Sunday, April 5, 2015


Hello, folks. The above is no "dump". but I show it to prove that I'm finally [sort-of] resettled at the new big house, within which is my "monk's cell" that you see. OK, the picture is not "proof". It could be a hoax, faked, photoshopped, taken from a website, ... hmmm... life is tough when talking to Forteans.

The "down-in-the-crypto-dumps" title comes from a feeble attempt by me to produce a blog entry. The "dumps" label refers to the state of certain of the still-loose information flying about over here. [In my defense, although 90% of the new house is well serviced by a geo-thermal system, diabolically my archives are not yet heated. Fortunately Mother Nature is adding just enough temperature degrees to make working in the space tolerable --- thus finally this entry.]

Whereas ideally one would like information to look like this ...

... or at least this ....

Some of what I have to deal with looks like this. Over the last several months, when no possibilities of respectable filing were available, I had to just toss stuff in "dump" boxes for later attention. You're looking at one of them. The "Crypto-Dumps" came because I'd semi-sorted a thick pile of crypto-related whatevers as part of one box. Seeing that, I "brilliantly" thought: what if I just give the folks out there glimpses at what these things amounted to? Most of them crossed Ivan Sanderson's eyes [though not all --- this WAS a "dump"], and maybe they will be "entertaining" enough.

SO... with no pretense of anything deep/profound, here is a shallow excuse for a cryptozoological blog entry [real cryptozoologists need not waste their time on what they already know].

The portion of the crypto-dump I've picked to begin with [I'll do some other pieces in subsequent entries] was the Lake and River Monster part. The table above thumbnails the twelve "pieces" of that category in the current pile. Remember that this stuff is raw and usually shallow.

Unlike most of the rest, I like this piece. It is an extract from the pictured book. It's about old exploration into East Africa, and here and there drops mentions of things from the belief systems of the people encountered. Buried within was a mention of a somewhat-commonly believed concept of large serpentine river monsters. Unlike most of the brief notices to follow, I think that quoting this is very interesting, so....

"The imagination of the Basila has populated the rivers and hills and ponds and forests of their country with a great many monsters, which, without more proof of their existence than we have at present, we can only presume to be fabulous. 

 Chief among these is the nix, the great water monster, named Itoshi by the Nanzela people and called by the Basila simply mupuka or muzoka [reptile, great snake]. All rivers and lakes in Africa are probably thought to be inhabited by similar monsters. In the Victoria Nyanza there is Lukwata. The Batonga speak of the Maloa in the Zambesi and the Barotsi of the Lengongole. Mr. Worthington tells us that Lewanika informed him he once saw the latter when he was a young man. It was walking along the bank of the river. It had the body like a hippopotamus in size and the tail of an iguana, which swung from side to side as it walked. From Stow's Natives of South Africa{pp. 131-2} we learn that the Bushmen painted animals that are not seen in these degenerate days. One of these described by an old Bushman woman was Kou-kign koo-rou [Master of the Water], of enormous size far larger and more formidable than the hippopotamus.  

 There was talk some years ago of an expedition to Central Africa to search for a dinosaurus whose existence was reported by the natives { note that this is being written pre-1920 } described as having the head of a crocodile, with rhinoceros horns, a python's neck, the body of a hippo, and a crocodile's tail, all of great size."

The locals integrated these beliefs with their basic beliefs in other ways as well:

 "It is to this class of creature that Itoshi belongs. It has been described to us as big as a very large Ihunga thorn-tree, with the body of a crocodile, the head of a man, and the fins of a fish, and upwards of fifty feet in length. It is generally invisible to all but those who have the proper medicine; should it appear to others it means death. It seizes people and takes them into its burrow under the riverbed. When this happens, a person duly protected by medicine goes along the bank and sits there praying for the captive's release, and maybe succeeds. Numerous adventures are related by people of their narrow escapes from these monsters."

The people apparently believe that these Itoshi river monsters are immortals and that one might become one such oneself after death.

I'll not go into the following things so much [not because I don't want to but because the information is usually neither rich nor as fascinating.]

This is the second of the three things that particularly fascinated me in this pile, as it seems to picture a nearly identical river monster concept to the African Itoshi but in the cross-oceanic context of Native American Cherokee beliefs. You should be able to read this one yourselves. 

A cautionary tale of how hoaxes can occur at any age --- and in this case a conspiracy of dishonesty.

Another one ... Joe Zarzynski's glossies of the Lake George pseudo-monster [that he sent the SITU editors to illustrate his article]. 

This is Ivan's photocopy of the New York Times clipping speaking of the possible Patagonian Plesiosaur. This is all that there was here, but the story is one of those "romances" that I would have liked to have been true. So, I'm including just a little more of that romance below.

The North American gringo-gunslinger who claimed to have seen the plesiosaur.

The Patagonian lake, and more or less the location, from which he saw it.

Dr. Clemente Onelli, the director of Buenos Aires' zoological park [and a good teacher and biologist], to whom the "Norte Americano" sent his report, and was convinced that an expedition was legitimate.

The good doctor with one of his inmates. This zoo was one of the best, particularly for kids.

The good doctor literally acting-the-part when visiting an interior tribal people and participating in a ceremony. It takes a high-on-life fellow to go hunting for a plesiosaur. 

Plesiosaur fun at the lake post-expedition [Onelli not involved in this "drama"]. 

Onelli takes some lumps when no plesiosaur is found.

The smirkers and debunkers are unkind to the honest explorers at all times. Oh well, "onward"....

A big black back is enough to fire up the Arkansas locals.

Loch Ness-like lake? Loch Ness-like monster?

Sort of fun, and not having crypto as my major focus, new to me. Shouldn't make jokes, but Idaho Falls was the HQ of Admiral Rickover's Navy Nuclear Sub operations ... did the Old Boy have a private little nuke that he liked to ride around under the lake in? JUST KIDDING!!!

... seems like someone was trying to tell me that this was explained ... sturgeons? goofiness? whatever?


I guess "monsters" are supposed to be ugly. I however remember a StarTrek episode wherein a crystalline intelligence described us as "ugly bags of mostly water."

Eye of the Beholder??

Zarzynski and the glory years of 1981-1982.

The recent Loch Ness hoax ... pretty picture though.

Mini-monsters? The scientist quoted was having a hard time --- complaining to his friends that his work was getting improper publicity --- hah! Been there. I was "honored" with being quoted in the Weekly World News a couple of times myself. Some goofy couple from Kentucky, sitting in a breakfast shop decided to call me at 7am to "check out the story" [they had a bet on whether it was true]. Don't know who won. I lost [sleep].

Were the mini-monsters the albino newt equivalents of these Mexican Axolotls? [never made THAT sentence before]. I just thank God that these things aren't bigger --- but I guess the Hollywood version is on the way.

Though I respect his intellect, I agree with almost nothing that George Will says politically ... but this little reflection on open-mindedness, courage, and belief is worth reading.

.... exhausted I suppose, all of us, so I'll close this. Hopefully I'll be able to scrounge together something on Sea Monsters out of the Dump Pile in a few days.

Till then, Happy, Holy Easter.


  1. There was some interesting reading and the photos were great!
    My favorites were the Idaho creature and the "And There Was Pinky" articles for the very detailed descriptions. Maybe the pink
    coloring is albinism, like the pink dolphins. I'm kind of biased on this subject, a believer, based on the numerous Native American
    accounts I have come across that read more like a newspaper account than a mythological one.

    Mrs. C

    1. I liked those too [and the folkloric ones]. I have been intrigued [to put it mildly] with Native American encounters for quite a while ever since I found to my conviction that the Pacific Northwest concept of the Wasgo/Wasx/Sisiutl {a sea and river monster/being} had such a wide variety of evidentiary lines of support.

      Your numerous accounts: where have you found them? I'm quite interested.

  2. Hi Professor, Last year my computer, which had hundreds of my favorite sites, had a total meltdown and I lost everything. I am trying to recreate the list slowly, going by memory alone, but here is what I usually do. I go to the specific tribes website first and sometimes they have some of their oral traditions listed. I like to get the account from as close to the original source as possible. A fast link to Native American info is found at where you can pick your interest. Good selections from the Journal of American Folklore and Bureau of American Ethnology, authors like: Kroeber, Friar Geronimo Boscansa, George James, Du Bois, ...
    Also there is where I've read the Luiseno legends. There is an interesting story in there somewhere that I will have to find for you.

    The Online Archive of California is useful sometimes, too. There is also the Santa Barbara Mission Archives Library at . This has some of Father Junipero Serra's documents from his time setting up the missions. I'm currently reading a very good book called "American Indian Myths and Legends" by Erdoes and Ortiz, 1984 that covers many, many tribes with each story attributed to the specific person who told the history and the year collected. Part 4 is about Monsters and Monster-Slayers.

    Mrs. C

    1. Thank you much. And feel free to mention particularly intriguing encounter-sounding tales if you wish.

      As to computers: I'm becoming convinced that the darker elements of the Leprechaun Nation have taken up residence there.



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