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Madagascar and Africa’s Mysterious Kalanoro
The world is rife with legends and alleged sightings of hairy ape-men. The United States has the skunk ape in the southeast, the Sasquatch in the northwest and the Menehune in Hawaii. Ireland has Leprechauns and Nepal the Yeti.
Not to be left out of the worldwide menagerie of hairy wild men, the island of Madagascar that lies off the southeastern tip of the African continent has the mysterious Kalanoro.
The indigenous peoples of Madagascar are a mixture of over a dozen tribes with overlapping cultures and a bubbling brew of spicy histories. Many are superstitious and still practice customs that raise the eyebrows of Westerners not steeped in the ancient lore of this African nation.
Among the diverse peoples of Madagascar, none pays as much obeisance to a rich panoply of gods and spirits as the Betsimisaraka (translation: “the numberless inseparables)” who live along the east coast of the island. To the Betsimisaraka, mermaids, spirits, signs and omens, and little men with long hair that dwell in the wild forests and steal food from villagers at night, are a daily part of their life.
The Kalanoro are diminutive folk said to be no more than two feet high. It is claimed these little men can be found throughout Madagascar. Other tribes in other areas of the island agree the Kalanoro exist but they call them by different names such as Kotoky or Vazimba. The Antakarana and Tsimihety peoples claim the Kalanoro in their region mostly dwell in caverns.
According to the people of Madagascar the Kalanoro have been on Madagascar for more than two thousand years. When people migrated to the island the first encounters occurred.
Yet encounters with Kalanoro are rare. They tend to hide deep in Madagascar’s verdant rain forests. Witnesses who have happened upon these little men agree that the Kalanoro have very long fingernails and a reddish cast to their furtive eyes. Many claim that the Kalanoro have feet that are reversed. If you wish to track one of those little men, they assert, you must remember to follow their tracks backwards. Successful trackers have testified they have followed footprints to areas with evidence of Kalanoro meals. The remains of meals are sometimes found by forest trees or among rocks along riverbanks. Raw seafood, vegetables and grain are said to make up the diet of the elusive Kalanoro.
Eyewitnesses do exist. According to Travel Africa Magazine, “Eloi saw his first Kalanoro in a rice paddy behind his village and describes it as ‘a little man, less than a meter tall, with hair all over his body and long fingernails.’ They can apparently be lured by the irresistible smell of frying pistachio nuts, but attempts to catch them are usually unsuccessful because their feet point backwards and hunters invariably track them in the wrong direction. In 1889, however, a capture was reported to the Royal Geographical Society and, in 1924, Chase Salmon Osborn described a Kalanoro sighting that he assumed ‘must have been a honeymoon couple’ because they were making love by a campfire. Despite their human traits and telepathic abilities, Kalanoro are considered animals.” 
The tale of the British Royal Geographical Society capturing a Kalanoro in 1889 is ubiquitous throughout the island. A check of the Society’s archives, however, reveals no such specimen was ever seen let alone caught.
Most of the Kalanoro are said to have great magical powers. Like Sampson, the Kalanoro’s long hair endows them with almost supernatural strength. Supposedly their powers are transferable for some “mosies” (herbalists) in Madagascar claim that potions of magical powders impregnated with ground Kalanoro hair provides the user with great mystical powers.
Madagascar mosies also act as mediums. Many work with the spirits of the Kalanoro whom they claim have great healing powers. The Kalanoro are thought to be spirits of nature. Those who seek the Kalanoro mediums do so because they think they have become cursed by inadvertently trespassing into a region that is sacred to the Kalanoro.
In a 1964 article, the author Bacil Kirtley asserted that the Kalanoro were dwarfish creatures. He compared them to the European legends of elves and trolls that stole food, replaced human children with their own children and generally caused mischief and mayhem. The natives of Madagascar roundly reject that description. 
Run ins with the Kalanoro, although rare, seem to come in waves. This passage recounts some contemporary encounters: “How recent are the encounters with these hairy, three-toed Kalanoro with their hooked fingers and aggressive habits? Professor Joe Hobbs of the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Department of Geography, studied them, while he was with the local tribes in the Ankarana Special Reserve, Madagascar, during the late 1990s. On May 15, 2000, when Hobbs wrote his report, he talked of how the people of the village of Ambalakedi consider Andoboara Cave “sacred because on three separate occasions, most recently just two years ago, grief-stricken parents whose children had wandered into the forest had recovered them alive here” after food was left out for the Kalanoro in exchange for their children’s return. 
Like the island of Papua New Guinea, Madagascar’s mysterious and bizarre wildlife is a veritable feast for researchers and cryptozoologists. The island teams with creatures ranging from giant hissing cockroaches to screaming lizards. Thousands of other creatures are thought to be uncategorized. Among these are man-eating plants and antelopes, the Bibyolona ( a kind of miniature Centaur), and of course the Kalanoro.
Whether the Kalanoro are truly an offshoot of Man yet to be confirmed or simply an island myth built over several millennia, the fact remains that it is curious that so many diverse cultures spread across so many different lands all have legends of little people.
US Navy SEALs see Kalanoro in Africa?
In 2006 at Cryptomundo, Loren Coleman reported that a US Navy SEAL unit encountered a group of strange apes in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to Loren, the information came from a reliable source and fit in with the area’s history of weird cryptids. A drawing by Harry Trumbore, was illustrated for the book The Field Guide to Bigfoot, by Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe and depicted the kalanoro, a “short, three-toed, bipedal, water-dwelling, mean, scruffy-hair hominoid” apparently known to tribes in Madagascar. From the blog post:
“I’ve learned, through a confidential source, that at least one unit of the US Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) has had a remarkable recent encounter with unknown apes in Africa. And a video was taken. We are seeking additional confirmation and other eyewitnesses. Have any hints of this story come your way?
Due to the sensitive nature of this former US Navy SEAL’s intelligence-gathering work, at this time we cannot reveal his identity. Hopefully our posting this initial information will develop other sources and confirmations from current and former SEAL members involved, and from interested researchers with hints of the story.
What the former SEAL relates is that he was involved in covert operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 1997 and 2002. According to his account, his team observed a group of thirteen “chimpanzee-like” creatures between 4.5 to 5 feet tall, uniformly gray all over their bodies, with rows of seemingly porcupine-like quills running the length of their backs.
The unidentified apes walked bipedally and were observed by the SEAL team in the act of killing another animal. When the creatures became excited or agitated, the quills or spines stood erect from their bodies.
According to this informant, the US Navy SEAL team took three minutes of video footage of these creatures, but this tape apparently has been classified, due to their mission. This SEAL member still has his mission maps and is able to pinpoint the area of the encounter with this large group of bipedal apes.
The involvement of a US Navy SEAL team would indicate that their activity employed water as a means of transportation, and/or they were working in an area involving a lake, river, or swamp.
What could these strangely-haired unknown apes be? Their description, overtly, sounds like similar hairy short upright creatures (with bizarre spiked hair) known to inhabit areas near certain bodies of water and from specific islands. Various regional names (chupacabras, kappa) hide the fact they all resemble each other in their number of digits, spiked hair, aggressiveness, and aquatic habits. But let’s just look to Africa alone, today.
Weird rumblings have been heard from the Congo for decades. In Ivan T. Sanderson’s Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life, there is mention of animal collector Charles Cordier finding the small tracks of what the locals called the kakundakari in the Congo in 1961.
I have previously written about an African hominoid that matches the Congolese reports of the Navy SEAL, those of the Madagascar natives’ kalanoro, a short, three-toed, bipedal, water-dwelling, mean, scruffy-hair hominoid.
All the tribes of island of Madagascar, located off the east coast of Africa, know of the Kalanoro, according to folklorist Raymond Decary, who researched the common themes connecting the stories of the Kalanoro back in the 1950s. In 1889, a capture of a Kalanoro was reported to the Royal Geographical Society. In 1924, Chase Salmon Osborn described his sighting of two Kalanoro mating.
The Father of Cryptozoology also took an interest in them. These “legends may be fantastic,” wrote Belgium cryptozoologist Bernard Heuvelmans in 1955, but “they are found all over Madagascar, and it would be odd if they were utterly without foundation,” especially given the fact that “some areas of Madagascar are still almost unexplored, such as the Ambongo reserve and the lonely Isalo mountains, and there are still some 3 or 4 million hectares of virgin forest…”
The aggressive nature of the Kalanoro comes through in a few accounts, and mirrors the behavior in the SEAL’s account. The Kalanoro are also known to abduct children, and search Madagascar’s villages for food.
How recent are the encounters with these hairy, three-toed Kalanoro with their hooked fingers and aggressive habits? Professor Joe Hobbs of the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Department of Geography, studied them, while he was with the local tribes in the Ankarana Special Reserve, Madagascar, during the late 1990s. On May 15, 2000, when Hobbs wrote his report, he talked of how the people of the village of Ambalakedi consider Andoboara Cave “sacred because on three separate occasions, most recently just two years ago, grief-stricken parents whose children had wandered into the forest had recovered them alive here” after food was left out for the Kalanoro in exchange for their children’s return.
If the US Navy SEAL report is correct, there may be something quite similar to the Kalanoro living in the Congo area too.
And if the Congo SEAL encounter was so very extraordinary, others may have talked about, it in passing. Since this “unknown hominoid” piece of the mission does not involve national security, but may extend cryptozoological knowledge, it is time to learn more, release the video footage, and analyze what was seen.
Do you have further information on this US Navy report? Please send what you’ve heard our way, via the comments’ section or let us know you want further contact through back channels.”
 “Enigma: Madagascar’s Mythical Creatures,” Eveleigh, Mark, Travel Africa Magazine  “Unknown Hominids and New World Legends,” Kirtley, Bacil F., Western Folklore, Vol. XXIII, 1964.  “Kalanoro,” Coleman, Lauren, Cryptomundo.com
Sources: helium.com/items/1768274-madagascars-kalanoro, boingboing.net/2006/01/13/us-navy-seals-see-un.html, cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/navy-seals-video
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