Traverspine Gorilla (crypto-hominid)

From Kook Science

Traverspine Gorilla
Country Canada
Region(s) Labrador
First reported 1919; encounters reputedly occurred six years prior

Traverspine Gorilla is a crypto-hominid reported in the Labrador interior region of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, so-named for the Traverspine River, a tributary of Churchill River (Grand River), near where it was claimed to have been active in the early twentieth century.

In Elliott Merrick's relation of the account of the Michelin family, first published in True North (1933), the "gorilla" was described as a "huge hairy thing with low-hanging arms" and a distinctive white mane, its face having expressive features, such that it could be said to have a grin; and it was supposed that, when standing erect, the creature was seven-feet tall, and the Michelin's took paper measurements of its twelve-inch long footprints, "narrow at the heel and forking at the front into two broad, round-ended toes," found deep enough in the snow that they estimated it might weigh five hundred pounds. In one notable encounter, the gorilla was said to have used a club to attack the Michelin home, hitting "a corner of the house with such force it made the beams tremble."

In the journals of Harry Paddon, a British physician, dated the winter of 1913, we find another relation of the Michelin family's encounters,[P] recounting an incident where the children were scared by "a strange, barely human face" in the willows and that the creature was driven away by their mother, who fired at it with a shotgun, as well as further incidents where tracks were found and sounds of the creature (and a mate) were heard, but that the creature was neither captured nor killed after several hunts for it. Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, another British physician and missionary, in his 1919 autobiography, likewise related the stories told to him by the Michelin family, adding the detail that "the French agent of Révillon Frères" was involved in the search for the creature, and that the "stride was about eight feet, the marks as of the cloven hoofs of an ox."[G]


  • Merrick, Elliott (1933), "New Life: September 11", True North, New York: C. Scribner's Sons 
  • Paddon, Harry (2003), Rompkey, Ronald, ed., Labrador Memoir of Dr. Harry Paddon, 1912-1938, Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, p. 92,, "One day, some of [the young generation at Traverspine] were badly scared by a strange, barely human face peering at them through some willows. In alarm they rushed home and told the news. Joe [Michelin] being away, his wife seized a gun and, dimly seeing a figure through the bushes, fired both barrels, knowing that it was neither neighbour nor Indian. Thereafter, the creature avoided the place by day but haunted it by night. Tracks were found of which patterns were preserved. Watch was kept from places of concealment at night, but without result. The lumbermen had started work at Mud Lake at this time, and some of them joined in the hunt, but with no success. The creature evidently had a mate, as double tracks were seen, and also sounds of domestic strife were heard, with loud lamentations from the weaker member. No capture or killing was ever effected, and the affair remained a mystery. That there were gorillas or even chimpanzees in the sub-arctic Labrador seems impossible. Only lately, I received from an English relation who had visited here and heard the story a newspaper cutting regarding 'snowmen' [the Abominable Snowman] whose tracks were reported by Himalayan explorers. Possibly there may be a clue here to the mystery of Traverspine, Labrador." 
  • Grenfell, Wilfred Thomason (1919), "They That Do Business in Great Waters", A Labrador Doctor: The Autobiography of Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, p. 328,, "Many inexplicable things happen 'on Labrador.' Thus, one year while visiting at the head of Hamilton Inlet, a Scotch settler came aboard to ask my advice about a large animal that had appeared round his house. Though he had sat up night after night with his gun, he had never seen it. His children had seen it several times disappearing into the trees. The French agent of Révillon Frères, twenty miles away, had come over and together they had tracked it, measured the footmarks in the mud, and even fenced some of them round. The stride was about eight feet, the marks as of the cloven hoofs of an ox. The children described the creature as looking like a huge hairy man; and several nights the dogs had been driven growling from the house into the water. Twice the whole family had heard the creature prowling around the cottage and tapping at the doors and windows. The now grown-up children persist in saying that they saw this wild thing. Their house is twenty miles up the large Grand River and a hundred and fifty miles from the coast."