Dr Karl Shuker is a renowned British zoologist, author and cryptozoologist. He currently resides in the Midlands, England, and recently took the time to take part in an interview with the Dark Waters YouTube channel.
Dr Shuker opened up on his professional career, as well as giving advice on dealing with cryptids, such as Dogman and Bigfoot. Dr Shuker also explained his process for gathering evidence and compiling reports when encountering strange cryptids out in the wild.
When it comes to cryptozoology, there’s no better authority on the subject than Dr Shuker. With a PhD in zoology, he continues to write articles and books on his life’s passion, and is widely regarded as a field expert.
When he was 13 or 14 years of age, his mother bought him book entitled On the Track of Unknown Animals by Bernard Heuvelmans. The book explored a world of animals that weren’t officially recognised. Shuker was deeply invested in Heuvelmans work, and it hugely inspired Shukers’ work in trying to find other animals that didn’t officially exist.
He took on an interest in writing and researching other works in the field of zoology and unusual creatures. His first book was published in 1989 and was entitled “Mystery Cats”, which explored the world of unusual, and unrecognised cat-like creatures from around the world. The book did well enough to inspire further work in the field.
His latest book on mysterious snakes was released in April 2022, entitled Secret Snakes and Serpent Surprises. This is the 33rd book Shuker has authored over a 30 year period.
During the interview, Dr Shuker was asked about the current phenomena of the Dogman, and what he would do if he ever encountered a cryptid such as the Dogman in the woods. Shuker responded by saying he would first examine the species to see if it resembled anything he was already aware of, before photographing it with his cell phone, measuring the being, and taking any physical tangible evidence that the creature had left behind, such as fur or by taking casts of any footprints. He made the point that anything which could be scientifically analysed should be retrieved as soon as possible.
Shuker was then asked how he would document weird and mysterious events, like being in the woods with branches snapping and hearing unexplainable noises around him. Firstly, he would have motion sensors or trail cameras installed in the area, to try and gather any evidence or clarity. In the case of the Dogman, either the creature would be scared of us, or dangerous, he says. Either way, Shuker claims he would always try and retrieve evidence without putting himself in harms way. All evidence would then need to compiled into a report, which would then be taken to a figure of authority, like a university professor with knowledge in the field, who could then acknowledge, examine and verify the evidence.
As much evidence should be gathered as possible, to avoid any bias in the report. Shuker used the example of a previous report of a black panther that was allegedly seen in a wooded area. A witness had claimed to have seen the large cat, and someone else who was familiar with the report, also claimed to have seen the creature on a second occasion. The person who had reported the second sighting, also managed to take a picture. It later turned out to be a black plastic bag, but the second witness who took the photo had a preconceived notion that it had to have been the same black panther as previously reported. They couldn’t see the black object as anything other than a panther.
Shuker finalized by saying once the final report has been compiled, it should be taken to someone who has the time to go through the evidence in great detail, who is also a credible academic. Know who you’re giving it to – research their background to find out if they will give you a sympathetic review of the report, or whether it will be dismissed based on their personal preference or unfavorable opinion of the field.