some locals of the region of Punena close to the ominous Mole del Nevado Macon mountain range (which rises 6,700 meters above sea level) did not pay much attention to the strange prints at the time. But once the engineer realized that they look similar to the print of the Himalayan Yeti, he knew something strange was going on in the region. However, this was far from the first reports of "giants" in the region.
Ancient History of "Ape-Giants" in South America
Among the Ancient Mayans, the giant howler monkey god was a major deity of the arts - including music - and a
patron of the artisans, especially of the scribes and sculptors. In the Mayan temple 11 of the archaeological site Copán,two large statues of ape-giants shaking rattles. The Incans, a Pre-Colombian civilization of Chile, the Andes Mountains and Peru, stated that the ruins of Tiahuanuco were built by a race of giants. Passed down from Mayan lore, the Aztecs of Mexico also described giant humanoid creatures. Depending on region, this cryptid has also been called "sisimito," "itacayo," "sukara," "maricoxi," "bicho," "mapinguari," "juma," and many other names. All are now considered by cryptozoologists to be variations of the South American Bigfoot, though some have theorized from its description that the mapinguari is actually the giant sloth.
First mention of these people came from the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan and his crew, who claimed to have seen them while exploring the coastline of South America en route to their circumnavigation of the world in the 1520s. Antonio Pigafetta, one of the expedition's few survivors and the chronicler of Magellan's expedition, wrote in his
account about their encounter with natives twice a normal person's height:
"One day we suddenly saw a naked man of giant stature on the shore of the port, dancing, singing, and throwing dust on his head. The captain-general [i.e., Magellan] sent one of our men to the giant so that he might perform the same actions as a sign of peace. Having done that, the man led the giant to an islet where the captain-general was waiting. When the giant was in the captain-general's and our presence he marveled greatly, and made signs with one finger raised upward, believing that we had come from the sky. He was so tall that we reached only to his waist, and he was well proportioned..."
Pigafetta also recorded that Magellan had bestowed on these people the name "Patagão" (i.e. "Patagon", or Patagoni in Pigafetta's Italian plural), but did not further elaborate on his reasons for doing so. Since Pigafetta's time the assumption that this derived from pata or foot took hold, and "Patagonia" was interpreted to mean "Land of the Bigfeet". However, this etymology remains questionable, since amongst other things the meaning of the suffix -gon is unclear. Nevertheless, the name "Patagonia" stuck, as did the notion that the local inhabitants were giants. Early maps of the New World afterwards would sometimes attach the label regio gigantum ("region of giants") to the area.
In 1579, Sir Francis Drake's ship chaplain, Francis Fletcher, wrote about meeting very tall Patagonians. In the 1590s, Anthonie Knivet claimed he had seen dead bodies 12 feet (3.7 m) long in Patagonia.
Also in the 1590s, William Adams, an Englishman aboard a Dutch ship rounding Tierra del Fuego reported a violent encounter between his ship's crew and unnaturally tall natives. In 1766, a rumour leaked out upon their return to Britain that the crew of HMS Dolphin, captained by Commodore John Byron, had seen a tribe of 9-foot-tall (2.7 m) natives in Patagonia when they passed by there on their circumnavigation of the globe. However, when a newly edited revised account of the voyage came out in 1773, the Patagonians were recorded as being 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m); very tall, but by no means giants. The people encountered by Byron were in all likelihood the Tehuelches, indigenous to the region.
The Giants Attack
Sebalt de Weert (May 2, 1567 – May 30 or June 1603) was a Dutch captain associated with the exploration of the
coasts of South America and the Falkland Islands south of Argentina. De Weert and several crew claimed to have seen members of a “race of giants” while there. De Weert described a particular incident when he was with his men in boats rowing to an island in the Magellan Strait. The Dutch claimed to have seen seven odd-looking boats approaching with were full of naked giants. These giants supposedly had long hair and reddish-brown skin and were aggressive towards the crew. The Dutch claim to have shot three of the giants dead with their muskets before the giants finally retreated to the shore.
De Weert's claims to sightings of giants were not totally unusual for this region as Magellan also first recorded sighting in 1520 in the straits at San Julian. It was also claimed that Magellan captured two male giants as specimens to return to Europe, but the giants died en route. These creatures were supposedly over three meters tall. Many others including Francis Drake, Pedro Sarmiento, Tome Hernandez, and Anthony Knyvet claimed to have seen giants in the Straits of Magellan with the last sighting have been at Cabo Virgines in 1764 by Commodore John “Foul Weather Jack” Byron. De Weert's expedition is the only one to have claimed to have witnessed aggressive behavior on behalf of the giants. Also according to Theodore de Bry (1528–98) in Part IX of his landmark Historia Americae Sive Novi Orbis (History of American Grand Voyages), Sebald de Weert reported how his crew had captured and imprisoned a Tierra del Fuegan mother with two children on the south side of the Magellan route heading eastward. While they released the mother and the younger child, they carried the older daughter forward to Europe, where she soon died. De Weert noted that the mother had fed the children on raw birds, which was an oddity well noted in de Bry's work.
Modern Sightings in Andes
Surprisingly, the famous world rewound explorer Ivan Terence Anderson made references to a Yeti like creature that supposedly roamed the Andes Mountains of Chile during his explorations in the 1950’s and 1960’s, yet these well-documented events never reached the world wide status of the Yeti from Tibet.
In one newspaper report on the 23 of July 1956, a local trucker while driving in a desolate region of the area so happened to come across what look to him like giant hairy man. He then stopped his truck and grabbed his shotgun and began to chase the beast that ran at a high speed uphill and disappeared into the rock sides of the mountain. He described the creature had large hairy feet between 12 to 15 inches long. No other details were given in the report since it was a short clip of interest in the local paper.
In another newspaper, a local reported that strange bone-chilling screams had been heard in the area of the Nevado Macon Mountain range, close to a train station from Tolar Grande. The screams would begin when the sun went down and footprints would be found in the surrounding areas of the station. The locals stated they seem to be screams like of anger or pain.
The most detailed report of an abominable snowman came from a group of locals from a small village located in Rengo, Chile. The men of the twenty families living in the province of Rengo, swore on their children’s lives a half-man, half-ape creature exist in the area. One of the men, a farmer by the name of Absalon Valencia gave the statement that in December of 1957 a group of hunters and himself from Rengo came across a hairy animal which one of the members of the hunting party noticed walking crouched along the rocks nearby. Scared, several of the men fired at the hairy animal and to their surprise the animal stood up and began to run like any bipedal creature. All us became startled, stated Valencia, seen that the strange being was running away we notice it was a type of man-ape with a colossal height. The man-ape had long arms and long dark hair which reached his waist and wore animal skins to cover his body. We all thought we were seeing things or it was just a crazy local living in the mountains, but I can assure you, stated Valencia to the reporter, that the men and myself had never seen such a tall being, the being must have measured two and a half meters (8 feet).
If these reports are true, they are unfortunately difficult to confirm, although the newspapers did exist at one point, no photographic evidence exist of any prints. The newspapers received numerous testimonies in a region of Argentina and Chile which is desolate and thinly populated today as it was then. Could a South American relative of the Tibetan Yeti still be roaming the Mountain ranges of these two countries? This possibility of such a creature existing in South America could confirm Bigfoot like creatures may or have existed in almost every continent around the world. With so many explorers, scientist and researchers searching for the likes of Bigfoot and the Yeti around the world, reports like these could be important clues to viable locations of exploration which can lead to undeniable evidence of these supposed half-man, half-ape beings.