Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Karl Shuker: Interviewed by Mark Antony Raines

What inspired you?

Right from the earliest age, I'd always been fascinated by animals and in particular by unusual ones. But cryptozoology didn't enter my life significantly until my early teens, when my mother, Mary Shuker, bought as a birthday present for me a copy of the 1972 Paladin paperback edition of Bernard Heuvelmans's classic cryptozoology book On the Track of Unknown Animals. Once I'd read that, I was totally hooked on the subject, and re-read it so many times that I could quote great chunks of it. I later bought the bigger, unabridged edition that contained a few extra chapters, as well as his book on sea serpents, and during my spare time during sixth form and university I began amassing an archive of magazine articles, books, and newspaper cuttings re mystery animals of every kind. When I obtained my PhD in zoology, I decided to try my hand at becoming a full-time writer and media consultant specialising in cryptozoology, and in 1989 my first book, Mystery Cats of the World, was published and was a big success. I now have 20 published books to my name and countless articles, most of them on cryptozoology, and have just completed my 21st book. 

What are your aims?
My primary aim with my cryptozoology career has always been to investigate and document lesser-known mystery beasts. There are so many researchers and publications re bigfoot, yeti, Loch Ness monster, etc, so I've always aimed to publicise the more obscure examples, uncovering long-forgotten reports in early travelogues, little-known periodicals, and so forth, so my books and articles cover many cryptids that you won't find in other published works. Of course, with the internet a lot of my work gets copied by others online without even giving me the courtesy of a reference, but those who read my publications know that mine are the origin of these online coverages, so that's all that really matters. Also, I now have my own award-winning blog, ShukerNature (at:, where I regularly post new or updated articles of mine on a vast range of subjects, not just cryptozoology but also other animal anomalies and mysteries, and it attracts numerous viewers every day. There are almost 400 articles on my blog at present, and one of them alone, on black lions, has attracted almost a million hits since I posted it less than 2 years ago.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are to write more books and articles - I have lots of ideas in mind, though obviously I'd prefer not to go into details publicly just in case someone else steals them and gets a book or article out on the same subject before I do! I can say, however, that the book I have just completed and which will be published by CFZ Press later this year is my third compilation volume of extraordinary animals, containing a varied mix of mystery animals, mythological animals, and bizarre known animals. It's called The Menagerie of Marvels. So look out for that one soon!

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