The Fear Liath

In 1891, mountaineer John Norman Collie was descending from the peak of Scotland’s Ben MacDhui when “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,” he told the Cairngorm Club in 1925, “and then another crunch as if someone was walking after me but taking steps three or four times the length of my own.”

Collie could see nothing in the heavy mist, but “[as] the eerie crunch, crunch sounded behind me, I was seized with terror and took to my heels, staggering blindly among the boulders for four or five miles.”

Reports of a “big gray man” on the mountain have never been substantiated, though other climbers have reported uncontrollable feelings of panic. Collie concluded only that there is “something very queer about the top of Ben MacDhui.”