Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Sea Serpents Galore! (Australia, 19th Century)

     Take note! Most of what you are about to read in this post, and in those of the following months, have never been presented in any significant publication as a collection. In other words, they are new: unknown to the general public.
     I have been going through the digitalised Australian newspapers on Trove for the nineteenth century, and my system has been simple. I just used the advanced search option to look for the phrase, "sea serpent" for a particular year. Frequently what turned up was a flippant remark, and all too often a reference to a horse or a ship of that name. (I regret to say that the latter was never involved in an encounter. I would have loved to have read the headline, SEA SERPENT SEES SEA SERPENT.) Nevertheless, quite frequently I was met with a report of an actual (alleged) sea serpent sighting, which typically appeared in a large number of periodicals over a considerable period of time. If the story could not be found in Bernard Heuvelmans' comprehensive tome, In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents (1968), I have assumed it is unknown, and have copied what appears to be the earliest and/or most detailed account. I only wish the journalists had been prepared to ask questions. As if was, they normally recorded merely the information provided by the witness, without any attempt to obtain more details. But at least they took the subject seriously - which is more than they do today. In any case, this month's post shall deal with the Australian encounters. At this period, it is important to note, most trade between the Australian colonies was by sea.

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Monsters of the Murray - and the Macquarie

     "Bunyip" is the name usually given to mysterious water monsters in the the outback of Australia, so it is not surprising it turned up in these newspaper accounts. They do not appear to have been discovered by any other researchers.  The first one occurred in the River Murray, which is the second longest river on the continent, and it forms the border of New South Wales and Victoria. The location, however, was just across the border in South Australia, Berri being situated at 34° 17' S, 140° 36' E, not far from Renmark. The article is from page 4 of the Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record (Renmark) of Friday 1st January 1932.

Friday, 22 September 2017

More Forgotten Sea Serpents

     Last month, when I was researching forgotten sea serpent reports from Australian newspapers of the 1930s, I discovered a number of reports of sightings in other parts of the world. This, of course, would be expected. However, when I cross-checked them against Bernard Heuvelmans' comprehensive work, In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents, I discovered some which had been missed by even his eagle eye. On the assumption that they are therefore largely unknown to the general public, I feel obliged to put them on record here. Some of them were no doubt reported in more detail in the newspapers of their countries of origin, but I do not have access to them.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Anitpodean Sea Serpents, 1932-9

     In the past, I have written a number of posts on sea serpents, gleaned from Trove of digitalised Australian newspapers. I had thought I had covered them all, but a recent visit to this article by Andrew Nicholson started me on the quest again. Once more, the provisos mentioned in earlier posts apply. The reports were usually copied from one newspaper to another, with the result that I have chosen to quote what appear to be the earliest and most detailed account in each instance. Also, investigative journalism was not in vogue; the reporters simply repeated the information volunteered by the witnesses, without questioning it, and without asking for any more. But, in any case, they took them seriously. It makes one wonder how many sightings occur today and are never recorded.
     With this in mind, let us take a peek.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

More on the Chitral Yeti

     If you look at a map of Pakistan, you will see, in the far north, a sliver of land squeezed between Afghanistan and Kashmir, with Tajikistan to the north. This is the district, and former kingdom of Chitral, and it is a world apart from the hot, level plains of the Indus Valley, where most of Pakistan lives. They even speak a different language, and the mountainous terrain is essentially the western extension of the Himalayas. Into this forgotten land, in 1988 and 1990, came the Catalan born French zoologist, Jordi Magraner in search of evidence for the bar manu, the local equivalent of the Abominable Snowman. Speaking the local language himself, he interviewed a large number of people, and came back with 27 testimonies of encounters with the legendary beast.
     Five years ago I published a translation of his report. It turns out, however, that this was merely a preliminary report. A more detailed docuement, amounting to 84 pages, can be found at here in PDF form. In view of its length, I have no intention of translating the whole document. Moreover, I consider the original report presented sufficient details about the environment, the animal's appearance, and its location in time and space. However, there is one addition which is important. The full report contains far more eyewitness accounts than the three which illustrated the earlier report. I have therefore decided to translate that section. Read it, and then ask whether you any longer doubt the existence of an unknown primate in the Himalayas.
    Note: French and Russian investigators into unknown bipedal primates tend to call them "relic hominids". In normal scientific parlance, however, hominids refers to the group comprising humans, the great apes, and our extinct relatives. It is far from clear where the "relic hominids" fit into the scheme.

The Possum Book

I am pleased to provide a link to a website of a friend of mine, Robyn Tracey, who has written a fascinating story about her dealings with brush-tailed possums in the outer suburbs of Sydney. You can download the book for free, or read it on the site. Go to: The Possum Book.

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