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Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Loch Ness Seal

It was official. The Loch Ness Monster had been found! It was March 31, 1972, and eight scientists from the Flamingo Park Zoo, Yorkshire, were having breakfast at the Foyers House hotel on the shore of the loch. They were there with the Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau (LNPIB) and were going to try out a new “hormone sex bait” to try to lure in a monster.

But it seemed like they didn’t have to, because the hotel manager came up to them during breakfast and told them that someone had just reported seeing “a large hump” that was floating in the loch, and near the hotel, too! And when the scientists went to look, they saw it - a large, dark colored object about 300 yards offshore, bobbing up and down in the water.

The scientists were directed to their boat by Terence O’Brien, the leader of the team. They went out into the loch to investigate the object, and returned 20 minutes later, at 9 a.m., with the dead body of a monster!

The news quickly spread around the world. Within hours, televisions were reporting that the Loch Ness Monster was dead. News reporters flocked to the lake. Residents there confirmed that something had been found. “I touched it and put my hand in its mouth. It’s real, all right,” Robert MacKenzie said. “I thought it looked half-bear and half-seal… green in color… with a horrific head like a bear with flat ears. I was shocked.”

Headline from the April 1, 1972 edition of the
Los Angeles Times

Other people there told the reporters that the monster was between 12 and 18 feet long and weighed 1 ½ tons. It was described as having a “green body without scales and was like a cross between a walrus and a seal.”

Don Robinson, Director of the Flamingo Park Zoo, was contacted and he seemed to confirm the whole thing.

“I’ve always been skeptical about the Loch Ness Monster, but this is definitely a monster, no doubt about that. From the reports I’ve had, no one has ever seen anything like it before… a fishy, scaly body with a massive head and big protruding teeth.”
The scientists had loaded the body up in their truck and sped it back to the zoo. Or, they tried to, at least. The Inverness police heard that the English scientists were making off with their Scottish monster, and they contacted the police in Fifeshire County. The police went after the “monster-nappers” and soon caught up to them. The scientists pulled over and showed them the creature in the back of their truck, which was again described as “green and scaly.” 

The body was taken to the nearest town, Dunfermline. The police had Michael Rushton, curator of the Edinburgh Zoo, examine it. Rushton did so, and found that it was by no means a monster - it was a bull elephant seal, about 3 to 4 years old. Elephant seals live in the South Atlantic Ocean, located thousands of miles from Scotland. “I have never known them to come near Great Britain,” Rushton said. “I don’t know how long it’s been kept in a deep freeze but this has obviously been done by some human hand.”

The next day, it was revealed that the whole thing was a hoax. John Shields, education officer at the Flamingo Park Zoo, admitted that he was the one behind it. He had used a seal that was recently brought back from the Falkland Islands, but which died shortly after, to prank his colleagues.

Geneva Times article

Shields had obtained the seal, shaved off its whiskers, padded its cheeks with stones, and then froze it for a week. On the 31st he had dumped it in Loch Ness and then called the hotel to be sure the other scientists found it. Shields timed the whole thing so that the “monster” would make headlines on April 1st, which also happened to be his 23rd birthday.

He did admit, however, that the whole thing got “out of hand” when the police went after the scientists and the “monster.” He also noted that the seal was not green and scaly, and was only 9 feet long and 350 pounds.

When the police found out that the whole thing was a prank, they let the scientists take it back to the Flamingo Park Zoo. When the team returned with it, it was displayed on a block of ice for a few days before being properly disposed of.

The Loch Ness seal

But there may be even more - and something even stranger - to this already strange story.
Two weeks after the seal story, Norman Slater, a 28-year-old teacher from Wisconsin, was on a fishing trip at the loch. While there he dipped his hand in the water and, he said, he detected - with extrasensory perception - “the presence of six large creatures in the water.” He claimed he saw a “particularly vivid image” of a creature that was between 70-90 feet long, with a “large neck” and “slim, worm-like body.” The top of the monster was “brown and scaly” and the bottom was white. Slater said the animals were “just lying around the bottom” and also claimed that he could see underwater passages connecting the loch to the sea!

Slater complained that he was the victim of bad timing, since the Loch Ness seal hoax had just happened, and that no reporters would take his vision of  “obvious scientific importance” seriously. But it would not surprise me if he was only trying to follow the seal story with another hoax.

This story of a "Not-Loch Ness Monster" (more can be found here) is part of a new examination I am doing… more on that later...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Monsters Among Us - A Very, Very Skeptical Look at Cryptids

Today I finished reading Andrea McGann Keech's recent book Monsters Among Us: The Truth About a Hidden World You Never Knew.

There isn't really any "truth" in this book.

Keech examines many, many cryptids including Bigfoot and Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, Wendigo, Mothman, Beast of Gevaudan, mokele-mbembe, thunderbirds, and more. And since the book is only about 150 pages, each cryptid gets on average around 5-6 pages of coverage.

And about a third of that, usually, is made up of a story she puts at the beginning of each chapter about each certain cryptid, many of which are quite… odd…, or show them as vicious killer beasts! In the Mothman chapter, she even takes the Scarberry-Mallette story and just adds in two random people instead! She apparently fancies herself a storyteller, even though most of them aren't that good at all.

When she actually gets to "examining" (and I use the term very loosely) each cryptid, she basically barely covers its history and/or sightings at all and then at the end says "I really doubt -this cryptid- exists." For example:

  • In the mermaid chapter, she talks about legends of sirens and such very shortly, then goes on to says "…and mermaids appeared in this movie, and this movie, and this movie, this Animal Planet show," and on and on. Really no coverage of the mermaid legend itself.
  • Thunderbird chapter - she mentions Quetzalcoatlus, an ancient giant pterosaur, and basically talks about how it was discovered, and how someone, sometime built a life-size animatronic one, and concludes that t-birds can't exist.
  • Mothman (and the Flatwoods Monster is mentioned too and takes up half the Mothman chapter) - she says that the FM was definitely an owl (though the last time I checked, owls weren't 10 feet tall and didn't have a noxious gas around them that makes people sick). She also concludes that the Mothman is an owl as well and associating it at all with the Silver Bridge collapse is stupid. She makes absolutely no mention of the UFOs, weird telephone/TV interference and calls, Men in Black, etc. that was going on at the time. Also, I don't know of any owls that can fly 100 mph!
One weird owl...

When she does somewhat examine a cryptid, she basically only looks at the theories that say that it is a hoax or something "known." Oddly, the only cryptids she thinks might exist are the mokele-mbembe and some other "prehistoric survivors" in Africa! I guess a living dinosaur is more realistic to her than unknown creatures in the ocean or an unknown ape…

With each theory that says something "might be -this animal-" or "that animal," she has to mention that she, too, has seen said animal! She has seen pelicans before, so thunderbirds can't exist! She has seen a manatee! She has seen an owl before, so that's what Mothman must be!

While I don't mind skeptical examinations of cryptids, this one is not an "examination" and the author doesn't even consider other options and obviously has no idea what she is writing about. No bibliography is listed in the book, and basically the only sources she notes in the book are "Whatzit" from sometime in December 2015, this other news site… something written on a news site about a sighting in 1888…, and I think you get the point.
Maybe this is where she got all her info?

If you want to get Monsters Among Us, get Linda Godfrey's book of the same name from last year, not this one.

A very, very good book!

Next book review will be Nick Redfern's The Roswell UFO Conspiracy, which actually looks to be good...

DNA Techniques Could Possibly Prove if Thylacines Still Live

There could be a new way of proving whether or not the thylacine (also called the Tasmanian tiger) still lives…

ABC News reports:

"Modern forensic science could be used to solve the mystery around the existence of the Tasmanian tiger, a lab researcher says.
"Reports have regularly emerged of people who say they have seen one, with grainy photographs often presented. But now it is thought DNA sampling could help to provide a conclusive answer.
"Tasmanian tiger enthusiast Col Bailey has spent much of his life trying to prove the thylacinus cynocephalus - which roughly translates as 'pouched dog with a wolf's head' - is still alive and at large.

Col Bailey, thylacine hunter

"He has written a number of books on the subject and maintains he saw one in southern Tasmania in 1995.
"Bailey said it was in the Weld River Valley, near a creek amongst thick bushland.
"'I went to walk towards it and it backed back, and then it turned a full circle and turned around and stood glaring at me,' he said.
"'It snarled, with a hiss, and that stopped me dead in my tracks and then the penny dropped and it dawned on me that it was a Tasmanian tiger.'
"Other than his own recollection, Bailey has no proof of the sighting, but new DNA sampling being conducted in South Australia to aid in a platypus hunt could provide a way of verifying similar encounters.
"Senior manager of laboratory services for Australian Water Quality Centre, Karen Simpson, said if a tiger had either drunk or walked through a water sample, its DNA could be identified.
"'We do have the DNA of the thylacine in our database,' she said.
"'If there has been a Tasmanian tiger out there and we collect the sample that captures the DNA, we'll be able to determine positively if its present or not.'
"Danger DNA Samples Could Dilute
"Wildlife biologist Nick Mooney spent 30 years investigating many of the tiger sightings that had been reported to the Tasmanian Government.
"He said the DNA water testing technology could have helped him verify evidence, such as a cast of footprints from 2010.
"'Somebody gave me a cast of some footprints that they claimed were taken near Lake Pedder,' Mr Mooney said.
"'I can't vouch for them because I didn't record them, all I can vouch for was that someone gave to me claiming they're from there.'
"Lake Pedder, in south-west Tasmania, is part of the largest dam and water storage system in Australia, and Ms Simpson said there was a risk any potential DNA could float away.
"'Because it's such a large water body, the issue becomes, I guess, dilution,' she said.
"'You would really need to try and pinpoint what point of that body or lake (the thylacine) was interacting with to try and collect your samples from that area.'
"Ms Simpson said the best type of water to test in would be a small pond, meaning there was still a large chance any proof of living thylacines could slip away."
Lake Pedder photo taken in late '60s/early '70s
(Stefan Karpiniec, Wikipedia)

DNA searching for thylacines could be what finally solves the mystery of whether or not they still live. And, unlike something like Bigfoot, it could actually work. Since there is no Bigfoot DNA in any databases, the mystery hairs and such found across the United States and Canada cannot be conclusively proven to be from a Sasquatch. That is not the case with thylacnies. If DNA of one is found, it is in the database, and they could be proven to be extant, not extinct.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Any Fake Shark Week Shows This Year?

Shark Week starts on the Discovery Channel this Sunday… so will there be any totally fake shows like that Megalodon crap from a few years ago?

From the official schedule of new shows, it actually doesn't look like we will!

I actually very much enjoy Shark Week… when there's real documentaries! And if they aren't all just a "we're gonna tag this shark" like they do sometimes…

Anyone else watching Shark Week?

Encounters with the Chupacabras - Western USA

In the mid-1990s, the Chupacabras leapt onto the cryptozoology scene - reports started in Puerto Rico, but soon spread to the US as well… and these are not the "blue dog" variety, either...

"Police in Tucson, Arizona received a call on May 1, 1996 from a man named Jose Espinoza. Something had broken into Mr. Espinoza's house. He described the intruder as a creature with large, red eyes, a pointed nose, and shriveled features. According to the witness, the Chupacabras had entered the home, slammed a door, and jumped on his seven-year-old son before hopping out the window. Footprints and handprints were found on the walls. Most of the handprints, however, matched those of Mr. Espinoza's son.
"Espinoza may not have been lying, however, because, on May 2, a dozen goats and a sheep were found dead. Whatever had caused the deaths had also wounded several cows. The rancher on the farm saw the creature later and shot it with a rifle. Despite the wounds. the Chupacabras continued to go to the farm night after night.
"Donna, Texas was the next town in the United States to have the displeasure of being visited by the Chupacabraas. Sylvia Ybarra found her pet goat dead in the yard in the middle of May. It had puncture wounds on its neck.
"A man living in California said a Chupacabras had bit his hand while he was sleeping. He felt a tugging on his hand and woke up to see a shadowy figure disappear from the window. He was puzzled because there was nothing but an alleyway outside his window (he loved in a third story apartment). How could the Chupacabras have gotten up there and just disappear? Did it fly? Possibly. Many people who saw the Chupacabras in Puerto Rico in '95 and '96 said it could fly by levitating or  moving the quills on its back."

This post is excerpted from my book Cryptid U.S.: Tales of Bigfoot, Lake Monsters, and More from Across America.

Land Loch Ness Monster Photographed - Or Not

Various news outlets are reporting on a "Land Loch Ness Monster" that was photographed recently.

Here is the report from The Sun:

"A WALKER was left stunned after stumbling across this Loch Ness Monster lookalike.
"Jimmy Wright, 66, snapped an astonishing photo while out walking his dog on Crow Hill, Killearn, Stirlingshire.

Land Nessie!

"He posted the image on Facebook and claimed, after spotting the creature, it had disappeared from sight.
"He then asked his friends: 'A land relative of 'Nessie' perhaps?'
"However, some of Jimmy's friends disagreed with his theory, many submitting one of their own - a tree stump.
"Heather McCabe commented: 'Old tree stump??' and Elaine McLeod said: 'The native Killearn tree stump.'
"The 'surgeon's photograph', snapped by Colonel Robert Wilson in 1934, is probably the most famous Nessie sighting ever. It was later exposed to be a hoax.
"In 2012 George Edwards took a stunning picture of Loch Ness, claiming that he had finally found definitive proof of the giant creature's existence.
"The following year the boat skipper admitted he had made the whole thing up.
"In 2014 a satellite photo on the Apple Maps app seemingly showed a 100ft shape swimming in the loch.
"The mysterious outline sparked renewed interest in Nessie after a lull of several years, with the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club claiming it was 'likely' to be the camera-shy monster.
"However, experts insisted it was merely a boat and its wake."

Definitely not a "Loch Ness Monster."  I have to agree with Elaine McLeod that this is the "native Killearn tree stump!"

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"Expedition: Find Bigfoot" Article

Spectrum News Austin has a new article up on the "Bigfoot expedition" that took place in Round Rock on the 15th:

"ROUND ROCK, Texas - The city of Round Rock hosted Expedition: Find Bigfoot Saturday night.
"It was an event culminating all the recent Bigfoot 'sightings' in the area. Kids came out in droves for their chance to spot Bigfoot in Round Rock Saturday night at the city's Expedition: Find Bigfoot event.
"The kids said they heard all about the recent 'sightings' and just had to join in on the hunt.
"'Right when I heard of Bigfoot, I just got so interested in it,' said Reed Bales, an eight-year old.
"The Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department is glad its Bigfoot campaign is working. They launched it last month.
"'We really created this Bigfoot expedition program to get kids outdoors and off video games and so far, it has really worked. Our parks rangers report hundreds, if not thousands, of family members walking through our trails and coming to our parks in Round Rock,' said Roger Heaney, a communications specialist with the city.
"Saturday night's event was a celebration of the campaign and all the recent 'sightings.' The parks department even brought in expert Bigfoot trackers to help families search. The experts scour the country for 10 months out of the year, looking for proof of the creature.
 "'I've had seven encounters up close and personal in my tenure of 50 years. The ones that we've had really close were the ones in Paris, Texas,' said Tom Biscardi, founder of CEO of Search for Bigfoot.
"The kids who showed up to search in Round Rock had their own personal encounter with the hairy beast. Eight-year-old Bales used one word to describe what he saw.
"'Awesome. It has to be real,' said Bales."

While I think it's great that these kids are interested in Bigfoot, they of course didn't "find" anything because  there's no Bigfoot in Round Rock. And Tom Biscardi is no Bigfoot "expert" and I wouldn't have brought him in as he has been a central player in several hoaxes over the years (and each time he said he'd been duped, too. Whatever. Either he was involved or he falls for anything, and I'm better on the former).

If the kids are really interested in Bigfoot, don't fake stories… get them some books on it, go to places where there actually has been activity, take them to a Bigfoot conference or a library talk… with actual researchers, maybe.

Nessie - A Gigantic Wels Catfish?

Steve Feltham, record holder for the longest search for the Loch Ness Monster, thinks that the Nessies may be some gigantic Wels catfish.

Earlier this week I was watching a show on National Geographic on giant-sized catfish in rivers in Europe (called River Jaws: Monster Catfish). At first I wasn't really paying attention, but then started to and found it quite interesting. Some catfish had been released in various rivers, lakes, etc. and some have reached gigantic sizes, like this giant wels catfish that was caught in 2015, and which was filmed for the show.

(Daily Mail)

(Daily Mail)

After watching the show, I began to think more about the theory that the Loch Ness Monsters could be gigantic Wels catfish.

If there are catfish that big in the loch, and someone on the shore on on the lake itself saw one like the one pictured above, it would certainly seem like a monster, wouldn't it?

This is a theory that I think may have some merit…

Wels catfish

Monday, July 17, 2017

Cryptid Culture - July 2017 - Prehistoric Survivors Article

The July issue of Cryptid Culture Magazine is out now! I wrote an article on possible prehistoric survivors in Australia that is included in this issue.

Other articles in this issue include:

  • The Monster of Lake Pepin by Chad Lewis
  • A (Not So) Diminutive Look at Cryptic Dwarves by Colin Schneider
  • The Many Faces of Bigfoot by David Floyd
  • Ohio Bigfoot Conference by Robert Robinson
  • Recent Cryptid Reports by Ken Gerhard
  • Lake Worth Monster  by Lyle Blackburn
And more…

Get it here!

Crypto-Kid: Nick Redfern Tonight

Colin Schneider is back with a new episode of the Crypto-Kid tonight at 8 on WCJV Radio. Tonight's guest is Nick Redfern.

"For tonight's episode, I have rescheduled Nick Redfern, author of dozens of books on UFOs, cryptozoology, and the strange. Nick and Colin will discuss the Men in Black and their involvement in cryptozoology. This is a definite not-to-miss episode!"

Listen live here.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Book Review: 365 Days of UFOs by Nick Redfern

Published in early January of this year was Nick Redfern's 365 Days of UFOs. The book is, as the subtitle says, A Year of Alien Encounters. In this book, Nick presents 365 cases of UFOs, Men and Women in Black, aliens, crop circles, and other things of that nature, an account for each day of the year.
With Nick Redfern,
at Kent Paranormal Weekend, 2017

The book is a long one, at almost 400 pages, but, for me at least, its a pretty quick read. I usually read about one month a night and some days more, so it didn't take me that long to get through it.

While some of the reports in this book are famous ones that you'd read about in most any other UFO books, there are many cases presented that haven't been written anywhere else, or that were found in declassified files from the governments of the United States and Britain. Many reports of UFOs from military installations are mentioned and many are quite interesting.

Redfern also includes reports of crop circles, shadow people, "contactees," and even odd things like the Owlman.

An interesting book, and if you're someone who likes this kind of stuff, check it out!

Wood Knocks Vol. 2 - Out Now

Available now is the 2nd volume of David Weatherly's Wood Knocks: Journal of Sasquatch Research. 

Contributors to this volume are:

  • Loren Coleman
  • Rosemary Ellen Guiley
  • David Weatherly
  • Christopher O'Brien
  • Richard Freeman
  • Dave Spinks
  • Jeff Stewart
  • and Eric Altman

"Wood Knocks brings together some of the brightest minds in the field of cryptozoology as they present their research on the world's most popular cryptid, Bigfoot."

Get it here.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Roswell and Monsters - Some New Books

Some new books I got today… The Roswell UFO Conspiracy by Nick Redfern, and Monsters Among Us by Andrea McGann Keech. Both look interesting.

Expect reviews of them and some other 2017 books soon...

New Monster Reports from Lake Iliamna

The Alaska Dispatch News posted an article on June 28th about several sightings of monsters in Lake Iliamna later that month.

The relevant portion of the article follows:

"On June 19, some kids spotted an unrecognized creature the size of a large whale offshore near the town [Kakhonak]. A day or so later, others in Kakhonak also saw the creature. A village resident, Gary Nielson, gave Dillingham radio station KDLG the following account:
"'There was more than one, at least three. The first was the biggest, maybe double the size of a 32-foot gill netter. The animal either blew like a whale, or spit water from his mouth or something. The smaller animals behind him did the same but not as dramatic. They were black or very dark gray. They surfaced like whales for maybe two to three seconds about a mile off-shore. I am at a total loss as to what they could be.'
"There have been many sightings of a lake monster over the decades. This one stands out in that there were at least six adults and a number of children present. Two adults had binoculars. All agree as to what they saw."

This report is interesting because of the fact that the witness said it "blew like a whale." Many people who have seen strange animals in Lake Iliamna say they are gigantic fish, which would not do what the witness described.

Unless it was this fish...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cops Concerned About Crop Cirlces

It's summer and there have apparently been quite a few crop circles appearing in fields in England this year, which has Wiltshire police concerned.

The Wiltshire Times reports that they are "urging people to report crop circle damage:"

"FARMERS and landowners across Wiltshire are being urged to report any incidents of crop circle damage that they see to the police.
"Wiltshire Police said today [July 8th] that with summer well and truly underway they have seen an increase of crop circles appearing across the country.
"A spokesperson said: 'They might seem harmless but they actually have a huge negative impact on the hardworking landowners and farmers whose crops are damaged. Creating a crop circle is criminal damage and an offense.
"'The damage caused means a loss in revenue to the farmer and landowner. They also have to deal with civil trespass issues on their land after a crop circle has been created when members of the public come without permission, to view the circle.
"'It has also been known for individuals to pose as part of a charity or as the landowner at the site of crop circles and attempt to take 'donations' from the people viewing the crop circle.'
The spokesperson added: 'We urge all farmers and landowners if they have has a crop circle on their land to report it to us on 101 so it can be recorded. Often after a crop circle appears,  individuals will arrive with a drone to photograph it. Take note of any vehicles, their registration plates, and any individuals and pass this information to the police.'
 "If a circle is created on your land make sure you tell the Crop Circle Community if you decide to allow/not allow access to the general public, and if you intend to cut the circle out.
"There are three places to do this:
"'We also ask the public to help support our rural communities by reporting any suspicious vehicles, behavior or people in crop fields to police on 101 they may be attempting to create a crop circle and committing criminal damage,' the spokesperson added.
"If you can see a crop circle creation in progress, call police on 999."

Now I think its good if the police are actually going after people who go into people's fields to make crop circles, but not all of them are made that way. What about the ones that aren't?

And why would the landowners have to tell people "if they intend to cut the circle out?", which I'm assuming means harvest the field. Of course they will!

Cougar Sightings in Oregon - "It was a Big Cat" is reporting on sightings of a big cat in Tigard, Oregon:

"TIGARD, Ore. - Tigard police say two people reported seeing a cougar in town on Friday.
"A man told police he saw a cougar in his yard early Friday morning, and later police said they received a report of a cougar walking along a trail near Tigard Street, west of downtown.
"David Roberts saw the cougar running across the road.
"'I was like, man what are the chances of ever seeing a cougar around here? It's one of those things you don't expect to see, seeing it in town, of course there are a lot of people and businesses,' Roberts said.
"Police posted photos of the cougar on their Facebook page.
"'It was a big cat,' Roberts said. 'I even called for him and he looked right at me. Definitely a cougar.'
"Police ask anyone who sees a cougar to call dispatch at 503-629-0111."

Cougar seen by David Roberts in Tigard, Oregon

 The photos definitely show a cougar. Now we will have to wait and see if there are any more sightings of it in the area in the future.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Girvan "Sea Monster" News Article

In 2015, I put up a post about a photo of a strange-looking carcass I had found in a book called Sea Monsters, in which it said that it had been found at Loch Ness. It turns out that it hadn't been, as Karl Shuker explains in my previous post

The carcass was actually found in August of 1953 at Girvan, in West Scotland, and turned out to be a dead basking shark, as many "sea monster carcasses" have.

Yesterday, while doing some research for a new book (more on it later!), I came upon a newspaper article on this certain carcass from the September 9, 1953 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald. The paper showed a photo of the carcass with the headline of "Scotland's New Sea Monster." Underneath it read:

"The decomposed remains of a sea monster which was washed ashore at Girvan, West Scotland, on August 15. The monster was 30ft long, with a 4ft neck, four stumpy legs and a 12ft tail. Inhabitants of Girvan said they had sighted the monster's mate swimming near the coast, and they spent days hunting it. The townspeople, objecting to the stench of the carcass, poured oil on it and set it alight."

An interesting tidbit, though we know it wasn't really a monster!

The only curious thing in the article was the mention of "the monster's mate." It is not stated if this was before or after the carcass was found. It could have been a basking shark, possibly the one found, or it could have been a second one.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Small Town Monsters - On the Trail of Champ

Small Town Monsters has a new mini series coming next year called On the Trail Of…

The first(?) will be focusing on Champ, the Lake Champlain monster. They're currently doing the filming up at the lake.

"In 2018 Small Town Monsters launches their first spinoff series with 'On the Trail of…'. A yearly, documentary miniseries that tells not just the fascinating history of America's rural monsters but also goes in search of them.
"Aleksandar Petakov will direct this miniseries focusing on Lake Champlain's famous monster."

The last doc I saw on Champ, which appeared a few years ago, was crap, but with Petakov and the STM crew, you can be this one will be good.

Yet Another Big Cat Sighting in England

Another big black cat has been spotted in Hertfordshire, England, this time near Welwyn Garden City.

The Welwyn-Hatfield Times reports:

"A man and his young daughter are convinced they saw a big black cat in Welwyn Garden City and described it as being the size of an adult Labrador.
"Rob Beck, 37, of Panshanger, was on a bike ride on Sunday [July 2 - TH] with his wife and his two daughters, aged five and seven, when he spotted the large animal.
"The family were cycling from Letty Green to Cole Green Lane when they spotted the cat by Holywell Hyde.
"Rob told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: 'I was cycling with my seven-year-old by my side and my five-year-old daughter was far behind with my wife.
"'Me and my daughter saw a big cat sitting about 30 meters in front of us. It was just sitting in the middle of the path staring straight at us.
"'It was so much bigger than a normal cat and it had really big round ears, it was black, and it was the size of a fully grown Labrador.'
"Before Rob could get a picture of the cat, it walked off into the bushes on the side of the path which leads to a field.
"Rob added: 'It was pretty stupid to do looking back but we looked for this big cat for a while. We couldn't find it as there are a lot of fields in the surrounding area.
"'When I got home I went on Google to see if I could find a picture of anything like it and the closest I got were pictures of black panthers.
"'I know there have been a few sightings of a big cat around the county so I am absolutely convinced I saw a large cat and not a house pet.'
"Accounts of sightings have been happening all over the county in recent months.
"In January two Oaklands College staff members saw 'a large, sandy-colored cat' and scratch marks were found on a tree after a 'huge animal' was seen near Welwyn.
"A Wheathampstead dog-walker recently found the mutilated corpse of a muntjac deer, stripped of meat, and recently large paw prints were found in an Aldwickbury golf bunker, preserved after a night of rain.
"In early June a driver spotted an animal dart out in front of her car near Redbourn - it had 'well-defined muscles in its legs' and was a 'gingerly, sandy color', she said.
"Herts Police have received about 30 big cats reports in the last five years. They advise a safe distance is kept and any sightings are reported on 101."
I don't see why they keep saying that the dead muntjac deer was found recently. It was found on March 1st!

The reports are continuing however, and since cats of a "sandy brown" color and "black" color have been described, it seems there are at least two, if not more, still roaming the region...

(Qilinmon, Wikipedia)

Friday, July 7, 2017

"BIgfoot Expedition" in Round Rock July 15

They totally didn't copy the Expedition: Bigfoot museum name!

The Statesman has a new article up on the whole Round Rock Bigfoot thing, announcing a Bigfoot "expedition" on the 15th.

"Put on some good trail-walking shoes. Grab a flashlight. We're searching for Bigfoot.
"Round Rock's parks and recreation department is offering several walking tours through Old Settlers Park as part of its Expedition: Find Bigfoot event July 15.
"For $5, guests can take a guided tour through the park's trail system in search of the fabled Hairy Man himself. Leading the pack will be national Bigfoot researchers who can offer the best tips on find the shadowy creature.
"Four walking tours are available starting at 8 p.m., 8:15 p.m., 9:30 p.m., and 9:45 p.m. The city parks department recommends the first two for younger children and the last two for older children and adults. Register for each guided tour here
"And if Bigfoot doesn't make an appearance, the first 400 who attend still get a commemorative Bigfoot event T-shirt courtesy of the Georgetown Shirt Company.
"Also stick around for a Movie in the Park presentation of classic Bigfoot cinema with 'Harry and the Hendersons' at 9:30 p.m.
"Be careful out there. We do have video footage." 

This whole thing is just a ruse to get some people to Round Rock and apparently give the local T-shirt company some business too. In the last post I did on this, this was mentioned and it said that Bigfoot will show up. Which means a dude in a costume will probably run by, because there's no way there's a real Bigfoot there.

And its not an "expedition" if they are just taking a guided tour that will probably last 15 minutes!!

And Tom Biscardi and his "Searching for Bigfoot" is involved in the whole thing, which screams "Hoax!" since he has been involved in hoaxes multiple times, including Rick Dyer's 2008 "Dead Bigfoot" that was nothing of the sort.

This whole thing started when the Round Rock Parks and Rec. Department posted some (fake) footprint photos, and then a video of "Bigfoot," and by that time it was obvious the whole thing is fake. But they'll probably continue using it. In the last article I posted, they mentioned that there may be "Loch Ness" and "chupacaba" stories, too.

No doubt there will be more fake Bigfoot stuff from Round Rock later.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Strange Story of the Lake Leelanau Monster

At the end of May, I was in Michigan for about a week, and while there, I got a change to stop at Lake Leelanau. For those who don't know, the lake is (possibly) home to one of the weirdest lake monsters ever reported!

The Cryptid Wiki says of this especially-strange creature:

"This strange and brilliantly camouflaged creature is allegedly responsible for scaring one teenage angler nearly to death and has got to be one of the weirdest lake cryptids ever chronicled."

Indeed, it is.
Dr. John G. Seulzer East Leeland Memorial Park,
where I stopped at

Lake Leelanau is formed by two adjacent lakes in Leeland County, Michigan. The North lake has a max reported depth of about 120 feet, and the south lake has one of 62 feet. And the Cryptid Wiki is right when they say that "while the lakes themselves may be relatively nondescript, the creature that supposedly dwells beneath their muddy depths is anything but."

So, what does this Lake Leelanau monster look like?

In the late 1800s, a dam was built on the lake that rose the water level 10-12 feet. That is supposedly when the monster was first seen. A marsh-like area was created around the lake because of this and that is where the monster is supposed to dwell.

While the Cryptid Wiki says that there are "purportedly scores of reports of this nefarious beast," I have only heard of one, which occurred in 1910.

A young man, William Gauthier, was fishing on Lake Leelanau and had rowed to an area in the lake where there were several dead cedar trees. He got close enough to one to tie his rope around one of the branches, but when he tried to do so, he realized that the "tree" was alive!

When he put his rope not he branch, it opened its eyes! He and the mystery thing stared at each other at eye level for a few seconds before the creature dove beneath his boat.

Gauthier claimed that the beast was so long that when its head appeared on the other side of the boat, its tail was still on the side that it was one when he first noticed it!

Supposedly, Gauthier said, others had seen the thing as well, but refused to speak publicly about it.

Gauthier's great-grandson believes he saw what he said he saw, and says he did not fish on the lake for many years after the experience.
Artists drawing of the creature.
(Cryptid Wiki)

That is the only sighting of this monster with any reported detail, so there obviously haven't been any since then. And, not surprisingly, probably, I saw nothing out of the ordinary while I was there.

Does that mean the Lake Leelanau monster is gone, if it was even there in the first place? If it was just something that got trapped when the dam was built, it is most definitely dead by now. But was it the only one? What if there are still strange creatures living in Lake Leelanau, but they only look like tree trunks, like this one? Could people be going right by them and not even knowing it?

The mystery to what the Lake Leelanau monster is remains unsolved, and probably will forever.
The lake

A 2003 Dover Demon Report?

In 1977, several people in the town of Dover, Massachusetts, reported seeing an odd, almost unearthly-looking being that has come to be known as the Dover Demon. Two posts on this blog covering those sightings and some theories can be found at theses links - Part 1, and Part 2.

Most would think that the 1977 sightings were the only reports of this mysterious whatever-it-is. But, that may not be the case!

I'm currently reading Nick Redfern's book 365 Days of UFOs, and I found in it an interesting account of what may possibly be the Dover Demon. The encounter didn't occur in the 1970s, however - it happened in 2003.

On January 22, 2003, a teenage girl named Erika, who was walking home from a friend's house, saw something strange dart across the road. And that's really it. There are no other details with the report, except that Redfern says that Erika, knowing of the earlier sightings in the town, thought she had just seen the legendary "demon."

Did the mysterious Dover Demon - an alien, mannegishi, or something else - decide to pay a return visit to that Massachusetts town?

Sea Monsters and Shipwrecks

In his 1977 book Sea Monsters: A Collection of Eyewitness Accounts, James B. Sweeney relates a few tales from divers who say they encountered strange creatures under the sea.
My copy of Sea Monsters - one of the first
cryptid books I ever read

The first story is from a man named John WIlliams. He was a diver who, in the Ionian Sea off the coast of Greece, had the fright of his life.

Sweeney writes that during one dive in 1970, Williams "signaled frantically to be pulled to the surface. When he was hauled aboard and his helmet removed, he announced, 'I quit.'"

After several hours, the crew got Williams to tell them what had happened. He said:

"My descent was alongside a cliff. It went straight down. At the bottom lay the wreck we were after. There was a hole in her side big enough to drive a bloody lorry through. THis was where the gold was. So I walks in, dragging my pipe and line with me. Something warned me to stop. It was sort of an instinctive feeling that I was in the presence of some sort of an enemy.
"Then I looks straight ahead. My heart came near to stopping. A large pair of eyes were watching me. These eyes are each maybe twelve inches big. They seemed to be full of hate and anger. As I watched, the lids were raised and lowered, curtain-like, half over the eyes. I felt myself being hypnotized by the force of those big eyes. Then the eyes moved, as though the beast were coming closer. That broke the spell. I backed out and surfaced." 

Sweeney then relates another story of a different diver, who also encountered a sea monster in a shipwreck.

The diver was at a wreck in the Baltic Sea in 1971, at a depth with almost no light at all. He felt his way through the sunken ocean liner to the purser's office. The diver knew that was where the gold was. He was moving through a narrow passageway when he touched something that felt alive. He put out a hand and "it came in contact with round, firm flesh. The flesh felt human. It had no scales and there was a certain warmth about it."

Sweeney continues:

"However, the ship had been on the bottom for over a year. No human being could still be alive. Carefully, he tried to get around whatever its was that blocked his passage. It was too big. Half in anger at finding this unknown thing between him and $4 million in gold, he raised a lead-booted foot and kicked. There was a smash, a rush, and something knocked the diver flat. 'It was as if a freight train ran over me,' said diver Barney Burwood. 'Then this thing fouled my lines, snatched me out of the passageway, whipped me clear of the ship, and banged me to the floor of the ocean."

Burwood signalled to be pulled up, but since he was at a great depth it had to be done slowly. Thirty minutes later he was at the surface. Everyone wanted to know what happened, and he told them.

And Burwood wasn't the only person to encounter the monster. While he was being pulled up, the captain explained: "A mighty big sea monster of some sort shot to the surface. This brute had a head that looked like something with a pig's snout, was sort of formed like a snake, and was fringed with either hair or seaweed." But that was not all.

The captain continued: "What worried us was the fact it kept circling around for thirty or more minutes. We fired a few rifle shots at it and after a bit it disappeared. There was no knowing if it had gone back after you, or what."

And those are not the only encounters with sea serpents in shipwrecks that Sweeney includes in his book. In fact, he includes two more as well.

In 1972, he says (oddly these have all taken place, so far, one year after the previous report), a "young diver named Hans Holzer told of a somewhat similar experience in the Bay of Bengal." Holzer said: "It was with a monstrous sea animal I'd never seen before. A real beast. It had the face and head of what looked like a wart hog. It just had to be the ugliest animal in the world. Anyhow, I'm down under, cutting an opening into the vault of a sunken passenger liner, when the bulkhead gave way and crashed in on me."

Holzer was in complete darkness until he managed to find his underwater cutting torch. He lit up the flame and "That's when I saw this beast. It was caught between two plates of steel that had shifted. These plates held it tight. Just as if it were caught in a vice."

The animal was described as having "a massive head that tapered into a long snout. At the end of the snout war two upthrust tusks. At the top of the head were a pair of piglike eyes and small horns."

Holzer continued: "There was about ten feet of that animal showing. And every inch was pure fury. It was rip-snorting mad at being hung up and tried to snap at me and my torch."

It was at this time that Holzer realized that the monster was blocking the way he had entered from. How would he get out of there? He decided to "give it a taste of that lighted torch." He had to be careful to not let the monster knock it out of his hand or he'd be in the dark, as in literally. "I'd be like a bowl of porridge in the monster's jaws [in the dark]," he said.

"So the two of us entered a fencing match. I'd inch toward the opening. That ugly beast would lunge. I'd poke the flame at it. Then I'd inch forward a couple of more yards. Once or twice that serpent, or whatever it was, got a taste of my torch. That made it a little more cautious. Finally, after what seemed like hours, but was really only minutes, I made my escape."

When Holzer got back to the surface and told the crew what had happened, they wanted to go back down to catch the monster. The captain, though, would not allow it. "We're here to bring up gold, not a sea monster," he said. The captain sent down an underwater demolitions specialist with explosives to kill the monster. "One bang, and there wasn't enough of that beast left to stuff a sausage," Holzer said. Now, if one bang was enough to do that to the monster, wouldn't it probably destroy the wreck they were trying to get the gold from too?

The last story Sweeney includes is similar to that one. In 1940, a diver named Pappy Gewinn had to go in a sunken German U-Boat in the Scottish Sea. While in the wreck, he ran into "the biggest sea serpent [he'd] ever seen." He said "it had a head like a bulldog and mean-looking eyes. From what I could see of it, there were gills behind the head and maybe about twenty feet of flat body beyond that."

He slammed a hatch shut to lock the monster up, and grabbed the dead captain of the ship and returned to the surface. "When I told them about the sea serpent," he said, "It was decided to let the dead crew remain where they were until the boat was raised and the bodies could be recovered without fear of the serpent."

Facing an underwater sea monster!

What are we to make of these accounts? Sweeney's book is special to me because it was one of the first books on any cryptids I ever read (probably one of the first three), but he does not include any bibliography to where he got most of his information. So I do not know where these reports of encounters with shipwreck sea serpents came from, unless he talked to them himself.

But are the reports true? I don't know. It seems a bit odd to me that the first three take place in three consecutive years. It almost seems a little to convenient that they took place in that order. He also doesn't say what happened to diver Barney Burwood after he was "whipped clear of the ship and banged to the floor of the ocean" when his sea monster charged at him. I think that might have some effects on the diver! And what did Hans Holzers' pig-headed sea monster do? All he says is that he went at it with his torch a few times and then "made my escape." He does not say what the monster, which was wedged in the passageway he needed to go through, did.

To sum things up, I find all of these reports quite suspect.

This post is part 6 of an ongoing series of posts examining sea serpent reports spanning centuries and the globe:

"Mini-Globster" in California
An Encounter with the Casco Bay Sea Serpent
Makara and Moha-Moha
Bernard Heuvelmans vs. Henry Lee
"A Sort of Odd Marine Dimetrodon"

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

"Mini-Globster" in California

There's a new story to add to my series of posts on sea serpents - the Daily Mail is reporting on a "mysterious sea creature" that recently washed up on a California beach:
Odd looking, but is it really that strange?

"A bizarre sea creature has baffled internet users after it washed up on a California beach.
"The slimy monster appeared to have no discernible features, such as eyes or a mouth.
"It also sports two huge lumps sticking out of one end of its body.
"The beach walker who found the bizarre-looking monster at Leo Carrillo Beach, Malibu, shared pictures of if online to see if anyone could work out its identity.
"Reddit user xxviiparadise said: 'It weighed around seven pounds [3.2kg] and if I had to guess about five inches [13 cm] wide.'
"One commenter speculated that it could be some kind of sea snail.
"Another wrote: 'Looks like whatever lives inside the seashell.'
"Reddit user PacificKestrel claimed to have solved the mystery.
"After asking if it was found in southern California, they said: 'I'd say that, my friend, is a long-dead sea hare.'
"The California sea hare is a common species of sea slug found off the west coast of the US and northern Mexico.
"The animals grow up to 75 centimeters (30 in) long and can weigh as much as 7 kilograms (15 lbs).
"The slugs eat red algae from the sea floor, which them a reddish color, and also grants them toxic properties, meaning they have few natural predators.
"This is not the first bizarre sea creature to have sent the internet into a frenzy this year.
"In May, a mysterious rotting carcass washed up on an Indonesian beach, leaving online commenters baffled as to what it might be.
"Fisherman Asrul Tuanakota, who discovered the 50ft (15m) creature on the northern shore of Seram Island, had guessed it could be a giant squid because it appeared to be covered in tentacles.
"But Alexander Werth, a whale biologist at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, and George Leonard, chief scientist at the Ocean Conservancy, eventually solved the mystery.
"The pair said that the carcass was almost certainly a baleen whale, as bones protruding from the mass of rotting flesh appeared to be feeding plates from the animal's mouth, used to filter food led to their conclusions.
"Seram Island is also close to a migration route used by baleen whales, UPI reported.
"The 'tentacles' were probably made from fatty blubber that had been torn into strips by scavenging predators. 
"Whale carcasses typically sink into the depths of the ocean after death, though under the right circumstances the body can fill with gases as it decomposes, allowing it to float.
"In such cases the body can then drift ashore, as seems to have happened in Indonesia."
(Obviously) a dead whale, not a sea monster

 So, there you go - this new "mini-globster" is not a sea monster at all, and the one from Indonesia earlier this year is not either, like pretty much all globsters are.

This post is part 5 of an ongoing series of posts examining reports of sea serpents spanning centuries and the globe:

An Encounter with the Casco Bay Sea Serpent
Makara and Moha-Moha
Bernard Heuvelmans vs. Henry Lee
"A Sort of Odd Marine Dimetrodon"