Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 3rd, 2006
Harold Stephens has just returned from the rainforests of Malaysia where he tells me he was filmed for an upcoming documentary on the Johor Bigfoot situation. Writing in transit from Johor to Bangkok on August 3, Stephens sends along, among other things, this:
Spent three days in Malaysia with Rick Noll and his team. He interviewed me on camera. Met Vincent Chow, and he had met me before. Hardly much of a trek anyone can do in three days. And Vincent, I don’t think he ever got his shoes muddy.
The others remain in Malaysia longer. I stayed only three days. Noll is still there.
Of course, this raises many questions. Will Rick Noll get to see the “photographs.” What company is doing this documentary? When will it be broadcast? Many questions that will have to remain unanswered as long as people are still in the jungle.
Stephens mainly wrote, wanting to comment on the use of the term "Orang Dalam." (For more historical background on the use of Orang Dalam, see here, pages 112-113.) As was reported at Cryptomundo on July 31st, there has been criticism of the use of the term “Orang Dalam," with one critic saying author Harold Stephens had “incorrectly assigned a wrong name” to footprints he had found.
The following is Harold Stephens’ new commentary for Cryptomundo, on this matter:
Loren, my comments for you to post as you wish. You can use the photos.
I just noticed where Bobbie Short has accused me of "assigning" the name "Orang Dalam" to Bigfoot. I would like it made clear that I did not assign any name to any one or any thing. It was a name the Orang Asli used when they saw the footprint. And Orang Dalam does not mean man of the forest. It means interior man.
Click on image for full-size version
I was on a fishing trip on the Endau River (in Pahang and not Johor) with Tungku (Prince) Bakar, from the Johor royal family. The monsoon came early and we got stuck in a native village for three days, and listed to all the strange lore about the jungle. It was then that the name Orang Dalam was mentioned. When I asked about it I was told that it was a giant man of the jangle. I gave it no more thought and later mentioned it to a Chinese friend in Singapore. He in turn told me not to laugh, as he had been stopped late one night on a road in Johor when such a creature ran across the road. He said it was reported in the Straits Times. I checked and he was right. I began doing homework.
It so happened that I had written a few articles for Argosy magazine, about my jeep trip across Russia and the famous Quinn’s Bar in Tahiti. I wrote to the editor that I was going into the jungle to search for a reported prehistoric carving of an elephant on a rock on a mountain top. I also mentioned to the editor about the rumor of an Asian Bigfoot. If I found anything, he cabled, send it in.
The press was interested in my search for the stone carving. I hired an Orang Asli named Bujong whose grandfather had sighted Orang Dalam years before. A platoon of Gurka solders with an English captain led us up to the first rapids and there left us. For four days we battled up the Endau to the Kimchin, found the mountain, and near the summit was chased away by an angry tiger. Bujong claimed it was a female with one or two cubs. We go out as fast as we could.
Photo: Close up of the track of the Orang Dalam on a Malaysian sandbar found during Harold Stephens’ expedition.
Bujong had us camp on the opposite bank of the river, and we stacked a fire a meter high. It was there that we discovered the footprint. Upon seeing it, Bujong became greatly alarmed. We returned back down the river.
Click on image for full-size version
After that I spent the next ten years in the Malay jungle. I befriended the game warden with the Wildlife Department and every year we made a major expedition into the jungle—taking stock of wild elephants one year and searching fort the Java rhino the next. On one trip I arranged for National Geographic photographer Mike Yamashia to join us, and another time Robert Stedman. I mentioned this for one reason: I agreed with the Game Department that I would not mention Bigfoot ever. The government had their reason. It’s much like they don’t like to talk about the elusive Negritos, the little black people of the jungle. I later wrote more about them and Bigfoot in my book Return to Adventure Southeast Asia, which I published after the Game Warden retired.
These are the facts. Does Bigfoot exist? When you travel in the Malay jungle, the oldest jungle on this planet, untouched by the Ice Age, you come to realize that anything can exit there and we would never know it. Now I’ll let skeptics attack that statement. Like the weather, people talk about the weather and do nothing about it. People talk and write about the jangle and have never seen it, only the fringes. For more photos of the jungle, see here.
Harold Stephens in the jungle, 1974.