The highlands of Scotland attract many visitors, but very few know about the darker side of the mountains. At 4,296 feet, Ben MacDui is the highest peak in the Cairngorms and the second highest peak in Scotland. It is also home to stories of a strange creature called the Fear Liath.
The Fear Liath, also known as the Big Grey Man, is an entity said to lurk on the Scottish mountain of Ben MacDui. The majority of these sightings include a strange presence and feelings of extreme fear and depression. Some witnesses claim to see a large grey figure before they turn and run. A handful of these reports include sightings of a large, hairy humanoid similar to Bigfoot. The humanoid is said to be about ten feet tall and have a muscular build. It is said to be completely covered with dark hair with long, slender fingers. Sightings of the Fear Liath date back to the 1800’s.
J. Norman Collie and the Fear Liath
In 1891, prominent mountain climber J. Norman Collie climbed to the summit of Ben MacDui alone. When he got near the summit of Ben MacDui, he claimed to hear “crunching” footsteps that he claims sounded farther apart than his own. He attempted to locate the source, but due to the dense underbrush was unable to. Collie was then struck with uncontrollable panic and ran for what he estimates to be five miles before regaining his calm. Although he saw nothing, Collie reported the impression of being followed by a large and menacing creature. He vowed never to return to Ben MacDui alone. Collie told his story to the members Annual General Meeting of the Cairngorm Club in 1925.
The Fear Liath’s Similarities to Bigfoot
Other witnesses, many of them experienced mountaineers, have claimed similar experiences. The Fear Liath has been blamed for several suicides in the area. Eyewitnesses who claim to see Bigfoot have reported similar feelings of fear. Some cryptozoologists believe these creatures may be able to install emotions through pheromones and infrasound.
Other witnesses claim to see footprints similar to those left by Bigfoot.
Alternate Explanation for the Fear Liath
Many sightings of the Fear Liath have occurred when the witness was alone and tired. Being alone for extended periods of time combined with exhaustion may cause hallucinations. Some experts believe the large grey apparition could be caused by the broken specter illusion. This illusion explains that when atmospheric conditions are right, a person’s shadow can extend and seem to cast out to the clouds.
Is the Fear Liath a real animal? Or is it a hallucination? Despite the accounts of several experienced woodsmen there is a lack of hard evidence.