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Thursday, 29 December 2011

Chilean Gargoyles and Maryland Snallygaster Phoenixes

I am indebted to postings on the Global Warming and Terraforming Terra site for the following three news items, all connected to unusual flying creatures such as we have discussed here before. The first two involve sightings of the ChupaBats in Chile and described as gargoyles. Unfortunately the name 'gargoyle' was originally used to described a type of long-necked dragon and the name is pre-empted. The name 'devil bat'seems to be the common-usage term in many places. The text from the site also mentions the large bat Vampyrum spectrum; while I think we are dealing with a larger form of Vampyrum, I do not insist it belongs to the same species. Indeed, the rear legs would seem to be longer and more developed in the new species as compared to the known species V. spectrum.

The links in the highlighted text are integral and should take you back to the originating site.
One statement commonly repeated is that the chupacabras creatures are actually blood-sucking vampires. This seems not to be the case where tests have been made: tests generally show that in the dead animals most of the blood is still in the body but settled down after death. The animals would generally have bled to death but not have been sucked dry; in fact animals that feed on blood such as the much smaller vampire bats allow their victims to bleed freely and then lap up the flowing blood. And there are some diseases in which it seems that sick dogs will ONLY drink the blood from a victim and not touch the rest of the corpse. The dogs do not suck blood, once again they allow the animal to bleed and then drink the blood normally. This is reportedly true in some stages of/some types of rabies, at which point normal swallowing is difficult. I have printed statements from veteranary experts before stating this, and I have printed allusions to the test results which say that most of the chupacabras victims' blood is still in the bodies when tested. And once again I do have statements that the Vampyrum bats are believed to be at least occasionally blood-drinkers, although the reference sources generally deny this is so; possibly this also refers to rabid bats.

And now to the reports:

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 12:02 AM PST

Slowly but surely others are waking up to the reality that the Chupacabra phenomenon and the medieval Gargoyle phenomenon are plausibly one and the same as I argued some months back. I find it noteworthy that they seem to like open desert as hunting areas so attempts to associate them with forested areas is possibly a mistake or an artifact of observation.

The mixing of the mangy dog in the South West with the known evidence is mostly evidence of scavenging on already blood drained corpses and certainly not evidence of vampirism by dogs.

The scientific question that must be properly answered is whether blood is drained from the corpse and how much is drained from the corpse. This is not a trivial question. A downer will have all its blood quite intact and the meat will make that obvious. It is why we expertly drain the blood from slaughtered animals immediately so as to prevent coagulated blood from causing spoilage of the meat and ruining its appearance.

My point here is that a drained carcass is only possible if the blood is drained while the heart is still pumping unless the animal is immediately hung and drained. A large vampire bat would work as perfectly.

Thus all tales of cattle mutilation and blood removal is clear evidence of a large vampire bat and not of a lucky dog who may well have taken some of the soft tissue.

Since such a bat can fly over a vast natural range, the actual events appear to be quite far apart and unconnected.

This report describes four of the creatures and finally makes the kangaroo like legs well witnessed and explains the creature’s necessary launch equipment. There is no particular need to run to launch and it certainly allows it to land on a victim, swiftly drain the blood and as the prey collapses, leap back into the air and take off.

The Gargoyles of Chile

The deep, shadow shrouded jungles of South America are rife with carnivorous predators rarely seen by the human eye, but as intimidating as the creatures lurking in the dense rain forests of this mysterious continent may be, the arid plains of northern Chile are said to harbor a colony of chillingly bizarre beasts, which are quite unlike anything supposed to be living on the Earth.

Situated in the northernmost portion of Chile , less than 12-miles away from the port city of Arica , is a sprawling swathe of red sand desert known as Pampa Acha. The only real nod to the existence of humanity in this desolate region is the Pan-American Highway , which twists through this barren wasteland like an asphalt serpent.

It was on this lonesome stretch of road that in July of 2004, an army sub-officer with the “Cazadores” regiment named Carlos Abett de la Torre, his wife Teresa, their three children and a nephew would have a harrowing encounter with a group of fantastic creatures, which seemed to jump straight out of the pages of an ancient bestiary.


At approximately 7:00 pm. on the day in question, the Torre family packed into Carlos’ pick-up truck and departed from their quarters in Fuerte Baquedano, which is located in the military community of Pozo Almonte, heading toward Arica to visit some relatives.

Knowing full well that he was in for long and monotonous drive with a car full of children, Carlos gamely threw the truck into gear and began motoring down the same highway he had been traveling for the better part of 25 years.

About two hours into their journey, Carlos was cruising at about 65-miles per hour through the Pampa Acha approximately 20-miles south of Arica . The road ahead was illuminated not only by the pick-up’s headlamps, but the bright moon that hovered above them in the cloudless sky. That was when Carlos’ eldest daughter, Carmen, noticed a pair of extraordinary entities through the back window of the vehicle. According to Carmen she was astounded to see two creatures leisurely “floating” in the skies above. In her own words:

“I was traveling in the backseat with my brothers, talking, and suddenly everything went dark. Then I told my brother what I was seeing and he told me to keep quiet, because Mom gets nervous. Later I looked through the window and saw some things that looked like birds, with dogs’ heads and back swept wings. My father said they were like gargoyles.”

Carmen later estimated that the strange airborne critters that flew over her father’s pick-up truck were at least 6-feet in length and she admitted that at first she wasn’t sure if the creatures had wings or legs, but that the appendages were angled toward the rear of the creatures.

Carmen and her brother watched as the outlandish animals paced the truck, afraid to speak, lest they panic their anxiety prone mother. But their efforts were wasted as Teresa, who sat next to Carlos in the front seat, would catch sight of the peculiar avian duo through the windshield just moments later.

From her vantage point Teresa was afforded the best view of these anomalous animals, which the press would quote her as saying resembled “dog-faced kangaroos.” She claimed that the “gargoyles” seemed to match the speed of the truck, occasionally slipping ahead, then falling back, never traveling more than 60-feet from the vehicle.

By this point Carlos and the rest of his frightened brood were all stealing skyward glances and catching glimpses of these soaring evolutionary nightmares. He accelerated the truck, praying under his breath, terrified of the fate that might befall him and his family if these creatures decided to swoop down and attack their vehicle. The Torre family was in such a state of shock that none of them spoke. Carmen described the scene:

“We were speechless for some ten minutes [then] my Mom told us to react, and then we started discussing what we’d seen.”

Just when the Torre family was growing accustomed to the flying fiends above, another pair of the same species leapt in front of the truck on strong hind legs, which were shorter than their upper legs. Carlos managed to avert a collision with these land bound “gargoyles” and increased the pick-up’s speed, eventually leaving all four of the beasts behind.

When Torre family safely arrived in Arica they told their relatives about their bizarre sightings, but swore them to secrecy, concerned that the public ridicule which might follow the unveiling of their tale would somehow damage the military career of the family’s patriarch.

Although their sojourn with their extended family was enjoyable, it goes without saying that the entire Torre clan was anxious about the trip home.

Teresa even conceded: “We were terrified to go back,” but, much like every other journey Carlos had taken through Pampa Acha, the expedition proved to be mercifully uneventful.

Once back on base in Pozo Almonte, the Torre family honored their oath of silence, but when another sub-officer, Diego Riquelme, claimed to have encountered a dinosaur-like creature on the same stretch of road a few weeks later they decided to come clean.

Needless to say it wasn’t long before the press got wind of these bizarre stories and began churning out articles about the monsters seen on the Pan-American Highway .

Soon after the story broke Scott Corrales of the Institute of Hispanic Ufology translated the story for the English speaking world.

The usually open minded Chilean press was quick to claim that the eyewitnesses were likely seeing nothing more than ostriches, which must have escaped from a local breeder.

The fact ostriches are flightless and that none of the birds were reported missing in the area was ignored by the media.

It also seems unlikely that seven individual eyewitnesses would confuse ostriches for either on the wing gargoyles or prehistoric reptiles, regardless of how unbelievable the alternative may be. So if these observers were not bearing witness to bird refuge escapees, then the question remains…


It’s a fair question considering that the list of dog headed, bat winged, kangaroo legged and potentially reptilian creatures that stand over 6-feet tall is not a large one… In fact, nothing like that should exist, [a vampire bat should not exist but it does and evolving from that into a larger version is very plausible if not inevitable - arclein] nevertheless let’s keep an open mind and look at few of our options here. I have to admit that when I first stumbled across this report my initial thought was that the eyewitness descriptions were akin to reports of the infamous…


For reasons difficult to discern the description of the notorious blood sucking chupacabra — it’s name is Spanish for “goat sucker,” which was initially said to be its favorite prey — has varied wildly since the first reports of these beasts emerged from Puerto Rico in the mid-1990s.

Nowadays many people believe that the mangy coy dogs so often videotaped near the Texas/Mexico border represent chupacabra, but these sickly canine creatures are nothing like the classic depictions of these ferocious fiends.

Initially chupacabra were described as being semi- reptilian beasts with Kangaroo legs, upon which it could leap astounding distances. These creatures were also said to have canine (and occasionally feline) features, large fangs and, very often, bat-like wings. A forked tongue and porcupine-like spines were also commonly seen attributes. All versions of this creature were said to live on the blood of animals.

The above description sounds a lot like the “dog faced gargoyles” described by the Torres and Riquelme. In support of this hypothesis is the fact that since 2004 there have been sporadic reports hailing from South America regarding similar varmints, some of which have been allegedly spotted near scores of bird carcasses that were discovered to be devoid of blood.

While many people are of the mind that the late blooming, so to speak, of the chupacabra phenomenon is the result of it being either of alien extraction or the product of an American genetic experiment gone terribly awry, the thought that these gargoyles might be the origin for tales of the enigmatic chupacabra is an intriguing one. It’s also worth considering the fact that these critters seem to look a helluva’ lot like the…


Although it is said to have hooves rather than coiled marsupial legs, the bat winged dog-like description of these gargoyles also seems to bear an uncanny resemblance to eyewitness accounts of the New Jersey Devil.

Nevertheless, the fact that the Jersey Devil is an ostensibly supernatural rather than traditionally cryptozoological entity, combined with the lack of any significant eyewitness accounts from outside the Pine Barrens, leads me to believe that this is just a farfetched shot in the dark.

Okay, so removing both the cryptozoological, paranormal and potentially ufological elements and look at some of South America’s indigenous fauna to see if we can come up with a culprit. There are a handful of options, but the character that seems to most fit the bill is…


Vampyrum Spectrum — also known as the Spectral or false vampire bat — is native to both South and Central America . This nocturnal predator ranges from Mexico to central Brazil and Peru . It is not only the largest bat found in the “ New World ,” but it is also the biggest carnivorous bat on the planet.

With its elongated nose and 3-foot wingspan it’s not entirely unreasonable to deduce that the Torre family spied a small group of these animals and assumed the worst. Granted the arid deserts of northern Chili are nothing like the prototypical habitat of deciduous forests and swampy areas where bunches of five Vampyrum Spectrum nest in hollow trees near bodies of water, but it is not that unusual for small colonies of creatures to occasionally stray from their usual environment for a variety of reasons.

One could also argue that a pair of gargantuan non-indigenous bats that are seen at night by young and inexperienced eyewitnesses may well appear to be larger than they are. Still, as convenient as a rogue population of bats might be in explaining away these events, they cannot account for the leaping, winged, kangaroo-like creatures that temporarily blocked the Torre’s path in full view of their truck’s headlights.


So what is it that we are dealing with here? It seems fairly evident that if we are not contending with a mistaken identification or outright hoax, then these gargoyles must be either a variety of unknown flying mammal or perhaps a colossal species of heretofore undiscovered bat.

Strangely enough, according to both Carlos and the Carabineros — the uniformed Chilean national police force — there were no reports of strange creatures on the well traveled highway until 2004. Does this suggest a migratory pattern for these beasts or might we surmise that jungle deforestation or some other manner of likely human encroachment has forced these critters out of hiding and into the public eye?

Until one of the Chilean gargoyles is shot, captured or convincingly caught on film this mystery will no doubt endure… and if you ever find yourself traipsing around northern Chili at night, look to the skies… you never know what you’re going to see.

-I post this in deference to the owner of the blog Global warming and Terraforming and as a representation of his views, which are not necessarily the same as my own. My views are parallel but not identical. And so these are some conclusions, which he draws on that other blog:
Posted: 28 Dec 2011 12:02 AM PST

Yesterdays post on the gargoyles in Chile has given us an excellent eye witness report that has been missing in other similar reports which were often glimpses or over ridden by the initial shock of observation. This report lasted for many minutes because it appears that two pairs of gargoyles were actually playing with the moving vehicle just as we might.

They tested their own flying speed against the car running at sixty miles per hour and a pair even hit the ground running to see how they fared in their bounding along side. This was playful and exhibited curiosity but was not an overt threat. Of course the occupants were scared and soon hit the pedal and were in fact able to out run them and speed away.

We can characterize the gargoyle as follows:

1 The excellent carvings on cathedrals from the Middle Ages were modeled from real bodies of these creatures.
2 The creatures feed on blood and have been caught draining blood from a large number of chickens in a chicken coop and can obviously be blamed for the many cases of blood drained downers found on the Great Plains . They are thus clearly able to exploit a wide range of prey and like a weasel will tackle a cage full of chickens.
3 They do hunt in social groups and this readily explains the occurrence of more than one victim at a given site of so called cattle mutilation. Chile showed us two pair working together.
4 Their flying speed is easily sixty miles per hour and they certainly have soaring capacity. Put that together and we have a creature that can travel in a two hundred mile radius from its den on a given night when it is tied to the den for raising young and also able to travel five hundred miles every night if it is looking for a new range.
5 This range of movement allows the creature to easily establish dens throughout the world and the existence of examples in Europe from the medieval period pretty well assures us that this has happened.
6 They are obviously nocturnal and may be members of the bat family which has a sequence of vampires. This then suggests they use caves where they can go to den up. This may also serve to restrict the number of locales in which they operate.
7 It also appears that they are now expanding their range, This is likely because the danger from human landholders has hugely abated over the past half century. They are clever enough to avoid humanity itself as that has surely meant a blast from a shotgun until recently.

Capturing one of these alive is a tall order and locating an active den when the residents only leave at night is equally difficult. Thus our best hope is that the population will increase enough to make shooting one of them rather likely.

We have now had enough individual observations to nicely describe and confirm individual observations as been other than unique. What is missing is a mass of observations, although we do have a mass of observations confirming the draining of blood from cattle in particular. A hunting pack of gargoyles solves that in short order.
As to the sightings, smaller vampire bats are known to do a sort of rocking-horse bounce between the forelegs and hindlegs when making short jumps into the air and the characterization of the creatures as making "Kangaroo hops" could be compared. One other possibility might be that the creatures are poorly-observed condors at night, making "Gooney Bird" landings. I do not think the description matches that possibility as well. While some big bat reports in NW Argentina and Chile might be due to mistaken observations of condors, some sightings specify exactly "Bats the size of condors."

And now for the third item:

Posted: 26 Dec 2011 12:01 AM PST

This is a one off event describing a creature seen in Maryland over a couple of years. Since this creature is clearly diurnal, it has to be a transient and may have come up from South America . No such creature has actually been reported in North America .

What is troublesome is that none of the descriptions described the beak at all. That pretty well eliminates an over specialized shape such as a raptor or its like. If any thing the weight of the descriptions is toward a bulkier bird able to eat grubs and some vegetative matter.

One report noted that the wings were leathery. In fairness, bird wings are also leathery but covered with feathers. This bird is a solid flier with obvious pin feathers. The whole observation allows us to rethink the available possibilities for large birds. Purportedly the pterodactyl lacked feathers but that seems less and less likely. However a membrane wing covered as needed with small feathers makes sense on the pterodactyl configuration.

The Chinese and Asian reports suggest a homeland for this particular transient. Yet I am still seeing a large diurnal bird with a very long apparent range. Perhaps it relies on fishing like the pterodactyl. We have to get it here some how.

In the event this is at lest a very rare solitary bird that travels great distances and avoids humanity by roosting in forests and possibly flying high. Yet flying low may actually be a better route for a bird that does not hunt and perhaps fishes and is comfortable in the forest.

The forest in which the observations were made is a river valley and is well penetrated by human activity. Observation may well have been inevitable there.

Winged Enigma


A few weeks ago I was thumbing through old investigation files when I came across notations I had made in regards to a unknown bird-like creature. The sightings were reported in 1985 and continued into 1987. It was an odd situation because I knew a few of the witnesses and I was also employed nearby at the time of the sightings. Cryptid investigation was new for me since my main focus was researching spiritual hauntings, but I had studied local Bigfoot encounters and wanted to expand my paranormal focus.

During the afternoon of May 5, 1985 I received a telephone call from Alfred M., the initial witness. He and 2 other men had seen a large bird-like creature perched in a hickory tree while driving south on Thistle Rd. toward River Rd. adjacent to the Patapsco State Park in SW Baltimore Co. Maryland. Alfred stopped the vehicle and watched the creature for several minutes. It eventually flew out of the tree and landed approximately 50 ft. from the road where the witnesses were able to get a keen observation of the creature. Albert stated that it stood 4-5 ft. high and was greenish-blue in color except for the head which was bright red. The wing span was enormous...he estimated it at 15 ft. or more tip-to-tip. The legs were thick and long with distinguishable talons. The eyes were also noticeable...slanted and large with a bright yellow hue. It also made 'clucking and cackle' sounds. After a minute or so, it unfurled its wings and took flight towards the east. Alfred said it reminded him of a hybrid 'dragon and peacock', which he thought was crazy but he stuck with the description.

At the time, I thought that the creature was either a large turkey buzzard or maybe a peacock someone may have had as a pet. In fact, a peacock farm did exist in the area back in the 1950's according to people I interviewed. I went to the location but found no evidence supporting the sighting.

Later that year, I had heard a rumor of a large bird being seen near the Hilton Area of the Patapsco State Park on Hilltop Rd. After several inquiries I was able to locate the witness, Darlene M., who confirmed the sighting. She and her daughter lived nearby and had been walking along Hilltop Rd. when they observed a huge bird flying towards them. Darlene stated that the creature got within 20 ft. of them then suddenly changed direction and flew into the woods. She said that they were terrified...she was sure it was going to hit them. She had gone to the library to see if she could find a picture of the creature. She found an old illustration of aFung Hwang, or Chinese Phoenix and said it looked very similar to what they observed. She described the head was a vibrate red with fierce eyes.

The wings were leathery and tipped with large green feathers. It flew by so quickly she was unable to get a better description.

This is the image Darlene showed me - In 1886, Charles Gould reproduced this picture of the Fung Hwang, or Chinese Phoenix . In fact, the male was called Fung, and the female called Hwang. Just as dragons could be auspicious, so could these birds, said to tower over most people and enjoy music.

Once again I was stumped by the sighting. I talked to two ornithologists who basically thought I was delusional. I also contacted the state park service and asked if they had heard of any strange reports. Nothing...though they were amused by the questions.

The Phoenix is a mythical sacred firebird that can be found in the mythologies of the Arabian, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, Indian and Phoenicians.

On the morning of April 29, 1986 several employees at the local paper mill observed a large bird standing in the loading area. According to the witnesses, this creature fit the description of a very large peacock...but there were some oddities. The head was red in color and it didn't have the long plumes. Other than those anomalies the overall description pointed towards a peacock. Could there be a breeding population in the state park?

In January 1987 a truck driver (Robert S.) was heading south on Thistle Rd. and was startled by a huge bird that flew across the road in front of his vehicle. I was able to interview him by telephone a few days later (he lived in Edison , NJ ). His impression was that it 'looked like a dragon'. There was snow on the ground and the creature silhouetted well enough to get a quick but detailed look. Robert stated that it was 'as long as his truck was wide' and 'was powerfully built'. He also confirmed it had a red colored head and greenish-blue body and wings.

At this point I had nothing more than anecdotal evidence. There was no natural explanation for the existence of this creature. Even today I have little to go on because I simply have not come across another cryptid that matches the description.

The Gryphon is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle was the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature.

The final sighting, as far as I know, took place on June 30, 1987. The witness, David, was a Baltimore Gas and Electric employee who, along with his partner, was working along the power line that runs north to south through the state park. At a point north of Hilltop Rd. near the old mill village is an abandoned church graveyard. The former church was razed in the 1930's but the graveyard was left on its own...thus, it was severely overgrown by the woods. (I do think that the graves have been relocated since). David observed a large bird-like creature that he described as a 'gryphon'...though he admits that he didn't get a very good look at it. He only noticed the creature after hearing a rustling sound which he thought was probably deer moving through the woods. He said the creature raised up from a rock, spread it's wings and vanished. David admitted that the sight of this beast was a shock and that he did not want to go back to the location.

I really wish I had more to offer. I kept the notes and vowed to go back and investigate the encounters if more sightings were reported. The witness Darlene may have been on to something...maybe this was a mythical firebird with the ability to be reborn from its own ashes. Unfortunately I have not heard of other incidents. Lon

-In this case, the dimensions are in the Thunderbird range although on the modest side (10 to 20 foot wingspan is the lower end of wingspan estimates and some estimates go up to a 35 foot wingspan or more. 15 to 25 would be seen more often and would definitely seem the more likely estimates of the size) but the colouration seems a mite gaudy. The ordinary reports would say simply black wings and a red head, but the feathers are also sometimes said to have a sort of irridescent sheen to them and could look bluish or greenish from that. Oddly enough, the more colourful Thunderbird reports nearly always emanate from the EAST Coast. Some reports say leathery wings and others say feathery; these reports DO say feathery. In the case quoted above, the suggestion it was a peacock seems too forced; it was like a peacock except for the head and tail does not leave any distinctively peacock features in between. The fact that the shape of the beak is not specified of course in itself means nothing; but then it is difficult to judge how sharp the edge of a bird's beak is from a distance. The large talons are on the other hand suggestive of a predatory bird. In this case we seem to have a more or less ordinary large condor-like bird from the description, only the fancies of observers attribute pterosaur or dragon features onto it. Or even phoenix or peacock features.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Alkali Lake Monster and Hall's Horrors

About the time Ivan Sanderson died, there was an article in PURSUIT by Mark A. Hall entitled "HORRORS From the Mesozoic" which touched on two distinct matters actually: the Alkali Lake Monster reported in Nebraska and the Great Horned Alligator mentioned much more vaguely as centered around Texas. The latter is both the more definite Cryptid and more spectacular, but the Alkali Lake monster became a point of confiusion by being better-documented and better-described, with a similar overall description. It was however almost certainly a hoax from the beginning.
From North American Monsters:


0 Comments 06 January 2010
This gargantuan, mono-horned, foul smelling, reptilian beast is reputed to lurk in the depths of Nebraska’s famed Alkali Lake, devouring all who come near it.
Located in central Nebraska, Walgren Lake (formerly known as Alkali Lake) is an eroded volcanic outcropping that is reputed to be the nesting place of one of the most unusual LAKE MONSTERS ever recorded and, if the legends are true, the habitat of the only aquatic monster ever reported in the state of Nebraska.
Originally chronicled in Native American folklore, this creature has been described as a gargantuan alligator-like beast with some unique attributes. Eyewitnesses claim that the beast is approximately 40-feet long, with rough, grayish-brown skin and a horny outgrowth located between its eyes and nostrils.

The first confirmed report of this curious monstrosity comes to us from the Omaha World Herald, dated 1923. In this report, a man named J.A. Johnson claimed that he and two friends had seen the creature while camping on the shores of Lake Alkali. Viewing the creature from a distance of a mere 60-feet, their testimony confirms that the animal’s features did resemble those of an alligator – complete with a rhinoceros-like horn – but that the creature in question was much longer and heavier than any traditional specimen of “Alligatoridae.” According to Johnson’s own account:
“I saw the monster myself while with two friends last fall. I could name forty other people who have also seen the brute.” Johnson went on to state that this creature had been responsible for local livestock losses.
The trio also claimed that as soon as the animal noticed their presence on shore, it emitted a “dreadful roar” and began to thrash its tail – creating a massive splash – before disappearing beneath the lake’s churning surface.
The American Monsters research team could uncover no modern encounters with this beast, which remains one of the most fascinating lake monsters in the continental United States.
A much-repeated description found on the internet follows:
The Alkali Lake, known now as Walgren Lake, is an 80 to 100 acre body of water located in the Sandhills area of Northwestern Nebraska. The lake is also the reputed home of the Alkali Lake Monster which is described as a 40 foot long alligator like creature with rough, grayish brown skin and a horn like appendage located between its eyes and nostrils. Reports of the Alkali Lake Monster started in August of 1921, and the first written account of the monster appeared in a 1922 printing of the Hay Springs News.
A second written report appeared in a 1923 printing of the Omaha World Herald. According to this report a name named J.A. Johnson claimed that he and two friends saw the creature while camping on the shores of Alkali Lake. The three men reported that they saw the creature from a distance of 60 feet and stated that it looked a lot like an alligator, complete with a rhinoceros like horn. They claimed that when the creature noticed them it began to violently thrash its tail and disappeared beneath the churning surface

See the original news report here dated 1923 July 24th :

Some researchers of the Alkali Lake Monster have suggested evidence that the creature was nothing more than a hoax. They state that at the time stories of the creature first appeared the Hay Springs News employed a man by the name of John G. Maher, who reportedly had a flair for tall tales and hoaxes. One such trick he and his accomplices perpetuated was the planting of a concrete cast in the local badlands where it was later “discovered” and named petrified man.
Maher was a corresponding reporter for many newspapers at the time some of which where ran by editors who where only interested in boosting circulation by printing sensational stories [This was commonly known as "Yellow Journalism"-DD]. As a contributing reporter for many newspapers Maher was only paid for stories that where printed, so it became necessary for these stories to sound as good as possible. Maher's attitude toward his contributions was evident when he reportedly said, "There was a great demand for stories and few things to write about, so, for an inventive mind, there was nothing to do but make up stories".
Another noteworthy piece of information is that in 1889 and 1890 the Alkali Lake area experiences a severe drought causing water levels in the lake to fall until it became little more than a puddle, causing some to question how a 40 foot monster would appear in the lake just 30 years later. While the lake continues to be a popular social and recreational gathering areas to this day sightings of the Alkali Lake Monster all but stopped in the 1920’s leading most researchers to suggest that if the creature ever really did exist it has either passed away or moved out on to another lake.
-So essentially the entire history of the "reliable sightings" of the Alkali Lake monster consists of one published report, and possibly one later incident at Campbell Lake SD was inspired directly from it.(Evidently within the decade later and again with only one published account. I have not seen the actual account in this case but the two places are often cited in tandem by Cryptozoologists)
The Alkali Lake affair does not end at that point, however. Peter Costello's In Search of Lake Monsters includes the following information  on pages 210-211;
"This lake is a few miles south of Hay Springs. In 1939 the indigent scholars and writers employed on the Federal Writer's Project, which was collecting "American Folklore", summarised the history of the monster there, which they facetiously call Giganticus Brutervious. When the monster appeares the Earth trembles and the skies cloud over. When he comes ashore, to devour calves it is said, a thick mist covers the shore around him. His gnashing teeth rumble like claps of thunder (How reminiscent this is of the Chinese dragons, originally gods controlling rain and thunder. Did the Chinese coolies working on the American railroads in the 1870s leave one of their deities behind them in Nebraska?) the writers archly describe the horror of the monster, how his appearance made men mad or turned their hair white. He was said to be over 300 feet long and to have swallowed a small island in the lake. By 1939 the monster was seen so infrequently that some thought it was gone away, others that it was hibernating.
This is an example of folklorists at their worst. Rather than treat popular stories as topics of serious interest, the writers feel that to justify their spending time collecting and rehashing them, the stories have to be given a facetious treatment, and the bourgeois prejudice of the reader pandered to by making what his grandfather believed to be an object of ridicule. This is not literature, nor is it social science. It is rubbish. They would have been better employed exploring the coincidence of their local folklore with Chinese mythology"
Now that was uncalled for and I feel I must take Costello to task for it because he was being greatly misleading about a straightforeward report which he evidently did not even bother to read in the original. The story as Costello excerpts it was widely circulated at the time and reached even the London Times, which was evidently Costello's source. However, the original document is available on Google documents. It is quite responsible and it names John Maher as probably the originator of all this folderol. And bringing Chinese dragons into the discussion merely introduces another unrelated matter. The Alkali Lake monster seems to have been made from whole cloth from the onset, although there is the tiniest glimmer (because of the gag postcard reprinted by North American Monsters) that originally reports of "Giant Mudpuppies" might have been at the base of it. If so, the amphibians most likely had died off by the late 1800s and were separated from the wildly exaggerated stories by a generation or more. Here is the link to the document:

Giganticus Brutervious

On the other hand, Hall's explanation of the creature as a kind of enormous horned alligator (up to 50-60 feet long, the presumed size of "Phobosuchus") DOES correspond to some reports of creatures in Texas, the Mississippi delta and deep in the Everglades of Florida, a creature sometimes called the "Super-Croc." During the WWII days, sightings of such creatures were confused with (or interpreted as) "Phantom submarines" come up the Mississippi as far as Missouri, and at least one report of the White River Monster (Arkansas) sounds like one of these creatures (An alligator-like creature with an exaggerated back-crest and estimated as 75 feet long) And representations of these creatures in Native art feeds into the notion of a "Great Horned Serpent" because that is what archaeologists invariably call them. However, these creatures are large and hefty with no discernable neck to speak of.

"Horned Serpent" mound creature carved from coal. Note that this is a reptile because it has a single cloaca. Large creatures resembling this are pictured on ancient Indus Valley seals with the hint that they were trying to steal cattle. Similar giant horned crocodiles are supposed to live in the big rivers of Thailand and Burma, where they are called the "King of Crocodiles" and the length of 50-60 feet again quoted for them.

 "Great Horned Alligator" as a "Mississippi River Monster"

IMHO, the horns on these representations are much exaggerated and we do have a real creature involved. The "Super-Croc" is world-wide in distribution and may have been reported as dragons both in Mediterranean countries as well as in the Orient (China and Japan): they may have been the originals for the reports of Tarasques and "Storm Dragons" (said to have fallen from the sky during storms, AND to have been reported in Madagascar, South and East Africa (Including as the "Silwaaane Manzi"-if so there is a possible photo of one from South Africa in the 1930s). They are more than likely the source of a couple of Heuvelmans' reports of "Marine Saurians" and we may have some specimens of some of them in our museums mistakenly labelled as "Crocodylus porosis"-especially the largest specimens assigned to that species. And we may have reports of the type all the way back to Sumerian imes. They seem to be nearly entirely marine but are forced to go into freshwater to breed: evidently the smallest hatchlings cannot tolerate saltawater and need a period of development before travelling out to sea.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Alexandr Fedenyow and The Face of Almasty is The Face Of the Eastern Bigfoot

Ordinarily I do not like to reprint items from the Cryptomundo site. In this case it was necessary to draw attention to something I had known about personally for a long time and I needed to share.Recently, Loren Coleman posted this notice at the usual sources:

Russian Hominologist Dies
Alexandr Fedenyow, 46, has died suddenly.

Via Loren Coleman, International Cryptozoology Museum, Portland, Maine

And the article includes these two artworks with the introduction:

Tommy Shirley shares these two images created by Alexandr Fedenyow, who was also a graphic artist, of the Russian Almasty variety called Leshiy:

And at one of the places where the notice was posted, I added this reply:

Re: Russian Hominologist Dies

Posted by: "DaleDrinnon"   

Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:42 am (PST)

It is unfortunate that the man died so young (in his mid 40s)
To the other group members: Fedenyow was also an artist and the Cryptomundo notice has a couple of his productions on display. I was interested in this because what he depicts seems unusually close to what is being reported in our neck of the woods as "Eastern Bigfoot" and I have depicions from American artists that are almost identical to his. He would have been a valuable person for me to have talked to because I would have wanted to convey this information to him.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

PS, "Leshiy" is used indiscriminately to denote anything strange or unusual in the woods and it has also been used to refer to possible surviving wooly mammoth reports.

Above is the first posting of a Russian Almasty that I noticed to be showing the "Bigeye" feature I had been discussing with member Wolfen (See "Portrait" below) at the Yahoo group Frontiers of Zoology. At right is another similar Bigfoot portrait from Texas, and below that one another "Bigeye" Wildman or Almasty. When Wolfen posted his portrait painting below and noted that the witness insisted that the eyes were that big, I countered with the "Bigeye" artwork by a Bifgoot witness found on the internet and labelled "Figure 4"

Bigfoot "Figure 4" Artwork by witness Sue Lindley emphasizing the very large eyes of the female Bigfoot she saw.

"Wolfen's" painting "Portrait" submitted to the group Frontiers of Zoology in 2007 and beginning the discussion by noting the very arge size of the eyes as insisted upon by the witness describing the Bigfoot for him to represent. Actually all of these representations are also remarkable for the fairly high dome of the cranium above eye level in most of them, not the same as in "Patty" or the far-Western "Conehead" Sasquatches proper.
Once again, the "Them or Us" reconstruction of a bestial Neanderthal man that has among its features outsized eyes with a large dialation for night vision like a cat has. This is the same thing as is insisted upon by the Russian "Leshiy" witnesses. And actually there is some reason for this when you look at the Neanderthal's skull: the eye sockets are distinctively large and unusually rounded. Also the nasal passages are hugely enlarged and there are peculiarities about the ear opening as well. It would seem Neanderthals had immensely developed senses far beyond the senses used by civilized Homo sapiens and one could well categorize their senses of sight, smell and hearing as Superhuman (or animal-like if you prefer) Which would only go towards confitming what the witnesses say about the extreme caution about showing themselves and the heightened senses characteristic of the Almases and the Eastern Bigfoot in most of the sightings.
"Southern Sasquatch" [or "Bigfoot" rather] illustrating the reported effect of the very large eyes glowing from reflected light. This could well be something of an exaggeration and possibly partly because the irises of the eyes are coloured reddish, but many witnesses insist on the effect that the eyes are huge, both relatively and actually.
It is not certain whether the actual Sasquatch of the far West shares this trait or exhibits an eyeglow anything like this large.
Sketch of an Ohio Bigfoot
Alex Evans art of an Indiana Bigfoot emphasizing how large the dialated pupils are reported to be in such creatures. The drawing below is also by Alex (Owner of the Thunderbird Feather)

"Land Otter Man" of the West Coast (Alaska to Northern California) has been cited as a Native legendary creature comparable to Sasquatch: but actually the oversized eyes and double-arched browridge are more like the Eastern type. In Tennessee, some of them are said to drop to the ground to avoid being observed and  to "Go from vertical to horizontal in notime flat"
Land Otter Man is completely hairy and somewhat smaller than the typical Sasquatch (still six to eight feet tall) and they are said to kidnap humans but not to eat them, instead intending "To make them into other creatures such as themselves"

Scan of Dale's transparencies used in lectures demonstrating how the anatomy of the Iceman as depicted
by Ivan Sanderson is an exact match for what is known about Neanderthals. From the first, whenever I comment on this, I draw attention to the very large very round eye sockets on both the Iceman and on the Neanderthal skulls.
Bernard Heuvelmans independantly made much the same comparison by use of line drawings. In my lectures,
 I would overlay the transparencies of the Iceman hand and face over the Neanderthal skeleton and skull,
demonstrating a nearly perfect match in either case.


Heuvelmans' photo mosaic for the Iceman and the line-art reconstructions made at his direction by Alika Lindbergh both above and below, from his book on the Iceman and Surviving Neanderthals
 (Le Homme d'Neanderthal est Toujours Vivant).

From the onset I was aware that the statements being made by the witnesses were not only internally consistent, they were also uniformly in agreement and flatly contradictory to Conventional Anthropological wisdom. For not only were they all in agreement that the Neanderthals were surviving up to the present day and the same throughout Europe and Asia, North and South America, they were all insistant about some things which do not fossilize: that the Neanderthals had a nocturnal adaptation of enlarged eyes with very large pupil dialation and unusually strong eyeglow (ordinarily red or orange, but not necessarily so). The question is now not so much to confirm that observation but whether or not that means they belong to the same species as the rest of us if they have such a unique adaptation.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Tenneessee Bigfoot, Eastern Bigfoot or Southern Bigfoot, similar sightings in Georgia and West Virginia. Compare body conformation with Heuvelmans Iceman directly above and the "Leshiy" drawing from Cryptomundo that went with the obituary. The shape of the head, hands and feet are again just like the Neanderthals: teeth of this type have been found and also match Neanderthals but are of very large size.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Finding Lost Letters From the Mailbag

In cleaning out my google email account, I discovered to my horror that several of my emails from several months back had all gone astray and were missed by me for those several months until I discovered their folder. Today I am trying to air out some of the more interesting messages that I had found there. And once again, I apologise if this seems really too tardy to make any sort of a reply at all!

(Ganges?) Makara Depicted as a Standard Oriental Dragon, Presumably as a Buru in this case.

Saw your blog entry on Makara
 and tried to post a comment, not sure if it worked.
I encountered statues of "makara" in Kerala (south India) and they're on the coat of arms of the modern Indian state of Karnataka. People I spoke to suggested they're heraldic devices or architectural flourishes going back no further than the 18th century. And they are LAND ANIMALS combining elephants with bits of lions, horses and possibly eagles' claws, with tufts, manes or crests. Guides described them to me as "unicorns" or "elephant dragons."
See my blog entry on "makara" (photos towards the end of the post).
Attached are two photos, copyright Matt Salusbury, which I license "Frontiers of Zoology" blog to reproduce without cost on the blog only.

The big stone carving is from the porch of Trivandrum's ancient main temple, probably added early 18th century, about the same date as the smaller painted wooden white and yellow makara, from the Maharaja of Travencore's palace opposite. (Trivandrum is Kerala's state capital.)

Sincerely, Matt Salusbury

Now in this case, Matt is speaking of Heraldric-composites called "Makaras" and he says they are not very old. Indeed they are not very old. HOWEVER, that is not the oldest meaning of "Makaras" nor yet the oldeast kind of "Makaras" that there are. Makaras in different forms have been artistic decoration for thousands of years and the creature is much older as a mount for various Gods and Goddesses, particularly the Goddess of the Ganges.
Different Makaras (A Water Horse is depicted at Right)
Now for my usage I was interested solely in the kind of Makara that is an Elephant-headed Water-Monster. I never said the term was not used to name anything else, it is simply that the other creatures being called Makaras have no relevance to the discussion of a specific sort of Water-Monster. As a matter of fact some of these "Land-Makaras" are very interesting because they could be representations of The Big Unicorn Elasmotherium, the one Pliny described as having "Elephant-feet". But that is a separate discussion on Unicorns, don't you see?
Best Wishes, Dale D.


While we are on the topic of Makaras and Water-Elephants, I did come across the photo of Karl Shuker holding a cast of a "3-Toes" track from Africa, said to be from a "Dinosaur" type there and probably the same as the Gambian Water-Elephant. It is probably the trach made by an elephant seal's flipper when the toes are widely spread out. And before you go saying the idea is ridiculous, please look back at some of my old blog postings on the matter:

This illustration of Arkansas "Critters" is interesting for several reasons. One thing is that it shows the White River Monster and Gowrow together (they are sometimes thought of as being synonymous) but the White River monster is a kind of turtle here. Roy Mackal identified it as an Elephant seal and used the 3-toed-track argument as part of his case. And in fact some Elephant seasl-SeaMonsters are also described as having the heads of gigantic turtles. These creatures are also locally called "Gollywampus" evidently a variant for "Grampus", a fat porpoise or seal. And the last thing I would like to mention is that the "Giasticutus" looks very much like the "Thunderchick" illustrated from elsewhere...which would thend to indicate that the Ozarks area, as well as the Black Forest PA, is another nesting ground for Thunderbirds.

Hello Dale, My name is Brea Tisdale, I am writing you from the Travel Channel Special "Legends of the Ozarks." I saw a blog you posted on "The Ozark Howler" and I was wanting to talk to you a bit more about this. We are looking for people that have had sightings or experiences with the Ozark Howler and was wondering if you had any contacts for people that have had such an experience or if you knew of a good place for me to ask around. Thank you in advance for your time and I look forward to speaking with you soon. Best, Brea Tisdale Associate Producer "Legends of the Ozarks"- Travel Channel O

Unfortunately I got that message also several months late and I replied as soon as I saw the message, I do not know if Brea is still going to want my information although I have communicated with witnesses. The artwork is my creation, BTW, as is much of the stuff you see on my blogs. It is also free for public use also as the other such items I put up in my blogs.

Hi Dale,
I saw some of you blog on the Dobar-chu and it is a creature that interests me...I keep finding that newspaper snippet about the man named Patel from Pittsburgh who was attacked by one at Lake you know where I can find the whole article? did anyone ever go back and talk to him (Patel)? his case and the wound on his arm seemed pretty solid to me!
anyhow when I was in Sligo sometime back (maybe six years back) I talked with a wood carver who just brought up the tale of the Dobar-chu to me as a sort of totem -as when I walked in -he had just heard of a sighting there in Leitrim or roundabouts (Ireland)...he was quite sincere about it and apparently this thing is taken seriously as the men standing about the shop maintained a serious countenance...the general feeling about this creature was that it was both real and dangerous...anyhow more grist for your mill!

Allen Pittman

--Yes, I frequently see the first-page-only for that Lake Erie encounter and in fact that is the page which is reproduced below. I have never heard any more about the matter than that, but the creature is supposed to inhabit scattered locations all over New England and the Great Lakes region. People have (hopefully?) said it must be extinct in both Ireland and the USA and yet the reports continue. I quote some additional information from other websites below:

WaterHound or Master Otter, The Irish Version

Mishipizhiw or Water Panther, The American Version

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Doyarchu, The Irish Crocodile

The Doyarchu is described as an animal that is about the size of a crocodile or a big dog, but resembles a cross between a dog and an otter. It either has sleek black fur that fits very snugly to the body, or it has smooth, slimy black skin with no fur at all. The hindquarters are bigger than the forequarters and resemble a dog, especially a powerfully-built greyhound. The paws are big in proportion to the rest of the body, the same as most aquatic mammals. The head is sleek, the neck is long, and the tail is long and slender. A few individuals are described as having one or more patches of white, especially a large patch in the middle of the chest. It goes by various monikers, ex. dobhar-chu, anchu, water dog and Irish crocodile.

These creatures have been reported as living in Irish lakes from ancient times. They are highly aggressive towards people and dogs. They attack by grasping prey and dragging it into the water, and they are often a match for the fiercest dogs, especially when they get their opponents into the water. They are often found in pairs and hunt in tandem. One animal usually stays hidden while the other attacks, but it will appear if the first animal has trouble. If one of these is killed, the other becomes extremely angry and will risk its own life to get revenge, suggesting that these animals may have monogamous pair-bonds of exceptional strength. One report tells of a doyarchu that pursued the men who had killed its mate for twenty miles, even though it was at a disadvantage on land.

Some cryptozoologists acknowledge it could be a new species of giant otter since descriptions of the creature are consistent. Others favor the view that it is a variety of immature 'Loch Ness Monster' evenly though Loch Ness is in Scotland. Another possibility is that is represents a link between seals and their landbound ancestors. Seals are most closely related to the bear family and the dog family and a primitive ancestor of modern seals may have resembled the doyarchu.

There has been a scarcity of modern sightings which seems to indicate that the doyarchu, if it ever existed, may be extinct today. The location in which the largest number of modern sightings has taken place is Achill Island, located just off the western coast of Ireland in County Mayo. The lake called Sraheens Lough is supposed to have a small population of doyarchu, but these creatures seem migratory, not occupying the lake all year. -

An early description of the Dobhar-chú appears in A Description of West Connaught (1684), by Roderick O'Flaherty. This story, originating from the area of Lough Mask:

There is one rarity more, which we may term the Irish crocodile, whereof one, as yet living, about ten years ago had sad experience. The man was passing the shore just by the waterside, and spyed far off the head of a beast swimming, which he took to be an otter, and took no more notice of it; but the beast it seems lifted up his head, to discern whereabouts the man was; then diving swam under the water till he struck ground: whereupon he run out of the water suddenly and took the man by the elbow whereby the man stooped down, and the beast fastened his teeth in his pate, and dragged him into the water; where the man took hold of a stone by chance in his way, and calling to mind he had a knife in his jacket, took it out and gave a thrust of it to the beast, which thereupon got away from him into the lake. The water about him was all bloody, whether from the beast's blood, or his own, or from both he knows not. It was the pitch of an ordinary greyhound, of a black slimey skin, without hair as he imagines. Old men acquainted with the lake do tell there is such a beast in it, and that a stout fellow with a wolf dog along with him met the like there once; which after a long struggling went away in spite of the man and his dog, and was a long time after found rotten in a rocky cave of the lake when the waters decreased. The like they say is seen in other lakes in Ireland, they call it doyarchu, i.e. water-dog, or anchu which is the same.

In 2003 Irish Artist Sean Corcoran and his wife claim to have witnessed a Dobhar-Chú on Omey Island in Connemara, County Galway. In his description the large dark creature made a haunting screech, could swim fast and had orange flipper like feet. “What a shock!” he says, recalling the next few moments. “A vicious snarl right below us, like a loud hiss, followed immediately by a huge splash. The creature, if that is what it was, swam the width of the lake from west to east in “what seemed like a matter of seconds”, leaving a “fairly big wake”, Corcoran remembers when it reached shore, it clambered up onto a boulder, he swears, and gave “the most haunting screech”. My wife's account of the incident is give or takes the same as mine. Its body was dark, and I'd say it was about the size of a large Labrador, and about five foot tall when standing. It turned and disappeared into the darkness of the area I call the Heart.

We scrambled back to our tent, completely stunned. This was something very strange, it wasn't a swan or an otter or a badger. The next day we went across to Sweeney’s bar. Malachy served us and there were a few lads at the counter. I casually explained about the creature and there was nervous chuckling." -

The Kinlough Stone is claimed to be the headstone of a grave of a woman killed by the Dobhar-chú in the 17th century and shows an old drawing of the creature. Her name was supposedly Gráinne. Her husband supposedly heard her scream as she was washing clothes down at the Glenade lough and came to her aid. When he got there she was already dead, with the Dobhar-chú upon her bloody and mutilated body. The man killed the Dobhar-chú, stabbing it in the heart. As it died, it made a whistling noise, and its mate arose from the lough. Its mate chased the man but, after a long and bloody battle, he killed it as well. The Glenade Stone, found in Conwall cemetery in Glenade, Co. Leitrim also depicts the Dobhar-chú and is related to the same incident.

The Legend of the Dobharchú (Water hound) was written by Joe McGowan and stems from the bestial murder of Grainne Ni Conalai at Glenade Lake, Co. Leitrim on September 24th 1722:

The details were well known one time and the ballad sung at fairs on the streets of nearby Kinlough. Some say she went to the lake to wash clothes; the ballad tells she went to bathe. It is no matter. When she failed to return, her husband Traolach Mac Lochlainn went to look for her. He was aghast when he found her body lying by the lake with the 'beast lying asleep on her mangled breast'! The words of the following poem, written around the time of the incident, form part of the legend surrounding an event which excites discussion and controversy to the present day. The ballad, a lengthy one, was skilfully composed by a hedge schoolmaster of the time. An abbreviated version below brings the story vividly to life. Beginning with a description of the locality it goes on to record the dreadful occurrence:

…And whilst this gorgeous way of life in beauty did abound, From out the vastness of the lake stole forth the water hound, And seized for victim her who shared McGloughlan's bed and board; His loving wife, his more than life, whom almost he adored.

She, having gone to bathe, it seems, within the water clear, And not having returned when she might, her husband, fraught with fear, Hasting to where he her might find, when oh, to his surprise, Her mangled form, still bleeding warm, lay stretched before his eyes.

Upon her bosom, snow white once, but now besmeared with gore, The Dobharchú reposing was, his surfeiting being o'er. Her bowels and entrails all around tinged with a reddish hue: 'Oh, God', he cried, 'tis hard to bear but what am I to do?'

He prayed for strength, the fiend lay still, he tottered like a child, The blood of life within his veins surged rapidly and wild. One long lost glance at her he loved, then fast his footstps turned To home, while all his pent up rage and passion fiercely burned.

He reached his house, he grasped his gun, which clenched with nerves of steel, He backwards sped, upraising his arm and then one piercing, dying, squeal Was heard upon the balmy air. But hark! What's that that came One moment next from out of its depth as if revenge to claim!

The comrade of the dying fiend with whistles long and loud Came nigh and nigher to the spot. McGloughlin, growing cowed Rushed to his home. His neighbours called, their counsel asked, And flight was what they bade him do at once, and not to wait till night.

He and his brother, a sturdy pair, as brothers true when tried, Their horses took, their homes forsook and westward fast they did ride. One dagger sharp and long each man had for protection too Fast pursued by that fierce brute, the Whistling Dobharchú.

The rocks and dells rang with its yells, the eagles screamed in dread. The ploughman left his horses alone, the fishes too, 'tis said, Away from the mountain streams though far, went rushing to the sea; And nature's laws did almost pause, for death or victory.

For twenty miles the gallant steeds the riders proudly bore With mighty strain o'er hill and dale that ne'er was seen before. The fiend, fast closing on their tracks, his dreaded cry more shrill; 'Twas brothers try, we'll do or die on Cashelgarron Hill.

Dismounting from their panting steeds they placed them one by one Across the path in lengthways formed within the ancient dún, And standing by the outermost horse awaiting for their foe Their daggers raised, their nerves they braced to strike that fatal blow.

Not long to wait, for nose on trail the scenting hound arrived And through the horses with a plunge to force himself he tried, And just as through the outermost horse he plunged his head and foremost part, Mc Gloughlans dagger to the hilt lay buried in his heart.

"Thank God, thank God", the brothers cried in wildness and delight, Our humble home by Glenade lake shall shelter us tonight. Be any doubt to what I write, go visit old Conwell, There see the grave where sleeps the brave whose epitaph can tell.'

The story still survives in local tradition. A local man of Glenade, Patrick Doherty, now deceased, told me some years ago that the chase, which started at Frank Mc Sharry's of Glenade, faltered at Cashelgarron stone fort in Co. Sligo when Mac Lochlainn was forced to stop with the blacksmith there to replace a lost horseshoe. His version differs very little from the ballad. Acording to Patrick, when the enraged monster caught up with them the horses were hurriedly drawn across the entrance to form a barrier. Giving the terrified man a sword the blacksmith advised him, 'When the creature charges he'll put his head right out through the horse. As soon as he does this you be quick and cut his head off.'

The story is given credence today by the carved image engraved on Grace Connolly's tombstone in Conwell cemetery, Co. Leitrim. Cashelgarron stone fort, near where the chase ended and the Dobharchú met its gory end, still stands today nestled on a height under the sheltering prow of bare Benbulben's head. Both monster and horse lie buried nearby. - “Echoes of a Savage Land” by Joe McGowan

Because of its aquatic life style we usually associate the otter with a variety of watery places but not readily with bog. Otters are found in streams, rivers, marshes, lakes, estuaries, lagoons and on the coast. There are no sea otters in Ireland, nor is there such a thing as a bog otter. There is the river otter in Ireland (Lutra lutra), which exploits a range wetlands.

Otter, Lutra lutra (Ireland)

A clipping that references an encounter at Lake Erie, PA

Clark, Jerome and Coleman, Loren - "Cryptozoology A-Z" - 1999
McGowan, Joe - “Echoes of a Savage Land”
Shuker, Karl - "The Beasts That Hide From Man: Seeking the World's Last Undiscovered Animals" - 2003

Master-Otter reconstruction from Morelock on Deviant Art.