Sunday, December 19, 2010

Serbian man kills shark...but what kind of shark?

Dragan Stevic of Serbia killed a large shark that had been 'terrorizing' people at the famous Egyptian resort Sarm El Sheikh, injuring 4 and killing 1 person. The image above is the shark he killed.

He was apparently drunk and decided to go jump into the ocean, but when he came down he landed on the sharks head and killed it instantly. You can read the report in full here:

Now, there is a HUGE problem here...the shark they photographed is not a known man killer, it's a BASKING SHARK, one of the darlings of Cryptozoology. It eats plankton and is harmless...yet the Egyptian locals are hailing this man with killing the beast that has been attacking them. The true culprit is still out there, the man killed a harmless shark and now everyone is relaxed. Why? Because it's huge and no one botherd to figure out what kind of shark it was before declaring everything safe again.

Classic case of mistaken identity and drunken stupidity.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Canvey Island Monster

The Canvey Island Monster is the name given to an unusual creature whose carcass washed up on the shores of Canvey Island, England, in November, 1954. Another larger specimen was found in 1955 in the same area.

The 1954 specimen was described as being 2.4ft long with thick reddish brown skin, bulging eyes and gills. It was also described as having hind legs with five-toed horseshoe-shaped feet with concave arches - which appeared to be suited for bipedal locomotion - but no forelimbs. The second was similar but larger, at about 3.9ft and weighed about 25lbs. This one was fresh enough for the eyes, teeth and nostrils to be studied but no identification was made for either creature. The 1954 specimen was creamated after a zoologist made a cursury investigation and determined it not a threat to the public.

Fortean journalist Nicholas Warren carried out an investigation into the 1954-55 sightings in 1999. Unable to find any official determination of what the creatures were, he did find out that local fishermen thought they might be angler fish. The pronounced fins on an angler fish might be misidentified as legs. (angler fish picture below)

I for one think it might not have been an angler, if only for the fact that the locals, the same ones that claimed itmight be years later, never brought that up when the creatures were first discovered. Therefore, in my opinion, this case is still open to debate.

The Bloop

The Bloop is a mysterious noise picked up by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1997. The image above is what they recorded when the sound occured.

Traced to somewhere around 50° S 100° W near the southern tip of South America, was detected several times by the Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array using Navy equipment meant to detect Russian submarines.

It was louder then the loudest known animal, the Blue Whale, and seems not to be man made but also doesn't match any sound made by animals. It has been brought forward that it could have been icebergs cracking or something like that but it's still not confirmed to have come from some geological source; many think it was some undiscovered animal that lives in deep water.

Another noise that makes scientists pause is the "Slow Down", a name given to a noise that slows down over a seven minute period. The sound was detected at 15°S 115°W and has been picked up several times each year since 1997. It is similar to the sound of friction, so this one has been postulated to be the noise of friction as ice passes over rock. (Image of the Slow Down below)

What these noises truly are is still the topic of debate the world over. But with more and more advances in technology, we may find the answers sooner rather then later.

The Beast of Bladenboro

The Beast of Bladenboro was first reported in 1954 in Bladenboro North Carolina.

Several killings of livestock had the locals stumped and afraid, with some reporting a large cat or wolf like creature skulking around their farms and homes during the attacks. The livestock had broken jaws and were apparently drained of blood, akin to the Chupacabras of South America.

And in 2008 attacks were happenning again so more investigation occured and most now think that the Beast was an errant Cougar like the one pictured above. But it is still odd that some reported a wolf like opinion has been brought on what that could have been, but it may have been either a large coyote or a stray that happened to be in the same area.

The Adjule

The Adjule is a canine cryptid reported in North Africa in and around the areas of the Sahara and Mauritania. The nomadic Tuaregs report it as looking like a dog or wolf but now is concidered an isolated population of African Wild Dog.

Alternative names are kelb el khela ("bush dog") for the male and tarhsît for the female as well as Kelb-el-khela. And in 1992 there was a reported sighting by hunters of a dog that resembled and African Wild Dog and hunted in packs, though this hasn't been confirmed.

The Adjule could be an isolated population of the AWD's but could also be a remnant population of some other African canine species; until we have proof it could go either way.

Mongolian Death Worm

The Mongolian death worm or olgoi-khorkhoi, "large intestine worm", is a creature purported to exist in the Gobi Desert. It is described as a bright red worm with a wide body that is 2 to 5 feet long; the ability of the worm to spew forth acid that will turn anything it touches yellow and corroded (and which would kill a human), as well as its purported ability to kill at a distance by means of an electrical discharge. (The image above is by Pieter Dirkx)

Professor Roy Chapman Andrews wrote a book, "On the Trail of Ancient Man", in 1926 that brought the Death Worm to the wider world; before that it was known mostly to native Mongolians only. He was not convinced of it's authenticity but the locals he spoke with, though none had seen it themselves, were adamant about it's existence and described it fully.

It is reported to be red in color, sometimes described as having darker spots or blotches and is said to have spiked projections at both ends. They are believed to resemble polychaetes, looking much like a sea-dwelling Bobbit worm. (pic below)

The worm lives underground, hibernating most of the year except for when it becomes active in June and July and is said to come to the surface whenever it rains, much like an earth worm. The local Mongolians also claim it has a fondness for the goyo plant, so they tend to steer clear of them.

What this creature could be is still a mystery, as is the way it is said to kill. While stingrays, eels and catfish are the most widely known animals with electrical capabilities, over 500 different creatures harbor the ability to create an electrical shock. Elephant fishes, bonytongues, and stargazers are all fish with various degrees of electrical power. No worms that I know of use venom, though some are poisonous. So this creature is completely new and unusual...and many think is merely a local legend like the Bogeyman of America, a story used to keep children in once the sun goes down. I however believe that the Mongolian Death Worm is a real creature and will eventually be found to exist. Exactly what it is though I have no idea.

Maltese and Black Tigers

Maltese tigers are said to be blue in color with dark gray stripes reported mostly from the Fujian Province of China. The term "Maltese" comes from domestic cat terminology for blue fur, and refers to the slate grey coloration. Many images have been made of "Blue" tigers and well, they are really really blue; most people seem to ignore that "blue" in an animal means a steel or slate gray with a slight blueish tint to it.

Most of the Maltese tigers reported have been of the South Chinese subspecies though they've also been reported in Korea. Around 1910, Harry Caldwell, an American missionary and big game hunter, spotted and hunted a blue tiger outside Fuzhou and had this to say about it: "The markings of the beast are strikingly beautiful. The ground color is of a delicate shade of maltese, changing into light gray-blue on the underparts. The stripes are well defined and like those of the ordinary yellow tiger."

Maltese-colored cats certainly do exist. The most common are a domestic cat breed, the Russian Blue, and a variety of the British Shorthair, the British Blue, but blue bobcats and lynxes have also been recorded.

In isolated populations, mutations can occur so the odd coloring of a Maltese tiger isn't too far out of the possible, even if they aren't neon blue like most artists depict them. Below is what one artist (I do not have the credits so if anyone knows, please tell me!) thinks it may look like:

Black tigers are another that seem to pop up in Cryptid sightings but no photo of one (or the Maltese) is believed to exist. Black tigers are probably the result of a psuedo-melanistic sub-population, or in other words, their stripes are so close together to appear as a solid or nearly solid black fur pattern. Most black mammals are due to the non-agouti mutation. Agouti refers to the ticking of each individual hair. In certain light, the pattern still shows up because the background color is less dense than the color of the markings. Animals with psuedo-melanistic coloration are said to be the result of inbreeding. They're also said to be smaller, which could be a result of inbreeding as well or black leopards being misidentified as tigers.

In other words, Maltese and Black tigers may be sub-populations of actual species, isolated and inbred to the point that their coloring has changed drastically. Personally, with the fact that tigers all over the world are endangered or near extinction (if not extinct already) then this may be the answer to why these ones look the way they do. One day we may find specimens of each, but if we do I hope we shoot them with cameras instead of guns; live animals are worth more to science then dead ones in my opinion.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


The Tsuchinoko, which translates to "Hammerspawn", is a strange snake from Japanese folklore that is concidered very real. Tsuchinoko is the common name for it in Western Japan but in Easter Japan it is known as the Bachi Hebi.

Described as being between 30 and 80 centimeters in length, similar in appearance to a snake, but with a central girth that is much wider than its head or tail, and as having fangs and venom. Some sightings even mention that it can jump about a meter in length.

According to legend it can speak in human tongues, likes alcohol and bites it's tail to roll downhill much like the Hoop Snake. But they are said to be solitary and peaceful creatures.

Drawings of the Tsuchinoko dating back to the Jomon Period have been discovered in Gifu and Nagano. An encyclopedia from the Edo Period contains a description of the Tsuchinoko under the name Yatsui Hebi. In 1989 the town of Mikata, Hyogo Prefecture offered a reward of 330 square meters of land to anybody who could capture a Tsuchinoko and, in 2001, it put a large black snake on display under the claim that the creature was a Tsuchinoko but sadly it was not.

Except Hokkaido and the southern Japanese islands the Tsuchinoko is found all over Japan. Some theories say it's just a misidentified snake but in the 1970's it was made legal to own Blue Tongued Skinks so many scientists think that those creatures are what people are seeing, basically escaped pets. The only problem I have with that theory is that skinks have four legs and no one reports legs on the Tsuchinoko.

Perhaps it is an undiscovered species of snake, people are finding undiscovered reptiles all the time, so it seems resonable to me to assume that Japan, as inhabitated as it is, still has some surprises left to find in the natural areas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Chuti of Nepal

The above image was made by 6Sigillum6Diaboli6 on DeviantArt and is an excellent interpretation of the Chuti, a canine headed, tiger striped animal from Nepal.

Said to be a Hyena like creature, it is depicted in the art of Central Asia though I have not been able to find any of the artwork in any of my searches, just descriptions.

The creature is said to be large with a canine like head, tiger like striping and paws that have four toes facing foreward and one facing backwards on each paw. Said to attack livestock but pretty much leave humans alone, they are secretive animals reported in the Iswa and Choyang valleys as well as the Makalu-Barun National Park in Nepal.

One of the explanations of this creature is the Striped Hyena, which has a canine like head and stripes on it's body. Native to North and East Africa, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Middle, Central and Southern Asia it is concievable that the people of Nepal could have seen one at a distance and wrongly identified it. But the fact that they describe the paws in such detail leads me to believe they actually saw at least one close up; Striped Hyenas have four toes like a canine with no back toe so that little detail leads me to think that it's not a hyena.

Now, the image above is of a Striped Hyena...and yes, it is striped but the stripes really don't strike me as "Tiger like" like the Chuti is described as having. They just don't have much definition and in some specimens even look like smudges or large spots, not stripes.

Above is another excellent image made by Bloodshot_1031 on DeviantArt. Slightly different from the top image but still very good in fitting with the description of the Chuti.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any of the original Nepalese artwork featuring this creature and not much more information then what I've put is known about it. Nepal is a very wild place with few people scattered over a lot of area and plenty of hiding places for any animal savvy enough to keep safe, so we may never find a specimen. But the fact that the people of Nepal believe it is a real, unidentified creature makes me hope that it is real and that some day we may find evidence of it.



The above image is what was first reported by the people in Puerto Rico in 1995. The Chupacabras, from chupar "to suck" and cabra "goat", literally "goat sucker", is a cryptid rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas. It is associated more recently with sightings of an allegedly unknown animal in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the United States, especially in the latter's Latin American communities.

The descriptions vary but tend to stay close to the original: "a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail."

The first reported attack was in March of 1995 where eight goats were supposedly drained of their blood with puncture wounds on the necks of the animals. In August of that year another sighting was reported in the Puerto Rican town of Canóvanas, when as many as 150 farm animals and pets were reportedly killed. In 1975, similar killings in the small town of Moca, were attributed to El Vampiro de Moca or the Vampire of Moca and were originally attributed to a satanic cult, but is now concidered by some to be the earliest incident of the Chupacabra. Since then the creature or creatures have been spotted in the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Brazil, United States, and Mexico.

In September of 2010, more than 300 goats owned by shepherds in Mexico’s Puebla state have been decapitated by someone, or something, that hasn’t yet been tracked down. There was very little evidence of blood in the area where the goat bodies were found and the locals claim it to be the work of the Chupacabras, which drinks the blood of it's victims using a probosis like appendage in it's mouth according to some reports since 1995.

Now, in recent years in America, there have been reports of "Chupacabras" ranging from Texas to Maine and even a report of a sighting in Russia of all places. However, these sightings differ greatly with the traditional depiction of the Chupacabra. Described variously as a large rat like creature to animals that look like blue or blue-gray hairlesss dogs, they apparently attack livestock like their Latin cousins. However, in many cases (Photos below) the dead specimens have been determined to be dogs, coyotes or coy-dogs with scabies, mange or both resulting in hairlessness and wrinkled scabbed flesh. Their unusual appearence is because of the parasites in their skin, causing their hair to fall off and their skin to become irritated.

This is the one thing about the Chupacabra that bothers me. The above images are obviously canine, to anyone with even a basic knowledge of canine body form, but people see a hairless dog wandering around and they automatically say it's a Chupacabra despite the fact that it looks nothing like the traditional descriptions or sightings of the creature. The fact that science has proven that the specimens collected are nothing more then parasite carrying canines doesn't seem to dissuede Americans from their erroneous belief that these are the Goat Suckers of legend. In my opinion, the sure fire way to tell if a creature is one we already know, regardless of what it looks like in the flesh, is to look at the skull and they all have canine skulls so clearly they are dogs or their relatives. End of story.

The image below, by kjmarch at DeviantArt, is a good representation of the various but similar descriptions made from various sightings over the years...and the closest one to a dog in it, the second from the left, still doesn't look like the dogs reported in America as the Chupacabras.

In the Philippines, another cryptid called the Sigbin is slightly similar to the Chupacabra. It is said to walk backwards with its head lowered between its hind legs, and to have the ability to become invisible to other creatures, especially humans. It resembles a hornless goat, but has very large ears which it can clap like a pair of hands and a long, flexible tail that can be used as a whip. The Sigbin is said to emit a nauseating odor and drinks the blood of it's victims.

The Peuchen of Chile is another cousin of the Chupacabra and descriptions are similar to it's Latin brethren. However, it is thought by most scientists to be nothing more then a legend built on the local populations of Vampire Bats but are described as winged snakes so the bat idea seems off to me.

The Chupacabra has also had a long run in the media, probably because it catches the attention and fear of the audience. It's been the star of a SyFy movie called "Chupacabra: Dark Seas" as well as featured in cartoons like "Dexter's Laboratory", "The Venture Brothers" and the anime "Negima?!". A Scooby-Doo movie was also based on it, "Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico" and the show "X-Files" had an episode depicting it. There is even a Welsh rock band, "Super Furry Animals", that have a song on their 1997 album "Radiator" called "Chupacabras".

So in my opinion, the Chupacabras is only a Chupa if it fits the description from the original sightings in 1995, not the American "cousin" of it. Pretty much every American version is just a canine with parasites, so frankly I don't think Cryptozoology should be concerned about them; it's technically a wildlife concern for the Rangers and officials concerned with disease control. And the fact that the Chupa is so meshed with popular media just attests to the fact that it's a fascinating critter, be it real or legend.

I think that if it is real, it could possibly be a relative of Vampire Bats, but the size stumps me. So maybe it's something else entirely, a new species undiscovered by science...or it could just be a known predator and flies could be eatting up the blood before anyone notices the dead. We may never know...but I keep hoping and will continue to research this in the hopes that some day the entire mystery can be solved.

Keep your eyes peeled though if you own goats or chickens! El Chupacabras may be lurking just around the corner...


South Bay Bessie

Above is one of the only sketches made of the mysterious lake monster in Lake Erie. She is affectionately called Bessie or South Bay Bessie to locals like me, the name derived from Nessie of Lock Ness like so many others.

First spotted in 1817 she's been seen sporadically for over thirty years. Most describe her as snake like, anywhere from 30-40 feet though some say as much as a hundred, and estimates on weight run near 4,000lbs. Her coloring tends towards dark muddy brown on top with a lighter belly or even just a dull gray color and a head shaped like a camel or horse but definately with reptilian features. Her girth is described as about as round as a bowling ball and a few sightings mention odd flippers at the front on the end of short 'arms' though the majority never mention flippers. It has also been mentioned that she smells like rotten flesh.

The local population, or those that know of her that is, take great pride in having a lake monster in Lake Erie. I for one would love to camp up on the lake for a few months and just watch, though she hasn't been sighted in many years...who knows, there may be a chance.

The Great Lakes Brewing Company even has a seasonal beer named Lake Erie Monster with a picture of a serpent on the bottles and from their sight they say it is "an unfiltered imperial India pale ale with huge hop flavor". It's available in 2011 from May to July, so if you're in the area pick some up, I've tried it myself and it's not that bad for a microbrew.

Along with them, our local Hockey team is named after her. They're called the Lake Erie Monsters and they are the AHL affiliate to the NHL's Colorado Avalanche. You can see their logo below:

In August of 1992, Bessie was blamed for attacking a sail boat and devouring three people. The lucky survivors, two out of the origional five that left to go sailing, said the head of the creature was as 'big as a car'. The Weekly World News, a fictional newspaper and highly suspect one for the kinds of stories they write featured the story, but it was documented in the local papers as well (though I don't have the article in question). You can see the obviously photoshopped lead-in for the article below:

Some of the other sightings are listed below with sources for them under that:

1960 - Ken Golic was fishing off a pier in Sandusky when he heard two rats. He decided to throw a couple of rocks at them when he saw the creature. He stated that it was cigar-shaped and came out of the water about 1-1 1/2 feet. It was about 11:00 PM on a clear, calm night.

1983 (app.) - Mary M. Landoll told John Schaffner about her encounter with Bessie off Rye Beach in Huron. Mary went out to the front porch just before dawn when the lake was quite placid. From the left end, she heard a rowing sound and saw what looked like a capsized boat. It was a greenish-brown color about 40-50 feet in length. Landoll realized that it wasn't a boat, but an animal of some sort. It had a long neck and an eye was visible on the side of the head with a grin going up one side The creature appeared to be playing in the water, but still put a scare into the witness.

Summer, 1985 - Tony Schill of Avon, Ohio was boating with friends north of Vermilion when they reported the serpent. It was dark brown and had a flat tail. Tony stated that "5 humps came out of the water. No way it was a sturgeon."

September 4, 1990 - Harold Bricker and his family were fishing north of Cedar Point Amusement Park when a serpent type creature swam by their boat about 1000 feet away Their description- 35 feet long with a snake-like head. It moved as fast as their boat. Later, the Bricker's reported their sighting to the ODNR rangers at East Harbor State Park.

September 11, 1990 - Fire inspectors, Jim Johnson and Steve Dircks, of Huron saw the creature from a third story window facing Lake Erie. They decribed it as dark blue or black at about 30-45 feet long. He further stated that he saw three parts of the creature above water. "It laid there motionless for three to six minutes and was flat on top."

Week of September 16 1991 - Dennis Szececinski, of Toledo saw Bessie near Toledo's water intake structure three miles offshore in Maumee Bay. He was fishing in the bay when something long and black slithered in front of him.

(The Beacon, Ottawa County, 9/90 Dayton Daily News, 10/7/90 Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 9/23/90 Columbus Dispatch 9/26/90, original reports compiled by Ron Schaffner and John Schaffner, no relation)

As you can see, if she's not still there, she may have been at one point and since the health of the lake itself has been declining for many years it wouldn't surprise me if she or they just died off and sank. The zebra muscles would have found a good home on the carcass and the fish living there would have had a feast not to mention the silt buildup would have covered it so there may be no way to ever find a body despite the shallow depths of the lake. It would sadden me if she or they had died off, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Loren Coleman, noted Cryptozoologist and creator of the Cryptozoology Museum in Portland Maine, wrote lovely articles about Bessie and other Ohio Cryptids in "Weird Ohio", a book by James A. Willis and Andrew Henderson. I adore the book because it's one of the few that chose to tackle the Cryptids of Ohio, so check it out if you live here, it's chock full of interesting oddities from the state!

You may have noticed that I choose to call Bessie by "her" and that's because I like it, not because it's actually been determined what sex Bessie is, though the name alludes to it being female; the name was picked in a contest many years ago and stuck.

So in closing, if you're ever on or near Lake Erie, keep your eyes never know what you might see...

Happy "Hunting" my friends!