Orang Dalam

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 3rd, 2006

Malasian Mystery

Harold Stephens has just returned from the rainforests of Malaysia where he tells me he was filmed for an upcoming documentary on the Johor Bigfoot situation. Writing in transit from Johor to Bangkok on August 3, Stephens sends along, among other things, this:

Spent three days in Malaysia with Rick Noll and his team. He interviewed me on camera. Met Vincent Chow, and he had met me before. Hardly much of a trek anyone can do in three days. And Vincent, I don’t think he ever got his shoes muddy.

The others remain in Malaysia longer. I stayed only three days. Noll is still there.

Of course, this raises many questions. Will Rick Noll get to see the “photographs.” What company is doing this documentary? When will it be broadcast? Many questions that will have to remain unanswered as long as people are still in the jungle.

Stephens mainly wrote, wanting to comment on the use of the term "Orang Dalam." (For more historical background on the use of Orang Dalam, see here, pages 112-113.) As was reported at Cryptomundo on July 31st, there has been criticism of the use of the term “Orang Dalam," with one critic saying author Harold Stephens had “incorrectly assigned a wrong name” to footprints he had found.

The following is Harold Stephens’ new commentary for Cryptomundo, on this matter:

Loren, my comments for you to post as you wish. You can use the photos.

I just noticed where Bobbie Short has accused me of "assigning" the name "Orang Dalam" to Bigfoot. I would like it made clear that I did not assign any name to any one or any thing. It was a name the Orang Asli used when they saw the footprint. And Orang Dalam does not mean man of the forest. It means interior man.

Harold Stephens

Click on image for full-size version

I was on a fishing trip on the Endau River (in Pahang and not Johor) with Tungku (Prince) Bakar, from the Johor royal family. The monsoon came early and we got stuck in a native village for three days, and listed to all the strange lore about the jungle. It was then that the name Orang Dalam was mentioned. When I asked about it I was told that it was a giant man of the jangle. I gave it no more thought and later mentioned it to a Chinese friend in Singapore. He in turn told me not to laugh, as he had been stopped late one night on a road in Johor when such a creature ran across the road. He said it was reported in the Straits Times. I checked and he was right. I began doing homework.

Malasian Mystery

It so happened that I had written a few articles for Argosy magazine, about my jeep trip across Russia and the famous Quinn’s Bar in Tahiti. I wrote to the editor that I was going into the jungle to search for a reported prehistoric carving of an elephant on a rock on a mountain top. I also mentioned to the editor about the rumor of an Asian Bigfoot. If I found anything, he cabled, send it in.

The press was interested in my search for the stone carving. I hired an Orang Asli named Bujong whose grandfather had sighted Orang Dalam years before. A platoon of Gurka solders with an English captain led us up to the first rapids and there left us. For four days we battled up the Endau to the Kimchin, found the mountain, and near the summit was chased away by an angry tiger. Bujong claimed it was a female with one or two cubs. We go out as fast as we could.

Malasian Mystery

Photo: Close up of the track of the Orang Dalam on a Malaysian sandbar found during Harold Stephens’ expedition.

Bujong had us camp on the opposite bank of the river, and we stacked a fire a meter high. It was there that we discovered the footprint. Upon seeing it, Bujong became greatly alarmed. We returned back down the river.

Harold Stephens

Click on image for full-size version

After that I spent the next ten years in the Malay jungle. I befriended the game warden with the Wildlife Department and every year we made a major expedition into the jungle—taking stock of wild elephants one year and searching fort the Java rhino the next. On one trip I arranged for National Geographic photographer Mike Yamashia to join us, and another time Robert Stedman. I mentioned this for one reason: I agreed with the Game Department that I would not mention Bigfoot ever. The government had their reason. It’s much like they don’t like to talk about the elusive Negritos, the little black people of the jungle. I later wrote more about them and Bigfoot in my book Return to Adventure Southeast Asia, which I published after the Game Warden retired.

These are the facts. Does Bigfoot exist? When you travel in the Malay jungle, the oldest jungle on this planet, untouched by the Ice Age, you come to realize that anything can exit there and we would never know it. Now I’ll let skeptics attack that statement. Like the weather, people talk about the weather and do nothing about it. People talk and write about the jangle and have never seen it, only the fringes. For more photos of the jungle, see here.

Harold Stephens

Harold Stephens in the jungle, 1974.

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.

14 Responses to “Orang Dalam”

  1. JRC responds:

    How did Harold Stephens get such an awesome… Wait is it a job? Let’s just say life. How did he get such an awesome life?

    Now then to the matter at hand, has he seen the alleged Johor pictures? If he has, what are his thoughts?

  2. bill green responds:

    Wow this new documentary about johor hominids sounds very interesting indeed.
    I agree with your above reply.

  3. Bennymac responds:

    Any chance Mr Stephens had a chance to see the alleged photos?

    When is the documentary coming out?

  4. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    I’m intrigued about the negrito people. Is there more available on them elsewhere?

    How extensively are these people discussed in “Return to Adventure Southeast Asia”?

  5. shumway10973 responds:

    did he say the footprints were taken in Johor? If so, then we have two different creatures we are looking for. Notice the print next to his foot, 5 toes looking like ours. Remember the photo of the 2 girls and 1 guy casting a print? That one there was a toe off to one side. In fact I remember that because I commented that the toe was pointing to the girl on the left of the picture. We may be looking at something big here, if chow and ang ever decide to really do something. I love how at the top here Mr. Stevens said that chow barely got his shoes dirty? Why is he even there then?

  6. DWA responds:

    It kills me how the run of us think that everything has been seen — and then you hear in the news about yet another 2-million-hectare swatch of primary tropical forest that not even the locals enter.

    Even the good old USA is a lot more wild and woolly than the vast majority of us give it credit for. Anyone who knows what he’s seeing from the interstates, let alone a jet plane, could tell you that.

    The Johor brouhaha is getting a bit funny now. But I just say let’s be patient, OK?

  7. Ole Bub responds:

    Good morning Bloggers

    I guess I should have read this before I posted my comments on Rick Noll this morning…good thing I’ve got a big mouth for my big foot…LOL

    No bucks…no bigfoot…JMHO

    ole bub and the dawgs

  8. jayman responds:

    I would be interested in seeing some documentation for the statement that the Malay jungle is “the oldest jungle on this planet”… how could anybody say it was older than, say, the Amazon jungle?

  9. twblack responds:

    You know I hope there is something to all of this. I just am having doubts about the photos that Chow and Ang or whoever are basing all this on.

  10. Karrde responds:

    Chow and Ang’s elusive photos are one thing. The possibility of an unknown hominoid inhabiting Malaysia’s forests is quite another.

  11. kscryptoholic responds:

    I, too, am interested to read about the so-called negritos. They apparently are the original inhabitants of most of southeast Asia, before the Malays, Khmers, and Thai peoples invaded some 2 or 3 thousand years ago. The negritos in the Johor rainforest would be a great source of info on the alleged hominids there. They have lived there for untold thousands of years with these bigfoots and in harmony with them at that. Other negrito people live in the nearby Andaman islands and in the Phillipines, too. They are an interesting folk, very attuned with nature, as the ones on the Andaman islands proved when they heeded nature’s warnings and moved to high ground when the Dec. 2004 tsunami hit. While others were unfortunately drowned by the tsunami, they survived the disaster.

  12. Jeremy_Wells responds:


    Thanks for those tid-bits. Gives those of us interested a little more fodder for the old search engines.

    (I’d read some of that stuff over on Wikipedia, but hadn’t heard the tsunami story until now)

  13. crypto_randz responds:

    This might be our only hope in finding a malaysian bigfoot we just had one hoax already lets hope the ORANG DALAM is the real deal.

  14. mjan responds:

    Please note that those photos taken by Harold Stephens were NOT illustrated in his book, long before the Big Foot equals Big Bucks era came on.

    Based on his account in the book and that of others,we have been on the lookout whenever we went hunting in the Kota Tinggi area [Please refer to my earlier posting on the 12 June “malaysian update ” no. 8 comment]

    Nevermind the hoaxes, like the ufo ones, it should not suspend our search for something that is definitely there.

    Only sad part is that the world is full of arm chair hunters too willing to take pot shots at things they only dream about. I hope Loren Coleman and Kirk and Co. will allow this inoffensive comment be printed.

    The mawas exists. I know because I have been hunting in those parts, long enough to know.

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