The creepy, sinister figure given the name Le Loyon, which has been seen in the woods of western Switzerland for a decade, has been finally photographed.
Dressed in a military uniform with a gas mask covering his face, the figure, known as 'Le Loyon', is said to have been haunting the woods for the past decade. He apparently walks the same route every day.
However, there was no evidence of his existence until local news website Le Matin published the first known photograph of the mystery man last month, and now police are trying to track him down. But is it for real?
"I came across him near the marches," an unnamed amateur photographer who tracked him down told Le Matin. "I approached him up to a dozen metres away.
"He had a military cape, boots and an army gas mark - an antique type, I think. He measured more than 1.9m. He stared at me then turned his back on me and left in silence."
Other locals have also told of their frightening encounters with the man.
"It scared my children," a woman said. "He came out of the woods with his military clothes. We saw neither his face nor his eyes behind his big dark gas mask. It was scary and I know women who are venturing alone in the forest.
Another local resident, Marianne Descloux of Maules, said she also saw him: "It was a rainy Sunday. He had on a cap, a dark cloak and gas mask. What goes on in his head? I don't know. It was unpleasant. I hope I never run into him again."
The figure was also reportedly spotted clutching what appeared to be a bunch of flowers.
"Families simply won't go into the forest any more," a farmer said.
Police want to speak to Le Loyon to ask him to be less threatening, although he's shown no signs of aggressive behaviour. Source.
The name "Loyon" may be related to the name Lyon, meaning lion, fierce warrior, and related definitions.
'Families simply won't go into the forest any more,' a farmer said, adding that Le Loyon had been seen regularly over 10 years. 'No one here finds this story funny.'
There have been a number of theories as to the figure's true identity - a mentally ill woman, a gigantic man, or someone suffering from a nasty skin condition.
Others suggest that Le Loyon has deliberately chosen a hermit's life, perhaps because he is a 'survivalist' obsessed with the apocalypse.
Despite the terror felt by many at coming face-to-face with the mysterious wanderer, he has never shown signs of aggression - but local authorities are keen to get in touch with Le Loyon to reassure their constituents' fears.
'The situation is delicate because we basically have nothing against this person,' said Guy Savary, the municipal official in charge of forests.
'But since he arouses these fears, we are going to hold meeting to see if we can find a way of locating him, and discouraging him from behaving as he does.' Source.