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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Connecticutt River Monster

Deen: The Big Conn: Monster or Myth?

Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Rep. David Deen, D-Westminster, river steward for the Connecticut River Watershed Council.

Loch Ness has her Nessie, Lake Champlain has her Champ, Lake Mephremegog has her Memphre and the Connecticut River, well the sting of it is that she has her monster, it just has not been named yet. The Connecticut River does have a monster or monsters, that is, if you can believe press stories from numerous historical sources, including The New York Times.

One of the earliest reports comes from the History of Lordship in 1878 when an assistant engineer on the steamer State of New York said that he witnessed the head of a monster raised several feet above the waves. The head disappeared and a portion of the body formed an arc “under which it would have been easy to drive a team of oxen.” [The arch is distinctly the curved-over neck in this instance-DD]

In 1881, soon after the Lordship incident, according to The Times, the yacht A.M. Bliss was returning from a fishing cruise when the passengers saw a veritable sea serpent moving slowly along the surface of the calm water.

And an 1886 New York Times article from Middletown, Conn., reported that “all along the banks of the Connecticut River people eagerly watched for a glimpse of the great sea serpent.” According to the story: “Out of the froth rose a big black head as large as a flour barrel and with eyes as big as small plates. The head kept rising higher and higher until 10 feet of the neck appeared. The men didn’t stop to make a long or thorough examination, but they feel sure that the sea serpent must have been a clear hundred feet long.”

The Hartford, Conn., Haunted Places Examiner recounted a story from 1894 when Austin Rice of East Deerfield, Conn., … “a plain unimaginative farmer, who for nearly 50 of the 70 years of his life has resided in his quiet home on the banks of the Connecticut River, says that nothing on earth can convince him that he did not see a snake in the river a few days ago. The report noted that “Mr. Rice’s reputation for veracity among his neighbors and acquaintances is good, and he never drinks.”

Then in 1895, the History of Lordship reported that crew members on the steamer Richard Peck noticed “a coiling motion, and the sea monster, as such it must have been if what they say is true, dove out of sight, first raising its head as if it had not been aware of the approaching steamer and had been disturbed from peaceful slumber.”

There is something unusual about Lordship because again the History of Lordship reports that in 1896 a sea serpent with pea green whiskers passed down Long Island Sound. “He was plowing through the water at a 25- knot clip — and left a wake of foam behind him a mile in length. He was easily 200 feet in length and his head was reared 20 feet above the brine.”

It seems our Connecticut River monster then became bashful for some 100 years. Maybe part of its reclusive time was spent in the nearly mile-long Hog River tunnel under Hartford, Conn. The Hog River flows 30 feet under the city in a 30-foot-high by 45-foot-wide tunnel made of reinforced concrete that is just over a mile long and runs between the Capitol and Armory buildings to the Connecticut River. Those few brave souls who have canoed the river tunnel say, ”The darkness and the dripping and the echoes — it’s like a chance to go to a kind of alien world.” We may never know for sure, but it’s possible.

Then in 1995, according to a press release from the Main Street Museum, that “in the waters just off of Lyman Point in White River Junction, where the White meets the Connecticut River, that an extraordinary monster was seen frolicking. First reports gave indication that some cousin, or closer relative, of “Champ,” Lake Champlain’s Aquatic Apparition, had somehow found its way onto the eastern half of our beautiful state.” They offered the captured monster for display in 1995.

Not to be outdone, in 2008 NBC TV in Hartford, Conn., reported that a West Hartford resident had taken pictures of a mysterious creature living in West Hartford Reservoir Number 1. The photos taken depict something just below the surface of the water that appears to have “ancient looking” spikes along its long tail. The witness showed the photos to officials with the Metropolitan District Commission, who said that the reservoir does not hold drinking water so there is no cause for concern.

All of the sightings over the past 130 years recorded something that looked like an eel, serpent or reptile of some kind with a long neck and body or a longer spiked tail. That’s a lot of coincidence since the first sighting in 1878. Maybe there is more than one Connecticut River monster, depending on its taste for salt water. All of the people making the reports certainly seemed convinced the monster was real.

Believe what you will about The Big Conn monster, but that’s my story, and I am sticking to it.

3 responses

Wick Griswold
July 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm

The CT River’s “monster” is named Connie.

Alex Barnham
July 30, 2011 at 10:36 pm

The Connecticut River flows south into the Atlantic Ocean…Lake Champlain flows north into the Richelieu River, then into the St Lawrence River, and then into the Atlantic Ocean. We have no trouble believing in whales which are the largest air breathing mammals on earth and they are NOT fish. I just don’t know why we cannot believe people who have seen a gigantic serpent that lives in the ocean and perhaps migrates upstream once in a blue moon. Many finds of the sea monster Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus have been discovered and the ocean is a very big place to hide so do we have to kill and mount one should one have possibly survived to this day? I would say keep your eyes peeled and your lens cap off.

Alex Barnham
July 30, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Oh, and don’t try to catch it. K?

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-Now this series of reports is interesting because it is obviously the same as the typical Longnecked Sea-Serpent, including its "Merhorse" form and it is obviously also the same as the "Merhorse" that chased two boys in a boat up the Hudson River during the 1800s (That one also had long fragments of something coming out of its mouth "Like long pine shavings": these would again be fibers pulled out of a rival male's mane, they are not whiskers because the creature is at this point spitting them out of his mouth, and once asgain they are recognisably not hair Furthermore, if the creature was in a fighting mood, that might explain its unusual aggression)

Once again, the lengths of 100 to 200 feet long as reported would refer to the wakes and not to the bodies of such creratures. Experience with other reports of the type cuts the length down to a total length usually less than 50-60 feet in all.

In the case of River monsters in general, the usual explanation would be that they were Sea Monsters that wandered upstream. That would seem to be the case here and also in parallel cases in Maine,recognised by Heuvelmans as "Longneck Territory" So in all these case it's hardly even fair to say they are monsters characteristic of any one location (such as the Connecticut River in this occasion). They are just passing through.

In the case of Longnecked creatures seen inland, that is what usually turns out to be the case.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

"Russia's Loch Ness Monster"

Brosno dragon
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Brosno Dragon, also known as Brosnya, is the name given to a lake monster which is said to inhabit Lake Brosno, near Andreapol in West Russia. It is described as resembling a dragon or dinosaur, and is the subject of a number of regional legends, some which are said to date back to the 13th century. [1]


Rumors of a strange, giant creature living in Lake Brosno have existed for several centuries. One legend says that the lake monster scared to death the Tatar-Mongol army that headed for Novgorod in the 13th century. Batu Khan stopped the troops on the sides of Lake Brosno to rest. Horses were allowed to drink water from the lake. However, when the horses ventured down to the lake, a huge roaring creature emerged from the water and started devouring horses and soldiers. The Batu-khan troops were so terrified that they turned back, and Novgorod was saved. Old legends describe an "enormous mouth" devouring fishermen. Chronicles mention a "sand mountain" that appeared on the lake surface from time to time. According to another legend, some Varangians wanted to hide stolen treasure in the lake. When they approached the small island, a dragon came to the surface from the lake and swallowed the island up.

It was rumored in the 18th and 19th centuries that the giant creature emerged on the lake surface in the evening, but immediately submerged when people approached. It is said that during World War II the beast swallowed up a German airplane. Today, there are lots of witnesses who say they chanced to see Brosnya walking in the water. Locals say that it turns boats upside-down and has to do with disappearance of people

Many people treat the existence of Brosnya skeptically and still say that the creature may be a mutant beaver or a giant pike of 100-150 years. Others conjecture that groups of wild boars and elks cross the lake from time to time.

[emphasis added, and only the introduction to the various explanations-DD]

1.^ Vorotyntseva, Sofya (2004-01-20) Loch Ness Monster Has a Relative in Russian Province, Pravda

Rather than a mutant beaver explanation, I have heard that wild boars of unusually large size swimming in the water, as well as the typical swimming elk (moose) account for most modern sightings at this lake. These are the lake monster sightings that are like the ones from Loch Ness and elsewhere and cause people to think of Plesiosaurs and Brontosaurs. But they are not the origin of the large swallowing dragon.

To some extent, all bodies of water are said to suck down and drown people and animals and this is ordinarily understood as a sort of poetic mythological personification of the waters themselves. In this case, however, it becomes quite clear that what people were originally describing was a very large, very old and very evil-tempered Pike and pride in the notoriety of that pike (possibly the family of pikes even) made the locals brag and exaggerate their stotries of their monstrous pike until it could swallow up enemy warships sent against them, or Nazi planes. But the shape of the monstrously large fish on the old postcard is definietly a pike's head. Some reports of Lake Monsters from Scandinavia are also obviously such pikes, and a series of such reports occur across Canada but most prominently in the Mackenzie River system and around the Great Lakes. Some of them have been photographed and you can still always tell from the shape of the head and the conformation of the fins.

Best Wishes, Dale D.
Pike-also often at the bottom of "Out-of-Place-Crocodile" Reports.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Marine Monkeys and Merfolk

Internet News Item of 2009:

Locals and tourists in the Israeli town of Kiryat Yam have been flocking to the coast in hopes of glimpsing a creature that most people believe only exist in fairy tales.

An alleged mermaid, said to resemble a cross between a fish and a young girl, only appears at sunset. It performs a few tricks for onlookers before disappearing for the night.

One of the first people to see the mermaid, Shlomo Cohen, said, "I was with friends when suddenly we saw a woman laying on the sand in a weird way. At first I thought she was just another sunbather, but when we approached she jumped into the water and disappeared. We were all in shock because we saw she had a tail."

The sightings apparently began several months ago.

$1 million reward

The town's tourism board is of course delighted with their newfound fame and local mystery fauna. Taking a cue from the town of Inverness, Scotland (on the shore of Loch Ness), the Kiryat Yam government has offered a $1 million reward for the first person to photograph the creature. Town spokesman Natti Zilberman thinks the reward money is well-spent. "I believe if there really is a mermaid then so many people will come to Kiryat Yam, a lot more money will be made than $1 million.”

Of course, if the mermaid does not exist -- perhaps it is a hoax, an optical illusion, or a simple misperception of a known animal -- then the town's reward money will remain safe and unclaimed, while the economy benefits from the influx of tourists vying to get a photo that will leave them set for life.

It's not clear what people are seeing, though the power of suggestion and imagination can be strong. Identifying animals in water is inherently problematic, since eyewitnesses by definition are only seeing a small part of the creature. When you add in the factor of low light at sunset and the distances involved, positively identifying even a known creature can be very difficult -- to say nothing of a mythological one!

Mermaids have long held fascination for seafaring peoples. There are a few[several=six] dozen significant historical claims of actual mermaid sightings. Most of them are clearly myths and legends, such as "true" stories about lovely young women who married sailors but were later discovered to be shape-shifting mermaids (such as in the film "Splash").

Other reports date back centuries, and offer no proof or evidence other than a curious story. For example, a Capt. Richard Whitbourne claimed he saw a mermaid in Newfoundland's St. James harbor in 1610. Another story, from 1830 Scotland, claimed that a young boy killed a mermaid by throwing rocks at it; the creature looked like a child of about 3 or 4, but had a salmon's tail instead of legs. The villagers supposedly had it a funeral and buried it in a small coffin.

P.T. Barnum's mermaid

Hoaxers have worked to satisfy the public's appetite for mermaids; the fact that none have ever actually been found is only a minor inconvenience.

The great showman P.T. Barnum introduced a mermaid to astounded crowd in the 1840s: his infamous "FeeJee Mermaid", actually a taxidermy fake. The head and torso of a small monkey was grafted onto the body and tail of a fish. It was bizarre and strange - --certainly nothing anyone had seen before — but a far cry from the banners and posters suggesting a beautiful, half-naked woman.

Other mermaid fakes appeared throughout the centuries. Some were manatees that had been dressed up to resemble a human form and exhibited for profit.

Whether the Israeli mermaid sighting is genuine, a hoax, or an innocent mistake exploited for tourism, the reality of finding a real mermaid might be different than people imagine, as shown by a song from the Newfoundland band Great Big Sea, which sings folk-rock versions of traditional sea shanties. One of their most popular songs, titled "The Mermaid," tells of a lonely sailor who courts a mermaid:

"I love the girl with all me heart / But I only like the upper part / I do not like the tail!"

From The Cryptid Zoo

Mermaids and Mermen in Cryptozoology: Modern Sightings and Reports

Why would cryptozoologists pay any attention to something as weird as mermaids and mermen? To answer that question, we first need to look at the history of these legends and sightings. Mermaids and their male counterparts, mermen (both sexes are collectively referred to as "merfolk" or sometimes "merbeings"), are found in legends and fairy tales along every coastline in the world, from Scotland to Hawaii, from Australia to Africa. Along with being geographically widespread, these tales are very old, dating back to the earliest written records from ancient Sumeria. As you might expect, merfolk are not a popular topic in cryptozoology. Since they sound so unreal, anyone working in cryptozoology who pays much attention to them can end up very embarrassed.
However, merfolk are the object of a surprising number of first-hand sightings and modern reports. The sheer volume of these reports can often force cryptozoologists to pay attention. Therefore, mermaids and mermen are more than just a preoccupation for fringe cryptozoologists. Even though merfolk are biologically absurd, some mainstream cryptozoologists have devoted considerable attention to trying to unravel this mystery.

The older fairy tales and today's sightings differ in a number of important ways. Although fairy tales like to describe mermaids that are blond, talkative and entirely human from the waist up, tales from first-hand witnesses generally describe mermaids who don't talk at all, who have green or black hair, and who have some fishy[or animal] characteristics on their top halves.

There are several different scientific theories that have been put forth to explain mermaids and mermen. One idea is that merfolk are animals. They might be some variety of undiscovered fish that has a top half that simply looks human, or they might be a variety of primate that evolved to a half-aquatic lifestyle. Unfortunately, not much evidence has come forth to support either idea. If merfolk exist and are animals, they must be incredibly rare, for science has never managed to get a dead body despite the fact that merfolk are supposed to love hanging about near shore, where capture should be easy and bodies would probably wash onto the beach.

The story goes that Merfolk were regularly washed up on shoree after storms before 1900, but such occasions have become much rarer after that. The reason for decrease in sightings since 1900 shall be discussed below. Also, claims of dead and stranded Merfolk corpses are still coming in, but the cases that make headlines ordinarily turn out to be the results of highly skilled taxidermists practicing their art.

This is a paste-up of a map of the sightings from Sea Enchantress plotted, plus a few more recent ones. I have had a few reports turned in to me independantly as taking place off the West Coast of the USA, and which are usually burly males of the "Merman" category and the rare females which are sometimes said to have a rather "Animalistic" appearance.

Here are some basic facts derived from the "Mermaid" entry in Wikipedia:

A mermaid (from the Middle English mere in the obsolete sense 'sea' + maid(en)) is a legendary aquatic creature with the head and torso of human female and the tail of a fish. The male version of a mermaid is called a merman; the gender-neutral plural is merfolk. Various cultures throughout the world have similar figures. Much like Sirens, mermaids in stories would sometimes sing to sailors and enchant them, distracting them from their work and causing them to walk off the deck or cause shipwrecks. Other stories would have them squeeze the life out of drowning men while trying to rescue them. They are also said to take them down to their underwater kingdoms. The Sirens of Greek mythology are sometimes portrayed in later folklore as mermaid-like; in fact, some languages use the same word for both creatures. Other related types of mythical or legendary creature are water fairies (e.g. various water nymphs) and selkies, animals that can change from one into another type of creature. (Mermaids are sometimes said to be half-seaserpent or half-eel, for example, and sometimes to be able to transform from Mermaid to Giant-eel form. Morag is an example)

Mermen are mythical male legendary creatures who are human from the waist up and fish-like from the waist down, whose female counterparts were the more commonly known mermaids. In Greek mythology, mermen were often illustrated to have a long snaky tail seaweed-like hair, a beard, and a trident. The actions and behavior of mermen can vary wildly depending on the source and time period of the stories. They have been said to sink ships by summoning great storms, but also said to be wise teachers, according to earlier mythology. A merman, like a mermaid, attracts humans with singing and tones.
Merfolk have, for centuries and independantly the whole woprld over, been described as having the upper body of a human and the lower body of a fish. Their skin color varies from caucasian all the way to tanned brown and shades of green: and their hair is described as being dark colored, reddish-brown and sometimes seaweed-like.Presumably the green colour as reported actually comes from seaweed when the Merfolk are covered with it.

Theoretical identification
Legends of these half-human, half-fish humanoids have circulated for millennia, even as far back as 4,000 years ago. It has been widely suggested or implied that manatees or dugongs could be behind the myth of the mermaid. It is said that these large aquatic mammals are notable for the way in which they carry their young, cradled in their arms much as a human would carry a baby. It is possible that sailors seeing these unfamiliar beasts for the first time, would assume that they had in fact stumbled across some sort of humanoid species, and consequently spread their accounts of the sightings through their homelands on their return from voyages. It has even been posited that the traditional image of a mermaid with long flowing hair could be attributed to manatees breaking the ocean surface underneath patches of seaweed, and giving the unfamiliar observer the impression of having long hair. (cited from Wikipedia)

For well over two centuries now, the standard scientific explanation for a mermaid sighting throughout the world in numerous books and articles has been that the manatee has been seen and mistaken for a mermaid. To this I say, there are few better examples of explanations that explain no part of the sightings they are intended to explain. Manatees have a physical appearance far more in common with a walrus than with a Mermaid. Anyone who could possibly mistake one of these blubbery, whiskered creatures for a Mermaid was either very drunk at the time or else a very bad liar, possibly both. And this explanation doesn't come anywhere close to explaining the stories or sightings of a Mermaid climbing atop of rocks near the shore or singing - two of the most common things Mermaids are consistently reported to be doing. And several of the aspects of the sightings that manatees are supposed to account for also turn out to be false allegations. It turns out, for example, that sirenians habitually nurse their young underwater with the bodies in a horizontal orientation: they do not sit up vertically in the water with the mother cradling the baby in its foreflipper. {This statement is particularly and specifically noted in Walker's Mammals of the World]

The second major issue with this explanation is basic geography. While Dugongs are found in shallow waters along the coast of the Indian Ocean, and Manatees are generally found through the Gulf of Mexico and the Congo and Amazon Rivers, neither of these species are found in the waters of the North Atlantic, where the majority of Mermaid sightings come in from.

To quote from Heuvelmans' 1986 Checklist of Unknown Animals published in CRYPTOZOOLOGY Volume 5, under "Marine Forms"
"Merfolk-like animals not necessarily related to the present dugong and manatees-their classical scientific explanation: "Mermaids" and "Mermen" reported from seas where no recent speciesare known to have lived in historical times. In the most complete work devoted to the mermaid legend (Sea Enchantress, Benwell and Waugh 1961)70 sightings of such creatures are listed. Out of these, 52 (almost three-quarters)have allegedly occurred far from the areas where the three species of [Sirenians]...are known to...have been confined...In these reagions the existance of seals, sea lions or walruses cannot, as suggested, make up for the lack of Sirenians because [To put it more bluntly than Heuvelmans does, because seals do not show breasts on the females in the anatomical position where human females have breasts. There, I've said it and I'm glad!]...Only a still-unrecorded species of sirenian, or unknown species of Primate adapted to sea-life, could explain the abundance and persistence of Merfolk reports in certain seas up to modern times."

The Amboine Mermaid, a specimen said to have been held in captivity in a tank and as such, counts as n early scientific specimen for the species. This has not been adequately explained as any other sort of creature since nothing else matches the description. The island of Ambon is in Eastern Indonesia to the East of Borneo.

Ningyos from Japan and Nagas (the half-human version) of India and Indonesia are commonly counted as the local versions of their Merfolk.

As Heuvelmans notes, Merfolk have been sighted through the years numerous times by credible and sober observers who are familiar with the sea and it's inhabitants. A sample of some reports thoughout history follows:

On October 29, 1811, John McIssacs gave sworn testimony that he had seen a Mermaid while walking along the beach near Campbeltown, Scotland. He was able to give a detailed description of the mermaid, who had red hair, white skin above the waist and reddish-gray below the waist, and who was sitting on a rock above the water. Two separate clergymen testified that McIssac was considered to be a sober steady man and should be considered a "reliable witness." Three days after McIssac's testimony the Sheriff-Sub at the time also took testimony from another witness, Katherine Loynachan, who had also seen an identically described Mermaid sunning on the rocks in the same area just a week before.

In 1809, William Munro, a school teacher from Thurso in Caithness, reported seeing a Mermaid on a rock near Sandside Head. In 1814, two fisherman off Port Gordon encountered two, merman and a mermaid. In 1949, fisherman off the coast of Cape More reported seeing merfolk several times. Mermaids were being reported off of Vancouver in 1949 and off the coast of Washington state in the 1970s-and in California at about the same time in both instances. Some of the "Mermen" in these areas are said to be large and burly and to resemble swimming gorillas: Heuvelmans even notes this in passing in the case of "Bobo" but does not recognise the category.

By all accounts, merfolk live in the sea with no need to return to land, but they do seem to be able to spend short periods out of the water, on the rocks near shore. The great majority of these accounts in modern sightings show the merfolk do not have a standard fishtail, they have a tail with fins extending from side to side, like those of dolphins, whales and other marine mammals.
One theme often attached to merfolk is the connection between them and storms. Many accounts credit them with either causing or predicting storms by singing. Through out the Middle Ages it seems there was quite the heated debate among scholars about whether Mermaids actually had the power to raise storms or whether their singing before a storm was simply a result of their keen perception of the weather. Of course, the debate was never really settled, but common belief of mariners was that if any member of the crew heard a mermaid singing, it was time to get in to port as soon as possible. If the Merfolk are animals and their vocalizations (or calls) are what we are calling "singing" they could very well be calling to each other when signs of rough weather come up. being IN the water, there is little doubt they could feel disturbances in the waves out to see before even the seamen would notice.

Documented sightings continued through the Renaissance up to the early parts of the Modern day. The North Atlantic in particular was the location for a continuing belief in the existance of Mermaids and Mermen (Particularly in areas like Portugal, the Azores and Canary Islands, the Greater and Lesser Antilles and the East Coast islands off the Southern USA), as well as the scene of great numbers of reports. Dispite the increasing ridicule heaped on those who claimed to see Merfolk, sightings continued without break into the nineteenth century. And throughout the 19th and 20th centuries it was Scotland and the Orkney Islands in particular where many of these highly credible accounts come from.

So the question may come to mind of "Why did these sightings become so few inferequent after the end of the 19th century if there were so many at that time?" And in fact the answer if fairly simple. During the end of the 19th century and early 20th there were a great many advances in technology. One of the greatest impacts on marine life was the propeller driven ship. As the number of propeller driven ships grew, the number of Merfolk sightings dropped off drastically. With a small amount of consideration, this makes perfect sense, seeing how most other marine creatures do their best to avoid the noise and the dangerously sharp, fast spinning propellers of modern vessels.

It also goes without saying that there are many misidentifications and hoaxes when dealing with Merfolk. While it's unfortunate that people would choose to seek publicity through lies, we all know it happens. Cases such as the "feejee" mermaid have become more famous than the more credible cases. Not ALL of these misidentifications are hoaxes however. There are two other basic sources of mis-identification. These are Seals and Other aquatic Mammals and then again regular human swimmers. While it's hard to credit the great many claims of Mermaids from Seamen and seaside inhabitants as being seals or other normal aquatic animals, especially when they state that they know what these animals look and sound like. That being said, there are supposed to be caes where it HAS happened, especially when a witness is not familiar with seals or similar creatures, and when these sightings happen after dark. And obviously the most likely source of misidentifications is the liklihood that people seeing actual human beings swimming in coastal waters.

For interested cryptozoologists there is little question of the reality of Merfolk as living creatures. But the general scientific belief is that these creatures are fictional and ALL such sightings must be either hoaxes or misidentification of known creatures. For the general population they are a beautiful part of children's stories and movies, but they are far from a reality, but for many of us, the hope and belief is that they do actually exist, and can be proven to exist.
And for at least one Israeli, town it's now become a matter of money! A number of sightings of alleged Mermaids in Israel have forced at least one town's council to get involved, offering a $1,000,000 reward to anyone who can prove that the mythical merfolk do exist in its waters

Now as to the theory about what the Merfolk could be, I happened to have had access to a copy of Sea Enchantress in the 1970s (it has since then become virtually impossible to finsd a copy) and by the time I had joined the SITU I had invented a scenario to account for the reports as a type of marine primate. This theory was the subject of a couple of submissions to the SITU including during the period when the Nrew Britain Ri was in the news (Some aspects of the Ri sightings, although discounted as being dugongs, still sound more like descriptions of Merfolk and were never actually disproven) My theory was that they were manlike primates which developed swimming tails parallel to the cetaceans. Hence their ancestors had long tails and were monkeys and not apes. My model compared the ancestors to macaque monkeys and estimated that they could possibly have evolved a dolphin-like tail during the Miocene.

Macaque mokeys can be either short-tailed or long-tailed and several of them have manes of differentiated head-hair, moustaches and beards. Several kinds of macaques find food in salt water lagoons and beaches, going out to find crabs and stranded sea creatures, and many are good swimmers. This includes the Japanese macaques and the specifically-named Crab-eater macaques. If a type of Miocene monkey of the same general type as the macaques took to a more actively-swimming marine life during the Miocene, it could evolve two ways into having a more dolphin-shaped finned tail for swimming, and a more human-likehead, arms and hands as a refinement on the monkey original: the head, arms and hands would already generally resemble a human being's, and a macaque ancestry would give them the long head-hair (and beard on the male) which coincidentally increased the resemblance to a human as far as human witnesses were concerned. At the same time, traditions would still insist (such as in the case of the Ningyo)that the inside of the mouth and the teeth looked like a monkey's, and that the males had notably longer tusks. The males were usually stated to be somewhat larger and more "Bestial" than ordinary humans, but the degree of sexual dimorphism tended to make the females seem to be more of the usual female human appearance.

This theory was independant of the Aquatic Ape theory which had a brief popularity a little after this theory was formulated-it revolved around a kind of monkey, not an ape- but the two theories were parallel and several of the same biological observations and arguments would apply in either case. This would mean it was plausible that the creatures could metabolize saltwater and get rid of the excess salt by shedding salty tears, in turn a more humanlike trait, as described in the Aquatic Ape theory. The artwork depicting the "Aquatic Ape" here was created by Robert Dumont on Deviant Art.

The hypothetical primate would tend to develop a more rounded head, larger eyes, and also tend to lose its hinder legs, as demonstrated in this mock-up I made by way of demonstration.

The end result would be overall like "Empyrian's" reconstruction of a Mermaid's skeleton on Deviant Art: I am showing their version rather than mine for the sake of a second opinion. The shape of the head and its placement on the neck would probably be not quite so much human-like, and that is the area which would be most onscured by the thick mane of hair on the head. This model does show rear limbs replaced with flippers using a cetavcean's flipper skeleton as a model: I am pretty mich convinced that the rear flippers are there and variously depicted on the different representations but they function as claspers during mating (That would be the reason whu some of the depictions tend to show sharklike number of and positioning of tail fins) I also include my reconstruction based on the reports from Sea Enchantress so long ago. The hands would have webbed fingers and some reports say the fingers are extra-long and have extra joints. I hypothesized that objects the Mermaids were handling that looked like combs and compacts or mirrors could be fish skeletons (or partially-eaten fish they were still weorking on) and clamshells, or abalone or other shellfish.

I also guessed that the creatures had an overall furry pely which had to be oiled and rubbed like a sea otter's and that was the reason that the Merfolk always seemed to be rubbing and grooming themselves.

My general sense is that Dinsdale made the first general notice of the reports in Sea Enchantress in The Leviathans and then made a plea to take the reports seriously: Heuvelmans had an inclination to take the reports seriously but his inclusion of the category on his vhecklist I think is because Dinsdale had insisted. And I must also hasten to emphasize that my reconstruction and all the attendant speculation is completely independant of Loren Coleman's similar "Merbeing" classification in his Field Guide to Bigfoot (etc)--and was originally made decades before, and had remained unpublished in the SITU's files for decades as well.

And you are at complete liberty to disbelieve any or all of this: I make this theory only as a suggestion as to how the creatures in the Merfolk reports might have come about and what they might be. I do know that skepticism against any such theory runs rather high. But ever since I made this theory I have also gotten more reports privately, and to me they tend to reinforce the theory.

Best Wishes, Dale D.
PS and for the record, my suggested Genus name for the Merfolk as of 1973 was "Naiadus" and the family "Naiadae" as allied to the Cercopithecoidea. I likewise state this as a suggestion only.

Monday, 18 July 2011

"Chessie" (The Manatee) Returns

"Chessie" is distinguished by several field marks, notably including prominent scars on his back. Some of the sightings supposedly of the same manatee further north failed to show the same markings and were later declared NOT to be "Chessie."

"Chessie" at home in Florida

Famous Manatee Sighted in Chesapeake Bay After Long Absence


Gainesville, Fla. – A manatee spotted this week in Calvert County, Maryland is the same one that first made waves 17 years ago when he appeared in Chesapeake Bay just before the onset of winter and later had to be rescued.

Named "Chessie," the manatee's identity was verified by U.S. Geological Survey biologist Cathy Beck, who used photos taken July 12 and matched them with Chessie's photographic record in a USGS manatee database. Chessie;s tell-tale markings include a long, gray scar on his left side.

USGS scientists regularly document manatee sightings to analyze life histories of individuals as part of an ongoing effort to estimate adult survival rates of the endangered Florida manatee. Yet, biologists were surprised to find it was Chessie, a well-known manatee who has not been seen for about 10 years. The last time USGS researchers confirmed a sighting of Chessie was after he swam through Great Bridge Locks in Virginia on August 30, 2001.

By then, Chessie was already well known. After being found in the Kent Narrows area of the Chesapeake Bay in the fall of 1994, researchers became concerned about how he would fare in the oncoming winter. Manatees suffer negative health effects when they endure water temperatures below 68 degrees for any length of time. With water temperatures dropping in the bay, the Marine Animal Rescue Program at the National Aquarium worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Seaworld Orlando, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to rescue Chessie. He was cared for at the aquarium for several days before being successfully flown back to Florida and released.

The current sighting is not driving any plans to rescue Chessie, as the water is still warm and manatees typically work their way back down the eastern seaboard to Florida on their own when cooler weather sets in.

Scientists are not sure whether Chessie visits the Chesapeake Bay every year. After Chessie's 1994 rescue, USGS tagged him and found that he did migrate back to Chesapeake Bay the following spring. Much of what scientists know about manatee migration comes from studies that use radio and satellite tags to reveal key facts about manatees' habitat needs, such as how they use seagrasses and winter refuges.

In general, scientists believe manatee migration from Florida to the Chesapeake Bay may not be unusual, and in fact Chessie was named after [pre-existing]legendary sightings of a "sea monster" in the Chesapeake Bay throughout the twentieth century.

Chessie was spotted and identified this year due to the help of two bystanders who took pictures of him and contacted Jennifer Dittmar, the National Aquarium's Coordinator for the Northeast Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Dittmar forwarded Beck photos of the manatees head and back.

The manatee "Chessie" is obviously NOT the same as the tubular twenty-foor-long, horizontally-undulating sea creature frequently seen and sometimes filmed in Chesapeake Bay. It is as if a common seal which got into Loch Ness and stayed for half a year and got called by the name "Nessie" for it.

Come to think of it, THAT has happened, too!
Best Wishes, Dale D.

Latest Info on "Caddy" Alaskan Video

[A photo from a video that claims to show Alaska's own version of a sea monster.]

Loch Ness monster-like beast filmed in Alaska
Cryptozoologists think mysterious marine animal in video is a Cadborosaurus

Jennifer Viegas
Discovery News

Alaska may have its own version of the Loch Ness monster, according to prominent cryptozoologists who say a video shows a mysterious marine animal, which they believe is a Cadborosaurus.

Meaning "reptile" or "lizard" from Cadboro Bay, Cadborosaurus willsi is an alleged sea serpent from the North Pacific and possibly other regions. Accounts generally describe it as having a long neck, a horse-like head, large eyes, and back bumps that stick out of the water.

The footage, shot by Alaskan fishermen in 2009, will make its public debut on "Hillstranded," a new Discovery Channel special that will air Tuesday evening at 9 p.m. E/P.

"I am quite impressed with the video," Paul LeBlond, former head of the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of British Columbia, told Discovery News. "Although it was shot under rainy circumstances in a bouncy ship, it's very genuine."

LeBlond, co-author of the book "Cadborosaurus: Survivor from the Deep," said the animal is "the least unlike a plesiosaur," referring to carnivorous marine reptiles thought to have gone extinct at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

Sightings of Cadborosaurus have been reported for ages. In 1937, a supposed body of the animal was found in the stomach of a whale captured by the Naden Harbour whaling station in the Queen Charlotte Islands, a British Columbia archipelago. Samples of the animal were brought to the Provincial Museum in Victoria, where curator Francis Kermode concluded they belonged to a fetal baleen whale.

The animal's remains, however, later disappeared. James Wakelun, a worker at the whaling station, last year said that he saw the creature's body and "it wasn't an unborn whale."

Like other cryptids — animals whose existence is suggested but not yet recognized by scientific consensus — Cadborosaurus has otherwise existed only in grainy photographs and eyewitness accounts. The 2009 video, therefore, "adds to its authentication," LeBlond said.

John Kirk, president of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, agrees. In an issued statement, Kirk described the video as being "important. They (the fishermen) simply don't know what they have got in terms of the creatures in this video."

While many have speculated that Cadborosaurus is actually a frill shark, a large eel, or some kind of fish, LeBlond counters that it cannot be a fish due to the way Cadborosaurus moves.

"It must be a mammal or a reptile, since it oscillates up and down in a vertical plain, which eliminates sideways-oscillating fish," he explained.

A possible new believer in Cadborosaurus is Andy Hillstrand of "Deadliest Catch" television show fame. He told Discovery News that he might have seen the enigmatic animal while filming "Hillstranded," a new Discovery Channel special debuting tonight that features the 2009 footage.

Hillstrand and his brother Johnathan traveled to sites in Alaska where Cadborosaurus has been spotted. Referring to one location, he said, "We saw a big, long white thing moving in the water. We chased it for about 20 minutes."

"Spray came out of its head," he continued. "It was definitely not a shark. A giant eel may be possible, but eels don't have humps that all move in unison. I've never seen anything like it before."

Hillstrand speculates that whales, following salmon, might be pushing the animals closer to shores and in the view of humans.

While he understands the controversy and skepticism over such sightings and claims, Hillstrand believes the many fishermen who have reported seeing the animal "are not a bunch of fruitcakes. These are people who are familiar with the local marine life."

In order for a cryptid to gain scientific credibility, more physical evidence must be obtained. LeBlond said, "We cannot go out in the ocean poking everywhere, but we are always on the lookout for new accounts."

Hillstrand, on the other hand, isn't ruling out another Cadborosaurus-related trip.

"We live in Alaska, so we might investigate Cadborosaurus again in future," he said. "We are always up for an adventure."

Let's just say that I am keeping my fingers crossed until I review the footage myself. What I have heard so far is impressive, although earlier reports of a "Moose-headed monster" had left me very suspicious before.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Alex Evan's response about DNA Analysis on the Indiana Thunderbird Feather

Alex Evans Responds:

Hi Dale,
I've had people suggest DNA testing also, but the cost is prohibitive, as you know. I thought if some interested party would like a sample from the feather and could pay for it I would have no objection to having it done once all terms were agreed upon of course.
My theory is that the Thunderbird is some sort of Teratorn/ancient type of Condor. IF the DNA came back as Condor *which the feather most resembles* then I think the mainstream would just say "oh, it's from a wayward Condor".......end of story. Of course if it came from something like an unknown eagle or other......we may have a different response : D


I should mention that "Wayward condor" was the last opinion I had on my unknown feather from Indiana before it went off to Loren Coleman and he said it was from a turkey buzzard.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Patagonian Monsters and Manlike Apes

Whittall notes in the "Caveman" link below that this petroglyph seems to be depicting something distinctly shorter and stouter than the regular human stick figures surrounding it. By selecting it out and mirroring the arm to the other side, we come to something remarkably like the Chimu gold Siamang-like figure illustrated in my early posting about Precolumbian evidence for the Ameranthropoides (link below)
IMHO, this represents a large form of lesser ape much like a siamang, probably a male with its fur standing on end (piloerection) Given that the little circle could represent the muzzle, we can even hazard a reconstruction of the face. This would be a forerunner to the creatures still being reported in Northern Argentina as "Negroes-of-the-Water" (black things that go in the water-which are also reported in the trees, BTW)

Whitall also compares some of the reported Patagonian dwarf creatures to an Orangutan, listed in the links under "Chelep." While I also think there is a creature in South America that is much like an orangutan (hence both Mono Grand and Mono Rey as separated cryptids), I don't think the Chelep are an example. There is a strong possibility in my mind that the stumpy-ended legs and pointed head of the Traucos derive from reports of the Mapinguari further north, but in that case I think it is the stories that have travelled and not the creatures.

Yosi (Yoshi) would seem to be another transcription of the Mono Grand to the South of Patagonia, but on the other hand it is more obvious that Yosi is the same thing as Yasti as described in other places (this is another independant development of the "Trolldoll" representation or perhaps like the Orang Pendek) The problem with the representation is obviously in the preconceived notions of the artists making the pictures.

A "Wild Man of the Woods" compared to a reconstruction of a "Pithecanthropus"
During the Age of Discovery the distinction between Anthropoid apes and stories of "Wildmen" were obscured. Hence this representation of what was meant to be an orangutan came out as a more traditional depiction of a Wildman, and the leter reconstruction of the Homo erectus ("Pithecanthropus") once the same again. Comparing both with Yosi above, it is possible to pick out many similarities and perhaps the Patagonian Dwarfs are meant to depict small Homo erectus (or Solo?)types.

[Internet illustration depicting a "Patagonian Yeti" but originally intended to show a North American "Eastern Bigfoot"]

Relevant earlier postings on this blog:

Friday, 15 July 2011

Early records of the Argentine "Chupacabras"

From the "Patagonian Monster" site, Recommended!
Copyright 2009 by Austin Whittall

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
"Maripill" and the Llaima volcano monster

Maripill; its name derives from the Mapuche words “mari”= ten and “pill”= short form of “pillán” which,[1] was a spirit that the Mapuche believed lived in the Andean volcanoes but was also found in lakes and streams.

Maripill lives in the northern Patagonian lakes and is a very large and ugly animal; whose back is jagged like a saw, and it uses it to tear the cattle apart by running under their bellies very quickly. It uses its clawed hands to grab the children who venture close to the water.

Apparently at one time it “lived in rivers [that later dried up][…] big rivers that long ago came down from the mountains on the west [the Andes]”.[2] This interesting bit of information points towards a relict animal from more humid and perhaps warmer climates.

According to others, it has a dragon-like appearance: like a horridly shaped horse, with a long neck topped by a lizard head; its mouth is long and full of strong fangs, its arms long and clawed, with long and spiny tail.[3]

It is possibly the same as the Llaima volcano monster

Llaima volcano (38°41 S, 71°43’ W) in northern Chilean Patagonia is one of South America’s three most active volcanoes and has erupted nearly fifty times since 1640.

According to historian Ovalle , during the 1640 eruption, there was an apparition by the volcano of a “fierce beast full of convoluted antlers (spines) on
its head, giving horrifying groans and dreadful sounds”;[4] below is the image published in his book:

Llaima volcano monster.
From: [4]; “Indi prodigijs Montis igniuomi, Amnis arborem, mostrum”.

Ovalle represented the beast as a horned being that lacked arms, had bird (dinosaur?) like hind legs and a prehensile tail; it even seemed covered with scales or feathers. Possibly the arms were meant to be small and held tightly to the sides, and hence not noticed.
The horned head is jagged like a saw, and its volcano habitat may indicate that this monster was a Maripill.


[1] Latcham, R., (1924). Op. Cit. pp. 352.
[2] Stieben, E., (1951). Hualicho Mapu (Leyendas, cuentos y relatos de la Pampa misteriosa). B. Aires: Albatros. pp. 91+
[3] Colombres, A., (2001). Op. Cit. pp. 160.
[4] de Ovalle, A. Op. Cit. pp. 303+

The recently discovered South American dinosaur "Zupaysaurus" has the first part of its name the Quechua word for "Devil" and it was named that because it was said to resemble "Devil (Dragon) Lizards" reported in the Northern-Argentina area. These were the local equivalent to "Chupacabras" reports and they were said to resemble the agressive small dinosaurs called "Raptors" by the fans (After Velociraptor, the word "Raptor" alone only means "Hunter" and conventionally refers more properly to Birds-of-Prey.) "Living Dinosaur" proponents have heard reports of such creatures and I recall at least one recent posting about the creatures on the CFZ Blog. It should be noted that the Marpilli was suppsed to be a sawbacked lizardlike creature blamed for cattle mutilations as far back as the 1920s going by Whittall's sources.

Zupaysaurus the "Devil Lizard" much like tradtional "Devil Lizards" of South American mythology. The mythological creatures are very like the "Mini-Rex" or River Liz[ards] reported in the SW USA, and to the biped-lizardlike Chupacabras. Like those reports, the South American original is likely to be a large spinybacked Iguana lizard that is capable of running on its hind legs: Likely the males have red eyes. It is possibly a species of the genus Iguana if it is anything like the similar reports from Mexico. It is probably fair to refer to the original mythical creatures as Zupays (Devils)

Best Wishes, Dale D.

More On Mapinguaris And Ground Sloths

From Wikipedia:

The mapinguari or mapinguary (Spanish pronunciation: [mapiŋɡwaˈɾi]), also known as the Jucucu in Bolivia, is a legendary ... creature with red fur living in the Amazon rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia.[1]

According to some native accounts the creature has a series of unnatural characteristics related to other fantastic beings of Brazilian mythology, like long claws, caiman skin, backward feet and a ... mouth on its belly.[2] These characteristics are not shared by all accounts of the creature.

According to legend, it is slow [and deliberate in its movements] but ferocious and very dangerous due to its ability to move without noise in between the thick vegetation, its only weakness being that of avoiding water bodies (which limits its movements in a region where so many rivers, brooklets and lagoons exist, especially during the rainy season). Most accounts state that the creature is carnivorous – though not necessarily man-eating. When it smells the presence of humans it stands up on its back feet, becoming as tall as two metres, a movement similar to Grizzly bears. [It also allegedly travels bipedally. Much of this information as given is at variance to other published material, such as the Mapinguari's man-eating reputation-DD]


Many cryptozoologists are intrigued by reports of this creature, though some have dismissed it as a folkloric/mythologic creature, or a long-preserved folk memory of the giant animals that existed in South America in the Pleistocene, in particular the giant ground sloth Mylodon.[1]

Among the many researchers who have tried to find evidence for the existence of the Mapinguari[As a surviving Mylodon] is the ornithologist David Oren. During his various expeditions, he has collected a range of material some of which was later shown to be agouti fur, anteater feces, and casts of tracks that were inconclusive. Nevertheless, Oren still considers the creature to be real, but highly elusive, and nowadays extremely rare, avoiding contact with humans whenever possible.

[The initial categorization of the Mapinguari as a Cryptid was by Bernard Heuvelmans and Ivan T. Sanderson. Oren's theory was a revision of this, and many importand Cryptozoologists still follow Heuvelmans and Sanderson, not Oren. The groundsloth theory is not the only theory about the Mapinguari although Oren's theory has received heavy favorritism by the media. See Coleman, Loren and Huyghe, Patrick in The Field Guide to Bigfoot...(1999), p.74-75)-DD]

See also
List of legendary creatures
List of cryptids
Maricoxi [The Maricoxi entry covers far too many different Cryptids to be really valid. It should be limited to the Maricoxi itself and other forms most like it.]

1.^ a b Larry Rohter (2007-07-08). "A Huge Amazon Monster Is Only a Myth. Or Is It?". New York Times.

Retrieved 2009-12-30.
2.^ Shuker, Karl P N (1995). In Search of Prehistoric Survivors. Blandford. ISBN 0-7137-2469-2.

External links
"According to locals, slothlike monster roams Amazon". Dallas News. 2007-07-28.

For comparison, let us look at a website on Portugese Folklore:

The Mapinguari

(Portuguese to English Google translation )

The Mapinguari is the most popular monsters of the Amazon. Its domain extends to the Para, Amazonas, Acre, quickened by the population through fear of a nomad who lives in the woods, up the rivers, camping in the desert margins of large lakes and ponds without a name.

Hunters and workers of all trades Mapinguari cite as a true demon of evil has no vices or utilities whose satisfaction determines momentary alliance with religious Christians. Mata always, unfailingly, stubbornly, who is ahead. Kill to eat. Describe it as a gigantic man, long black hair that cover his body like a mantle with long hands, nails, hammertoes, insatiable hunger, and large"canines" is known as a hunger of this magnitude.

It is only vulnerable in the navel. Universal belief that there is vulnerability cord of monsters. It also indicates that one day was born of another born, which is a living creature like all others who inhabit the land, belonging to a lineage only poorly understood. In some regions, also the werewolf can be killed by navel. The Mapinguari, unlike other entities fabulous, do not walk at night. During the night, sleep. The danger is during the day, amid the gloom of deep forests that barely let in the sunshine In the dark trunks of the many ways Mapinguari stands, appears suddenly to attack and hurt. But it goes silent as the rationale. Comes screaming loud, screaming loose, short, ugly, leaving its victims stunned, no action.

By far the men listen to their terrible calls. And run away without looking back. It's as if you were challenging Mapinguari Carajás to a final encounter, face to face. These cries hoarse and explain the ongoing rumors that the natural forest produces and you can not sensibly explain them. So, without a logical explanation for the many and diffuse noises and murmurs of the dense and mysterious woods, the men quickly attach to such a repertoire Mapinguari sound.

What would be the origin of Mapinguari? It does not seem very old because his name is not present in the list of colonial chroniclers. Already appears in modern times, most commonly in the narratives of rubber tappers in the memories of newcomers in the Amazon. Famous chroniclers as detailed Stradelli or Tastevin, do not register their existence in the vocabularies.

His physique is almost a literal description of Caapora well designed by Couto Magalhães [1]: "A great man covered in black throughout the body and face, always a great riding oversized pig, sad, moody, and giving time for else a cry to urge the rod. "

This is the description of Caapora, where the pig is the element is not consistent with the Mapinguari.

Since the Caapora Gonçalves Dias [2] was an Indian dwarf. The Mapinguari is obviously a Caapora disfigured, without some element that once authenticated origin and activity within the forests. Guard structure, scream, body by dress. Also their forest habitat continuing to be a myth of the woods, known especially for those who live there.

Mapinguari is a fabulous animal, like a man, but coveredentirely by a hairy coat..
Its great for make it invulnerable to bullets of any caliber, except for part of the navel.
According to legend he is a terrible enemy of man, and who eats despise. But just devours the head[brains].
Tuixauas some Indians believe that it is the living reincarnation of an ancient king of his tribe, who once inhabited those regions. [3]

As Quibungo African Mapinguari have the anomalous position of the mouth, nose torn stomach, a vertical cut, whose lips are always stained with blood. Testimonials attest to its feet in round shape, are turned back to front, as Curupira.

Additional Information:

Common names: Mapinguari.

Probable Origin: It is of recent origin and possibly a variant of Curupira. No chronicler of Brazil colony or empire cite his name. Among the rubber tappers and Amazonian forest dwellers is a consensus. Some elements of physiology and their customs were surely taken from Caipora or Curupira. But it is not of Indian origin, since it is kind of a punitive nature of a religious nature, something alien to Aboriginal people. [On the other hand, its forerunners in the Mediterranean area can be traced back to legends of the Roman era-DD]

Mapinguari: The name possibly comes from a contraction of Mbaé guar-pi, the thing that has clubfoot, turned back to front or inside out. The surprise would be the beginning of the trail of strange, circular, indicating precisely the opposite direction to the true path. It is then that the imagination has created the picture material, similar to other monsters.

When he picks up a hunter, put it under the big arm as strong as steel, dip his head in the huge jaws and chewed it, that is, eat it slowly, chewing slowly, mulling over.

At one point away from the werewolf. There are no news anyone could become Mapinguari. Mr. Mario Guedes [3], a researcher of myths, announced that it is belief among some Indians Tuixauas, heard that an Indian chief of this ethnic group, the Mapinguari was the "old king of the region." But if there is such a legend, Tuixaua only took the new incarnation after death. But the Mapinguari is a definitive way.

One of the visible traces of the Catholic catechism is the complication of the guard to the holy days and Sundays. The Mapinguari almost always choose these days to their predatory adventures. Hunter killing to find these days hunting banned and precept, is dead.

It is the opinion of the compilers concrete folklorists, this suggestion is that the former influence of catechesis among savages try to instill a obedience to the laws of the Church under the yoke of fear.


J. da Silva Campos, in his book of folk tales [4], relates the following episode.

The Mapinguari (Rio Purus, Amazonas).

Two rubber tappers lived in the same tent, in a "center" far away, there in those ends of the world. One of them was his custom every Sunday to go hunting. The companion always said:
"Look, Tom, God left us Sunday to rest."
To which he replied:
"Now, on Sunday Time for eating."

And there went into the woods, where it was all day.
By their very insistence, the companion decided to go to hunt with him one Sunday. We were lost from each other. What was not used to such long contracts walked aimlessly without hitting the road and no longer knew where he was head, dazed. It was when he heard a frightful screams and strange, that filled with dread. I quickly climbed a tall tree and stayed up there, still, still, to see what it was.

The screams were doing to listen closer and closer until he was able to witness a horror that almost puts him mad with terror. A Mapinguari, that overall huge, hairy like a spider in a donkey feet, backward, and carried under his arm tentmate poor, dead, ragged, dripping blood. The monster with nails that looked like an ounce, began pulling pieces of the unfortunate and prying the mouth, much like an undercut, torn up to the stomach, saying in a loud and terrible voice:
"On Sunday also eaten!"

Thus, the rubber estraha saw the beast swallowed the unfortunate hunter. And there was the hideous beast in the woods, howling in a tone of voice that trembled to the very trees:
"On Sunday also eaten!"

-------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------

[1] One of the main and most active researchers of our folklore.
A clever man, he spoke French, English, German, Italian, Tupi and numerous indigenous dialects. It was he who initiated the folklore studies in Brazil, publishing The Wild (1876) and Essays in anthropology (1894), among others.

[2] Antonio Gonçalves Dias. Internationally acclaimed Brazilian. His work can be framed in Romanticism. Sought to form a nationalist sentiment by incorporating issues, people and landscapes in the Brazilian national literature. Together with José de Alencar, developed the Indians. Because of its importance in the history of Brazilian literature, we can say that Goncalves Dias Brazil incorporated the idea of ​​a national literature.

[3] Mario Guedes - the rubber plantations, the Jacinto Ribeiro Santos, Editor, 2nd Milheiro, P. 221. Rio de Janeiro, 1920.

[4] J. da Silva Campos (in the collection of 81 folk tales) in Folklore in Brazil - Basil Magalhaes, Rio de Janeiro, Livraria Lent, p.321. - 1928.

Mapinguari shown with round feet (Horse's hooves) and mouth in belly, enjoying a banana like an ape.

Cyclops Mapinguari with mouth in belly.

Another variation of an apelike Mapinguari with the sometimes-alleged vertical mouth or slit in the bellu. This actually would indicate the location of the pharingeal airsacs extending into the upper chest such as is the case in the orangutan. There is confusion about the mouth, but thefleshy sacs around the jaws would cover this area and would all attach directly to the (real) mouth.

For an accounting of the bizzare features of the Mapinguari and how an ape could give such an unlikely appearance, please see my February reposting of a 2009 CFZ blog posting about the Mapinguari:

Some synonymous Monsters: first is the Pe-de-Garaffo or Bottlefoot, identified as such especially because of iits footprints that look like they were made by the bottom of a bottle. The monster as drawn is a clear Mapinguari variant. The other creature is a variation of the same idea; see the hoofs (the tracks are sometimes called "Devil's footprints" even in Brazil) and called a Capelobo, but it has the elongated snout of an anteater. This is either a plain mistake (it is not always shown the same way in other depictions) or it is possibly a confusion with some other different Monster type. Possibly it is a variation on the sometimes-described "Pig's Snout" or "Horse's nose" in which case it is another peculiarity associated with the "Mouth on the belly"

Various attempts to depict the Mapinguari shown together.

There are indeed reports of creatures that could have been surviving Groundsloths in South America and stories of them go back to colonial times. Generally, the creatures are said to be fourlegged, the size of a cow, with a thick coat of coarse hair like a wolf's and also a large thick tail at the end (Sometimes exaggerated into a plume). The creature is often called "Wolfskin" or "Su" (Evidently also meaning "Fur cloak") with the fuller form "Succarath". It is also known as the "Sucarate", "Su Monster" and there are other variations.

This creature is a "su" or "succurath". Reported as early as 1558, it lived on the banks of Patagonian rivers. It had the head of a lion with - according to reports - "something human about it", a short beard from ear to ear, and a tail covered with tough bristles which provided shelter for its young. The Su was a hunter but not for meat alone. It killed animals for their skins and warmed itself in the cold climate

[This last part is presumably a mistranslation for 'The creature is hunted not for its meat alone but for the skin which warms the hunter in this cold climate'-DD]

The Su was supposed to be a dangerous animal, able to wipe out a herd of horses or cattle single-handedly. It was about the same size as an ox, and was said to carry its offpring on its back. This depiction is from 1673.

The first rumours that a giant ground sloth species may still exist reached Europe in the 16th century. Sailors brought home stories of "water tigers" backed up by fossil bones.

In 1789, Dr. Bartolome de Muñoz found Megatherium bones near what is now Buenos Aires. He gave them to the King of Spain, prompting the King to order a complete specimen of the animal alive or dead.

The rumours gained more credence in the late 19th century. The future governor of Santa Cruz province in southern Patagonia, Ramón Lista, was riding in Santa Cruz in the late 1880s when a shaggy red-haired beast resembling what he called a "giant pangolin" trotted across his path. He had time to loose off several rounds from his rifle before it disappeared into the scrub, and was amazed to note that they bounced off the animal's hide. Lista only gave a verbal account of this story, to an animal collector called Carlos Ameghino, who told his brother Florentino Ameghino, who was one of Argentina's most notable naturalists and later the vice-director and secretary of the best natural history museum in South America, La Plata, which opened in 1888 outside Buenos Aires.

[Sources quoted also include Bernard Heuvelmans' key book On The Track of Unknown Animals and the internet blog of "the Cryptozoologist": otherwise all of the information found on the net mostly seem to be identical to these sources]

Heuvelmans says that hunters also called the sloths Lobo-Toros, or Wolf-Bulls, and sometimes they are still called "Wolfskins"

In support of this identification fot the Succarath, the giant groundsloths were supposed to have carried their young on the back. The tradition of the Succarath carries on until this day as the Xolchixe or Tiger Sloth, and role-playing games continue a version of the Su-Monster.

Cryptozoologist David Oren made the assertion that the Mapinguari represented the Brazillian version of the surviving ground sloth. In this he seems to have been mistaken because the Mapinguari is tailless. The groundsloth would also not be leaving the "Cup-shaped" Pe-de-Garaffa tracks, and it seems that that is what the name "Mapinguari" origiinally meant. However, the creature called "Wolfhide" apparently had a tail and an elongated snout, shown as an anteater's snout on one of the representations earlier, a probable confusion between the two types. There are several regional names for Mapinguari and sometimes the direct reference is confused or obscure. However, on this blog, I have made the distinction that the "Bottlefoot" is one kind of creature, a large tailless ape sometimes said to be a cyclops and to have no discernable head, only a distinctive mouth part with sharp teeth arising from the torso (basically an illusion brought about by having confusing, Orangutan-like anatomy) while the ":Wolfskin" is another, same as the Lobo-Toro, same as the "living Groundsloths" observed in Equador-and incidentally as "Cave Cows" in Belize as reported by Ivan Sanderson, possibly even with a representative that lives on Cuba. There are also two lesser groundsloths rumored around the Caribbean: one about the size of a medium-sized bear and the other the size of a small ape or chimp, both called "Yehos" or "Yahus" ("Devils) and with large hooked claws. Three or four species of Groundsloth are known to have survived up until the European colonial period in the Greater Antilles.

Some more details concerning Lista’s “pangolin”
Lista, had been commissioned by the Argentine government to explore the unknown recesses of Patagonia during the border dispute that was then raging with Chile. He was a friend of Argentinian Naturalists Moreno and Ameghino. Ameghino said that Lista had told him, his brother and others (verbally, yet he believed that he had also written about it) that once, while riding in the interior of the Patagonian territory of Santa Cruz, he had seen “and shot at a mysterious creature […] apparently bullet-proof, it disappeared into the brushwood, and all search for it proved futile”. Lista described the creature as a pangolin, without scales, and "covered with reddish grey hair”.

In Lista’s words -as quoted by Ameghino- the animal was: "A pangolin (Manis), almost the same as the Indian one, both in size and in general aspect, except that in place of scales, it showed the body to be covered with a reddish grey hair. He was sure that if it were not a pangolin, it was certainly an edentate nearly allied to it. Ameghino, apparently based on his own brother’s (Carlos) reports, wrote that he had heard on many occasions allusions to a:
"mysterious quadruped […] in the interior of the territory of Santa Cruz, living in burrows hollowed out in the soil, and usually only coming out at night. According to the reports of the Indians, it is a strange creature, with long claws and a terrifying appearance, impossible to kill because it has a body impenetrable alike to firearms and missiles."

Ameghino also said that at first he was puzzled by the description that Lista gave of his pangolin and unsuccessfully tried to identify the animal. When he finally got a piece of the "Neomylodon" skin from his brother, he had no doubts that Lista's pangolin was a variety of mylodon. Its smaller ossicles implied that it was a smaller species.

There is no doubt however that the survivg giant groundsloths are NOT the same as the Mapinguari f even if we are not concerned with the presence or absence of a long and thick heavy tail like a kangaroo's tail (something which would seem to be hard to miss). The difference is in the shoulder region: Mapinguari has the shoulder joint of a brachiating ape and has no trouble raising its arms high above its head. The groundsloths do NOT have this type of shoulder and hence their range of arm movement is considerably more limited.

But even without equating the two, there is still reason to suggest there is a persisting species of Mylodon-like groundsloth in the Amazon rainforests as well as other areas, and that is otherwise much like the groundsloths found in the La Brea Tar Pits.

And it would be a herbivore, not a carnivore, unless it could also take carrion as an appetizer. It is noted to have an elongated snout like a horse or a wolf's and the Native informants always make a big deal of the large hooked claws (dyed red with the blood of their victims, in the more lurid accounts, which is NOT something that turns up in stories about the Mapinguari)

Best Wishes, Dale D.