Does de Loys’ Ape Exist?

Post 593

de Loys Ape 1

1920. A group of four exhausted men reach the banks of the Tarra River. The only survivors of a 20 man expedition that begun in 1917, looking for petroleum along the Colombia and Venezuela border. The group was cut down by disease, natives and parasites. One night, whilst camping by the river, they encountered two strange creatures. They were irritated and heading for the camp. They gestured and howled wildly. They started flinging their excrement at the battered group. Terrified, one of the decimated expedition shot dead one of the creatures. The other ran away. As the group began to investigate, they soon realised that what they had killed was no ordinary creature…

François de Loys, the expedition leader, said the creature resembled a spider monkey, except it had reddish fur and no tail. It was also huge, nearly two yards tall. De Loys took numerous photos of the animal, but most were lost when his boat capsized. Only one photo survived.

De Loys, a Swiss oil geologist, hid the photo. But the photo and the accounts of de Loys were discovered, many years later. Together, they showed and described characteristics of an ape-like animal not associated with apes of that part of the world, such as the lack of a tail and its large size. Most established scientists immediately rejected the claims it was a new creature and said that it was a spider monkey, altered or manipulated to appear different. They also argued that its size couldn’t be accurately judged, either, nor could anyone tell if it had a tail. They agreed it was all a hoax by a man famed for his pranks.

As if any more nails needed to be hammered into the coffin, a recent discovery has shed new light on the photo. For years, the only version publicly seen was a cropped version of the original photo, only showing the creature. But an uncropped version was discovered recently. In it, on the right, a banana tree can be seen. But they are not indigenous to South America, where the photo was supposedly taken. At the very least, it wasn’t taken where de Loys said it was. It brings into question his honesty and validity. It makes one wonder what else he is lying about.

Yet despite all this, many still believe in de Loys’ Ape. They argue it is some unknown creature. They argue that de Loys didn’t pull a prank because he hid the photo away – a prankster would’ve displayed it, proudly. And they argue that the discrepancies in the photo and his story make sense considering how traumatised he must’ve been after such a dreadful expedition. But then again, many argue that he hid the photo because he was ashamed of the ‘prank’. Or perhaps he was trying to make the expedition ‘worth it’, considering how many died. The story of this creature, even today, remains hugely controversial. Many different and conflicting stories and interpretations paint the tale of de Loys and his ape in completely different lights. In this case, 100% accuracy is impossible.

We’ll likely never know if this creature was really an unknown species, a hoax or an honest misidentification. For cryptozoologists, it will forever remain a mystery.

So I’ll give this creature a 50 on my patented Cryptid-o-Meter, putting it bottom of the list with the Beast of Exmoor still holding top spot.

De Loys’ Ape. A fascinating cryptid indeed.

Ciao :)(:

1) The famous uncropped photo of de Loys’ Ape (credit:

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