AYR Interviews Friend, and Fellow Australian Researcher Paul Cropper
Date: June, 1999
[AYR} - Paul, how long have you been Researching the Yowie?
[Paul} - Since around 1977. My interest in the yowie was sparked by reading an article by Rex Gilroy, "Gorilla Giants of Katoomba" in the now defunct 'Psychic Australian' magazine. Shortly after that I remember getting a copy of Graham Joyners book "The Hairy Man of South Eastern Australia" which listed a stack of early cases. After that I was pretty much hooked.
[AYR} - What do you think a Yowie is?
[Paul} - That's a tough one. If it does exist (and I'm not 100% convinced that it does) a relic form of homo erectus is possible. The main problem with a homo erectus identification is that much of yowie data just doesn't fit.
Level of intelligence and general appearance and are the main two issues. Certainly, most yowie sightings seem to describe to some kind of erect ape, rather than an ape-like man. Of course, there are no apes in Australia, as this island continent was never connected to Asia. The yowie may also be some kind of sociological - or psychological - process that we don't understand yet. I believe that something interesting is going on - the consistency of reports from aboriginal legends through to modern day sightings is quite astonishing.
[AYR} - Why is it so hard to find decent footage of the Yowie?
[Paul} - I don't know. Its surprising that with so many people running around with video cameras these days no-one has shot an Australian 'Patterson film', but who knows, maybe one will eventually turn up. By the way, I feel that the Piper film is not a film of a yowie.
[AYR} - In your opinion, why is there so little hard evidence of the Yowie such as bones?
[Paul} - Given that most reports occur in fairly isolated and remote areas, its not unusual that remains haven't been found. I am surprised that nobody has hit one crossing a road, though, as this is a common location for encounters. Of course, if the yowie doesn't exist, then its to be expected!
[AYR} - This is normally a question many Researchers try to avoid, however we have to ask it. There's been so much talk by many Researchers on a World level about the Yowie/Bigfoot having some form of ties in the Paranormal, what's your view?
[Paul} - There are certainly 'psychic' elements to some sightings; strong feelings of terror and panic (the 'nameless dread" as Tony Healy likes to call it), dreams and nightmares before and after sightings. The aboriginals incorporated some paranormal elements into their hairy man stories. I'm an unapologetic fence-sitter on this - I recognise these elements do exist in some reports, but I feel it's a backward step to use one mystery (psychic phenomena) to try and explain another. Lets wait until more information is available.
[AYR} -Tony Healy and you completed your first book (Out of the Shadows), in 1995. Prior to 1995, what was the highlight of your Research?
[Paul} - Actually we wrote it in 1993/4, and it was published in late 1994 (just to be pedantic!). Probably the most interesting incident for me at that time was the O'Chee report (1977). Details of the O'Chee sighting can be found in 'Shadows' and Malcolm Smith's excellent 'Bunyips and Bigfoots'.
[AYR} - From 1995 (the time of Publication) to today, have you found many more reports?
[Paul} - The publication of 'Shadows' and the establishment of the AYR web site has resulted in a flood of new reports, most of them pretty impressive. I'd say that Tony and I now have several hundred cases in our files.
[AYR} - As a sneak preview of your next book (which we believe is due early next year), do you have a quick synopsis of what the public should expect?
[Paul} - Our new book will be really comprehensive and jam-packed with photos, sketches, maps and references. It will also have a chronological list of every single case we have collected.
[AYR} - What would be your all time best Yowie Report?
[Paul} - I think that the O'Chee report of 1977 is the best sighting report on record. The primary witness had a great deal to lose by coming forward (he was a serving National Party Senator at the time his story surfaced) yet he stuck to his story, and the incident involved around twenty other witnesses.
[AYR} - Although you mainly spend time collecting reports, interviewing witnesses and finding rare archives, have you had any Yowie encounters yourself or believe you have come close?
[Paul} - What a leading question, Dean! The only interesting experience was on a night stake-out in the Blue Mountains with you. We seemed to be approached and circled by 'something' walking through the scrub, but we never saw what it was. Interesting, but inconclusive.
[AYR} - What is your ultimate goal in your research?
[Paul} - I don't believe this mystery will be solved in my lifetime, but I hope to have added something to the accumulated body of research in this field.
[AYR} - Besides the Yowie, you have researched many other areas of strange phenomena. Can you tell us a little more about some of the areas that you have studied?
[Paul} - I have a side interest in the paranormal, and poltergeist cases in particular.
[AYR} - What was the weirdest experience you have had in other matters that you investigated?
[Paul} - The Humpty Doo poltergeist investigation, which is well documented on the Strange Nation site at www.strangenation.com.au.
[AYR} - You met the all time Bigfoot Legend's John Green and Rene Dahinden in your travels. Can you tell us a little about what it was like meeting these men?
[Paul} - Rene was quite a character. We shared a few Fosters beers at his trailer one afternoon in 1988. I really liked his no-bullshit attitude, and sense of humour. That same visit I met John Green, who I also found really interesting. We still keep in touch.
[AYR} - What do you think the future holds for the Yowie?
[Paul} - With the AYR site and several new books, we're probably going to see a lot more reports surface over the next year or so. I think the yowie itself will stay a mystery for a long time to come.
[AYR} - Why do you think there are is much Politics in Bigfoot Research?
[Paul} - There's politics in every field, so why should yowie/bigfoot reseach be any different? I also think that 'fringe' research tends to attract highly opinionated individuals, so perhaps in this field there's a greater tendency for people to rub each other the wrong way!
[AYR} - Do you feel the Australian Researchers seem to be "easier going" than their U.S. counter parts?
[Paul} - Only a little (grin)!
[AYR} - In your view, where do you think the major Yowie hot spots are?
[Paul} - I'd say behind the Gold Coast in Queensland and the Blue Mountains and far south coast (around Bateman's Bay) of New South Wales.
[AYR} - What has happened to the Victorian Yowie's, there seemed to be many reports in the 18th Century?
[Paul} - There seems to be a few new Victorian cases turning up, primarily through the work of the AYR.
[AYR} - Can we expect to see more or less Yowie reports coming from S.A. and W.A and why?
[Paul} - Not sure. There are only a few cases from either state. Most reports are from the more heavily forested eastern states.
[AYR} - We rarely hear any Yowie reports originate from Tasmania? Where there many in the past?
[Paul} - There are a few recent reports from Tasmania, but no old stories that I am aware of.
[AYR} - What do you think a "Bunyip" is?
[Paul} - In 'Shadows' we felt most bunyip reports were seals, with the slim possibility of an unknown river or lake dwelling creature that may well have already become extinct.
[AYR} - With all the talk of Cloning, do you think that someone will clone a Thylacine on day?
[Paul} - Possibly yes, but I hope not. I believe messing with nature on that scale is a bad idea.
[AYR} - Speaking of the Thylacine, which state has the most amount of modern day sightings?
[Paul} - Victoria, definitely.
[AYR} - Why are there so many reports of Big Cats in Australia and how did they get here?
[Paul} - That's real puzzle. Many reports pre-date WW2, so the 'American puma release' doesn't account for all the big cat stories. And the high proportion of black panther stories is also strange. But there are no aboriginal cat legends except for the Queensland Marsupial Tiger - but that's another story!
[AYR} -Thanks for the interview Paul and we appreciate your input.
[Paul} No worries. Keep up the good work. AYR rocks!
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