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Cryptozoology
image Quite a few people have emailed me this story. Seems that some kind of ugly beast looking like a "hybrid mutant of something" has been found dead outside of Turner, Maine, apparently hit by a car while chasing a cat. People are speculating that the creature is "Maine's own Chupacabra." Others suggest it might have been either a wolf-dog hybrid or a deformed coyote. Here's a description of it:
What was found dead in Turner over the weekend was described as charcoal gray and weighing between 40 and 50 pounds. It had a bushy tail, an extremely short snout and short ears. There were also curled fangs hanging over the lips.
Unfortunately we'll never know for sure what it was since no DNA tests were done on it. Local animal control officers didn't think it was worth driving all the way out to Turner to inspect it. My guess: It was a Hodag.
Categories: Animals, Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 17, 2006
Comments (22)
Status: Mystery Moose (existence undetermined)
image Curtis MacDougall, in his 1940 work Hoaxes, briefly mentions a creature named the Specter Moose. He writes:
Recent additions to unnatural history, all of which received space on press association wires, include:... a "specter moose" reported to have appeared again in the woods of Maine after having previously been seen in 1901, 1917, and 1932. (p.15)
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 enormous moose that has been the wonder of the sportsmen in northern Maine since 1891 has again been seen, and this time under rather different circumstances from ever before. A bicyclist came close to the monster in the road between Sherman and Macwahoe, and was obliged to abandon his wheel and climb a tree for safety. So he had a near view of the animal, reports the New York Sun.
Every story that comes from the north woods concerning this moose makes him a little bigger than before. It is generally believed that no moose ever killed in Maine, or, so far as is known, anywhere else, has approached in stature or weight, much less in spread of antlers, this specter moose of Lobster lake. He is called the specter moose because of the weird appearance he presents at night, his color being a dirty gray...
The average weight of moose shot in maine is from 800 to 900 pounds, with antlers spreading from 4 to 4 ½ feet, and rarely having more than 8 to 12 points on a side, while the bell, as the appendage under the animal's neck is called, is generally eight to nine inches long. All who have seen the big moose of Lobster lake aver that he must weight at least 2500 pounds, that his antlers spread not less than ten feet, while the bell is declared to be not less than 18 inches long. It is supposed that this monster wandered into Maine from British Columbia, as none approaching his size has ever been seen in Maine before. He is a great traveler, having been reported in almost every part of northern Maine. The hunter who brings him down will win fame and a big pot of money at the same time.
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:
The moose has always been described as of immense size and of a dirty white color, from which latter characteristic it became known as the "specter moose." As often as the stories have been told they have been denied and set down as the fabric of an excited imagination or the result of too much whisky. One skeptic even declared that it was not a moose at all but an old gray woods horse that had been turned out to run at large. Still, the story of the "specter moose," be it fact or fiction, survives, and only this week it was related by an Indian guide who has been piloting a party around Lobster Lake.
Finally he reared his antlers again in 1938 when news wires carried this blurb (which appeared on March 15 in the Pennsylvania Charleroi Mail):
SPECTER MOOSE IS MAINE SENSATION
Always hunters get near enough to be appalled by this gigantic beast, but seldom within range for an effective shot. In the accumulating lore of the forest he is described as ten to fifteen feet high, "dirty white" in color, brandishing immense antlers. Not only his ghostly hue but also his keen scent, acute hearing and seemingly magical power of instant disappearance have built up the legend of a wraith. Skeptics say there "ain't no such critter," but a man named Houston brings the story of the latest visitation.
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.
Categories: Animals, Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Tue Aug 01, 2006
Comments (10)
Status: Status: Taxidermical creation
image I received this email from Alex Wright (of Glasgow):
I found this interesting/ disturbing mummified monstrosity on a blog site I frequent. They're not sure what it is. It has a Fiji Mermaid kind of a vibe about it and it sort of reminds me of that picture of the Mexican gent holding a 'chupacabra' head that did the rounds a few years back (which was a dog head if i remember correctly)... It's an eBay thing as well.
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.)

image image image image
Categories: Cryptozoology, eBay
Posted by Alex on Mon Jun 19, 2006
Comments (26)
Status: Hoax
image Hans 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:
On Saturday, Mobius said he was heading out on his green John Deere Gator to take some photographs of the ash trees in a small forest - so he could try to sell the trees. He positioned himself in front of the woods to take a panoramic photo when, he said, he "saw this thing out of the corner of my eye." The creature, he said, which was about 150 to 200 feet away, seemed to notice him. It turned to one side, then the other.
"It looked like he might have been confused," Mobius said. Then it "zigzagged" its way into the forest and disappeared.
"The way it moved - it kind of loped a little bit," Mobius said.
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.
Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Wed May 31, 2006
Comments (9)
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.

Categories: Cryptozoology, Exploration/Travel, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed May 24, 2006
Comments (4)
Status: Pareidolia
image Spaceweather.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)
Categories: Cryptozoology, Pareidolia, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Apr 20, 2006
Comments (3)
Status: Stuff to buy
image I'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).
Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Fri Apr 07, 2006
Comments (5)
Status: Interesting theory
image Accipiter 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.)
Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 07, 2006
Comments (4)
Status: Advertisement
Here'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)
image
Categories: Advertising, Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Sun Jan 08, 2006
Comments (3)
Status: Undetermined (but I'm pretty sure it's not a sasquatch)
image 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.
Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Mon Dec 05, 2005
Comments (18)
Status: Real
I 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.
Categories: Cryptozoology, Places
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 28, 2005
Comments (27)
Status: Interesting theory
It'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.
Categories: Cryptozoology
Posted by Alex on Sat Nov 05, 2005
Comments (24)
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