Dr KARL SHUKER

Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. Author of such seminal works as Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; greatly expanded in 2012 as The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), and more recently Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007), Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008), Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (2010), Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), and Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), his many fans have been badgering him to join the blogosphere for years. The CFZ Blog Network is proud to have finally persuaded him to do so.

Dr Karl Shuker's Official Website - http://www.karlshuker.com

IMPORTANT: To view a complete, regularly-updated listing of my ShukerNature blog's articles (each one instantly clickable), please click HERE!

IMPORTANT: To view a complete, regularly-updated listing of my published books (each one instantly clickable), please click HERE!

IMPORTANT: To view a complete, regularly-updated listing of my Eclectarium blog's articles (each one instantly clickable), please click HERE!

IMPORTANT: To view a complete, regularly-updated listing of my Starsteeds blog's poetry and other lyrical writings (each one instantly clickable), please click HERE!

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Friday, 9 December 2016

A GOLDEN YETI FOR MY BIRTHDAY!! - CRYPTOZOOLOGIST OF THE YEAR 2016



Today is my birthday – as for which one, let's just say that I've reached an age where it's probably best to draw a discreet veil over such questions, lol – and down through the years on this day I've received many wonderful items, but this is definitely the first time that I've ever received a Golden Yeti!

Two days ago, my birthday arrived early, as it were, when I was delighted, amazed, and very honoured by an official announcement on  Loren Coleman's CryptoZooNews website that he and the International Cryptozoology Museum had awarded me their prestigious Golden Yeti Award as Cryptozoologist of the Year 2016. And yes, there is indeed a Golden Yeti statuette accompanying the award, equally as coveted among cryptozoologists as the Academy Award or Oscar is among movie actors and the Grammy is among musicians, and which will definitely occupy a very special place in my study.

So I wish to take this opportunity to thank Loren and the ICM most sincerely for bestowing such a great honour upon me in recognition of my contributions to cryptozoology.

Mom and I at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, in 2004 (© Dr Karl Shuker)

Also, I wish to dedicate this award to my mother, Mary Shuker, who would have been so proud, as she always was of all that I did and achieved. It was Mom who bought for me so very long ago that humble little paperback edition of Heuvelmans's classic crypto-book On the Track of Unknown Animals that fired what has become my life-long passion for cryptozoology; and without her constant love and encouragement from my very earliest days, none of this would ever have been possible. God bless you, Mom – how I miss you and wish that you were here still, on my birthday today, and every day.

And now, please click here to visit Loren's site for full details concerning what is unquestionably among the most extraordinary and unforgettable events to have ever happened to me in my crypto-career.

The Golden Yeti Award for Cryptozoologist of the Year (© Loren Coleman/The International Cryptozoology Museum)





Thursday, 8 December 2016

VOLUME 4 OF THE JOURNAL OF CRYPTOZOOLOGY IS NOW PUBLISHED



I'm very happy to announce that Vol. 4 of the Journal of Cryptozoology – currently the world's only peer-reviewed scientific journal devoted to mystery animals – is now published.

The four papers contained in this volume constitute a quartet of very different but equally interesting and significant contributions to cryptozoology. Namely:

An insightful examination by Paul Michael Donovan of the original occurrence and subsequent dispersal and gradual generalisation in meaning of a famous cryptid term – 'bunyip'.

An exhaustive and exceedingly valuable checklist compiled by Dr Charles G.M. Paxton and Adrian J. Shine of identities proposed over time for what must surely be the world's premier cryptid – the Loch Ness monster.

A very pertinent application of DNA analysis by Dr Haskell V. Hart to alleged cryptozoological (bigfoot) samples, a practical approach that I anticipate becoming ever more important in this field.

The presentation by Bruce A. Champagne of a very comprehensive, novel type proposal for water monsters.

The journal is now actively calling for submissions in relation to Vol. 5. These should be emailed directly to me. Before doing so, however, all contributors must ensure that their manuscripts have adhered to the journal's presentation style and requirements, as given in each volume's Instructions to Contributors section, and online in the journal's website (click here) - where this newest volume of the journal (and all of its earlier ones too) can be purchased directly. In addition, Vol. 4 can be purchased here on Amazon US, and here on Amazon UK.

Scale illustration of the possible appearance of the long-necked variety of bunyip (© Connor Lachmanec)





Wednesday, 7 December 2016

INTRODUCING THE HOMEN-GALHO – PORTUGAL'S MYSTERIOUS TWIG MAN ENTITY…OR ENT?



Green-tinted version of 'Family Tree', by Robert M. Williams, chanced upon and purchased by me as a large-sized print in a charity shop at Warwick, England, in c.2012 (© Robert M. Williams – reproduced here on a strictly non-commercial Fair Use basis only)

One of my favourite races of being in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy are those animate trees known as ents, but I always assumed that they were totally fictitious. Thanks to some fascinating if thoroughly perplexing information received by me recently, however, I'm no longer quite so sure!

On 16 August 2016, Portuguese correspondent Tiago Cardoso kindly brought to my attention and also translated into English for me a short item from Vanessa Fidalgo's book Seres Mágicos em Portugal [Magic Beings in Portugal], published in 2014, but which I have not previously seen mentioned in any English-language publication. The item concerns a mystifying being known locally as the homen-galho or twig man, and here it is:

I will tell a story that was told to me by my grandfather, about a creature that lives in the forest near the village of Pessegueiro, in northern Portugal.

According to my grandfather, when he was a young man, that is, about 40 years ago, during an autumn night there in the village of Pessegueiro a group of friends of which he was part spotted a naked creature that moved as a man (i.e. on two legs), but the head appeared to bear tree twigs. It was exceptionally tall and thin. When it noticed them, the creature was perplexed to see them, a situation which gave the impression that its eyes were human, but also allowed them to see that it had something that looked like moss on its face. My grandfather and his friends chased the creature, entering into the forest, throwing stones at it, but when they entered the densest areas of the grove, they lost sight of it.

Then, they heard animal-like noises, and dragging of vegetation, which, in the exact words of my grandfather: "stopped everything, until the animals became afraid and fled".

At that moment, they also fled, in panic, to the village cafe, where they told what had happened. Obviously at that time no one believed their account, but, over the years, people here have heard more accounts of sightings of this creature. It seems that the descriptions were continuing until six years ago.

Front cover of the novel L'Aurore des Chrysalides written by Yanis Taieb, which features an entity reminiscent of twig man descriptions (© Yanis Taieb – reproduced here on a strictly non-commercial Fair Use basis only)

It was six years ago when it was last reported, by a group of young people...They were in the street when they heard a strange noise, similar to the noises made by the dragging of something very heavy. They came to see what was there, and that was when one of them saw a very thin, strange figure, and he exclaimed: "Look that man, he looks like a twig!".

Then, they all remarked about the man having tree-trunk-like structures on its head, and they associated this immediately with the description that they had heard from old men. Like the group containing my grandfather, they ran to the nearest cafe to find people and to claim that they had seen the 'twig man'.

At first, no one understood what they were talking about, but after a more detailed explanation everyone ran to the place of their sighting, but there was no longer anything there. Only a total silence.

Since that day, no 'forest creature' or 'twig man' has been seen, but in the village the story never died and everybody knows that in the forest exists something that is not human.

When I first read this, I wondered about wild men or woodwose, as such entities have been reported in Spain right into modern times, but the repeated claims that Portugal's twig man has tree-like twigs or trunks projecting from its head are certainly very difficult to explain via this identity. Having said that, moss on its face is less problematic, so might the twigs simply be vegetation caught up in the hair on the creature's head?

Yet even if this is so, its extreme thinness and tallness does not recall wild man reports, in which their dimensions tend to be little different from those of modern, civilised humans.

'The Takkenman', a life-sized Dutch bronze statue by Henk Vos that mirrors descriptions of Portugal's twig man (© Henkvosb/Wikipedia CC SA 3POINT0 Unported)

Conversely, what the twig man does closely resemble is the LOTR ent, typified by the stately Treebeard, and who knows, perhaps this fictitious yet famous entity has indeed directly inspired and coloured the twig man reports. Yet it seems unlikely that such a blatantly invented creature as an animate tree would do this. So at present, the Portuguese twig man is a notable enigma - a legend come to life, or even a fictional entity made factual.

If any ShukerNature reader knows anything about the twig man, I’d love to hear from you. Meanwhile, my thanks to Tiago Cardoso for alerting me to this incongruous Iberian.

Treebeard, an ent, depicted in spectacular fashion by world-renowned fantasy artist Rodney Matthews (© Rodney Matthews – reproduced here on a strictly non-commercial Fair Use basis only)





Tuesday, 6 December 2016

FISHER PIGS, SWAMP PIGS, HELL PIGS, AND TERMINATOR PIGS – ENTELODONTS EMERGENT IN HUNGARY?


Life-sized entelodont statue in Reutlingen, Germany (© Markus Bühler)

Whereas Arthurian legend had its Fisher King, rural Hungarian lore apparently once included an ostensibly real but presently-unidentified mystery beast known as the fisher pig. Also termed the swamp pig, this hitherto-obscure creature, seemingly undocumented in mainstream cryptozoological literature until now, was kindly brought to my attention by Facebook colleague and Hungarian crypto-investigator Orosz István via a series of FB communications during early July 2016, and which can be summarised as follows.

The old shepherding folk of his country still speak of this mysterious animal, which they claim to be extinct now (allegedly dying out during the 1880-1890s, according to a mention of it by famous Hungarian agricultural writer Imre Somogyu in his celebrated 1942 book Kertmagyarország Felé), but which once lived in marshes around the rivers Tisza and Körös. It did not graze like normal wild boars, and its diet consisted of crabs and fishes. When I asked Orosz if any illustrations of fisher/swamp pigs existed, he replied that he was not aware of any, but added that it was said to be very big, with a curved back, and lived in large herds.

Restoration of Daeodon shoshonensis (Public domain)

This interesting account attracted a wide range of speculation on FB, including whether it may actually have constituted a late-surviving species of entelodont. These omnivorous pig-like ungulates (but constituting a separate taxonomic family from true pigs) existed in Eurasia and North America from the middle Eocene to the early Miocene (37 million to 16 million years ago), culminating in their last but largest representative Daeodon shoshonensis (aka Dinohyus hollandi). Distributed widely across the U.S.A., this monstrous so-called 'hell pig' or 'terminator pig' stood around 6 ft tall at the shoulder and sported a massive 3-ft-long skull.

However, it seems highly unlikely that such conspicuous creatures as entelodonts could have survived into modern times in Europe without having attracted very appreciable, sustained attention from the sporting fraternity, for whom they would have made extremely noteworthy targets and thence trophies (i.e. mounted heads, preserved pelts, etc), to be displayed proudly in hunting lodges and country estates across the continent. And yet no such specimens seemingly exist; none, at least, has been brought to public notice so far.

Feral pigs (public domain)

Much more plausibly, Orosz felt that the fisher pig was probably nothing more than a local variety of the familiar European wild boar Sus scrofa, whereas fellow Hungarian crypto-enthusiast Tötös Miklós considered that it may have been a feral (run-wild) variety of domestic pig. Both wild boars and feral domestic pigs will indeed inhabit swamps and marshes, are famously omnivorous, and are known to enter shallow water to devour fishes and invertebrates.

Yet as wild boars and feral domestic pigs are such well known creatures in this region of Europe, why would any that lived in the Tisza and Körös marshes be delineated with their own name by the local shepherds, unless they had evolved a distinctive morphology and lifestyle that separated them from more typical wild boar and ferals at least in the eyes of the shepherds (if not in those of zoologists)? For now, therefore, the Hungarian fisher pig remains a thought-provoking cryptozoological conundrum.

Front view of life-sized entelodont statue in Reutlingen, Germany (© Markus Bühler)

My sincere thanks to Facebook friends Orosz István and Tötös Miklós for their much-appreciated information and insights concerning their country's enigmatic fisher pig, and to Markus Bühler for his excellent entelodont statue photographs.

This ShukerNature blog article is excerpted from my newly-published mega-book Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors – at 0ver 600 pages and almost 260,000 words long, and with more than 300 illustrations, most in full-colour and including many spectacular but hitherto-unpublished artworks, an ideal Christmas present for any crypto-fan!





Monday, 5 December 2016

DEBUNKING THE DISCOVERY OF A DEAD DRAGON


Stills available online from a 'mockumentary' b/w video showing the supposed discovery of a dead dragon - click stills to enlarge (© Cuarto Milenio – reproduced here on a strictly non-commercial Fair Use basis only)

I investigated and debunked the following case back in summer 2016, and others have done so too, but as it is still inciting speculation online I am presenting herewith on ShukerNature my own findings regarding it, in the hope that this deceased dragon can finally be laid to rest permanently.

In August 2016, several correspondents brought to my attention a remarkable b/w video snippet doing the rounds online that showed a team of scientists apparently finding the recently-deceased, still-intact, non-decomposed body of a bona fide dragon. Worryingly, judging from comments posted underneath the video, quite a few people seriously considered it likely that this beast was real. Consequently, I lost no time in investigating the video to determine its origin and uncover the true nature of the dragon in it. Happily, I soon discovered that the video was actually a deliberately-created faux film clip contained within a Spanish TV documentary on dragons entitled Cuarto Milenio (Fourth Millennium), fronted by zoologist Fernando Gonzalez.

Moreover, the dragon itself was a very skilfully-produced, large-sized model, over 12 ft long, created specifically for the documentary by acclaimed Spanish artist-sculptor Juan Villa Herrera and a team of assistants at his workshop, which took a week to prepare. The dragon was constructed from latex and flexible foam, except for its wings, teeth, and claws. Unfortunately, some unidentified person(s) had taken a copy of the documentary's faux film clip and had distributed it online as proof that dragons do exist, thereby creating the appreciable confusion that duly ensued – and which even engendered a variant claim that the dragon in question had been found in Tibet!

Still from video showing how the dragon was painstakingly created by Juan Villa Herrera and his team (© Cuarto Milenio – reproduced here on a strictly non-commercial Fair Use basis only)

At the time of writing, a copy of the b/w faux film clip can be viewed online here, uploaded on 23 February 2016. A colour version of it can be viewed online here, uploaded onto Facebook by Sokh Phally on 19 August 2016. And a superb video revealing how the dragon was constructed step by step by its creator and assistants can be viewed online here, uploaded by Juan Villa Herrero on 21 February 2016.

And for the most comprehensive and extensively-illustrated documentation of dragons currently in print. be sure to check out my full-colour book Dragons in Zoology, Cryptozoology, and Culture – the perfect Christmas present for all serious draconophiles everywhere!





Friday, 2 December 2016

SHUKERNATURE EXCLUSIVES – THE ONLY STORE FOR OFFICIAL SHUKERNATURE MERCHANDISE



ShukerNature t-shirt (© Dr Karl Shuker/Zazzle)

Several years ago, I opened a store on Zazzle's website, but I didn't do a great deal with it – until now. Renaming it ShukerNature Exclusives, I've launched a wide selection of official ShukerNature blog merchandise and other cryptozoology-related items designed by yours truly (and with many other items on the way too) – from t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, and baseball caps to postcards, coasters, mugs, key-rings, bumper stickers, and much more besides, all attractively decorated with ShukerNature and other crypto motifs.

ShukerNature postcard (© Dr Karl Shuker/Zazzle)

So, with Christmas fast approaching and all of those gifts still to seek out, why not pay a visit to ShukerNature Exclusives? If you're a ShukerNature blog fan, and want to let the world know, just click here to browse through the only official ShukerNature merchandise available anywhere. Go on, you know you want to!

Ameranthropoides loysi t-shirt (© Dr Karl Shuker/Zazzle)




Friday, 25 November 2016

STILL IN SEARCH OF PREHISTORIC SURVIVORS - AFTER 21 YEARS, THE WAIT IS FINALLY OVER!



It has been 21 years since the original publication back in 1995 of In Search of Prehistoric Survivors, considered by many to be my finest cryptozoological volume. Not surprisingly, then, in subsequent years there has been a growing, persistent clamour among its numerous fans worldwide for me to prepare a new, updated edition. Now, at last, fulfilling a longstanding promise, I have done so - and what an update it is!

At over 600 pages long, with a word count of almost 260,000, more than 300 colour and b/w illustrations (including many stunning renditions plus spectacular cover artwork by acclaimed crypto-artist William M. Rebsamen), and a brand-new foreword penned by fellow crypto-chronicler Michael Newton, this is both a massively-expanded new edition of the original volume and a valid stand-alone book in its own right, because it contains many entirely new cryptids as well as updates for all of those previously included here. The result is the most comprehensive documentation and analysis ever published of those diverse mystery beasts that at one time or another have been postulated to be bona fide prehistoric survivors.

Where it all began, 21 years ago - the original edition, In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors, published in 1995 (© Dr Karl Shuker)

But if these elusive beasts do indeed exist, could they really be creatures that time forgot? From sea serpents and lake monsters to living non-avian dinosaurs and surviving pterodactyls, from bunyips and behemoths to Nandi bears, devil-pigs, thunderbirds, thylacoleonids, and many many more, read the meticulous, objective, and always scrupulously scientific assessments of each and every cryptozoological case presented in this fascinating book, and judge for yourself.

An ideal Christmas present for every cryptozoological enthusiast, Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors can now be ordered on Amazon and elsewhere online – click here to visit its dedicated page on my website, which contains direct clickable links to its purchasing pages on Amazon USA and Amazon UK respectively. And if you order it here on Amazon USA between now and November 28 (up to 02:59 am EST) 2016, using the promo code HOLIDAYBOOK at checkout under the "Gift cards & promotional codes" section, you will save a sizeable $10 off its selling price!!