Lair of the Beasts: The Strangest Monster of All (Mania.com)
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Occasionally I get asked: what’s the strangest unknown animal lurking in the woods, jungles, or mountain-ranges of our world? Well, first and foremost, there are plenty of them! And, second, each and every one of them is undeniably odd. After all, how else would you describe Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Chupacabras than downright weird?
But, here’s the thing: some are far, far weirder than others.
Beyond any shadow of doubt, Sydney, Australia can claim fame to having played host to one of the most mystifying and bizarre of all creatures ever encountered. And I do not use those two words – mystifying and bizarre – lightly. After all, how else would you describe a diminutive beast that looks like an elephant, but walks on its hind-legs, and surfaces from the depths of nothing less than a dark lagoon?
That was exactly what a woman named Mabel Walsh encountered in Narrabeen – a beachside suburb of Sydney – back in the late 1960s.
While driving home late one April 1968 evening with her nephew, John, Walsh was shocked to fleetingly see the approximately four-foot-tall animal emerge from the watery depths and shuffle its way into the heart of nearby scrubland. It was a creature that Walsh would never forget, even though it was in view for only mere seconds.
Gray in color, with what looked like a tough, leathery skin, it had a snout resembling that of an anteater, a slim trunk, long back legs, and a pair of short forelimbs that dangled as it waddled along – sideways, no less - by the edge of the road before vanishing into the scrub.
The local newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, recognizing the publicity the story would surely create, splashed the details across its pages. In an article titled: And now it’s the Monster of Narrabeen! – and with the subtitle of: Loch Ness was never like this – the details of Mabel Walsh’s story tumbled out, which provoked yet more reports of the fantastic creature.
Some of them sounded decidedly sensationalized, since they suggested the monster of the deep had taken to dragging sheep, cows and even horses to their horrific deaths in the heart of the lagoon; a most unlikely action for a creature barely four-feet-tall!
Others spoke in near-hysterical tones of seeing a bright red-colored, clawed hand come out of a hole in the ground at the lake and try and grab a terrified youngster.
The final word on the matter went to Mabel Walsh, who started the controversy and told newspaper staff that people might call her crazy, but she was absolutely sure there was a bizarre creature in Narrabeen Lakes. As it transpired, not many did call her crazy. The Daily Telegraph’s audience excitedly lapped it all up, and, sales-wise, its staff was very happy indeed.
Walsh’s story is made all the more bizarre by the fact that the creature she saw was not the only resident weirdo in the area.
Still on the matter of Sydney’s monsters, we have to now take a trip to the vast and picturesque Blue Mountains. Chiefly composed of a huge plateau that borders Sydney’s bustling metropolitan area, the mountains sit in the central region of what is known as the Sydney Basin, and are home to one of the area’s most famous attractions: a trio of tall peaks known as the Three Sisters.
Many, however, claim that the Blue Mountains are home to something even more spectacular than those three rocky women: the Australian equivalent of Sasquatch. Or, as it’s known in a land down under: the Yowie.
Of course, no-one would claim that Mabel Walsh saw a Yowie. But, that the creature she encountered was seen not at all far from where huge, hulking apes are also seen only makes her case even more…well…weird!
Nick Redfern is the author of many books, including There’s something in the Woods and The Real Men in Black.