Mande Barung

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ManddeThe Mande Barung is a lesser known relative of the Yeti and Bigfoot living in the remote Garo Hills of Northeast India and Bangladesh. Translated directly as ‘forest man’, the Mande Barung are creatures very similar in description to other ape-type hominids around the world – large in stature, completely covered with hair and standing around 10 feet tall with an estimated weight of 600lbs. Until recently, hard evidence of Bigfoot-type cryptids in India has been almost non-existent except for tribal folklore.

Generally regarded as a part of the landscape for those living in the area; it’s uncertain when the first sighting of the Mande Barung was reported. However, the cryptid has been enjoying a recent surge in notoriety thanks to a famous sighting which occurred in April 2002.

Forestry officer James Marak and his team of fourteen were conducting a routine survey of the tiger population in Balpakram. The team reported observing a figure which they described as Yeti-like in stature and appearance. However, Marak isn’t the only one in his family claiming to have seen the creature. According to the family, Marak’s son also saw it and his grandson claims to have seen unusual foot prints eighteen inches in length. Despite the multiple sightings, his family members believe the matter wasn’t seriously investigated at the time because authorities were ‘uninterested and lazy’.

Five years later, similar sightings reported in 2007 forced Indian authorities to announce a scientific study to examine the credibility of the tribal villager’s claims regarding the Mande Barung. Not only did at least half a dozen villagers report seeing the Mande Barung during a three week period, but they also saw more than one creature at a time. They observed a group of two adults and two smaller creatures resembling a family. They were huge and bulky, covered in blackish-brown fur and their heads looked as if they were wearing a cap.

Until recently, hard evidence of Bigfoot-type cryptids, the Mande Barung, in India has been almost non-existent except for tribal folklore. The Achik Tourism Society (ACT) has been searching for the truth about the Mande Barung since 1997. The group claims they’ve confirmed there are no gorillas or similar creatures in the region which could be misidentified as the cryptid. They also claim to have photographs and images of footprints as large as fifteen inches in length as well as information about their eating habits and nesting. No surprise, the creatures are suspected herbivores – living on berries, bananas and plantain tree shoots. The ACT also claims to have a hair sample collected after a sighting and is planning to conduct DNA analysis on it.

Critics of the Mande Barung claim the creature is nothing more than a fairy tale. The area where the sightings have occurred is primarily populated by Garo tribespeople. Culturally, these people are a matrilineal community where property is inherited through the female line. Stories and fables are a considerable and inseparable part of their culture. Since they accept the presence of the Mande Barung as part of their world, the creature may be nothing more than an attempt to aggrandize or embellish the folklore. However, even the most hardened critic must admit the local environment lends itself well to conceal Bigfoot-type creatures. Most of the area is thick jungle only accessible by foot which makes investigation both difficult and dangerous. As one researcher pointed out, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.