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Authors: Karl P.N. Shuker

The Beasts that Hide from Man

BOOK: The Beasts that Hide from Man
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Mystery Cats of the World
Extraordinary Animals Worldwide
The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century
Dragons: A Natural History
In Search of Prehistoric Survivors
The Unexplained
From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings
Mysteries of Planet Earth
The Hidden Powers of Animals
The New Zoo

The Beasts That Hide from Man: Seeking the World’s Last Undiscovered Animals
Copyright © 2003 Karl P.N. Shuker, Ph.D.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address Paraview, P.O. Box 416, Old Chelsea Station, New York, NY 10113-0416, or visit our website at


The author and publishers have sought permission for the use of all illustrations and substantial quotations known by them to be still in copyright. Any omissions brought to their attention will be rectified in future editions of this work.


The chapters constituting this book are based upon, adapted from, or inspired by the following articles:


SHUKER, Karl P.N. (1995). In the spotlight: the dobhar-chú.
Strange Magazine
, No. 16 (fall): 32-3.


SHUKER, Karl P.N. (1997). Meet Mongolia’s death worm: the shock of the new.
Fortean Studies
, 4:190-218.

SHUKER, Karl P.N. (1998). On the trail of a terror bird.
Wild About Animals
, 10 (November-December): 40-1.

SHUKER, Karl P.N. (1998). Stranger than fiction.
All About Cats, 5
(September-October): 40-1.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1994). A belfry of crypto-bats.
Fortean Studies
, 1: 235-45.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1993). More mystery plants of prey.
Strange Magazine
, No. 12 (fall-winter): 9,49,51.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1997). Arboles devoradores de hombres.
, 3 (March): 8-16.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1996). Beware, beware, the fish with hair!
Wild About Animals
, 8 (June): 9.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1993). Hoofed mystery animals and other crypto-ungulates. Part III.
Strange Magazine
, No. 11 (spring-summer): 25-7,48-50.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1996). Super-emus and spinifex men — how tall are the tales of giant birds?
Fortean Studies
, 3:189-210.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1999). Sarajevo’s jumping snake.
Fortean Times
, No. 123 (June): 46.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1999). On the trail of the tatzelworm.
Wild About Animals
, 11 (January-February): 40-1.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (2001). Loco for a tzuchinoko.
Fortean Times
, No. 142 (February): 45.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1996). Never bother a beithir!
Wild About Animals
, 8 (July): 9.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1996). A real pen and ink.
Fortean Times
, No. 90 (September): 44.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1997). Chinese ink monkey…or Chinese whispers?
Strange Magazine
, No. 18 (summer): 52.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (2001). Living unicorns, born-again basilisks, and latter-day dragons. Unsubmitted article.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1997). The little howling god.
All About Dogs, 2
(July-August): 46-7.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1997). A new dawn for the sun dog.
All About Dogs, 2
(May-June): 44-5.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1998). Cynocephali and other dog-headed denizens of mythology
All About Dogs
, 3 (September-October): 44-5.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1997). Don’t lose your head — it’s the waheela.
All About Dogs, 2
(March-April): 54-5.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1996). Monkey business.
All About Dogs
, 1 (March-April): 74-5.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1997). Lemurs of the lost…and found?
Wild About Animals
, 9 (March-April): 7.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (2000). Catch a kilopilopitsofy!
Fortean Times
, No. 131 (February): 48.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1995). “Bring me the head of the sea serpent!”
Strange Magazine
, No. 15 (spring): 12-17.

SHUKER, Karl PN. (1998). A supplement to Dr Bernard Heuvelmans’ checklist of cryptozoological animals.
Fortean Studies
, 5: 208-29.

Cover illustration: artistic representation of the Mongolian death worm by Ivan Mackerle


Cover design by smythtype


ISBN: 1931044643


Library of Congress Catalog Number: 2003108039


TO MY AGENT, Mandy Little, of Watson, Little Ltd., London, with my very grateful thanks for overseeing so diligently and enthusiastically my writing career during the past ten years — and, I sincerely hope, for many years to come.



1. The
—Ireland’s Mysterious Master Otter

2. Tracking Mongolia’s Death Worm

3. Raven and the Terror Bird!

4. The Strange Case of Conan Doyle’s Brazilian Black Panther

5. A Belfry of Crypto-Bats

6. Man-Eating Trees and Vampire Plants

7. Hairy Reptiles and Furry Fish

8. The Sirens of St. Helena

9. Giant Mystery Birds

10. Slithery Surprises

11. Exposing the Chinese Ink Monkey

12. Living Unicorns and Latter-Day Dragons— The Physical Reality of Fabulous Beasts

13. Shamanus, Sun Dogs, and Other Canine Enigmas

14. Lemurs of the Lost—and Found?

15. Bring Me the Head of the Sea Serpent!

16. A Supplement to Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans’s Checklist of Cryptozoological Animals



The Animals of Tomorrow?

What is the world’s most cunning animal? That which no man has ever seen



MORE THAN 300 MAJOR NEW SPECIES OF ANIMALS WERE scientifically unveiled during the 1900s. As documented comprehensively in my book
The New Zoo: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century
(2002), they included such remarkable creatures as that famous forest-dwelling, short-necked giraffe known as the okapi (discovered in 1901); the gigantic but gentle mountain gorilla (1902) and the equally sizeable giant forest hog (1904); the extraordinary lobe-finned coelacanth (1938), belonging to an ancient lineage of fishes formerly believed to have died out at least 65 million years ago; large, spectacular birds such as the Congo peacock (1936) and Amsterdam albatross (1978); the stupendous megamouth shark (1976); a pig-like Ice Age relic called the Chacoan peccary (1974); eight different species of beaked whale (between 1908 and 1996); the formidable Komodo dragon (1912), currently the world’s largest known lizard; the Cambodian wild ox or kouprey (1937); the Queen of Sheba’s gazelle (1985); the buffalo-sized Vu Quang ox (1992), the largest new land mammal to be discovered for more than 50 years; the giant muntjac deer (1994); the bondegezou tree kangaroo (1994); and more than a dozen new South American monkeys (1990s and 2000s).

Moreover, judging from a vast array of well-documented, ostensibly reliable eyewitness accounts and other evidence on record, there may also be a sizeable number of spectacular animals still awaiting formal zoological detection and description in the 21st century, steadfastly remaining hidden from science despite apparently being familiar to their local human neighbors.

The official scientific investigation of these highly elusive creatures is known as cryptozoology (literally “the study of hidden animals”), a once-controversial fledgling zoological discipline that has gained increasing mainstream acceptance in recent years due to the startling number of unexpected zoological discoveries made by diligent field investigators, notably in Vietnam and South America.

Over the years, many books dealing with cryptozoological animals have been published. However, the majority of these have concentrated upon the same few, familiar examples—the Loch Ness monster and other freshwater mystery creatures, man-beasts (yeti, Bigfoot, etc.), sea monsters, and unidentified big cats in Britain and elsewhere. Conversely, throughout my own cryptozoological writings and research I have always preferred to pursue and highlight the little-realized plethora of lesser-known or decidedly obscure mystery beasts also on record—creatures that have often received only the briefest of mentions in the literature, and even then only in specialized, scarcely read, or largely forgotten journals, travelogues, historical accounts, and other esoteric sources.

Writing as I do for a wide range of publications, it has been regrettable but inevitable that many of my cryptozoological articles have been featured in English journals and magazines not available in the U.S., or in American ones not very accessible in Britain at the time of their appearance. Now, however, in response to popular demand from my worldwide readership, I have compiled in book form a selection of some of what I consider to be my most memorable articles from these disparate publications. In many cases, moreover, I have expanded and updated them to include additional information and illustrations that were not available at the time of my articles’ original appearances. And continuing my long tradition for making my research sources easily accessible to my readers, there is also a comprehensive bibliography of references consulted by me during my preparation of this book that can be utilized by readers wishing to pursue further any of the subjects documented therein.

Here at last, therefore, with no geographical barriers to separate them from my international reading public, are such hitherto-abstruse creatures of cryptozoology as the Mongolian death worm and the Sarajevo jumping snake, the mimiek dog and the ink monkey, the hairy lizards of New Guinea and the lost sirens of St. Helena, as well as Aztec sun dogs, Javan crypto-bats, Irish master otters, living unicorns, triangular serpents, giant eggs, dwarf emus, horned sea serpents, and a rich diversity of mystery beasts not even listed in Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans’ cryptozoological checklist. In other words, allow me to unfurl before your very eyes the fauna of the future—the beasts that (still) hide from man.

—Ireland’s Mysterious Master Otter

By Glenade Lake tradition tells,
two hundred years ago
A thrilling scene enacted was,
to which as years unflow
Old men and women still relate,
and while relating dread,
Some demon of its kind may yet
be found within its bed


BOOK: The Beasts that Hide from Man
2.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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