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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

More Footnotes on Waterhorse

Comparison of a recent reconstruction of "Ogopogo's" head to the head of a cow moose. There are several strong points of similarity. Older reports frequently featured the ears and the "Beard" (Bell) that a moose has, but these features are usually not reported in more recent accounts.

Map indicating Swimming Moose reports in North America. Below, Illustration "The Water Horse" for original report project as submitted to the CFZ at the time these original posts were made. Maps and pasteups done by Dale Drinnon, as per usual.

The original CFZ postings on the Waterhorse also included some comments on the end which I did not include with my earlier reposting. I had an occasion to add more material and so I went back to get those original comments:
Here is a sample accounting for the Freshwater-Monster accounts from Alberta, Canada. A state-by-state and Provence-by=Provence accounting yields similar results in most cases. LongNecked Sea-serpent and SuperEel types are the minority of reports in most cases and when they are seen they are not usually very far inland:

Alberta, Canada: catalogue of sightings by lake and year, Information drawn from Eberhart:

Battle River. A 30-foot long animal with a long gray head and neck was reported June 1934. Most likely a swimming moose with the effect of trailing humps in the wake.

Bow River, a large fish reportedly either an eel or a catfish was captured on July 30, 1942.

Christina Lake: Monster known as Christina, likely a swimming moose as above.

Clearwater River, near North Sascatchewan River, is the location of an early report a few miles from The Rocky Mountain House. Robert Forbes reported seeing a 20-foot-long gray creature on October 18, 1946: the creature raised a large head out of the water and seized a calf in its mouth, dragging it into the water. The creature swam off, oblivious of the shower of stones Forbes threw after it in an attempt to make it drop the calf. This sounds very likey to be a cow moose pulling its own calf into the water at the appearance of what seemed to be a threat-the threat being Forbes. Forbes afterwards described the creature as having red eyes and a huge mouth, which are probably somewhat exaggerated.

Cold Lake held a mythological creature called Kinsoo by the local Indigines
Cow Lake was also rumored to have a monster, possibly based on another swimming moose.

Frog Lake was also supposed to house another monster. One presumes a monstrous frog in Native lore from the name.

Glenmore Reservoir. Monster mentioned as a "Boon to tourism". No sightings are detailed, but the circumstances are dubious.

Heart Lake. Possibly only a mythical water monster

Lake MacGregor (Reservoir) was reported to have a 12-to-14-foot-long creature which raised its head on a length of neck in 1945. This also sounds like a swimming moose.

Lake Minnewanka. A large fish is mentioned but also a longer-necked mammalian creature. Probable conflation of unrelated sightings.The longer-necked mammal would be a moose.

North Sascatchewan River: "Pink Eye" is the name given to the "Ogopogo" which lives in the river. In 1939, Chief Walking Eagle reported that he had been chased by a 50-foot-long water monster while crossing the river, also near Rocky Mountain House. Several years later a rain of a larger Ogopogo and six smaller Ogopogos were reported in the River. These are likely to be swimming-moose reports with the wake giving the appearance of multiple humps (or multiple "Baby Ogopogos")

Saddle Lake was the location of several reports of a horseheaded creature between 1974 and 1982. Sometimes ears or horns (or only one horn) were reported. The length was given as 50 to 150 feet long. Once again this sounds like a series of swimming moose reports, the wake being counted as the length of the body.

The South Saskachewan River has a slightly different creature, called Agopogo, or Ogopup. A report by Parker Kent and his family in 1949 described it as a sort of furry alligator 5-8 feet long. This is possibly based on a sighting of a giant Beaver. These would probably be the same as "oogie-Boogies" reported at the Waterton Lakes and possibly other furry Water-Monsters reported in the Missoiri River in Native Traditions (Probably also Giant Beavers)
Just as a sort of a footnote, The Great Horned Water Serpent in the Great Lakes was supposed to have red horns made of copper according to native traditions. The copper deposits on Isle Royale were supposed to be produced from the horns, meaning that the horns were supposed to be made of copper, the horns were dropped and continually renewing, and the copper horns became the copper deposits.Renewable horns means antlers. The translators make the meaning of such traditions much less clear by their choice of wording.

Further West, some folklorists have mentioned red-horned Water Monsters from Native traditions and Mark Hall mentioned that in passing in a PURSUIT article on horned-alligator reports "Horrors" From The Mesozoic. It seems that these reports come from areas associated with the Apaches, and the Apaches are Athabascans out of Western Canada originally: one of the members at Frontiers of Zoology is a Kiowa and he sent me a personal message saying that the native name for the type of creature is Water Horse.

The Water monster at Flathead Lake is moose-antlered in the Native traditions of that particular area. That is one place where the tradition specifically states that feature.

That the antlers are red in the season when the velvet comes off of them and they are actually bloody for a short while. And so we have a direct inferrance that these Water Horses are antlered (Moose-antlered) and that during part of the year the antlers are characteristically all red (because the velvet has just come off). And this was a mth given for the origin of the copper at Isle Royale.

Incidentaly one of the later news items out of PURSUIT before it folded was about a Water Monster report from Colorado. The report was of a creature swimming along the surface of the water with one hump placed prominantly midway along the exposed back right behind the head and neck (as also recorded at Lake Winnepeg/ Winnepegosis/ Manitoba). The witness denied it was a swimming moose but that is EXACTLY what he had described.
(Clarification in reply to Jon Downes, who had introduced the subject by saying "Water Horses Excepting Nessie of Course")
Excuse me, Water Horses INCLUDING "Nessie"

The problem is that anything not immediately identified that is sighted on Loch Ness is automatically "Nessie". There are more than one kind of unknowns involved, and another part of the problem is that "Nessie" is somehow permanently attached to that lake and somehow peculiar to it. None of the unknowns that appear there are confined to Loch Ness and exclusive to it.

What BEGAN as "The Loch Ness Monster" was traditionally The Water Horse. THAT was a horse-sized and shaped animal that went into the water. It was recorded as such in reports at least as recently as 1934. However, the more spectacular reports that caught the attention of the press and what the world came to know as "Nessie" was the Long-Necked type of Sea Serpent, and was immediately identified as such by those in the know at the time (eg, R.T. Gould and A.C. Oudemans) THAT is something else again, and something that has a worldwide distribution.

THE characteristic Freshwater "Monster" in what have been called "The Monster Latitudes", primarily the Taiga zone as identified by Ivan Sanderson (who also used the generic term Northern Lake Monsters but MEANT this same distribution) IS "The Water Horse". That is the distribution for the Elk/Moose. The Long-Necked Sea Serpent type turns out to be mostly riverine and temporary when it is seen inland. This is also true of the Giant Eel types, but the proportions differ to such an extent that the two types are easily separated statistically. Giant Eels are also traditional on Loch Ness, as well as Master-otters, and both of them seen SPECIFICALLY in Loch Ness from the older records although also reported elsewhere.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

It has also come to light that both Oudemans and Gould had specific information which identified ALL of the "String-of Buoys" reports as being due to wave action in the water-and that both of them refused to accept that possibility. One specific instance of this is that they had extensive reports and sketches from the Leda sighting and those drawings definitively show that the "Humps" dissolved into mere waves in the wake during the course of the sighting. That the "String of Buoys" effect was due to a wave action and that it could be caused by differennt animals at sea (including both large fishes and whales) was plainly stated by certain mariners in the early 1800s, and they were ridiculed by the believers for pointing that out.

Loch Hourn (Leda) sea-serpent, 1872
This creature was reported as "ManyHumped" and "SuperOtter" conformations at different times: the second Sketch makes it clear that the "Humps" are formed by the wake. The engraving is developed from the top sketch and was the version reproduced in Magazines at the time. Both Sketches (Fig. 44) were reproduced by R.T. Gould in his book on the Loch Ness Monster.


Saturday, October 09, 2010

DALE DRINNON: More On Ucumar

Back at the beginning of August, the fillowing news item was being circulated in some of the Yahoo cyptozoology groups:

Ranchers Capture "Fanged, Hairy Humanoid"

Source: El Tribuno (Salta, Argentina)

The legend of the Ucumar Zupai is reborn in a wilderness near El Creston, some 40 kilometers west of San Jose de Metan. Farm owner and nephew had gone out to round up the cows when the strange specimen appeared. Two ranchers in the vicinity of Cerro El Creston, some 40 kilometers west of San Jose de Metan, hunted down a strange creature of humanoid appearance, but with unusually large and sharp incisors.

The similarity between this specimen and local tales of the mythic "Ucumar" – the manlike figure covered in short black hair – has renewed the debate in Salta over the existence of the local "yeti". The presence of a creature having such characteristics has been news for decades in the forested areas to the south of the province, particularly in Rosario de la Frontera, where eyewitness accounts have been collected.

Photographs of the remains of the specimen gunned down in the cloud forest of Cerro El Creston were taken by Martin, a resident of Metan who did not wish to give his name, at the property belonging to the ranchers who shot it.

The photo – taken with a cell phone – clearly shows a hominid specimen with long fangs and protruding eyes.

The Story

The ranchers are an older man, 79, whose initials are J.S. and the other is his nephew, E.S. Both requested anonymity to ward off curiosity seekers.

Almost shyly, Martin told El Tribuno about his experience with the strange being during a visit to his friends the ranchers. "That Saturday I arrived and they told me what had occurred during the morning. I entered the home and there it was, hanging from its feet, its hands tied to one side and extending down to the floor."

Unhurriedly, he continued his story: "I asked him what it was, and they couldn’t answer. They only said that in the dark of night, they thought it might have been a puma or a goblin, because they only saw its enormous green eyes shining by light of the flashlights."

According to the young man, J.S. and E.S. had gone out on the evening of 23 July to round up cattle, as they were planning to brand the livestock on the following day. Amid the darkness, they heard a nearly deafening sound on the edge of one of the hills surrounding their property. They cast light upon the source of the noise with the flashlight, and found themselves staring at two enormous green eyes that nearly froze their hearts. "They told me they thought it was a goblin, and to scare it away, they fired a shot. They were unlucky enough to hit it in the head."

Apparently, the bullet entered through the lower left side of the jaw, exiting through the upper right eyebrow ridge. Due to this impact, the alleged "Ucumar" collapsed instantly. "The dogs that were with us, accustomed to finding wild pigs, ran toward the carcass, and when my friends chased them, they came across that thing."

The two gauchos carried the remains back to their ranch to analyze it at length. The next day, with sunlight, there was no doubt about it: they had shot an Ucumar, although to confirm this, it would be necessary to go into deeper study. For the time being, all we have are speculations and suspicions.

What can indeed be confirmed is that the veterinary specialists consulted by El Tribuno state that the specimen "hunted" by accident is not native to the region.

Carcass Hurled Down a Canyon

Martin continued to relate his experiences with the ranchers of Cerro El Crestón. He noted that "On Saturday morning, J.S. asked us to cut off his head and throw the body far away, as he did not wish to be the victim of any revenge."

The revenge that Martin referred to is that the being they had found was allegedly a "cub" of an Ucumar, which could take reprisals against him for having shot and killed its young.

The state that it was a "cub" due to the diameter of the specimen’s skull, which measured some 15 centimeters. They calculate the creature’s height at some 60 to 70 centimeters.

"Overall, the people who live in these parts believe greatly in these things: goblins, the Ucumar...matter of fact, I must admit I felt afraid. At one point I thought about bringing the body to Metán, but I got scared," said the fellow who spoke with El Tribuno.

Martin explained that "we cut off its head, which remained at the ranch. But we wrapped up the body in several bags and threw it down a canyon."

J.S. the owner of the ranch where the strange events transpired, lives alone in the area. His nearest neighbor is 15 kilometers away. The man is visited by his nephews every so often.

"It Had Fingers and Toes"

The witness who got to hold the body of the hunted hominid explained that "it was covered in short black hair all over its body, except for the face. It was impressive to see the size of its incisor." He added that the manlike figure had fingers and toes.

"The truth is that it was a one of a kind experience. I had never seen anything like it. When we go to the ranch at Cerro El Creston, we find hairs stuck to the tree trunks, as though "it" was scratching itself against them. There are many animals in the area, but none with fur resembling that of the creature they hunted," Martin explained.

"I Never Saw Anything Like It"

Marcelo Choque, a forensic veterinarian for the Provincial Police under the Environmental Division of the service, was startled to see the photographs of the strange specimen’s skull, shot by a rancher in the heights of Cerro El Creston in Metán. "I never saw anything like it. It’s clearly an anthropomorphic figure, but I can’t tell you the species. And I could much less explain the exaggerated size of its incisors, which give it a monstrous appearance."

The expert paused to think for a moment and continued. "There are no anthropoids in the are where they shot it. And the ones belonging to our fauna do not possess in any way the humanoid characteristics showing in the photo. If it is a monkey of some sort, it would be a rarity, an unclassified species or a genetic aberration. I’m stunned and I think it would be necessary to travel with a team of experts to the area where the skull is kept in order to conduct an analysis of the remains."

-And in reply I added the following in a couple of the groups I belonged to:

THAT is the head of a monkey, probably a howler monkey. The living specimen was only about two feet tall. BUT one description of the Ucumar says it is like an outsized, tailless howler monkey and that is the sort of report they are thinking about.

"Ucumar" is however not a precise name and it is used vaguely to refer to unknown bears, bearlike monkeys or apemen with equal force. I can see what the reports are driving at and I do think that the creature they are talking about would be like a large howler monkey. In this case, though, the heads and skulls the article is talking about are only ordinary, smaller monkeys. They are also not the young ones, they have the adult dentition.

The "Large Howler Monkey" is otherwise identified as the Mono Rey or Mapinguari in other areas, and is said to be the height of a short man but more heavily built. I imagine that means it is the size of a large chimpanzee or a small gorilla. That it has large tusks and it is suspected of killing livestock are also traits associated with the reports in these other categories.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Howler Monkey Skull for comparison

Subsequently I came across this sculpted head from the South American Chimu culture, which I take to be an "Ucu" if only because it has a bear's nose added onto it. It was labelled as a feline but not only is that not like a cat's nose, the ears are entirely humanoid.

Among other featues on this sculpted Ucu, the cheek teeth are entirely flat and the jaws and teeth overall are ape-like, similar to an orangutan's. They are not cat-like, bear-like, nor do they even match a howler monkey's skull. The eye sockets are shown in the wrong place, but it is probably significant that the skull as illustrated in the sculpture even has eye sockets. Most carnivores do not even have that much.

So while the head as shown in the photographs is a false alarm, I think the mistake is made for something that is actually real and mysterious in South America and illustrated crudely by the sculpted Chimu head. It is an ape with big tusks jutting foreward like an orangutan's and it is called Ucu or Ucumar-Zupai, although also other things are called by the name: " Ucumar" is applied to different unrelated things such as bears. I definitely think it must be something that resembles an orangutan although its face may differ (that part is harder to say because the sculpted head is very likely to be somewhat stylized and inaccurate.) And it is known as far South as parts of Argentina, where it is also called a "Goblin" (Trauco)

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Giant Beavers

Scale Drawings and Reconstructions for Castoroides.

One of the interesting "Unclassified" reports of "Ogopogo" in British Columbia concerns a report of a supposed carcass thought to be the creature. In 1914 at Lake Okanagon, a group of Nicola Valley and Westbank Indians discovered the decomposing body of an unidentified creature across from Rattlesnake Island. Five to six feet long and estimated to weigh 400 pounds, it was blue-grey in colour. It had a tail and flippers, and an amateur naturalist in the area felt that it was a manatee. No one knew how such a creature could have gotten into the lake, and Peter Costello has hypothesized in In Search of Lake Monsters that the carcass was "actually an Ogopogo, as the details of this mammal with flippers and a broad tail and dark color are all that we would expect. But the carcass was mangled so much that the long neck was already gone."
That might have made sense but for the fact that Ogopogo is NOT often reported with a long neck. On the other hand it matches well enough with a series of reported Water Monsters that appear to be actually Giant Beavers.

[Scale Comparison by Dale D.]

Going through the archives of the Frontiers of Zoology on Yahoo, we can pull out several older messages on the suibject of Giant Beavers, starting in 2006:
Message # 314 in this group's archives includes this information:
Oddly enough, Bernard Heuvelmans discarded the idea of Giant beavers out of hand when he was putting together his checklist of Unknown animals (Cryptid Categories) in 1989. That was peculiar because Giant beavers are one of the more "Ordinary" types of Cryptids categories which has been advanced and one which corresponds to a species known to have lived as recently as the end of the Ice Age.
In his book Strange Creatures from Time and Space (I have the
original printing,It has been subsequently reprinted under a different title),
John Keel includes a couple of reports from upstate New York that
I thought when the book came out sounded like giant beavers. One is
a Water monster report under the heading "Bilious bogeymen" on page
265 and mentioned as being in the Black River, in the Adirondacks. it
was estimated as 15 feet long with handlike forelimbs and dark brown
in color, with round black eyes the size of silver dollars. This would be only SLIGHTLY exaggerated. Another one was oddly placed under a series of "ABSM' reports on page 113 and was reported to be a "ground sloth" from Sherman New York,
from a swamp. It was said to be 12 to 18 feet tall with a tail 6 to 8 feet long, reported by a 15-year-old. Using the "Halve all measurements" method, it would be 6 to 9 feet tall and with a tail 3 or 4 feet long, making a very respectabnle Giant beaver report out of something outlandish.
Costello noted a reported corpse for the Bear Lake monster, but also a "Manatee" carcase in Lake Okanagon. He thight these were long-necked seals, but the manatee-like tail is very like a beaver and I would consider these both to be recent-Castoroides carcases.
Oh, and if Loren Coleman should want to mention this in
Cryptomundo, he has free use of this information. So do all the rest of you
guys. Loren Coleman says that the Bear Lake Monster was a remnant giant beaver, Castoroides. I think that it is an exellent suggestion. ...

[Reply] --- Craig Heinselman wrote:
Bear Lake Monster? Yes, says historian
[These links appear to be removed]

And in Message #315 from group's archives:
Lake Monsters in the Indiana-Ohio-Kentucky area
The most recognizable local mammalian Water monster around these
parts is a dark-furred creature the size of a hog or a cow with big
round black eyes and the ability to decamp across-country when its
ponds are drained. It may make a whistling or screeching noise. Its
distribution is usually connected to the Ohio river area (one
famous[but gray-colored] Indiana Water monster is from Lynn, on a
tributary leading to the Ohio River, but other reports also come from
further north in Indiana--and VERY rarely!) Several reports mention only its "Pig
snout" area around the nostrils breaking the water to breathe. it is sometimes mentioned as having heavy whiskers on its nose. It can travel in family groups when seen swimming.

[With this later additional information]
Ivan T. Sanderson records a track attributed to "Old Three-Toes" on the Monogahela River and in this case I think it more likely to be an incomplete track of a web-footed Giant Otter. "Flippere-like" tracks are elsewhere reported in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.Eberhart lists the Water Monster in the Monongahela River (West Virginia) as Ogua, Agou or Agua, possibly an Algonquin-family languagge word which is possible although it sounds mighty close to the Spanish word for Water.The creature is supposed to weigh 500 pounds, be 20 feet long with a hinder fin sticking up six to eight feet, a snakelike or turtlelike head and a long flat tail.It is amphibious and comes out on shore at night, allegedly to ambush deer. It is covered with reddish brown fur.In the daytime it is supposed to live in caves it digs in the bank from below the water level. A prominernt sighting in 1983 is mentioned by Eberhart. This is very likely a pen-picture of the same kind of Giant Beaver and halving the dimensions makes it ten feet long with a hind limb three to four feet long (Tail presumably about the same):: the rounded head would be more turtlelike than snakelike and the "Long Fangs" would be the animal's incisors. A very similar traditional Water-Monster is reported on the Missouri River especially in the Dakotas, as mentioned in another of Eberhart's entries.
The Giant-Beacver like reports around Lake Okanagon and further to the north are "Water Bears" or Ta-Zam-Na, and basically described as a beaver the size of a bear. Rumors of similar nature came out of the Rocky Mountains of Montana and the Yellowstone region, And Loren Coleman mentions a more recent report from Lake Mead (which is an artificial reservoir) in his Field Guide.

Indications of Giant Otter and Giant Beaver Reports in North America, Map by Dale D. The Beaver reports are the grey squares and the black area is for the Master-Otters or Water-Panthers, generalised. Both types of reports have been in drastic decline since the Colonial period.

Museum Display for Castoroides.

Castoroides ohioensis was a species of giant beaver, huge members of the family Castoridae (Rodentia), endemic to North America during the Pleistocene epoch (1.8 mya—11,000 years ago).[2]


Castoroides ohioensis had a length of up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft)[1] [Not counting the tail] and an estimated weight of 60-100 kg (130-220 lbs) estimates have gone as high as 220 kg (485 lbs).[3] It lived in North America during the Pleistocene epoch and went extinct at the end of the last Ice Age, 12,000 years ago.[4] The extinction of the giant beaver may have been due to ecological restructuring at the end of the Pleistocene.[5] The arrival of humans in the Americas could have been a factor, but there is no evidence that humans hunted the giant beaver.[4] It was one of the abundant Pleistocene megafauna—a wide variety of very large mammals that lived during the Pleistocene.

Fossils of the giant beaver are concentrated around the Midwestern United States in states near the Great Lakes, particularly Illinois and Indiana, but specimens are recorded from Alaska and Canada to Florida.[1] Specimens from Florida have been placed in a subspecies, Castoroides ohioensis dilophidus, based on differences in premolar and molar features.[6]

One of the important anatomical differences between the giant beaver and modern beaver species, besides size, is the structure of their teeth. Modern beavers have chisel-like incisor teeth for gnawing on wood. The teeth of the giant beaver are bigger and broader, and grew to about 15 centimeters (6 inches) long.[4] In addition, the tail of the giant beaver may have been longer but narrower, and its hind legs shorter.[1] Its great bulk might have restricted its movement on land (although large squat-legged hippopotamuses can move on land with little difficulty).

The first Giant Beaver fossils were discovered in 1837 in a peat bog in Ohio,[4] hence its species epithet ohioensis. Nothing is known on whether or not the Giant Beaver built lodges like modern beavers. In Ohio, there have been claims of a possible Giant Beaver lodge four feet high and eight feet in diameter, formed from small saplings.[4] The recent discovery of clear evidence for lodge building in the related genus Dipoides indicates that the Giant Beaver probably also built lodges.[7]

Both the native Mi'kmaq people of Canada and the native Pocumtuck people of the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts have related significant myths about giant beavers; see Glooscap and Pocumtuck Range for details. The Cree people also have myths about giant beavers.
[Emphasis added]

See also
Castoroides leiseyorum – a species of Giant Beaver restricted to current-day Florida
Castoroides – the genus of Giant Beavers
1 ^ a b c d e Kurtén, B. and E. Anderson (1980). Pleistocene Mammals of North America. Columbia University Press. pp. 236–237. ISBN 0231037333.
2 ^ PaleoBiology Database: Castoroides ohioensis, basic info
3 ^ Reynolds, P.S. (2002). "How big is a giant? The importance of methods in estimating body size of extinct mammals". Journal of Mammalogy 83 (2): 321–332. doi:10.1644/1545-1542(2002)083<0321:HBIAGT>2.0.CO;2.
4 ^ a b c d e Harrington, C.R. (1996). "Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center - Giant Beaver". Archived from the original on 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
5 ^ Parmalee, P.W. and R.W. Graham (2002). "Additional records of the Giant Beaver, Castoroides, from the mid-South: Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina". Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 93: 65–71.
6 ^ Martin, R.A. (1969). "Taxonomy of the giant Pleistocene beaver Castoroides from Florida". Journal of Paleontology 43 (4): 1033–1041.
7 ^ Rybczynski, N. (2007). "Castorid phylogenetics: implications for the evolution of swimming and tree-exploitation in beavers". Journal of Mammalian Evolution 14 (1): 1–35. doi:10.1007/s10914-006-9017-3.

Booger Bears

This is a matter wherin I had early input in a matter that Ivan Sanderson and his widow claimed no knowledge of the subject. In 1967 in Kentucky, a mysterious creature that walked on its hind feet and stood between 6 and 7 feet tall was stealing cattle. I had read the account in a scholastic magazine and sent in a report to the SITU. At that time I received the reply "It sounds as though you are talking about an ABSM" and sure enough, the event is included in the "Miscellaneous Bigfoot" sightings included in John Keel's Mysterious Beings, Formerly Strange Creatures From Time and Space, listed under Kentucky in 1967. Only that was not the whole story: the creature had been caught and killed and was reported to have both catlike and doglike features, a sort of short-faced bear that weighed something like 650 pounds and was clearly not a black bear. When I had a radio interview on the Oopa Loopa cafe some years back, the owner of the Internet cafe said he had heard of the incident because he had lived near that area at the time. The animal had been baited out by a calf tied to a stake and then shot when it came for the calf. Rick Ozman (
 Owner of the Blog) gave the Native name for the creature over the air which sounded like Wod or Wog. At any rate, his recollection confirmed mine and much improved over the news clippings which the SITU had on the subject.

In going over the various "Big Hairy Monster" reports of the Eastern United States, I began to notice that some of them were describing a sort of short-faced bear generally conforming to this sighting, often compared to a cat-faced bear or an African lion standing on its hind legs. The usual designation in the Apallachian mountain region and the Ozarks is "Booger Bear" to distinguish it from the common black bear, and it is said to be much larger (and particularly taller with a higher profile) and tending to walk on its hind legs. Sightings of such creatures are recorded in collections published by John Keel, Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark, but the general category not recognised in those collections. It is found over a wide area including Texas and Oklahoma to Florida and up into Canada indefinitely far, but over all that area only in small local enclaves where reports come with some regularity. The reports are much more common in mountain country than elsewhere but reports also occur in swamps and along river courses (they seem to travel along the riverbeds)

Arctodus, the Original "Grizzly Bear"

Ivan T. Sanderson mentions in Living Mammals of the World that what the early settlers in the West were calling a "Grizzly Bear" was a specialist predator on bison in the high plains area, a much different and much larger bear than the animal which we call the Grizzly, and one which appeaered to be extinct with the killing off of the bison. I take this unidentified bear to be a survival of the Ice-Age giant Shortfaced bear, Arctodus simius or "Monkeylike bear-creature." in an article about the puroported Vetularctos in Natural History magazine,reports of an unknown "Bulldog bear" able to carry off a moose were stated to come from Northwest Territories and even into Northern British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. It was presumed these reports were related to a surviving Arctodus. The reports of this bear are outside the usual range of Grizzly bears and in fact the range of Sanderson's "Grizzly Bear Bison-eater" lived in an area outside of the usual range of the Grizzly bear. The reports of Shortfaced bears in the Midwestern areas of the USA are likewise outside of usual Grizzly bear range but are in the range where the Ice-age Arctodus once lived.

Similar reports also come from Far-Eastern Siberia.
Bering Sea huntsman Rodin Sivobolov of north Kamchatka reintroduced the cryptozoological creature in the late 80’s. From the description of natives, Sivobolov learned of a beast know alternatively as the Kainyn-Kutho (god bear) and Irkuiem (‘pants pulled down’). It was described as having forelegs longer than hind, and a bulge of fat between its legs that often reaches the ground, resembling pulled-down pants and giving the animal its second name. In 1989 there was a report of a mystery bear feared by Kamchatkan reindeer herders, and said to come across the Chukchi Sea on Alaskan ice floes. N.K. Vereshchagin proposed the most radical theory, in which he suggested the bear was surviving Actrodus simus, a giant prehistoric bear that stood almost 6 ft at the shoulder. It matched the Irkuimen in the fact that it had forelegs longer than hind, and in fact it had the limb proportions of a Gorilla.

McFarlanes bear of Canada’s Northwest Territory had an unusual cream-colored coat and an unusually formed head. Supposedly, one was shot at the Anderson River, and the animal’s skin and skull are now somewhere in the Smithsonian. Another account, possibly describing the same specimen, tells of a bear that was killed at Rendezvous Lake in 1816. An early taxonomist described the animal as ‘Buffy whitish’ with a golden-brown muzzle, and identified it as a new genus and species, Vetularctos inopinatus, claiming it probably was descended from the prehistoric short-faced bear. It could just have been an aberrant specimen, a unique subspecies, or a polar/grizzly bear cross (Ursus martimus x arctos). The specimen was later located in storage at the Smithsonan and DNA tests said it was an ordinary grizzly bear; however since the skin had been in storage together with many brown bear hides over many decades, some form of contamination could not be ruled out.

Reconstructions of Shortfaced Bears, Monkeybears, Bulldog Bears or even sometimes called "Man-faced Bears"

In South America, the Red mountain bear, a small reddish-colored bear of the Muscarens Mountains of Columbia, is well-known to natives, and Peru reputedly houses the Pygmy brown bear, wich may very well be the same animal. Both animals are possible color variants of the spectacled bear Tremarctos, descendant of the ancient short-faced bears.

The Milne From Peru, Columbia, and Bolivia, is described as an enormous black bear living in the deep jungles of South America. The most famous encounter was by the famed explorer Leonard Clark in 1946, while floating down the Ucayali River in eastern Peru. He first came across the animal's footprints in the riverbank, measuring 14 inches long and resembling those of a giant man. The second day he found the source of the strange tracks – as they floated down the river, they passed a huge black bear, clawing apart a rotted tree infested with ants in order to get at the larva. As they passed, one on the crew members sharply slapped his paddle in the water, startling the bear so that leapt into the river and began to swim across. As the rafts neared the bear, it turned and swam towards them, either because it was curious, angry, or wanted to crawl out of the river. When the bear was within 3 feet of the raft, the crew leapt overboard, and knowing the animal would upset the craft, Leonard shot it with his pistol. Without his crew, unfortunately, Leonard could not drag the bear's carcass aboard before the piranhas started feeding on it, and was forced to abandon his specimen.

This depiction of an Ucumar shows a bear's distinctive ears, eyes and nose. The nails rather than claws on the hands and feet come from the asumption that the creature is like Bigfoot.

The Ucu, sometimes called Ucumar or Ukumar-zupai, is a reported Apelike or Bigfoot like creature thought to live in the mountainous regions in and around Chili and Argentina. The name is unfortunmately ambiguous and can be used to refer to a bear, bearlike monkey, monkeylike bear, bear-man or Bogey-bear with equal ease. The Ucu is described to be the size of a large dog and can walk erect. According to natives the Ucu likes to eat payo, a plant with an inside similar to cabbage, and emits a sound like uhu, uhu, uhu, which Ivan T. Sanderson compared to the noises reported by Albert Ostman, who claimed to have been held captive by a family of Sasquatch in 1924. (Bears and gorilla both also make a similar noise: so did King Kong in the 1933 movie)

One of the first documented sightings of the Ucu took place in May of 1958 when a group of campers in Rengo, 50 miles from Santiago, Chili, reported that they saw what they could only describe as an ape man. Police were called out to investigate; they took reports from the witnesses, one of which was Carlos Manuel Soto who swore that he had seen an enormous man covered with hair in the Cordilleras, one of the Santiago’s 6 provinces.

In 1956, geologist Audio L. Pich found seventeen inch long human like footprints on the Argentina side of the Andes Mountains at a height of over sixteen thousand feet. The following year similar tracks where discovered in the province of La Salta, Argentina. Not long after, residents of Tolor Grande informed newspaper reporters of a nightly chorus of what they described as eerie calls emanating from the near by Curu-Curu Mountains. The cries, which where attributed by the locals to a creature known as the Ukumar-zupai, frightened the community for some time, and according to anthropologist Pablo Latapi Ortega, traditions of these giant creatures continue to this very day in Argentina.

Size: 5 – 7 feet tall in more tropical areas [Patagonian Giant Ucu, 6-12 feet tall]

Variant names: Sachayoj, Ucu, Ukumar-zupai (in Tolar Grande). In Bolivia and Peru, the spectacled bear is known as Ucamari or Jucamari.

Physical description: Half man, half bear. Covered in long, shaggy black hair. Small eyes. Large hands and feet. sharp fangs in mouth.
Behavior: Bipedal. Makes eerie, ululating calls (“uhu, uhu”) at night. Eats vegetation and animal matter, wild fruit and honey.
Tracks: Humanlike. Length, 14-17 inches.

Habitat: Mountains, caves, wildreness and rocky areas.

Small and large Shortfaced bears, skeleton comparison from Bjorn Kurten.

Shape of Skeletons compared for La Brea Lion, Spotted Hyena, Brown Bear, Wolf and Arctodus the giant Short-faced bear, by Bjorn Kurten.

Short-Faced Bear Map: Bjorn Kurten assumes that the larger Shortfaced beard of the Arctodus type colonised South America along the Atlantic coast while the smaller, Tremarctos-type shortfaced bears colonised alomg the Western part of the continent, along the Andes. The larger bears also went inland from the coast and could well be the ancestors of the Milne in Colombia and the Ucumars of Chile and Argentina

Map for distribution of bears in the world. In the case of the Larger Shortfaced bears, they are mostly reported in areas where brown bears aren't usually supposed to be found, except for the Irkuiem in Kamchatka, and they are supposed to come from Alaska.

[Please note also that bears are absent from large parts of Tibet in this map from Wikipedia]

Ivan T. Sanderson, Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life (1961)
..........Living Mammals of the World (1956, p. 201, under URSINES, Brown Bears)
John Keel, Strange Creatures From Time and Space
Jerome Clark and Loren Coleman, Creatures of the Outer Edge (1976)
Simon Chapman, The Monster of the Madidi: Searching for the Giant Ape of the Bolivian Jungle (London: Aurum, 2001)

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Blogger Still Not Working

I am still not able to reply to comments posted on my own blogs, even when somehow other people are able to post their comments to my articles. I am still holding on a couple of replies-to-replies which I cannot post now, including the most recent comment on the Water Horse blog entry. I don't know when I shall be able to add any further answers to any questions or any clarifications of the material such as might be requested. Again, this is a blogger issue and it even affects me, the owner of the blog. I apologise for any inconvenience.

I shall also not bother to post any further blogs until Blogger fixes the problem, this is getting ridiculous.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Reply: CFZ Blog Reprints on The Water Horse

Unfortunately, Blogger has taken today to become disagreeable once again. Owing to the fact that Blogger has stopped my ability to post within the comment section of the appropriate blog entry, I have decided to get around it by putting up another blog entry on the subject.

In this case we are having technical difficulties arise on the string of comments between myself and Glasgow Boy concerning the Water Horse blog entry just posted.

Glasgow Boy said...
There are no wild moose in Scotland and have not been for thousands of years. So why suggest they accounted for 1930s sightings at Loch Ness?

If there were elk roaming Scottish forests for centuries, I am sure at least one would have been shot or captured by our zealous game hunters.

25 May 2011 04:46
Dale Drinnon said...
There have been reintroduced moose (elk) in Scotland at several different times including in the 1800s. They were introduced to be hunted and in fact they were hunted all along.

As to the question of "Why should they be considered a candidate?" the answer is brutally direct: Because the descriptions match

The important fact is this: Water Horsases are not Plesiosaurs and they never were. Water-Horses are legendary creatures that look like horses but go into the water Descriptions of the Loch Ness Monster which look like Plesiosaurs are not and never should have been confused with Water-Horses.

Now up until the Loch Ness Monster hit the news in the 1930s, the only reports locally were Water-horses, save only for the odd reports such as made by Alfred Cruikshank. There were several reports of creatures seen on the shore and going on land, either coming out of or going into the water. These animals looked like horses or camels generally, stood about six feet tall at the shoulder were hairy and shaggy, had a hump on the back, long legs and occasionally even specifically cloven hooves.

Basically there is no other candidate that comes so close to matching that description. And I must emphasize again, This has nothing at all to do with such reports as Arthur Grant's, which describe a Plesiosaur-shaped creature at Loch Ness

The problem is in assuming all reports being called "the Loch Ness Monster" refer to the same thing. They obviously do not. This is a problem which plagues ALL Cryptozoology, in all categories of reports.

25 May 2011 05:28
Glasgow Boy said...
Granted, but how many elk and how close to Loch Ness? I would speculate these very few Elk were kept on the landowner's estate and not allowed to escape.

Agreed that water horses were never seen as plesiosaurs. The locals matched them to known animals of their time and they were seen right up to 1933.

Your theory is not that much different to ideas that people mistake common deer for Nessie. How significantly different is the Elk, especially when one is far more likely to see a deer swimming across the loch?

One area the descriptions do not match is that the creature submerges and stays submerged. Elk do not submerged (or deer).

The Fordyce creature is unusual but frankly looks nothing like an elk (big head v small head). Other land sightings describe a creature nothing like an elk or deer. Pre-1933 land sightings also do not have the "expect a monster" mentality of witnesses but still they were startled by the unusual and frightening appearance of the creature. Elk or deer would not evoke such a response.

25 May 2011 06:40

Post a Comment

The major difference about elk is that they are bigger: they are big enough to match the specified dimensions, including the Fordice account. As to that account, it seems the creature was seen hindquarters-on and the head end was farthest from the witrness: besides that, I imagine the popular image of the monster affected the witness' memory by the time the account was actually published, which was of course after the main flap of sightings had taken hold of the media's attention. The rest of the creature from the shoulders back resembles a poorly-drawn moose and you will note that three of the four feet are cloven and camel-like

I suspect that elk were not the only types of deer involved, they were just the biggest deer with the closest resemblance to a horse (without antlers, which means much of the year for males and all the year for females)

You are incorrect when you say the other land sightings were nothing like a moose. On the contrary, several of the stories started out sounding like a moose (or a plain horse or even a camel) and became more "Monster" like through retelling, partly due to the way they were presented by the compilers of the reports when the compilers wanted the reports to agree with each other. Two of the accounts have splintered into multiple records by the collectors and were it not for the fact that the two events were supposed to be a generation apart I would say they were the same incident: one was supposed to be in 1879 by a group of schoolchildren or in 1880 by E.H. Bright and a cousin and both versions have a longnecked grey creature waddling through the brush to the water. Length of legs was actually not specified and probably long enough to hoist it above the level of the brush. The next was in 1909 or 1910 and listed in other accounts as in 1912 or 1919 indicating three to six children including the MacGruers. Tim Dinsdale is responsible for finding out that both accounts the same: the second is accredited to Mrs. Peter Cameron and her maiden name was MacGruer. The accounts simiarly claim this is a brontosaurus-shaped creature but in fact all of the accounts agree it was shaped like a camel, with long legs and a largish head (that got smaller thropugh retelling) And Mrs. Mac Lennan specified that her creature which she also saw hindquarters-first as lying on a cliff face had cloven hoofs like pig's feet. This creature subsequently tumbled into the loch from its shelf and I suppose it had fallen onto the shelf from above and was probably already injured. She also speciofied that it looked much larger in the water and leaving a wash (not necessarily meaning on that same occasion, she had multiple sightings)

And then in February 1934 Patricia Harvey and Jean Mac Donald saw another longlegged creature moving swiftly by moonlight and estimated its size as six feet tall at the shoulder and 8-10 feet long, the dimensions of a moose again. That is about half a dozen of the land sightings that all fit to that same pattern against only two or three (prior to 1934) which specify a "Monster" shape-easily a dominance of two to one, and of course the several vague accounts cannot be counted either way.

As to submergence, that does not hold with the specific data given in these accounts: it cannot be said for certain that the creature stayed submerged in these instances, because the witnesses usually did not hang around to look after it later. Nor yet do the statements of extreme fright have any bearing on these accounts in particular. In both insatnces, those statement can only be made by inferrance from different, separate accounts.

Once again, my point is that the Water Horse is a traditional creature and already in place when the "monster" flap began. And my opionon is that the Plesiosaur-shaped creature was intrusive into the Loch from the sea at that point, not part of a local breeding population, and most likely only there temporarily (ie, until it died)

In this case, I do not believe it can it be said that "I would speculate these very few Elk were kept on the landowner's estate and not allowed to escape." constiutes anything other than a mere supposition which cannot be taken as direct evidence either for or against the possible presence of stray elk in the area at the time.

Thank you very much for your commentary, It is good for you to voice your opinion.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

CFZ Blog Reprints on The Water Horse

Thursday, June 04, 2009
DALE DRINNON: Origins of the Water Horse

The Water horse is a mythical animal frequently equated with the Loch Ness monster and similar creratures (as the Kelpie, etc.) It turns out that "Water horse" (and less often its counterpart "Water cow") are common names for the elk (moose in America) in parts of Scandinavia and Russia. At the end of the Ice Age, moose (elk) were common in the British Isles, including Ireland (not to be confused with the "Irish elk") but they were driven to the periphreal areas as the forests retreated. They lingered in Scotland into Roman times, it seems from subfossil remains, and they have been introduced there artificially in more modern times.[Including in the 1800s and more recently, accoding to the Wikipedia]

The thing is, the use of the name "Water Horse (Cow/Bull)" to mean elk/moose is not even controversial. It would seem that "Kelpie" was originally a mythologized elk (with its more horrific undead bogie version, the Nukelavee) and confused with the maned sea serpent.

Records of several such reports are at at Loch Ness. A report on a February night in 1934 by Patricia Harvey and Jean MacDonald, who saw a four-footed beast 6 feet high at the shoulder and perhaps 8 to 10 feet long that moved swiftly on land. They saw this creature at close range (20 feet, no doubt an underestimate of the range) and the creature was dark in color but had a white spot on the throat. It emerged from the woods and headed for the water.[Mackal, The Monsters of Loch Ness] But there were also a whole series of such reports recalled as childhood memories when the "Monster" flap occurred in 1933, and these "Camel" reports merged into traditional Kelpie reports. These ranged in date from 1879 or 1880 to 1919 or 1920 and their descriptions all matched this description, with minor variations due to lapses in memory (larger or smaller, lighter or darker in colouration, etc.)

Introduced Scottish Moose: And, In 1932 Colonel Fordyce and his wife reported a shaggy-furred, long-legged, long-necked camel-like creature (shown above). It crossed a road to get to the loch. This bizarre account is little known but was discussed at length by Mike Dash (1991).

Very likely this was the authentic local "monster" tradition and the identification with Kelpies is quite strong: the deascription of the size and color, and especially the camel-shaped head and neck exactly match a description of a European moose/elk, without antlers (the elk that have antlers are the males and then only in season; the latest native-Scottish elk remains seem to indicate that they had stunted antlers)

In Search Of Lake Monsters , quoting Sir Walter Scott in 1810 on pages 132-133, says "If I could for a moment credit the universal tradition respecting almost every Scotch loch, lowland or
highland, I would positively state that the water-cow, always supposed to dwell there, was the hippopotamus..
A monster long reported to inhabit Cauldshields loch, a small sheet of water in the neighborhood, has of late been visible to sundry persons...a very cool-headed, sensible man....said the animal was more like a cow or horse"

This looks very like the continuing tradition of the Scottish water-horse or water cow (which is also connected to rumors of similar creatures supposedly in Canada, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Mongolia and far-Eastern Siberia) is based on unsuspected survivals of the European elk (moose)

Eberhart in Mysterious Creatures on the Water-Horse entry lists a conglomerate category with the distribution given as "Scotland, Wales and Ireland, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Scandinavia, and Siberia. Legends have also migrated to Canada" Some of the Native American Water Monsters are also supposedly hooved, and split hooves are a common feature (even when supposedly representing a horselike creature, such as the Kelpie)

"Water bull" is given a separate category, as are Mongolian "Water cattle" elsewhere. The extended lump-listing of Water monsters as Eberhardt's appendix includes the Mongolian Water-cattle as well as other Water-horses-or-cattle in Switzerland, Eastern Europe, European
Russia and Northern China (Manchuria)

Some rough estimates from Eberhart's appendix on water monsters in Mysterious Creatures are: Out of 884 lakes, rivers and streams with monsters drawn largely from sources like Bord and Bord and L. Coleman, At a rough estimate, 3/4 of these locations are in the Europe-Russia-Canada-and-USA area, something over 600.

At another approximate reference, half of these areas, something over 300, include reports of "Water-horses, Water-bulls or Water-cows", horse-headed animals with moderate lengths of neck, sometimes blunt or forked short horns (antlers) and sometimes large ears, and furry or hairy humps. These reported animals are usually about 10 feet long to twenty feet ( length estimate doubled) but can be estimated as up to 100 feet long (by including the wake) The locations including such reports include British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Wisconsin, Montana, Wahington state, the Great Lakes, and specific locations such as Lake Champlain, Lake Okanagon, and Flathead lake. This includes the series of "Horse's Head" reports in Quebec, of an animal averaging 10-20 feet long but said to travel overland between lakes. A Fair word-picture for a moose.

All of which is rather mind- boggling when you consider the magnitude of what this means in terms of eliminating nearly the entire water monster category. The remainder of locations are
largely ambiguous or indeterminate, with a sprinkling of various minor fishlike, reptillian or mammalian water monster reports.. It is an enormous mishmash of all sorts of different reports and includes tropical as well as temperate freshwater monsters, and several known hoaxes.

Water Horse reports do include the New England area, with creatures in Maine and Connecticut that emerge from the water and travel rapidly overland, leaving cloven hoofprint ("Clawmarks"). These include reports recorded by Loren Coleman. Similar reports are common
up to Newfoundland (where they are clearly identified as the same Gaelic Water-horses)[Coleman, Eberhart]

One clear 1933 report of the Loch Ness Monster on shore indicates that the creature had cloven hoofs, and the tracks attributed to Ogopogo are the exact size of moose tracks. [Mackal,Costello]

Reports like this are actually mostly in fringing areas where moose/elk are supposed to be locally extinct or poorly recognized by "civilized" people, and such reports are only more rarely made by local hunting natives that depend heavily upon moose in areas where they are common and the natives are very familiar with them. Reports are usually made by farmers or city people, with a recurring number of people out boating. For example, consider the Flathead Lake Monster from internet sources:

"A woman wrote me a letter from Canada with perhaps the most interesting sighting. In the early 1970s she took a group of five girls from her church to the lake. She was a teacher at Flathead High at the time. The group spotted a deer frantically swimming to shore. Behind the deer a large wake was moving in fast. The girls screamed for the deer to swim faster and maybe it did, as it made it to shore just before whatever was in pursuit could catch up. The large wake
then fizzled out and disappeared and the lake was calm. The woman and all five girls to this day swear by what they saw.

Another person wrote me an email saying he knows somebody who has a videotape of the monster. The keeper of the tape doesn't show it much in fear of coming off as crazy. But the e-mail writer said it is not the usual long-distance grainy footage that could easily pass as a
hoax. It was taken from a boat with the creature - whatever it was - swimming close by.

Other people, who don't know each other, told me similar accounts of seeing a serpent-like large creature snaking through the lake. They all admit it could have been a natural feature distorted by the conditions, by light or ripples, but they doubt it."

--It should be noticed that the large wake following the frantically swimming deer was probably generated by the deer (frantic only in wanting to get to shore)And MOST of these accounts seem to be only unidentifiable wakes or waves in the water. The exact same occurance of a "Monster" wake chasing a deer in the water comes from the Ogopogo lake, Lake Okanagon.

Flathead lake is definitely one location with moose-antlered "Water Horses" being reported regularly. [Sanderson Archives] The Flathead Lake monster is usually reported as twenty feet long,dark in color and sometimes with a single hump on its back. A characteristic sighting was in 1960 by the Ziegler family when they went to investigate unusual waves near the shore of the lake. Mr and Mrs. Ziegler saw something rubbing up against the pilings of the pier as a cow would rub up against a post to scratch itself. Mr Ziegler went back for his gun and Mrs. Ziegler
saw a "horrible" head about the size of a horse's "with about a foot of neck showing". She screamed and Mr. Ziegler returned in time to see it swim off at speed. [PURSUIT article on Flathead Lake Monster]

This has all the earmarks of a moose sighting--the shape and size of the head, short length of neck, the way it rubbed up against the pilings and the way it swam off. It all fits: NONE of this is typical of the Long-Necked category of sea-serpents as defined by Heuvelmans (the kicker is absolutely that it does NOT have a long neck) Mr. Ziegler denied that it was a sturgeon and rightly so.

The original popularization of this matter was from The Mystery Monsters, sequel to The Maybe Monsters, by Gardner Soule and originally printed 1965, using accounts drawn from the Flathead Courier: no outside source seems to have taken notice before Soule's book (which includes the Ziegler account and is mentioned as a source in later Lake Monster books) One odd fact is that Costello quotes the same Flathead Lake reports as Soule, without citing any sources:
possibly he had them as quoted through an intermediary he does not seem to have named. Ivan Sanderson certainly knew of Soule's books.

Sanderson wrote his chapter on Lake Monsters in More "Things" in 1966 (as a magazine article later reprinted in the book) and mentions the Flathead Lake monster but not the source: He vaguely alludes to the Ziegler description (not an exact quote) and says similar reports come from Waterton lakes and Lake Payette. And they do, but Waterton Lakes also has "Baby Monster" reports that have nothing to do with the other reports. They are in the right size range to be ordinary otters. Both of these other areas have the standard "Water Cows" with long wakes, some of them with the initial antler spikes reported as "Horns". Flathead Lake does have a native tradition of a Water Monster with a full set of Moose Antlers.

Coleman cribbed most of this material in a later article for Strange magazine, where I believe the original Sanderson article was published first. When I went through Sanderson's files circa 1974, I saw the originals for these reports and some others of the Moose type from such places as Maine. along with some Long-Neck, but Sanderson did not differentiate the two, nor yet some fairly obvious reports of large seals. Dinsdale mentions getting material from Sanderson, and what Dinsdale actually mentions is in the More"Things" chapter as well.

Many of the nearshore sea sightings of "Merhorses" also seem to be moose sightings, including some in Scandinavia and some "Cadborosaurs" off the Northwest coast area. This does not mean sightings with necks ten to thirty feet long, but horse or camelheaded creatures with only a few feet of neck, usually about a yard (or a meter) Many of these sightings are during the winter, it seems, which is ordinarily a low point in regular sea-serpent sightings. Almost always any reports of great length are due to prolonged wakes as in "Super-otter" sightings. The wakes in moose reports are generally from 25 to 100 feet long, which happens to be exactly the size given by Heuvelmans for the Merhorse . However, he specifies only the one-humped sighting type--but goes on to mention "vertical undulations" and that clearly refers to the wakes.

Sanderson also emphasizes "vertical undulations" in freshwater reports that clearly refer to wake. The "One-humped" configuration also refer to the male moose's shoulder hump in other easily identifiable cases. Clear instances of this are reported from Colorado and Lake Manitoba-Winnepeg-Winnepegosis, in which cases the head-neck region is never much more than four or five feet long.[PURSUIT,Costello In Search of Lake Monsters]

Map Indicating the Boreal Forest or Taiga Zone

Range Map For European Elk (Moose in America)

Lake Monster Map, Red-Circled locations havae what sound like Moose Reports.

In Monster Hunt, Tim Dinsdale quotes Ivan T Sanderson from a long letter to him about the "Northern Water Monsters" in the Taiga zone, but he included Loch Ness in the category as well, mentioning that such animals in European Russia (and Sweden) were called Water-cows. Sanderson went on to refer to the Taiga zone creatures as "Northern Lake Monsters" or NLMs
The Taiga is the zone of Northern Coniferous forests and is the main habitats of the moose and elk. Heuvelmans gives the distribution of freshwater monsters in the same area as defined by isotherms, but it comes down to the same thing, The Water Horse/Lake monster's home range is the moose's home range. Water Horse or Water Cow is one of the recognized names for the Elk in the Uralic family of languages and it might also be in the original Indo-European (cf Equs to Elk) [Private communication to group from a Russian member] AND it now seems as if the term "Norhern Lake Monster" is synonymous to "Water Horse" and thus to MOOSE.

Water monster reports actually sometimes come with reported Moose-antlers: one of the early ones in Lake Champlain has this feature, as do other simlar reports in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Furthermore, traditional images of Water Horses or Dragon Horeses are shown with antlers or other such structures on the head that correspond only to moose antlers in Scandinavia, Central Europe, Siberia and Northern China. And Water Horse images in Karelia are definitely identified by some Archaeologists as representing elks.[Group photo album reference: album also illustrates swimming moose with "string-of-buoys" wakes-See top illustration on this blog entry]

I would probably be just as happy to say "the European and Siberian elk is sometimes called the Water-Horse and such traditions as cryptids generally refer to such creatures but mythologized"

Coleman, L. A Field Guide to Water Monsters
Coleman, L. . Cryptozoology A to Z
Eberhart, George M. 2002. Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology. 2 volumes. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Heuvelmans, B. In The Wake of The Sea-Serpents
Heuvelmans, B. 1986. Annotated checklist of apparently unknown animals with which cryptozoology is concerned. Cryptozoology 5: 1-26.
Mackal, RP. The Loch Ness Monster
Mackal, RP. Searching for Hidden Animals
Dinsdale Tim, Monster Hunt
Costello Peter, In Search of Lake Monsters
Sanderson, Ivan T. More "Things"
Sanderson Ivan T. Investigating the Unexplained
Sanderson, Ivan T Archives [The author had inspected these before they were dispersed]

Wikipedia and Other Internet sources on moose information

Saturday, June 06, 2009
DALE DRINNON: Perhaps the earliest Lake Champlain sighting...
It took a little searching through the archives to turn this up. It was incidentally the first report of any type I had heard about as coming from Lake Champlain.

In July 1937 some fishermen including Gene McGabe, Coots Gordon and Pat Harvey, reported a Champ near Whitehall New York. They saw it while fishing from a pier. They reported it as having a noticeable red mane, very large eyes and large drooping ears-and moose antlers. They estimated it as 50 feet long, and undoubtedly that includes at least part of the wake in the estimate.

The source is from a Syracuse NY newspaper dated July 22, 1937: The Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library had it as part of a compilation article at second hand, in their clippings file under "Sea serpents" at the Central branch as of the 1970s. That was far back enough that other items in the same file included announcements from the Loch Ness Phenomenon Investigations Bureau. And my reaction upon first seeing it was "You have GOT to be kidding!"

{The blog was posted by Jon Downes and I later corrected the title by specifying this was the first Lake Champlain report which I actually heard, not the first one on record)

Sunday, January 24, 2010
DALE DRINNON: I saw the moose today Oh Boy

[Continuing from earlier discussion] What I started out to quote is on pages 289-290 of Wilkins Secrets of Old South America, about Ogopogo. The pertinent part runs:

'In August 1933, the Great Okanagan monster got into the headlines of newspapers far away in Ottawa and Toronto, and even old London, England. The Indians believed he had died because he had not been seen for a long time. Then, lo, one morning, he suddenly appeared all a-foaming and a-blowing in the waters of Lake Okanagan! These waters are very deep. He was said to have the head of a sheep and body of prodigious size and girth.
The Indians further said he appeared but once a year, and when he does he signalizes his appearance with a noise like the explosions of the engines of a motor launch
[i.e, he appears at such a time as the winter ice is breaking up, that is what the noise comes from-DD] The stories import that the monster is a unique specimen of a fresh-water saurian of the sea-serpent type; for he is said to have a snout of canine appearance [a sheep's head is not canine and in this instance we are actually talking about the same sighting where Ogopogo was said to have a sheep's head five lines earlier-DD] and very large head appendages like the flapping ears of an African elephant.

These people said they saw the monster, and that they guessed he was more than 30 feet long [from the wake-DD]. They further said he rose to the surface close to the shore, nodded his flappers, and then submerged. He rose again, and then was no more seen.
A white hunter was told by the Indians that the monster was called "Ogopo"[!] and had been the theme of numerous stories told round the camp fire and in the wigwams."

[I think the usual term is 'Lodges' up there, more substantial and better-insulated structures than the term 'wigwams' evokes-DD]

Caddy=Moose and Ogopogo=Moose. The first version came from Cryptomundo, the second is mine. Depiction of either creature CAN include Moose antlers.

This paints a pretty vivid picture of Ogopogo rising to the surface amid much foaming and snorting, seeing people on shore, wiggling his ears, submerging, and then swimming off, submerged and unseen. And it is obviously a moose from those ears. Funny thing; big flapping ears were accepted as a normal and even identifying characteristic of the type all across Canada and as far as Lake Champlain in the 1930s.

I hate to belabour the point but it seems to be something most writers on the subject tend to overlook.

Roy Mackal in Searching for Hidden Animals (1980), Chapter XI, "Canadian Lake Monsters", gives this identikit description for Ogopogos on page 231:

'The animals look most like a log, elongated, serpentine, no thickened body centrally, about 12 meters (40 feet) long, although a range of smaller sizes have been reported and a few larger, up to say 20 meters (70 feet). The head tapers toward the snout and is somewhat flattened top to bottom. Comparison is most often made to the head of a horse, sheep, [snake] or alligator. Eyes are definitely reported large enough to be clearly noted [on the sides of the head and directed laterally-DD] Very occasionally a pair of protruberances referred to as "ears" or "horns" have been noted. Nostrils have not been noted as such [they have, on the cow-like or horse-like heads-DD] but "blowing" has been observed, although rarely [Less than 1% of the reports, about as common as references to long necks-DD]

The skin is described as dark green or green-black to brown to black and dark brown. Occasionally the color is given as gray to blue-black or even a golden brown. Most often the skin is smooth with no scales, although part of the body must possess a few plates, scales or similar structures compared to the lateral scutes of a sturgeon. Most of the back is smooth although a portion [along the spine] is saw-toothed, ragged-edged or serrated. Sparse hair or hair-like structures are reported around the head, and in a few cases a mane or comblike structure has been observed at the back of the neck. [Reports also speak of a forked tail, which Mackal assumes to be horizontal like a whale's rather than vertical like a fish's for no specific reason in particular-DD]...'

Mackal goes on to claim the description fits 'one and only one known creature, either living or in the fossil record,' and then gives the revelation that the description can only be a zueglodon like Basilosaurus.

THAT would be an unfounded and mistaken statement. The descriptions not only describe something else, they describe more than one thing, and things that are otherwise known locally. First off, the horse, camel, cow or sheep-headed creature described as having ears, horns and a mane, and a beard below the neck, which Mackal does not mention, is obviously a swimming moose, and the multiple humps that are seen are merely waves in its wake. Furthermore, it also LEAVES MOOSE TRACKS; the circular tracks 6 inches long seen entering and leaving the water's edge are moose tracks; moose tracks are commonly six inches long. The other irregular tracks 18 inches long by 12 inches wide are probably composite tracks made by fishing bears.

Now as to the main body of reports, it must be admitted that one main type of creature seems represented after ruling out mistaken observations of otters and beavers (which smack the water with their tails and cause the 'Spouting') is the log-like thing, probably a fish-predator as Mackal says from its behaviour, but only showing part of its back above the surface.

That would be the 'log' effect, 30 to 40 feet long and a yard wide, although there are other observations guessing this above or below the average. This is the creature that is ordinarily greyish or greenish-brown in colour, darker colours being due to shadows and the 'Golden' colour due to bright sunlight.

This creature has a jagged profile to its back and it has (specifically stated by Mackal) the scutes along its sides characteristic of the sturgeons. It is a big sturgeon something like the white sturgeons but estimated as being larger than the record at 20 feet (20 feet is the official record, smaller records are commonly quoted any more but they don't get so large generally any more due to over-fishing) So I am willing to call that an urecognised species of sturgeon allied to the white sturgeons and the Huso or white sturgeons (belugas) of Russia. As Mackal indicates, the same sort of creatures are spotted in other Canadian lakes, but I would estimate the proportion of moose to big fish sightings increases going eastward until the Manipogo bunch are characteristically moose sightings with some likely sturgeons, and eastward of Hudson's Bay, none of the reports seem to be the same obvious sturgeon types any more. At the more easterly locations, more of the reports seem to be possible giant otters and beavers. The 'Manatee' carcass reported at Lake Okanagan might be one of the giant beavers, though, if only for the hairy body and the paddle-shaped tail.

Authentic Ogopogo Petroglyph.

Below, Ogopogo goes after a seagull, one of the only "Long Necked" reports from this location.

White Sturgeon are known to be great leapers.

Scale showing record-sized sturgeon with a man.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Follow-up to PNW Giant Salamanders

Siberian Shaman's Drum Showing a Possible Giant Salamander Illustrated with other more Mundane Animals.

A reader posted a link to his sighting after the original article on PNW Giant Salamanders went through. Because the information seemed important to me, I'll post the whole text here (Let me know if this is some kind of a problem)

Laguna Creek wetlands Salamander
Posted on Tuesday, 2 March, 2010 2 comments
Columnist: Paul Dale Roberts

Most of my neighbors know that I am truly an odd fellow. I am a paranormal investigator, Fortean investigator, Esoteric detective and part time monster hunter. It appears I may have a monster in my own backyard. The date is February 3, 2010 and I received the following call.

X-Files Ringtone.

Paul: Hello?

Caller: Paul, my name is Jeffrey Sanchez (caller provided his real name, but does not want his real name published in this article). I am your neighbor, I live on -----------. I was hiking along the wetlands trail near Francesca Street and Frye Creek and I swear I saw this 5 foot salamander, it had light yellow type of stripes, if you want to call them stripes, I guess it was more camouflage than anything else, the rest of his body was green. I saw him in the mud alongside the wetlands. I am telling you the salamander was HUGE! I couldn't believe my eyes! I watched it for about 7 minutes and finally it went into the tall grass. When I first saw it, I thought it was a snake. This thing was HUGE! Have you heard anything like this?

Paul: Nope. Not in our area. Hmmm...hold on. I am doing some researching on the Internet. If I remember right, there was a large salamander I think that was seen in Mount Shasta, if my memory serves me right.

After I talked with Jeffrey about this large Salamander, in which I will call the Laguna Creek Wetlands Salamander, there is a similar salamander that was seen in the Trinity Alps. The Trinity Alps is the 2nd largest wilderness area in California. The creature that was spotted in the Trinity Alps was later known as the Trinity Alps Giant Salamander. When the first reports started to come in, Tom Slick led an expedition for this cryptid and was unsuccessful.

After I received this call, I called my colleague Shannon 'Ms. Macabre' McCabe, Monster Hunter. Shannon and I on the very next day, waded through the Laguna Creek wetlands trying to locate this creature. I brought along my binoculars, flashlights, laser light, walkie talkies and 2 long bamboo sticks to brush aside the tall grass and to poke into certain areas for this creature. Shannon with her high rubber boots, got entangled in some brush. The walkie talkies came in handy as I went over to her location and assisted her in getting some of the sticky weed out of her hair.

While we were in the Wetlands we observed 3 rabbits, 2 lizards, an assortment of birds, including the white whooping crane, something that moved very fast through the tall grass, I couldn't tell what it was, but imagined if it were a salamander, it could not have moved that quickly. Shannon brought her black poodle Rocket and I brought along my Corkie named HPI (pronounced Hi-Pee) and Pika, a Jack Russell Terrier. Pika became distracted and started re-digging a gopher hole, hoping to pull out the elusive gopher with his teeth. Rocket and HPI were unsuccessful in finding any kind of salamander type of creature.

After about 2 hours of wading through the Wetlands, we called it a night. Shannon and I will conduct a few other investigations in these Wetlands to see if there is any substance of truth to Jeffrey Sanchez' claim. I can only wonder if the Laguna Creek Wetlands Salamander can be related to the hellbender found in the Eastern part of the United States or if the Laguna Creek Wetlands Salamander can actually be the Trinity Alps Giant Salamander. The Trinity Alps Giant Salamander was actually seen in 1939 at the Sacramento River near the West Sacramento embankments. Could the Trinity Alps Giant Salamander somehow migrated from the Sacramento River area to the Elk Grove Laguna Creek Wetlands? It would seem logical and the distance is not that far.

Some people have theorized that the Trinity Alps Giant Salamander is an abnormally large group of Dicamptodon Pacific Giant Salamander. Who knows, but I can say that Jeffrey Sanchez tells a compelling and intriguing story. His story is very consistent. What is also unique about the area of Jeffrey's sighting is that neighboring high school kids think this area is haunted. Two high school kids said that they saw a ghostly stagecoach. Also, the clumps of Eucalyptus trees were placed in strategic locations in the Wetlands for settlers from a long time ago to set up camp. The trees would provide the settlers shelter. The trees were transported here from Australia.

If I have a monster in my backyard, I hope to one day find it. Are you ready Shannon, to wade through the mud again? Let's do this!

Paul Dale Roberts, HPI General Manager

Paranormal Cellular Hotline: 916 203 7503 (for comments on this story).

If you have a possible investigation call: 1-888-709-4HPI

Sometimes the weight of the whole world is on my shoulders...I just need to work out more! Paul Dale Roberts.

Article Copyright© Paul Dale Roberts - reproduced with permission.

First of 2 comments:
There's the giant European salamander of course, Tatzelworm. There's even a photograph somewhere.. Attached File(s)
Tatzelwurm.jpg (4.95K)
Number of downloads: 1

This post has been edited by Smugfish: 02 March 2010 - 12:34 PM

[2nd of two comments not specifically commenting on Giant Salamanders]

The photo file does not seem to work, however we have also recently published Tatzelwurm info and the average dimensions given for the larger range of reports does match the Giant salamander very well.

In the Eastern United States there are also scattered reports of "Giant Hellbenders" but only on and off again in certain locations. We hear of them historically in the Ohio River but not enough to say that they might still be living there now. In parts of California the reports are consistent and have been consistently coming out of the same areas for decades. That sounds like a much more sure thing. And some of the Giant Oriental salamanders are definitely black or dark brown with irregular yellow markings.And they are definitely known to be the larger relatives of our usual Hellbenders (Same family)

Because it is pertinent here, I shall reprint my first blog devoted to Tatzelwurms, posted for the CFZ blog in September of 2009. Among other things it illustrates parallel creatures from Siberia (Top) and Mongolia, and the information was cited by Darren Naish during his discussion of Giant Salamanders and mentioning Ulrich Magin's theory. The comparison between a Giant Salamander and the Hellbender was included in the original article.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009
DALE DRINNON: Looking at the tatzelwurm

Mongolian Dragons, Slab found in the Altai Mountains, from an Internet site on Petroglyphs

The last issue of PURSUIT that I ever received had part 1 of a two-part article on Tatzelwurms. It was Volume 22, whole number 85, date not listed, and despite repeated requests to the then editor I was never able to learn if the part 2 was ever published. It had an illustration of an Austrian tombstone allegedly depicting a pair of Tatzelwurms that had struck a farmer down by poison. The Tatzelwurms are shown as fairly ordinary lizard-shaped creatures of large size; perhaps human size. The original was lost and I have a suspicion that the farmer died of fright rather than of any poison. It was from this tombstone (or "votive stela from some shrine") that Ulrich Magin formed the opinion that the Tatzelwurm was the same size and shape as the Japanese giant salamander, but of more terrestrial habits. This was published in an earlier issue of PURSUIT.

I follow a similar theory, but not all Tatzelwurm reports are alike. Apparantly two legs or four legs are regularly reported, but the four legs are in majority. If it is something like a giant salamander, then the rear legs can be positioned in such a way that they are not apparent (see the following drawing after Young, Life of the Vertebrates, a standard reference work)

The proper genus name of the giant salamanders is Andrias, by the way. The name was first given after a famous fossil example was named "Homo Diluvi Testis" (Man who Witnessed the Flood)

The article in PURSUIT no. 85 was by Luis Schonherr and includes a reference to the "Allergorhai-Horai" on page 9, as information given to Roy Chapman Andrews on his expedition to the Gobi desert in the 1920s. Schonherr considered the story to be much the same as the European stories of the dreadfully poisonous Stollenwurm or Tatzelwurm. More recently, further information has made that identification seem less likely. However, there is still some indication for some sort of a Tatzelwurm-like creature being reported in the Altai mountains region.

While I was on the same search that turned up the Altai petroglyphs which resembled Irish elk, I found a depiction of another tombstone that seems to show two Tatzelwurms on it. This was from a site in the Russian language.

Similar creatures are depicted on Siberian shamanic equipment.

I had also mentioned on another occasion that certain "Pictish" monuments depict what appears to be a similar lizard-shaped "Dragon" from Scotland and Ireland in the Dark Ages. I consider certain of the Water-monsters in that area to be of the same type.

During the middle to late part of the Age of Mammals, the giant salamanders seem to have inhabited a large territory of Europe, Asia and North America: and although reports of the type are in much more spotty distribution in the modern age, they still occur from time to time all over that same general area.

Furthermore, their skeletons can be entirely cartiliginous under certain circumstances (due to mineral deficiencies), which means that their remains "Melt away without any trace" as some of the traditional stories have it. And it is also possible that as salamanders their skin does indeed secrete a noxious toxin (That would be Ulrich Magin's statement and not mine)