Kempsey, New South Wales 1968
Location: Kempsey, New South Wales
Event: Yowie Attack Hoax
Date of report: September 12th, 1976
Source: The Sun-Herald.
Witnesses: Mr. George Gray.
AYR Comment: This report was apparently proved to be a Hoax.
A former timber worker described today how he fought for his life for ten minutes with an ape-man. Mr George Gray, 63, said the 4ft tall, hairy, web-toed creature dragged him from his bed in a lonely bush hut and tried to carry him away.
The attack took place eight years ago, but Mr Gray said he had not talked much about it in case workers boycotted the nearby mill. Mr Gray said the creature attacked him while he slept on a moon-lit night. He added: "We were wrestling on the floor. I was punching it and getting pretty tired. I tried to get my right arm over to put an arm bar on it, but I couldn't hold it. The skin was sort of loose, like it had no muscles. My hands just sank in. It was like trying to hold something slippery. I could feel the bones. I couldn't feel the flesh at all. I could see the hair on it - dirty grey hair, bristly like a pigs. It wasn't a pig. It was a man of some description."
Mr Gray said the creature had eyes like a Human's with deep creases under them. The face was copper-coloured and hairless, and the nose was big and flat.
"The funny thing was it didn't seem to be angry. It had a look about it as if it was trying to wake me up and get me out the door."
During the struggle the creature made no sound and seemed not even to breathe. It had a deep chest and shoulders and was so strong that it could shake him like a dog.
"All of a sudden it let go, shuffled out the door and disappeared into the bush."
The Macleay Argus News writes on Saturday the 4th of September, 1976:
One September night eight years ago, Mr George Gray, of Middleton Street, South Kempsey, fought for his life with a hairy, ape-like creature that attacked him as he slept in his bed.
When he called for help, his cries woke his eldest son, Robert, but so frightened the youth, he was immobilised by fear.
The incident took place at the lonely saw milling settlement of Kookaburra on the Carrai Plateau about 80km West of Kempsey. The time was between midnight and 1am. Early morning at any rate. The creature, covered in bristly hair 5-6 inches long, had grey hair, like a Phillis Diller Pig, a face like a Human?..but was only about 4 feet tall.
It wrestled Mr Gray for 10 minutes without once making a sound. It dragged him from his bed, then tried to drag him from his hut. He broke free only when Mr Gray began punching it in the body and then it shuffled out the room with an ambling gait that seemed more animal then Human and disappeared.
Was this creature a Yowie? A monster-man that is believed to be Australia's version of the Abominable Snowman? A creature that Aboriginals called "The Great Hairy Man?" Mr Gray doesn't know. He had heard of an encounter similar to his near Burnt Bridge years and years ago, involving a man long since dead. Was it someone playing a Macabre joke? No, he firmly says, it was no joke. That's what people want to believe.
Was it a Monkey, a descendant of a colony the miners were said to have kept? No, it was no Monkey. Its arms were too short. Was it the same thing two Kempsey men - Mr Robert Winkler and Mr Chris Hudson - saw apparently swimming in the Macleay River at Toorooka at 3am one December morning in 1973 as they set out to fish for perch? What they encountered was some strange form in a quiet stretch of deep water. At first they thought it was a rock?..'until it moved around their boat, making gurgling noises. Unearthly noises, Mr Winkler recalls. It filled them with such fear they paddled to the opposite side of the shore where they listened to the sounds of the creature on the other side, moving through the underbrush. At dawn, there was nothing to be seen. Not even a rock.
Afterwards, people who weren't there tried to convince them it was a rock. Had to be. Or a cow. A pig. Or ?? what?
Mr Gray hadn't heard about that story. He is also ignorant of reports that the Yowie had supposedly been seen in several areas of Northern New South Wales in recent months. He only knows of his terror when a thing attacked him and left imprinted on his mind every detail of those horrifying ten minutes. He has not talked much about the incident. At the time, the Mill Manager ('Mac'McGee), told him to keep quiet in case Mill workers boycotted the place.
Those he spoke to later on were generally sceptical. If they did listen it was to suggest a practical joke? or that he added a bit more water to the Mountain brew. George Gray is a Diabetic, drinks little and has never been known to take liquor on the job. That night, he recalls, he had gone to bed early. In that sort of Country, men worked hard for four and a half days and got out and down the mountain to a few town comforts in distant Kempsey.
Mr Gray remembers the night was moonlit, that it was cold enough for him to be well rugged in blankets and that - as usual - he slept in the two-bedroom hut with the doors and window open. The settlement (now bulldozed into the ground), was located on the side of the hill that had been cleared of timber years ago. His hut faced northwest, roughly and overlooked the Mill in the hollow below.
On all sides and within 200 or 300 metres of the settlement there was - and still is - heavy brush so dense and forbidding, a man could simply disappear by taking two steps into it. Mr Gray, then about 55, slept in a front bedroom, on a bed against the southern wall. His two sons, Robert and Dennis, slept in the larger room immediately opposite. Like all the huts on that mountain, it was a timber framed dwelling. His was constructed with a combined living room-kitchen behind the son's room, and behind his a scullery and a bathroom.
There were three windows: one each in the bedrooms and one in the living room. There was only one entrance: the back door. Mr Gray recalls he was jolted from his sleep when he felt a weight on his chest.
"I was getting kind of choked, like someone was pressing the wind out of me. I realised something was there on my chest. I could see the face of this. It looked something between a man and an ape. That's just what it looked like. Short arms, it had, because when I woke and started to punch it away, I grabbed this thing by the arm. It seemed to be only a short arm?..sort of greasy. You couldn't hold it. I was trying to put my right hand over it to put an arm bar on it. I couldn't hold it. The skin on it was sort of loose, like as if it had no muscles. No spring in the flesh. My hands just sunk in. It was like trying to hold something slippery. I could feel the bones. I couldn't feel the flesh at all. I could see the hair on it, dirty grey hair?..bristly sort of hair, like a pigs hair. It wasn't a pig, it was a man of some description. It seemed to have five fingers. Like a man's hand. A big hand?? - stubby hand.
I could see those hands. I saw them when it woke me, laying across my body, from the side of the bed across my upper chest. Then it was shaking me. It had a hold of my bedclothes and my pyjamas around my throat and was shaking me as if it were trying to pull me out of the bed. It was a violent attack. It was trying to drag me out. I could see it was something out of the ordinary. The eyes were like Human eyes, a bit round. There was a deep crease under each one. The thing was looking straight into my face.
The funny thing was it didn't seem to be angry. It had that look about it. It looked like it was trying to wake me up and get me out of the door. The nose was big and flat sort of. There was no hair on the face, the lips seemed like ours, but the face was a copper colour?a dark copper colour."
Mr Gray stopped talking for a moment. Here it was a spring day in Kempsey and he was having his lunch break at his work place and spending it talking to an 'Argus' reporter. In an atmosphere safe and normal as that, the story he told seemed as remote as the hills where it happened.
"I tell you what," he said. "I'll never forget that night. There it was fighting me and I couldn't fight it. I couldn't hold it. Its hair was a dirty Grey colour too?.like one of those wigs you buy, with hair just sticking straight out. Funny, the hair wasn't matted. It seemed to be clean. The thing didn't seem dirty either. There was no smell. No smell at all. That's a funny thing."
There are still many things about the creature that still puzzle Mr Gray. The hair covered the body almost entirely, standing up along the shoulders and upper chest: falling like a shawl over the lower body and the legs. The upper arms were huge; the neck bullish and short. And the feet. He hesitates as if anticipating disbelief.
"They were webbed." He blurts out. "The toes were webbed. It didn't have feet like us. I don't think it had five toes. Only four. One stuck out, like a bit of a claw. I saw the feet when it got me out on the floor. It was all over me. I was fighting it. I could feel it all over, this thing?.."
He stopped talking and when he resumed, it was to marvel over the size of the shoulders and chest on such a small creature, and the strength of it. And the short arms. About 18 inches long. No more. He couldn't hold the thing, but it was so powerful it could shake him like a dog. An Ape, surely? He denies the proposition.
"No, no. It was no Ape. It was a man, sort of. I sensed it. I couldn't see if it was a man or a woman, but I know it was a man. It was so strong. It was fighting me all the time. It had me in this one position, by the blankets around my neck. It was trying to drag me out all the time. When we finished up, the blankets and the bed ticking were all on the floor."
Mr Gray is remembering the fear again.
"I thought it was going to drag me out of the house. I was struggling and couldn't seem to stop it. I was singing out to the boys, but it didn't make a sound. Not a sound. I didn't grunt. It didn't seem to be breathing. It was just trying to drag me out by the pyjamas. It had my clothes by the left arm and I was trying to grab its right arm. I was calling out to the boys, and later the older fellow said he heard me singing out but was to scared to do anything. The other fellow eventually got out of bed, but by then the thing had gone. I don't know what made it take off. We were wrestling on the floor , from side to side. I was punching it and I was thinking if I don't get it, it will get me and I was pretty tired by then, I can tell you. But all of a sudden it let go, after I put up this struggle and then I noticed its toes. Webbed toes. It got up and started to go. It was walking with bit of a spring in its walk?.a bit stiff-legged?.as if it were tip-toeing out?.a bit bandy-legged. Like this."
Mr Gray demonstrates. He is a man 5ft 3inches tall?.a stocky man, handy with his fists and at 63, still a sturdy athlete. His adversary reached only to his armpits, but the depth of its chest and shoulders was twice that of Mr Grays.
Mr Gray thinks about it's legs. "Fairy big, big thighs?.big legs. The legs had a shape, sort of. It was I good nick, whatever it was. A well-built thing. A well built little man."
When Mr Gray broke free of the creature, it got up, lumbered out the door without a backward glance and shuffled down the hall as if the pads of its feet were brushing the timbers. It left by the back door. "Disappeared," said Mr Gray. "Just went. Probably the same way it came in"
Mr Grays house was almost to the brush. A minute's walk from it. And beyond the screen of thick timber, another couple of hundred metres beyond, a great gorge falls with breathtaking suddenness to the floor of the valley below. Nobody dares enter that country, even today. Here, no sun penetrates this light green world where vines and creepers entwine great trees and overhanging vegetation keeps this still, strange world trapped in timeless, sunless silence. Is this where the strange creature lives? Are these deep ravines and inhospitable valleys the home of a primitive survivor of man's ancestors?
Last Sunday Mr Gray went back to Kookaburra?.to the now?.empty site of that mill settlement. "I've still got a fear of it." He doesn't apologise for the confession. "If it had of been an animal or some other Human I wouldn't have been scared because I would be expecting to see it again. But this was an unusual type of thing. It appeared to want to drag me off, to get me outside and I knew if it did that, I wouldn't get back. I wouldn't be here."
**Not discovered until years later that in fact this report was apparently a hoax**
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