The Cryptid Zoo: Big Gray Man (Fear Liath Mor)

The "Big Gray Man" (a literal translation of his Scottish Gaelic name "Fear Liath Mor") is a Bigfoot-like creature that is regularly sighted near Ben Macdhui in Britain, the highest mountain in the Cairngorm Range of Scotland. The "Big Gray Man" is described as being considerably taller than the typical Bigfoot, thus being eligible for inclusion in the category of hairy humanoids called true giants.

He is described as having a number of characteristics that make him seem more like a creature of mythology or the supernatural, rather than a suitable subject for cryptozoology. He seems to have paranormal powers, such as controlling the fog and causing such extreme fear in humans and animals that they will leap off cliffs or even die trying to get away. The Big Gray Man is attributed with the ability to manipulate emotions, such as causing his victims great fear, despair or a desire to commit suicide. Some reported "encounters" with the Big Gray Man are based only on experiences with extreme emotion and/or weird fog while climbing Ben Macdhui, and not on claims of actually seeing a big hairy monster.

In appearance, the Big Gray Man 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. The Big Gray Man 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. The Big Gray Man walks very erect, not stooped over or humped like some hairy humanoids. In some sightings, he wears a top hat. He is often partially shrouded by mist or fog, which seems to come with him and retreat when he retreats.

Sightings have been reported since at least the 1700s, and continue to the present day. A number of famous mountain climbers have sworn that the Big Gray Man 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.

It should be noted that spelling variations between American and British versions of English sometimes make it hard to look up information about the Big Gray Man. Most American authors write "Big Gray Man" while European authors write "Big Grey Man" ("gray" is spelled with an "e" in Britain).

The Big Gray Man is quite similar to the Gray King of Welsh folklore. Both beings inhabit the mountains, are thought of as sinister, manipulate emotions, and are big hairy monsters that border on the spirit world, seeming more supernatural than biological.

You can find out more about the Big Gray Man from the following sources:

Ben Macdhui, Scotland

Grey, Affleck. The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui. Aberdeen, Scotland: Impulse Books, 1970.

McEwan, Graham J. Mystery Animals of Britain and Ireland. London: Robert Hale, 1986. Pages 171-172

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Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Pages 59, 198

Redfern, Nick. Three Men Seeking Monsters: Six Weeks in Pursuit of Werewolves, Lake Monsters, Giant Cats, Ghostly Devil Dogs, and Ape-Men. New York: Paraview Pocket Books, 2004. Pages 21, 217-226

Shuker, Karl P. N. Scotland's Greyman

Wikipedia, The. Am Fear Liath Mr (also known as The Great Grey Man of Ben MacDhui)

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The text on this page is copyright 2006 by Jamie Hall. Please use proper citation if you are using this website for research.