What is the source of Leif Ericson's encounter with sasquatch?

  • While researching the question What are the earliest known origins of Sasquatches in Native American culture in the Americas? I found several sites claiming that Leif Ericson recorded an encounter with sasquatch in 968 AD. For example, the Sasquatch Chronicles Blog:

    The oldest account of Bigfoot was recorded in 986 AD by Leif Ericson and his men. During their first landing in the New World, the Norsemen wrote about manlike beasts that were “horribly ugly, hairy, swarthy and with great black eyes.”

    Among his accounts, Leif told of seeing huge hairy men who towered over him and his men. The “huge hairy men”, according to Leif, lived in the Woods and had a rank odour and a deafening shriek. It should be noted that Leif Ericson and his men describe huge manlike beasts that were loud and foul-smelling and clearly distinct from native peoples. Apparently, Leif had several sightings of the “huge hairy men” before departing the island.

    They called the creature “Skellring”. People believe that the creature “Skellring” is what we know today as Bigfoot. This is the earliest recorded encounter with Bigfoot, or Sasquatch.

    What is the source of this story? Is an encounter with a creature that resembles sasquatch mentioned in any of the sagas that chronicle Leif Ericson's travels?

  • andejons

    andejons Correct answer

    4 years ago

    TLDR: Your source is either making things up, or quoting from someone who did.

    The Greenlander's journeys to North America are known mainly from two Sagas: the Grænlendinga saga ("The Saga of the Greenlanders") and the Eiríks saga rauða ("The Saga of Erik the Red"), plus some mentions in other sources . The Skrælings are thus not the inventions of one writer. However, they were not mystical beasts, but ordinary people: both the Thule people (ancestors of modern Inuits) on Greenland as well as inhabitants of Northern America were called Skraelings by the Norse.

    There is a description of the Skraelings in the Saga of Eric the Red:

    They were short men, ill-looking, with their hair in disorderly fashion on their heads; they were large-eyed, and had broad cheeks.
    The Icelandic saga database.: The Saga of Erik the Red, Chapter 10. Translation by J. Sephton.

    As you can see, only the hairy bit can be said to fit, and other details are the exact opposite of your quote, or totally absent. The Saga also tells how two Skraelings came to live on Greenland for one winter. (The Saga of the Greenlanders gives a more violent account; there the two peoples never learn to talk to eachother, but it's still clear that the Skraelings are human).

    The word Skraeling seems to survive in modern Icelandic, meaning Barbarian. One suggested, but by no means sure, etymology of it derives it from a word for shouting, which at least somewhat fits a part of the description.

    I could have sworn one of the Greenland sagas records a brief encounter with a hopping creature that has sometimes been identified as a monopod. I can't find my copy or I'd look it up myself.

    @Era Interesting. There is a famous reference to Monopods) ("Shadefoots") in Aristophanes, and the idea seems to have caught on, as they were subsequently mentioned by Augustin. The wiki lists the Viking mention in *The Saga of Erik the Red*.

    Yes, it's there, in chapter 14.

    This is i response to the answers given. I have been doing some, only online, research on this whole Leif Ericson finding bigfoot deal. And When I found that the saga is claimed to have said that the Skellring had 'large eyes and broad cheek bones' it was to the Thule people of coastal Alaska(via wikipedia). Now I get the broad cheekbones, but the Thule people, or as known as the Eskimo people, do not have large eyes. That seems like a false description if you ask me.

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