Sisemite

Unknown PRIMATE of Central America.

Etymology: From the Nahuatl (Uto-Aztecan) tzitzimitl ("diviner").

Variant names: Chichimeque (Rama/ Chibchan), Chichimicli (Aztecan), Chichinite (Tol), Itacayo, Li Queck, Qetcux (Chorti/ Mayan, "abductor"), Sicimici, Siguanaba (for the female), Sirpi (Paya/Chibchan), Sisimiti (Mopan/Mayan), Sissimito, Suinta (Mosquito/ Misumalpan, "spirit of the mountains"), Susumete, U tcur witsir (Chorti/Mayan, "guardian hill spirit").

Physical description: Gorilla-like body, covered in darkish hair that reaches to the ground. Taller and broader than a man. Head is like a human's. Big eyes. Said to have four fingers and no thumb. Big toes are said to be turned backward.

Behavior: Mostly nocturnal. Walks bipedally but runs on all fours. Takes long strides. Aggressive. Howls and screams. The Chortí have a name for its cry, marikonet, which loosely means, "We'll get you." No language. Eats crabs and snails. Sleeps in caves. Said to attack men on lonely trails and abduct women and children.

Habitat: Montane forests.

Distribution: North and west of Cubulco, Guatemala; Nicaragua; Camasca Caverns and Pico Bonito, Honduras; southern Quintana Roo State, Mexico; Montañas Mayas, Belize.

Significant sightings: A Mayan carving at the ruin of Xunantunich, Belize, discovered by Lars Thomas, is said to show a Sisemité.

In 1912, the grandfather of Don Manuel Majía ran into a Sisemité on Pico Bonito, Honduras. It walked like a man and was tall and hairy.

In 1932, while leading an expedition sponsored by the British Museum, Thomas Gann glimpsed a large animal that ran on all fours in a marshy area near the Río Azul, Quintana Roo State, Mexico. It had black, shaggy fur and a white mane that obscured its face. He thought it resembled a large ground sloth.

In the 1940s, a police complaint was made in Cobán, Guatemala, by Miguel Huzul, who alleged his son-in-law was delinquent for allowing his daughter to be abducted by a Sisemité from their home while he watched helplessly.

Possible explanations:

(1) A mythical entity, like the CANNIBAL

GIANT or LITTLE PEOPLE.

(2) GIANT HOMINID or HAIRY BIPED of

Central America.

(3) An unknown species of primate or sloth similar to the South American MAPINGUARI.

Sources: George Byron Gordon, "Guatemala

Myths," Museum Journal (University of Pennsylvania) 6 (September 1915): 103-115; Eduard Conzemius, "Ethnographical Survey of the Miskito and Sumu Indians of Honduras and Nicaragua," Bulletin of the Bureau of American Ethnology 106 (1932): 168; Thomas

Gann, Glories of the Maya (London: Duckworth, 1938); Charles Wisdom, The Chorti Indians ofGuatemala (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1940), pp. 406-409; Ivan T. Sanderson, Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life (Philadelphia: Chilton, 1961), pp. 158-163; Michael Howard, "Kekchi Religious Beliefs and Lore Regarding the Jungle," National Studies (Belize Institute of Social Research and Action) 3, no. 2 (1974): 34-49; John Bierhorst, The Mythology ofMexico and Central America (New York: William Morrow, 1990), p. 170; Mark Sanborne, "An Investigation of the Duende and Sisimite of Belize: Hominoids or Myth?" Cryptozoology 11 (1992): 90-97; Mark Sanborne, "On the Trail of the Duende and Sisimite of Belize," Strange Magazine, no. 11 (Spring-Summer 1993): 10-13, 54-57; John E. Roth, American Elves (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1997), pp. 34, 100-104; Pablo Villarubia Mauso, "The Mysteries of Honduras," Inexplicata, no. 4 (Summer 1999), on line at http://www.inexplicata.com/issue4/ mysteries_of_honduras.html.

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