But most fascinating and thrilling of all were the Hairy Men! My father told me of these weird, sinister creatures one night as I lay on my mat in the darkness of our roomah [house]. They were not exactly apes, he said, but ape-humans. I shuddered as he went on to describe the Hairy Men - men covered with hair from head to foot and with long, fang-like teeth projecting from their mouths. And, most strangely of all, their bodies underneath the hair were said to be white.
Eight days after the last reported appearance of the hairy trio, veteran Malayan Henry W. Cowling came forward with evidence of an encounter with similar creatures which he had experienced twenty years before. He recalled that he and an Army officer saw a "very hairy ape-like couple" walking along the Mura Batu Anam road. The female was carrying a pole about ten feet [3 metres] long which had been stripped of bark. "Could these have been ancestors of the present trio?" asked Cowling.He had been motoring towards Batu Anam and was about thirty miles [50 km] from the town when his driver suddenly cried, "Oran Utan!" Cowling and his companion, Major Armstrong, looked up and saw two waddling figures at the side of the road walking towards them. They were very hairy and black and rusty brown in colour. Fear showed in their bloddshot eyes as the car passed them. Both creatures were between four and four-and-a half feet [120 - 140 cm] in height.Mr. Cowling added that he stayed that night with an engineer, Mr. J. S. Boissier, who told him that a whole colony of these hairy people - about a hundred and twenty of them - existed near the spot where Cowling had seen the two creatures. They lived in tree branch shelters and contact was made through the Sakai aborigines who could speak "ape language".
I was a schoolboy of eleven and we lived near the area. A group of fishermen passing through the jungle saw a hairy figure leaping from tree to tree. At first they thought it was a monkey but a second look told them it was not. The fishermen rounded up more people from the village and, after a hectic chase, the creature was caught.There was a great excitement in the village when it was discovered that the creature was a man. He was covered all over with thick hair. He wore no clothes and was unable to understand or answer his captors when questioned. He was taken to a nearby hospital where doctors shaved off the hair to examine him. He was found to be wearing earrings.The prisoner became morose and refused to be fed. Finally he died and, soon after his death, natives found an old wreck near the spot where the creature had been captured. It was then believed that the creature was a sailor who had wandered into the jungle years before when his ship had been wrecked.
In 1951 I was stationed at Ulu Dong in Pahang. One of the villagers spoke of having seen tall, hairy creatures washing themselves early in the mornings at a spot some miles up-river. I wanted to visit the spot when on patrol but I was moved from Pahang before I could arrange it. A police lieutenant was with me when the villager spoke of the hairy people and he afterwards reported that while on a patrol from Ulu Cheka, he had seen some of the creatures.
Then we heard from another army officer: This was at the height of the war against communism during the Malayan Emergency.I met five of these creatures in the Cameron Highlands in 1927. It was a hot August night and all the dogs were howling and barking. We spent an eerie and restless night. The next morning some workmen came to say that many strange footprints had been discovered in the newly-dry nursery beds at the Experimental Station. I decided to investigate.After a hurried breakfast I started. Ko Po Chet, a Burmese, and Nirh Bahadur, a Gurkha, insisted on coming with me. All we had was one shotgun, one saung dah and one kukri. We had been walking for about an hour in the jungle and were going up an incline. I was taking my turn to clear the way ahead when we were brought to a sudden stop by the sound of a deep cough. Looking up we saw an apparition corresponding to the description of the Trolak 'ape-men'. It had huge fang-like teeth and a placid, fixed gaze.Behind it I saw four more of the creatures. I felt weak at the knees and looked round for the gun which Ko Po Chet had been carrying. To my dismay he had put it on the ground and moved off. He shouted to me to leave the gun alone. When I looked up again I saw all five creatures had turned their backs on us and were moving away.Po Chet later told me that these creatures were quite common in Burma. They were, he said, the spirits of murdered people, sometimes visible, sometimes not. They were hunting their murderers with the aim of tearing them to pieces.
In 1949 I led a five-man patrol on a jungle track some miles up-river from Kota Tinggi, Johore. I saw what appeared to be a human lurking in the undergrowth about thirty yards away from us. I halted the patrol and loosed off a shot. There was the most horrible scream I have ever heard and I had the fright of my life when I saw a hairy shape, the size of a fully grown man, running with one hand clutching its shoulder. The rest of the patrol saw it, too. The Bren gunner was too flabbergasted to do anything. I would not like to come across the same thing again!
'Hairy' creatures scare tapper.The big question is: were they apemen?Slim River, Tues. - Three hairy “things” - two males and a female - have been seen in the jungle near here, reviving memories of the famous ape-men who hit the headlines when they were spotted in this district two years ago.Terrified villagers are now asking: “Are they human or animal?”The “things” were seen twice in a day recently by separate groups of tappers.Two sisters working in the Kampong Chempa area, two miles from here, were the first to spot them. Chan Ming Tuah, 12, said she saw three hairy creatures suddenly appear ten yards away at seven o’clock in the morning. The creatures, covered with long, matted hair, walked upright towards her with their hands “wobbling wildly” at their sides. They had long fingernails and were about four feet in height. Chan screamed and fled with her sister. In her panic she fell several times, tearing her samfoo. And for three days after that she was too frightened to go to work.Three Indian tappers, working some distance away, also saw the creatures who shambled off when they shouted at them. The tappers, who did not know Chan and her sister, corroborated the girls’ report that the unknowns had hairy bodies and long fingernails. The creatures, they said, carried short sticks. The two males were taller than the female who was about four feet [120 cm] in height.Officialdom, however, was sceptical about the reports. “They are probably apes,” said a spokesman of the Department of Aborigines.A police officer said, “We’ve heard rumours but no one has lodged a report. We are NOT investigating.”In January 1954, 20 Special Constables sent to scour Trolak Estate in a “bring ‘em back alive” bid after the ape-men. On that occasion witnesses described the ape-men as having bushy eyebrows, long fangs, and wearing scanty loin cloths. Their stories aroused world-wide interest and speculation in anthropological circles.Asked what he thought about the “things”, the Manager of Trolak Estate, Mr. G. M. Browne, said today: “I haven’t heard the reports but I believe they could well be true.” He pointed out that though people had scoffed at the ape-man theory, no one could account for the fact that different eye-witnesses, unknown to each other, had seen the creatures on separate occasions and given identical accounts.At that time many people came forward with stories of their encounters with similar creatures in different parts of Malaya. A man quoted a P.W.D. executive engineer, Mr. J. S. Boissier, as saying that a colony of ape-men lived 30 miles from Batu Anam in Johore around 1934. The ape-men wore loin cloths and lived in tree branch shelters. Contact was made through aborigines who could speak their language.