5 strange creature sightings on the Northern Rivers
MYTHICAL or not, everyone loves a good story about a big animal lurking in the local area.
In international terms think of the Loch Ness Monster, the Yeti and Big Foot.
Here on the Northern Rivers we have our own 'critters' to be proud of:
1. Hector the crocodile
Renegade reptile, Hector (who was actually a girl) the crocodile apparently escaped from reptile circus at the Lismore Show in 1967.
After managing to get away from her would-be captors Hector made it to the Wilson River where she lived for many years.
It seems she disappeared some time after the 1974 flood.
2. Giant hammerhead sharks off Evans Head
Surprise, surprise, there are giant sharks off the coast near Evans Head.
What makes these creatures so interesting is they have been caught and seen up close by many beach-goers.
Back in 2010 a five metre hammerhead shark weighing 1200kg was put on display for Evans Head residents to see.
It was caught four nautical miles off the coast by the shark vessel Santrina and the corpse eventually made it's way into the hands of world-renowned shark expert Vic Hislop.
Chillingly, it was confirmed by Mr Hislop and other shark fishermen that this size of shark was normal.
3. Bigfoot of Bexhill
On a moonlit night in 2013 a Lismore resident, who had just turned onto the Bangalow Road from Eltham, spied a large creature jumping a barbed wire paddock fence before briefly pausing at the edge of the road.
The Northern Star reported from the witness that the 'creature' moved across the two lanes of bitumen, raising his arm to apparently shield its eyes from the bright high beam glare of the approaching car.
The witness said the creature ran with a fast, stooped pace. It had high shoulders and almost no neck and a small head.
The area where the yowie was seen has a long history of similar sightings and it seems there have been stories about them in The Northern Star since the 1800s.
4. Panther at Nimbin
There have been many sightings of a big cat or panther around the Nimbin area, the last reported by The Northern Star in December 2012.
The sighting was accompanied by a very shaky video, taken at a distance, of a large cat-like creature as well as eye witness accounts.
"I was driving along a stretch of road about 9.30 at night with my full beam on when this massive creature/animal crossed the road in front of me, only about a metre or two in front of my car," a witness said.
"To me it looked like a female lion but it had stripes on the flank and stripes on the tail."
Sightings in the area have been happening for at least the past 30 years which leads us to our final mysterious creature.
5. Tassie tiger in and around Byron shire
Perhaps it's the same creature, or a distant relative to the panther of Nimbin, but the Tassie tiger of the Byron Shire is also a well-documented mystery creature.
In 2008 a large creature was spotted in the backyard of a Byron Bay resident, then in 2011 a similar animal was spied crossing Lighthouse Road.
One young Byron Bay boy told the paper how he had gone for a run one day when he heard rustling in the bushes.
"I turned around to see what it was and it was a big black animal... up to my waist, pure black and the sun bounced off it's fur, really shiny," he said.
"It had a long tail and really thick hind legs...it sprinted into the bushland."