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|•||Famous writers just have more readers 03/09/2014|
|•||Pretend chef on five morning TV shows 03/04/2014|
|•||Image of "Aurora from Space" going viral is a hoax 02/28/2014|
|•||Supposed Ghost Caught on Securtiy Cam at Britain Pub 02/22/2014|
|•||Anyone up for a challenge? 02/20/2014|
|•||Bruno Gröning Documentary Film 02/15/2014|
|•||Science, Pseudoscience, and Crap 02/04/2014|
|•||Fake Snow 02/03/2014|
|•||Tapeworms ≠ Weight Loss 02/01/2014|
|•||NASA sued for failing to investigate Martian Fungus 01/30/2014|
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Status: Mystery Moose (existence undetermined)Curtis MacDougall, in his 1940 work Hoaxes, briefly mentions a creature named the Specter Moose. He writes: Unfortunately that's all he says about the Specter Moose. But I've always been intrigued by this mysterious creature, and recently when I decided to expand and improve my Gallery of Tall-Tale Creatures, I resolved to find out once and for all what the Specter Moose is.
A web search turned up nothing except one other person who had also come across MacDougall's mention of the creature and was similarly intrigued. A search through various library research databases didn't turn up anything. Google Book search also came up dry. But finally I got some results when I tried newspaperarchive.com, which is an archive of old newspapers.
The Specter Moose appears to have been a moose version of Moby Dick. It was a huge, whitish-gray moose, apparently immune to bullets, who terrified hunters by chasing them around. As such, it's probably less of a tall-tale creature and more of a cryptozoological legend.
On November 14, 1900 the Minnesota Freeborn County Standard reported: The Specter Moose returned to the headlines on November 19, 1911, at which time the Texas Galveston Daily News gave this summary of reports coming out of Maine: Finally he reared his antlers again in 1938 when news wires carried this blurb (which appeared on March 15 in the Pennsylvania Charleroi Mail): After that the Specter Moose never again seems to have been seen. At least, no sightings made it into papers. Perhaps the big guy died of old age. It's quite possible, of course, that a white moose (or more than one) was wandering around Maine. The size of the creature is the real question. My guess is that Maine hunters may really have seen a white moose, but then exaggerated its size, as hunters have a tendency to do.
Update: To put the Specter Moose in perspective, Mooseworld.com reports that the largest moose on record was an Alaskan bull moose that weighed 1,697 lbs. Other sites report that this record moose had an antler spread of 6 ½ feet. The Specter Moose, at 2500 lbs and with an antler spread of over ten feet, would easily have beaten this record.
Status: Status: Taxidermical creationI received this email from Alex Wright (of Glasgow): The guy selling this on eBay (or trying to sell it... eBay seems to have cancelled the auction) claims that he found the "cryptid creature" washed up on a beach in Tampa, Florida. He writes: "I guarantee that this creatures flesh, teeth, jaw and skull are REAL 100% once living, organic flesh and bones." In other words, the flesh, teeth, jaw and skull are all real, but from separate creatures put together by taxidermical arts. Still, it looks like a well-made monster. I wouldn't mind having it on display in my office. (Oh, and that chupacabra head Alex referred to... I assume he's talking about this picture of an alien head taken by artist Charlie White.)
Status: HoaxHans Mobius, the 72-year-old president of the Erie County Farm Bureau, claims that last week he saw Bigfoot wandering around on his horse farm in western New York. And he has the pictures to prove it. Here's how the sighting happened: I don't think I'm going out on a limb if I say that this is an obvious hoax, and such an amateurish one that it's hardly worth adding to my page of Bigfoot hoaxes. And yet it's getting news coverage. Mobius claims that if it is a hoax, then someone is playing a hoax on him. But I have a suspicion that Mobius is in on it since, as Jeffrey Meldrum (a biology professor at Idaho State University) points out, the guy in the gorilla suit looks like he's posing for the camera.
Here's a short video I shot at Loch Ness, showing the Museum of Hoaxes group aboard the Nessie Hunter on Loch Ness. It's not a thrilling video, but unfortunately it's the only one I took the entire trip. Most of the time it never occurred to me to use the movie option on my digital camera, because in the past videos I've taken have ended up sitting in my hard drive never viewed. But I just realized how easy it is to upload videos to YouTube and share them. If I had realized this while in Scotland, I would have taken more of them. Oh well, next time. In the video pay attention to the voice of the tour guide whom you can hear giving a running commentary over the ship's PA system. He sounded just like Sean Connery. (That's actually why I decided to switch to movie mode, so I could record his voice.) Also, the two guys on the far left in the initial scene were not part of our group, but everyone else was.
Status: PareidoliaSpaceweather.com reports that the Loch Ness Monster has been spotted... on the sun. Check out this picture taken by astrophotographer Gary Palmer of Los Angeles. It does look kind of like a serpent, and by the standards of proof applied to blurry images of Loch Ness, that means it must be a sun serpent! (Apparently the dark shapes are really solar filaments, "relatively cool, dense gas suspended above the surface of the Sun.") (via The Anomalist)
Status: Stuff to buyI've asked my wife to buy me these footprint impressions from a crippled Sasquatch for my birthday. (I'll be 38 in June.) I think they would look great hanging on the wall in my office, across from my jackalope, and above my magicshelf. I also like the fact that one gets "Research documentation by Dr. Krantz included at no additional charge."
I found the link to the Sasquatch footprint casts via The Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society, a fascinating site that I've become a regular visitor to.
And on the subject of cryptozoological curiosities, also check out these cryptozoological action figures. I already own the Bigfoot Action Figure that comes with a footprint stamp, but I'd like to have a Jersey Devil and Chupacabra as well.
And finally, there are a whole range of cryptozoologically-themed beers one can collect (and drink), including Bigfoot Barleywine-style Ale, Loch Ness Monster Ale, Yeti Imperial Stout, El Chupacabra's Bock, Jackalope Canyon Ale, and Crop Circle Beer (which doesn't really have anything to do with cryptozoology, but I thought I'd include it in the list anyway).
Status: Interesting theoryAccipiter beat me to this story, posting it in the forum earlier today, but it's worth reposting here for the benefit of those who read the site via RSS (or those who don't check out the forum). Scottish paleontologist Neil Clark has come up with a new theory about Nessie's true identity. He suggests that Loch Ness's most famous resident is (or rather was) an elephant.
His theory goes like this: A number of circuses visited the Loch Ness area in the early 1930s (when Nessie mania began, as I note on my Loch Ness hoaxes page). The circuses let their elephants swim in the Loch. So perhaps some people saw these swimming elephants and mistook them for sea serpents.
It's an interesting theory, and plausible. Though it still seems a bit more likely that the rise in Nessie sightings during the 1930s had more to do with the completion of the road along the loch's north shore, and consequent rise in tourism to the area.
And let's not forget the rival theory that sea serpents are really whale penises. (Although the whale-penis theory can't explain Nessie, unless a whale got loose in the loch.)
Status: AdvertisementHere's an ad for McDonalds featuring the Loch Ness Monster (or one of her cousins). I think the language they're speaking is Polish. (via Ceticismo Aberto)
Status: Undetermined (but I'm pretty sure it's not a sasquatch)The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization has posted pictures of a weird figure recently spotted by a hiker on Silver Star Mountain in Washington state. To me the figure looks like another hiker. But the Bigfoot believers are convinced it's a sasquatch. As they note:
The photos are inconclusive, but they are potentially relevant. The figure you see could be a sasquatch. The silhouette is comparable to the lanky silhouette in the Marble Mountains footage. It also looks similar to some eyewitness sketches. As in the Marble Mountains footage , there's nothing in the outline to indicate that it's another person (except for the upright posture).
Maybe it was a guy walking around up there in a Bigfoot costume. In which case, I would have to add it to my list of Bigfoot hoaxes.
Status: RealI know of many high schools named after Washington, Lincoln, or other famous characters from U.S. history, but as far as I'm aware, there's only one Big Foot High School. It's located in Walworth, Wisconsin. However, it's not named after the Bigfoot monster. Instead, it's named after an Indian Chief:
Big Foot Union High School is named after the Potawatomi Indian Chief Big Foot who lived along the banks of Geneva Lake until his tribe was relocated by the United States government in 1836. In fact, Geneva Lake was originally known as Big Foot Lake until a New York surveyor, John Brink, renamed it.
I can't find any reference to the Bigfoot monster on the school's website. I'm betting they try to downplay that connection. Still, it would be pretty cool to tell people you go to Bigfoot High.
Status: Interesting theoryIt's long been argued that when people report seeing sea serpents, they might actually be seeing floating logs, strange waves, or shadows on the water, and mistaking these things for sea serpents. Now Dr. Charles Paxton has come up with an interesting extension of this theory. He argues that people might also be misidentifying whale penises as sea serpents. He presents this theory in the current issue of the Archives of Natural History. As an example he uses the case of an eighteenth-century missionary named Hans Egede who reported a sighting of a sea serpent, and drew a picture of the creature. Paxton demonstrates that Egede's picture closely resembles what a whale's aroused penis rising from the water might look like. The abstract of Paxton's paper is as follows:
A re-evaluation of the “most dreadful monster” originally described by the “Apostle of Greenland” Hans Egede in 1741 suggests that the missionary’s son Poul probably saw an unfamiliar cetacean. The species seen was likely to have been a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), a North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) or one of the last remaining Atlantic grey whales (Eschrichtius robustus) either without flukes or possibly a male in a state of arousal.
So if Egede mistook a whale penis for a sea serpent, it's logical to assume others might also have done so. This theory has the ring of truth to it.
Status: Hoax (part of a viral marketing campaign)Russian geologist Arkady Simkin claims to have participated in an oil-surveying expedition to Northern Siberia that found an enormous, skyscraper-size creature buried in the ice. He gives the following description of the creature (which he refers to as Taurus Major) on his website: The animal appears to be a huge quadruped with horns much like a bull. In fact it looks to be a hybrid of a bull, woolly mammoth and a rhino – if such a thing existed. But its size is truly colossal. The horns are immense in dimension and protrude from the head with incredible length. The body is covered with a combination of coarse fur and what can best be described as ‘body armor’ (like an American armadillo) – protects its enormous joints and head.
What makes Simkin's site interesting (and I'm referring to Simkin as a real person, though I doubt he is) is the movie and radio interview that he's posted on the site. The movie is pretty impressive and indicates that someone spent some money to produce it. The radio interview, by contrast, is fun to listen to, but is obviously scripted.
I'm taking it as a given that the ice giant is a hoax, but I have no idea who's behind it. Maybe it's a publicity stunt for a book, movie, or video game. I'm sure that we'll find out soon enough. The name Arkady may be an allusion to Arkham from the work of H.P. Lovecraft. The Taurus Major creature itself also seems very Lovecraftian. (Thanks to Darrell for the link)
Update: It's part of a viral marketing campaign for a new Playstation game called Shadow of the Colossus, which involves hunting and killing giant creatures. The website giantology.typepad.com, supposedly about "the mythology and culture of giants throughout the ages of humanity," is also part of this same marketing campaign. The giantology site has been hosting footage showing the skeleton of a giant uncovered on a beach in India by the tsunami. Quite a few people have linked to this footage, but it's all part of the same marketing effort.