Today’s guest is Tony Healy. Tony is an Australian cryptozoologist and co-author of The Yowie: The Search For Australia’s Bigfoot with Paul Cropper, which is widely regarded as perhaps the most comprehensive book on the Yowie ever written and well worth a place on any true cryptozoologist’s bookshelf.
So, Tony Healy, here are your five questions on… Cryptozoology:
1) How did you first become interested in cryptozoology?
In 1957 or '58, when I was about 12 years old, I stumbled upon a copy of Constance Whyte's More than a Legend in my local library, and was bitten immediately by the 'Nessie bug.' Then in 1969-70 when I was working as a logger near Terrace, BC and later at Pitt Lake, I heard about the legendary Sasquatch - and realised that some of the local people took the matter quite seriously.
2) Have you ever personally seen a cryptid or secondary evidence of a cryptid, if so can you please describe your encounter?
In 1965, while hitch-hiking up the east coast of Australia, I scored a ride in a small, open-top sports car. Night fell and somewhere near Innisfail or Ingham in North Queensland, where the old highway zig-zagged through sugar cane fields, I saw a sandy-coloured animal crouching beside the road. My sighting was very brief as the headlight beams swept across it, but the animal looked very much like a cougar. At that time I hadn't heard of alien big cats in Australia, but shortly thereafter I talked to a young woman who told me that her father had also seen a cougar in Queensland - in his case, it was up near the Gulf of Carpentaria. Now, of course we know that there have been thousands of similar reports from many different parts of the country.
3) Which cryptids do you think are the most likely to be scientifically discovered and described some day, and why?
Maybe the orang pendek of Sumatra, given the fact that the Homo floresiensis skeletons of nearby Flores seem to be about orang pendek size. Homo floresiensis apparently survived on Flores right up to about 18,000 years ago. In Australia I guess the thylacine is still a reasonable bet. We know, at least, that the creatures - unlike a lot of cryptids - really did exist until quite recently. Interestingly, many of the better recent eyewitness reports (from rangers, police, wildlife experts, etc) come from the Australian mainland. It has been suggested that a couple of breeding pairs of thylacines were released on the mainland in the early 1900s shortly before they were driven to extinction (or near-extinction?) in Tasmania.
4) Which cryptids do you think are the least likely to exist?
Hard to say. I've not done any first-hand research into the matter so I may be wrong but the chupacabras phenomenon, while amusing, interesting and nicely creepy, seems pretty insubstantial to me.
5) If you had to pick your favourite cryptozoological book (not including books you may have written yourself) what would you choose?
It's very hard to choose. During my travels John Green's Sasquatch - the Apes Among Us, Peter Costello's In Search of Lake Monsters and the Bords' Alien Animals have all been very useful 'guide books.'
Thom Powell's account of his Bigfoot field work, The Locals, which I read recently, is excellent. So is Raincoast Sasquatch by Robert Alley. Richard Freeman's Dragons is a real mind-boggler: if I manage another overseas monster safari I'll endeavour to visit some of the many dragon-infested lakes and rivers that he lists.