Coach Carroll’s Weird Mysteries: The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui

The Maestro
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The Maestro

The Maestro is a mystical Canadian internet user and New England Patriots fan; when the weather is cooperative and the TV signal at his igloo is strong enough, he enjoys watching the NFL, the Ottawa Senators & REDBLACKS, and yelling into the abyss on Twitter. He is somehow allowed to teach music to high school students when he isn’t in a blind rage about sports, and is also a known connoisseur of cheap beers across the Great White North.
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Hello all – Coach Carroll here once again, reporting in with my weekly log. I was extremely excited to hear that the league listened to my request to have the Seahawks play in London this upcoming season; while the game against the Raiders is a great challenge for our team, and we’re of course looking forward to bringing our best overseas to entertain football fans from all over the United Kingdom, I am also excited because it gives me a chance to go hunting for clues for my latest adventure… solving the mystery behind the cryptid being of Scotland’s Cairngorm Mountains. Read on, and see what my hunting expedition will be all about!

THE BIG GREY MAN OF BEN MACDHUI

Ben MacDhui is southwest of Aberdeen, in the heart of the Cairngorm Mountains. [source]

Location: Ben MacDhui, Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland

Date: 1891 – present

The Story: In 1925, a British scientist and explorer by the name of J. Norman Collie recounted an experience he’d had back in 1891 while climbing Ben MacDhui, the tallest peak of Scotland’s Cairngorm Mountains; while climbing the mountain, he felt a strange presence around him. In a speech given at the Cairngorm Club in Aberdeen, Scotland, he stated, “I began to think I heard something else than merely the noise of my own footsteps. For every few steps I took I heard a crunch, and then another crunch as if someone was walking after me but taking steps three or four times the length of my own.” Numerous other incidents with this presence have been recorded since the initial encounter in 1891, though the actual presence in question remains a mystery. Locals speak of this presence with the name Am Fear Liath Mòr, Gaelic for Big Grey Man.

The summit of Ben MacDhui, well above the tree line. [source]

What’s Weird: Despite the numerous encounters with the presence in question, few eyewitnesses have ever actually seen it; those who have describe it as a tall human-like figure with long arms and legs, an ape-like head, and covered in short grey hair. Regardless of the descriptors, those who have seen or felt the presence agree that the Big Grey Man, or Greyman for short, is more a ghost or apparition as opposed to a physical being, like Bigfoot or the Yeti.

Artists’ rendering of the Greyman. [source]

Also strange is that Professor Collie, who was by all accounts a very educated, serious and well-respected figure in the English scientific community, would have said anything at all about his experience on Ben MacDhui; by all accounts, it seems fair to say that he believed he really had seen the Greyman.

What might have happened?

A few scientific phenomena may or may not explain the perceived existence of the Greyman. The first of these, which is the most likely one, is something known as a Brocken spectre; this phenomenon occurs when the shadow of a person is cast on clouds directly opposite of the sun; the elongated shape of the body appears in spectral form, and the head is surrounded by colored rings, often known as glories. The conditions for a Brocken spectre to occur have to be just right, and the steep cliffs and heavily foggy peak of Ben MacDhui are an ideal location to have light reflected of the dense water vapor of the mountain’s summit.

A photograph of a Brocken spectre. [source]

Other possible explanations for the Greyman include an infrasound event (which was previously mentioned a couple weeks ago). While infrasound cannot be heard by the human ear, researchers have noted that its presence, when created by high-wind events akin to what could be observed at the rocky, bare mountain-top, has the ability to create anxiety, fear and panic in humans. Exhaustion and isolation have also been known to cause human beings to hallucinate, and the demanding climb of Ben MacDhui could also realistically inspire those feelings as well.

Some less scientific explanations include the idea that the Greyman is an embodiment of the spirit of the area, and that humanity’s innate psychological tendency to anthropomorphize various things and ideas in our surroundings could in fact also be partially responsible for our collective belief in the Greyman.

Coach Carroll’s Hypothesis: It’s really probably just Belichick, skulking around like he always fucking does. Christ, every time we have coaches’ summits, that asshole is just lingering in the background, sizing up everyone’s wives. I’m getting really sick of his shit.

Information for this article taken from here, here, here, here and here

Banner image courtesy of Low Commander of the Super Soldiers.

The Maestro
The Maestro
The Maestro is a mystical Canadian internet user and New England Patriots fan; when the weather is cooperative and the TV signal at his igloo is strong enough, he enjoys watching the NFL, the Ottawa Senators & REDBLACKS, and yelling into the abyss on Twitter. He is somehow allowed to teach music to high school students when he isn't in a blind rage about sports, and is also a known connoisseur of cheap beers across the Great White North.
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yeah right

I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying this series.

Great stuff.

BrettFavresColonoscopy

Hey, I’ve been to the Caingorms!

/cool story, bro-self

LemonJello
LemonJello

/excitedly: “THE BIG GREY MAN OF BEN MACDHUI”
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“Oh fiddlesticks, I misread that.”
/sulks

blaxabbath

Someone say Ben McAdooey?

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litre_cola

My family is from that neck of the woods. They are/were all under 5’6 so we are in the clear!

nomonkeyfun

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“Harf, harf. Grayman, The Ben almost got caught.”