Remembering The Monkey Man

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 2nd, 2009

Eight years ago, on May 1, 2001, the Indian media first published stories of their "Monkey Man Alert," about the sightings of hairy, 4- to 5-foot-tall ape-like creatures, and immediately, widespread concern began. Do you think one of the reasons these incidents were so quickly forgotten is because of what happened on 9/11? Let’s recap those events, for this anniversary.


For a two-week period during May 2001, the so-called "Monkey Man" panic swept throughout India, mostly centered in the township of Ghaziabad, 22 miles north of New Delhi. The attacks of this giant monkey lead to a major media event, which swept from India through the entire English-speaking world. Over one hundred different articles about the phenomena were published during the peak of the activity. More than a dozen people were hospitalized with fractures and severe injuries as a result of the attacks that occurred since April 28, many of them from falls while running away.

In early April 2001, the creature was confined to Vijay Nagar when it started biting sleeping persons. It was then rumored to be a giant rogue monkey. These first witnesses said that they were attacked by a very tall monkey-like creature without a tail. The height of this creature was around 5 feet and it was hairy with large claws. People said that this creature attacked them without any provocation at all. The creature scratched the hands and neck of people mostly asleep late at night.

One witness, Ganesh Jha, of the Maharana Vihar Residents’ Association, claimed he came face to face with the "huge man-monkey" and saw him jump 20 feet (six meters) in the air. "We were taking an evening walk when we walked into this huge man-monkey. The monster sprang up 20 feet from a crouching position and grabbed the branches of a tree and vanished before me and my children could even scream," Jha told reporters.

From this small village the creature seems to have traveled to neighboring areas of the town of Ghaziabad. As more people grew aware of the sightings, hoaxes and exaggerations occurred. The original very tall monkey-like creature became a half-human with elephant like legs, reddish hands and metallic claws. Later, victims said it was a man with a monkey face, which soon became a masked man.

Although the Ghaziabad Police claimed that there was nothing like a Monkey Man, complaints of sightings, scuffles and looting by the Monkey Man poured into police stations. At least two people died from falls from buildings (scared while sleeping on roofs) and over fifty people were injured.

Finally, on May 16th, 2001, the Indian Police in New Delphi, showing two different versions of the Monkey Man, issued a computer-generated sketch (see above). Police said at the time they were no closer to solving the mystery of an ape-like creature, and then finally ended all interest in the reports, saying it was mass hysteria. While the "Monkey Man Alert" resulted in panics more related to human psychology, some cryptozoologists feel that the initial sightings of the case, the first reported encounters with a large primate, may have had a zoological basis.

Humans? Mixture of bipedal hominid reports and criminals? Mass hysteria? A giant monkey?

🙂 Thank You.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

5 Responses to “Remembering The Monkey Man”

  1. Andrew Minnesota responds:

    Scary thought, waking up to a mysterious ape like creature looking down at you. Perhaps there is something to the first few reports.

  2. cryptidsrus responds:

    Even if 9/11 hadn’t happened—this would still have faded quickly away.
    Let’s face it—no “normal, sane” person believes in even the possibility of a Monkey-Man. The media would have eventually got tired of it and moved on. Unfortunately.

    I tend to agree with you, Loren. The original sightings may have been “fact-based” but the story then took a life of its own and exaggerations inevitably occurred.

    From what I remember of the story, some of the witnesses believed it may have the legendary monkey-god Hanuman, best known for his role in the Hindu epic The Ramayana. Sightigns of him are fairly regular in certain parts of India and certain other parts of Asia, allegedly.
    There were even people who swore it was not a “monkey” per se but a robot made to look like a monkey. Seriously.

    India is its own world and its own reality. Nothing that comes out of it surprises me. If they can have statues of the Elephant God Ganesha crying milk and Gurus and Rishis living (supposedly) over 300 plus years by sheer force of spirit, then we can have a Monkey-Man attacking people.
    Incredible India, indeed.

  3. cryptidsrus responds:

    Another thing—
    Paranormal and unusual phenomena are accepted as commonplace in countries like India. That’s because the general population sees no barrier between Science and the Spiritual world. Not everybody, but most people. Things which “westerners” demand proof of easterners accept as given.
    Western media controls the “message,” though, so ultimately this would have been given short shrift.
    I once read in a book which shall remain nameless a Lama-type figure from Bhutan gently chide a man for his skepticism and then declare—
    “If you want proof, you will never be enlightened.”
    Take from that what you will.
    Of course, it does depend on what one means by “enlightenment,” and whether one WANTS to be enlightened. Good post, Loren.

  4. Fhqwhgads responds:

    Jacko, what have you done?

    The limited credibility of these sightings are not helped by the cartoonish “police sketches”. Look at the size ratios of the head and feet! *Maybe* an infant has a similar ratio — but this is supposed to stand 5’6″! And no primate that I know of *ever* has hands that are that much bigger than its feet.

    My guess is that that some real events (burglars? monkey attacks?) got distorted an amplified in a hysterical feedback loop.

  5. oldpine responds:

    This sounds a lot like spring heel Jack and thye mad gasser, don’t you think.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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