Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. He is the author of such seminal works as Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; greatly expanded in 2012 as The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals), Dragons: A Natural History (1995), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), The Unexplained (1996), From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings (1997), Mysteries of Planet Earth (1999), The Hidden Powers of Animals (2001), The Beasts That Hide From Man (2003), Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007), Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008), Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (2010), Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), Dragons in Zoology, Cryptozoology, and Culture (2013), The Menagerie of Marvels (2014), A Manifestation of Monsters (2015), Here's Nessie! (2016), and what is widely considered to be his cryptozoological magnum opus, Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors (2016) - plus, very excitingly, his first two long-awaited, much-requested ShukerNature blog books (2019, 2020).

Dr Karl Shuker's Official Website - http://www.karlshuker.com/index.htm

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Sunday 22 November 2009



Some months ago, Richard Freeman in his blog was perplexed about the location of a certain Tibetan lake said to house monsters, which I was able to resolve by revealing that for reasons still unknown to me it has been referred to by a variety of different names, of which Lake Wembo is just one.

As it happens, moreover, there is another Chinese 'monster' lake that is mystifying me for a similar reason - over the years, its name has inexplicably changed, causing some confusion at first as to whether the two names did indeed refer to the same body of water. I refer to what was originally called Lake Hanas, but which in more recent years is now repeatedly called Lake Kanasi. Has the name officially changed, or it is merely a question of a different transliteration from Chinese to English being adopted (as with Peking to Beijing, for instance)? If anyone has any info, I'd love to receive it.

Meanwhile, for anyone who may not know about the fascinating monsters of Lake Hanas/Kanasi, here is what I wrote about them in 2002 within my book The New Zoo: New and Rediscovered Animals of the Twentieth Century (which will be republished in 2011 in a new, expanded, updated edition):


"Officially, the largest specimen of freshwater fish on record is a 15 ft European catfish Silurus glanis, caught in Russia's Dniepper River sometime prior to the mid-1800s (though this species as a whole is generally shorter than the pa beuk, officially deemed to be the world's largest freshwater fish). As a consequence, the lake-dwelling fishes reported in July 1985 by no less an authority than China's eminent biologist Prof. Xiang Lihao, from Xinjiang University, attracted appreciable scientific interest.

"In July, the professor and a party of students arrived at a large but remote body of water called Lake Hanas, situated in northwestern China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region, in order to examine its potential as the site of a future nature reserve. On 24 July, one of the students observing the lake from a watchtower built two years earlier noticed several huge reddish-coloured objects moving at the water's surface. When the professor and students scrutinised them closely through binoculars, they discovered to their astonishment that they were enormous salmon-like fishes, whose heads, tails, and spiny dorsal rays could all be clearly discerned. Just how enormous they were, however, was not revealed until the next day.

"That morning, while again being observed through binoculars by Xiang Lihao, one of the fishes very obligingly aligned itself in parallel with a stretch of the bank extending between two trees. Armed not only with binoculars this time but also with a camera, the professor took some photos, then measured the distance between the trees. Using this measurement, he was able to calculate from the photos that the fish was at least 33 ft long!

"A large salmon known as the taimen Hucho taimen is indeed known from several rivers in northern China, but this species' maximum recorded length is a mere 6.5 ft - far short of the Lake Hanas monsters. Worth noting is that giant red fishes in this lake have been reported for decades by local villagers, but as the lake had not previously attracted scientific attention such reports had not been widely circulated. Now, with an eyewitness of Prof. Xiang Lihao's scientific standing, there should be no question concerning their existence or authenticity as giant fishes. So unless they are abnormally huge taimen, the Lake Hanas fishes must surely comprise a spectacular new species, requiring formal description and study."

An updated account of these creatures will appear in my new, updated New Zoo.

Tuesday 3 November 2009


I'm happy to say that my poetry book, Star Steeds and Other Dreams, is now in print and can be purchased from Amazon, directly from its publisher CFZ Press, and by order via all good bookshops. Consequently, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Jon very sincerely for enabling this long-held hope of mine - to see my poetry published one day - to come true.

As my book contains some cryptozoologically-relevant poems, normally I would have included one here, to launch it. Reading through its contents, however, I was reminded that there was a far more relevant poem - bearing in mind that this forthcoming weekend sees Remembrance Sunday. Consequently, although this blog is typically devoted to mystery beasts and the like, I hope that you will forgive my deviating from the norm, just this once, in order to pay my respects to all of the brave men and women in England and elsewhere throughout the world during wartime who have sacrificed so much:

The symbolic association of the poppy with the remembrance of those who fought and fell during wartime is very potent, and is one that I sought to capture and honour in the following poem – my own tribute to those brave heroes who gave their lives so that we could live ours. May we never forget them, and the sacrifice that they made for all of us.


Far through the countryside’s languorous dreaming
Strolled I one morning in summertime past,
Wondering why this enrapturing vista
Couldn’t unchanging forever more last.

And as I gazed o’er its velvet-gowned valleys,
There lay a poppy field, burnished and bright;
Scarlet heads tossing on stems green and slender,
Swaying round ever to meet the sun’s light.

Crimson and fiery as dancing infernos,
Eyes filled with darkness like eveningtide’s shades,
Peering through petals emblazoned with ruby,
Outwards forever to sunlight displayed.

And as I stood there, their message came softly,
Brought by the zephyr on swift wings of Love;
For, as I listened, their spirits drew nearer,
Borne ’neath the cloudbanks of Heaven above.

E’en though they spoke without words, without voices,
Eyes sparkling brightly from tall fiery heads,
Theirs was a message more real, yet more distant,
Stranger than any before – for they said:

“We are the spirits of those who for Freedom
Gave up their lives in the struggle of War.
We are reborn in the world they created,
Shedding the tears and the ills that they bore.”

And as I watched them, their petals drooped downwards,
Burdened with dewdrops, each tender and clear,
Capturing memories borne through all ages,
Living again in each poppy-shed tear.

Theirs was a love more intense, more consuming,
Than could be ever disrupted by War;
Peace was their dream and their only ambition,
This was their goal – this is what they died for.

And as I left, still their beauty burnt brighter,
Bright as the sun scorching upwards and higher;
Ne’er would their courage and hope be forgotten,
Cherished fore’er in the poppies’ bright fire,

Burning fore’er in the hearts of all mankind
Living in peace after violence and War.
Freedom has come to this fair English country:
This was their dream – this is what they fought for.