The Strange Case of the Maori Gorilla

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Cryptozoology is commonly similar to detective work. The sphere of cryptozoology is plagued by numerous mysteries and puzzles which have type of been misplaced to time and have change into chilly instances for which now we have to piece collectively the puzzle, usually with incomplete, obscure, and even contradictory data. There are these events by which now we have a story of some bizarre or unbelievable creature lurking within the wilds of the world for which now we have only some historic accounts frustratingly low on data to work with. In such instances, we’re left scratching our heads, attempting desperately to trace down each shred of historical past and eyewitness testimony we are able to discover, each previous article or clipping we are able to, and infrequently by no means fairly discovering the solutions we so desperately search. Certainly, misplaced or forgotten cryptid studies can actually check our endurance. One previous cryptid account that got here to my consideration not way back is the case of what was known as the Maori Gorilla, some type of ape-like creature inhabiting the wilds of New Zealand, which is thus far actually odd sufficient, however it’s a story which quickly will get simply stranger and stranger because it goes on, all whereas leaving frustratingly few clues and historic accounts to go on earlier than simply fading into obscurity.

Within the latter a part of 1870, the world round New Zealand’s Porter’s Creek turned the scene for a weird sequence of sightings of a creature that was described as some type of gorilla-like creature. The beast was principally described as being round 5 ft tall, with sparse, scraggly hair masking its physique, a tuft of hair on the highest of the pinnacle, and with a pair of seen “tusks” sprouting from either side of the pinnacle or from the mouth relying on the report. What would come to be referred to as the “Maori Gorilla” was reported as being seen each on the shores of the creek and in addition once in a while wading by means of the water. In response to studies revealed beginning in September, 1870 within the Thames Advisor, the creature was apparently well-known by the native Maori folks, who referred to it as a tupuna, or “ancestor.” The Maori Gorilla was mentioned to eat all kinds of meals, together with potatoes, pie crust, and nuts. The newspapers on the time speculated that it could possibly be “the lacking hyperlink” or some type of primitive type of human ancestor, and there was a large amount of curiosity expressed in monitoring it down and capturing no matter it was.


After sightings of the Maori Gorilla turned often reported on in varied newspapers on the time, together with the New Zealand Herald, the West Coast Instances, the Auckland Star, and the Thames Advisor, there got here spectacular information when it was reported that the elusive creature had really been captured. In late September of 1870, the Thames Advisor ran an article which was subsequently picked up by a number of different publications claiming that the creature had been caught in a swamp close to Porter’s Creek with the usage of searching canines. The article spectacularly claimed that the creature had been captured after which its arms and legs tied up. The paper’s description tends to be considerably racially insensitive, however describes the creature thus:

This Maori gorilla has a head considerably like a local, however two tusks stick out, one on either side of the pinnacle. There’s a tuft of hair on the highest of the pinnacle. The physique is as darkish as that of a Maori, with hair on the legs and arms. He grunts considerably like a pig. We’re knowledgeable that he’s to be introduced over right here for public exhibition, and we should say we must always prefer to see him.

It sounds thrilling sufficient, however then the case begins to get somewhat scary. Within the September 30, 1870 version of the Auckland Star, a brief article ran claiming that the creature that had allegedly been caught was not any type of gorilla or primate in any respect, however moderately only a seal. The article reads:

The scary animal reported to have been discovered at Porter’s Creek, on the opposite facet of the river, we had been knowledgeable final evening by some natives that it’s merely a seal. Whether or not the one that introduced the primary information of its being caught had by no means seen such an animal earlier than, or couldn’t resist the chance for drawing upon his creativeness, we can not say; sure is that the animal has little or no resemblance to the vampire it was represented to be.

This to me may be very odd, because it appears that there’s little likelihood anybody, whether or not they’re acquainted with seals or not, might ever presumably mistake one for a primate of some kind. Certainly particulars of the unique report, such because the point out of legs and arms, appear very completely different from a seal, and it appears obvious {that a} seal would have been unlikely to trigger the spate of sightings of a gorilla-like creature, which was recognized to the Maori of the world on prime of that. Particularly contemplating that the factor was allegedly captured, wouldn’t somebody have pretty shortly ascertained that it was a seal earlier than it went to print as one thing else? How might the thriller creature presumably go from being described as being a gorilla-like factor with tusks within the information to being only a common seal? Was the unique report fabricated to such a dramatic diploma? Are each of the studies bogus? Or is there one thing else happening? Is there an opportunity that somebody was maybe attempting to cowl up the discover with this complete seal rationalization, or that somebody was simply messing round?


Extra clues might be gleaned in a subsequent article from the Thames Advisor, which backtracks on its unique story, however does so in a report that absolutely contradicts the seal report in addition to its personal beforehand revealed story, whereas concurrently making the entire case even weirder and extra puzzling than it already was. In an article from the Thames Advisor associated within the October 1, 1870 version of the New Zealand Herald, simply someday after the declare that the Maori Gorilla was nothing greater than a seal, it was said that two males had gone to view the captured creature hoping to buy it for exhibition, however had been moderately perplexed with what they discovered, and it was not a gorilla nor a seal, however moderately a human! The article begins off surprisingly sufficient, saying:

We’re sorry to disappoint our readers, extra particularly with regards to any attention-grabbing query in pure historical past, but it surely now seems that the Maori gorilla shouldn’t be a gorilla at all- truly, the Maori gorilla seems to be an previous girl.

An previous girl? Once more, it’s an extremely jarring revelation in gentle of the truth that, only a week earlier than, the exact same newspaper had clearly described the captured beast as initially, a “he,” second of all not human however moderately ape-like with tusks, and moreover not wanting within the slightest bit like an previous girl. This isn’t even contemplating the truth that the Auckland Star had reported that the captured creature was a solely seal simply the day earlier than. So which was it, a seal or an previous girl? Neither choice appears to lend itself to something even resembling the gorilla from earlier studies, and moreover a gorilla, a seal, and an previous girl are about as wildly conflicting in look as you may get. It’s actually exhausting to reconcile any of those studies with one another. It’s also curious that at no level does this text acknowledge the earlier seal article. Because the article continues, it will get much more weird nonetheless. Later it goes on to say:

We perceive that two gents went over to get this most notable creature for exhibition, and after a protracted stroll got here to the place the place she was saved. There they had been proven a poor previous girl, who actually, in some respect, is as nice a curiosity because the gorilla itself could be. She has been as she is, it appears, past the reminiscence of all who know her, and has attained, it’s mentioned, the patriarchal age of 175. How this estimate has been arrived at we have no idea, and can’t assure its correctness. Her hair has dropped off, besides a small tuft on the prime, and altogether she is such a surprise that the gents who went to purchase a gorilla would willingly have made phrases for her if her relations had permitted.

There are such a lot of oddities with this story and issues that don’t make sense that it’s exhausting to even know the place to start. Even forgetting for the second the sooner report that the captured creature was a seal, it’s exhausting to actually think about an previous girl even half the purported age of 175 working round inflicting folks to suppose they’re seeing a gorilla with tusks, then discover herself out within the swamp eluding searching canines, after which subsequently being dramatically captured and having to be tied up, presumably due to resisting, solely to then be described as a gorilla creature with tusks in a newspaper article. How would an aged girl handle that? What menace would she pose the place she needed to be restrained like that, and above all how would anybody mistake her for a male gorilla, even after she was detained? And by the best way, what occurred to the entire seal angle being performed up within the paper simply the day prior to this?


One other oddity right here is the girl’s reported 175 year-old age, which because the article mentioned is just about simply as miraculous and mysterious as a gorilla working round within the wilds of New Zealand. It isn’t said how they got here to this conclusion about her age, but it surely appears a bit exaggerated to say the least. It truly is a moderately weird element, particularly in gentle of the truth that that is alleged to be the offender behind the sightings and seize of a gorilla-like beast. There are sadly not sufficient particulars right here to actually say simply what precisely the 2 gents noticed or whether or not the alleged age is correct or not, however what is obvious is that, no matter they noticed, it was no gorilla and there’s no point out of the distinguished tusks right here both. Which leads me to a different query. If there was no gorilla all alongside and relations wouldn’t allow the 2 males who had gone to see the girl to make phrases for her, then why had they been introduced there within the first place? It appears that evidently they clearly went there below the pretense that they totally anticipated to buy a gorilla or comparable creature, but then they simply see an previous girl and that’s the tip of that? If no relations had been prepared to make a deal and it was in reality not a gorilla as marketed, then who invited the lads there within the first place? Who informed them that there was a gorilla there to purchase? I suppose the lads could have heard rumors that the gorilla was there and had gone there unsolicited to attempt to purchase it unbeknownst to the girl or her household, however one thing simply appears off to me right here.

So we’re left with a path of weird little tidbits that don’t appear to suit collectively very properly. We have now a sequence of sightings of a gorilla-like, most actually a primate creature of some kind with tusks. Then a extensively revealed report claims that the beast is captured, a beast that’s described as ape-like and clearly not seal-like or previous woman-like in any manner. That is adopted by an article bizarrely stating that the entire Maori Gorilla scare was all simply due to a seal, adopted a mere day later by one more article saying that no, in reality it was a 175 year-old girl. Had been all of those conflicting studies fabricated for some motive? Which story can we consider? What’s the take care of a 175 year-old girl? Was something actually captured in any respect and if that’s the case was it a seal, an previous girl, or what? Not one of the unique sightings studies offers any trace that it was something apart from a mysterious massive primate. It appears that evidently both a number of of the studies of seize is fake or inaccurate, or that maybe a gorilla-like creature maybe actually was captured and the conflicting studies had been efforts to cowl up the discover by individuals who perhaps simply weren’t on the identical web page with which cowl story to go along with. Is that what occurred right here? Is it doable that the Maori Gorilla was in reality neither a seal nor an previous girl, however moderately very actual and its existence buried in a considerably sloppy cover-up that leaves us with these contradictory accounts? Or is the entire thing only a huge joke?


The irritating factor is that I’ve been unable to search out any additional studies on the scenario after the 175 year-old girl declare. I’ve scoured the archives the place I discovered these articles and there’s no additional point out of anything to do with the Maori Gorilla. The story simply goes fully chilly and stops, so it appears there may be sadly no solution to really unravel this case, leaving us with all of those questions with no clear resolutions. I’m undecided why such a extensively coated story coated in so many information shops would simply be abruptly dropped like that, but it surely actually is yet one more little oddity so as to add to every thing else. So there may be the bizarre story of the Maori Gorilla, a case which I discover to be very intriguing and any theories are after all welcome.

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