While researching the question What are the earliest known origins of Sasquatches in Native American culture in the Americas? I found several sites claiming that Leif Ericson recorded an encounter with sasquatch in 968 AD. For example, the Sasquatch Chronicles Blog:

The oldest account of Bigfoot was recorded in 986 AD by Leif Ericson and his men. During their first landing in the New World, the Norsemen wrote about manlike beasts that were “horribly ugly, hairy, swarthy and with great black eyes.”

Among his accounts, Leif told of seeing huge hairy men who towered over him and his men. The “huge hairy men”, according to Leif, lived in the Woods and had a rank odour and a deafening shriek. It should be noted that Leif Ericson and his men describe huge manlike beasts that were loud and foul-smelling and clearly distinct from native peoples. Apparently, Leif had several sightings of the “huge hairy men” before departing the island.

They called the creature “Skellring”. People believe that the creature “Skellring” is what we know today as Bigfoot. This is the earliest recorded encounter with Bigfoot, or Sasquatch.

What is the source of this story? Is an encounter with a creature that resembles sasquatch mentioned in any of the sagas that chronicle Leif Ericson's travels?

3 Answers 3


TLDR: Your source is either making things up, or quoting from someone who did.

The Greenlander's journeys to North America are known mainly from two Sagas: the Grænlendinga saga ("The Saga of the Greenlanders") and the Eiríks saga rauða ("The Saga of Erik the Red"), plus some mentions in other sources . The Skrælings are thus not the inventions of one writer. However, they were not mystical beasts, but ordinary people: both the Thule people (ancestors of modern Inuits) on Greenland as well as inhabitants of Northern America were called Skraelings by the Norse.

There is a description of the Skraelings in the Saga of Eric the Red:

They were short men, ill-looking, with their hair in disorderly fashion on their heads; they were large-eyed, and had broad cheeks.
The Icelandic saga database.: The Saga of Erik the Red, Chapter 10. Translation by J. Sephton.

As you can see, only the hairy bit can be said to fit, and other details are the exact opposite of your quote, or totally absent. The Saga also tells how two Skraelings came to live on Greenland for one winter. (The Saga of the Greenlanders gives a more violent account; there the two peoples never learn to talk to eachother, but it's still clear that the Skraelings are human).

The word Skraeling seems to survive in modern Icelandic, meaning Barbarian. One suggested, but by no means sure, etymology of it derives it from a word for shouting, which at least somewhat fits a part of the description.

  • 1
    I could have sworn one of the Greenland sagas records a brief encounter with a hopping creature that has sometimes been identified as a monopod. I can't find my copy or I'd look it up myself.
    – Random
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 8:10
  • 1
    @Era Interesting. There is a famous reference to Monopods ("Shadefoots") in Aristophanes, and the idea seems to have caught on, as they were subsequently mentioned by Augustin. The wiki lists the Viking mention in The Saga of Erik the Red.
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 22:49
  • Yes, it's there, in chapter 14.
    – andejons
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 7:17
  • This is i response to the answers given. I have been doing some, only online, research on this whole Leif Ericson finding bigfoot deal. And When I found that the saga is claimed to have said that the Skellring had 'large eyes and broad cheek bones' it was to the Thule people of coastal Alaska(via wikipedia). Now I get the broad cheekbones, but the Thule people, or as known as the Eskimo people, do not have large eyes. That seems like a false description if you ask me.
    – Loraine
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 4:22

It makes sense that the "Bigfoot" account by Leif was either grossly exaggerated or totally lied about by people quoting the saga. If I am wrong and it does show up in the saga then please correct me, for I don't have the saga and cannot say for sure. But what I can say for sure is that Leif would have known about troll myth. According to Viking myth a troll is described as being towering, hairy, stinky, and prone to howling. Also they where said to hurl rocks and branches at travelers and knock on trees. Sound familiar? If Leif had encountered a Bigfoot I believe he would have called it what the scandanavian people had always called them. Trolls.


I think there is some loss in translation as the eyes are supposed to be wide and thin, not large. The earliest mention I can find of Bigfoot being mentioned by Leif Erikson is in sasquatch chronicles forums and the founder of sasquatch chronicles was proven to have completely invented his own encounters, getting the weather and phase of the moon wrong for the dates of his sightings as well as his supposed reporting of the sightings being disputed by the organization he supposedly reported them to, on top of that his own brother and co-host Will Jevning left the show when the discrepancies in his supposed own encounters came to light.
That guy remaining on sasquatch chronicles is a charlatan, his fans still rabidly defend him because “he sounds like a nice guy, and seems down to earth” even though his own “experience” with Bigfoot is purely fictional and pretends to be an expert because he reads crap online. So the Leif Erikson fictional addition of seeing sasquatch in Newfoundland has as much merit as the current sasquatch chronicles.
That guy does anything for ratings, including adding dogman and orbs and demons and ghosts and werewolves to the guests relating their encounters and even accommodates the truly nutty young earth creationist Biblical Bigfoot camp who believe sasquatch is Caine or Nephilim from the Old Testament... and he even baits them into expanding on their delusional made up sightings “oh yeah Nephilim are pretty common in the suburbs making tree forts and are often seen near demons and angels... tell us more, did you maybe have other possible encounters?”

  • I can't tell what you are trying to say, even though I put space between the run on sentences. Please, go back though and amend the information you provided so that the meaning you give is not lost. In other words, please use periods. Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 23:05

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