Inventive 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
studies (click on right here
and right here
to learn a number of these as documented in Elements 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 a bent 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 will 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 identified creatures famed for his or her means to
produce these exact same sounds.

two most notable species are the good horned owl Bubo virginianus and
the puma Puma concolor. Because it occurs, though hunters and trackers had
regularly reported private observations of pumas producing these remarkably
loud and eerie sounds, they had been usually disbelieved by scientists – till
official observations of such exercise had been recorded from numerous zoo
specimens, as documented by C.A.W. Guggisberg in his complete ebook Wild
Cats of the World
(1975) and subsequently expanded upon by me in my very own,
first ebook 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 at the very least some studies of poorly-observed screaming critters
will be defined on this means. Such an answer can not, nevertheless, be utilized to these
studies by which the witness has distinctly noticed a kangaroo-like creature shrieking at shut quarters.
Furthermore, any ventriloquist puma or owl working at the side of a kangaroo
stooge is more likely to be discovered employed upon a Saturday morning cartoon
present than wandering by America’s countryside!

the riddle of the screeching kangaroos will stay unresolved till a specimen
can really be obtained. Nonetheless, there may be one remaining thriller macropod identification
(provided by a number of writers up to now as at the very least a theoretical chance)
that has thus far not been investigated right here, however which is especially pertinent
to this extra aberrant, shrieking class of phantom kangaroo (as a result of resulting from
their bizarre vocals these latter cryptids can’t be so readily thought of as
easy escapees of identified macropod species). The likelihood in
query, albeit exceedingly distant and radical, is that America harbours an
unknown, indigenous species of macropod or macropod-like creature. Moreover,
such a type may even have arisen through two utterly totally different means.



right now 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 had been a really
various group all through the New World. South America specifically was as soon as
house to various sizeable varieties, together with the pouched sabre-tooth Thylacosmilus
and the wolf-like borhyaenids that belonged to a now totally extinct taxonomic
order whose members had been often known as sparassodonts and had 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 had been as soon as deemed to
be carefully associated. Following more moderen analysis, nevertheless, it’s these days recognised
that this isn’t the case in any respect – their notable outward similarity arose
as an alternative by convergent evolution, resulting from their occupancy of the identical
ecological area of interest upon their respective continents.

If the
Americas’ pouched mammalian clan may produce a parallel to the Australasian
marsupial wolves, may it even have produced a parallel to the Australasian
macropods – and one, furthermore, which (not like the borhyaenids) has really
survived to the current day, in North America? Sadly, nevertheless, all the
scientific proof presently out there stands firmly in opposition to this chance.
Firstly, excluding only some surviving didelphids all of North America’s
marsupials died out a lot earlier (and had been a lot much less specialised) than these of
the New World’s southern continent. So if an indigenous American macropod-like
type had developed 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 (identified New World fossil marsupials have
been carnivorous or insectivorous somewhat than herbivorous).


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

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

On 9
November 1891, New York Metropolis historian Prof. Albert Leighton Rawson revealed
within the Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences a brief paper
entitled ‘The Historical Inscription on a Wall at Chatata, Tennessee’. On this,
Rawson described a mysterious wall-like construction recently excavated close to
Cleveland, in Bradley County, which was composed of crimson sandstone that bore
many tons of of inscribed symbols of unknown which means and origin. Furthermore,
there was additionally proof to counsel 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, nevertheless, was the truth that sure of the symbols took the type of
uncommon animal sorts, not clearly identifiable with identified American species. Of
these, essentially the most perplexing should certainly be the very distinctive creature whose
inscribed type is replicated right here:


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

whereas actually not matching any ‘official’ New World animal, it carefully
corresponds with an ‘unofficial’ type – the American phantom kangaroo. Not like
identified macropods, after all, the Chatata biped sports activities a beard-like construction
hanging from its decrease jaw, plus strange-looking hind ft. Such variations,
nevertheless, may merely be resulting from creative model. Additionally, if the Americas have certainly
yielded their very own macropod type, one would count on at the very least slight variations
from the Australasian model – one more reason for the ‘beard’ and ft?

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 sure for zoos, sideshow, and
circuses, and from which escapees may 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 among America’s most puzzling modern-day thriller creatures, the
phantom kangaroo? Tragically, nevertheless, no direct investigations of this carving
or any others on the Chatata Wall can presently be undertaken, as a result of,
extremely, the wall’s precise location is now not identified! There’s 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 means comprehend how such exact, well-delineated
varieties may have been created by such random means.


Inventive reconstruction of
the potential 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 totally 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 ebook The
Discipline 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 identification actually deserves point out right here.

They proposed
that at the very least a few of America’s reported thriller macropods will not be macropods at
all however really represent an undiscovered species of indigenous primate, a
big 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 ebook:

They seem like a sort of
big baboon that strikes by saltation, leaping as do kangaroos – and are sometimes
mistaken for them. As a result of their dimension [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 developed a big flat foot with
three rounded toes. Immature Satan Monkeys resemble marsupials corresponding to
wallabies resulting from convergent evolution however this similarity diminishes as they

fascinating if totally speculative proposal, as a result of as but there isn’t any identified
fossil proof to substantiate the prior existence of any kind of endemic primate
in continental North America (aside from our personal species in fashionable occasions, of
course), thereby lowering the probability that any such creatures exist right here
right now.]


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



second means by which America may possess its very personal, separate macropod type
will 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 had 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 whole of
solely 40 or so specimens).

within the early Nineteen Eighties, when learning these most uncommon additions to the Oahu
fauna, American biologist Dr James Lazell claimed that they now differed so significantly
each in physique dimension and in colouration from their unique Antipodean ancestors
that they really appeared to have developed into a very separate subspecies –
distinctive to Oahu. Such speedy evolutionary divergence from the unique type (much less
than 60 years within the case of the Oahu wallabies) is especially frequent 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,
may or not it’s potential that at the very least a few of these have developed (or are evolving)
into separate taxa from their captive ancestors? In different phrases, may America genuinely
possess its personal indigenous macropod type, albeit of accelerated modern-day
somewhat than conventional prehistoric evolutionary origin? It’s to be hoped that
each time residing macropods are captured within the wilds of North America, exact
genetic and protein analyses will likely be undertaken to find conclusively their
taxonomic identification and reveal whether or not such an thrilling phenomenon is certainly
occurring right here.



Additionally properly 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 engaging
mammal was thought of extinct.

In 1966, nevertheless, it made a reappearance that was significantly
sudden – as a result of particular locality by which its reappearance passed off,
which was not in Australia in any respect, however as an alternative 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 may the existence on a small New Zealand island of
an allegedly-extinct Australian wallaby be defined? For as soon as, the reply was
fairly easy.


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 dimension than the unique launched inventory, indicating insular evolution has taken place right here too, as on Oahu.

To safeguard this species’ future, a few of the island’s white-throated
wallabies had been despatched to zoos all over the world to provoke captive populations
(which has been an awesome 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 significantly
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 ebook 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 Conflict II. Sadly, nevertheless, this inhabitants
appears these days to have all however died out, resulting from 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’s even a well-known wallaby inhabitants on
Inchconnachan, one of many islands in Scotland’s Loch Lomond. These are
descended from some specimens that had been launched there throughout 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 at the very least a
phenotypically-distinct type, 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 various albino wallabies have
been reported within the wild from numerous disparate localities throughout Nice


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

studies have additionally been filed involving British sightings of macropods in
areas aside from these formally confirmed to be occupied by populations.
In some circumstances, such studies are identified to have been attributable to 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 studies exist that can not be satisfactorily defined by both of
these solutions, resulting in the prospect that different, presently 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 highway in south Oxfordshire, England, whereas he was
driving house late that night, however he did not catch it. Though two or three
wallabies had been identified to have escaped earlier than Christmas 1984 from the McAlpine
property close to Fawley (about 8 miles from Crowmarsh), these had been all thought to
have been killed in highway accidents (Fortean Instances, winter 1985). On 24
or 25 August, a drowned wallaby was found in a non-public pool at Crowmarsh –
probably the person that had eluded seize by Greg simply over every week earlier
(Oxford Mail, 28 August).

A number of
days earlier than that discover, and at the very least 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 Instances, 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)

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 stored 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 really revealed {a photograph}
of a wallaby eluding seize by a Chipping Norton policeman. But whether or not any
macropods from this hotbed of hopping exercise had 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,
however 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 highway 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 will be properly over 5′ tall (I’m 5’10” however by
standing nearer to the digicam than the kangaroo was, I seem a lot taller than
it was, resulting from compelled perspective) (© Dr Karl Shuker)

kangaroo (versus wallaby) populations will not be purported to exist wherever
within the British Isles, which makes the Cornbury Park specimen a notable puzzle.
Much more weird, nevertheless, 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 Instances (summer season
1980). For this animal, described by Rees as being a kangaroo, was at the very least 8
ft tall, with a rusty-brown pelage. Its most stunning function, nevertheless, 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 Instances, Summer time 1981), its color matched that of a male
crimson kangaroo (albeit an exceedingly tall one), no modern-day species of macropod
strikes by strolling. Not solely the origin but additionally the zoological identification of this
animal thus stays a thriller.



Europe just isn’t resistant to phantom kangaroos both. A number of studies
in regards to the French equal of America’s ‘regular’ class of such beasts
appeared in Fortean Instances (spring 1987), courtesy of Jean-Louis Brodu.
Moreover, in September 1985 a number of kangaroos had been scary
villagers in northern Hungary; a Hungarian Sunday newspaper utilized the escapee
concept as an evidence (Fortean Instances, winter 1985).

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


in his basic cryptozoological ebook On the Monitor of Unknown Animals
(1958), Dr Bernard Heuvelmans boldly advised that these may very well be
surviving representatives of Australia’s big Pleistocene macropods. Grazers
corresponding to Procoptodon and browsers corresponding 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 an alternative by strolling. In any occasion, the chance that such large marsupials nonetheless
exist is one that will by no means be investigated absolutely, as a result of daunting
circumstances that should be confronted by anybody penetrating these environmentally
hostile areas.



clear that the creatures hitherto classed as phantom kangaroos really
represent a variety of various animal sorts, of which solely the ‘regular’
class is more likely 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 specifically by the in depth investigations of Loren
Coleman and David Fideler, and the unstinting documentation of studies by Fortean
. It’s hoped that their efforts will likely be finally rewarded by
unequivocal options to this most curious cryptozoological conundrum.

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

make sure to click on right here
and right here
with the intention to learn Elements 1 and a pair of of this ShukerNature article – you recognize it makes


Rolling again the years – how I
regarded means again within the mid-Nineteen Eighties once I wrote the unique model of this
article on the very starting of what has develop into for me a lifelong and
exceedingly pleasing cryptozoological profession (© Dr Karl Shuker)


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