American Soldiers Report Seeing Vietnamese ‘Bigfoot’ During The Vietnam War.
Above Photo: A still from Planet of the Apes.
As my novel BACK makes clear, weird things can and do happen in the dark and dangerous jungles of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. But surely nothing as weird as sightings by U.S. troops of Bigfoot-like apes in Kontum Province Vietnam, in the tri-border region during the Vietnam War.
It wasn’t just one or two sightings, but apparently many reports from U.S. jungle patrols of a strange, not-quite-human but not-quite-ape creature the Vietnamese locals call Nguoi Rung, or “The people of the Forest.” AKA ‘Bigfoot’.
Gary Linderer was on a six-man patrol with the 101st Airborne’s Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols. While struggle through the jungle, he ran into “deep set eyes on a prominent brow… five feet tall, with long muscular arms.” The creature “walked upright with broad shoulders and a heavy torso.” His friends told him he’d just seen a rock ape, but Linderer had seen Rock Apes before, and refuted this.
In Vietnam, Nguoi Rung is an old tale in the mysterious tri-border jungle, but despite endless the sightings and all the folklore attached to the semi-mythical creature, there is no solid evidence proving its existence.
But Linderer wasn’t the only solider to report the large apes. Army Sergeant Thomas Jenkins also reported his platoon was attacked by these apes who threw stones at them.
And it wasn’t just American forces that reported seeing the apes. Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army soldiers reported so many sightings of the reddish-brown hair-covered Nguoi Rung that the North Vietnamese communist party ordered scientists to go into the jungle to investigate the reports.
Dr. Vo Quy, a respected ornithologist and environmental researcher from Hanoi, discovered a Nguoi Rung footprint on the jungle floor and made a cast of it.
The cast was wider than a human foot and too big for an ape.
In 1982, another Vietnamese scientist, Tran Hong Viet discovered more footprints, which led zoologist John MacKinnon to investigate the region. MacKinnon called the area a “tiny, pristine corner of the world unknown to modern science.”
MacKinnon, who had previously found evidence of a similar creature in the wilds of Borneo, and who is known for his discovery of new mammal species in Vietnam, believes there is a possibility that the existence of a previously unknown ape species is real, and that it could be hiding out in the tri-border jungle.
Stranger things have happened out there. For example the unexplained disappearance of American POWs left behind after the Vietnam War in the jungles and mountains of the region. This is something my novel BACK explores further, as modern-day backpackers enter the same mysterious, war-torn jungles of Asia and encounter their own problems deep in the 70 million year-old darkness.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
For POWs left behind in Laos, see:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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