Giant Monkey of New Hampshire

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 8th, 2008

As the voters go to the polls in New Hampshire, it is a good time to pause and recall the “Giant Monkey” of Danville, New Hampshire. Have you heard about it?

On September 9, a few years ago, in rural Danville, New Hampshire, search parties were engaged in looking for a Giant Monkey spotted near Pleasant Street and Kingston Road.

During a period of the previous two weeks, at least ten cryptid Giant Monkey sightings were reported to local authorities. Danville Fire Chief David Kimball was among the first to see the cryptid running across Kingston Road.

Others, like Pleasant Street resident Vivian Wicker, 58, said she heard the monkey hollering outside her home. “It wasn’t a sound I had heard before,” she said, describing the noise as a hooting or a strange howling sound, unlike a dog’s.

Wicker heard the sound every couple of minutes.

(The moniker “Wicker” happens to be one of those strange “name game” markers, which has turned up most infamously in the lore of the Wicker Man. In the Son of Sam murders of New York City, the deciphering of the “Wicker” symbolism has been attempted by law enforcers, writers, and anomalists alike. The British film The Wicker Man premiered in America in 1974 and was screened in New York City by a group called Abraxas in April 1977, during the apex of the Son of Sam killings. One event in the killings noted was of the Wicker Street shooting of a German shepherd, perhaps by the Son of Sam. David Berkowitz lived a block away from Wicker Street. In the background facts in some evidence from the murders, a hit man who allegedly participated in both the Son of Sam and Double Initial murders, John Wheat Carr, signed himself, “Wicked King Wicker.” Others said Berkowitz signed his name “Son of Sam Wicked King Wicker.” Cryptopolitics and the name “Wicker” seem to go hand in hand.)

But few were thinking about the twilight language significance of the witness’s name during those days in early September in New Hampshire.

What was on the minds of the locals was the terror, instead, of the size and weird out-of-place nature of the sighted creature itself.

The darkly colored, hairy Giant Monkey reportedly measured about eight feet long from his tail to his hands, Chief Kimball commented to the media.

Local residents were said to be “getting very nervous about the eight feet.”

On the Monday after the weekend of all the local media attention and Giant Monkey searches, NBC-TV News sent a film crew to Danville. The camera people, producer and reporter spent their time recording a human-interest story that was scheduled to air nationally the next morning, on “The Today Show.”

But it never aired.

The report was never shown.

The date for the scheduled screening was Tuesday, September 11th, 2001.


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.

15 Responses to “Giant Monkey of New Hampshire”

  1. Rappy responds:

    I assume this is “Devil Monkey” report, correct? Thanks for the interesting piece of cryptozoology history, Loren.

  2. CamperGuy responds:

    Took me a bit to get the connection between the cryptid monkey and “son of sam” being unaware of the wicker connection.

    I am always curious about stories like this. The first impression is that a normal animal is not in a normal place. Then the description doesn’t sound like a normal animal. The sightings/hearings start and end abruptly. Only questions remain.

    I’ve sometimes noticed people will report that what they have heard is unlike anything they have ever heard before, but when it involves what people see, it is described as something known but different. As in monkey but 8 foot but like nothing I’ve heard before.

  3. photoguy responds:

    What about the name game between Pleasant Street and Point Pleasant – Mothman association? Not sure how that would have anything to do with anything, but it seems an easy place to go.

    And you could even stretch the name game further with Kingston Road. The famous Kingston, Jamaica Reggae Group “Toots & the Maytals” produced a hit in 1969 with the song “Monkey Man”.


  4. DWA responds:

    CamperGuy: interesting observation about heard and seen.

    We tend to be a very visual species; we always try to slot things we see into categories we know. (The inability to do this from experience may be why almost none of us remember much of anything about our first two years or so.)

    I’ve frequently seen “no animal I’m familiar with,” then a description that goes: cat/ape/monkey/etc. In many sightings, the person recalls doing a categorization process where they literally went through all the animals they knew and ruled them all out. But they could link a description to an animal they knew of.

    Sounds are different. We tend to be less oriented to sound than sight. I know many more birds, for example, by sight than I do by sound. But note: ““It wasn’t a sound I had heard before,” she said, describing the noise as a hooting or a strange howling sound, unlike a dog’s.”

    So she could put a name to the type of sound, at least, and then differentiate it pretty clearly from a similar sound made by an animal she did know about.

  5. Smug responds:

    I live in New Hampshire, near Danville, and I remember reading/hearing about this at the time, although I don’t remember ANYTHING about it being 8 ft long, and I followed the story until September 11th. My wife and I actually mention it to each other every once in a while, “what ever happened to that monkey running around right before 9/11?” etc. I honestly think the 8 ft part is a total fabrication, that was not mentioned at all at the time.

  6. bill green responds:

    very interesting new article about the giant monkey of new hampshire. new hampshire does have good histery of sasquatch related activity. thanks bill green 🙂

  7. Rangoon responds:

    I would just like to point out that this was not a cryptid monkey but someone’s pet that got away. I come from Salem NH and am very familliar with this story.

    “Just the facts ma’am just the facts”

    It is a indeed however a very good example of how unreliable eyewitnesses can be when examining a situation.

  8. heinselman responds:

    Back in August, through November, of 2001 I had a chance to talk with several of the folks involved. Strictly going by memory, as the files are gone, the main culprit that was suspected was an escaped monkey (capuchin or similar).

    The description given matched close to the typical monkey, down to the hootin-and-a-hollerin as well as the tail itself.

    Still a fascinating part of New Hampshire history in connection to exotic or mystery animals. Even some comedic parts, who could forget the radio station DJ dressed as a gorilla trying to catch the monkey, or the baited traps with marshmallow fluff.

    Craig Heinselman
    Peterborough, NH

  9. squatch-toba responds:

    Rangoon, I would like some more detail, if you wouldn’t mind, of what the heck happened. I knew nothing of any of this until now, thanks to Loren for putting it on the site! How did a pet monkey become an 8 foot “Magilla-Gorilla”? By the way, I like the “just the facts” deal! If only this would, could apply to all cryptid reports!!

  10. Cryptid Hunt responds:

    I have the feeling in the more northern parts of the US and Canada there will be more sightings of bigfoot and sasquatch in Whitehall NY, Vermont, New Hampshire, Ontario Canada, and Maine

  11. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Rangoon wrote, “It is a indeed a very good example of how unreliable eyewitnesses can be when examining a situation.”

    Eyewitnesses are often unreliable? NO WAY!!! Get ready for an avalanche of denials, people telling you how you’re wrong, and that eyewitnesses are actually very reliable, especially police and anyone with a college degree!

  12. cryptidsrus responds:

    I too, would like more information from RANGOON.

    Like the song says—

    “Isn’t it ironic—don’t ya think?”

  13. Rangoon responds:

    To those who want more info I would point to Mr. Heinselman’s post above. He is a reliable reporter of facts imho and his facts are what I understand to be true.

    To those who wish to challenge thoughts on eyewitness testimony, 20 years experience in recon; setting up scenarios and debriefing witnesses later can be very telling.

    Being a trained observer does count in favor of the witness. Training helps one stay calm and report only what they know for certain in a fast moving situation, but there are still other factors that throw off the eye.

    And having a college education doesn’t simply make someone a better observer.

    One common mistake that witnesses can make is to over estimate the size of an object or animal. Adreneline response from being startled can cause things to look bigger. Estimating range accurately requires training,experience and practice to maintain.

    So having a monkey go running by in Danneville NH for 5 seconds might cause your brain to race and even fill in details for you that you didn’t see because the brain is not nessicarily a camera.

    Just the facts, so save the hail of denials. (grins)

  14. DWA responds:

    Rangoon: points well taken.

    What makes this situation and that of, say, the yeti and the sasquatch, different, is that what we are talking about here is a very short period of time, in a very small area, for an event that got a considerable amount of media coverage.

    In a situation like this it can be very hard to separate the feces from the facts. Anything that passes three sets of ears gets on the news. Anything that seems able to amp ratings gets reported, facts aside. When one person’s monkey is another’s ape, things can get really out of control. And Bigfoot gets tossed into the media cauldron whenever a primate is the subject.

    All this kinda stuff happens with our other abovementioned cryptids, as well. What stands out, however, is the consistency of what’s being reported, over huge spans of distance and time, in those cases, long after the droppings have been normalized out of the database.

    All that having been said. I would have a hard time believing that any eyewitness would be so gone on such hard hallucinogens that a monkey sighting could later lead to an account with the words “eight feet” being used to describe anything about the animal.

    The brain isn’t a camera. (And cameras, as we have seen many many times here, aren’t so reliable themselves.) And people aren’t perfect.

    But, generally, people do see what they say they saw. The trick is in not exaggerating what they said they saw. Which in this case was apparently an unmanageable trick.

  15. neltana responds:

    I just wanted to point out that there was a disconnect between what the eyewitnesses said and what was reported in this case. The chief reported that the 8 foot distance was from the monkey’s tail end to its hands. The chief is also quoted as saying, “It would be quite tall, maybe about four feet, if it were standing straight up, but they walk on all fours, a bit hunched over.”

    This is still big for a Humboldt’s Woolly Monkey (I see figures of a height around 2 feet and an overall length between 4 and 5 feet), but within the realm of believability. It is hard to estimate the standing height of something as it is hopping across the road on all fours (as it was when the chief saw it).

    I think part of the problem is that the Portsmouth Herald and other media outlets simplified this description. The Herald reported that the chief had seen “an eight-foot-tall Humboldt’s woolly monkey.”

    When you see what the chief described rampaging downtown, you call Animal Control. When you see what the Herald reported, you call the National Guard!

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