Fear Liath More, Am Fear Liath Mòr, The Big Grey Man or simply the Grey Man, is a creature said to have inhabited the summit cairn of Ben MacDhui, one of the six great peaks of the Scottish Cairngorm Mountains.
Fear Liath More has been described as a 20-foot-tall figure covered with short hair, or as an unseen presence that causes uneasy feelings in people who climb the mountain. There is little evidence of the existence of this creature besides various sightings and a few photographs of unusual, which linked the creature to the Devil .
The creature, traditionally considered as a supernatural being, has been compared to the Yeti of the Himalayas and the Bigfoot of North America. He’s also often linked to the Gray King of Welsh folklore as both inhabit the mountains, are known as sinister and able to manipulate emotions.
In Great Britain, mostly Scotland, references to wild Graymen and similar creatures sometimes called Wudewas or Wood Men, date back to the 13th century, and are believed by some to represent relict hominids.
Sightings have been reported since at least the 1700s, and continue to the present day. Some famous mountain climbers have sworn that the Fear Liath More is real because of personal encounters. Footprints have been photographed, but these are abnormal even for a Bigfoot-type creature. The 19-inch prints are nearly as wide as they are long.
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.
Due to the mist, Collie was unable to make out the source of the noises. He adds ... [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.
Similar responses have been reported in many North American Sasquatch encounters, and explanations involving infrasound or pheromones have been advanced.
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 Fear Liath More legend as well.
The most common explanation of the phenomenon is that it is due to a very particular set of environmental characteristics. When the Sun is at the right angle, and coming from behind the mountaineers, their shadow can be cast forwards and cast on low lying cloud in front of them. The large shadowy figures generated supposedly gave rise to the legend.
Fear Liath More or The Grey Man is identified as a presence encountered both physically and psychically.
In appearance, the Fear Liath More resembles an enormous human, at least twenty feet tall, covered all over with a thick layer of hair or fur.
He is usually described as gray, sometimes as brown.
The head and neck are disproportionately large in comparison to the rest of the body. The ears are pointed. The toes are very long, more like fingers than toes, and end in large, sharp talons. T
Fear Liath More has long legs, but the arms are not longer in proportion to the rest of his body than they would be on a human being. In overall appearance, he is described as far closer to man than ape.
More frequently, the Fear Liath More is encountered in physical sensation, but without a true physical form.
Sensations of this type include vast, dark blurs which obscure the sky, strange crunching noises, echoing footsteps which pursue the listener, an icy feeling in the surrounding atmosphere, as well as a physical feeling of a cold grip on, or brush against, the observer's flesh.
Additionally, the Fear Liath More has an extremely powerful psychic effect.
Visitors to Ben MacDhui report a feeling of overwhelming negative energy. Occasionally this is described as extreme apathy and dejection. More often, it is typified by acute fear, apprehension and an overwhelming panic, leading to suicidal thoughts or physical flight. Generally, this fear is accompanied by the physical sound of echoing footsteps chasing the observer, and sometimes the sound of a resonant and yet completely incomprehensible voice which seems to be faintly Gaelic in nature.
Curiously, the Fear Liath More has a distinct area of influence. At a certain point in their downward flight all observers report that the negative energies and feelings of fear end as abruptly as they began. The Fear Liath More has most often been encountered within this century by mountaineers climbing in the Cairngorms.
Spelling the Creature
Sometimes it’s hard to find info about this creature, both because it has so many different kind of spelling which differ from each other even passing between American and British versions of English: most American authors write Big Gray Man while European authors choose Big Grey Man, as gray is spelled with an "e" in Britain.
Gray King of Welsh folklore
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