Apes In Green Hell: Racism and Revisions

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 24th, 2007

Dr. Francois de Loys' ape Ameranthropoides loysi

Dr. Karl Shuker has written numerous articles and several major books devoted to cryptozoological topics.

One of his earliest books is the classic like Mystery Cats of the World (1989). But today, I do not speak of felines.

Karl Shuker Mystery Cats of the World

He also wrote other books that have become favorites of cryptozoologists, such as Extraordinary Animals Worldwide (1991), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993), From Flying Toad to Snakes with Wings (1997) and, acting jointly as consultant and contributor, Man and Beast (1993).

Karl Shuker Extraordinary Animals Revisited

During the 21st Century, Shuker has undertaken the revising and updating of many of his books, and the newest one is now out, Extraordinary Animals Revisited.

As his new book graphically shows, Karl Shuker or his publisher decided to use the photograph of the alleged so-called “Ameranthropoid ape,” supposedly taken in South America by Francois de Loys as the cover. As Michel Raynal and I wrote* in various places, this photograph and associated events were used for proto-Nazi racist promotion in the late 1920s and early 1930s, despite the fact that the animal pictured is almost certainly a spider monkey.

Karl Shuker had been a major supporter of the de Loys’ photograph being a record of an unknown ape in the older version of this book and elsewhere. I was interested to learn if this new cover telegraphed to the public a new show of Karl’s backing of the de Loys’ episode.

Karl replied:

The mono grande chapter in the new book is a massively expanded version of the old book’s chapter, in which I include your and Michel Raynal’s work re the inherent racism link between the photo and Montandon’s interest in it, the possibility (as suggested by several quoted eyewitness accounts) that a second photo has been published somewhere, with people standing either side of the propped-up beast and therefore yielding a scale, and the recently-revealed statement that a letter detailing de Loys’s confession that the photo was a hoax exists. I also include information re the discovery of giant spider monkey fossil species, and mentions of sightings of other mono grande-like cryptids across South America. Re the photo itself, I am now much more sceptical about its authenticity than I used to be, but I still hold out hope that man-beasts do exist in South America. All the best, Karl.

In Bernard Heuvelmans book, On the Track of Unknown Animals, he entitled his chapter on these primate cryptids and the whole de Loys affair as “Apes in Green Hell.” It looks like we all can take a bit of a walk in this hell as soon as we discuss de Loys.

*Coleman, Loren and Michel Raynal. “De Loys’ Photograph: A Short Tale of Apes in Green Hell, Spider Monkeys, and Ameranthropoides loysi as Tools of Racism,” The Anomalist, 4: 84-93, Autumn 1996, and in various other works in French by Michel Raynal. For much more, see here.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

8 Responses to “Apes In Green Hell: Racism and Revisions”

  1. Ceroill responds:

    Thanks, Loren. I look forward to seeing how this develops.

  2. Bob Michaels responds:

    I just ordered the Book on Amazon. free shipping

  3. AtomicMrEMonster responds:

    A picture of the ape with people nearby? Something tells me that it’s been printed in a book containing the infamous Thunderbird photograph (if you catch my drift)…

    Really now, don’t you think that a picture offering a more accurate way of judging the subject’s size would’ve been the one to get more exposure in published materials?

    It’ll be interesting to see if the hoax confession letter is real or not.

  4. flame821 responds:

    Even if there is a photo with men standing with the animal it won’t prove much. A photo of that sort can be easily staged by placing the animal much closer to the camera and having the men positioned so it ‘looks’ as if they are standing beside it.

    Although it would be nice to find evidence of current or recent existence of large primates in the New World.

  5. Hawkeye responds:

    I remember seeing the pic with the men standing beside this but that was a long time ago and wi no reference to it i have been unable to find even this picture until your posting it. I have been trying to find this one to show to some other guys at work so thanks for posting it.

  6. jules responds:

    I have an old book with this picture. I have never seen one with people in it.

  7. U.T. Raptor responds:

    Although it would be nice to find evidence of current or recent existence of large primates in the New World.

    I believe there are some extinct species of spider monkey that were larger than the living species, actually…

  8. Bob Michaels responds:

    I just received a copy in the mail today, it’s a must read for those interested in Cryptozoology. Well documented and a very intelligent easy read.
    I would hope that a Giant Spider monkey still exists somewhere in the Amazon, it holds in my humble estimation many more primate species awaiting discovery.

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