Saturday, October 15, 2011

Monsterfest 2011: The Yowie

The yowie is one of my favourite types of monsters: one of the ones that maybe, if you hold your head at the right angle and squint into the sun, you just might see in real life. The yowie is another Australian monster, or, more precisely, a cryptid -- a creature that like Bigfoot, or Nessie, or the Yeti probably isn't real, but there are just too many eyewitness accounts to write them off as imaginary quite yet. 

Wikipedia tells me that the yowie legend is sometimes interchangeable with that of the bunyip, but I've always understood them to be two very different creatures. Yowies are a sort of Australian Bigfoot, a hairy ape-like creature that lives in heavy bush and is shy and fast. Bunyips are shape-changing howling monsters that live in billabongs and drown people. Also, bunyips don't get caught on blurry home video: 

The above footage is probably the most famous yowie footage, but I don't like it much. It's a little derivative. It's got a real Bigfoot vibe to it. An ape lopes through some trees -- we've seen it a hundred times before, and we've stopped caring. If you're going to fake yowie footage (and let's face it, they probably did) you should do it in a  cool, unexpected way: 

I'm a sceptic. Really, I want to believe in strange and fantastical beasts, but I just can't. Well, maybe ones under the ocean because that goes down for miles, you  know, but not ones that are just hanging around in the bush and popping up randomly to scare picnickers. Because we've had video cameras and phone cameras for a really long time now, but I've yet to see any footage of any cryptid that someone with an ounce of technical knowledge can't debunk. I'm like that poster in Fox Mulder's office. I want to believe. Really, I do, because the world needs mystery and imagination, and undiscovered corners, but you've got to give me something a little more substantial than the sort of video my four year old niece accidentally makes when she's looking for Angry Birds on my phone. 

In the meantime I'll keep watching fuzzy Youtube videos of monster sightings and alien autopsies, and I'll keep squinting into the sun, because the world needs things that go bump in the night. I do, anyway. 

What do you want to believe in?


This post was brought to you by Sommer Leigh's MonsterFest2011. 
Check it out here: MonsterFest


  1. Yeah, footage like that just makes me say...really? That the best you can come up with?

    I agree, if there are monsters still out there, the deep ocean is the most likely place. There we can still mark our charts with "Here be dragons." There's no real frontier left on land here.

    What do I want to believe in? That one day we can find a way to escape the confines of the solar system and travel to the stars. Humans need frontiers, the challenge of the unknown. Without something new to explore, I think we lose that which makes us human.

  2. Hmmm, I'd never heard of a yowie before. That's so interesting!

    One monster I always thought would be creepy would be a spectre, how they can become anyone and you'd never know they were out to kill you...

  3. @ Botanist, I agree that we need the challenge of the unknown. I would also love to live long enough to see a human being leave our solar system. I live in hope that the further we go, the more we will see how petty our little squabbles on this planet are!

    @ Jenna: spectres are scary! Anything that can get under the gaps under doors and through keyholes is terrifying to me. Give me a yowie any day, because they have to obey the same laws of physics that I do!

  4. The second video was much more clever and interesting than the first. But you can totally tell that's a wig. Ah well. If we can't have them in real life we'll just have to make them up in our stories, right?

  5. I used to have a recurring nightmare about Bigfoot, and so I didn't watch the videos, but I definitely think there's plenty of strange life yet to be discovered, whether it's in the sea or space or stuck behind the sofa.

  6. I've never heard of a Yowie either. The strange creature I would most like to believe in is the Loch Ness monster -- which doesn't sound like a monster at all, just a lonely remnant dinosaur who wonders where 'everyone else" went.

  7. @ Sarah, I completely agree! That's why we write stories.

    @ MC, there is a lot of mmysterious undiscovered life behind my sofa. I'm scared to look there now.

    Hi Elizabeth! I feel the same way about the Loch Ness Monster. If it's real, it's sort of sad! And I would probbaly chose Nessie to believe in as well, because I am never likely to swim in Loch Ness so I don't need to be freaked out!

  8. You're going to laugh, and I swear I'm not making fun of Australia, but I read quite a few Australian YA authors and every time I hear someone mention "the bush" I immediately think Australia must be covered in monsters. The term just screams "Here There Be Monsters, Abandon All Hope."

    Your post about a monster who supposedly lives in the bush doesn't really help to allay me of this impression. :-)

    Another awesome post! Thank you for teaching us about the yowie!

  9. Hi Sommer! I once saw an English comedian (wish I could remember who!) talking about "the bush" and how it sounds like that's all we have: one single, solitary bush in the middle of nowhere. I kind of like that idea...

  10. BTW, I passed on an award to you today. When hyou have time, stop by and pick it up.

  11. Like Fox Mulder, aliens are my thing, lol.

    "I Want to Believe."

  12. Hi Raymond, me too! As long as they're not like the alien from the movie Alien. Because then we're screwed!



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