Cryptos Part IV: Island of the Supernatural
"The idea that such a long-lived species or line of hominins met its end fifty or sixty thousand years ago...reflects no more than an unstated paleontological convention."
This is the fourth in a series of articles exploring the possibility of a cryptoterrestrial presence on Earth, and its relation to the UFO phenomenon. Click here for Part I.
In the previous edition of this series, we reviewed the recent discoveries regarding Homo naledi in the past year, including the revelation that these small-brained hominins were using tools to venture further into the three-kilometer-deep Rising Star cave system.
We explored how this behavior opens up many possibilities when it comes to a potential cryptoterrestrial presence on Earth, and how the smaller size of this species' brain may potentially prove that cranial volume may be negligible when it comes to cognitive capabilities.
If this holds true, the implications for the cryptoterrestrial hypothesis (CTH) are extensive. This means we may be able to consider most species of hominins as potential candidates for having split off from modern-day Homo sapiens, who may have achieved an equal — or perhaps even more advanced — cognitive evolutionary state.
This brings us to our next contender for the intelligence behind the UFO phenomenon, also a hominin of small brain size and comparatively less stature than naledi.
This species is believed by some to be the basis of supernatural events that have taken place on the island these hominins once resided, leading to one anthropologist's hypothesis that these "hobbits" may even exist up to this day.
Small But Mighty
Homo floresiensis was a small, ancient hominin species that inhabited the island of Flores, Indonesia. Initially thought to be present on the island as recently as 12,000 years ago, more current evidence pushed the consensus on their extinction back to 50,000 years ago — perhaps not so coincidentally, with the ascension of Homo sapiens.
In addition to the more recent change in fossil dating, floresiensis was also initially believed to be Homo sapiens afflicted with some kind of birth defect.
This finding was eventually dismissed, and just like Homo naledi, the brain size of this species did not appear to have any effect on cognitive abilities. Floresiensis was capable of harnessing fire and making stone tools, which are considered advanced behaviors by paleoanthropologists.
Additional contemporary discoveries related to floresiensis have shown other evolved behaviors as well, similar to those displayed by the "more advanced" human species at the time.
During a presentation on Homo naledi, paleoanthropologist John Hawks reviewed some of the accomplishments of other hominins throughout ancient times, specifically focusing on how floresiensis may have arrived on the island of Flores in the first place.
He even suggests these little hominins had the capacity for seafaring.
Hominins are experiencing their worlds and altering them. They're going into spaces that other species don't access and they're making things that are different. They're marking their environments and they're marking themselves.
Now, many people look at this kind of evidence and think, Wow, you know, this is what humans do, so, therefore, they must be human." That's kind of a chauvinistic point of view.
And there's nowhere that's better evidence for this than Southeast Asia where, on the island of Flores, separated from the Asian mainland always by a permanent water crossing, even at the lowest levels of sea level, there are hominins that are very different from us. Brains that are around 420 cubic centimeters in size, smaller than naledi's, skeletons that are smaller than naledi's.
This species, Homo floresiensis, evolved on an island or reached this island by crossing over permanent water straits. You may say, "Well, okay, that could happen. That seems like an amazing thing."
They make stone artifacts that are very interesting, not necessarily super complex, although these blades are beautifully manufactured in Liang Bua Cave, where the skeleton that I just showed you was found. From Mata Menge, these artifacts more than 800,000 years old indicate floresiensis' presence on the island at that date.
Let us pause for a moment to take in what Hawks, one of the world's premier experts in his field, just stated in this presentation.
Homo floresiensis, with a brain the size of a chimpanzee, may have constructed and utilized aquatic craft — as primitive as it may have been — to cross the ocean almost a million years ago.
One has to wonder how a distinctly non-human hominin would evolve over such a lengthy period of time.
How would their technology evolve?
Would they have found other ways to traverse the planet, or shelter themselves from any cataclysmic event that may have happened over the hundreds of thousands of years they existed?
If so, what makes us so sure they would have stayed confined to the island of Flores?
A good place to start would be to examine the history through the lens of those most familiar with the history of the island — the residents of Flores themselves.
An Enduring Legend
There are legends of "ape-men" told by the current human inhabitants of Flores that go back millennia. In fact, there are so many intriguing tales of these creatures that they attracted the attention of Gregory Forth, a professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta for over thirty years.
Upon hearing these descriptions of these ape-men — or as the Lio of Flores call them, "lai ho'a" — Forth decided to write a book about these folktales and see if he could tie them to the now-scientifically proven existence of floresiensis.
In his book Between Ape and Human: An Anthropologist on the Trail of a Hidden Hominoid, Forth details the Lio people of the island and their individual recollections of interactions with these creatures. He states that he had actually heard of these tales years before any discoveries happened around floresiensis, proving that this is not just based on local familiarity with the species.
The first thing we should evaluate when considering floresiensis as a candidate for the current-day existence of a hidden, non-human species existing alongside our own is the evidence of their extinction.
The fact is there is none, as the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Furthermore, the modern tales of the ape-men — if they are indeed floresiensis, or descended from them — contain many anecdotal accounts from credible witnesses indicating the existence of a non-human intelligence capable of harnessing fire.
Indeed, Forth addresses the recent pushing back of the timeline from 12,000 years ago to 50,000, in a sentiment also recently expressed by anthropologist Lee Berger in relation to Homo naledi.
The idea that such a long-lived species or line of hominins met its end fifty or sixty thousand years ago at Liang Bua reflects no more than an unstated paleontological convention. This could be expressed as “a species known only from fossil evidence should be presumed to have survived only to the most recent date, even if that date only belongs to a single site.”
It is rather as though space aliens, peering at Earth through a very advanced telescope and spotting their first motor vehicle (something they would, no doubt, consider a very primitive machine) assumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that this was the last one ever made. The date then stands until a more recent date is found, or until a living specimen turns up—something that on Flores has happened with some fossil rats.
Now that we have established that these ape-men — and potentially Homo floresiensis — might be walking among the people of Flores up to this day, let's turn our focus to the stories of these creatures as told by those who continue to encounter them.
Intriguingly, many of them could be considered supernatural in origin.
A theme with many of these ancient hominins is the use of caves, unsurprisingly leading to the well-known trope of primitive "cave-men" that has become so prevalent over the decades. We have already reviewed Homo naledi's extensive exploration of the Rising Star cave system and it appears floresiensis took refuge in these subterranean structures as well.
Let's start off with an example of a tale involving several themes that many ufologists may find familiar, as told by a middle-aged man named Ruju.
Long ago, the people of Tana Langi village were holding a feast. They performed a circle-dance. A number of ape-men also attended and joined in the dancing, but they did so in disguise. Before arriving they changed into humans. A village woman wanted to join the dance but could not, because she was cradling her baby.
Noticing this, one ape-man changed form so that he looked just like the woman’s husband, and he offered to hold the baby while she danced. The woman accepted, but while she was dancing the hominoid ran away with the infant to the ape-men’s cave. Shortly before this, the other hominoids had returned to their cave, taking with them gourd eating and drinking vessels that the villagers had used while feasting.
Discovering the child missing, the villagers mounted a search and eventually arrived at the cave. The ape-men agreed to surrender both the abducted infant and the gourd vessels, in exchange for a large quantity of palm fiber. They wanted to use the fiber as sleeping mats. So the villagers collected a large amount of fiber and tossed it inside the cave. But when they were sure all the ape-men were inside, they set light to the fiber.
Fleeing from the smoke and flames, the hominoids tried to escape by way of an exit hole, located at the back of the cave. As they escaped, people tried to kill them with bush-knives and clubs. But the ape-men proved invulnerable to these weapons.
The villagers then tried hitting the creatures with lengths of gai kiu (the bamboo-like reed discussed in the previous chapter), and thus were able to strike them dead. However, the ape-men left two infants of their own, of the opposite sex, behind in the cave. The two managed to escape by exiting another way, and so it is that ape-men survive to the present day.
Obviously, the subterranean aspect of this story is indicative of a cryptoterrestrial narrative, as the underground dwelling of "aliens" or other humanoid beings has been proposed by many theorists throughout the years.
However, one unexpected pattern here is the prevalence of abduction within these anecdotes.
There are several instances of kidnapped children, which obviously has parallels to the UFO phenomenon throughout history in the form of alien abduction experiences. This is also a prominent meme in general folklore as well, with many different archetypes being known to take humans against their will.
There is also the concept of shapeshifting, bringing to mind the many different legends of Skinwalkers and other similar creatures in the storied history of indigenous peoples around the world.
The final similarity in this story between the UFO literature and these small Flores inhabitants is the idea that weapons do nothing to harm them.
Tales of UAP technology being impervious to missiles and other military weapons have pervaded since the beginning, and this seemingly impossible ability to defend oneself arises in the stories of these ape-men as well.
If we take these stories at face value, then only advanced technology would provide this seemingly supernatural protection described by the witnesses.
One may wonder why I'm only focusing on hominins when there are countless other types of cryptoterrestrials described in encounters all over the world. Mothman and other "insectoids" may be the subject of a future article, but interestingly these ape-men appear to have relevance when it comes to the shape of those beings as well.
Another story told by a man named Tiwa demonstrates why.
Some ten years prior to 2016, when Boka recounted the tale, Tiwa and his now-deceased father were returning home late one night from another village after a gambling game, when they came across a strange creature sitting on a large boulder.
From a squatting position the creature “jumped away” to a higher spot, “holding its hands behind its head” as it did so. On seeing this, Tiwa’s father, who was walking behind, pulled Tiwa back and stepped in front of him.
Being ignorant of such things, Tiwa asked what it was, and the father identified it as a lai ho’a (ape-man). The thing was small, like a child of five or six years. (Boka also compared the height to that of a nearby child, who stood 1.05 meters [3 feet, 5 inches] tall.) Tiwa compared the face, though generally human in form, to that of a “grasshopper.”
Though the comparison could conceivably reflect the jumping movement, Boka thought Tiwa meant that the hominoid appeared gaunt, with sunken cheeks. The body, too, was thin. The head was bald on top, with hair growing only at the back.
The description of a “grasshopper” is quite interesting, as ape-men have only been described as primate-like and generally humanoid in appearance.
But an interesting detour shows there may actually be a connection here, as unlikely as that may be.
In his book The Cryptoterrestrials: A Meditation on Indigenous Humanoids and the Aliens Among Us, Mac Tonnies suggests there is a spectrum of cryptoterrestrials that exist on this planet with differences in appearance from end to end.
Tonnies suggests humanoids are at the more primitive end of the spectrum while insectoids are at the other, but that they have a kind of "chameleon-like sense of invisibility."
Maybe the CTs comprise a hive-mind, with humanoids at only one end of the spectrum. At the other end we might find more exotic beings, such as the mantis-like “leaders” sometimes seen presiding over abductions. Ultimately, could the CTs be insectile? The prospect is deeply ironic, given humanity’s buried fear of the insect world.
We’re conditioned to accept “bugs” as miniature grotesqueries to be swatted or stepped on. Discovering we’re at the mercy of their larger, more capable cousins would be more upsetting than finding that the answer to the CT riddle is “merely” a disenfranchised offshoot of our own species.
In any case, we won’t know the true face of our elusive residents unless we undertake a thorough review of “occupant encounters,” both in modern ufological literature and in world folklore. Even a superficial reading shows that we’re likely dealing with a sister species of incredible tenacity and a chameleon-like sense of invisibility.
But if I’m correct, we mustn’t be too enthralled by their abilities. Seen up close, the CTs are more than a little sympathetic, governed by a fear of extinction and determined to persist despite our ever-encroaching global civilization.
This spectrum will be explored in a further article, but the humanoid-insectoid aspect of the ape-man story told by Tiwa has similar themes. One wonders if this spectrum, along with the kind of "invisibility" these beings are capable of, might be some kind of technology.
Considering Homo floresiensis had the ability to harness fire and create stone tools hundreds of thousands of years ago, what would prevent them from developing some kind of technology over that time?
What would prevent them from hiding from the Homo sapiens species, who have clearly demonstrated hostility towards them over a long period of time?
Let's explore one final characteristic of these "ape-men" that seems to have some supernatural origin or at least the appearance of it.
When you ask a child what superpower they'd like to have the most, a majority would likely choose either the ability to fly or be invisible.
There are stories of some residents of Flores coming into possession of "ape-man relics" that reportedly gave them the power to do both.
Responding to my question, Koba described Leja as possessing other extraordinary attributes, including the ability to fly and to disappear and reappear.
These powers, he confirmed, Leja also obtained from his captured ape-man. More remarkably, though, the narrator attributed the same powers not only to Leja but also to a European Catholic priest, identified only as “Tua To” (Mr. To, possibly the German surname Toch), who was stationed on Flores from the 1940s to 1960s.
A confirmed pagan, Leja supposedly once engaged in battle with the priest, himself something of a legend who, like other European priests at this time, Lio credited with several supernatural powers.
The battle ended in a draw. But more significant for our purposes, the details of the clash—including each contestant flying through the air, disappearing and reappearing, and seemingly dividing into several bodies.
These characteristics describe what almost certainly sounds like technology.
"Flying through the air" suggests something akin to anti-gravity, as there is no mention of wings or other prosaic explanations for lift or propulsion.
"Disappear and reappear" describes the ability to cloak, and is something we are developing today through low-observable technology.
Are these "ape-man relics" actually a form of technologically advanced device?
Are these anomalous characteristics described by witnesses made possible by these relics the result of this advanced technology?
This final story appears to describe two of the five observables spoken about by Lue Elizondo, the former head of the Pentagon's UFO program.
These tales may seem like folklore, but such lore clearly matches up with aspects of the UFO phenomenon currently being taken more and more seriously by the day.
If there is indeed a cryptoterrestrial presence behind the UFOs, these anecdotes coming to us from the island of Flores — if they are to be believed — make a solid case for Homo floresiensis being the source of it.
Regardless, the possibilities opened by the ongoing discoveries related to our genus Homo are definitely worth exploring, and may even lead to some answers when it comes to the phenomenon experienced by so many around the world.