THE YOWIE LEGEND LIVES ON
Fooffstarr delves into Australia’s past to find why our very own Bigfoot might be better off staying hidden…
It was around 1am on a Saturday night, mid 2002. After accompanying a friend to watch his brother play basketball, the three of us began the long walk
home. Being fearless teenagers, the choice to shave half an hour off the walk by taking a bush track shortcut was an easy decision to make.
It wasn’t long before we went from fearless to terrified. We were hit by a strong, rancid odor and began to hear a thumping sound in the bush to the
side of the track. Not having much choice, we continued on, the way back now further away than our destination.
The thumping stopped, but the smell remained. Then a large, hairy biped, around 7 to 8 feet tall, came into view through the scrub. His eyes reflected
the moon and took on an ominous red hue.
This photograph, taken by the Yowie Research Centre team, shows the red hue mentioned above that shines from a Yowie's eyes.
Copyright Dean Harrison - Yowiehunters.com
We broke into a panicked sprint, which provoked the creature to let out a bellow and give chase. Plowing our way forward through the undergrowth, we
soon saw the signs of civilization and regrouped under a streetlight at the edge of the bush. Our pursuer stopped just shy of that edge, and kept an
eye on us for several minutes before turning and disappearing again into the trees.
The general area of the sighting, in the bush area west of the racecourse. Pets have been reported as 'disappearing' in the streets surrounding
this bushland for decades
This story, un-embellished and vividly clear in my mind, is sadly not fiction. It actually happened, and although the subject matter may be met with a
stigma and widespread skepticism, it does not make that experience any less real or scarring.
We had encountered what is known as the Australian Yowie. A supposedly mythical beast, the story of the Yowie has been told by Aboriginal people for
thousands of years. Every continent in the world seems to have its own name for the creature, such as Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti and Yeren.
Although mainstream science tends to laugh off reports of ‘hairy men’, there have been tens of thousands of sightings worldwide, with photographic
and physical evidence beginning to appear over the last few decades.
My experience with the beast began a life-long interest in cryptozoology, the search for living specimens of extinct or mythological animals. I am a
believer in the Yowie, which is probably not something I should admit in public, but for an increasing number of Australians, seeing is believing.
Yowie sightings are now at the highest frequency in history. Cryptozoologists and an element of the scientific community have theories about why this
might be the case.
To fully understand what a Yowie is and why it has remained hidden for so long, the story must begin in the Dreamtime.
"Dreaming" is also often used to refer to an individual's or group's set of beliefs or spirituality. For instance, an Indigenous Australian
might say that they have Kangaroo Dreaming, or Shark Dreaming, or Honey Ant Dreaming, or any combination of Dreamings pertinent to their "country".
However, many Indigenous Australians also refer to the creation time as "The Dreaming". The Dreamtime laid down the patterns of life for the
Aboriginal people. "The Dreaming" was the time of creation.
Dreaming stories vary throughout Australia, and there are different versions on the same theme. For example, the story of how the birds got their
colours is different in New South Wales and in Western Australia. Stories cover many themes and topics, as there are stories about creation of sacred
places, land, people, animals and plants, law and custom. It is a complex network of knowledge, faith, and practices that derive from stories of
creation, and which pervades and informs all spiritual and physical aspects of an indigenous Australian's life.
Aboriginal tribes on the east coast of Australia used to tell tales of a beast known as the Yowri. It was a large, bipedal creature with large canine
teeth, red eyes and a destructive nature.
They warned their children about it, as it was said that the Yowri would come in the night to take them away if they weren’t careful.
Copyright Dean Harrison - Yowiehunters.com
An ancient Dreamtime tale also mentions a large scale battle between the Koori people on the East coast and an army of the Yowri which unexpectedly
emerged from the mountains. The battle was over quickly, the Aboriginals using their spears and boomerangs to drive the weaponless hairy men back into
the hills. It is said that this may have began the Yowie’s fear of humans and fed their need to develop the ability to remain undetected and hidden
in the Australian bush.
When the fleet arrived in 1788, an effort was made by both white settlers and black natives to communicate with each other. The Aboriginal people
attempted to convey to the colonists that there was a creature in the bush that was far more of a threat to them than anything else in the strange,
new land. They warned them about the Yowri, but it was simply treated as superstition and the stories were disregarded.
During the 1800’s reports began flooding in to the metropolitan newspapers about farmers having encounters with a second indigenous race, different
to the Aborigines. They said that they were threatened by large, hairy men, comparing them to an overgrown orangutan.
The accounts were treated quite seriously at the time, and their number alone was enough to convince most people that something was really lurking out
in the Australian bush.
In 1847, Thomas Savage, an American missionary, discovered a creature in Liberia that he named the Gorilla. When news of this discovery reached
Australia, many believed that it was the same creature that had been witnessed here since colonization.
The attitude to the Yowie’s existence has slowly changed since then. The general mindset of the people has become skeptical. This, along with the
lack of reports reaching today’s mainstream media, has led to the Yowie, once again, being treated as just another Dreamtime story.
Under the surface, however, many Australians still believe in the creature to an extent. It just isn’t something that is talked about. After my
experience with the creature, I, somewhat reservedly, told my family. After the initial joke at my expense and my insistence that it actually
happened, it came out that my Uncle had too seen a similar creature on the coast.
He was out gold panning around 20 years ago with a friend along a river, inland from the town of Kempsey, when they were pelted by rocks from the
trees. When they got up and went to confront the attackers, what can only be described as a Yowie was fleeing from them through the scrub.
Once my Uncle had told his story, my Father also decided to chime in, telling an account from a fishing trip with his brother some 40 years ago.
Although he was not as sure of what they had seen as my Uncle, he distinctly remembered seeing some kind of upright walking creature, brown and
covered in hair, traversing a tree line in the mountains. Whatever they saw, it was enough to make them pack up and head home, never to fish in the
same area again.
Perhaps sightings of the creature just run in my family. I always thought some of the relatives were a bit feral. But in all seriousness, to have
three encounters with a creature that supposedly doesn’t exist in one family tells me that there are far more people seeing this thing then is being
“In Australia, there are almost 10,000 'reported' sightings of our ape-man like creature that is said to walk our forests”
Yowie expert Dean Harrison, the owner and head research at the Australian Yowie Research Association said.
“Can you imagine how may sightings [there are] that still remain 'un-reported'?”
Mr Harrison believes that the spread of urbanization and population growth are the main reasons behind the steady rise in Yowie sightings.
“In the 1900's with people developing road systems and remote townships, they progressed further through the deeply forested areas… [and] as time
goes on and more people build deeper in the woods, we expect the sightings and encounters to continue to grow.”
There are still many areas in Australia, however, that have not been explored, let alone built on. Bushland around the bases of the Blue Mountains and
Great Dividing Range is so thick in places that an entire colony of Yowie could have been living there for thousands of years without coming into
contact with humans. Unlike a lot of believers and skeptics alike that want proof of the creature, I would much rather for it to stay hidden.
Although many would not admit it, the human race is a destructive and thoughtless one. The rarer, more exotic something is the more hunters and
poachers will go out of their way to find and kill it. If the Yowie or Bigfoot were proven to exist, it wouldn’t be long before that existence was
threatened. They would become the trophy of choice for all immoral big game hunters. Look what has happened to the Gorilla after its discovery. In
only around 150 years, they have gone from plentiful to scarce.
It might be in the best interest of both them and humans if we simply keep them as a myth and let them live in peace.
[edit on 9-2-2009 by fooffstarr]