Monday, 31 May 2010

The Nyaminyami , legend or based in fact?

The Nyaminyami is a river creature who lived in the  Zambezi River and controled the life in and on the river. It is worshiped by the Tonga people. Said to be a dragon like creature with a snake's torso and the head of a fish. The tonga claim sightings of this creature in the Kariba lake.  The lake is known for the  tigerfish that dwell in it’s waters but there are over 40 fish species that live in the lake including  nkupe, chessa, bottlenose, vundu, barbell and several types of bream. So the waters are very fertile and probably enough to feed a dragon!
. In 1950 the Kariba Dam project was started. The Tonga people were told they would have to be relocated and they asked The Nyaminyami to protect them. In 1957, when the dam was almost completed , Nyaminyami struck. The worst floods ever known on the Zambezi washed away the partly-built dam and the heavy equipment, killing many of the workers.  The  next rainy season The Nyaminyami struck again and brought more floods even worse than the previous year. However the dam builders  refused to give in and 1960 the dam was officially opened. The Kariba Dam is a hydroelectric dam and is one of the largest dams in the world, standing 420 ft( 140 metres)high  and 1,900 ft( 633metres) long .A lake was formed that measured 280 kilometres up stream through the Kariba Gorge and up to 40  kilometres wide.
As the dam closed the water level rose. Swarms of crickets, rodents and snakes emerged from the undergrowth and tried to escape the rising water. The skies above the lake were filled with flocks of birds feasting on the insects. Many animals retreated inland or made for higher ground only to become trapped on temporary islands created by the rising water. A  rescue called “Operational Noah” run by volunteers and game wardens rescued as much of the wildlife as possible.
The Tonga still live on the shores of Lake Kariba, and still believe that one day Nyaminyami will destroy the dam and they will be able to return to their homes on the banks of the river. They believe that Nyaminyami and his wife were separated by the wall across the river, and the frequent earth tremors felt in the area since the wall was built are caused by the creature  trying to reach his wife. Kariba is subjected to unexpected earth tremors. Some have registered over  5  on the Ritchter Scale. The lake  also experiences violent and expected storms and squalls that can quickly turn the surface into a dangerous place.
The resettlement of the Tonga people id said to be the worst dam-resettlement disaster in African history. Anthropologist Thayer Scudder, who has studied the people of the area since the late 1950s, described them 'development refugees.' Many live in areas, some of which have been so seriously degraded within the last generation that they resemble lands on the edge of the Sahara Desert. So no wonder they hope for the dam to be destroyed.
The locals and tourists of Kariba look forward to September each year as the Nyaminyami Festivals are held to venerate the River God.
So the question is what could the Nyaminyami be if it was a living creature? Could it be a giant eel? A snake’s torso and the head of a fish , maybe fit the description but what about a giant cat fish? They have large fish heads and often taper to a narrow end to the body. It is quiet possible that some large fish or eel did live in the river many years ago which gave rise to the legends and the fact there are claims (none I could find documented) that it is still seen in the lake ,could point to a large fish. The lake is well stocked with fish of all kinds so a predator large fish or eel would have lots of food. It is a great story and I just wish it had a happier ending for the Tonga people.

Some links of interest:

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Bigfoot hunters and Raystown ray in the news

Central Illinois man on watch for Bigfoot  by Dave Bakke
Some of you will think Stan Courtney is wasting his time. Others of you will think Stan is onto something. Your reaction depends on how you feel about Bigfoot (Sasquatch, if you prefer). Stan is central Illinois’ foremost expert on the legendary (mythical?) man-beast. Stan’s website – -- contains an exhaustive record of Illinois Bigfoot reports dating from 2009 all the way back to 1883. For 35 years, Stan lived in Pawnee and worked at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. He has retired and is living, well, all he’ll say is that it is “south of Springfield.” “I don’t want other researchers invading my territory,” he explains. There isn’t much chance of that, since Bigfoot researchers appear to be on the sparse side. Be that as it may, Stan says his Bigfoot interest began when he was a boy in his native Idaho. “I heard stories, read newspaper articles, when I was a kid about him,” Stan says. “I had relatives who had contact and had seen him.” Since then, Stan’s interest has grown into an avocation. Stan has spent nights out in the woods, listening and recording weird, unexplained sounds (you can hear them for yourself at his website, along with more conventional outdoor recordings). “I’ve interviewed over 200 witnesses who’ve seen (Bigfoot),” Stan says. “I literally know hundreds of people who’ve seen these animals. There have been lots of them in central Illinois. I’ve recorded lots of sounds that other researchers and witnesses believe come from these animals. People in Springfield don’t realize it, but there have been a lot of reports from the Sangamon River around Riverton.” Already, I can hear the scoffing. Go ahead. Stan’s used to it. It must, I told him, be like the UFO sightings. There have been thousands of reports of UFOs, but most people still dismiss the idea. Mere weather balloons. Meteorites. The aurora borealis. Airplanes. Lightning. Here is a report Stan documents concerning a Nov. 8, 2008, sighting in Macoupin County: “I recently moved out of my house in Girard, IL. During the last year or so I have experienced several strange occurrences.“I have never actually seen anything except once a large dark shape moving bipedally through the heavy fog. I have heard the sound of something drumming on tree trunks. The sound of something BIG walking in the woods, on 2 legs. I have found chunks of firewood thrown from my wood pile. And on November 25 of 2008, as I was packing to move I heard a moaning howl very close to the house. I have hunted for 20 years and I have NEVER heard the likes of this. Read the Full story here :

On Sasquatch's trail in Virginia's Spotsylvania County
By Paul Schwartzman Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, May 30, 2010
THORNBURG, VA. -- Billy Willard says he's on the verge of a major discovery that could change the way humans think about the natural world, not to mention their need for a creature-proof home security system. Here in Spotsylvania County, in the forests around Lake Anna, Willard claims there have been 14 sightings in the past decade of that most fabled of cryptozoic beasts: Bigfoot. Or Sasquatch, as the elusive, apelike brute is referred to in more high-minded circles -- and on the side of Willard's blue pickup. The decal on the truck reads "Sasquatch Watch of Virginia," of which Willard is chief pooh-bah (when he's not earning a living installing and removing underground home oil tanks). Go ahead, call him a loon, a flake, a huckster. He's heard it all. But Willard knows what he knows, which is that three people from this area -- a woman, her husband and their granddaughter -- told him they saw a shaggy, super-size figure on two legs gallivanting across their wooded property. Last month, Willard led a weeklong expedition to the site, where he installed five motion-sensor cameras that will snap photos if the big galoot wanders by again. Read Full story  here :

And a lake monster story you might have missed:

NBC affiliate investigates Huntingdon lake monster By Jeff Gill, For the Mirror

HUNTINGDON - A California-based production company has been in Huntingdon this week, trying to document proof of Raystown Ray. Raystown Ray is one of many strange creatures around the world people claim to have seen. In the Pacific Northwest are stories of Bigfoot. In Scotland, it's the Loch Ness Monster. The Abominable Snowman is said to inhabit the Himalaya Mountains.Base Productions, which is affiliated with NBC Universal Studios, has been in the Lake Raystown region since Wednesday, filming and conducting eyewitness interviews with people who claim to have seen the creature that some people believe lives in the waters of the 26.1-mile man-made lake.Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Matt Price said he is not certain whether there is something abnormal swimming in the dark regions of Raystown Lake. At its deepest point near Raystown Dam, the lake is about 200 feet deep."I don't know if there is something in the lake or not," Price said. "It is a big lake and it is capable of holding something that large." Former Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Pam Prosser, who now runs Seven Points Marina, has heard the stories."I grew up on the original lake. I have seen the pictures of the ski jump that we used to use for our ski club and there was a shadow in the picture. We always thought there was a mythical creature in the lake. We were never afraid of it," Prosser said.Prosser admitted that she is not certain if Raystown Ray is real, but it is difficult to dismiss the rumors and legend."Is there a monster? I don't know, but I don't think it is something to be afraid of," she said.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Irish Nessie appearance 1999?

I came across this monster tale from 1999:

'O'Nessie Makes a Splash', Sunday People, August 22nd 1999
Mystery monster has made an Irish waterway its home!   This is the first picture of Ireland's own 'Lough Ness' monster. The sensational snap was taken by an amateur photographer along a 50-mile stretch of water in the Irish midlands. The creature, said to be more than eight feet long and 300lbs, has been spotted several times on the Lough Erne waterway. The latest sighting occurred last week with swimmers in Co Cavan. Local woman Claudia Westrich was swimming near Killykeen when she felt something pushing her down. She thought it was an oar from a boat accompanying her on the swim but when she looked up the vessel was five metres away. She tried to get a good look at the creature but it dived under the water. But local man Sean Walsh, who was on the nearby boat, mistakingly snapped a picture of the creature before it disappeared. "I was photographing calves on the foreshore. When I developed the film I realised what I had taken," he revealed. Sean (65) took the film and his camera equipment to loocal professional photographer Ray Reilly to check for faults.. Ray confirmed the film had not been tampered with. In a separate incident a group of sea scouts from Dalkey in Dublin also reported seeing a creature making a huge splash. Other sightings of the creature have been along the huge waterway in Eniskillen, Co Fermanagh and Belturbet in Co Cavan. Last night Sean, a founding member of Cavan Icebreakers Swimming Club told Sunday People he had no doubt the creature was real. "I don't know what it is but there is something in the water. It has been there for years. "There have been several sightings. People say it is up to eight feet long with a spikey head. It's bizarre," said Sean. Keen swimmer Sean revealed he has had two body contacts with the creature. The first was 25 years ago in almost the same place that Claudia had her eerie encounter. "I could feel it between my legs and swimming around me. It was a strange feeling. "I have never been afraid of it. It only seems to appear when there are swimmers in the water," he said. Chairman of the Cavan Icebreakers, Alex Moran has also reported seeing the creature. Sceptical locals say the creature is a huge catfish or a species of Wels which can grow up to 15 feet and weigh a whopping 600 Ibs. However, visiting English anglers Davy Burgess and Dick Salter of Hayes, Middlesex say they don't think the creature is either. Sean Walsh has his own theory of how the creature came to live and grow in the stretch of water. "Many years ago hundreds of English anglers used to use the Erne Waterway. They brought all sorts of baits with them to catch large pike". "I think the creature is some form of bait from a foreign country which thrived in the area. That's the only explanation I can think of." But now a Dublin detective Garda friend of his plans to look into the existence of the creature. The cop is in Cavan speaking with locals and building up a profile on the creature. "We have had a number of incidents which we would like to get to the bottom of. I have no doubt that the creature exists. "People can say what they like but there is too much evidence which suggests there's something there. "We will get to the bottom of it eventually," he vowed.

I have been unable to find any history of creatures in the Lough but perhaps if anyone knows of any folktales or stories about the area they will post a comment. I have also been unable to find any follow up to this so again if anyone knows anything please comment.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Did Tim Dinsdale film Nessie?

Tim Dinsdale shot a film in April 1960 that many believed was proof that the Loch Ness creature existed. In 1965 it was examined by the Joint Air Reconnaissance Centre (JARIC) and for those who have never seen the report I have scanned in the main points, from the HMSO document for you to read.(Click on them to make them bigger)

The film is dogged by controversy as  there are those that say it was a boat filmed under bad light conditions. See :
(you will find many other sites with this analysis, this was just the first I googled)

And those that say that is rubbish and it shows an animate object:
The only non-Nessie explanation the disbelievers have been able to put forward is that
Tim filmed a boat which, under the lighting conditions then prevailing, somehow didn't
show up on the film while the wake did. However, various computer enhancements of
the film have failed to reveal anything like the shape of a boat. Tim had given me a 16mm copy of his film, and I recently had it scanned onto DVD. Frame-by-frame viewing of the right-to-left wake confirms that there seem to be fairly regularly spaced splashes, every few seconds, that seem to be TO THE SIDE OF THE WAKE, consistent with Tim's interpretation of them as "paddle strokes". However, the resolution of this commercial scan is not sufficient that I could be completely certain about this.
However, it IS certain that there is no boat making this right-to-left wake. A faculty member in the Computer Science Department at Virginia Tech was good enough to scan a number of frames at higher resolution and to examine them under various types of enhancing techniques to look for shapes and to vary the contrast. There is no boat making that wake. Source;
( with kind permission of Henry Bauer)

In 1993 Discovery Communications made a documentary called “Loch Ness Discovered” .They  featured a digital enhancement of the Tim Dinsdale film. They said a computer expert had enhanced the film and noticed a shadow in the negative which was not obvious in the film. The expert enhanced and over layered frames and  then discovered what appeared to be the rear body and  flippers plus two  humps of a plesiosaur type  body in the shadow in the water.

Tim Dinsdale also filmed a boat to compare the wakes with, so there could be no mistake. I suggest you read the two sides of the argument and make your own mind up. I found Tim to be honest but however a little naive , in that he thought that if he believed it was proof , others would too. Sadly we live in a modern sceptical world with computers and lots of technology, if only that technology had been  around when Tim took the film, we might have proof one way or another now. I am glad he is no longer with us to read the controversy around the film as I think he would have been upset.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The other Lake Trout monster

In view of the thing found washed up at Trout Lake Ontario (, I thought I would look at other lake monster tales from there.
Trout Lake is alleged to have another monster. According to Wilson Street , a local historian and author, there have been reports of large swells of water, shadows, and figures of various proportions and sizes, much , he says, like the Loch Ness monster. The lake is a glacial one , like many others from the Ice Age where there have been lake monster reports. Street says the lake is considered almost bottomless in parts.The stories about the alleged monster gained more attention after the mysterious disappearance of Margaret and Allen Campbell on May 25, 1956. Apparently, after eating lunch they went out in their fibreglass boat, and were never seen again. In 2006 The Ontario Provincial Police, acting on a report from a fisherman, used imaging equipment and discovered the couple’s bodies on the bottom of the lake, not far from the cabin. Their boat was also found. Local sighting reports of the "monster" have included crocodile/alligator-like creatures, and serpent-like creatures. (sounds familiar doesn’t it?).
The latest carcass of some rather ugly looking poor dead creature has sparked some controversy. Some residents of Big Trout Lake, an Oji-Cree community of 1,200 south of Hudson Bay, believe the animal is a rare local creature known as an omajinaakoos, which roughly translates to “ugly one". Band councillor Darryl Sainnawap said his great uncle spotted one about 50 years ago. “He says in his younger days he was with his grandfather ... and he did see this same creature and that’s the last time he saw it," he said. “His grandfather called him omajinaakoos." Some local elders in the community, which is also known as Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, believe the animal is a messenger of bad news. “No one knows what it is but our ancestors used to call it the Ugly One. Rarely seen but when seen, it’s a bad omen. Something bad will happen according to our ancestors," the community’s website says.
Lets’s hope nothing bad happens, but the monster tales have been around for while and it will be interesting to see if more sightings are reported after the recent publicity. Sometimes it encourages people to come forward.
John Robert Columbo (1999), "Mysteries of Ontario", Toronto: Hounslow Press, (page. 163 to read about Wilson Street ) Mysteries of Ontario

Minnesota Bigfoot

BENA, Minn. - Bigfoot alive and living in northern Minnesota? The co-founders of the Northern Minnesota Bigfoot Society say, "100 percent yes." They said they have received more than 75 reports of sightings, captured images, and Bigfoot footprints in just three years. They're sharing their insight while sorting fact from fiction as they take KSAX on the hunt for Bigfoot." I'm a skeptic of Bigfoot because I've trapped this whole area and never, ever did we see any Bigfoot tracks or see Bigfoot anywhere," William Tucker of Bena said. Long time trapper William Tucker is anything but a believer, but just miles away from Bena, mind boggling footprints were found. Each track was a bit different, different pressures, different depths, eliminating the possibility of some sort of footprint stamp. This is just one of the things the co-founders of the Northern Minnesota Bigfoot Society say confirms the fact, Bigfoot is out there. "I'm 110% convinced that it exists. There's just too much evidence, too many people's emotions showing when they recount their stories," Bob Olson, a co-founder of the Northern Minnesota Bigfoot Society said. "One lady cries when she recounts her story of how this thing stood up and looked at her. She felt it looked into her soul." Since 2006, Olson and Don Sherman have received about 75 reports of similar Bigfoot sightings in Northern Minnesota, some of which have been captured on camera. The most recent was captured in Remer. Though to some, the image may look like a man in a suit, a comparison with 6 foot 5 inch Bob Olson showed this man would have had to have been at least 7 feet tall. Sherman and Olson say "wood knocking" is just one more way Bigfoot makes his presence known. Olson said Bigfoot responded to him at Carey Lake when he knocked on a tree five times. What about bones? One KSAX reader says, "I believe Bigfoot is 100% real, as are a lot of the other creatures of Cryptozoology. But i believe in their true form, they are spiritual creatures, that manifest in flesh as they so desire. That is why we will never find bones, or other such evidence of them." On the other side of the coin, Olson says giant bones belonging to Humanoid creatures were found in the late 1800's, stretching 10 to 12 feet. While there haven't been any Bigfoot skeletons found, many trappers say they've never come across any bear, wolf, or other large animal skeleton either. Other signs Bigfoot exists include branches plucked straight out of trees, strange looking shelters, and stick men to warn other Bigfoot of humans in the area. "When there's stuff that doesn't go away, there's gotta be something to it and the evidence just keeps mounting up," Olson said. For some Bena residents, the legend of Bigfoot is far from a tall tale. "I never seen it, but like I says I believe in it," New Prague resident Leo Hinderscheid said. "I don't know what to say Megan but I believe in it and that's the way it will be," Helen Tibbetts of Bena said. So, the hunt for Bigfoot continues.If you've seen, heard, or had some kind of Bigfoot encounter, Bob and Don want to hear about it! You can reach them at 218-308-1451.

Source including video:

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Ucu, a South American Yeti?

The Ucu, also known as Ucumar or Ukumar-zupai, is Bigfoot type creature reported as being seen in the Andes range of mountains in South America particularly in Chile and Argentina. The Ucu is said to be the size of a large dog and walks erect. Unlike the Yeti it prefers the more tropical regions of the Andes mountain range, rather than snow covered peaks. The locals say the Ucu likes to eat payo, a plant similar to cabbage, and emits a sound like uhu, uhu. It is not just locals who have reported hearing or seeing the creatures.

In 1956, geologist ,Audio L. Pitch, while walking on the Argentinean side of the Andes, found foot prints 17 inches long ( about 42 cms)at a height of about 6000 feet( 2000 metres).( some reports say 16000 feet( 5333 metres) which sounds a bit high up).

In 1957 similar tracks were reported in the province of La Salta, Argentina. The same year(1957) residents of Tolor Grande told journalists about a nightly chorus of eerie sounds like calls of an animal, emanating from the near by Curu-Curu Mountains. The cries were attributed by the locals to the Ukumar-zupai and the community remained frightened for some time afterwards. Anthropologist Pablo Latapi Ortega wrote that traditional stories of these giant ape like creatures continue to be told today.

In May 1958 a group of campers in Rengo, 50 miles from Santiago, Chile, reported that they saw an ape man. Police were called and they took statements from the witnesses. Carlos Manuel Soto, one of them, gave the statement to the police: “I saw an enormous man covered with hairs in the Cordilleras” .

The stories sound very similar to traditional bigfoot and yeti reports. There appears to have been no recently reported sightings. As always the similarity of sightings and creatures in different parts of the world does make you think, could there be a population of unknown hairy bipeds still alive in the world today. Well gorillas were considered a myth at one time, now they are on TV documentaries, so maybe not as impossible as some sceptics would have us think.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Ahool, the howling giant bat of Java.

The Ahool is a legendary giant bat. It is named because of its distinctive call ahooool. It was reported in the rainforests of Java. The Island of Java was formed mostly as the result of volcanic activity and is part of Indonesia. Java is a densely populated island with a population of approximately 124 million. It is because of this overpopulation that the rainforests there have grown smaller , the Gunung Halimun National Park being one of the last examples of lowland forest on the island.The Ahool is described as having an ape-like face with large dark eyes, large claws on its forearms and a body covered in gray fur. It is said to have a wingspan of 10 feet (3 metres), it’s flattened forearms supporting its leathery wings. It has reported as being seen squatting on the forest floor, and appeared to be the size of a small child , about 4 feet(1.1 metre) in height. The Ahool’s habits are to spend it's days in waterfall caves, while it spends nights skimming across the jungle waterways scooping up fish with large claws located on the top of it's forearms.
The Ahool was first described by Dr. Ernest Bartels while exploring the Salak Mountains on the island of Java. In 1925 naturalist Dr. Ernest Bartels, (son of ornithologist M.E.G. Bartels), was exploring a waterfall on the slopes of the Salek Mountains when a giant bat, swooped down over his head. Then in 1927, around 11:30 pm, Dr. Ernest Bartels was laying in bed, inside his thatched house close to the Tjidjenkol River in western Java, listening to the sounds of the jungle when he suddenly heard a very different sound coming from almost directly over his hut, this loud and clear cry seemed to utter, A Hool! Grabbing his torch Dr. Bartels ran out of his hut in the direction the sound seemed to be heading. Less than 20 seconds later he heard it again, a final A Hool! It was the giant bat he encountered 2 years before.
People who have visited the area have questioned the local people about the bat. The people say they have seen it or know of it’s existence and avoid it as they do other large wild animals. The villages are remote and people do not own cameras etc, so no photos have ever been produced.
Bartels accounts of the Ahool were passed to Ivan T. Sanderson by Bernard Heuvelmans, and Sanderson concluded that the Ahool is a form of unclassified bat. Sanderson took an interest in the Ahool because he too had a strange encounter with an unknown giant bat in the Assumbo Mountains of Cameroon, in Africa. Sanderson thought that the Ahool could be an Oriental form of the giant bat like creature he witnessed in Africa, called the Kongamato.
The biggest known bat today is the Bismark flying fox, which has a wing span of six feet ( almost 2 metres)from wingtip to wingtip The island of Java, is near the flying fox's home of New Guinea, so could it be a relative?The other theory about Ahool is that two large earless owls exist on Java, the Spotted Wood-owl (Strix seloputo) and the Javan Wood-owl (Strix (leptogrammica) bartelsi( named after Bartels father)being 16-20 inches (40-50 cms) long and with a wingspan of 4 feet (1.1meters).However one would have thought Bartels would have known what the owls looked like, especially as his father discovered one and also the local people would be familiar with them. With the demise of the rain forests , if these creatures exist, they may have been pushed to extinction, which is a sad thought.
See here for the story from Karl Shuker’s book:

Holt, Denver W., Berkley, Regan; Deppe, Caroline; Enríquez Rocha, Paula L.; Olsen, Penny D.; Petersen, Julie L.; Rangel Salazar, José Luis; Segars, Kelley P. & Wood, Kristin L. (1999): Family Strigidae (typical owls). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. (eds): Handbook of Birds of the World, Volume 5: Barn-owls to Hummingbirds: 76-242, plates 4-20. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-87334-25-3

Monday, 24 May 2010

Sea Serpent sightings and Bears over at Fortean Times.

Sighting a Sea Serpent

RAF navigator believes he saw one of the last of the large dinosaurs By Dr Karl Shuker

Kent-based cryptozoological researcher Neil Arnold recently passed on to me, with kind permission from its source to publish it here, a remarkable, previously undocumented sea serpent sighting from the late 1950s. Neil’s source was a correspond­ent called Nick (whose email address I have on file), and one of the eyewitnesses in question was his father. Nick is anxious that the sighting be preserved, so here is his account of it:

“I am 39 years old with three children and my father is now 72. He was one of the last people to have been conscripted to national service, serving as navigator on RAF Shackleton aircraft in 1957, flying missions over Europe and much of South America. The official job of the Shackleton was as a spotting aircraft, and both pilot and crew were highly trained in this respect; their job was to search for submarines and relay the positions back to base. One of the tell-tale signs they used to look for [from] high above was a dark shape underwater, which could often be a shark or whale or other creature, but occasionally they would get lucky and find a submarine near to the surface. On one occasion, having seen such a dark shape near the surface, they flew down to investi­gate, and as they flew by this shape, every crew member on board saw the same thing – the neck and head of a large sea creature protruding from the surface. The nearest thing they could think of at the time was a plesiosaur. They were all in agreement but of course the pilot on the way home forbade them absolutely from talking about it; if they had done so they would all have been immed­iately grounded and accused of being drunk on duty. “So anyway, my father decided to research what the creature might have been, and found that it was almost definitely an ‘elasmosaurus’ [long-necked plesio­saur], as the one thing that was very obvious was the huge length of the animal’s neck. My father was forced to conclude, and of course he’d read all about the cœlacanth, that there were indeed much larger ‘extinct’ creatures out there, unknown to science. He told me of the incident when I reached adulthood. Twenty years on, he still will swear to his grave that this is what they all saw on the flight… “The year was 1957, the location was ‘about 500 miles [800km] north of the Canary Islands, in open sea’. The RAF Squadron was 228 Squadron, flying out of St Eval in Cornwall. (This air base has since been closed, but I believe remnants of the site remain.) I don’t know who the other crewmembers were and I have been thinking about making an official enquiry to the RAF archives. However, what I hope is important is the location (vague, sorry), species and date. I am more than aware that most scientists consider the poss­ibility of any large dinosaur [sic] still alive as astronomic­ally small, and my father himself also thinks now with sadness that he might have seen one of the last ones; his own reasoning is that at this point, not so long after the war, there really was not much shipping around; indeed, the area where they had the sighting was entirely devoid of shipping and maybe this was the reason the creature had considered it safe to surface, far from the throb of ships’ propellers.”

One zoologist who read Nick’s account suggested that perhaps they had seen a tentacle from a giant squid rise above the water surface, but Nick’s father emphatic­ally discounted any such poss­ibility. If by any chance any other Shackle­ton crewmember who saw this creature is reading this item and would like to contact FT, we’d love to hear from you!

Nick, via Neil Arnold, 28 Nov 2008. Source¨

Read the comments under the article as well on site as there is another report from the 70’s.

And bears:

If You Go Down To The Marsh...

The bears - dead and alive - that lurk in the wilder reaches of East London By Tina Rath

On 11 November 2008, the Walthamstow Guardian reported that a young man, fishing with his father and brother at Hollow Ponds saw a “strange dark figure. It was hunched over and I could see it had a really hairy back… It definitely looked like a bear.” A local park keeper, however, remained sure that it wasn’t: “The biggest animals we’ve got in the woods are foxes.” The newspaper maintained the expected degree of scepticism, with a headline reading “Is Bigfoot on the loose in the woods?” and comments along the lines of “keep taking the tablets”. Following the initial report, another witness came forward (Wanstead & Woodford Guardian, 17 Nov 2008; see FT246:25). What the newspapers failed to point out was that these were not the first ‘bear’ sightings in the area. Read the rest here:

You may have to sign up to the site to access everything, but it costs nothing and is worth it!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Why no one has yet found proof of the Loch Ness creature

People often say to me Why has nothing conclusive been found at Loch Ness? There are lots of reasons. One is that although the Loch is 23 miles long, large parts of it are not viewable because of trees, bushes etc around it and some parts are not easily accessible as to do so means scrambling down very steep banks. I have put on a photo here to show that even in winter it is still not easy to view through the trees. ( It is slightly wonky as I had to stand on a slope to take it)People who have never visited the Loch often scoff that no one has yet got a decent photo but they don’t realise how difficult a task that is.
Secondly the water is pitch black once you get a few feet down. The water runs off the mountains and down the hillsides surrounding the Loch bringing with it particles of peat which are suspended in Loch , making it inky black with very poor visibility. Many a diver has come up shaken because they didn’t realise how bad visibility was and the thought that something large my be in there with you is scary. This why underwater photos are so blurry. It is also very cold and stays at a constant low temperature all year round, so prolonged time in the water is not recommended.

Exploring the Loch underwater is difficult. It is very deep (some reports say over 800 feet(266 meters) some 940feet( over 300 meters) in parts) and the sides drop away at a very steep angle. In places 50 feet( about 16 metres) from shore the loch drops to hundreds of feet deep. There are no caves in the Loch side as far as we know as the sides will be mainly granite which does not wear away into caves as limestone does. The steep Loch sides mean sonar often bounces off them giving false signals. Then there is the 25 feet(8 metres) layer of silt at the bottom of the Loch, you would not want to get stuck in that. Who knows what lurks with in it or what bones lie there?

Then there is of course money. To do a sophisticated proper investigation would cost a great deal of money. Most researchers are self financing or get small grants from their workplace. Since the 70s no one seems to have come forward to want to invest in looking for Nessie. Most researchers go up to investigate in their holidays from work, very few are able to afford to spend large amounts of time at the Loch. Steve Feltham is the only investigator that seems to be in permanent occupation theses days. There people who research the Loch fauna and flora etc but they are not monster hunters. They look at fish stocks and water quality and so forth. In the 70’s every layby and every turn in the road seemed to produce someone with binoculars and a camera watching the Loch.

Which brings us to Nessie. Nessie is seen as a joke due to all the hoaxes perpetuated over the years and very few scientists want to be involved . It can cost you your job and certainly held back some people’s careers. The fact it is seen as a hoax means many people have closed ranks and no longer report sightings and locals laugh when you ask. They don’t want to be seen as foolish. The number of times I have heard “Well I will tell you if you promise not to write it down or anything. I don’t want reporters round”. (I don’t like to tell them that being dyslexic I memorise the conversations but I don’t write them down. It is something I learned to do at meetings at work because I couldn’t write down notes fast enough. By the time I had decided how to spell something they had moved on to something else lol. These days of course I would record them or take a laptop). Though that has been a huge amount of sightings over the years , when you divide them by the number of years , it is not a lot. Nessie is quite shy.( taking the average figure of 3000 sightings since 1930s ,divided by the number of years ( 80) it is an average of about 40 a year ). If you then weed out the unlikely and definite mistaken identity you are left with about 2 unexplained sightings a year. It is not a lot is it? Then the chances of getting a decent photo are even remoter. Most people on seeing something can’t believe their eyes and by the time they have recovered enough to grab a camera ,it is often too late, the whatever it is, has gone. So the odds are against us all. That is a sample of reasons why I think nothing conclusive has never been found to support the existence or non existence of the Loch Ness creature.

The only answer is large amounts of cash and sophisticated equipment and trained people to operate it and interpret results in an all year round expedition to search the loch thoroughly. So if anyone has won the lottery and has a spare million????

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Scottish Beasties and Mer- Folk

I found this article from 2005 which looks at not just Nessie but other strange aquatic creatures in Scotland.

Great water monsters and mer-folk Published Date: 26 May 2005


WATER-DWELLING beasties abound in Scotland. Monsters and mermaids frolic and swim in our lochs and seas from the Highlands to Lowlands. Some are shy, while others seem to bask in the limelight. The one thing that connects them is that they've all been spotted. They've all been recorded and noted. And, furthermore, there are people out there who believe they exist. No review of Scottish beasties could start anywhere else but with the Loch Ness Monster, or "Nessie" to her friends (and there are many of them). She has appeared in legend since the sixth century, but the building of a new road around the loch - just southwest of Inverness - in the 1930's brought her international fame. Sightings of this long, humped lady have been frequent ever since she was famously sighted in 1934 by a London surgeon who had the foresight to snap off a couple of photos – and the sense to sell them to a daily paper.

Nessie's less well-known cousin is "Morag", who is said to inhabit Loch Morar, northwest of Fort William along the west coast near Mallaig. There have been fewer sightings around Loch Morar, being altogether more remote than Loch Ness. Yet when she has been seen, descriptions are very similar to Nessie. Take the most famous sighting of Morag. It was 1969 when two local people - Duncan McDonell and William Simpson - were fishing in the loch. Suddenly they saw a long creature approaching their boat at great speed. It rammed them, and fearing they were to be capsized, the terrified fisher-folk started shooting. The beast disappeared into the depths of the loch but left them with the impression that it was between 20 and 30 feet long and had three humps. Sound familiar? Well it does to Neil Bass a biologist and member of the Loch Morar Investigation Team who spotted a "hump-shaped black object" and is convinced it's another Nessie.

Across Scotland there are monsters aplenty lurking in deep, dark water. So, just what's going on? Is it collective hysteria or is there really something down there? There have been a number of theories put forward to explain the animals' existence but the current top five claim they are either:

• A zeuglodon – put forward by biologist Roy P Mackal who thinks the monsters are a type of giant prehistoric snake-like creature thought to have become extinct about 20 million years ago

• A plesiosaur – very similar to the above. Just substitute the word plesiosaur (a water-dinosaur) for zeuglodon

• A log – what more is there to say, except that there are plenty of trees in Scotland

• A sturgeon – biologist Adrian Shine thinks these creatures are nothing more exciting than a great, ginormous sturgeon - a freak-fish if you like

• A bona fide monster – yes, yes, well, all right, it's possible.

Another creature currently living in Scotland's lochs is the kelpie, or water-horse. These watery quadrupeds wait by lochs for unsuspecting mortals. Should you ever mount a kelpie, then prepare for a watery doom, as the kelpie will canter into deep water and drown you. They can also take on human form, so should you spot a brooding man by the side of a loch with seaweed instead of hair, then you'd be well advised to run away. Fast.

The kelpie is transposed in the Highlands into the Each Uisge (sea horse), who lives in seas or lochs. If you see one, do not approach. Their fur is like Velcro and once you lay so much as a pinkie on its hide … then it's off to the deep with you. There he will devour you from top to toe, leaving only your liver to wash up on the shore as a warning to others that the Each Uisge has struck again.

Kelpies are not the only watery beasties living in Scotland. We are also awash with tales of finned people and mermaids. Finned people have often been sighted in Orkney close to their home at Eynhallow village. They are dark and swarthy with long fins, which they can cunningly disguise to look like cloaks. They are also rather modern, in that they are twinned with the underwater city of Finfolkhaheen – where they go to spend the winter.Finmen often harass local fishermen and are known to abduct local men to provide husbands for their finwomen who had a vested interest in finding a mortal husband. If they did not, they have to settle for marrying a local finman and degenerating from a beautiful woman into an ugly crone. Marriage to a mortal man ensures their lovely looks last forever.Similar to finpeople are mermaids, who have been bewitching mortals with their beautiful singing voices and exquisite beauty for hundreds of years.If documentation is proof of existence then you could be fairly assured of the presence of fish-folk in our midst. The Aberdeen Chronicle is particularly fond of mermaid sightings, but stories have appeared in the London Times as late as 1809.

Tail or tale: Did sea monsters and mermaid swim the waters in and around Scotland?What is interesting with all the reports is the consistency of the description. The mermaid is always young, beautiful, with soft white skin and long dark hair. Surprisingly the person reporting the sighting is not an old drunk who has left his glasses in the pub, but is often an upstanding and respected member of the community.If you're beginning to think that there might be something in these fishy-stories, then you'll need to explain why it is that the mermaid is often to be found speaking Latin or singing hymns. Presumably she's been well educated at the "Underwater Church Academy" for young mermaids.


Friday, 21 May 2010

The Loch Ness creature since 2002

 With the summer almost upon us, can we expect more sightings to be reported from Loch Ness? The number of sightings of the Loch Ness creatures varies on whose work you read. Some say as little as 2000 sightings since 1930’s , some say as many as 4000. Since 2002 I can only find a recorded number of 20 sightings. It may be that people aren’t reporting it any more of course or it may just be there are less sightings. Possibly less people are looking for anything, certainly there aren’t the expeditions there used to be. I would have thought with modern technology there would  have been more photos people had taken on mobile phones etc.  Here are some examples of the sightings:

August 2002 A man travelling on the A82 towards Fort Augustus saw an unknown object going at speed through the water across the loch

February 2002 Two local residents of Dores saw something move quickly from Tor point to the Clansman Hotel They said that it created a wake and there was definite splashing from the head of whatever the creature was.

June 2003 The captain of local cruise boat “The Royal Scot” reported seeing a fast moving v-shaped wake on the surface of the loch at 2.10pm. The water was very calm at the time.

May 2003 Local coastguard skipper George Edwards saw a six foot long creature surface for about 2-3 minutes close to Urquhart Castle at around 1.00 in the afternoon. He said it was dark grey in colour and had a rough texture to its skin .

August 2004 At 4pm, Tom Clegg of Worcestershire saw three dark humps  out from the shore between Invermoriston and Fort Augustus. He said there were no boats in the vicinity  at the time.

August 2005  Mr Bell and his family from Newcastle watched what they described as the head of a large animal move through the loch at 6pm in the evening..

May 2007 Gordon Holmes of Shipley, Yorkshire, took a video of an unknown creature at 9.50pm from a layby at the north end of the loch.

March 2007 Sidney and Janet Wilson photographed a strange animal from the back of cruise boat near Urquhart Castle

February 2008 Brenda Ellis from Foyers took four snaps on her mobile phone of a creature moving north in the water near Inverfarigaig on the south side of the loch. She said the creature was black/brown in colour and was moving in the water for 10-15 minutes.

June 2009 Douglas MacDougall spotted a hump in the water near the Clansman Hotel.


  I haven’t included them all or all the details, I am sure you can find them on the web They vary from seeing wakes to seeing creatures. There seems to be a lack of interest in Loch Ness but maybe some media hype,(I know of one journalist who is going up there to write a piece ,Good Luck with that!), or some good sightings may persuade people to restart another Loch Ness Investigation and put the mystery to bed once and for all. At the moment there is no compelling evidence either way . There are people I have spoken to, local people, who know what they saw .These are not people who would tell their stories to the media or even tell many people. Most of these sightings are not recorded anywhere. I respect their privacy. I think they are honest and believe they saw something. On the other hand we have the non believers , many who were once believers I might add, who deny existence of anything in the Loch. I think to deny there has ever been anything in the Loch is rather short sighted of them as no one knows what lies in that 25 feet (8 metres)  thick layer of silt at the bottom. I still hope something will be found but suspect it will be much more mundane than the monster people hope for. Like many who have heard the local stories of large eels being caught in the Loch years ago ( up to 16 feet ( 5 metres)  long ) I suspect that may well be the answer. Mundane or not I still would like the answer!

In the news this week Montauk, Big cat and Bigfoot

New Montauk Monster sighting? Bizarre creature washes up in small Ontario  town

By Mail Foreign Service 20th May 2010Locals in a small Canadian town have been stumped by the appearance of a bizarre creature, which was dragged from a lake. The animal, which has a long hairy body with bald skin on its head, feet and face, has prompted wild internet speculation that it is a more evolved version of the famous 'Montauk monster'. The creature was discovered by two nurses in the town of Kitchenuhmaykoosib in Ontario, Canada, while out on a walk with their dog. When the dog began sniffing in the lake, the two women started investigating, before the dog pulled the dead animal out. After taking some photographs of the odd animal, the nurses left it alone. When locals decided to go back and retrieve the body, it has disappeared. The photographs have now been posted on a local website, with an explanation which reads: 'This creature was first discovered by Sam the Dog, a local dog. 'It was discovered first week of May in the creek section of town, hikers noticed Sam sniffing something in the water and they approached to see in what the Sam had detected and they noticed the creature in the water face down. 'The dog jumped in the lake and pulled the creature to the rocks and dragged it out for the hikers to see and these are the photos they took. 'The creature's tail is like a rat's tail and it is a foot long.' There has been much speculation about what kind of species the animal is. The body of the creature appears to look something like an otter, while its face - complete with long fang-like teeth, bears a striking resemblance to a boar-like animal. Even the local police chief Donny Morris is baffled, saying: 'What it is, I don't know. I'm just as curious as everyone else.' The pictures of the animal have caused mass speculation online, from bloggers who are all stumped as to what the creature could be. Full story with photos here:

 Girl, 15, tells of terror after being stalked through forest by a big cat she claims was a PANTHER By Daily Mail Reporter 20th May 2010

A 15-year-old schoolgirl has told of her terror after being chased by a big cat she claims was a 'black panther' in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. Kim Howells was enjoying a walk through the woodland on her 15th birthday with her cousin Sophie Gwynne, eight, when they came across the animal lying beneath a tree. Ms Howells, who described the 'panther' as about the size of a Great Dane dog, with big eyes, paws and a long tail, said the creature began following them after they spotted it at around 8.30pm on Monday night. She said: 'I saw something out of the corner of my eye and at first I thought it was a log or something. 'We carried on walking but then I looked back and it was sitting up looking at me. 'It was definitely a big cat. I've seen wild boar and deer in the Forest before and it definitely wasn't one of them. 'What makes me sure is that it was still light so I could see it really clearly.' Ms Howells added: 'Sophie was asking what it was and then we looked behind us and it was about five metres away, following us. 'I didn't know what to do so we cut through the brambles and just started running.' The pair then ran all the way back to Ms Howells's family home in nearby Ruspidge The girls ran all the way back to Kim's home in Ruspidge, near Cinderford. Full story here:

Bigfoot mating season is underway in the Florida Everglades and the furry, horny creature is out for blood. Dave Shealy, an RV park owner in Ochopee, Florida, is the leading researcher of the Skunk Ape, Bigfoot’s “smaller, smellier cousin.” He says there are seven to nine Skunk Apes currently living in the Everglades and right now is the best time to spot one because it’s their mating season. Lately, he’s heard lots of campers report strange sounds coming from the swamps. He figures it’s the Skunk Ape’s mating call, which sounds like a low-pitched dove cooing. Though Skunk Apes are generally shy, Shealy says women on their periods should be careful when hiking the area because the cryptoids are attracted to the scent of menstruation. Read the rest here :

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Texas Bigfoot sightings

 It seems Bigfoot  is being seen and reported more often in Texas :


East Texans recall encounters with Bigfoot

For years, people have claimed sightings of a large, human-like creature in the thick woods of East Texas. About 300 people recently gathered in Tyler for a Bigfoot Conference to share their personal confrontations with the creature. Speaker Daryl Colyer, who claims to have had an encounter with the beast, said he heard the legends and stories from families when he was growing up. Colyer’s own encounter with Bigfoot occurred near the Trinity River in Liberty County. He and his wife were walking along a trail at dusk when they spotted a large, hairy figure with a musky smell. Here are some other sightings of Bigfoot-type creatures in East Texas:

In 2003, a motorist spotted an 8-foot-tall creature crossing Texas Highway 154 near Harleton and Little Cypress Bayou.

In December 2001, a deer hunter near Marshall saw a 7-foot upright ape-like figure that was dark brown in color. The figure was picking up apples.

In October 1995, a man was looking at land he was considering buying near Cleveland when he saw a creature lying on the ground. The creature rose on two legs and hit the man in the chest.

In June 1976 near Vidor, a couple moved out of their house because they had enough of Bigfoot sightings in the area.

In summer 1976, a witness reported seeing a 12-foot-tall creature with silver hair eating ears of corn near Hallsville.

Not all of the Bigfoot sightings have turned out to be accurate. In his book “The Search for Bigfoot,” Peter Byrne wrote about a man who claimed to have seen a Bigfoot creature standing with his back to the man, streaked in gray and black hair, huge, broad-shouldered and bent over. When Byrne investigated, he discovered the man had seen nothing but a roadside stump. For more than 400 years, people have been reporting large, hair-covered, manlike animals in wilderness areas of North America. Sightings of the creatures and their tracks continue today.



See also a very good  article at phantoms and monsters site with more info:




Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Stories of Living Mammoths

There have been many tales about living Mammoths. This is in part due I am sure to the fact that some frozen specimens found look as if they died recently as they are so fresh. With scientists talking about regenerating a mammoth clone ala Jurassic Park, I thought I would dig up dome of the living mammoth stories.In the 1580's the Stroganoff family sent a band of Cossacks to hunt down a group of bandits in Siberia that had been stealing from their mines there. The leader of the expedition, Yermak Timofeyevitch, reported that beyond the Ural Mountains he met a "large, hairy elephant." The natives told him that the Kingdom of Sibir considered the giant animals a part of its wealth; they were valued as food and called "mountains of meat."

In 1873 an article appeared in the Zoologist containing an interview with  Cheriton Batchmatchnik, a Russian convict who escaped from Siberia who claimed to have encountered living Mammoths in a valley of the Aldan mountains.Batchmatchnik had been convicted of smuggling and had been to the mines of Nartchinsk Siberia. He escaped and travelled southwards heading for the Amur river in the hope of reaching China. He ran into a band of Cossacks so he turned north and got to the gorges of the Aldan mountains when  winter arrived. Following  herds of migrating animals he hoped to find shelter. Instead he claimed he found a hidden valley, hemmed in by cliffs on all sides and  he descended to find  the valley to be warm and fertile. There was a lake so he made camp beside it and lit a fire. When night fell some huge animals approached, attracted by the fire. Frightened Batchmatchnik fired his pistol into the dark causing a stampede. Come daylight he discovered large tracks and a well worn track leading to the water. He looked for somewhere safer to shelter and found a cave. He said when he entered the cave there was a full grown mammoth already in residence. He described the animal as 12 feet( 4 metres) tall and 18 feet(6 metres)  long. It was covered in reddish wool and black hair. The curving tusks were about 10 feet( 3 metres) long.In the coming days Batchmatchnik saw about twenty mammoths in the valley. All were adults and he saw no calves. They were peaceable animals who were never aggressive to him and indeed took little notice of him. He also claimed to have seen a dragon like creature that lived in the lake and prayed on animals that came there to drink. He described it as 30 feet (10 metres) long with fangs and covered with scales One morning he saw this "dragon " attack a mammoth. The reptile sized its victim and tried to crush it it in its coils. After a long struggle the mammoth managed to pull itself free and get to safety. Batchmatchnik eventually left the valley and found his way back it civilisation and on his return  the Russian officials seemed to believe his story as they pardoned Batchmatchnik due to his "services to science". 

A Russian hunter claimed to have seen a pair of mammoths in 1918. This story was recorded by M. L. Gallon, the man in charge of the French Consulate in Vladivostok during the year 1920. Gallon claimed that the hunter did not understand what he meant when he referred to the beast as a mammoth, but the hunter simply maintained that it was similar to pictures of elephants he had seen. Although Gallon shared the story with friends when he returned to France later that year, he was not persuaded to publish the account until 1946. The report can be found in Heuvelmans book, about page 550, depending on which edition you read.

"In the second year I was exploring the taiga, I was very much struck to notice the tracks of a huge animal, I say huge tracks, for they were a long way larger than any of those I had often seen of animals I knew well. It was autumn. There had been a few big snowstorms, followed by heavy rain. It wasn't freezing yet, the snow had melted, and there were thick layers of mud in the clearings.. It was in one of these big clearings, partly taken up by a lake, that I was staggered to see huge footprints pressed deep into the mud. It must have been 70 cm across the widest part and 50 cm the other way, so the spoor wasn't round but oval.. There were four tracks, the tracks of four feet, the first two about 4 m from the second pair, which were a little bigger in size. Then the tracks suddenly turned east and went into the forest of middling-sized elms. Were it went I saw a huge heap of dung; I had a good look at it and saw it was made up of vegetable matter.Some 10 feet up, just where the animal had gone into the forest, I saw a sort of row of broken branches, made, I don't doubt, by the monster's enormous head as it forced it's way into the place it had decided to go, regardless of what was in its path. I followed the track for days and days. Sometimes I could see were the animal had stopped at some grassy clearing and then gone on forever eastwards. Then, one day I saw another track, almost exactly the same. It came from the north and crossed the first one. It looked to me as if they had trampled about all over the place for several hundred m as if they had been excited or upset by their meeting. Then the two animals set out marching eastward one following some 20 m behind the other, both tracks mingling and plowing up the earth together. I followed them for days and days thinking that perhaps I should never see them, and also a bit afraid, for indeed I didn't feel I was big enough to face such beasts alone. One afternoon it was clear enough from the tracks that the animals weren't far off. The wind was in my face, which was good for approaching them without them knowing I was there. All of a sudden I saw one of the animals quite clearly, and now I must admit I really was afraid. It had stopped among some young saplings. It was a huge elephant with big white tusks, very curved; it was a dark chestnut colour as far as I could see.. It had fairly long hair on the hindquarters but it seemed much shorter on the front. I must say I had no idea that there were such big elephants. It had huge legs and moved very slowly. I've only seen elephants in pictures, but I must say that even from this distance (we were 3000 m apart) I could never have believed any beast could be so big. The second beast was around, I saw it only a few times among the trees: it seemed to be the same size.  

It sounds like a fantastic tale. Heuvelmans suggested a couple of  reasons why the story sounded so fantastic. a) the hunter got caught up in his tale and added some details which are an exaggeration , but these don't effect the basic veracity of the account b) Gallon inadvertently added details in his recording of the account., especially if it was a story for publication. (Plus the story being retold many years apart would suffer from the Chinese Whispers effect and get distorted over time and of course it may not be true. )

 There was a least one definite hoax which appeared in a 1899 magazine article, published in McClure’s Magazine, in which the author purported to have, during a trip to Alaska, stalked, trapped and killed a living woolly mammoth .In October of 1899 McClure's Magazine ran a story by Henry Tukeman. Called "The Killing of the Mammoth" it began with a letter penned by a recently-deceased man named Horace Conradi which released Tukeman from his promise to keep the slaughter of what may have been the last living mammoth a secret. Some extracts:

Tukeman's story began in the untamed wilds of Alaska in 1890. There was little in the way of creature comforts, but Tukeman decided to stay the winter in Fort Yukon. One day during his stay he was showing some pictures of African animals he had hunted to an Inuit named "Joe" who, when Tukeman turned to a picture of an elephant, became very excited. Joe already knew of such a creature. He had seen one himself, up there in Alaska!Joe's run in with the beast had occurred many years before while he was out hunting with his son. They were looking for beaver and other game when they had come across a huge animal, the Tee-Kai-Koa, bathing in a lake. It was a living woolly mammoth. Joe's son shot it but did not kill the behemoth, and afraid of what such a great beast might do when wounded the two Inuits rushed back home”. 

“When the following summer melted the ice and snow they were on their way.The trip was arduous but Paul and Tukeman soon found signs they were on the right track. They found a cave "paved" with the numerous remains of mammoths. Surely there would living ones nearby, and the bones provided Tukeman the chance to test the strength of the firearms he had brought for the hunt..On August 29th the hunters finally found their prey, yet they did not immediately try to gun it down. Joe had said that the mammoth he say followed the smoke from the gun his son had fired. Perhaps, Tukeman reasoned, mammoths were attracted to the smoke so that they could stomp out any forest fires before they really got going. “

“When the trap was set in the autumn the mammoth was drawn by the smoke and tried to stamp it out. Everything was going as planned. Paul and Tukeman did not waste their chance. They fired, over and over again, until blood oozed out of scores of bullet wounds in the animal's flesh. The Tee-Kai-Koa was dead. Paul and Tukeman skinned their prize and collected its bones, but by that time winter was setting in. They would not be able to leave until the following spring. Tukeman had hoped that the remains would be purchased by a great museum in Europe or America but Conradi, the man who put a gag order on Tukeman until 1899, offered a much larger sum than Tukeman could otherwise hope for. The plan was for Tukeman to stay silent while Conradi presented the mammoth as a discovery he had made himself.

 A  subsequent article meant to set readers straight on mammoths (reprinted in the Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution) a McClure's editor wrote;

Ever since the appearance of that number of the magazine the authorities of the Smithsonian Institution, in which the author [F.A. Lucas] had located the remains of the beast of his fancy, have been beset with visitors to see the stuffed mammoth, and our daily mail, as well as that of the Smithsonian Institution, has been filled with inquiries for more information and for requests to settle wagers as to whether it was a true story or not.

Tukeman's story was a work of fiction.

However articles continued to appear:

Portland Press. “Do Mastodons Exist? – Good evidence that at least one species still lives.” Decatur Daily Republican. Decatur, Illinois. Monday, March 29, 1897. "The Portland (Me.) Press of November 28 publishes a long conversation with Col. C.F. Fowler, late of the Alaskan Fur and Commercial company, in which he gives very clear evidence that in the interior of Alaska many mastodons still survive. He first discovered among some "fossil" ivory collected by the natives two tusks which showed evidence of being recently taken from the animal which carried them. On questioning the native who sold it to him he was surprised to receive a full description of the immense beast which had been killed by the natives, a description fully identifying the animal with the mastodon. Col. Fowler quotes Gov. Swineford, of Alaska, as having also investigated this matter and as being satisfied that on the high plateaus of that country large herds of mastodons still roam unmolested by the natives, who fear them greatly. The Alaska News also admits that the evidence of their existence is too strong to be denied." For other news paper reports including the full text of this  see

 It is not impossible for a Mammoth to have survived but unlikely. The climate has changed and the food sources have changed so it would have to have evolved somewhat. Still the stories are wonderful and fired up the imagination of many who read them. 


Heuvelmans, Bernard (1959). On the Track of Unknown Animals. New York: Hill and Wang.

Newman, Edward. 1873. The Mammoth Still in the Land of the Living. Zoologist (London) Série 2:8:3731-3733.