The Yowie is a large, hairy biped said to roam the Australian Outback. This bigfoot-like cryptid stands between seven to twelve feet tall, and has disproportionately large feet. Also similar to North America's Bigfoot is the influence this strange beast has had on the culture of Australia's indigenous inhabitants. The Aboriginal people were said to have warned early European settlers of aggressive, hairy wild men who lurked in the wilderness, and ancient cave paintings show huge, bestial figures towering over the island continent's native people.
"Who has not heard, from the earliest settlement of the colony, the blacks speaking of some unearthly animal or inhuman creature, that inhabited some part of the wildest, inaccessible, rugged and sequestered haunts of rocky mountains and gorges in the colony, namely, the Yahoo Devil-Devil, or the Hairy Man of the Woods, which to this day they stand in fearful awe and terror of," asked the Sydney Evening News in 1876.
That year a pair of sightings by white settlers published in the paper became the earliest known media coverage of the Yowie. The reports began with a young shepherd's encounter with an "unearthly, inhuman-looking being" while tending his flock near the head of the Lachlan River in New South Wales. The lad, whose name was Porter, was reportedly overcome with fear when he saw the creature charging towards him down some nearby rocks. He abandoned his sheep, and, along with his similarly terror-stricken dogs, fled back to his homestead. Porter told his father what happened, and together they returned to where the boy had been chased by the monster, but found nothing.
A few days later a group of young men and women fishing in the Rocky Bridge waterholes, also in New South Wales, had their own encounter with the creature. The majority of the group had gone off to set their lines, leaving a single young woman behind to prepare their supper; while so engaged, the woman was startled to see what she at first thought to be a member of her party approaching the cooking fire, only to realize that instead it was an "unsightly and inhuman" being with a "big red face" and "hands and legs covered over with long, shaggy hair." The horrified young lady was frozen in fright, only able to let out a terrified scream, which alerted her companions. Her friends came running, and the creature stood some distance off for a minute or two before deciding to retreat into the nearby rocks. Two of the young men grabbed tomahawks and cudgels, and gave chase, They followed the monster up the mountainous terrain when it suddenly turned on them and stood its ground. The men halted their advance, allowing them a good view of the beast.
"The head was covered with dark, grisly hair, the face with shaggy darkish hair, the back and belly, and down the legs covered with hair of a lighter color," read the newspaper report.
The Yowie then surprised them all by doubling back and again running towards their fire and the rest of the group. This evoked a primal terror in the witnesses, who were relieved to see that by some luck the charging monster had decided to veer off into the rocky terrain and out of sight. Settlers in the area organized a search party to hunt the beast down, but were ultimately unsuccessful.
Since then, there have been hundreds of Yowie sightings in New South Wales and Queensland, and one significant flap of sightings took place in the Northern Territory in the 1990s. The reports consistently describe the same hairy creature seen by the 19th century youths mentioned in the Sydney Evening News, and just like witnesses of hairy hominids on other continents, those who see the beast are insistent that what they saw was no ordinary animal. So if you find yourself in the Australian Outback, in addition to the myriad deadly creatures inhabiting that inhospitable environment, you may want to take extra care to look over your shoulder for the aggressive, hirsute humanoid said to dwell Down Under--the Yowie.