The Sunday Nation, via The Electronic Telegraph, reported on the 9th of February 1998 the invasion by some 100 baboons of a hospital in Marsbit, Kenya. The unexpected visitors (was it during visiting hours?) were accused of plucking dextrose drips from patients. Three weeks later, Reuters (via Yahoo) told of a troop of monkeys (species unspecified) staging a pitch invasion at a schoolboy soccer match in Hargeisa, Somalia. Several players were injured while making for shelter, and the police eventually had to open fire to disperse the monkeys, killing an apparent ‘ringleader’.
A consolidated effort, or a mere coincidence?
WHEN YER DEAD, YER DEAD
On a more macabre note, one of Ireland’s oldest cemeteries, the Yew Tree graveyard in Monasterevan, Co. Kildare, has an exhumation of human bones on a nightly basis, according to the Irish Times of February 12th . The graveyard is on the site of a monastery was founded by St. Evan in 570 AD, and is still used for burials. Unfortunately, it’s also used by badgers who have a large sett there, and is consequently the site for their nocturnal earthmoving activities. This is not to the taste of the local community, who rather understandably do not wish to be confronted with the bones of the local deceased whilst perambulating their Sunday way around the sepulchres and sarcophagi. The badgers are not to be illegally evicted, however, as they are protected under the 1976 Wildlife Act. The Heritage Department has overruled this however, and a new home is to found for the unlikely bodysnatchers once they have finished breeding.
Way back in Blather 1.21, ‘Kanga Ruse‘ we did a roundup of a worldwide litany of ‘phantom’ (or at least out of place) kangaroos. That issue had just been dispersed into the networks when occasional Blather moonlighter Loren Coleman responded me, pointing out that he had covered similar (and in some cases, the same) ground in his 1983 book ‘Mysterious America‘ (Faber & Faber ISBN 0-571-12524-7). Thanks to Loren, I finally got a chance to read this book, and it is heartily recommended. It’s now out of print, so if you stumble across a copy, do not hesitate to indulge in it’s procurement.
Coleman examines the weirdness surrounding the ‘Dover Demon’ of 1977, alligators in the sewers, Alien Big Cats, lake monsters, Bigfeet, UFOs, the rather disturbing spectral creature known as ‘momo’, elusive North American apes, the Jersey Devil, Phantom Clowns, The Mad Gasser of Mattoon, and of course, mystery kangaroos. Rather than just being a meander through the reports of strange phenomena, Coleman gives first hand accounts of his investigations into several cases.
As for the Kangaroos, Coleman tracks down a kangaroo with a hard kick which left two policemen with bruised shins in Chicago’s Northwest Side in 1974. No kangaroos were reported missing. 1934, a ‘giant kangaroo sighted in South Pittsburg, Tennessee made headlines when it reportedly killed and partially devoured a few German Shepherds.A search party was formed, to no avail. Another one was spotted in 1949, by the drive of a Greyhound bus which was passing near Grove City, Ohio.
Kangaroos used to make regular appearances between 1957 till 1967 around Coon Falls, Nebraska. They were spotted in 1971 in Kansas, suspiciously around the same time and the same areas as several UFO sightings. This is only a smidgen of the reports described by Coleman, there’s far too many to list here.
Perhaps we should start compiling the Bumper List of Phantom Kangaroos?
In the meantime, here’s a curious, if more mundane tale, from the forteana email list, posted by Mark Norman.
KANGAROO WITH Â£5 NOTE
The Times – November 2nd 1945
SYDNEY. Somewhere in the Grafton hills there is a kangaroo wearing a man’s waistcoat with a Â£5 note in one of the pockets. Two days ago Mr. William Thompson, a Grafton farmer, found the kangaroo caught in the wire fence of his property. Acting on an impulse, he removed the old waistcoat and put it firmly on the kangaroo. He then released the kangaroo, which bounded away, wearing the waistcoat. About three hours later Mr. Thompson remembered with horror that there was a Â£5 note in one of the pockets of the waistcoat. Ever since then he and his friends have been scouring the countryside for the kangaroo, but so far without success.
THE CENTRE FOR FORTEAN ZOOLOGY
Yes, Jon Downes and Graham Inglis have arrived with a roar onto the ‘net, with their very own website. On board are their travelogues and investigations of the recent CFZ sortie to Puerto Rico, ‘Only Fools and Goatsuckers’ to look for the elusive chupacabras. This report is joined by essays on the Big Hairy Men of Scotland and North. America, the Owlman and Morgawr, the monster of Falmouth Bay in Cornwall.
Dave (daev) Walsh
20th March 1998