- Other names: Chichimeque, chichimicli, chichinité, itacayo, li queck, qetcux, sicimici, siguanaba, sirpi, sisimiti, sissimito, suinta, misumalpan, susumete, u tcur witsir
- Country reported: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua
The sisemité (Nahuatl: "diviner") is a cryptid primate reported from montane forests across Central America and Mexico, usually described as an ape-like creature which kills men and kidnaps women.
Sisemité comes from the Nahuatl word for "diviner". "Suinta" is Mosquito for "spirit of the mountains", and "U tcur witsir" is Mayan for "guardian hill spirit".
The sisemité is described as being larger than a man and rather like a gorilla in build, with either "darkish" or "long stiff black" hair that reaches to the ground, and a human head with big eyes, but only four fingers and no thumb. Like many other mythical creatures of South and Central America, the sisemité's toes - specifically its big ones - are said to be turned backwards.
The sisemité is nocturnal and walks on two legs, but runs on all fours. It is notable for the length of its strides. It eats crabs and snails and lives in caves, and sometimes attacks travellers on roads and kidnaps women and children. Its howls and screams are often heard; the Chorti name for these calls, "marikonet", loosely translates as "we'll get you".
The first European account of the sisemité allegedly came from a group of Spanish gold prospectors in the late 18th Century, who shot and killed a sisemité which was raiding their camp in Honduras.
The grandfather of Don Manuel Majía ran into a sisemité on Pico Bonito, Honduras, in 1912. It walked like a man and was tall and hairy.
- "Accompanied by [Frank] Blaucaneaux, Gann trailed the strange monster's footsteps to a cave deep in the forest. Close to the mouth of the cave both men were brought up all standing. Sunk deeply in the soft clay were footprints almost exactly like the thumb and first fingers of a gigantic human hand. Each digit was armed with a great claw. Persistent efforts have been made to capture the beast but with no success..."
- "On one occasion, Blaucaneaux and "His black friend" saw the branches waving at the top of a tall tree and the black man said it was the "Debbil-Debbil".The bearer reluctantly agreed to go for a closer look, armed with a light rifle loaded with duck shot [!!] after a dreadful commotion in the brush with much screaming they found the bearer, with fuur finger-gouges across his torso, from which his entrails protruded at his belly. He was still alive enough to say the "Debbil" had ripped him up and then beat it for the bush. Subsequent questioning of the local Natives brought out the information that the "Forest Devil" was well known, it would attack lone women when it could, rip their clothes off and hurl them to the ground [assuming that the actual rape part of the story was left out by retellers of the tale] It was covered with long, stiff. black hairs Later, scratches or rub marks on trees five or six feet up with some examples of these long, stiff, black hairs sticking in the bark."
In the 1940's a man from Cobán in Guatemala named Miguel Huzul filed a police complaint alleging that his son-in-law was a delinquent for allowing Huzul's daughter to be kidnapped by a sisemité whilst standing by and doing nothing.
The sisemité may be a purely mythical entity, or a species of undiscovered ape similar to the didi, mapinguari, or mono grande. Dale A. Drinnon notes that the Kekchi Maya of southern Belize's Toledo District recognize three main classes of forest denizens: major deities, local spirits, and normal animals. The sisemité is included in the third category, alongside tapirs and jaguars, suggesting it is seen as a normal animal.
According to Dale A. Drinnon, the tracks reported by Thomas Gann indicate that the animal he was tracking was an arboreal ape which was walking on the rims of its feet. He also notes that great apes can rip people open using only their fingernails and brute strength; and that male orangutans are occassionally reported to rape human women. Drinnon concludes that:
- "it seems there is a large arboreal ape in the tropical forests of the New World, most likely a sort of large and dark-colored orangutan. It has large throat pouches which makes its calls louder by resonance, and it is most frequently compared to a very large tailless howler monkey. Then again there is also a smaller "sisemite" which is more like a siamang and would have been what Sanderson's informants were calling a "Dwendi"."
- The didi
- The duende, which is sometimes considered a smaller version of the sisemité.
- The mapinguari
- The mono grande
Notes and references
- Eberhart, George (2002) Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology
- CRYPTOZOOLOGY ONLINE: Still on the Track: DALE DRINNON: The Sisimite (Tzitzimitl)
- Coleman, Loren & Clark, Jerome (1999) Cryptozoology A to Z
- The Sisemite: Mexico's Jungle-Dwelling Bigfoot - Mexico Unexplained
- Hoyt, Edward Jonathan (19??) Buckskin Joe: A Memoir
- Wilkins, Harold T. (1952) Secret Cities of Old South America