Creative illustration of a
satan monkey – is North America house to an undiscovered species of macropod, or
macropod-like thriller beast? (© William M. Rebsamen)

the cryptozoologist, essentially the most perplexing of all American phantom kangaroo
reviews (click on right here
and right here
to learn a choice of these as documented in Components 1 and a pair of of this three-part
ShukerNature article) should certainly be these attributed to the Jersey satan. For
though a number of accounts in regards to the latter thriller beast allude to
creatures bearing a superficial similarity to real macropods, such beasts
moreover possess sure options which are something however attribute of
Australia’s most well-known denizens. Such options embody an inclination to emit
bloodcurdling screams, in addition to possessing hooves, horns, and wings.



issues with wings and the horrors with horns plus hooves evidently don’t have anything
to do with kangaroos, phantom or in any other case, and subsequently might be omitted from
additional dialogue right here forthwith. The rest, conversely, seem to vary
from typical macropods solely with respect to their spine-chilling shrieks. In
precise reality, America possesses sure recognized creatures famed for his or her potential to
produce these exact same sounds.

two most notable species are the nice horned owl Bubo virginianus and
the puma Puma concolor. Because it occurs, though hunters and trackers had
incessantly reported private observations of pumas producing these remarkably
loud and eerie sounds, they have been usually disbelieved by scientists – till
official observations of such exercise have been recorded from numerous zoo
specimens, as documented by C.A.W. Guggisberg in his complete e-book Wild
Cats of the World
(1975) and subsequently expanded upon by me in my very own,
first e-book Thriller Cats of the World (1989).


Puma (high) and nice horned owl (backside) (public area /
Patrick Coin/Wikipedia –
CC BY-SA 2.5 licence)

it’s possible that not less than some reviews of poorly-observed screaming critters
might be defined on this method. Such an answer can not, nonetheless, be utilized to these
reviews wherein the witness has distinctly noticed a kangaroo-like creature shrieking at shut quarters.
Furthermore, any ventriloquist puma or owl working along with a kangaroo
stooge is more likely to be discovered employed upon a Saturday morning cartoon
present than wandering by means of America’s countryside!

the riddle of the screeching kangaroos will stay unresolved till a specimen
can truly be obtained. Nevertheless, there may be one last thriller macropod id
(supplied by a number of writers up to now as not less than a theoretical chance)
that has up to now not been investigated right here, however which is especially pertinent
to this extra aberrant, shrieking class of phantom kangaroo (as a result of as a result of
their bizarre vocals these latter cryptids can’t be so readily thought of as
simple escapees of recognized macropod species). The chance in
query, albeit exceedingly distant and radical, is that America harbours an
unknown, indigenous species of macropod or macropod-like creature. Moreover,
such a kind might even have arisen by way of two utterly completely different means.



as we speak represented solely by the didelphids (true opossums), caenolestids (rat/shrew
opossums), plus a lone surviving species of microbiotheriid (monito del monte),
and present predominantly in Central and South America (a single didelphid species
happens as far north as the united statesA.), in earlier occasions the marsupials have been a really
various group all through the New World. South America particularly was as soon as
house to numerous sizeable types, together with the pouched sabre-tooth Thylacosmilus
and the wolf-like borhyaenids that belonged to a now fully extinct taxonomic
order whose members have been generally known as sparassodonts and have been solely very distantly
associated to all different South American marsupials.

by morphologically paralleling the placental wolves, the borhyaenids additionally known as
to thoughts Australasia’s marsupial wolves, the thylacinids (of which the now
‘formally’ extinct Tasmanian wolf Thylacinus cynocephalus is the one modern-day
consultant). Certainly, these two latter marsupial teams have been as soon as deemed to
be intently associated. Following more moderen analysis, nonetheless, it’s these days recognised
that this isn’t the case in any respect – their notable outward similarity arose
as a substitute by means of convergent evolution, as a result of their occupancy of the identical
ecological area of interest upon their respective continents.

If the
Americas’ pouched mammalian clan might produce a parallel to the Australasian
marsupial wolves, might it even have produced a parallel to the Australasian
macropods – and one, furthermore, which (in contrast to the borhyaenids) has truly
survived to the current day, in North America? Sadly, nonetheless, all the
scientific proof at present obtainable stands firmly towards this chance.
Firstly, excluding just a few surviving didelphids all of North America’s
marsupials died out a lot earlier (and have been a lot much less specialised) than these of
the New World’s southern continent. So if an indigenous American macropod-like
kind had advanced and has probably survived into the current day,
one would count on sightings from South and even Central America somewhat than from the
northern continent. Moreover, no fossil stays of kangaroo-like beasts have
ever been recorded from the Americas (recognized New World fossil marsupials have
been carnivorous or insectivorous somewhat than herbivorous).


Holding some grapes, a
Virginia opossum Didelphis virginiana,
North America’s solely recognized residing marsupial species (public area)

noting for comparability functions, nonetheless, is that regardless of the absence of geologically-recent
coelacanth fossils, two residing species do certainly exist. Consequently, an absence
of current fossils of a given animal group doesn’t show conclusively that no
residing consultant of this group survives. Furthermore, one discovery has
occurred which will have explicit bearing upon the veracity of this most intriguing
(albeit extremely unlikely) thriller macropod id.

On 9
November 1891, New York Metropolis historian Prof. Albert Leighton Rawson printed
within the Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences a brief paper
entitled ‘The Historic Inscription on a Wall at Chatata, Tennessee’. On this,
Rawson described a mysterious wall-like construction these days excavated close to
Cleveland, in Bradley County, which was composed of purple sandstone that bore
many tons of of inscribed symbols of unknown that means and origin. Furthermore,
there was additionally proof to recommend that makes an attempt had subsequently been made to
obliterate them, by protecting them with cement and putting on high of this a layer
of stone – all very unusual.

of all, nonetheless, was the truth that sure of the symbols took the type of
uncommon animal varieties, not clearly identifiable with recognized American species. Of
these, essentially the most perplexing should certainly be the very distinctive creature whose
inscribed kind is replicated right here:


Precise copy of the inscribed type of the mystifying bipedal
beast current on the Chatata Wall (public area)

whereas definitely not matching any ‘official’ New World animal, it intently
corresponds with an ‘unofficial’ kind – the American phantom kangaroo. Not like
recognized macropods, in fact, the Chatata biped sports activities a beard-like construction
hanging from its decrease jaw, plus strange-looking hind toes. Such variations,
nonetheless, might merely be as a result of inventive fashion. Additionally, if the Americas have certainly
yielded their very own macropod kind, one would count on not less than slight variations
from the Australasian model – another excuse for the ‘beard’ and toes?

particular age of the inscriptions is unknown, however they will surely appear to
predate very significantly the final 200 years or so – when Australasian
macropods first started to reach in America certain for zoos, sideshow, and
circuses, and from which escapees might subsequently infiltrate America’s

course the Chatata biped might merely be a beast created by the inscriber’s
creativeness. Nonetheless, is it not curious that it bears so shut a
resemblance to one in every of America’s most puzzling modern-day thriller creatures, the
phantom kangaroo? Tragically, nonetheless, no direct investigations of this carving
or any others on the Chatata Wall can at present be undertaken, as a result of,
extremely, the wall’s actual location is now not recognized! There may be additionally a
much-debated concept that its inscriptions may very well be nothing greater than the
informal, non-coordinated product of pure geological or palaeontological
phenomena, however I can not in any method comprehend how such exact, well-delineated
types might have been created by such random means.


Creative reconstruction of
the attainable look of a satan monkey, based mostly upon eyewitness descriptions (©
William M. Rebsamen)

than 20 years after I wrote the unique model of this text (again within the
mid-Nineteen Eighties), a brand new and really completely different however no much less intriguing cryptozoological
connection to America’s phantom kangaroos was postulated – this time by Loren
Coleman and fellow American mysteries researcher Patrick Huyghe of their e-book The
Subject Information to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Different Thriller Primates Worldwide
(1999). Even
although I’ve in any other case largely shunned together with updates, this extremely
intriguing id definitely deserves point out right here.

They proposed
that not less than a few of America’s reported thriller macropods should not macropods at
all however truly represent an undiscovered species of indigenous primate, a
large simian to be exact, that Coleman and one other of his co-researchers,
Mark A. Corridor, have dubbed the satan monkey. Right here is how Coleman and Huyghe described
this postulated cryptid of their e-book:

They seem like a sort of
large baboon that strikes by saltation, leaping as do kangaroos – and are sometimes
mistaken for them. Attributable to their measurement [standing up to 5 ft tall according to a
reconstruction of this cryptid’s possible appearance included alongside its verbal
description] and technique of locomotion, they’ve advanced a big flat foot with
three rounded toes. Immature Satan Monkeys resemble marsupials similar to
wallabies as a result of convergent evolution however this similarity diminishes as they

fascinating if fully speculative proposal, as a result of as but there is no such thing as a recognized
fossil proof to verify the prior existence of any sort of endemic primate
in continental North America (apart from our personal species in fashionable occasions, of
course), thereby lowering the chance that any such creatures exist right here
as we speak.]


A extra baboon-like
interpretation of the satan monkey’s attainable look, ought to it truly
exist (© William M. Rebsamen)



second method wherein America might possess its very personal, separate macropod kind
might be illustrated by the startling case of the distinctive type of rock wallaby
distinctive to the Hawaiian island of Oahu. As famous in 1982 inside a Science
information report, a single pair of Australian brush-tailed rock wallabies
Petrogale penicillatus escaped from a zoo on Oahu in 1916. They have been
by no means caught, and subsequently reproduced within the wild, their offspring in flip
mating amongst themselves, till a sizeable inhabitants of a number of hundred wallabies
was established (though this has since declined to a present-day complete of
solely 40 or so specimens).

within the early Nineteen Eighties, when finding out these most uncommon additions to the Oahu
fauna, American biologist Dr James Lazell claimed that they now differed so significantly
each in physique measurement and in colouration from their unique Antipodean ancestors
that they really appeared to have advanced into a very separate subspecies –
distinctive to Oahu. Such speedy evolutionary divergence from the unique kind (much less
than 60 years within the case of the Oahu wallabies) is especially widespread amongst
very small populations of creatures remoted from all different
intraspecific people – a phenomenon termed genetic drift. Moreover, as Lazell
famous in Science Digest, dramatic deviations will happen if the unique
organisms possess any marked genetic irregularities.


should be pointed out, however, that a detailed molecular genetic analysis of
the Oahu wallaby population conducted by Drs Mark D.B. Eldridge and Teena L.
Browning, and published by the Journal of Mammalogy in 2002, refuted
previous suggestions that these Hawaiian specimens now constituted a separate taxon.]

If, as
appears possible, lots of the reported ‘regular’ macropods sighted throughout America
are descendants of unique escapees that survived and multiplied within the wild,
would possibly it’s attainable that not less than a few of these have advanced (or are evolving)
into separate taxa from their captive ancestors? In different phrases, might America genuinely
possess its personal indigenous macropod kind, albeit of accelerated modern-day
somewhat than conventional prehistoric evolutionary origin? It’s to be hoped that
at any time when residing macropods are captured within the wilds of North America, exact
genetic and protein analyses can be undertaken to find conclusively their
taxonomic id and reveal whether or not such an thrilling phenomenon is certainly
occurring right here.



Additionally nicely price noting at this level is a comparable wallaby-themed
state of affairs on a small New Zealand island to that on Oahu. The white-throated
(parma) wallaby Notamacropus (=Macropus)
is a really good-looking animal, darkish brown on high, white beneath, with
a black stripe working from its neck to halfway down its again. It was as soon as
plentiful within the Illawarra and Cambewarra mountainous areas of southern New
South Wales, Australia, however because of its woodland habitat’s wholesale
clearance by people, its numbers quickly dwindled. By 1932, this enticing
mammal was thought of extinct.

In 1966, nonetheless, it made a reappearance that was significantly
surprising – as a result of particular locality wherein its reappearance befell,
which was not in Australia in any respect, however as a substitute in New Zealand, on a 500-acre
island known as Kawau, sited 30 miles north of Auckland on North Island. New
Zealand is a rustic famed for having simply two species of native mammal, each
of that are bats. So how might the existence on a small New Zealand island of
an allegedly-extinct Australian wallaby be defined? For as soon as, the reply was
fairly simple.


A white-throated (aka parma) wallaby (© Dr Karl Shuker)

In 1870, settlers had launched a number of white-throated wallabies
from Australia onto Kawau, simply as that they had earlier launched many different
non-native animals onto New Zealand’s two principal islands. The wallabies had
thrived, and multiplied, so {that a} wholesome inhabitants now existed there
(alongside these of 4 different wallaby species additionally introduced right here from Australia
at numerous occasions). And of curiosity, they’re markedly smaller in physique measurement than the unique launched inventory, indicating insular evolution has taken place right here too, as on Oahu.

To safeguard this species’ future, a number of the island’s white-throated
wallabies have been despatched to zoos world wide to provoke captive populations
(which has been a fantastic success), simply in case illness or another risk
ought to decimate the Kawau colony. Not lengthy afterwards, furthermore, it was
rediscovered on mainland Australia too, by G.H. Maynes, who situated some
notable forest-dwelling populations in an expanse of land stretching from the
Hunter River to the Clarence River in northeastern New South Wales, thereby drastically
rising its survival probabilities within the wild too.



complete topic additionally has nice bearing upon creatures far nearer to house for me –
specifically, throughout the British Isles. For it’s well-known that established populations
of naturalised Bennett’s wallaby Notamacropus
formally exist in Britain.

detailed by Sir Christopher Lever in his definitive e-book The Naturalised
Animals of the British Isles
(1977), one such inhabitants was lengthy situated
inside heather moorland, scrub, and woodlands within the Peak District of
Derbyshire and Staffordshire, England, descended from 5 macropod escapees from
a non-public zoo close to Leek throughout World Battle II. Sadly, nonetheless, this inhabitants
appears these days to have all however died out, as a result of a succession of harsh winters,
though occasional sightings of single specimens are nonetheless reported right here.


A shy Bennett’s wallaby (© Dr
Karl Shuker)

One other
documented British wallaby inhabitants exists within the St Leonard’s Forest and
Value Forest space south of Crawley New City in northern Sussex, England, and
might have been equally established by wartime escapees, this time from
Leonardslee Park close to Horsham. There may be even a well-known wallaby inhabitants on
Inchconnachan, one of many islands in Scotland’s Loch Lomond. These are
descended from some specimens that have been launched there through the Nineteen Forties by
Girl Arran Colquhoun, and Inchconnachan itself is popularly referred to
colloquially as Wallaby Island.

view of the Oahu wallabies, is it conceivable that in time to return these
British naturalised wallabies will evolve into not less than a
phenotypically-distinct kind, visually distinguishable from their escapee
ancestors? Actually a most stimulating thought, and one made much more tantalising
by the truth that previous to their inhabitants crash the Peak District wallabies
had already yielded some people differing markedly in colouration from the
unique escapees. Furthermore, in recent times numerous albino wallabies have
been reported within the wild from numerous disparate localities throughout Nice


An albino Bennett’s wallaby (© Dr Karl Shuker)

reviews have additionally been filed involving British sightings of macropods in
places apart from these formally confirmed to be occupied by populations.
In some circumstances, such reviews are recognized to have been brought on by lone escapees from
captivity close by; in others, a person from one of many official naturalised
populations might merely have strayed elsewhere.

a good few reviews exist that can not be satisfactorily defined by both of
these solutions, resulting in the prospect that different, at present unconfirmed
populations of escapee descendants might exist in Britain. Take, for instance, the
Oxfordshire outbreak of August 1985:



On 14
August 1985, scholar Greg Caswell gave chase to a wallaby noticed bounding
alongside the Benson to Crowmarsh street in south Oxfordshire, England, whereas he was
driving house late that night, however he did not catch it. Though two or three
wallabies have been recognized to have escaped earlier than Christmas 1984 from the McAlpine
property close to Fawley (about 8 miles from Crowmarsh), these have been all thought to
have been killed in street accidents (Fortean Occasions, winter 1985). On 24
or 25 August, a drowned wallaby was found in a non-public pool at Crowmarsh –
probably the person who had eluded seize by Greg simply over every week earlier
(Oxford Mail, 28 August).

A number of
days earlier than that discover, and not less than 30 miles north-west of Oxford, Julia Brooks
of Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, had been shocked to look at a wallaby
in her backyard consuming meals scraps put out for the birds; and on 25 August,
employees on the Cornbury Park property (about 15 miles south­east of Chipping
Campden) sighted a macropod in close by fields, however they claimed that it was 5-6
ft tall, grey-coloured, and was recognized emphatically by them as a kangaroo,
not a wallaby (Fortean Occasions, winter 1985).

Would possibly it have been an japanese
gray kangaroo Macropus giganteus,
like this particular person? (© Danielle Langlois/Wikipedia –
CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)

it appears that evidently this latter, a lot bigger beast was not the identical macropod that Brooks
had spied. On 17 September, the Oxford Mail reported that Police
Constable Jon Badrick from Chipping Norton had been assigned to seize his
city’s thriller macropod(s), and he revealed that the wallaby might have as soon as
belonged to a Dennis Washington who saved wallabies at Center Barton – though
whether or not any of his had actually escaped was not talked about. Furthermore, on 6
October London’s Mail on Sunday newspaper truly printed {a photograph}
of a wallaby eluding seize by a Chipping Norton policeman. But whether or not any
macropods from this hotbed of hopping exercise have been ever caught is unknown
– like so many cryptid sagas, after a blaze of publicity Oxfordshire’s mystifying
marsupials merely pale from the information.

Much less
than two years later, a wallaby was being pursued by the Royal Ulster
Constabulary after having been noticed close to to Belfast Zoo in Northern Eire,
nevertheless it was not revealed whether or not this specimen had actually escaped from the zoo
(Sandwell Categorical and Star, 30 April 1987). Equally, one other wallaby
of unsure origin was additionally being sought by police after having been noticed
hopping down the Weymouth to Wareham street in Dorset, southwestern England, by
an ambulance crew (Sandwell Categorical and Star, 14 August 1987).


As demonstrated right here by the person standing between (however
additional again than) my mom Mary Shuker and myself at a farm in Melbourne,
Australia, grownup kangaroos might be nicely over 5′ tall (I’m 5’10” however by
standing nearer to the digital camera than the kangaroo was, I seem a lot taller than
it was, as a result of pressured perspective) (© Dr Karl Shuker)

kangaroo (versus wallaby) populations should not alleged to exist anyplace
within the British Isles, which makes the Cornbury Park specimen a notable puzzle.
Much more weird, nonetheless, is the Lancashire creature noticed one afternoon
in 1967 by David Rees on the fringe of a wooded space known as Freshfields close to
Southport, England – an incident recalled by him in Fortean Occasions (summer season
1980). For this animal, described by Rees as being a kangaroo, was not less than 8
ft tall, with a rusty-brown pelage. Its most stunning function, nonetheless, was
its gait. Rees reported that after viewing him, the creature “…turned
round and walked into the undergrowth and out of sight”. Enquiries to native
police failed to establish its origin.

as said by Dr Alyson Lander of New South Wales, Australia, in a follow-up
letter (Fortean Occasions, Summer time 1981), its color matched that of a male
purple kangaroo (albeit an exceedingly tall one), no modern-day species of macropod
strikes by strolling. Not solely the origin but additionally the zoological id of this
animal thus stays a thriller.



Europe will not be proof against phantom kangaroos both. A choice of reviews
in regards to the French equal of America’s ‘regular’ class of such beasts
appeared in Fortean Occasions (spring 1987), courtesy of Jean-Louis Brodu.
Moreover, in September 1985 a number of kangaroos have been scary
villagers in northern Hungary; a Hungarian Sunday newspaper utilized the escapee
concept as a proof (Fortean Occasions, winter 1985).

tales of phantom kangaroos have additionally been recorded from the unique homeland
of all marsupial hoppers – the huge island continent of Australia. Nevertheless, the
Antipodean model of thriller macropod makes even the mighty 6-7-ft-tall purple
kangaroo, able to 10-ft-high bounds, look positively puny compared. For
within the arid desert land constituting the dry coronary heart of Australia, reviews from
gold-prospectors and different occasional travellers to those inhospitable zones have
spoken of huge rabbit-like beasts that disappear in a single certain.
Moreover, some accounts refer particularly to “kangaroos 12 toes


in his basic cryptozoological e-book On the Monitor of Unknown Animals
(1958), Dr Bernard Heuvelmans boldly recommended that these may very well be
surviving representatives of Australia’s large Pleistocene macropods. Grazers
similar to Procoptodon and browsers similar to Sthenurus attained
heights of 10 ft.

in recent times anatomical research based mostly upon their fossil stays have
indicated that these bipedal giants probably moved not by bounding however
as a substitute by strolling. In any occasion, the chance that such huge marsupials nonetheless
exist is one which will by no means be investigated absolutely, as a result of daunting
situations that have to be confronted by anybody penetrating these environmentally
hostile areas.



clear that the creatures hitherto classed as phantom kangaroos truly
represent a variety of various animal varieties, of which solely the ‘regular’
class is prone to function real macropods. Consequently, utilization of the
time period ‘phantom kangaroo’ needs to be restricted hereafter to this single particular group.
It’s also evident that public consciousness in regards to the phenomenon of thriller macropods
has been stimulated particularly by the intensive investigations of Loren
Coleman and David Fideler, and the unstinting documentation of reviews by Fortean
. It’s hoped that their efforts can be in the end rewarded by
unequivocal options to this most curious cryptozoological conundrum.

Within the
meantime, nonetheless, everytime you put out scraps for the birds, remember to
examine whether or not the bipeds consuming them embody not solely winged and feathered
examples but additionally some pouched and furred ones!

remember to click on right here
and right here
in an effort to learn Components 1 and a pair of of this ShukerNature article – you already know it makes


Rolling again the years – how I
seemed method again within the mid-Nineteen Eighties after I wrote the unique model of this
article on the very starting of what has turn into for me a lifelong and
exceedingly pleasant cryptozoological profession (© Dr Karl Shuker)


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