Nova Scotia’s True Giant: Another Look

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 4th, 2011

True Giants: Is Gigantopithecus Still Alive?

Do the Berwick, Nova Scotia series of sightings fit into the True Giants file?

As I first wrote here in July 2007, during the 1960s, I shared what I was researching and discovering, in terms of old and new articles, with fellow researchers John A. Keel, Ivan T. Sanderson, Jerome Clark, Bernard Heuvelmans, and John Green.

In 1970, Keel compiled a book, Strange Creatures From Time and Space, which contained Bigfoot-type stories, a third of which I’d passed along to him. I was reminded of one of them about a Nova Scotia sighting of a “giant” when reading a recently located archival article found by Clark.

Here are the two:

Berwick, Nova Scotia, sounds exotic and faraway. Actually it is on the Canadian peninsula lying just off the coast of Maine. In April 1969 a giant eighteen-foot-tall figure was seen by many residents on the outskirts of that little town in the Annapolis valley, according to the Evening News. It was allegedly a “tall, very dark form” seen striding about the landscape at a speed of about twenty miles per hour. After the initial witnesses reported the “Phantom,” as it became known, local police had to assign two cars to the area to control the bumper-to-bumper traffic. John A. Keel. Strange Creatures From Time and Space, Greenwich, CT: Fawcett, 1970, pages 10-11.

The people of Cole Harbor, N[ova] S[cotia], were much excited and terrified about a strange animal that, so they say, appeared in the woods near that place. The animal was “seven feet high, and looked like a gorilla.[“]“All Sorts and Sizes,” an excerpt, Davenport Morning Tribune, Davenport, Iowa, April 5, 1892.

Cole Harbor is a community of Halifax Regional Municipality, southeast of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, at the western end of the province. The Annapolis Valley and Berwick are located on the southern shore of Nova Scotia. The two sites are about 78 miles (about 125 kilometers) distance from each other. There are 77 years between the two incidents.

Thanks for this historical item from

Jerome Clark.

Illustration from Maritime Monsters by Steve Vernon.
Update: Was this nothing but an elaborate boys’ prank? There is one answer to the Berwick giant of 1969, via a 2010 CFI blog. Click here, via Frosstman.

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 “Nova Scotia’s True Giant: Another Look”

  1. cwh responds:

    In the book “Montgomery Co. (PA) Ghost Stories”, author Charles J. Adams III writes of a “giant spectre that took his walks across the bleak surface of the hill from one woods to the other, chiefly in the nights of autumn and winter, but at nearly all hours”. The spectre is described as dark in color, between 10-15 feet tall, and accompanied by a “fearful rustling din”. This story hails from the 1880s, and variations of this story can be found in other writings from around this time. Sounds like the “Phantom” legend has been around North America for quite awhile.

  2. dws responds:

    …WHOA WHOA WHOA!!! 18 FEET TALL Bigfoot???!?!?!?!?! EIGHTEEN FEET???!!!

  3. dws responds:

    Am I seeing it right? EIGHTEEN FEET TALL SASQUATCH?

  4. giantchaser responds:

    uhm, 18 feet tall, 20 mph, get real, that seems to be a bit stretching it, unless we’re talk about a modern day king kong, or some mutated species

  5. calash responds:

    My ancestors were from this area of Canada. Specifically from the Annapolis Valley. It is a beautiful province. If this real estate was attached to Massachusetts or Maine it would be as pricy and developed as Cape Cod. But that’s a story for another day.
    I never heard any stories of Bigfoot or Monsters from my relatives. However most of the development in Nova Scotia is on the coast. Go ten miles inland and it is truly primeval. Plenty of room for an animal to live for generations and not be discovered.

  6. ChrisM responds:

    Hmmm..I’ve been lurking here for over a year now and this post has compelled me to sign up and comment. I was born and raised in Cape Breton (The upper Island portion of Nova Scotia) and I’ve never heard of these stories until now. Cape Breton is a rugged place surrounded by the Ocean and boasts an impressive highland landscape.

    I might relate a story of a camping trip myself and 2 friends went on several years ago now, probably in 2004 or so. We hiked to a place called Pollet’s Cove. (This person’s site has some great photos of the area)

    Anyway, on our second night there just a few minutes after sundown my friends and I were tending a small campfire on the side of the hill and just talking. We suddenly heard a shocking scream that none of us had ever heard the like of before. It wasn’t a coyote or cow or moose. I know what they sound like. It was followed by a different scream some 5 to 10 seconds later that was the most spine chilling blood curdling noise I have ever heard. Much more frightening than the first. 20 or 30 Seconds later in silence now I made the comment ‘OK..something just got attacked and killed’. Now I am 95% sure the second howl/scream was that of a coyote, having heard these countless times since the animals made their way here in the late ’80’s from the mainland Canada/USA. The cove is a large are with about 20 or 30 acres of grassland surrounded by boreal forest and the ocean. So the noise was inside the treeline but not that far in. I would say some 300 yards perhaps.

    I’ll never forget that scream.

    I’m not saying it was a bigfoot, but the thought sure crossed my mind, and remained there.

    I slept with my hand close to my blade that night.

  7. MattBille responds:

    I note the newspaper article gives a more believable size for the creature – a seven-foot “gorilla” puts us in sasquatch territory. I’m quite convinced anything taller than eight or nine feet is exaggeration, mistake, or hoax territory for primates. It’s hard to imagine how a knee joint, even one “redesigned” by natural selection, could handle the strain unless the animal moved very carefully and never tried to run (a restriction not likely to enhance survival in the wild). The tallest of humans, Robert Wadlow, approached nine feet, but he was an unhealthy pituitary giant who needed leg braces to walk, and a robust primate his height would probably be considerably over Wadlow’s 400-lb weight. Nineteenth-century strongman Angus McAskill (spellings of his last name vary) proved you COULD have a very healthy and strong upright primate at 7 feet nine inches and 400 lbs, providing a reasonable model for an 8-foot sasquatch, but that may be around the limit for a creature with an upright-primate body plan.

    John Keel once wrote a superb article on the part “monsters” play in our culture and psyche, and I’m a big fan of his work on the Roswell UFO case. However, his book on strange creatures never struck me as a reliable source. He gives few original sources in the text, and there’s a dearth of footnotes or endnotes that would allow the reader to backtrack to other original sources. Not very helpful if you are trying to track down, or prove the existence of, real animals.

  8. ChrisM responds:

    Good points Matt. MacAskill was a renowned figure born only 30 minutes from my home. His displays of strength are legendary in the local area. I believe his undoing was when he was challenged to lift an anchor weighing almost 3000 lbs.

    Apparently he did it but was injured in the task.

  9. cwh responds:

    It appears that there are two separate stories in this post – one of an 18- foot giant (no characteristics other than “tall, very dark” and fast) in 1970 and a seven foot “gorilla” in 1892. That’s why I first posted about the giant spectre from PA – sounds like the first story is more of a generic legend and the second, well, that’s much more intriguing!

  10. tboone responds:

    I read the above articles and the part about the scream sparked me to sign up and share my story. About 20 years ago during the summer when I was about 15-16, I was living at home in Braeshore, Pictou County (Northern Nova Scotia) when one night my step dad and I heard this screaming coming from the woods between our house and our neighbors. Growing up in the country and spending a lot of time in the woods (my whole childhood) I have never heard a noise like that nor did my step dad for that matter. It was late a night when we heard it after 11pm and we didnt know what to make of it. I said we should check it out and he said no… its late, likely just some kind of animal. The next night the sounds returned again only this time the sounds were closer, clearer and a lot louder and it sounded like there was two species not one making the sounds. I told my step dad, we need to check it out. The sounds are just too unusual not too, and so he agreed we would go and find out what is going on in the woods…. We had my mom call the neighbors and asked if they were hearing the sounds and they confirmed they did, it was at this time we had my mom tell them my step dad and I were going into the woods to check out the sounds. Between our houses is a mixed woods of soft and hardwood and is about 500 feet between us. I know my step dad was also a little freaked out with these sounds, because he grabbed the big gauge. With the gauge and flashlight in hand we headed in the woods towards the sounds. My heart was in my throat, I couldnt believe I coaxed him into doing this. As we entering the woods, the screams were not stopping, we got about 100 feet in, it was pitch black. It was at this time the sounds appeared to be moving around a bit, in the front of us and then and off to the right of us. We got half way between our neighbors house in the middle of the woods and then all the noises stopped. Then the rustling in the woods started. We contimplated turning around at this point but figured we were closer to the neighbors house, so we pressed on and finally made it to the edge of their property where they were outside waiting for us on their lawn. They had no idea what it was either. Needless to say we opted to take the side of the road back for the way home. I will tell you this, never were all my senses working like they were that night. It truly was an experience I will never forget. Being in the woods at night is a very intimidating experience, it truly can be terrifying knowing that with a gun or no gun in hand you are truly are at a distinct disadvantage at night knowing there is a possible predator within yards of you. We talked about what happended that night and agreed we should not have gone in there in the first place. As to the animal we dont know for sure. We have never heard that screaming before, and have neither of us have heard it since.

  11. tboone responds:

    I should also add that we took the gun for personal safety only, we had no intention of shooting the animal if we saw it. I shared this story with some older folks over the years that had experience in the woods and the only thing they could think of was maybe it was wild cats mating (bobcat) and someone also told me that porcupines apparently make an odd sound while mating. Whatever it was it was an experience.

  12. theo responds:

    Berwick’s 18 feet scary giant unfortunately was one that wasn’t, see my entry on what was locally known as ‘The Phantom of Parker Road’ at the blogsite of the Fortean Institute here:

    The Cole Harbor, 1892 sighting was reported in a number of U.S. newspapers – sofar I located the brief tale in four newspapers – but the wording in all cases is exactly the same as posted here, so, unfortunately there’s no additional details on this intriguing sighting.

    Sincere regards,


  13. doug.crowell responds:

    I have been trying to locate published accounts of the Cole Harbor siting in 1892 in the local newspaper archives. So far I have had no luck. Does anyone have a copy of such?

    What I have found in the local papers, is many, many accounts of sea serpents basking and swimming in the waters of Halifax Harbour and indeed around the entire coast of Nova Scotia between the years of 1861 and 1893 (years that I have scoured the newspaper archives for so far). Maybe this is not surprising though, considering the seafaring focus of the times.


  14. nsgirl responds:

    HI I was wanting to share a story here about an experience I had when I was young,mid 80’s in Pitouc County.

    I only shared this story on what I thought I saw with very few people in fear of thinking I was crazy.

    It was in the summer at a friends house,we were running around and carrying on etc.

    My friends decided to hide on me, so I went looking for them.

    It was getting onto dusk, I went to the side of the house and seen one of my friends behind a tree.

    I yelled to him that I seen him and he took off running, I was just about to follow him when I seen a dark shape in the garden, kneeling down.

    At first I thought it to be one of my friends, but then as I started to walk closer I seen that it was too large to be them.

    My next thought was that someone was trying to scare us, but this thing stood up and I could see it wasn’t an adult as it was dark and covered what looked like fur.

    It was about 7 feet tall.

    I yelled and started running to the front of the house, my friends joined me and wanted to know what was wrong.

    As I was telling them we heard a loud screech and sounded like something was thrown up against the side of a shed out back.

    I was soo scared and never talked about it to many.

    My parents tried telling me at the time that it must have been someone trying to scare us.

    Well they must have had a costume and been very tall, which I doubt.

    I know its hard to believe and I come on this site from time to time to see if anyone ever makes a comment about seeing a bigfoot in Pictou County.

    I wonder about the noises in Braeshore are connected.

    Would love to hear your comments on my experience.

  15. tboone responds:

    nsgirl- I am not sure if our two experiences are related or not. You actually visually saw something which is quite different from my experience but your experience is nonetheless very interesting if not more so. Can you remember how close you were to this thing? you said you could see fur, do you remember any other features such as physical stance or another characteristic that seemed odd?. For example there are differences in stance with an Ape compared to a human, even in the way the knee bends during walking. Can you remember mundane details like that may offer more clues? Have you been to that property after the encounter to go back to the spot were you first seen it to see if you could compare its size to lets say a tree that it may have stood by to give you a point of reference?. My experience also happened in the 80’s. In fact it was 1989. I would be curious to know what part of Pictou County you had your experience. Great story you have and thanks for sharing. Feel free to add me to email me if you want to chat about this further.

    Editorial Comment

    tboone, we do not allow email exchanges here on Cryptomundo.

    We set up CryptoZoocial to allow these types of exchanges.

    The site is awaiting just a few tweaks and will be online in the next day or so.

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