Mysterious chimp-like creatures are prowling the streets of Itaparica island in the state of Bahia in eastern Brazil. In one of two pictures shared on Twitter, a diminutive, bipedal creature sporting unusually long arms can be seen on the move at night. The second photo shows what appears to be two adults walking alongside a juvenile creature. All three of them also look small and chimp-like.
Are the creatures just chimps or something else?
No one knows what the creatures are because the pictures are cast in shadow. But a running theory is that the critters are simply wild chimps or some other kind of primates who have been enticed to explore the deserted area.
Another theory is that the two-legged interlopers are cryptids, or creatures such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster whose existence has never been proven. Skeptics, on the other hand, think that the photos are probably just a hoax.
"The first one is very well done because of the shadows. The animal is against the light," Patricio said, as per Bahia-based news site Correio. "And in the second, it is very difficult to identify even the existence of a shadow because it is not illuminated."
A reverse image search also shows that the pictures have never appeared in any other context. Nonetheless, Patricio notes that it's hard to be sure about whether the photos are real or not.
The setting of the images is also disputed. A sign hanging on a church wall in one of the pictures appears to be written in Arabic. But most people online believe that the creatures are roaming the streets of Ilha de Misericordia in Itaparica.
Some islanders suspect that the images are part of a clever ploy to scare residents into following a curfew. When the pictures were posted on March 3, many Brazilian states including Bahia were under tight restrictions or were about to impose one due to a surge in Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
"I believe it is some beast trying to scare people," said a resident.
More unexplained sightings
Twenty years ago, Ange Dixon had a strange sighting in Southern Illinois. She was driving near the village of Makanda with her daughter and now ex-husband when she saw what she thought were mailbox reflectors. She got closer and thought the figure was a mountain lion. But at around 25 feet away, she realized that it wasn't a cougar.
"[It] was actually crouched down in the middle of the road clutching something," Dixon told the Southern Illinoisan in 2019. "We just sat there and was watching it and it just stood up and it was huge."
Dixon said that the creature had a completely black body, defined muscles and "red, yellow glowing eyes." Her daughter thought that the burly beast was Bigfoot.
Dixon's account is among the many reported sightings of strange, unknown creatures in Southern Illinois. One of the region's most famous cryptid is the Big Muddy Monster, which is Southern Illinois' version of Bigfoot.
Sightings of the creature peaked in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1988, Bob Reiman of Murphysboro in Jackson County encountered the monster at his salvage yard. He told reporters at the time that it smelled terrible, was 10 feet tall, and had red eyes and yellow teeth.
The Big Muddy Monster has never been captured in photos and its existence has been disputed by residents. Nonetheless, it remains a prominent figure in Southern Illinois to this day.