The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui

The only known photographic

Scotland's answer to the Himalayan Yeti or the North American "Big Foot", the Big Grey Man is one of Scotland's more recent mysteries.

The first "official" report of a malevolent presence on the mountain was given in 1925 by Norman Collie, an experienced climber with all the credentials of a credible witness in the situation. As a professor of chemistry at the University of London, this was not a man for whom hysteria or fanciful imagination was usual.

Mr Collie claimed that whilst climbing Ben MacDhui unaccompanied in 1891, he had become aware of another presence following him, although he knew there were no other climbers around. He estimated from the sound that his pursuer was taking steps three or four times the length of his own.

Although unable to catch any real sight of it, a sinister impression of being stalked by a huge and menacing creature grew upon Norman, so he did what any sensible person would do in the circumstances and ran like buggery without stopping to look back, careering and tumbling down the slope until he reached safety at the mountain foot. He never went on the mountain alone again.

Since then there have been many further reports of climbers experiencing the presence of a shadowy figure that filled them with terror and pursued them as they fled. Some have reported being drawn as if hypnotically to the edge of dangerous ledges and precipices while others are believed to have been chased to their deaths, in their desperation to excape, over the edge of the cliff known as Lurcher's Crag.

Actual sightings of the Big Grey Man have been rare, but "eye-witness" descriptions of his appearance describe him as being around ten feet tall, covered in hair, with very long arms and legs. A couple of reports claimed that the beast was also wearing a top hat!

Huge footprints in the snow, not made by any human or known animal have been found and photographed. In 1965, prints were discovered measuring 14 inches and with a massive stride that covered around 5 feet, just as Norman Collie had estimated prior to his panic-filled descent down the mountainside in 1891.

Hallucinations? Tricks of the light? Hoax? Who knows. But you sure won't catch me climbing Ben MacDhui.

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