Today, the bane of cryptozoologists and monster hunters the world over is the frustrating inability to produce a body as evidence for the existence of unknown or out-of-place creatures. Creatures such as alien big cats, sea serpents, and of course, the poster monsters of the cryptozoological world, hairy hominids such as North America’s Bigfoot and Australia’s Yowie.
But perhaps there have been missed opportunities over the years to produce the evidence needed for mainstream science to take seriously claims of extraordinary beasts inhabiting the earth … including that of the Yowie and sea serpent.
Creature killed, “half pig and half dog”
The ‘Marulan Tiger’ first made news across the Southern Highlands of NSW in 1903 when it was reported “by a very reliable man,” that while out rabbit hunting, he had come across what appeared to be a tiger lying in the head of a fallen tree and watching him intently. Being armed only for the dispatching of little furry rabbits, wisely, the man made a hasty retreat and fled.
Soon afterwards, a visiting schoolteacher who had earlier “laughed at the whole affair, and remarked that perhaps the man imagined he saw the tiger,” had his own frightening encounter while travelling through the bush on horseback one night. “The tiger, which must have been crouching behind a bush, came bounding at me with gaping mouth, and eyes which glared like bull’s-eye lanterns,” he reported to the local press.
Years later, on 27 June 1931, The Northern Miner asked: “Has the Marulan or Tallong Tiger come to the end of its tether?”
“Two days ago three men were cutting wood on the Johnstone property, when a strange animal, half pig and half dog, came out of a nearby creek; and ran towards the woodmen. Grabbing an axe, one of the party swung at the animal and struck it on the head, killing it.
“The queer creature had a head resembling a pig, short, fat legs, and a heavy coat of soft, silver-grey fur, but no tall. It was about the size of a collie dog, though not as tall.
“When the pelt was shown to a local familiar with Australian fauna, he expressed the belief that it was a huge wombat, but others could not identify it. Mr. Johnstone thinks it to be the mysterious animal reported in various parts of the district in recent years.”
Could this “half pig and half dog” have been the ‘tiger’ that had terrified the district years earlier? While the description of the animal killed doesn’t appear to fit the earlier accounts, it would have still made an interesting specimen – unless of course, it was just a very large wombat.
Hunting the Kadina “wehrwolf”
Sydney’s The World’s News on 19 June 1943 published an article, There Are Queer Creatures in This Australia by V. Molesworth.
Among other queer creatures, Molesworth wrote of the Kadina “wehrwolf,” a strange-looking animal thought to be a cross between a fox and a wolfhound. It was captured in South Australia in 1919 after being held responsible for slaughtering sheep and a £10 reward offered for its capture.
“For three weeks, one of the local farmers lay in wait by a watering hole, ready to shoot the marauder when it came to drink, but the “wehrwolf” quenched its thirst elsewhere.
“Packs of staghounds and greyhounds were employed in the hunt, but they refused to attack the marauder. Finally, it was caught by one foot in a trap. It was so wild that when its captor went near it, it leapt at him. When it made a second plunge, he shot it in the mouth.
“This monster weighed 70 pounds and was 4 feet 6 inches from nose to tail. It had a powerful chest and neck, with brindled hair and coarse lines of wavy black and tan on its rump and forelegs. Its tail was short and bushy.
“A litter of queer-looking pups, which had been found a year before, drowned by flood waters, were believed to be the “wehrwolf’s” offspring.
Another unknown animal which was also eventually found to be a strange crossbreed canine was the so-called ‘Yengarie Lion’.
The Yengarie Lion
The Courier Mail on 10 July 1946 reported on the hunt for the mystery animal that had been making a meal of the Yengarie district’s livestock: “Strange wild animals were seen and shot at during today’s hunt for the Yengarie ‘lion’ or ‘lioness,’ but the identity of the animal is still a mystery.
“A party of 40 hunters with guns collected in the town hunted the ‘lion’ in rough country for 50 square miles, but all that could be vouched for was the sighting of out size wild animals.”
Two weeks after that hunt, the ‘lion’ was finally killed. The Sydney Morning Herald on 23 July 1946 recounted the demise of the so-called ‘Yengarie Lion’.
“The mysterious ‘Yengarie lion,’ which caused havoc amongst calves in the Yengarie district, has fallen to a farmer’s rifle, after evading armed hunting parties for weeks. The ‘lion’ proved to be a strange crossbreed animal, 6 feet 6 inches long, 3 feet 11 inches high, and weighing 170 pounds.
“Farmers who inspected the skin said that they had never seen such an animal. They described it as a cross between a dingo, a collie dog, and a fox. It had a fox’s tail 2 feet long, shaggy shoulders, the bushy neck and colouring of a collie dog and some characteristics of a dingo, with huge claws and heavy footpads six inches across.
“When the animal was opened up it was found to have inside it half a poddy calf, 14 fowls’ legs, portions of other birds, and chewed rope and leather.”
Aborigines kill hairy man
In August 1903, a reader submitted a letter to the Queanbeyan Observer recounting an experience with the ‘Hairy Man’ or ‘Yahoo’, while searching for cattle in an area, that today, lies on the outskirts of Australia’s capital city, Canberra. While an interesting account, it is the additional correspondence recounting the killing of one such creature, as witnessed by a young boy, that is most intriguing.
“Sir, According to promise I send you an account of what took place when some strange animal came very close to where myself and brothers were camped many years ago. On this occasion we were out on Tearce’s Creek (a small stream between Tidbinbilla Mountain and the Cotter River) in search of cattle…
“…Some time in the night … I heard a noise similar to what an entire horse would make when looking over a fence at a mare. I heard it again, and awoke the others. We heard it for some four or five times, when the noise ceased, but we could hear something walking along the opposite side of the range, and when in a line with our camp, we could hear it coming down in the direction of our camp.
“As it came along we could hear the heavy breathing of it. At this time our dogs became terrified with fear, and were crouching against us for protection. On account of a fallen tree intervening, the thing had to make a detour to get to where we were.
“Joseph was at the lower end of this tree, I was on the upper and William in the middle. Not many seconds passed before Joseph sang out, ‘Here the thing is,’ and fired at it with a small pistol he had. Neither William or myself, owing to the scrub, etc., got a sight of it. Joseph says it was like a blackfellow with a blanket on him. We did not hear it going away, but tried to set our three dogs after it, thinking they might find out where the thing went, but we could not get them to move. Had the thing been a little later in coming, we could have seen what it was, as the day began to dawn in less than a quarter of an hour after Joe fired at it.
Along with this letter in the Observer, another appeared directly below, written by the same man.
“Having interviewed Harry Williams in re the animal he saw the blacks kill, he pointed out to myself and Mr. John McDonald of Urayarra, the height he (Williams) was at the time, and we considered he would be from 10 to 12 years of age. The locality where the blacks killed it was below the junction of the Yass River with the Murrumbidgee.
The animal got into some clefts of rocks, and the blacks got torches to find out where it was hidden, and then killed it with their nullah nullahs [wooden clubs]. There were a good many blacks at the killing of it, and he saw two blackfellows dragging it down the hill by its legs. It was like a black man, but covered all over with grey hair.”
Cordial maker claims he killed Yowie on road to Cooma
In 1893, a cordial maker from the town of Braidwood in the Southern Tablelands of NSW was on his way to Captain’s Flat with a load of cordial when he encountered a hairy animal walking upright and which had left his dog bolting off in fear.
“…a formidable animal, with which he was entirely unacquainted, jumped up the lower bank on to the road. It frightened him quite as much as the dog, as it was standing up on its hind legs with its fore feet stretched out like the arms of man.”
“Being unarmed, having only the whip in his hand, which would have made very little impression upon such an antagonist, he dropped the whip and picked up a stone which lay close to him, and threw it at the beast, striking it on the temple and bringing it to the ground. He then ran up and finished it with the butt of the whip.
“On his return to Braidwood he put its body in the cart and brought it home with him.”
Read more in Yowie killed on the road to Cooma in 1893?
Carcass found in bush: Human or inhuman they could not tell
Sydney’s Evening News of 31 October 1876, declared confidently in its headline, Found at Last that the body of a Yahoo, or Hairy man of the wood had been discovered in remote bush according to a correspondent for the Bathurst Free Press.
“A resident of this place returned from the Fish River some forty miles from here a few days ago, and told me that he had been informed by a respectable settler in that quarter that a party of sawyers, working in the Walla Walla scrub, came upon the dead body of an unearthly looking animal, human or inhuman they could not tell.
“It stood about 9′ feet in height, with head, face and hands similar to a man’s; one of its feet resembled the hoof of a horse and the other was club-shaped; the body was covered with hair or bristles like a pig. For many years past it had been believed by the settlers of that wild part of the country that the Walla Walla scrub was inhabited by a monster commonly called ‘the hairy man of the wood’ or what all the blacks stand so much in dread of — the Yahoo. Horses and cattle are said never to have been known to enter or remain in the scrub.”
Did we miss the boat on discovering a sea serpent?
And finally, did we miss the boat on discovering a specimen of the legendary sea serpent when two boys stumbled upon the carcass of an unknown sea creature washed up on the beach at Narooma in 1935?
The Morning Bulletin reported on 16 April 1935: “On the beach, near Narooma today two lads discovered and were later assisted to recover from the water the carcass of what all local experts agree can be nothing but a sea serpent. So certain are the local authorities that the carcass has been taken to Narooma on a lorry to be photographed. The postmaster has given the following description of it: Long, tapering head, high cranium, eyes level with the mouth … two fins at the back of the head, a dorsal fin and a two-bladed propeller tail; 24 teeth in each side in the top row and most likely more than 48 in the bottom row (many teeth having fallen out); smooth and leathery hide; approximately 12 feet long when extended on the beach.”
As in so many other reports of unknown creatures being killed or found dead, whatever happened to the carcass – and to those photos – of the Narooma sea serpent, remains unclear.
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