Unique to the island of Flores, Indonesia, the Ebu Gogo were supposedly small but monstrous human-like creatures.
The local people known as the Nage have told tales about the Ebu Gogo for many generations. “Ebu” means “grandmother” and “gogo” means “he who eats anything”.
The Ebu Gogo were said to have an almost insatiable appetite, apparently kidnapping and eating human children and babies. Rumored to have eaten everything raw, including vegetables and meat, the Ebu Gogo did not seem to know how to create fire.
Thought to be thoroughly disagreeable and greedy creatures, they were bipedal and believed to be fast runners. They had broad faces with wide, flat noses, large mouths and an abundance of hair on their bodies.
Also described as having pot bellies, sticking-out ears, a slightly awkward way of walking, and relatively long arms and fingers, the Ebu Gogo would have been quite a sight.
Female Ebu Gogo apparently had rather pendulous breasts – so pendulous, in fact, that they threw them over their shoulders.
One alarming characteristic of these legendary creatures was their ability to swallow things whole – including puppies, piglets and small children.
Although the Ebu Gogo seemingly mumbled in their own language, they could apparently also mimic human words in a similar fashion to parrots.
According to lore, the villagers lived alongside the Ebu Gogo for many years. In an effort to get to know them they invited them to join feasts and celebrations. This was fine until the Ebu Gogo began to get greedy, stealing crops and killing livestock. They even began to kidnap children.
Because of their destructive and aggressive activities the Ebu Gogo were driven far into the rainforest where they were killed by their human neighbors. However, it is thought that one couple survived and they are believed to have hidden from humans, perhaps procreating at a later date.
It is believed that the population began to decline rapidly soon after the arrival of Portuguese and Dutch settlers in the 17th century.
Bizarrely, the remains of a hitherto unknown hominin creature were found on Flores. Subsequently given the name Homo floresiensis, it is thought that these “hobbits” lived alongside Homo sapiens on the island.
By examining the skeletons, scientists were able to confirm that Homo floresiensis were able to use fire, rudimentary tools, and even basic language.
What is more, by looking at the shape of the skull it was determined that the size of Brodmann’s area 10 – the part of the brain that indicates level of intelligence – is the same size as that of modern humans.
It is highly likely that Homo sapiens co-existed with these diminutive people who chose to live near a volcano on the island. When this volcano erupted around 12,000 years ago Homo floresiensis may have been wiped out, but some could feasibly have survived. The race, in fact, may have lived long enough to inspire the Nage’s stories of Ebu Gogo.
Could the legend of the Ebu Gogo have been inspired by these creatures? Some natives of Flores still believe the legend is real.
No recent sightings of Ebu Gogo have been reported. The Ebu Gogo, if they ever existed, may now be extinct, with the latest sightings having been made in the 19th century.
It is worth noting, however, that in 2004, Chief Epiradus Dhoi Lewa of Boawae, Flores, claimed that people from his village managed to capture a tiny woman with pendulous breasts.
The villagers said the woman reached waist height and was very pretty. They believe she came down from a cave on a nearby mountain. Mysteriously, she managed to escape and the local police have no record of the incident.
To this day, however, the legend lives on and is used to scare children – much like the boogie man is used to scare children in the US.
Where to find
Ebu Gogo Images
animalplanet.com, “The Cannibal In the Jungle: When Cultural Memories Meet Science”, accessed September 11 2017,
telegraph.co.uk, “Villagers speak of the small, hairy Ebu Gogo”, accessed September 11 2017,
ancient-origins.net, “Ghosts, Hobbits or Cannibals? The Legend of Ebu Gogo, the Secret Tribe of Wild Grandmother Flesheaters”, accessed September 11 2017,
exploringlifesmysteries.com, “Cryptozoology Creatures: Animals of Legend”, accessed September 11 2017,
dianetibert.com, “Deep in the Heart of an Island Forest Lived a Hauflin”, accessed September 11 2017,
smh.com.au, “Hobbits? We’ve got a cave full”, accessed September 11 2017.