Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 24th, 2007
Dr. Karl Shuker has written numerous articles and several major books devoted to cryptozoological topics.
One of his earliest books is the classic like Mystery Cats of the World (1989). But today, I do not speak of felines.
He also wrote other books that have become favorites of cryptozoologists, such as Extraordinary Animals Worldwide (1991), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993), From Flying Toad to Snakes with Wings (1997) and, acting jointly as consultant and contributor, Man and Beast (1993).
During the 21st Century, Shuker has undertaken the revising and updating of many of his books, and the newest one is now out, Extraordinary Animals Revisited.
As his new book graphically shows, Karl Shuker or his publisher decided to use the photograph of the alleged so-called “Ameranthropoid ape,” supposedly taken in South America by Francois de Loys as the cover. As Michel Raynal and I wrote* in various places, this photograph and associated events were used for proto-Nazi racist promotion in the late 1920s and early 1930s, despite the fact that the animal pictured is almost certainly a spider monkey.
Karl Shuker had been a major supporter of the de Loys’ photograph being a record of an unknown ape in the older version of this book and elsewhere. I was interested to learn if this new cover telegraphed to the public a new show of Karl’s backing of the de Loys’ episode.
The mono grande chapter in the new book is a massively expanded version of the old book’s chapter, in which I include your and Michel Raynal’s work re the inherent racism link between the photo and Montandon’s interest in it, the possibility (as suggested by several quoted eyewitness accounts) that a second photo has been published somewhere, with people standing either side of the propped-up beast and therefore yielding a scale, and the recently-revealed statement that a letter detailing de Loys’s confession that the photo was a hoax exists. I also include information re the discovery of giant spider monkey fossil species, and mentions of sightings of other mono grande-like cryptids across South America. Re the photo itself, I am now much more sceptical about its authenticity than I used to be, but I still hold out hope that man-beasts do exist in South America. All the best, Karl.
In Bernard Heuvelmans book, On the Track of Unknown Animals, he entitled his chapter on these primate cryptids and the whole de Loys affair as “Apes in Green Hell.” It looks like we all can take a bit of a walk in this hell as soon as we discuss de Loys.
*Coleman, Loren and Michel Raynal. “De Loys’ Photograph: A Short Tale of Apes in Green Hell, Spider Monkeys, and Ameranthropoides loysi as Tools of Racism,” The Anomalist, 4: 84-93, Autumn 1996, and in various other works in French by Michel Raynal. For much more, see here.