Wednesday 31 July 2019

The Minhocão ,monster worm ,

The Minhocão , giant worm or folktale?

Anyone who has seen the film “Tremors” will be thinking is there some truth in this ?
The Minhocão is a creature similar to a huge earthworm that is rumoured to live in the forests of South America. The creature , according to reports, has scaly black skin and a pair of tentacle-like structures protruding from its head. The size of the creature has been reported as being 25 meters (82 ft) long and a meter (3.28 ft) thick. It is supposedly capable of overturning boats, capturing livestock and dragging it under the water, and leaves enormous subterranean trenches in it’s wake.
An article by Auguste de Saint-Hilaire in the American Journal of Science was the first published reference to this creature of southern Brazil. Its name, he said was derived from the Portugese minhoca (earthworm). Sainte-Hilaire recorded several instances, usually at fords of rivers, where livestock were captured by one of these creatures and dragged under the water. Instances he recounted took place at the Rio dos Piloes, Lake Padre Aranda, and Lake Feia, all in the province of Goyaz.
In 1877, when another article appeared about this giant worm, this time for the German publication Zoologische Garten by zoologist Fritz Müller. He provided further information about the creature , including accounts of trenches dug by the subterranean creature which were so large as to divert rivers, and which destroyed entire orchards. This article also included this sighting which took place sometime in the 1840s near the Rio dos Papagaios in Paranà State.
A black woman going to draw water from a pool near a house one morning ... saw a short distance off an animal which she described as being as large as a house moving off along the ground. ... In the same district a young man saw a huge pine suddenly overturned ... he found the surrounding earth in movement, and an enormous worm-like black animal in the middle of it, about twenty-five metres long, and with two horns on its head.
In the same area of the Parania State, the author also noted a testimonial of a boy who stated that he saw a huge worm-like beast about twenty-five meters in length. The boy said that as the worm beast moved along the ground, the surrounding earth shook as well and trees were overturned.In the same article he related that in 1849 Lebino José dos Santos heard tales of a Minhocão which had been found dead near ArapehyUruguay. The creature was found lodged between two rocks. It was reputed to have skin "as thick as the bark of a pine-tree" and was armored with "scales like those of an armadillo." Another was reported to have been seen near LagesBrazil in approximately 1870.
Francisco de Amaral Varella ... saw lying on the bank of the Rio das Caveiras a strange animal of gigantic size, nearly one metre in thickness, not very long, and with a snout like a pig, but whether it had legs or not he could not tell. ... whilst calling his neighbours to his assistance, it vanished, not without leaving palpable marks behind it in the shape of a trench ...
It was also reported an 1878 issue of the Popular Science Monthly that Müller had been told that a fish three feet across was spotted along a river in Brazil. While the person who saw it went to get help, the animal disappeared. The party that rushed to the scene only saw the burrow the animal made in its efforts to escape. Similar disturbances of the soil were later seen about six kilometres away, but this was an anecdote Müller had received from another German who lived in the area. Reports of churned soil and immense burrows had been reported in the region by others and Müller came to the conclusion that they were made by a gigantic lungfish. 
The last account of a Minhocão appears to be from an anonymous newspaper story in 1899: "A Binghamton (N.Y.) soldier, who enlisted in a regiment that was before Santiago, wrote home to his family that a Cuban scout told of a wonderful monster he had encountered in the mountains in the extreme eastern part of the island. It lived near a water course, he said, and burrowed through the earth beneath the stream like an earthworm. It was timid, and when he came suddenly upon it through a jungle of undergrowth it hurried away. In a fleeting glimpse he saw it had a snout like a hog, was covered with scales and, as near as he could judge, was 3 feet in diameter."The Cuban's story was looked upon as a Spanish dream, and no attention was paid to it, though the scout was vehement in his declarations of truthfulness and his statements were backed up by comrades whose homes were near that section and who, while not having seen the animal, had witnessed its trench like burrows. This tangible evidence in the shape of burrows is enough for a claim that dragons are among Uncle Sam's new acquisitions."
Paulino Montenegro in 1866 described a creature in the folklore of Nicaragua called sierpe. This animal was described as "like a large snake," and lived in ponds called chaquites. It sounds very similar to the Minhocão.

No recent reports seem to have been recorded. So is the creature now extinct or was this just another folktale? It sounds like a scary beast to come across but it would be great to have some evidence of it’s existence.

Friday 26 July 2019

Nessie and the Weather

About twenty years ago I got hold of the weather records for the Loch Ness area going back to before the 1940s. Where or how I got them I can't remember or what happened to them .
As it was often said that Nessie sightings took place on warm still days so  I thought I would see if it was true. It could be useful to know when monster hunting.What I did find was that whenever there had been a bad winter there were more sightings at Loch Ness in the following spring and summer.
(Recent freaky weather caused by Global Warming means this is probably no longer relevant but I did come to some conclusions. )

1) The simplest conclusion was that after being stuck indoors all winter,more people were out and about so more sightings happened.
 2) After a hard winter most animals would be a bit lean and need to start storing fat for next winter so would be out foraging more for food and be seen.
3) If cold blooded the warmth of the sun would attract a creature to the surface like the lizards I find sunbathing on my wall in the summer.
4) The affect of warmer conditions on the Loch after a very cold winter caused apparitions to appear there and they were being  seen .

So it would be normal animal behaviour that brought a creature to the surface and more visitors to the Loch would mean more sightings .
 So what do you think ? Is Nessie a creature with  normal behaviour patterns or  an apparition caused by warm weather conditions at the Loch? (As some Nessie sightings have taken place in winter months number 4 may be seen as rubbish by some but there could be a creature and apparitions caused by weather conditions so it cannot be ruled out) .

Wednesday 24 July 2019

New Sonar Reading Showing Nessie?

 LOCH SHOCK Loch Ness boat skipper claims he’s finally found Nessie as sonar image shows ‘25ft monster lurking beneath waves’
Emily Prescott 23 Jul 2019, 12:44
A BOAT skipper claims he's finally found the Loch Ness Monster lurking beneath the waves in Scotland. Mike Bell captured the remarkable sonar image which he reckons shows 25ft-long Nessie. The sonar pictur, taken while he was taking a group of tourists for a trip on Loch Ness on June 27, shows the bottom of the loch, a fish and a long, thin object about 115ft below the surface.
But when the 24-year-old skipper took readings at the same spot the mystery object had vanished.Mike, from nearby Drumnadrochit, said: “I would like to think this is our creature, Nessie."It’s my first year being the skipper in the boat in five months and I’ve never seen it or had something that big on the sonar.
“My dad is the more experienced skipper who has been doing this for a few years and has said he’s never seen it that big before on the sonar. It’s my first sighting of Nessie and I think my dad is a wee bit jealous as he has never seen it.The standard size on the sonar is usually a sharp prick suggesting a small fish. The large line about 35 metres in the water was about 10-25 feet.An object of that size I would think is way too big for the normal species in the loch. It must have been about five or six minutes we spent trying to pick up this creature again.”

Sceptics will see it as  a hoax for building the  tourist trade. I wonder if any other boats picked up any anomalous readings that day ,as that would show something was going on beneath the waves.More evidence would help.

Saturday 20 July 2019

1500 to storm Loch Ness?

'Storm Loch Ness' Hunters plan to find famous monster after Area 51 raid goes viral
Nessie hunters are set to descend on Loch Ness for an overnight raid in a bid to track down the monster.'Storm Loch Ness, Nessie can't hide from us all' kicks off at 3am on September 21, the day after the viral 'Storm Area 51' event.
Almost 1,500 keen huntsmen and women have signed up via Facebook to find Nessie, while 3,000 more are 'interested'. It's believed organisers were inspired by the latest 'Storm Area 51' craze where hunters in the US plan on scouring a special location to find aliens.Alien aficionados will head to a famous Nevada military base which is has been linked with extraterrestrial tales over the years.The man responsible for the Area 51 event has since admitted it was a prank after FBI agents appeared at his door.
If it isn't a joke and people are serious ,a watch on the Loch may prove fruitful with that many people around the Loch armed with cameras or mobile phones. Would like to see it happen but unlikely .

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Llangorse Lake -home to a lake monster or a monster fish?

Llangorse Lake in Wales is a glacial lake about a mile (1.6 km) long and fairly shallow in parts about 10 feet (3 meters ) deep on average but up 29 feet (8.5 metres) at it’s deepest point. It is said in folklore to be the home of monster , the Afanc of Llangorse Lake. The modern nickname for this creature is Gorsey,
The earliest known literary reference to the afanc is in a poem by the 15th century Welsh poet, Lewys Glyn Cothi. An extract reads:
Yr avanc er ei ovyn- The afanc am I, who, sought for, bides
Wyv yn llech ar vin y llyn;- In hiding on the edge of the lake;
O don Llyn Syfaddon vo- Out of the waters of Syfaddon Mere
Ni thynwyd ban aeth yno:- Was be not drawn, once he got there.

There have been sightings of the Afanc in the last century.
In 1987, caravan park owner Mark Tunnicliffe reported seeing the Afanc. He had his two dogs with him , which both started barking at the water. One dog, Iggy, jumped in, and landed on a massive pike. Waterfowl had been e seen being taken by something beneath the water.
Then in 1999, Darren Blake was attacked by a 5-6 foot long pike, which resulted in hospital treatment. See the following article:
Terror from the deep as huge pike takes a bite of water skier
The Birmingham Post Sept 1st, 1999
It was no fishy story for water skier Darren Blake as he found himself under attack from a monster pike. The 31-year-old, from Lichfield, Staffordshire, was on Llangorse Lake, in the Brecon Beacons, south Wales, and taking a break from the skiing when the 5ft fish struck "It was horrifying. I felt these huge teeth sinking into my foot and pulling me down. I was just so glad to get out of the water in one piece," he said. "I dropped into the water and kicked off my skis. I was treading water when suddenly I felt these teeth bite into me. "I was yanked down and just pulled my foot up. It was really frightening and I shouted 'Get me out of here'. "The water was too dark to see down but everyone told me there were big pike living in the waters. When I got out my foot was in a real mess and there was blood everywhere. "Mr Blake needed stitches to an inch-long gash on the ball of his foot and six V-shaped toothmarks on his sole. "Looking at the size of its bite some fishermen up there think it could have been 5ft or more long," he said. Mr Mike Tunnicliffe, the 30-year-old manager of Lakeside Caravan Park where Mr Blake was staying, said it was the first time he had heard of the fish attacking a person. And Mr Ron Cousins, of the Welsh Federation of Coarse Anglers, said it was rare for such an incident but he added the fish are "killing machines" and will skulk around the water like sharks.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd

Pike can live about 30 years and are predatory carnivorous fish which will eat just about anything. They don’t normally attack people but a fish that large may not see people as a threat or could simply have mistaken the movement for a fish or bird.The largest pike caught by rod in the UK was caught in Llangorse Lake in 1846 by O.Owen and weighed 68lbs. Angling Times has the largest pike on record as being 60lb, but in 2004 a pike mask (skull) of 18 inches was found , estimated to belong to a pike of over 90lb.
So is Gorsey the Afranc a large predatory fish.? The recent encounters would say so. It may be the lake has always been home to various giant pike over the years. There is abundant fish in the lake and it is well known to anglers. I would be wary of having a paddle there in future!

Tuesday 9 July 2019

The Prespa Lake monster ?

The Prespa Lake is a  freshwater lake in southeast Europe, shared by North Macedonia, Albania, Greece.The deepest part is said to be  100 feet deep.A monster has been filmed and photographed in the lake.
 In 2012 at the Greek area of the lake ,fishermen from the village of Nivica caused a sensation by claiming they had seen the monster.It was described like a classic long necked type of creature such as Nessie.
Then five years later The creature was filmed in the Albanian section of the Great Prespa Lake. The footage  appears to show the head and neck of a large creature emerging from the water.It submerges again and disappears.

Most of the locals don't believe that the creature is a monster . They believe  it to be a giant catfish.
 "I remember when a ship sank in Albania, near Mali grad, a lot of children drowned in Prespa Lake. Then I found out that the divers who searched for them saw great catfish," said Sima Jonosk, a Geography professor, according to Daily Star."They were so scared that they stopped the search. I think that it was one of those catfish that the Greek fishermen saw," Jonosk said.
Others believe it was a hoax to attract tourists to the area .Those who saw it swear it was real. The film is the usual unclear quality. What do you think, catfish, hoax or a nessie type creature? Scientists have long said that plesiosaurs would not be able to lift their necks in the way described so not a prehistoric relic but perhaps a new creature. I am inclined towards a hoax as large catfish do not look like the film but are said  to live in the lake. Large catfish are capable of dragging a child under the water and can be enormous in size.They are real monsters .

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Mysterious Somerset

As it’s been Glastonbury festival last weekend I thought I would look at some mysterious tales about the Somerset area.
There are lots of stories of dragons in the Somerset area over the ages so stories of a  dragon  on the Tor would not be out of place. Glastonbury Tor ,a hill topped by a tower, stands out in the landscape and on misty mornings you can imagine being the gateway to another world. Around the sides of the Tor is terracing .It is much weathered but still visible. There are seven terraces cut deep into the hillside. Some say it was used for farming, others that it was part of a maze. Legend whispers  it was where a huge wyrm or dragon wrapped itself around the hill.
Shervage Wood between Crowcombe and Holford was said  to be the haunt of at least one dragon. In one story it was a long dragon hacked to death by a forester from Holford.Another story states two men from Crowcombe engaged a double-headed winged lizard that terrorised the area, winning the battle by forcing the creature to eat burning pitch. Carvings on the benches in the Church of the Holy Ghost show some of the battle.
At Clevedon,  between Dolebury Hill and Cadbury Camp a dragon was reported to guard a secret stash of treasure concealed in this area. The same  story is associated with Castle Neroche south of Taunton where treasure is reputed to hidden around the iron Age Hill Fort. On Castleman’s Hill another dragon is supposed to have been vanquished.   Stapley Farm near Churchstanton, a dragon was killed by a knight and the swinging  of its tail carved out a hollow in a field known as Wormstall.
Kingston St.Mary, near Taunton,a fire-breathing dragon terrorized the region. A local hero rolled a boulder up a hill opposite the dragon’s lair and rolled the boulder down into the dragon’s gaping maw, choking it.
In Low Ham church is a spear supposed to have been used by a local  to kill a dragon that lived in the Athelney Marshes and fed on local livestock.
The village of Aller is reputed to be named after a local hero, John Aller, who slew a dragon. In one version of the story he was poisoned by the creature’s dying breaths, while in another he found a brood of hatchlings in a cave and blocked it up.
After a battle at the hill fort at Norton Fitzwarren, a dragon appeared and began to  devour children and destroying crops. Fulk Fitzwartine fought the creature  and after a long  struggle ,put a spear in its heart and cut off its head. In All Saints Church, a 16th-century rood screen depicts the story.
In Wells the cathedral is built on the area where the villagers were afraid to access seven holy springs because of a wyvern, which was driven away by Bishop Jocelyn. At Wiviliscome  in the late  1820s, when the church was being constructed , the devil riding a green dragon is supposed to have thrown rocks at the reconstruction work until driven away by St. Andrew.
Then there are mysterious animals.
The book  ‘Unexplained Phenomena: A Rough Guide Special’ (2000) by John Michell, Bob Rickard and Robert J M Rickard, refer to a Black Dog that is thought to have haunted the road between St Audries and Perry Farm. They quoted their source as the Somerset Volume of County Folklore. The Dog is thought to have been witnessed by two people in 1960 shortly before their deaths.
There is also a  black dog  thought to be attached to Gold Hill in Batcombe, described as having a chain around its neck. Locals suggest that the dog’s owner is buried  in woodland nearby and the dog haunts the spot looking for him or her.
Alien Big cats are also common in Somerset.
On 22 August, 2001 the BBC News website published an article entitled ‘Lioness’ spotted by motorists’ Motorists at a Somerset petrol station raised the alarm when they spotted a “big cat” in an adjoining field. Witnesses said the animal crouching in the grass near the A38 in Churchill looked like a lioness. About 15 people reported seeing  the animal and they were all convinced it was a big cat. Avon and Somerset police said they had received several calls about the beast and their Yatton officer was keeping a watch in the area.The RSPCA were also investigating the reports. The local Big Cat group said sightings of alien big cats  were thought to be the offspring of big cats let into the wild illegally in Devon nearly 15 years ago.
An  article entitled ‘Hunt is on for the Beast of Badcox’ appeared in the Frome & Somerset Standard on 7th September 2006 and concerns a big cat that was sighted in Victoria Park, Frome.
In September 2007 an unidentified creature nicknamed the Beast of Banwell was seen by Helen Stokes whilst she walked her dog.

There are also UFO sightings and ghosts in many public houses reported. Somerset is a mysterious area indeed.