Young Film Makers Taking On The Scottish Sasquatch In BROCKEN SPECTRE

Written By: Ken Hulsey
Sources: Carrbridge Films / Avery Guerra

Remember just last week when I said that Bigfoot related horror movies were starting to become less frequent? Well, as I was writing those words, I knew full well that I would end up eating them.

So, here I am with fork in hand.

Granted, the film that I will be talking about today isn't about Bigfoot, but one of his cousins. A distant cousin, from Scotland, to be precise, a big harry monster known to the local populace as the "Fear Liath Mor" or "Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui".

Never heard of that one?

Well, neither had I, but from doing a little research I was surprised to learn that sightings of the creature have dated back to 1891, when respected climber, and scholar, Professor Norman Collie had a frightening encounter with the creature, which reportedly chased him down the mountain. More sightings of the "Grey Man" continued throughout the 1940s where, again, anyone brave enough to enter the region were inexplicably gripped by fear or sent running for their lives, pursued by a giant ape-like humanoid. Stories of encounters like these continue til this day.

Here is some background on the monster (From Phantoms and Monsters):

During the World War II, Peter Densham was a mountain rescue worker, locating and saving pilots who had crashed in the Cairngorms. One day he was at the top of Ben MacDhui when a heavy mist started to fall. He sat and waited for conditions to improve. After a while he began to hear strange crunching noises and suddenly felt a presence close by. He stood up to investigate, but was immediately seized by a feeling of panic. Before he realized what was happening, he was running down the mountain, dangerously close to the sheer cliff edge. He said afterwards ‘I tried to stop myself and found this extremely difficult to do. It was as if someone was pushing me. I managed to deflect my course, but with a great deal of difficulty.’ Densham would later state "...tell me that the whine was but the result of relaxed eardrums, and the Presence was only the creation of a mind that was accustomed to take too great an interest in such things. I shall not be convinced. Come, rather, with me at the mysterious dusk time when day and night struggle upon the mountains. Feel the night wind on your faces, and hear it crying amid rocks. See the desert uplands consumed before the racing storms. Though your nerves be of steel, and your mind says it cannot be, you will be acquainted with that fear without name, that intense dread of the unknown that has pursued mankind from the very dawn of time."

Another mountaineer Alexander Tewnion wrote an account of his 1943 experience for The Scots Magazine: “Of all the experiences that have come my way, one stands out above all others in its strangeness. This was when I shot the Fear Liath Mor, the Big Grey Man of Ben Macdhui. It happened like this. In October 1943 I spent a ten day leave climbing alone in the Cairngorms. Rations were short then, and I carried a revolver and ammunition to shoot any hares or ptarmigan that came my way. One afternoon, just as I reached the summit cairn of Ben Macdhui, mist swirled across the Lairig Ghru and enveloped the mountain. The atmosphere became dark and oppressive, a fierce, bitter wind whisked among the boulders, and, fearing a storm was imminent, I took hurriedly to the Coire Etchachan path. Above Loch Etchachan the path angles easily downhill. I was swinging along at about five miles an hour when an odd sound echoed through the mist - a loud footstep, it seemed. Then another, and another. Spaced at long intervals!”

“I am not unduly imaginative, but my thoughts flashed instantly to the well-known story of Professor Norman Collie and the Fear Liath Mor. Then I felt the reassuring weight of the loaded revolver in my pocket. Grasping the butt I peered about in the mist, here rent and tattered by eddies of wind. A strange shape loomed up, receded, came charging at me! Without hesitation I whipped out the revolver and fired three times at the figure. When it still came on I turned and hared down the path, reaching Glen Derry in a time I have never bettered since. You may ask, was it really the Fear Liath Mor? Frankly, I think it was. Many times since then I have traversed Macdhui in mist, bivouacked on it in the open, camped near its summit for days on end on different occasions - often alone, and always with an easy mind. For on that day I am convinced I shot the only Fear Liath Mor my imagination will ever see.”

And here is some background on the Sottish mountain:

Ben Macdhui is the biggest mountain in the Cairngorms, Scotland and the second highest in the UK. The summit rises from the southern part of a huge sub-arctic upland unique in the British Isles. It is a harsh environment where nothing grows except the hardiest of alpine plants. When the cloud rolls in summits can be shrouded for days…in winter the weak northern sun often does not penetrate the deep glens for weeks.

Seems like the perfect place for a Scottish "Yeti" to be hiding!

It also sounds like a great story for a film, and a group of young film makers at Carrbridge Films, 'an entirely youth-run, non-profit, independent film company based in Carrbridge, a small village in the heart of the (Scottish)Highlands, have set out to bring the local legend to life on the big screen.

The film, which is titled, "Broken Spectre", will center around the theory that the "Grey Man" may be nothing more than a misinterpretation of a natural phenomena, where a person's own image is reflected of of clouds at high altitudes, which would look like a strange creature.

At this time, "Broken Spectre" is just starting to get off the ground, as 18-year-old director Fergus Thom explains, “We’re all very excited to be embarking on another big project and look forward to getting out and about and capturing all the wonderful locations we have on our doorsteps. Having said this we also have a lot of work ahead of us to prepare the plot and screenplay.”

If everything goes according to plan, the film should be completed in early 2011.

To follow the production as is goes along, please visit -

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  1. I've never heard of the "Big Grey Man". It would be cool if there was more to the legend than just our own images being reflected off of clouds at high altitude.

  2. Hi Ken! Thanks for this great piece about our film. Brilliant and much appreciated!


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