Maine Mysteries: The Durham Gorilla

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on May 18th, 2017

DURHAM, Maine (NEWS CENTER)– Maine is known for a wide variety of wildlife. But for about a week in July of 1973, residents of rural Durham reported seeing an entirely different creature. It’s one that leading cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman has researched for decades.

“Now-a-days, we call it the Durham Gorilla.”

The reports began when the Huntington children were riding their bikes by Jones cemetery near the Durham-Brunswick line when they saw a creature with a “monkey face” running through the cemetery. The children told their mother about the encounter, and the very next day, she saw the creature in the same area on the side of the road before it dashed into the woods. She, too, described an ape-like creature.

“It was hairy, it was bent over, it ran on four legs sometimes, got up on two legs and seemed to run along,” described Coleman.

Dozens of local and state police officers and sheriff’s deputies swarmed the Durham area over the next few days as calls from frightened residents poured in. Could this be a bear? A moose? Newspaper headlines about the creature went from centerfold to front page in a matter of days. Then, investigators found footprints.

“They weren’t boots, they weren’t moose tracks,” said Coleman. “They were actually ape like tracks with a toe out to the side.”

Similar casts can be seen at the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland.

But, as quickly as it appeared, the ape-like creature vanished. Over the years, people have searched for the so-called Durham Gorilla. Others have speculated the gorilla was just a practical jokester or even an abandoned exotic pet, but Loren Coleman says keep an open mind.

“Just because there are all of these explanations, doesn’t mean that any one answers the whole mystery.”

Somewhere in the Maine woods, the truth might still be out there.


About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

6 Responses to “Maine Mysteries: The Durham Gorilla”

  1. NMRNG responds:

    I’ve often wondered about why there are relatively few reports of sasquatch out of Maine. According to the BFRO geographical sightings page, there have been only 13 reported bigfoot sightings in Maine, fewer than in all but 6 other states. Yet Maine is by far the most heavily forested state in the country, with nearly 90% of its land covered by forest, plus it has a fairly low population density. One would imagine that would provide the habitat for a quite a few sasquatches, but that would not seem to be the case. Maybe it’s too cold in those Maine woods and bigfoot prefer a more temperate climate?

    Or is it that Mainers are simply the archetype no-nonsense, stoic New Englanders who are too embarrassed to admit having anything to do with such a frivolous activity as a cryptid sighting and a much higher-than-average percentage of bigfoot sightings go unreported?

    Come to think of it, one frequently hears of West Coast Canadian bigfoot sightings, but seldom does it seem that reports are coming from eastern Canada. Are there many reports from the eastern provinces to the north and west of Maine?

  2. Craig Woolheater responds:

    You may have answered your own question…

    Yet Maine is by far the most heavily forested state in the country, with nearly 90% of its land covered by forest, plus it has a fairly low population density.

    It takes two things for a reported Bigfoot sighting, actually three things:

    1) There has to be a Bigfoot there
    2) There has to be a person there to witness said Bigfoot
    3) Said person has to then report the sighting of said Bigfoot

  3. mandors responds:

    A couple of points, first the Durham “gorilla” siting seems relatively similar to the PEI video.

    Second, I echo NMRNG’s observations. I have been surprised by the relative lack of reports. However, my grandmother was born in and lived in central Maine for decades. One of the fascinating anomalies is that most people in the Maine boonies actually live close together. You go to places like Milo, Brownville or even Dover-Foxcroft and the people live in the town next to one another with small yards. So the the population density though already low is actually somewhat deceiving. You leave the small towns, and you are in the middle of nowhere really fast.

    Point is: if Bigfoot is in Maine, it has literally thousands of square miles to roam with nobody around.

  4. scotteb responds:

    Well I would also put out there, Craig, you ever seen a Bigfoot? My issue is simple, not every state joins every other state with forested areas. So, if these “creatures” migrate or so it has been suggested, at some point they cross open plains. I mean Kansas and so on, don’t really have forest. How do these Bigfoot migrate? In almost every state, they hit a line, they cannot cross without being seen. I live in Ky as an example, to get out of say Daniel Boone National forest, you still have to travel into populations of cities, roads and so on.

    What you people suggest is, there are populations of these critters that don’t venture out of the woods. They don’t travel highways or they would be killed(run over) or high quality pictures taken at the least. I mean the dumbest thing I ever heard was Bigfoots in Lawrenceburg KY. I lived there 15 years. Of all the woods, there is a major highway on every way out much less shear drops to the river below (KY River). Unless they can swim and fall 200 feet to the rivers off vertical cliffs that surround the county, then they have to cross the highways/major roads there. I saw what, 20 reported sightings in the area from BFRO. No way, too many hunters, too many roads and no way out. Google it. Spencer Phillips is dead now and he was doing a “Panther Rock” in search of thing there, every bit of “evidence he showed”, was simple tracks of coyotes or other local fauna from what I saw.

    We even had MonsterQuest show up in Anderson county/Lawrenceburg to film by Wild Turkey. The funny part is I “tipped them off” what I saw one night by Wild Turkey. They called over and over again, I never responded, they came and filmed anyway. You guys are so gullible over a “red set of eyes”, jumped a fence over 6 feet tall (yes there is a fence there), must have been 8 feet tall. My little hoax had a film crew come and visit the exact area. Look up MonsterQuest and Lawrenceburg KY and you will see I am not lying. Time to give it up, IT DOES NOT EXIST! Good day…

  5. mandors responds:

    So, let me get this straight…

    Some dumbass lies about a Bigfoot sighting to the producers of a Bigfoot television show and is surprised that Bigfoot investigators come with a camera crew to interview him?

    This same dumbass doesn’t think there are any forests in Kansas, when actually, there are over 2.5 million acres of forests in Kansas.


    Said dumbass is doesn’t believe a Bigfoot could cross a highway despite dozens of sightings, including video of Bigfoot crossing highways.

    He is further baffled by how a creature could cross an open field unobserved. (Oh, I don’t know. How about after dark, Einstein?)

    Finally, this person must be unaware of a recent invention called the “internet.” Because if they were, they would know that anyone can get high quality satellite images of places, like say The Daniel Boone National Forest, and see that the dense woods appear to stretch for perhaps a hundred miles without crossing a road or town.

    Who knows, maybe there are no Bigfoots in Lawrenceburg, KY, but considering the preponderance of liars, and the apparent lack of intellectual acumen, we’ll probably never know.

  6. jenlm responds:

    For the record, we in NH are a reticent bunch. What we might experience, is rarely shared. Ask the BFRO investigators how many reports exist in the database vs published reports.

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