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"A FEARSOME BEING"
MR. JEPHCOTT'S STORY.
Mr Jephcott sends the following account of his discovery to the "Herald" :-
"After nearly 50 years spent in the 'bush' with every sense alert to catch the secrets of the wilds, up till a few days ago not the faintest scintilla of first-hand evidence had reached me that any animal of importance remained unknown in our country. But about 10 days ago, when riding through the jungle which lies on the eastern slopes of Bull Hill (a trig. site, about 12 miles south-east of Nimitybelle railway station), I noticed on a white gum trunk a series of scratches such as could be made with the point of a dessert spoon. These scratches were in series of three on one side meeting a single scratch coming from the opposite direction, being exactly such as would be made by three fin- gers and the thumb of a great hand with abnormally strong and large nails. Begin- ning at a height of about three feet six inches, the series of scratches rose to a height of about seven feet. All those scratches were made by a right hand, suggestlng that the creature which had made them shared a peculiarity of mankind "
"From these Indications I judged that some animal unknown to science was at large In this country, but took no further action in the matter. However, on Sunday (October 12), I heard that George Summerell, a neighbour of mine, while riding up the track which forms a short cut from Bombala to Bemboka, had that day, about noon, when approaching a small creek about a mile below 'Packer's Swamp,' ridden close up to a strange animal, which, on all-fours, was drinking from the creek. As it was covered with grey hair, the first thought that rose to Summerell's mind was 'What an immense kangaroo.' But, hearing the horse's feet on the track, It rose to its full height, of about 7ft, and looked quietly at the horseman. Then stooping
down again, it finished its drink, and then, picking up a stick that lay by, it walked steadily away up a slope to the right or east- ern side of the road, and disappeared among the rocks and timber 150 yards away.
"Summerell described the face as being like that of an ape or man, minus forehead and chin, with a great trunk all one size from shoulders to hips, and with arms that nearly reached to Its ankles.
"Hearing this report, I rode up to the scene on Monday morning. On arriving about a score of footprints attested the truth of Summerell's account, the handprints where the animal had stooped at the edge of the water being especially plain. These handprints differed from a large human hand chiefly in having the little fingers set much like the thumbs (a formation explaining the 3-7 series of scratches. on the white gum tree).
"A striking peculiarity was revealed, how- ever, in the footprints; these, resembling an enormously long and ugly human foot in the heel, instep, and ball, had only four toes-long (nearly 5 inches), cylindrical, and showing
evidences of extreme flexibility. Even in the
prints which had sunk deepest into the mud there was no trace of the 'thumb' of the
characteristic ape's 'foot.'
"Beside, perhaps, a score of new prints, there were old ones discernable, showing that the animal had crossed the creek at least a fort- night previously. After a vexatious delay, I was able, on the Wednesday afternoon, to take
three plaster of Paris casts-one of a foot-
print in very stiff mud, another in very wet mud, and a third of the hand with its palm superimposed on the front part of the corres- ponding foot. These I have forwarded to Pro- fessor David, at the university, where, no doubt, they can be seen by those interested. Anyone acquainted with the nature of mud will not expect to find a cast taken therein three days after imprint as technically perfect as a casting from a regular model, but I believe that any reasonable being will be satisfied by an inspection of those three casts that some- thing quite unknown and unsuspected by science remains to be brought to light.
"Since this matter has made such a stir that people in this district have felt that they could attest their experience without further fear of ridicule, an astonishing number of confirmatory cases have come to my know- ledge ranging over the country between Cape Howe and Wee Jasper. Such of these accounts as seem of significance I hope to collect."