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

IMPORTANT: To view a complete, regularly-updated listing of my ShukerNature blog's articles (each one instantly clickable), please click HERE!

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IMPORTANT: To view a complete, regularly-updated listing of my Starsteeds blog's poetry and other lyrical writings (each one instantly clickable), please click HERE!

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Tuesday 1 April 2014


Mom, wearing the beautiful protea-decorated coat that she purchased in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2008 (© Dr Karl Shuker)

Today it is one year since, on Easter Monday (1 April) 2013, my dear mother, Mary Doreen Shuker, passed away, leaving me totally devastated at the loss of the most wonderful, loving person in my life. During the days, weeks, and months that have followed this traumatic event, I have sought to put into words just how much she has always meant to me, how profoundly influential she has been throughout my life, and how grief-stricken I remain by her passing. Here is a selection of what I have written and compiled.

Whatever good there may be in me came from you.
Thank you for blessing my life by being in it
as my mother.
You were, are, and always will be quite simply
the best person I shall ever know,
and I love you with all of my heart.
God bless you, little Mom,
please wait for me,
watch over me in this lonely existence of mine now,
and come for me when my time here is over.
Au revoir, Mom, until we meet again.

My tribute to Mom, posted on my Facebook wall on 1 April 2013 when announcing her passing; and it is also my Dedication to her in my book 'Mirabilis' (Anomalist Books: New York, 2013).

"Beauty was hers in all its brightness and she was determined to embrace every shape, line and color imbued in her spirit."

Quotation on the lid of the memory box (pictured here) that I bought for my Mom a few hours ago; it describes her perfectly - indeed, it could have been written specifically for her.

God bless you, little Mom - how I wish you were still here with me.

Posted on my Facebook wall on 8 April 2013.

God bless you, Mom.
Thank you for everything that has ever been good in my life.
How I wish that you were still here with me, fit and well,
ready to set off with me on our next adventure together.
I love you, little Mom, always.

The concluding words in my eulogy to Mom, which I read aloud at her funeral on 16 April 2013 (and which can be read in full online here on ShukerNature).

13 weeks ago this evening, my dear little Mom passed away -
a whole quarter-year has somehow gone by,
during which time I have found myself locked inside a strange and very sad new life.
I can never return to the past,
except in dreams,
and the future is as ever opaque.
And so I live life now a moment at a time,
and dream...

Posted on my Facebook wall on 1 July 2013

A hand-coloured photograph of Mom in her 20s during the 1940s (© Mary D. Shuker/Dr Karl Shuker)

I attended my Mom's Memorial Service tonight at church,
and I placed a candle for her on a table before me,
where its light gently flickered until the end of the service, after which, once I had left the church, it would be extinguished.

But the candle of love that my Mom had lit inside my heart on the day that I was born,
and which now burns there for her,
is infinitely brighter, warmer, and will never be extinguished.

And although the memorial service for my Mom in church is over now,
the memorial service for her that has been performing inside my mind every moment of every day since she passed away will never come to an end –
it will continue in perpetuity for the rest of my life.

God bless you Mom - I love you, always.

 Posted on my Facebook wall on 21 July 2013 following my attendance of my Mom's Memorial Service earlier that evening.

One part of the show that really registered with me was the song
 'They Live In You',
when the shaman-type mandrill Rafiki was telling the adult Simba that his father will always be a part of him,
will always live in him,
and that when he looks into the mirror of a forest pool,
he will see his father in his own reflection,
looking back at him.
I'd never thought of that before.

Also, several people have told me that I have my Mom's eyes,
different colour but same shape and depth;
and Mom often joked that I had her squat, pudgy nose,
and I do.

So now, whenever I look into a mirror,
I'll see Mom there in my reflection,
spiritually and physically,
looking back at me,
and I'll know that she is part of me,
is with me still,

Posted on my Facebook wall on 10 August 2013 after attending a performance of Disney's 'The Lion King' stage musical at the Birmingham Hippodrome that afternoon.

This evening marks exactly 26 weeks = 6 months = half a year since my mother, Mary Shuker, passed away, leaving behind an aching void inside my heart that I have papered over with memories but which can never be filled and will never heal. I recently came upon the following words while browsing online, which encapsulate so many of my own thoughts, feelings, truths, and beliefs. God bless you Mom, how I miss you and wish you were here with me still. With all my love:

Posted on my Facebook wall on 30 September 2013.

This morning, I visited the newly-completed gravestone of my mother, Mary Doreen Shuker (1921-2013), which has taken 6 months to prepare. Standing there in the solitude of the cemetery, it all still seemed so unreal, that the vibrant little lady always so full of life, of living, and of love was gone, her time in this world marked only by the stone and grave there before me, beautiful and elegant though they were, just like she had always been. Come the closing of December, I shall not grieve the passing of 2013, but I shall forever grieve the passing within it of my mother, whose light is gone from my world until that joyous day when we will be reunited forever.

From the introduction to my composition 'The Chained Gates' (click here to read it in full on my Star Steeds blog), written by me on 22 October 2013.


I shall not mourn the passing of this year,
Nor shall I mourn its months of grief and strife.
All I shall mourn is that one person dear,
My mother, whom it stole out of my life.

God bless you, Little Mom - I love you always.
Happy New Year - may we be together again one day.

One of my framed photographs of Mom (© Dr Karl Shuker)

Composed by me and posted on my Facebook wall on 31 December 2013.

Happy Birthday in Heaven, Mom
- how I wish that I could share it with you.
God Bless.

Posted on my Facebook wall on my mother's birthday, 29 January 2014.

To my dear mother, Mary D. Shuker (1921-2013), whose lifelong interest in wildlife guided and encouraged my own from my earliest days. Thank you for filling my world with wonder, joy, and love for such a long and very happy time. How I miss you, and how I wish that you were still here with me today and always. God bless you, little Mom.

"The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom."

   Henry Ward Beecher – Life Thoughts

My Dedication to my mother in my forthcoming book, 'The Menagerie of Marvels: A Third Compendium of Extraordinary Animals' (CFZ Press: Bideford, in press; due for publication in summer 2014).

Mom, wearing one of her favourite and most beautiful jumpers (© Dr Karl Shuker)

"Remembrance is the only paradise out of which we cannot be driven away."

   Jean Paul Friedrich Richter

The above quotation, chosen long ago by my mother, is inscribed upon the tombstone of the first of my family's two three-person grave plots. Here lie her parents (my Nan and Grandad), Gertrude and Ernest Timmins, and her first husband, Harold Hooper - who died aged only 30 as a result of serving in the armed forces during World War II.

How very true is that quotation, which must have been such a source of comfort to her in the face of her great losses, and which is now of equal comfort to me in the face of mine.

"God gave us memories so that we may have roses in December."

   Adapted from a line in a rectorial address given by James M. Barrie on 3 May 1922 at St Andrews University, Scotland.

The above quotation, also chosen long ago by my mother, is inscribed upon the tombstone of my family's second three-person grave plot, situated alongside the first one. Here is where my little brother André (who passed away in 1955) and my mother lie, and where, when it is my time, I too shall lie, reunited at last with my family and never to be parted from them again.

Time waits for no-one, for nothing, not even for grief. Tomorrow will be 52 Saturdays since Mom and I set off on what would be our last outing together, though mercifully we had no realisation of that at the time, and had a lovely afternoon. On Sunday it is Mother's Day this year, and it will also be 52 Sundays since Mom was taken ill late that evening. Monday will be 12 months to the day since she gently slipped away early that evening in hospital, with me beside her, holding her hand and telling her how much I loved her. And Tuesday will be 12 months to the date since that most traumatic of all events in my life happened - the event that I had always dreaded most throughout my entire time here on earth. So, wish me well during the next four very momentous days for me, as they revive all of those mixed memories, and bring to a close the worst year of my life - a year which, if I am honest, I may not have survived had it not been for the kind words and continuing support of so many friends here on Facebook. So thank you all - I am truly grateful.

Mom in our garden (© Dr Karl Shuker)

Above is a photo of Mom in happier times, wearing one of her beautiful, vibrant coats that she loved so much, epitomising her own lifelong love of Nature's wonders and beauty, and which she nurtured in me too from my earliest days. Thank you, little Mom, how I wish that you were still here.

Posted on my Facebook wall on 28 March 2014.

The card that I bought for Mom for Mother's Day this year, 30 March 2014, continuing a tradition that shall last for as long as I last.

Can it be just a year ago today since you passed from my life, my little Mom?

Sometimes it seems but a heartbeat away, other times a thousand lives, a thousand worlds, from where I am now.

People try to show sympathy and understanding when they learn that you have gone, but they have no concept of the true nature of my loss - the immeasurable breadth and limitless depth of the black chasm created in my life and within my heart by your passing. Yes, I have indeed lost my mother - a loss that in itself would be all but unbearable. But I have also lost my best friend, my ever-present housemate, my constant travelling companion, my most trusted confidante, my number one supporter, and my entire family. You were all of those persons, Mom, and so much more besides. Is it any wonder why I grieve without ending, why my life is now but a paltry, meaningless existence, a mere shadow of its former state, why I look only to the past for happiness and security now, and to the future with only loneliness and fear?

I never cried as a child, because I'd never give the school bully, the playground tormentor, the satisfaction of seeing my tears. Instead, I'd save them all, each one a precious pearl of emotion, only to be released in my darkest of all hours some day. Well that day and that hour finally came, a year ago today, the hour in which I lost you, Mom. The tears flowed, and have continued to flow ever since - every tear that I've ever saved throughout my life, torrents of tears that even now after a year of unbroken outpouring continue in unabated profusion, threatening to drown my very being in their salty, burning despair, or to carry me away, borne upon a veritable ocean of tears to who knows where.

. . .

This first year of being without you, of being alone in this world, knowing that wherever I look, whichever street I walk along, whatever shop I walk into, I shall never see you again, shall never hear your voice speaking to me again, shall never see your face in the crowd looking for mine again, has been the worst time of my life. Nothing else ever will, ever could, be as devastating, but I shall miss you always, all the days of my life. I now stand on the brink of entering my second year alone, and I can only pray that acceptance will at last be mine, that grief will lift and give me a measure of release, of peace, and that I shall be worthy of you, Mom, that I shall go on to achieve all that you have ever hoped and dreamed for me.

God bless you, little Mom. Please always stay beside me where you always used to be when here, please always give me hope and encouragement as you always used to do when here, and, above all else, please always love me as you always did when here. If you will do these, I will do the rest – this I promise you, Mom, with all my heart and with all my love, always.

Excerpts from my composition 'A Year Ago Today', which was uploaded in full here on my Star Steeds blog today, upon this first anniversary of my mother's passing.

Happy days: Setting off on another adventure together – Mom and I on our outward-bound Emirates flight to Dubai and the Far East, 2005 (© Dr Karl Shuker)


  1. Hi Dr. Shuker.
    firstly, happy birthday to your Mom.
    Tomorrow is my mom's birthday and I found your image through google. I will share it in my post (link given), I hope you don't mind.
    Thank you

  2. Your sadness sounds almost overwhelming for you. Please don't be overwhelmed. Those dear ones we love want us to find happiness in all the things they loved. That's one of the ways they live on. Peace be with you.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, which I very greatly appreciate. All the best, Karl