Saturday, 3 November 2018

Forgotten Sea Serpents, 1880 - 1886

     I am back from America now, so I might as well get back to work. Just over a month ago I recorded four forgotten sea serpent reports from 1879. This time I shall introduce three incidents from the years 1880, 1885, and 1886 respectively. Once again, please note that these are new cases ie reports which have apparently never been discovered by earlier researchers, but which were picked up by various Australian newspapers from overseas sources. Presumably there are a lot of forgotten cases "out there" in local newspapers in all corners of the world.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Forgotten Sea Serpents of 1879

     I am about to travel overseas, but first I might as well return to chronicling past sea serpent reports which have apparently remained unnoticed by former compilers. As explained in earlier posts, they were published in various newspapers around the world, then picked up by the press in Australia. Again, I have chosen what appear to be the earliest and fullest accounts, but it is possible that the original reports appeared a couple of months before. In the late nineteenth century the world press took sea serpent sightings seriously - sometimes too seriously. I have omitted some too outrageous to be true, including some in which the animal was alleged to have been captured, or at least a specimen taken, then never heard of again. Anyway, we shall start with the first of 1879.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

New Zealand's Mystery Animal

     Going through my papers, I discovered a translation I made from the German more than forty years ago on the waitoreke, an alleged native mammal of New Zealand. It's not doing much good lying on my desk, so I might as well share it with you. Once more, I have preferred accuracy of translation to elegant English. Nevertheless, some of the terms I found obscure, so I cannot guarantee absolute accuracy, but anyone who wishes to check it can find the original document here.
     The fauna of New Zealand has suffered dreadfully from human settlement, and many species have been driven to extinction. To cite just one example: in 1986 the world's largest gecko was discovered as a stuffed specimen in the Natural History of Marseilles, and was recognized as a lizard described in Maori oral tradition, which only a single person had ever claimed to have seen alive. New Zealand is a land where flightless birds take the place of mammals, for the only native land animals are two species of bats, because New Zealand has been isolated from the rest of the world since the age of dinosaurs. It even possesses a strange reptile, the tuatara, which looks like a lizard, but is really the last survivor of a group which otherwise died out with the dinosaurs. It stands to reason, therefore, that any non-flying native land mammal may well be a monotreme, like the platypus and echidna, or something more ancient and primitive. With this in mind, let us proceed to the translation.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Sea Serpents Galore! (1869 to 1875)

     Once more we venture into sea serpent territory. As I have mentioned before, the digitalised copies of old Australian newspapers contain articles on alleged sea serpents reported from other parts of the world, which have apparently remained unknown to researchers to this present day. I hope, therefore, that serious researchers are bookmarking this site, because this latest installment contains three accounts: two from the New England area of the US, and one from Africa.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Bigfoot in the Andes?

     It is now time for another venture into translation and bigfootery. The author of the following essay, written in 1963, was a journalist for El Tribuno, the newspaper of the province of Salta, tucked into the far northwest corner of Argentina. It thus includes the foothills of the Andes, although he cites legends from farther afield. Readers will no doubt be aware that bigfoot-type rumours are not unknown in South America, and the author apparently accepts this identity. Just the same, the description of the animal is extremely limited. All that one can say is that one would expect the average peasant to be able to recognize a bear, even an unknown species. Also, the behaviour of running away with its hands clutched to its head doesn't sound too ursine to me!
     I apologize in advance for the text. The author's form of literary Spanish tends to convert to a rather stilted English, but I have chosen to sacrifice style in favour of accuracy. Even in regard to the latter, problems arise. Firstly, my Spanish is only passable. Secondly, every word in a language bears a variety of meanings and connotations which do not transfer exactly into a second language. Thirdly, this essay contains a number of dialectal terms and slang absent from even the best dictionaries. Nevertheless, though I am prepared to accept criticism of specific words and phrases, I believe the overall meaning of the text has been preserved.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The Lake Minnetonka Monster

This is a story 'bout Minnie the Monster.
     Sorry! I couldn't resist that. Readers of my generation will recognize a parody of a popular song. In any case, one of the strange mysteries of cryptozoology is how certain lakes gain a reputation as being the habitation on monster, which only reappear at very long intervals. Take Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota, for example. It's adjacent to the huge St. Paul-Minneapolis conurbium, for heaven's sake! - hardly the site you'd predict for a self-respecting monster to hide. I know the Wikipedia says that a big sturgeon called Lou is supposed to dwell there, but this is small fry. I'm talking about Minnie, and she's big!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Giant Ape Attacks Hunters in Guatemala

     There! That headline should have caught your attention. This month I have decided to take a break from my reviews of historic sea serpents, and go back to translations of bigfootery. In 1962 the International Committee for the Study of Human-like Hairy Bipeds was formed, and for the next few years they published articles in the Italian population journal, Genus. Imagine my chagrin to discover that it was no longer held in the reference library where I had read it in my youth! Not to worry; it turned out to be published online by JSTOR, and one could download six free articles every month.
     Some papers are in English, and you can even read Ivan Sanderson's original description of the Minnesota Iceman. The whole of volume 21 for 1965 - more than 400 pages - is given over the discussions of "abominable snowmen" in various parts of Asia. Unfortunately, the whole of it is in Italian, a language with which I am unfamiliar. Since it will take a while to learn the language, anyone who wishes to undertake the task is welcome to be a guest on this blog. In the meantime, I feel I owe it to the world to translate the Spanish and French articles, commencing with this short article.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

The "Dimboola" Sea Serpent, 1913

     Dimboola is a town in Victoria, Australia. It is also the name of a play written in 1969 and a movie based on it, and filmed on location, in 1979, both of which depict the inhabitants as hicks. However, it was also the name of a steamship plying its trade between the southern capitals of the nation in 1913. The fat hit the fire on 20 May when it docked at Fremantle, W.A., and the skipper announced to the world the sea serpent he, the crew, and its passengers saw in the Great Australian Bight. Suddenly, the news was all over the country. You will find 144 separate references to it over the next three weeks. But none of this appears to have leaked out into the rest of the world, or to any of the sharp eyed researchers outside. You won't find this story anywhere else. It has been completely forgotten.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The Monster of Crescent Lake, Oregon

     "Cressie" is the monster of Crescent Lake - in Labrador.  But North America alone possesses nine other lakes with that name. (There are also sixteen Round Lakes and five Square Lakes. Do you get the impression that some name-givers are not terribly imaginative?) Do any of the other nine possess a Cressie? Here is a story which apparently went around the world, because I found it in a newspaper in Adelaide, South Australia: the Express and Telegraph of Saturday 5 November 1910, at page 4.

Friday, 2 March 2018

The Monster of the Everglades, 1901

     Since the 1980s, Florida has been infested with an invasive species, the Burmese python (Python bivattatus), and early this century someone discovered a green anaconda, the largest snake in the world, there. But what about the old days? Here is a report which appears to have gone around the world, because I discovered it in an Australian newspaper, the Maitland Daily Mercury (NSW), Tuesday 15 April 1902, on page 5, but it seems to originally appeared in the New York Times, 30 November or 1st December 1901.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Sea Serpents Galore ! (1850 - 1869)

     Once more I enter the lists to rescue reports of sea serpents which earlier researchers had missed. Again, my method has been to trawl through Trove for reports picked up by Australian newspapers of overseas encounters. Needless to say, this "churnalism" had its problems, notably the fact that the story may have been old by the time it was received, or published, in this country.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Sea Serpents Galore! (1834 to 1849)

      In the last two months I copied forgotten 19th century sea serpent reports for Australia and New Zealand, so in the new year I shall start on the rest of the world. Two avenues existed by which the reports turned up in Australian newspapers. The first was that a ship's voyage actually terminated in the country, most commonly Melbourne, at which point the captain came out and told the local journalists what had been seen in another part of the world. The second was when an Australian newspaper - often a small regional one - picked up a story doing the rounds in the outer world. Often this was in turn picked up and did the rounds of other regional newspapers. In such cases, it has not always been possible to determine when the original event occurred.
    In any case, my modus operandi has been the same as before: first I would do a word search for "sea serpent" on Trove. If an account was discovered which did not appear in Heuvelmans' book, In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents, it was assumed to have been overlooked by earlier investigators, and therefore worthy of being put on the net. Just the same, I have rejected ones so silly they were obviously hoaxes, and some which appear to have been intended as fictional short stories. Nevertheless, a few rather questionable ones have been retained. With all this in mind, let us start.

The Possum Book

I am pleased to provide a link to a website of a friend of mine, Robyn Tracey, who has written a fascinating story about her dealings with brush-tailed possums in the outer suburbs of Sydney. You can download the book for free, or read it on the site. Go to: The Possum Book.

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