Big Grey

Paranormal Entity of Scotland, similar to a True Giant hominid.

Variant names: Fear liath mor, Ferla mor, Ferlas mhor, Ferlie more, Fomor (all Gaelic).

Physical description: Height, 10—20 feet. Gray or olive colored, or covered with short brown hair. Pointed ears. Broad shoulders. Long, waving arms.

Behavior: Often appears during a fog or mist. Stands erect. Makes odd crunching noises or a high-pitched humming sound. Occasionally accompanied by ghostly music or voices. Follows hikers. Creates an icy feeling in the air—a cold, physical presence that induces fear, panic, depression, or apathy.

Tracks: Rare and unreliable.

Distribution: The summit of Ben Macdhui in the Cairngorm Mountains, Grampian, Scotland.

Significant sightings: In 1891, Norman Collie was returning from the summit when he heard the crunch of footsteps behind him. For every step he took, he heard another crunch, as if someone had a stride three or four times the size of his own. He ran downhill the last few miles.

In 1942, Sydney Scroggie was camping out at the Shelter Stone by the Garbh Uisge on Ben Macdhui when he saw a tall, stately figure taking deliberate steps across the burns flowing into Loch Avon.

On December 2, 1952, James Alan Rennie photographed a series of tracks in the snow in a straight line on the mountain. Each print was about 19 inches long and 14 inches wide, with a stride of 7 feet. At one point, the tracks jumped a road over a distance of 30 feet.

Possible explanations:

(1) The Brocken spectre is the giant shadow of an observer cast on a wall of white mist and often surrounded by one or more concentric rings of color (the "glory") centered on the figure's head. However, this optical effect does not seem to be what hikers have been reporting.

(2) The high altitude, isolation, and meteorological conditions on Ben Macdhui may produce hallucinations. The warm Föhn wind of southern Germany is said to produce headaches, nausea, aching joints, fatigue, irritability, apathy, and depression. A similar effect might take place in the Cairngorms, causing confusion, stress, and disorientation. Sources: Affl eck Gray, The Big Grey Man of

Ben MacDhui (Aberdeen, Scot l and: Impul se, 1970); Ronald J. Willis, "Ben MacDhui: The Haunted Mountain," INFO Journal, no. 15 (May 1975): 2-5; F. W. Holiday, The Goblin Universe (St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn, 1986), pp. 152-154; Karl Shuker, "The Big Grey Man," Fate 43 (May 1990): 58-68; Andy Robert s, "The Big Grey Man of Ben Macdhui and Other Mountain Panics," Fortean Studies 5 (1998): 152-171.

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