Monday 28 March 2022

UK has a giant spider

 The Raft Spider is as large as the palm of a  human hand:

Almost extinct but now making a comeback.

Friday 25 March 2022

Monstrous Fish


Lake monster or monstrous fish

An article caught my eye about a very large fish caught in Missouri.


Indeed, the biggest Missouri game fish of any species came out of Table Rock Lake in 2015, when Andy Belobraydic snagged a 140-pound, 9-ounce monster that took him half an hour to reel in.Belobraydic said the record paddlefish was nearly 6 feet long and measured almost 4 feet around its belly.

Despite its size, there are quite possibly are even bigger fish cruising Missouri waters, according to Andrew Branson, Fisheries Program specialist with Missouri Department of Conservation.

He said there are only five species of native Missouri fish that can grow to weigh 100 pounds or more. It's possible any of these species could eclipse Belobraydic's huge paddlefish to become the biggest fish ever caught in Missouri.

·         Paddlefish: The largest official record nationwide is a 144-pound fish from Kansas. (There's an anecdotal report of a 198-pound fish in Iowa.)

·         Alligator gar: The world record is 279 pounds. (Anecdotal reports suggest they can grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh as much as 350 pounds.)

·         Lake sturgeon: The largest official record is a 240-pound fish from Wisconsin.

·         Flathead catfish: The world record is 123 pounds. (There are reports of another fish weighing 139 pounds, 14 ounces.)

·         Blue catfish: The world record is 143 pounds. (There are anecdotal reports of fish up to 150 pounds or more.)

"It’s quite possible that fish larger than state and world records have been caught but just not officially recorded," Branson said.

Read full story here :

There is a legend of  a river  monster in the  Missouri River.

The Dakota nation have a legend about  a Missouri River monster of terrifying appearance called Miniwashitu . Melvin Randolph Gilmore wrote about Miniwashitu in 1921.

“It is said that in the long ago there was a mysterious being within the stream of the Missouri River. It was seldom seen by human beings, and was most dreadful to see. It is said that sometimes it was seen within the water in the middle of the stream, causing a redness shining like the redness of fire as it passed up the stream against the current with a terrific roaring sound. And they say that if this dreadful being was seen by anyone in the daytime anyone who thus saw it soon after became crazy and continued restless and writhing as though in pain until he was relieved by death. And it is said that one time not a very great many years ago this frightful being was seen by a man, and he told how it appeared. He said that it was of strange form and covered all over with hair like a buffalo, but red in color; that it had only one eye in the middle of its forehead, and above that a single horn. Its backbone stood out notched and jagged like an enormous saw. As soon as the man beheld the awful sight everything became dark to him, he said. He was just able to reach home, but he lost his reason and soon after that he died.”

The story goes that it is still in the river. Could this monster be in fact one of the large species of fish ?It could be an Alligator Gar or a Sturgeon both  rather prehistoric looking  and enough to scare anyone not familiar with their appearance .When shocked it is easy to miss attribute aspects to an animal or fish that don’t exist such as a horn .Also eye witness testimony being unreliable it could just be the story got embellished in the telling. There are certainly monsters in the river ,monstrous fish .


Sunday 20 March 2022

The Gowrow - alligator or dragon?


Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Gowrow - alligator or dragon?

Was there a dragon living in Arkansas?

The Gowrow, is said to be a 20-ft long lizard-type monster with tusks, living along rocky ledges and in caves in the Ozarks The Ozark Native American Mythology, described it as a huge, dragon-like monster with tusks. In the 1880s, the gowrow was blamed for the terrorizing rural areas. Fred Allsopp, who edited the Arkansas Gazette was said to have published many stories about it.

In 1897, William Miller supposedly killed a gowrow, but no body was reported to have been found. One story said that when he killed the Gowrow the carcass was lost in shipment to the Smithsonian Institute.

There are a couple of versions of what happened around 1935 when the Gowrow was said to be inhabiting a deep cave in Boone County.:

Sometime prior to 1935, near the village of Self in Boone County, a gowrow allegedly inhabited the Devil's Hole, a deep cave who's mouth opened on the estate of E.J. Rhodes. One day, after hearing a commotion emanating from the Devil’s Hole's underground recesses, Rhodes decided to investigate by lowering himself into its shaft and descending via rope to a ledge 200 feet beneath the opening. Below this point the shaft was too narrow to permit further descent, so Rhodes failed to satisfy his curiosity - which was probably just as well. When some men lowered a flatiron down to the same level that Rhodes had reached, a loud angry hissing noise was plainly heard. They heard it again when they repeated the procedure, this time using a large stone attached to the rope. Moreover, when they drew the rope back up they discovered that the stone was gone. The section of the rope holding it had been completely bitten through!

From Dr Karl P.N. Shuker's book "From Flying Toads to Snakes With Wings" pages 87-88.

There are limestone caves in the area, possibly linked to the Mystic Cave system. Yet an intriguing incident took place during the Nineteenth Century at Devil's Hole Cave, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Yellville. "Deciding to find out what was causing all the commotion down in the cave. E.J. Rhodes, owner of the land containing its (the cave's) mouth, descended by rope to a ledge 200 feet below ground. The shaft was too tight to penetrate farther." "Later, several men probed the cave with a long rope. They tired a flatiron on it and let it down into the hole. At 200 feet, the iron struck something--evidently the ledge discovered earlier by Rhodes. A vicious hissing rose out of the hole, as if from some large, angry animal." "The men pulled up the rope and found that the handle of the iron had been bent, and was even thought by some to show teeth marks. A large stone was then lowered with the rope. Again the angry sibilance, and when the rope was drawn up, the stone was gone, and the rope was neatly bitten off." "Local people call the Devil's Hole Cave entity the Gowrow and believe it to be a gigantic, man-eating lizard. Stories of it have circulated since the turn of the century," i,e, 1900.

From : Weird America by Jim Brandon, E.P. Dutton Books, New YorkN.Y. 1978, page 15)

A Mr V. Randolf, was said to have seen the Gowrow in the Ozark Mountains in 1951.I could find nothing more about this sighting though.

So was the Gowrow a dragon or as many people believe an alligator? I don’t know if alligator s lived in the area at one time but it may have escaped from a travelling circus or zoo. It must have lived for quite a long time though from the 1800’s to 1935. An intriguing question , if it was an alligator, how did it get there and if it wasn’t what did bite through the rope?

Pterodactyls sightings in the 1800’s, hoax or not?

 Due to ill health a repost of a post from June 2009.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Pterodactyls sightings in the 1800’s, hoax or not?

There has often been reported sightings of Pterodacyls in the 1800’s so I thought I would take a look at the evidence.

First there is this:

Pterodactyl sightings were reported here in the 1880s, around the Castaic and Rabbit (Elizabeth today) Lake. Many prominent citizens reportedly witnessed the huge creature with leather-like wings, giant eyes and skunk-like stink to it. It would dive into the lake and come out with fish. Or, fishermen…John Boston

Source: The Signal, Feb. 2, 2007, Santa Clarita, California, “Ghosts. Serial killers. Giant man-eating grizzly bears. Bigfoot. Pterodactyl sightings”.

Folklore says that a monster lived in the lake and said that the Devil himself created the lake and kept one of his pets in it. The stories go as far back as the 1830s when Don Pedro Carrillo abandoned a ranch on the lakeshore after a mysterious fire. He complained of the La Laguna del Diablo. In the 1850’s, Americans settlers claimed the area was haunted. Then, Don Chico Lopez and two other men claimed to witness the ascension of a huge monster with bat-like wings from the lake. Lopez also left his lakeside ranch, claiming that his livestock were disappearing. Rancher Miguel Leonis, who later acquired the lands, also claimed to sight a griffin-like creature over the lake. In 1886, yet another rancher, Don Felipe Rivera, claimed to see a beast over the lake. There have been no sightings reported since the 1880s.

So did the creature die out?

Then there is the story that two cowboys sighted an enormous flying creature in in the Arizona desert in April 1890. The beast had the body of a serpent, immense wings, two clawed feet and the face of an alligator. The men the bird on foot. It took off and landed a few times and the cowboys opened fire with rifles and killed the creature. The of this flying creature was said to have been 160 feet and the body was more than 92 feet long. It was smooth and featherless, more like a bat than a bird, and they cut off a piece of the wing and brought it with them into Tombstone, Arizona. That is the story that was told in an April 1892 issue of the Tombstone newspaper, the Epitaph. It has become a modern legend, or urban myth if you like. The story has been retold since for example in 1930 in the book On the Old West Coast by Horace Bell .Then a writer named Jack Pearl mentioned the story in a magazine called Saga, in the early 1960’s, from what I could ascertain. He not only told the story but also claimed that the Tombstone Epitaph had, in 1886, ( note the diffrence in dates between 1892 and 1886)“published a photograph of a huge bird nailed to a wall. The newspaper said that it had been shot by two prospectors and hauled into town by wagon. Lined up in front of the bird were six grown men with their arms outstretched, fingertip to fingertip. The creature measured about 36 feet from wingtip to wingtip.”The story continued when in September 1963 in an issue of Fate magazine, a writer named H.M Cranmer wrote that the story was true, and the photo had been published and he had seen it in a newspaper, as had others. He would not be the only one who remembered the photo. Researcher and cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson also remembered seeing the photo and in fact, even claimed to have once had a photocopy of it that he loaned to two associates, who lost it. The Epitaph however stated that no photo existed, or if it did, it had not been in their newspaper. More recently, in the late 1990’s, author John Keel said that “I know I saw it! And not only that - I compared notes with a lot of other people who saw it.” Keel believed that he had seen it in one of the men’s magazines (like Saga or True) that were so popular in the 1960’s. Still no photo was found.

Then in the late 1990s, the photo you see at the top of this article appeared on the Internet. Many wondered if it was related to the long-lost photo in any way. As it turns out, however, it was created by Haxan Productions for their "Freaky Links" television show for advertising. So was the original photo a hoax or did it exist? Many people believed it did and that the story was true. There is no way of knowing. My inclination is that it was a hoax but there may have been some truth in the story and the cowboys may have captured and killed some sort of large bat.

Then the story moved to Europe :.

It was reported in an article in The Illustrated London News (February 9, 1856, page 166) that, in 1856, workmen labouring in a tunnel for a railway line, between Saint-Dizier and Nancy, in France, were cutting through Jurassic limestone when a large creature stumbled out from inside it. It fluttered its wings, made a croaking noise and dropped dead. According to the workers, the creature had a 10-foot (3.0 m) wingspan, four legs joined by a membrane, black leathery skin, talons for feet and a toothed mouth. A local student of paleontology identified the animal as a pterodactyl. The report had the animal turn to dust, as soon as it had died. This was a hoax and yet took in many people. The creature apparently leaving no trace and turning to dust would have been a clue to most people.. The tunnel in question was through limestone of similar age to the Solnhofen Limestone, so it presented an opportunity for a great hoax. see a full discussion of it here:

So sadly another hoax. The world of cryptozoology attracts hoaxers, I am afraid, as do many sciences, the cloning sector for one , often makes claims that it cannot substantiate. Still It makes life interesting,so we do not despair :-)