Location: Tanima Desert, Northern Territory

Event: Yowie Sighting

Date: Feb. 28 1998

Source: Article by Randall Floyd for 'Living in Australia'




In the spring of 1997, a woman vacationing in Australia's Tanimi Desert was awakened by a ``horrible, animal-like'' noise just outside her hotel window.

When she went out to investigate, she saw a ``giant, hairy creature'' loping across the yard.

``It was the ugliest thing I've ever seen,'' Felicia Morgan told investigators. ``And it smelled worse than any skunk in the world.''

She described the creature as at least seven feet tall, weighing 500 pounds and covered with long, dark hair.

``It looked almost human -- with sad, frightened eyes,'' she said.

When the creature saw her, it crashed through a fence and escaped into the woods. Ms. Morgan, a nurse from Bristol, England, said she will never forget the ``awful sound'' the creature made as it escaped.

``It roared just like a big bear, yet (the sound) was frighteningly similar to that of a little human baby crying,'' she said.

Other sightings were reported in the days that followed. Each incident made national news.

Yowie, as the creature has long been known, is a presence in the folklore of New South Wales and the Gold Coast of Queensland.

According to legend, Australia was once populated by a savage race of ape-men. When the ancestors of the aborigine arrived several thousand years ago, they confronted these creatures and all but exterminated them in battle.

Before the 1970s, most people called the creature  "Yahoo,'' possibly in reference to the subhuman creatures mentioned in Jonathan Swift's book, Gulliver's Travels, which was published in 1726.

According to one source, the term is a corruption of the aborigine word  "youree,'' which means  "hairy man-monster.''

Whatever its origin, the name ``Yowie'' stuck.

The first recorded sighting of a Yowie by a European came in 1881 when an Australian newspaper reported that several witnesses had seen a baboon-like animal that stood taller than a man. In 1894, another individual claimed to have seen a ``wild man or gorilla'' in New South Wales.

Today, hardly a month goes by without at least one Yowie sighting being reported in the press.

In 1971, a Royal Australian Air Force helicopter carrying a crew of surveyors discovered strange footprints atop of a remote mountain in New South Wales. The footprints were described as humanoid in appearance, yet too big for true humans.

Yowie sightings continued throughout the 1970s. In 1976, backpackers in New South Wales reported seeing a five-foot female Yowie whose fur ``stank to high heaven.''

Also in New South Wales, Betty Gee reported seeing a giant creature covered with black fur outside her home in 1977. A few days later her fence was torn down by a mysterious creature that left enormous footprints in the mud.

Randall Floyd is a syndicated writer living in Augusta.

It looked almost human -- with sad, frightened eyes.Felicia Morgan, describing creature she said she saw in Australia





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