Hoax Museum Blog: Cryptozoology

Depressed Yeti —

Source: "All My Friends are Dead" 2014 Wall Calendar,
by Avery Monsen and Jory John.

Posted: Thu Dec 26, 2013.   Comments (3)

Bigfoot on the toilet — For the Bigfoot collector who already has everything... but this. Or for someone who has a Bigfoot-themed bathroom. Available on etsy. It comes as a print of an "original oil and digital painting." Though it would be better if it were a velvet painting.


Posted: Fri Dec 20, 2013.   Comments ()

The Nantucket Sea Serpent Hoax of 1937 — There's a long history of sea-serpent sightings off the coast of New England.

A flurry of sightings occurred in August 1817, when fishermen in Gloucester, Massachusetts witnessed a giant sea creature with a horned head ("much like the head of a turtle... and larger than the head on any dog") swimming in the ocean. A local scientific society launched an investigation and concluded that the creature might be a previously unknown species, Scoliophis atlanticus (Atlantic humped snake). However, skeptics denounced the sightings as a hoax.


Broadsheet sold by Henry Bowen of Boston - Aug 22, 1817

As the years passed, reports of a sea serpent continued to trickle in. But it was in 1937 that the New England Sea Monster returned to the nation's headlines in spectacular fashion.

The excitement started in early August of that year when fisherman Bill Manville rushed in to the office of the Nantucket Inquirer & Mirror claiming he had seen a "green sea monster — which reared its head several times off his starboard bow before turning seaward." He elaborated that the creature was about one hundred feet long with a head like a barrel and red-rimmed glaring eyes the size of dinner plates.

The report of Manville's sighting got picked up by the news wires and ran in papers throughout the country.


Charleston Daily Mail - Aug 8, 1937

Some in Nantucket suggested that Manville might have been "seeing things," but his sighting was seconded a day later by amateur fisherman (and teetotaler — as the local paper was quick to point out) Gilbert Manter, who saw the creature while he was fishing for bluefish off Smith's point.

Manter said that the creature "looked like a combination snake and whale, with a head much bigger than the neck." He added that it was grayish green with "sort of a horned head" and was "something like 120 feet long and stood up at least a dozen feet out of the water."

Manter walked down to Madaket Beach the following morning with a friend, Ed Crocker, in the hope of seeing the creature again. They didn't see the monster, but they did find "giant web-footed tracks" in the sand. The prints measured 66-inches long and 45-inches wide.




Photos of the tracks appeared in papers, and copies were sent to scientists in New York City for analysis. However, the scientists proved to be skeptical. Dr. W. Reid Blair, director of the New York Zoological Society, said:

"No marine mammal could have left the tracks as they do not move so much on their flippers as they do on their second joint and on their bellies. Evidence of their passage would be seen on the beach only in a slight indentation. As for a land mammal, there is nothing on Nantucket Island that could leave such large tracks."

But Blair's skepticism proved to be unfounded when, a few days later, the sea serpent itself, in its entirety, washed ashore. It was indeed about 120 feet long, with large teeth. However, it had no horn on its head.

It was also a giant, inflatable balloon.









The Nantucket Sea Serpent was revealed to have been an elaborate publicity stunt designed to get Nantucket in the news. The "monster" had been designed by Tony Sarg, the puppeteer in charge of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

After stirring up interest with the initial "sightings" (done with the collusion of the local paper), Sarg and his crew put the monster balloon in the water at Coatue beach, hoping to land it at the Jetties. But the balloon veered off course, landing instead at South Beach on Washington Street.


Tony Sarg poses with the monster

Large crowds turned out to see the unusual sight, which remained in place for several weeks. Numerous photographs of the sea serpent on the beach have been preserved by the Nantucket Historical Association.

The Nantucket promoters reportedly felt that the stunt was a resounding success and congratulated each other for the "cash value of the space" obtained in the press for Nantucket.

The monster made another appearance a few months later, floating above the streets of Manhattan, when it participated in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.




References
  • "Tony Sarg's Sea Serpent in Nantucket 1937," Nantucket Historical Association, Flickr photo set.
  • Holidays on Display: Building the modern parade. National Museum of American History.
  • Grieder, JE & Charnes G. (2012). Nantucket. p.92.
  • MacDougall, C.D. (1940). Hoaxes. The Macmillan Company. p. 256.
  • "Seein' things at Nantucket, Mass., Again," (Aug 11, 1937). The Hammond Times.
  • "Nantucket Monster Sighted By Two Men," (Aug 11, 1937). Logansport Pharos-Tribune.
  • "The Nantucket Sea Serpent Exposes and Derided," (Oct 31, 1937). The Helena Daily Independent.

Posted: Thu Nov 28, 2013.   Comments (1)

Map of Bigfoot Sightings — Josh Stevens, a grad student at Pennsylvania State University, took 92 years of bigfoot sighting data, gathered by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, and put it on a map. That's 3313 sightings in all.


It's an interesting visual, but even he's not sure what the map tells us, except that Bigfoot seems to be "thriving out west."

It reminds me of a similar map that showed the "distribution of drop bears in Australia" that appeared in a Dec 2012 article in Australian Geographer.


Is there a map of Elvis sightings? There is an Elvis Sighting Society, but no map that I'm aware of. Though in a post back in 2006 I noted that "LaMa has been lobbying for quite some time to add an Elvis Sighting Report Page, interfaced with a Google earth map, to the Museum of Hoaxes." We need to get on that project before Elvis gets too old and stops being seen. He's 78 this year!
Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013.   Comments (2)


Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2013.   Comments (1)

For Sale: The Minnesota Iceman — In an obscure corner of the site, I have a brief blurb about a hoax from the 1960s — the Minnesota Iceman. It was "a strange creature frozen in ice... exhibited at carnivals throughout the Midwest. It appeared to be some kind of neanderthal man."

My blurb ends by noting, "Its current whereabouts are not known." But this is no longer true! A few days ago it popped up for sale on eBay. The seller wanted $20,000 for it. And apparently the seller got that much, because it's already sold.

I have no idea who bought it, but if they were willing to pay that much, they must have felt pretty sure that it was the original Minnesota Iceman. (via Doubtful News)


Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013.   Comments (1)

Bigfoot researcher finds novel way to get published — Good grief! This is kinda sad. Melba Ketchum fancies herself a bona fide scientist. But her subject-of-choice is Bigfoot, which immediately exiles her to the crackpot fringe of science. For which reason, she found that she couldn't get her paper on her "Sasquatch genome study" published anywhere. So what did she do? She created her own journal, the DeNovo Journal of Science. But instead of admitting she created it, she's pretending that it's some kind of independent journal. The problem: her Bigfoot-DNA paper is the one and only article this "journal" has ever published.

A Texas Geneticist Apparently Invented a Science Journal to Publish Her DNA Proof of Bigfoot
dallasobserver.com

On Wednesday, Ketchum announced that she had finally found a publication with the courage to go against the ivory tower establishment and that her research was finally being published by the DeNovo Journal of Science. She immediately took to Twitter, directing the attention of popular science gatekeepers like National Geographic, the BBC, Jane Goodall, and, um, Rob Lowe, to a 19-second video clip, supposedly showing the sleeping female Sasquatch whose DNA was sequenced for the study. But Ketchum's victory celebration might be a bit premature. The Huffington Post and others did a modicum of digging and found that, not only is DeNovo's website shoddy and amateurish, the domain was registered all of nine days before it published Ketchum's study, which, by the way, is its only article. To read it, you have to shell out $30.

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013.   Comments (3)

Bigfoot For Sale — Here's another item that would make a great addition to a real-life Museum of Hoaxes. It's a life-sized replica of Bigfoot. It was up for sale on eBay. The sellers wanted $80,000 for it, and no one came up with that much money, so the auction ended without it being sold.

It's a nice piece. Would have looked great in my living room. But I have no idea how they came up with a value of $80,000 for it. Seems a bit like wishful thinking. From the auction description:

In 1976, after years of study and research, a young man named Clifford LaBrecque undertook a challenge that stunned the Bigfoot world. Mr. LaBrecque built one of the best detailed "museum quality" models of Bigfoot. How he did it is a mystery that will probably never be known. One look and it shouts this is the "real thing"--eyes that follow you, and hands, fingers, and toes, are all in great detail. This fantastic piece of work has been stored for over 30 years. This is the first opportunity you have to own Bigfoot. It can be a tremendous attraction for showing this part of American folklore. 


Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2012.   Comments ()

Ithamar Sprague, a 19th Century Mormon Bigfoot Hoaxer — I've previously noted a connection between Mormon folklore and Bigfoot — namely that some Mormons believe Bigfoot to be the Biblical figure Cain, condemned to walk the earth forever (and apparently grown big and hairy).

But I recently came across another Mormon/Bigfoot connection. Back around 1870, there was a Mormon settler named Ithamar Sprague who lived in the town of Washington, Utah. He terrified his fellow town's folk by creating giant wooden feet, three-feet long, that he used to place monster footprints all over town during the night. Rumors began to spread about a terrifying creature loose in the region. A posse was organized to hunt the beast down, but Sprague confessed before the situation got completely out-of-hand.

So Sprague anticipated Jerry Crew (the guy whose 1958 prank led to the popularization of the name 'Bigfoot') by almost 90 years.

The legend of Sprague and his "big shoes" has been kept alive over the years by Mormon storytellers. The most complete examination of the legend can be found in Andrew Karl Larson's essay, "Ithamar Sprague and His Big Shoes," in Lore of Faith and Folly (edited by Thomas Cheney).

You can also find Sprague's prank summarized on the Utah State History blog:

[Sprague] built a pair of huge "clodhoppers" and one night he put them on and left gigantic human footprints on the dusty village streets.
News of the mysterious prints spread quickly through town. Some residents laughed and dismissed them as the work of a prankster. Others believed a huge creature was actually stalking the village.
Sprague left tracks again on following nights. More and more townsfolk became convinced that a mysterious, ferocious being had begun to plague the town. Local Paiutes only added to the unrest when they told stories of a legendary giant who had once prowled that region, killing and plundering the countryside.
Sprague laughingly continued his prank. Residents began blaming mishaps on the mysterious beast: the hens were too frightened to lay, the milk soured too soon, and one lady had a miscarriage due to her fright. Search parties tried to capture the monster, but the tracks always either disappeared abruptly or led to rocks where they were no longer traceable.
One night, Ithamar snuck out of a dance, put on his huge shoes, stalked through the village, then returned to the dance. At intermission, Ithamar and friends went outside for a drink, and Ithamar spotted the fresh tracks.
A crowd gathered. People grabbed their weapons and set out to capture the giant--which they were sure was close by. But again the shoe prints disappeared in some rocks.
Several versions of how the town learned of Sprague's hoax evolved over the years. According to one version, the town met together and discussed deserting the village or sending a messenger to Brigham Young to ask for advice.
During the meeting a girl whom Sprague had been courting noticed his smug attitude and told him to confess. He asked her what she would do if he did admit to being the prankster. She replied that she would finally consent to marrying him. According to this story, Sprague excitedly jumped to his feet and confessed, and the couple got married shortly thereafter.
In another version, Sprague and another man were going to cut wood in the mountains. But the man’s wife refused to let him go, fearing the giant. In order not to have to cut the wood alone, Sprague confessed his prank.
However the truth came out, the townsfolk told the story so often that Ithamar Sprague became something of a legend—and the area’s most beloved prankster.

Posted: Wed Jun 06, 2012.   Comments (1)

Sonar Image Shows Nessie… or Algae — Marcus Atkinson, skipper of a Loch Ness tourist boat, noticed something strange on his sonar fish finder: a long, snake-like object at a depth of 75 ft. (In the image, the green line to the left of the number 25.) So he quickly snapped a picture of the sonar screen with his mobile phone. The picture recently won him bookmaker William Hill's Best Nessie Sighting of The Year Award.



Of course, the scientists have to throw cold water on the excitement of all the Nessie fans. Dr Simon Boxall, of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, says:
The image shows a bloom of algae and zooplankton that would exist on what would be a thermocline. Zooplankton live off this algae and reflect sound signals from echo sounders and fish finders very well. They will appear as a linear “blob” on the screen, just like this. This is a monster made of millions of tiny animals and plants and represents the bulk of life in the Loch.

Links: express.co.uk, dailymail.co.uk.
Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2012.   Comments (1)

Canadian artist makes Bigfoot track shoes — Montreal-based artist Maskull Lasserre has designed shoes that make footprints in the ground as you walk along, instead of shoe prints. He's got a human-footprint shoe, but also a bigfoot-print shoe. He's quoted as saying:

'Living now in the city, I found a strange kind of loneliness seeing only human shoe prints in the puddles and snow. 'This project was my way of introducing a sort of mysterious possibility to the urban landscape, for those who happened upon it. 'But I admit that I just couldn't resist making a Bigfoot track.'

It doesn't seem that the shoes are available for purchase because each shoe is hand-carved. He shows them at art exhibitions, but he does sometimes wear them around himself. (link: metro.co.uk)




Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2012.   Comments ()

Icelandic Worm Monster — Earlier this month, Icelandic resident Hjörtur E. Kjerúlf was having coffee in his house near Lake Lagarfljót, when he spotted something moving in the water. He immediately picked up his camera and started recording (link: Iceland Review). Below is the video he took.

Is it evidence of the existence of the Lagarfljót Worm -- the giant worm monster said to live in Lake Lagarfljót? Or is it just a piece of fishing net floating in the water?



The worm monster, or Lagarfljótsormur, is Iceland's equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster. The legend of it is centuries old. Wikipedia offers this account of the creature's origin:

According to the folk tradition recorded by Jón Árnason, the great serpent in Lagarfljót grew out of a small "lingworm" or heath-dragon; a girl was given a gold ring by her mother, and asked how she might best derive profit from the gold, was told to place it under a lingworm.[1] She did so, and put it in the top of her linen chest for a few days, but then found that the little dragon had grown so large, it had broken open the chest. Frightened, she threw both it and the gold into the lake,[2] where the serpent continued to grow and terrorized the countryside, spitting poison and killing people and animals.

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012.   Comments (5)

The Owlman of Mawnan — This Is Cornwall has a brief article about the "Owlman of Mawnan." They write:

The first sighting occurred in April of that year. Don Melling, who was holidaying in the area, said that on April 17 his young daughters, June and Vicky, were walking through woods near Mawnan church when they saw a "half-man half-owl" hovering above the church.

The incident is suspected to be a hoax because Tony "Doc" Shiels became involved. He was the first person Melling told about the sighting, and then became the source for various illustrations of the Owlman. Shiels already has a place in the Hoax Museum because he was the source of the "Loch Ness Muppet" image. So his credibility is pretty low.


Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2012.   Comments (1)

The Buxton Mermaid — An old mermaid was recently found, stored in the archives of the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, and a research team from the University of Lincoln decided to examine it. So far they've discovered that its hair is human, its upper body is constructed of wood and wire, its teeth are carved bone, and its eyes are mollusc shell. Future tests will determine what fish its tail came from. (link: BBC News)


At first I thought it looked like the Bloomsbury Mermaid (pictured below). But no, they're definitely different mermaids. Though similar in design. (Thanks, Hudson!)


Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012.   Comments (6)

The Ingushetia Yeti — Near the end of December, reports emerged of a yeti caught in the Caucasus mountain, in the Russian republic of Ingushetia. Interfax reported Bagaudin Marshani, former head of Ingushetia's labor ministry, as saying:

"The creature looks like a gorilla, about two metres tall, probably a male, and it's very massive. But a gorilla stands four-footed, and this stands vertically, like a person... It growls and makes strange sounds ... and eats meat and vegetables. Some people say it's an Abominable Snowman, and others say that it's a great ape. But honestly, I've never seen anything like it."

Marshani also said that the creature was being displayed in a private zoo in the village of Surkhakhi, and that a team of scientists was on its way from Moscow to study it.

A video was posted on youtube showing the yeti running away from a hunter. The yeti looked a lot like a guy in an ape suit.


And, of course, it was a guy in an ape suit. Specifically, it was an Ingush hotel worker in an ape suit.

It turned out the yeti capture was a publicity stunt to raise money for charity. Marshani explained, "It was a promotional event, a New Year joke to put the spotlight on orphans and children from dysfunctional and low-income families."

People came to the zoo to see the yeti, and once there, they were asked to donate money to the orphan charity. Also on display at the zoo were ten talking animals, including a wolf and a squirrel. Links: pravda, rt.com.
Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012.   Comments (2)

Is Nessie a Phantimal? — An article by Nick Redfern on mania.com discusses the theory that the Loch Ness Monster (and Bigfoot) may be "phantimals". That is, "the spirits or ghosts of creatures that became extinct thousands of years ago." This theory is promoted by paranormal expert Joshua P. Warren, author of Pet Ghosts, who argues that "the world’s most famous lake-monster, Nessie, might actually represent some form of 'ghostly plesiosaur,' rather than a literal, living animal or colony of animals."

Nice theory. But what I found more interesting was the next part of the article, in which Redfern discusses the research of Jim Marrs, author of PSI Spies, who learned that during some of the U.S. government's experiments with remote viewing (the Stargate Project perhaps?) remote viewers were asked to focus on Nessie and detail what they saw:

Several sessions targeting the famous Loch Ness monster revealed physical traces of the beast – a wake in the water, movement of a large body underwater. Their drawings even resembled a prehistoric plesiosaur, often identified as matching descriptions of Nessie. But when the viewers tried to discover where the object came from or returned to, they hit a dead end. The creature seemed to simply appear and disappear. Considering that reports of human ghosts date back throughout man’s history, the Psi Spies seriously considered the possibility that the Loch Ness monster is nothing less than a dinosaur’s ghost.

And here I went all the way to Loch Ness to see Nessie. I could have just stayed in San Diego and remote viewed her.
Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011.   Comments (8)

What really lurks in Loch Ness — Apparently, it's golf balls. From cnn.com:

It seems the simple plastic golf ball is increasingly becoming a major litter problem. The scale of the dilemma was underlined recently in Scotland, where scientists -- who scoured the watery depths in a submarine hoping to discover evidence of the prehistoric Loch Ness monster -- were surprised to find hundreds of thousands of golf balls lining the bed of the loch. It is thought tourists and locals have used the loch as an alternative driving range for many years.

It would be kind of sad if Nessie died choking on a golf ball.
Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2009.   Comments (8)

RIP Robert Rines — Nessie Hunter Robert Rines died of heart failure yesterday in his Boston home. From Boston.com:

He was 87 and had spent the past 37 years lending his hefty intellectual bona fides to the search for a creature in the waters of Loch Ness.
"It looked like the back of an elephant," he told the Globe in 1997, recalling that moment in 1972 when he looked out the window of a friend's house in Scotland during a tea party and watched the curve of something he couldn't identify repeatedly disturb the water's surface. "I know there was a big unknown thing in that lake. That's why I haven't let go."

Posted: Mon Nov 02, 2009.   Comments (3)

Natural History Museum to provide positive identification of Nessie — According to the Daily Mail, recently released documents from the archives of the British Natural History Museum reveal that in 1987 the Museum struck a deal with the bookmaker William Hill. The Museum agreed that, should the body of the Loch Ness Monster ever be found, the Museum would provide "positive identification." Only if it receives a positive id, will the bookmaker pay out on bets about the creature's existence. (It offers odds of 500/1 on the Loch Ness Monster being found within a year.)

It seems like a pretty good deal for the Museum, since the bookmaker pays them £1,000 per year to maintain the contract.
Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2009.   Comments (6)

Alien Baby or Hoax? — I'm guessing it's a hoax: The Daily Telegraph reports on an ongoing controversy about a "baby alien" discovered in Mexico in 2007. It was supposedly discovered by a farmer who drowned it out of fear. This farmer later burned to death in a parked car (killed by the baby's parents?). Scientists are said to be baffled by the creature.


Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009.   Comments (12)

Page 2 of 7 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›