Yowie / Bigfoot
12 year old Darcy O'Toole pictured at his Milperra home after being the subject of local rumours of being a predatory.
Source: News Limited
It was the mystery that had everyone stumped: Not Bigfoot, or a Yeti but a boy...dressed as a tree
By: Taylor Auerbach
The Herald Sun
8 February 2014
IT was the mystery that had everyone stumped: Neither Bigfoot, nor Yeti, what was the lumbering, leafy creature captured on camera lurking around a neighbourhood park?
Shaggy and green, the size of a big bush in desperate need of the topiary treatment, it was first seen lumbering across Newland Reserve in Milperra, south west Sydney, in the week before Australia Day.
Unlike the infamous Penrith panther, Sydney's other elusive mystery creature, this strange beast walked upright and on two legs.
With the sightings mounting, pictures were soon circulating on Facebook.
Finally, alarmed residents called police to investigate. But the strange bundle of leaves-on-legs remained out on a limb.
Melinda Cowgill, a mother of two and one of the locals who saw the "tree man" first hand, said: "I was quite amazed at how good the camouflage was."
“Tree Boy" Darcy O'Toole dressed in his camouflage tree suit on the streets of Milperra. Source: Supplied
But now the truth behind the park prowler can be revealed. Hidden under the shaggy outer suit is the innocent smile of Darcy O'Toole, a local kid with a wicked sense of humour.
The serial prankster was decked out in a ghillie suit - a type of camouflage clothing designed to look like a tree or bush - which he purchased online from America for $80.
The basketball and army enthusiast, who celebrated his 12th birthday on Friday, said: "I saw a video on YouTube of guys in ghillie suits and wanted to buy one. I like army stuff from watching videos.
"I used my own money, I gave it to mum and she let me use her credit card. It was 80 bucks.
"I just use it to walk around the park and creep up behind people and tap them on the shoulder - it's funny.
Darcy O'Toole says he has used his disguise to scare a pizza delivery guy. Source: News Limited
"I've used it to scare the pizza delivery guy a couple of times too.
"We ordered a pizza on Saturday night and I was hiding in the bush behind him. I stuck my arm out and at first he didn't noticed and then I moved it and he jumped in the air."
Another of Darcy's favourite stunts is to lie "in the foetal position" and jump out at petrified park-goers."
Not everyone in the family is a fan of the suit.
His mum Linda O'Toole said: "I hate the suit because he brings all the twigs inside, it's like having a garden in the house.
"And talk about the stink factor, it's like a Santa suit. I have no idea what made him want it.
"He's an unassuming prankster, look at the stir he's caused.
Mum Linda is not the biggest fan of the tree suit. Source: News Limited
"How hysterical is this, I thought you were the police and he was in trouble.
"I was having coffee the other day and a lady at the shops said have you seen that man wandering around the park and showed me a photo, I couldn't believe it - he's such a little troublemaker.
"You would be a bit scared if you didn't know it was a kid "
Darcy's father Terry said he was against the purchase of the suit: "I said 'Why would you want to waste your money on that?'.
"I couldn't see the point in it."
Darcy, grinning from ear to ear as he posed for another photograph, said: "Now you do."
One of Darcy’s favourite stunts is to lie “in the foetal position” and jump out at petrified park-goers.” Source: News Limited
Note: A ghillie suit is also known as a "yowie suit"
Got any pics or links on the "Tree Man" from Facebook? Contact Yowieocalypse
Darcy O'Toole won't be the last prankster to don a ghillie suit for a laugh and he also wasn't the first. Here is an earlier account from Canberra which didn't quite get the same publicity:
‘Bigfoot’ sighting in Glebe Park, Sunday Feb 20
Date: 23 February 2011
Wandering through Glebe Park on Sunday with my trusty Canon EOS and my five-year-old nephew when he noticed something rustling the trees. This fella came wandering out. Not sure he’s a Canberra local but he’ll be sorted out for the winter I reckon.