The Man Eating Monster of Mt. Bandai

In the late 1700s, a small village at the foot of Mt. Bandai in the Tohoku area of Fukushima prefecture, Japan, was held in the grip of terror by a mysterious creature.

Mt. Bandai, Fukushima, Japan.

The incident began when villagers started reporting sightings of a strange creature lurking in the surrounding woods. This creature was said to look like a large primate of some sort, with a huge mouth, claws, and spiky fur running along its back. ┬áIt was most often seen in the evening hours and its eyes were said to reflect light like a cat’s. In addition, loud shrieks were often heard at night emanating from somewhere on the mountain.

These night-time howlings and sightings of such a frightening creature would have likely been enough to instill fear within the small, rural community, but this just the beginning. Around the time that this enigmatic beast was first spotted on the outskirts of town, animals such as pets and livestock were reported to have disappeared without a trace. One farmer was said to have had every single one of his chickens disappear in a single night. These animal disappearances continued, and It did not take long for villagers to connect these vanishings with the odd visitor lurking in the woods. People became more afraid, and they became wary of traveling outside at night.

An illustration of the creature from the time.

This still would not be the extent of the bizarre occurrences unfolding around them. As time went on, several children disappeared, some taken directly from their own homes. The creature was even purportedly seen kidnapping children and dragging them into the night. It was at this time that the villagers took action, and hired a hunter to track and kill the beast that was terrorizing them.

After several days of tracking the creature in the wilderness, the hunter allegedly shot and killed it in 1782. The carcass was purportedly of somewhat of an ape-like creature, 1.5 meters long, covered in hair, and with a large mouth filled with fangs that was described as being like the head was split from ear to ear. It also had a long, sharp nose and short limbs with webbed hands. The creature was reported to exude an extremely rank, overpowering odor, which unfortunately led to the body being discarded not long after.

With the death of this baffling monster, the kidnappings and animal disappearances ceased.

What is going on with this case? The creature matches no description of any Japanese cryptid that I know of seen before or since these events. The sightings and disappearances started abruptly, with no apparent prior history of such creatures being seen on the mountain, and ended just as abruptly with its reported death. Nothing like it has been seen since, and the case remains a complete mystery.

One thing that does strike me concerning this case is how the descriptions given almost sound to me like something akin to the Chupacabras. Did some sort of Japanese Chupacabras terrorize this small rural community?

Chupacabras

Considering that these events unfolded in the late 1700s, and that the alleged carcass of the creature was not preserved or examined by any sort of scientist, it seems that this one will forever remain an enigma.

Mt. Bandai is a stratovolcano located in Fukushima prefecture. It is most notable for it’s eruption in 1888, which killed 477 people, left thousands more homeless, and remains one of the worst volcanic disasters in recent Japanese history.

Mt. Bandai

mystery_man – has written 43 posts on this site.

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  1. mystery_man–Great post! This one got me to thinking about what this creature could be. The 1.5 meter length you posted as a description narrows down the possibilities. That would be about four and a half feet from head to tail. And the description of webbed feet also narrows down the possibilities of what this creature could be.

    I assume that Mt. Bondai has a temperate climate with all four seasons? I also assume there were some mountain rivers running through the region before the eruption in 1888? I assume that the reason for the lakes created after the eruption are due to volcanic material clogging some of those rivers?

    If my assumptions are correct, I would have to guess (and I hate to post it). That from the description of the animal and environmental features, that the creature was an otter. I know, I know, otters can not be the answer to all unknown or cryptid creatures. But the shoe fits on this one. I don’t think an otter is capable of carrying away children but it would explain the missing chickens. The webbed feet, fur, length of the creature and habitat all fit.

    So my guess reluctantly on this one is mistaken identity, namely an otter.

  2. Photoexpert-

    Hello there! Thanks for the comments!

    An otter, huh? I think in some ways the otter matches, but in others I’m not so sure. The disappearances of the animals, some very large such as pigs and cows, would not be the work of an otter. Also, the kidnappings of children, some of which were witnessed, would also not be very otter-like behavior. Also, the appearance was also described as something like a money, which also seems odd for an otter.

    I also think that otters at the time would probably have been recognized as such, and would likely not have been mistaken for some foul, fanged, mystery beast, especially by a hunter who one would think would be familiar with the wildlife of Japan. I’m not sure how an otter would fool an experienced hunter into thinking it was some monster, as well as stirring a whole village into a panic.

    I tend to be more inclinced to think that what we are looking at here was a case of mass hysteria of some kind. Perhaps someone thought they saw something wierd in the woods and it caused a mass panic. The rest could have been exaggerations or complete fabrications.

    It is an old account, so it is hard to say, and impossible to fully verify what happened during these events. However, I’m not really sure about otter as the culprit here. Otters in a line maybe? ;)