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Searching for the Yowie, the Down Under Bigfoot

JOE NICKELL

Joe Nickell, PhD, is a skeptical cryptozoologist and author of numerous investigative books, including Tracking the Man-Beasts.

Like the fabled Yeti or Abominable Snowman of the Himalaya Mountains, and the Sasquatch/ Bigfoot of North America, Australia’s Yowie (or Yahoo, among many other names) is a supposed hairy manbeast that leaves strange tracks and wonderment wherever it ambles. Equated with an entity from Aboriginal mythology, also called Dulagarl (or Doolagahl, “great hairy man”), it was regarded as a magical being from the time of creation—what Aborigines call the Dreamtime. Interestingly, however, “[M]any early Europeans claimed to have seen the Yowie, many years before they came to learn about it from the aborigines” (Gilroy 1976, 9). It remains, according to cryptozoologist Loren Coleman (2006), “one of the world’s greatest zoological or anthropological mysteries.”

I first went in search of the creature in 2000 guided by skeptic Peter Rodgers. We ventured into the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, which—according to Yowie popularizer Rex Gilroy (1995, 212)—“continues to be a hotbed of Yowie manbeast activities—a vast region of hundreds of square miles containing inaccessible forest regions seldom if ever visited by Europeans.” We drove into the Katoomba township bushland and took the world’s steepest incline railway (originally built as a coalmine transport in 1878) down into Jamison Valley rainforest where Gilroy himself once reported an encounter (1976, 10). We next drove to Jenolan Caves—which Gilroy (1995, 219) claims the Aborigines believed to be Yowie lairs—and bushwalked (hiked) through the surrounding mountainous terrain in a vain search for the elusive creature (Nickell 2001, 16–17).

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About Skeptical Inquirer

Biological Race and the Problem of Human Diversity Skepticism and the Nature of the Mind The Mote in Thy Brother’s Eye Searching for the Yowie, the Down Under Bigfoot ...and much more.

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