Hirsute beings mentioned in 550 AD?
Was this the earliest sighting ever noted?
“The European Discovery of America” by Samuel Eliot Morison © 1971
Author Morison writes of St. Brendan who made several voyages into the Atlantic Ocean around 550 AD or so. Legend has it that he could have visited North America. Morrison quotes Brendan's journal thus:
"At a rocky, fire-scarred island with neither trees nor grass, a horrid subhuman, hairy creature rushed down to the shore and hurled at the ship a red-hot mass of lava or slag, which fell hissing into the sea. "Lets get out of here!" said Brendan. They made sail and plied their oars just in time to escape a crowd of similar monsters who threw more hot stuff at them."
Brendan was a real person who made real voyages but today much of his writing is regarded as fantasy. Later in the book the island is speculated to be Iceland or Tenerife. Brendan and his discoveries are noted on maps and charts in the pre-Columbian era.
This report seems to pre-date the Beowulf / Grendel saga by a couple of hundred years.
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