Some 25 years ago, a man had a horrific encounter with a tall, hairy creature lurking in the bushes of Queensland. The incident changed his life.
When Dean Harrison went for an evening run on a fateful Tuesday evening in 1997, he did not expect that it would end with his life flashing before his eyes.
Dean was in Ormo, a town between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and an hour before midnight he set off for his usual run along the forest trail.
He often practiced on this track without thinking. But what he didn’t know was that something was hiding in the bushes, waiting for the perfect moment to attack.
It was a meeting that determined the further course of his life.
Conversation with Andrew Bucklow on the news.com.au podcast I have news for youthe now professional yowie hunter recalled his first face-to-face encounter with a creature from Australian folklore.
Dean said he had previously heard a yovie make a “terrible noise” in his backyard when he was 25, but it wasn’t until two years later that he first encountered the creature up close and personal, in what he called a near-death experience.
“I heard all this rumble coming from the bushes behind me, and it sounded like a bunch of kids were trashing the place,” Dean said.
The sound of breaking branches and crackling leaves began to get closer until a large figure appeared about 10 meters behind him.
“I had this inexplicable chill that we call nameless fear… and like a rabbit in the spotlight, basically my whole body just froze,” he said.
“I didn’t know how I knew, but I knew I was in danger … and I knew that if I turned around and saw direct eye contact, things would get exponentially worse.”
As Dean’s combat reaction kicked in, he took off running, with the seemingly irritated creature following him.
“He screams and roars and does kind of talk over the edge and at every turn… his diaphragm in his chest was jumping,” he said.
“And before I knew it, he was right next to me. I thought, that’s it, this is the end of my life. I’ll die now”.
Dean said that the creature rushed towards him, but managed to get away. He said that the yowie had stepped back into the bushes and Dean was walking towards the streetlight.
It was this experience that inspired Dean to create the database. Australian study of yowie track the movement of creatures around the country.
Dean describes the yowie as a hominid with indigenous roots, with the first “official” report of its existence dating back to 1790.
Based on various “observations”, they are said to have a “baboon type” face and stand on two legs.
A yowie hunter said modern sightings of yowie occurred in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales and inland on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
“People contact us all the time, almost every day or every other day, we get a report from somewhere in the country,” he said.
While Dean doesn’t necessarily want to capture the yowie, his goal is to get “irrefutable footage” to show others that the creatures are real and help with future research.
In addition, he uses his experience to support others who come into contact with the beings.
“People [are] left in shock, and we know people who will never return to the Australian bush,” he said.
“These things are dangerous… and I almost got victim or was a victim a couple of times. And I know that there are other people who are not as lucky as me.
Indeed, Dean believes that people died as a result of encounters with the yowie.
“Some authorities take us seriously, be it parks and wildlife, police, various military levels, and there were situations where we exchanged some information,” he said.
What is yowie?
An Australian answer to Bigfoot, Yeti or Bigfoot, the yowie is a creature based on indigenous oral history.
The Kuku Yalanji tribe of Far North Queensland claims to have coexisted with the Yowie for centuries. They have a long and detailed history of yowie attacks in their legends.
But there is no evidence of the existence of the yowie – no bones, no images, no samples. However, there are many reports of sightings over the years and across the country.
According to these observations, the yowie is usually described as a tall, hairy, ape-like creature with a wide, flat nose, standing upright at a height of 2 to 3.5 m.
It should not be confused with the bunyip, another creature from indigenous mythology that is said to hide in swamps and billabongs.
Originally published as ‘This Is The End’: Dean Harrison Talks About Near-Death Experience With Yovie