Loofs-Wissowa , Helmut

Helmut Loofs-Wissowa was born in Halle, Germany, of Belgian-German-Polish ancestry. Growing up in Leipzig, he was drafted into the German army at the end of the war, shipped to the Eastern front, spent two years under Russian occupation, and escaped to the French zone where he worked as a documentary film cameraman.

On joining the French Foreign Legion, he served in Vietnam as a regular French army war correspondent, remaining there until 1954. Back in Europe Loofs-Wissowa obtained his education at the University of Tübingen, Germany, at Musée de l’Homme in Paris, and received a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, in 1960, for his thesis on the mountain tribes of southern Indochina. He worked as a lecturer, reader, and finally professor at the Australian National University in Canberra from 1964 until his retirement in 1992. He still holds the post of Visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Asian Studies at the university there.

Loofs-Wissowa’s interest in cryptozoology was kindled by his encounter with Bernard Heuvelmans in 1957 when, as a student in Paris about to leave on an expedition to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, he met with Heuvelmans. Loofs-Wissowa vowed to look into cryptozoological mysteries in his travels. Nevertheless, it was his Southeast Asian expertise that propelled Loofs-Wissowa into a longer, active role in cryptozoology. Loofs-Wissowa and his mentor Heuvelmans became frequent correspondents during the ensuing years.

In 1978, Loofs-Wissowa was the first “nonsocialist” to be invited to Vietnam, where he briefed his Vietnamese colleagues on Heuvelmans’s 1974 book on Homo pondoides, Heuvelmans’s scientific name for the Minnesota Iceman. The Minnesota Iceman launched Loofs-Wissowa into some of his most productive work on the Vietnamese Wildman and the related reports of the semi-erect penis of the Minnesota Iceman as a marker of the Neandertal, shown in the cave art of Europe, in the traditions of the Sumerian Gilgamesh's wild man Enkidu, and through the descriptions of the classical Greek Satyrs.

His contacts in Southeast Asia and Australia served him well, and he created a network of scholars and researchers interested in cryptozoology. During the 1990s, Loofs-Wissowa took a leadership role in research into Nguoi Rung, the Wildman of the Forest of Southeast Asia, and has discussed his findings in Australian, German, and Japanese documentaries. In 1995, in Laos, he interviewed locals about their sightings of their version of the Nguoi Rung, a gorilla-like creature called the briau. Loofs-Wissowa is writing a history of Nguoi Rung research in Australasia.

SEE ALSO:

SOURCE:

The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters,Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
Written by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark – Copyright 1999 Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark

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