Saturday 31 October 2009

As All Hallows Eve approachs...Do Vampires Exist?

This is not really cryptozoological but a bit of fun for Halloween.The Scientists argue do vampires exist?

Physics pro
ves horror movies get it wrong

Judy Skatssoon ABC Science Online Tuesday, 29 August 2006

You can put away the garlic. The principle of geometric progression has just debunked the myth of vampires .Who needs ghostbusters when you've got Newton, says a scientist who has used physics and maths to poke holes in the way Hollywood depicts ghosts and vampires.In a paper, published recently on the physics website arXiv, theoretical physicist Professor Costas Efthimiou of the University of Central Florida shows that when it comes to things supernatural, the figures just don't add up.For instance, the ability to walk through walls is a common talent of celluloid ghosts. But Newton's laws of physics suggest that if a ghost can walk it shouldn't be able to pass through walls, say Efthimiou and Cornell University postgraduate student Sohan Gandhi.Newton says a body at rest will remain at rest until it's acted on by an external force and for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. So in order to walk, we apply a backward force on the floor with our feet, propelling the feet up and us forwards. But if a ghost can walk through walls, it must be "material-less", the authors argue, and incapable of exerting force. By the same token, a ghost that can walk through walls should also sink through the floor, and a ghost that can walk should be bouncing off the walls it tries to pass through ."The depiction of ghosts walking contradicts the precept that ghosts are material-less," they write. Sharp drops in temperature are also associated with the arrival of a ghost. But the paper says physics, which suggests that a sense of cold is correlated more to the rate at which heat is transferred from bodies to the environment than actual temperature, can provide an explanation. What do you mean Newton says we can't walk through walls? ."It has become almost a Hollywood cliché that the entrance of a ghostly presence be foreshadowed by a sudden and overwhelming chill," they write. "This feature of supposed ghost sightings lends itself naturally to physical explanation." Efthimiou and Gandhi say when a warm object is placed next to a cold object, energy flows from the warm body to the cooler body, cooling the warm body. In a room with a high window or a door with a gap, the cool air from outside displaces warm air inside, creating a system of heat cycles and eddies. The effect is increased because humans are more sensitive to rapid changes in temperature even if the absolute change is small. A 2001 UK investigation of the famous Haunted Gallery at Hampton Court, by the University of Hertfordshire's Dr Richard Wiseman, found that hidden doors were letting in draughts. This produced a combination of air currents that caused temperatures to plummet up to 2°C in some parts, the paper says. Efthimiou and Gandhi also use the mathematical principle of geometric progression to rule out the existence of vampires. They argue it would take just two and a half years for vampires to wipe out the entire human race from the day the first one appeared, based on the myth that vampires turn their victims into other vampires by sucking their blood. If vampires feed once a month, the great grandaddy of all vampires would have killed one human and produced one vampire in the first month. So in total there would be two vampires and one less human, or a tally of vampires 2, humans -1. By the next month, the 2 vampires would kill 2 humans, and so on. After n months there would be 2 x 2 x 2 ... x 2 = 2n, or a geometric progression with ratio 2."The vampire population increases geometrically and the human population decreases geometrically," they say.Using the principle of reductio ad absurdum, they conclude that vampires can't exist as their existence contradicts the existence of humans. Professor Alan Carey, dean of the Mathematical Sciences Institute at the Australian National University, says the paper successfully debunks the depictions of the supernatural in the movies. "They poke holes in the clichés and mistakes that are made, and that's not too hard to do," he says. Source:

However does that explain this:

A SKELETON exhumed from a grave in Venice is being claimed as the first known example of the "vampires" widely referred to in contemporary documents. Matteo Borrini of the University of Florence in Italy found the skeleton of a woman with a small brick in her mouth (see right) while excavating mass graves of plague victims from the Middle Ages on Lazzaretto Nuovo Island in Venice .At the time the woman died, many people believed that the plague was spread by "vampires" which, rather than drinking people's blood, spread disease by chewing on their shrouds after dying. Grave-diggers put bricks in the mouths of suspected vampires to stop them doing this, Borrini says.The belief in vampires probably arose because blood is sometimes expelled from the mouths of the dead, causing the shroud to sink inwards and tear. Borrini, who presented his findings at a meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Denver, Colorado, last week, claims this might be the first such vampire to have been forensically examined. The skeleton was removed from a mass grave of victims of the Venetian plague of 1576.However, Peer Moore-Jansen of Wichita State University in Kansas says he has found similar skeletons in Poland and that while Borrini's finding is exciting, "claiming it as the first vampire is a little ridiculous". Borrini says his study details the earliest grave to show archaeological "exorcism evidence against vampires". Source:

So as all hallows eve approaches…what do you think? Do vampires, ghosties and ghoulies exist?

Friday 30 October 2009

Claims of killing a river monster from the 1950's

Drunks in northern Minnesota claim they killed a river monster

The Red River of the North makes the border between Minnesota and North Dakota, and flows north into Canada, where it empties into Lake Winnipeg. When early settlers first traversed this wide, muddy river, they reported sightings of gigantic catfish bigger than their boats -- fish as big as logs drifting in the river.But, occasionally, there have also been reports of a large, black, snakelike creature in the Red, a creature that resembled descriptions of the famous Ocopogo sea monster often sighted in British Columbia.

Well, here is a story told to me by an elderly gentleman who lives in northwest Minnesota. He claims that he and four friends not only got a first hand look at one of these mysterious giant water serpents -- but they actually killed it! The events described here happened in the late 1950s. Please note: All names have been changed in this story at the request of the interview subject. So, without further delay, the story of the Red River Snake Monster awaits your read!

An extract: Then Wayne came up with an atrocious idea for a group of men who had just polished off 20 gallons of corncob wine: He suggested they grab a couple of shotguns, some flashlights, take a boat out on the Red River of the North to see if they could blast catfish out of the shallows.The technical name for this sport is shotgun fishin'.
Forty-five minutes later, the five men were boating on the muddy Red in Roy's 18-footer. Howard and Forrest held powerful flashlights. They played the beams across the inky water.Suddenly, a flashlight beam revealed a floating log which Roy mistook for a gigantic catfish. He let go a blast of his 12-gauge. The rotten log exploded into splinters. River water and bits of wood rained down upon the men. This caused them all to whoop and yell. The boat rocked back and forth and water splashed into the bottom of the boat.
Minutes later Howard's beam glimpsed something shiny and Roy swung quickly around, only to bang the barrel of his shotgun against Wally's forehead. Wally fell back and almost went into the water, but the boys caught hold of him before he could go over the side. Everyone thought it was pretty funny, except for Wally. Wally's fun was over for the night, but not his part in the adventure. Yes, Wally would play a central role in the fantastic events that were about to happen. Dazed and barely conscious, Wally leaned back in the boat and let his right forearm dangle into the water. A minute later, he felt a strong pressure squeezing his arm. Wally jerked his hand out of the water and let loose a savage yell. All four of the others turned at once to look at him. The two flashlight beams held by Howard and Forrest revealed an amazing thing-some kind of thick, black, long snake-like creature had attached itself to Wally's arm! Screaming, Wally lifted his arm straight up into the air. The serpent creature curled around the length of his arm, wrapping it like a barber pole. Here is how one of the men described the creature: "My best description would be that it looked like an electric eel, the kind you see in them undersea adventure TV shows… it had a flat head, shiny black skin, slimy, and I think we saw smooth fins on the thing. It must have been six, seven feet long." Of course, it was difficult to see well because it was dark, there was so much pandemonium, and the men were considerably hazed by the fermented beverage coursing through their veins.
"Everybody was screaming and yelling at once," Wayne said. "We were going crazy when we saw that thing on Wally's arm! It was dark and flashlights were dancing around like crazy… we were rocking the boat so bad just about all of us were swamped into the river… it was nuts!" Wally began to shout: "Get this ---- thing off my arm! O-o-o-w-w-w-w! Get this #@%^$% thing off my arm!" Roy grabbed his shotgun by the barrel, wound up to take a hard swing at the monster, lost his balance instead and fell backward into the river. In all the commotion his pals hardly noticed.Wayne slipped out his pocket knife and made a vicious thrust at the giant river snake, but missed and plunged his knife deep into Wally's arm. Wally howled in anguish. He thought the monster had bit him. He started to flail his arm around, and whacked Howard square in the face. Howard, face covered with slime, was hurled backward and only Wayne's quick catch prevented him from going over.Wally began slamming his arm against the side of the boat, but the snake only squeezed tighter. Wally was in full panic. He kept screaming: "Get this ---- thing off me! Get this ---- thing off me!" In desperation, Wayne recovered Roy's shotgun from the floor of the boat. In a lucky glimpse afforded by a chance pass of a wild flashlight beam, Wayne noticed that some three feet of the snake's body was dangling below Wally's arm.
He pointed the shotgun in that general direction, pulled the trigger and unleashed a roaring discharge. The kickback of the 12-gauge knocked Wayne backward and out into the drink. He dropped the shotgun and it sunk to the silty bottom of the river. Luckily, he was able to grab onto the side of the boat and haul himself back in."I got real lucky," he said, "cuz I blew the whole bottom part of that snake monster clean off." The truncated end of the creature's body jerked wildly around like a loose high-pressure hose. Fetid black blood and slime spurted in all directions, spattering the men with rank gore. But the blow was enough to cause the creature to go limp. Wally heaved it from his arm and heard it splash down somewhere in the black water where it sunk to its death.

Apart from the whole comical aspect and stupidity of the whole episode, it sounds like they did come across a large eel. I don’t know If eels are native to the area ,perhaps someone else can post a comment if they know?

Thursday 29 October 2009

The Oklahoma Lakes Monster-octopus or alcohol?

The Oklahoma Lakes Monster is reported to have the look of an octopus with reddish-brown, leathery skin and be the size of a horse. It is said to be responsible for the deaths of at least 17 swimmers on the fresh water lakes in Oklahoma consisting of Lake Thunderbird, Lake Oolagah, and Lake Tenkiller. No physical evidence exists of the Oklahoma Octopus, but some point to the high number of unexplained drownings in the Oklahoma lakes as a sign it exists . There are supposed to have been numerous reported sightings, but I have been unable to find any photos or other evidence.

A book, “Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America” by Scott Francis (2007) states that the Oklahoma lakes are inhabited by a carnivorous creature , appearing as a reddish-brown Octopus with leathery skin and measuring more than 20 feet long. An extract “Lakes in Oklahoma rate high in instances of drowning. Some believe that drowning victims actually fall prey to the giant octopi living in the lakes. Several of Oklahoma’s lakes, including Lake Thunderbird, Lake Oolagah and Lake Tenkiller, are said to be home to these monstrous creatures that are thought to be responsible for dragging swimmers and fishermen to their watery deaths.”

So possibility or hoax?. On the plus side there is species of jellyfish have been able to adapt from saltwater to freshwater conditions, and the same adaptation may have been possible for other creatures. For example eels travel between salt water and freshwater habitats so a freshwater adaptation of a species is not totally unknown in a salt water species. So far however a Fresh water Octopus has not been discovered. The Bull Shark is a ocean dwelling creature that has been found in freshwater and can be dangerous and will attack people. The lakes though are man made and have not been open to the sea as far as I can ascertain, so the only way a species from a salt water environment could be in there is if someone put it there, perhaps a pet that out grew it’s home. It seems more likely that there is some other explanation for the high number of drownings. It has been suggested alcohol is involved , or maybe there are some underwater debris or currents that ensnare swimmers. Unless a freshwater octopus is discovered , that is what the deaths will be put down to and to be honest seems the more likely explanation.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

New UK Big Cat Sighting

Big cat confronts Matlock cyclist

26 October 2009

By Julia Rodgerson

Big cats could be prowling a Dales town after a 'shocked' cyclist claims he was confronted by a huge animal crossing the road in front of his bike.

Adam Gladwin, 28, of Matlock, said he saw the large black cat in Darley Dale while he was on his way to work. He said the animal crossed the road from the Whitworth Park area at around 5am on Sunday October 11.Mr Gladwin said: "It was as plain as day, straight in front of me. It was as big as a German Shepherd dog with a long black tail. It was only 35 to 40 yards away. "I was unsure whether to keep going. I called in to the paper shop and told them what I'd seen and they said there had been other sightings in the area." It is understood that there have been other sightings of large cats at Northwood Lane in Darley Dale. Mr Gladwin added: "Some people are a bit sceptical and some people belief me. I've also heard that the creature has been going in the bins at DFS. "As far as I'm concerned, it was a big cat. There is no other explanation." Paul Westwood, of Big Cat Monitors, the UK website dedicated to big cat sightings, said Derbyshire was a very popular place for sightings. "The original cats from the 70s – when the Government introduced legislation to stop people keeping them – would have died out now but it is easy for people to illegally import cubs. It is a status thing but when they get too big people realise they can't handle them. The Derbyshire countryside is an ideal location for them." Mr Westwood said the latest sighting sounded like a leopard or jaguar.
On Friday at 5pm a man reported a sighting of a large puma-like cat with a long tail in a field at Idridgehay. A Derbyshire police spokeswoman said this year they had received four reports of big cat sightings in the Peak District and Dales.


Tuesday 27 October 2009

Rare film of Nessie from 1936 being shown

A 1936 film that claimed to show the first evidence of the Loch Ness monster is among rarely-seen archive footage being shown in Scotland later.

The material can be seen at Glasgow Film Theatre and the National Library of Scotland (NLS) as part of Unesco's World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.

It includes the UK's earliest-known personal wedding in 1905 and US actress Vera Reynolds visiting Glasgow in 1926.

A number of films will also be available on the NLS website.

The library currently has about 67 films available to see online, with plans to increase this to 100 in the next few weeks.

I accessed the film here:

Sunday 25 October 2009

another new thunderbird sighting

We were in Pacifica MO, tonight around 11:30 and we noticed a massive flying creature, not once but three times. My son even noticed it on his own the third time. We were near a large cliff / mountain with some type of cave openings. We don't live in the area, I can say for sure we turned onto a road called viaduct road, went past a fire station and continued on for about 1 mile before we first noticed it. It was brownish / grey and the body portion was at least the size of a large adult human. This creature was tracking us - in a circle pattern. We were driving an escalade with the blue color headlights, this may have cause interest in us. The third time around us we viewed it in front of the vehicle, around driver side and around towards the rear of the vehicle, the factory tinted windows did help it vanish into the sky from out point of view. Please understand when we could see it the range must have been about 150 feet in the air, not more than 250 feet. The distance was never less than 100 yards, often much greater. We were going about 35- 45 MPH. I have never thought of anything like this in my life! It is 3:33 and my son and myself are wide awake in a hotel 17 miles away from the place we first noticed the creature. UPDATE - checked google maps, the first time we noticed this was just off the I-44 Loop near the roads of Lost Hill LN and Clear Creek Road. We have been searching this out for hours. If you have any info please email me at , thanks!

Thank you for this. I have put on on todays blog to attract interest and maybe someone else will come forward with some explanation of what you have seen or their own similar experience.

monsters making MSN news

A hairy gorilla-like creature that resembles the legendary Bigfoot has been caught on camera in the back garden of a home in Kentucky. The beast (not pictured) was snapped by amateur hunter Kenny Mahoney. "It looked like it had the outline of a head, and gorilla type shoulders, and then [it had its] arms crossed," the Daily Telegraph reported him as telling local news station WAVE-TV . "One of the explanations my brother-in-law said [was that] it may be [that] a garbage bag blowed (sic) up in there, but [looking at] all the smashed over vegetation in there, I really don't know. I have no idea what it is." The sighting is the latest in a run of recent encounters with ostensibly mythical monsters, including the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster and a mythical goat-sucking dog. Ordinary folk have reported seeing extraordinary creatures. Monstrous liaisons have occurred around the world and here in the UK. One incident has even been caught on video camera Such stories clearly have nothing to do with the fact we have just been through the so-called 'silly season', where fantastical tales and implausible fancies are passed off by the media as hard news. And in any case, one glimpse at such deeply convincing testimony and indisputable photographic evidence would surely win over even the most extreme sceptic... wouldn't it?

Source and more monster pics here:

Saturday 24 October 2009

Was the ‘Nantiinaq’ a bigfoot?

‘Nantiinaq’ sightings and spirits led to desertion of Alaska village By Naomi Klouda

Homer Tribune

Malania Kehl, the eldest resident in Nanwalek, knows many traditional stories that pass along pieces of history, as well as cultural knowledge. Recently, she told of how her birth village, Port Chatham, was deserted after strange haunting by a Nantiinaq, which is reportedly similar to a Sasquatch.

Malania Helen Kehl, Nanwalek’s eldest resident, is frequently called upon around the village to impart her memories of how life used to be on this southern-most tip of the Kenai Peninsula.Among her remembrances are medicines used to heal the sick and ways of preserving sea lion meat in barrels for winter. She also is one of the last to tell the ghostly story of how the village of Port Chatham came to be deserted; why the abandoned town was shunned, and those who once lived there vowed never to return. Malania was born Jan. 25, 1934 at Port Chatham, then a small village founded at the edge of a peaceful moorage. The village once offered shelter for many people, including Capt. Nathaniel Portlock’s ship on his 1786 Alaska expedition. But when Malania was a baby, the family abruptly moved away from Chatham, leaving the house and every board of its frame behind. What frightening situation caused John and Helen Romanoff to take their children and flee to Nanwalek? “We left our houses and the school, and started all new here,” Malania said in a recent interview, speaking in her traditional Sugt’stun through translator Sally Ash. “There was plentiful land here for gardening and people. My parents built a house on the beach.” What had frightened Malania’s parents hadn’t been a single event. Over a “long period of time,” a nantiinaq (Nan-te-nuk) – or big hairy creature – was reportedly terrorizing villagers. And Malania also told of the spirit of a woman dressed in draping black clothes that would come out of the cliffs. “Her dress was so long she would drag it,” Malania said. “She had a very white face and would disappear back into the cliffs.” The goose-bumped terror felt when people encountered these spirits was nothing compared to what happened to Malania’s godfather, Andrew Kamluck. He was logging in 1931, when someone or something hit him over the head with a piece of log-moving equipment. The blow reportedly killed him instantly. Malania isn’t the only one to tell of strange events at Port Chatham. Port Graham Elder, Simeon Kvasnikoff, said he remembers when nantiinaq was blamed for the disappearance of a gold miner.

“This one guy over there had a little place where he was digging for gold,” Kvasnikoff said. “He went up there one time and never came back. No one found any sign of him.”

Another story recounted the experience of a sawmill owner named Tom Larsen, who had a job cutting wood for the old fish traps. He told of spotting nantiinaq on the beach once. After going back to his house to get his gun, he returned to the beach and “the thing looked at him,” Kvasnikoff said. For some reason, Larsen decided against firing a shot.

In an April 15, 1973 issue of the Anchorage Daily News, a feature article told of the abandoned cannery town of Portlock near Port Chatham. The writer had learned the story during an evening spent with the school teacher and his wife at English Bay (Nanwalek) while on a boat trip.

The story is told:

“Portlock began its existence sometime after the turn of the century as a cannery town. In 1921, a post office was established there, and for a time the residents, mostly natives of Russian-Aleut mix, lived in peace with their picturesque mountain-and-sea setting.”

According to the ADN story, sometime in the beginning years of World War II, rumors began to seep along the Kenai Peninsula that things were not right in Portlock. Men from the cannery town would reportedly go up into the hills to hunt Dall sheep and bear, and never return. Worse yet, sometimes stories would circulate about mutilated bodies that were swept down into the lagoon, torn and dismembered in a way that bears could not, or would not, do.

“Tales were told of villagers tracking moose over soft ground. They would find giant, man-like tracks over 18 inches in length closing upon those of the moose, the signs of a short struggle where the grass had been matted down, then only the deep tracks of the manlike animal departing toward the high, fog-shrouded mountains …”

The article goes on to tell how the fed-up townfolk decided to move en masse, and by 1950, the U.S. Post office had closed there.

Even into more recent times, nantiinaq reports haven’t stopped entirely. A man who prefers to remain anonymous tells his story online at

Though Sasquatches became something of a popular phenomenon in the 1960s and ‘70s in the Lower 48, the nantiinaq in Sugt’stun culture has been around for a long time. According to the culture, he might be a different kind of creature, a tragic half-man, half-beast who wasn’t always in this condition. He perhaps used to be fully human.

Elder Nick Tanape said he doesn’t discredit the stories about nantiinaq, but says he’s never seen one. “I think there’s something to them,” he said. Malania said that, once her family moved to Nanwalek, the nantiinaq stayed far away and left them in peace. It didn’t follow them, and for that they were grateful. She grew up, raised 13 children and remains one of the few regional elders who can pass on the old traditions.Malania – a favorite among the young people of Nanwalek, especially when she tells stories – learned many things from her grandmother, who was a traditional healer.


Friday 23 October 2009

The Lough Bran (or Brin) Monster

Lough Bran or sometimes called Brin, is northeast of Carrick-on-Shannon in Ireland. It is quite isolated .

It is said to be home to a monster possibly a giant eel or reptile. The stories go back some way in time:

IN W. R. Le Fanu's Seventy Years of Irish Life :

"The dreadful beast, the wurrum—half fish, half dragon—still survives in many a mountain lake—seldom seen, indeed, but often heard. Near our fishing quarters in Kerry there are two such lakes, one the beautiful little lake at the head of the Blackwater River, called Lough Brin, from Brin or Bran as he is now called, the dreadful wurrum which inhabits it. The man who minds the boat there speaks with awe of Bran; he tells me he has never seen him, and hopes he never may, but has often heard him roaring on a stormy night. On being questioned what the noise was like, he said it was like the roaring of a young bull.'

An anonymous person said the beast had "two big eyes in his forehead".

It was reported in the 1940’s to like a giant eel, in excess of four metres in length.

Then in 1954 farmer Timothy O'Sullivan spotted what he at first assumed were two ducks in the lake as he went to retrieve his cows. Soon the objects in the water began to rise higher up until it was apparent they were fins about two feet tall and two feet wide. There was twelve feet of water between them and they rose and fell four times at a distance of 60 yards from shore. O'Sullivan ran to fetch his shotgun but they were gone upon his return.

In the summer 1979 2 farmers saw a 10 foot long reptilian creature swimming across the lough.

All the sightings seem to describe a large eel. There have long been stories in Celtic Myth of horse eels, giant eels with manes. This fits in with many other lake monster sightings.

There is also this strange tale: On the 9th of August 1996, a John Redman was driving his truck on the road by Lough Brin at about 21:00 'when he noticed to his left what appeared to be a big truck upside-down in the field. However as he drove by, he saw that the "truck" had a string of bright lights pointing upwards. He thought this very strange, but was also frightened by this unusual appearance, and decided to carry on driving. He made no attempt to check up on this situation. He thought a lot about it and told a few people. He describes that the "truck" was about 30 feet across with protuberances sticking out of it merged with the array of lights.'

So lake monsters aren’t the only thing strange around Lough Brin or Bran. It is curious how areas where lake creatures are reported that people report other strange phenomena. Maybe it is the atmosphere around the

lakes ? Something to think about isn’t it?

Thursday 22 October 2009

what can influence cryptid sightings? sea serpent example.

I was wondering if there was any connection between these sea serpents sightings in 1780 and the discovery of dinosaur bones the same year.

Excerpt from the log of the ship General Coole, around 1780: "A very large snake passed the ship. It was 3 or 4 feet in circumference. The back was of light color and the belly yellow." - S.H. Saxby, Master Mariner, Bouchurch, Isle of Wright.

In May 1780, Captain George Little of the frigate Boston, in Broad Bay off the Maine coast, had an encounter that was described in Bernard Heuvelmans’ book In the Wake of Sea Serpents:

. “ I was lying in Round Pond, in Broad Bay, in a public armed ship. At sunrise, I discovered a large serpent, or sea monster, coming down the bay. It was on the surface of the water. The cutter was manned and armed. I went myself in the boat. We proceeded after the serpent. When within a hundred feet, the mariners were ordered to fire on him. Before they could make ready, the serpent dove. He was not less than from forty five to fifty feet in length; the largest diameter of his body, I should judge, fifteen inches, his head nearly the size of that of a man, which he carried four or five feet above the water. He wore every appearance of a common black snake.”

In 1780 there was a discovery of an enormous fossil reptile in underground quarries near the Dutch town of Maastricht. Nineteen years later, Faujas published a description of the reptile. He classified it as a giant crocodile. Today, the fossil is identified as a mosasaur, an extinct marine reptile. He wasn’t far wrong in his description.

Could Sea Serpent sightings and other reported cryptid sightings be influenced by finds of fossils ? Could thunderbirds have been reported after the fossils of flying lizards were discovered? It is just a thought that sometimes we ought to look at influences outside of sightings such as the media and folklore when looking at reported sightings of unknown animals. Sometimes there is truth in folklore and sometimes people see what they want to see. It is certainly something I will take into account when interviewing witnesses in future. It was always there at the back of my mind but a reminder is always a good thing.

Some sea serpent tales from the 1500’s onwards(can also be viewed in HTML through google)

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Big Cat Sightings in Cambridgeshire

There was a spate of big cat sightings in Cambridgeshire in September. Here are some of the newspaper reports:

Fen tiger sighting in Grafham 23/09/2009.

A COUPLE on a camping holiday in Grafham have told how they had the shock of their life when they spotted a puma walking towards them. Steven Armstrong, 53, said he was enjoying a walk with his wife around Grafham Water on Saturday, September 12 at 5.30pm when he spotted a big cat. The animal was making its way along Church Road towards the couple. Mr Armstrong told The Hunts Post: "It was about 50 yards away.

"It was walking down the road as bold as punch. It did not seem to react to us or even seem bothered by us." The couple, who were staying at Grafham Water Caravan Club in Church Road, said it was definitely a big cat and it ran off as a car approached. Mr Armstrong added: "I've never seen anything like it before. "There is no doubt in my mind that it was a big cat. It looked like a large sandy coloured Labrador but it moved like a cat, swinging its tail up in the air behind it. "It was definitely not a dog - it looked similar to a puma or a young lion." A spokesman at the caravan club said, apart from this big cat sighting, she was unaware of any others.Mr Armstrong, who is a college lecturer from Halifax, said the sighting would not put him off coming back to the area. He said: "We were excited about the sighting and feel privileged to have seen this amazing animal. "I'm sure we could come back here for the next 20 years and probably never see it again."

Huntingdonshire is no stranger to big cats sightings - especially of the so-called Fen Tiger, which has been reported in Graveley, St Ives, Papworth, Alconbury and Yelling.

However, the Armstrongs said they were unaware of the previous reports until they returned home and found articles publish on The Hunts Post's website. Back in May golfer Eddie Smith reported seeing a puma run past him on the 11th fairway at Abbotsley Golf Course. At the time the 62-year-old of Bell Lane, Fenstanton said the animal was about the size of a Labrador.Mr Armstrong said: "I was gobsmacked when I read the article, as the golfer confirmed everything I had seen. "I'm not bothered if people believe me or not, I know what I saw."

INFORMATION: Have you got a picture or video of the Huntingdonshire big cat? If so, e-mail or phone 01480 411481 and ask to speak to the newsroom.

Fresh big cat sightings in Hunts 30/09/2009

ANOTHER mysterious 'big cat' sighting in Grafham has led to apprehension that there is more than one of the animals roaming around west Huntingdonshire. Keith Gowen, of Inhams Way, contacted The Hunts Post after he spotted what he believed to be a puma from his bedroom window on September 2 at 5.15pm. He said the animal was walking close to the village's football pitch in the direction of Van Diemens Way. Concerned for the safety of a group of children playing cricket nearby, Mr Gowan phoned the police.
The 65-year-old retired IT manager, who worked for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "You expect to see foxes but not a puma. "The question must be asked on how safe are we in Grafham if this big cat is choosing to roam down the roads rather than the fields which circle the village" Last week The Hunts Post reported how Steven Armstrong, a 53-year-old college lecturer from Halifax, had seen a big cat in Church Road, Grafham. Both men described the animal as being a large sandy coloured Labrador that had a tail like a cat. Just down the road - in Easton - an image of a 'small wild cat' was captured on a camera phone. This has led to speculation that the cats are breeding in the area. Jennifer Hyde, of The Lane, snapped what she believed was a young 'big cat' in a field behind her house at 3.40pm on Saturday (September 26). She said: "I estimate it must have been about 24in high at the shoulder. "There have been so many documented sightings of this animal that it must surely be breeding in the area. Perhaps this was a young one. "It had some white markings at the back of its legs and stripes round the tail."
Mrs Hyde, who is retired and has lived in Easton for 24 years, said her main concern was that there is another predator with its eye on her chickens. Although some people say the 'big cat' or Fenland Tiger is a myth, Cambridgeshire police take sightings seriously.
Pc Paul Carter of the rural community action team said the majority of sightings have been west of the A1 corridor from Sawtry to the Northamptonshire border.
Between September 1, 2008 and Tuesday (Wednesday 29) Cambridgeshire police had received 121 reports of big cat sightings. Pc Carter said: "As these sightings are coming from all over the county it would suggest there is more than one big cat in the area and there are different types of them at various ages." He added that people should not feel apprehensive as there had been no reports of any attacks.

Article with video of the police officer mapping the big cat sightings:

There is a zoo and a wildlife park in Cambridgeshire….I wonder if they are missing anything?

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Scientist says Nessie cannot be a plesiosaur

See this article from 2006:

Scientist pours cold water on Loch Ness dinosaur theory

02 November 2006 By SHÂN ROSS

A LOCH Ness Monster theory which suggests the creature is a living dinosaur has been dealt a blow by scientists. Many believe that Nessie is a plesiosaur, a long-necked marine reptile which sought refuge in Scotland's second-largest freshwater loch when most of the species died out 160 million years ago. But Dr Leslie Noe, a palaeontologist at Cambridge University's Sedgwick Museum, discovered that the plesiosaur would have been unable to lift its head up, swan-like, out of the water. Most scientists believe the creatures became extinct with the other dinosaurs, but some insist it is possible that after the last Ice Age, some plesiosaurs may have been stranded in the 23-mile-long loch, which was connected to the sea. The plesiosaur has a prominent small head on a long neck and a round body, and is the most popular explanation for mythical Nessie.

Dr Noe, whose findings are reported in this month's New Scientist, told experts at a meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology in Canada, that plesiosaurs used their long necks to reach down and feed on soft-bodied animals living on the sea floor. By examining fossils of a plesiosaur, Muraenosaurus, and by calculating the articulation of the neck bones, Dr Noe concluded the neck was flexible and could move most easily when pointing down. Dr Noe said: "The neck was a feeding tube, collecting soft-bodied prey. The osteology of the neck makes it certain the plesiosaur could not lift its head up, swan-like, out of the water." However, the findings did not surprise George Edwards, one of the world's foremost authorities on the monster, who took a photograph of a unknown "creature" with a black hump he spotted on the loch in June 1986.Mr Edwards, from Drumnadrochit, who runs Loch Ness cruises on his boat, the Nessie Hunter, said: "Most people don't support the dinosaur theory. The creature is some entirely new species. When you consider that every year in the open seas thousands of new species are discovered, this is the most likely explanation. But there's no doubt that a creature, one with a single hump, which most people report, does exist." THE earliest reference to Nessie was in the life story of St Columba who, in August 565, apparently fought off a monster from Loch Ness that was attacking a Pict. The first modern sighting was on 2 May, 1933, when the Inverness Courier reported a couple seeing "an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface". The London newspapers sent reporters to Scotland and a circus offered a £20,000 reward for the capture of the monster.source:

If the surgeons photo is a fake and Nessie does not stick it's head out of the water in this fashion then it could still be a plesiosaur. However It is unlikely . I know most science is guesswork and we all set out to prove our theories are right and then someone comes along and tries to prove the theory wrong...thats how it works in academic life... but I feel this scientist may be right . The neck of an elasmosaurus is ridiculously long and would be difficult to hold upright. I would love nessie and other lake monsters to be living dinosaurs but sadly it is unlikely and more likely that they are either an unknown creature or a giant eel or huge fish. Still would be exciting to find the answer though.......anyone got a large fishing net they are not using?

Monday 19 October 2009

How not to hunt Cryptids?

This article may be tongue in cheek I don't know . It sounds to me like a "How not to hunt Cryptids lesson":

Was the Lambton Worm a Lake cryptid?

The tale of the Lambton Worm is about a legendary cryptid in what is, at the moment, my local area. Durham also has lots of sightings of big cats.

The tale is set in the time of the crusades around the river Wear in Durham UK.

John Lambton, the young heir to Lambton Hall, was fishing on the river Wear one Sunday morning, instead of being at church. Something large started to tug on the hook so he reeled it in. It was a black worm like creature, which was only small, but twisted and coiled with great power. It had needle sharp teeth and seemed to secrete a sticky slime. Cursing, he went to throw the creature back when an old man appeared from behind him, he looked at what Lambton had caught, and warned Lambton not to throw the creature back into the river. "It bodes no good for you but you must not cast it back into the river, you must keep it and do with it what you will." The old man walked away.

John Lambton threw the creature into an ancient well on the road back to the hall.

John Lambton grew up and went off to the crusades. The water in the well where he had thrown the creature became poisoned, strange venomous vapours were seen rising out of the well, and village gossip surmised that the well had been cursed, and that something unworldly lived in its depths. When the worm reached maturity, it climbed out of the well and wrapped itself three times around a rocky island in the middle of the river.

The villagers saw the creature and called it a dragon.The dragon had no legs or wings, but a thick muscled body that rippled as it moved. Its head was large and its gaping maw bristled with razor sharp teeth, venomous vapours trailed from its nostrils and mouth as it breathed. The creature became hungry and started to rampage around the countryside, always returning to its hill or Worms Rock in the river Wear. It took small lambs and sheep and ate them whole, and it tore open cows udders with its razor teeth to get at the milk, which it could smell from miles away. Villagers who were brave enough to tackle the beast were crushed and killed.

Eventually when the dragon approached Lambton Hall, the locals had heard about it and were ready for its coming. They filled a large stone trough with warm milk and the creature plunged into the trough and drained it dry. Now full the worm returned to its river abode.This became a ritual that went on for seven years. The dragon stopped killing the cows and the sheep and only ventured up to the hall for its daily offering of milk. As the years passed the trail became marked by a path of dark slime and the life around the area returned to normal. Occasionally people would come and try and slay the worm but didn’t survive and the worm continued.

John Lambton returned from the crusades a battle hardened knight. When he heard of the worm he devised plan to kill the beast. He went to the wise woman who lived in Brugeford to gain her advice. She told him that the plight of the village was his fault and that it was his duty to remedy the situation: “You and you alone can kill the worm, go to the blacksmith, and have a suit of armour wrought with razor sharp spear heads studded throughout its surface. Then go to the worm's rock and await its arrival. But mark my words well, if you slay the beast you must put to death the first thing that crosses your path as you pass the threshold of Lambton Hall. If you do not do this then three times three generations of Lambtons will not die in their beds.” John swore an oath to uphold this. He then went to the local blacksmith and had him forge a suit of armour embedded in double-edged spikes. The next day he engaged in battle with the worm in the river. Every time the dragon tried to embrace him it cut itself to ribbons on the spikes, so that pieces of its flesh were sliced off and floated down the river on a crimson tide. Eventually the worm grew so weak that he could despatch it with one heavy sword blow to its head.

He then let out three blasts on his bugle to tell of his victory, and as a signal for the servants to release his favourite hound from the house to complete his vow. Unfortunately the servants forgot in the commotion and joy, and as John passed over the threshold of the hall his father rushed out to greet him. Dismayed John blew another blast on his horn and the servants released the hound, which John killed with one sweeping blow from his sword. But it was too late, the vow was broken and for generations after none of the Lambtons died in their beds. It is said that the last one died while crossing over Brugeford Bridge over a hundred and forty years ago.

Songs and poems about the worm live on. There are two hills one called Worm Hill and another called Penshaw Hill both supposed to be the worm’s home. Penshaw Hill as markings around it which from a distance could be where a large worm curled but are more likely to be man made as at one time it was a fort.

What I find so interesting about the story is the description could be any water cryptid, serpentine and black ,reaching enormous size. Could there have been some truth in the story and a cryptid was living in the River Wear at one time? Just a thought for Monday.