Teenage Girl Attacked by Sasquatch

In the Wednesday, August 18, 1965, issue of the Independent (Long Beach, CA), a Page 2 headline read: “Search for the ‘Monster.’” The article was accompanied by a picture of 17-year-old Christine Van Acker who was sporting a black eye. The article chronicled an incident that occurred in southeastern Michigan involving a large, hairy monster.

According to the report, the previous Friday night, Van Acker and her mother were attacked by a “black, 7-foot, 400-pound, grunting “thing” covered in hair” while sitting in their car. The creature reached through the car window and grabbed Christine Van Acker’s hair and punched her in the eye. Van Acker said: “he was all hairy and the hairs were like quills. They pricked whenever I touched them.”

At least 15 other people claimed to see the creature. Sightings had been occurring off and on for about two months prior to the attack.

The attacked spawned a rash of monster hunts by the locals. Many other locales experienced monster-induced hysteria in other parts of the country in the mid-1960s. I devoted a section to this phenomenon in my book Wild & Wonderful (and Paranormal) West Virginia.

Phosphorescent Eyes

An unusual characteristic that is sometimes described among water monsters is “phosphorescent eyes.” This has attributed to the Yacumama—known to many as the Giant Anaconda—the massive water snake of the Amazon.  Take the following excerpt from my book Water Monsters South of the Border:

…the Yacumama’s eyes are phosphorescent; when spotted at night, the creature’s eyes have been mistaken for the navigational lights that are common to the boats that travel the Amazon.3

Mention of the bluish, phosphorescent eyes of the Yacumama brings to mind an interesting encounter. In 1929, a priest, Father Victor Heinz, was travelling at night on a river. Heinz saw a huge snake in the water. The snake had such large eyes—phosphorescent eyes—that Heinz initially mistook the snake for the navigational lights on a steamboat.4

Father Heinz had another encounter with the legendary Yacumama seven years earlier. Heinz was travelling along the Amazon River by canoe with several companions. He witnessed a massive snake whose visible portions were an estimated 80 feet in length. Heinz described the body of the snake as being as big around as an oil drum.5

Consider the following headline from The Dothan Eagle (Dothan, Alabama) from September 3, 1934:

The report details a monster in a lake in France that caused quite an uproar after a rash of sightings. The creature was said to be 25 feet long and covered with scales. The monster was described as a “prehistoric beast with phosphorescent eyes.”


3. George Eberhart, Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2002), 189.

4. Karl Shuker. “Giant Anacondas and Other Super-sized Cryptozoological Snakes.” ShukerNature. September 20, 2013. Accessed June 07, 2016. http://karlshuker.blogspot.com/2013/09/giant-anacondas-and-other-super-sized.html.

5. Ibid.

Pig-nosed Monster Fish

A “pig-nosed” fish—massive in size, was caught for a second time recently. According to an article in the Fox News Science section:

A massive 700-pound, 10-foot-long, 5-foot-wide sturgeon — affectionately known as “Pig Nose” — has been caught for the second time in two years in the Fraser River, the longest waterway British Columbia, Canada. 

The “pig-nosed” character of this fish reminds me of the “Eel Pig” from Herrington Lake, Kentucky.  The following is an excerpt from my first book:

Herrington Lake is a manmade lake in central Kentucky, about 30 miles from Lexington. There are tales of a strange monster that lurks in the depths of the lake. Herrington Lake was created by the flooding of the Dix River in the 1920s. Kentucky Utilities constructed the Dix Dam; the resulting reservoir has been used as a source of hydroelectric power for the region. At the time of the construction of the dam, it was considered an engineering feat; it was the largest rock-filled dam in the world.1

Herrington Lake is quite deep. In fact, it is the deepest lake in Kentucky reaching a maximum depth of 249 feet and a mean depth of 78 feet. The lake covers 2,335 acres, the equivalent of 3.648 square miles.2

Herrington Lake is well-known for its good fishing; anglers from all over the Commonwealth of Kentucky flock to the lake each year in pursuit of catfish, crappie, striped bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and white bass.

In addition to great fishing, the lake is also known for a creature best described as an “eel-pig;” a strange monster that is 15 feet long and has a distinctive pig-like snout and curly tail. The eel-pig is said to be able to swim at speeds that rival a boat.

Reports from the Early 1970s

The best reports, and most often cited, come from 1972 when Lawrence S. Thompson spoke of what he saw in an interview. Thompson, a classics professor at the University of Kentucky, kept a second home on Herrington Lake. During the four years that Thompson owned his lake home, he had noticed something unusual swimming in the water at various times.3

Thompson never got a good look at the body of the creature. What Thompson saw multiple times was a pig-like snout gliding above the water with a curly tail following about 15 feet behind. The speed with which the creature moved was similar to that of a boat equipped with a trolling motor.4

What was Professor Thompson seeing in Herrington Lake in the 1970s? Was it a monster? According to the professor, the creature was shy, and he also had this to say: “it’s a monster only in the sense that you’d call an alligator or a crocodile a monster if nobody else had ever seen one.”5


The biggest question, when considering the existence of a cryptid dwelling in a manmade lake, is—How did it get there? Professor Thompson offered a theory concerning this; a theory that is a variation of themes presented in this book and elsewhere. Thompson proposed that the mysterious creature might be something prehistoric that has escaped observation and detection. He thinks that its ancestors may have swam up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers millennia ago. Moreover, Thompson said that a monster, or many generations of monsters, could have survived in caves. Once the caves became submerged by the construction of Dix Dam, the creature(s) swam out and now inhabit Herrington Lake.6 Of course this scenario is unlikely, maybe even laughable to some—but as improbable as this theory may be, does the possibility exist?

Other, and perhaps more plausible, explanations exist. One theory is that people might be seeing alligator gar in Herrington Lake. Alligator gar, which are capable of reaching lengths of 10 feet or more, are known to exist in the lake. Alligator gar also have elongated, distinctive snouts—perhaps this could explain the unique, recognizable snout of the eel-pig.

Another scenario that has been proposed is that the eel-pig might actually be an alligator. Although Kentucky is north of the American alligator’s territory, its range has been inching northward for some time—most likely due to climate change. It has been well-documented that alligators, which are not native to Virginia, are steadily inching closer to Virginia’s border with North Carolina.

In February of 1990, Sherri Hurst claims to have seen an alligator in the lake; she even phoned a local newspaper to report her story. Though her story was widely mocked, Hurst has steadfastly stood by her claims. “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it,” said Hurst, who visits Florida on a regular basis and claims to know exactly what alligators look like.7


  1. “Herrington Lake.” LakeBrowser. Accessed November 14, 2015. http://www.lakebrowser.com/kentucky/herrington_lake.asp.
  2. LakeBrowser, “Herrington Lake.”
  3. Joe Ward. “Monster Reported Swimming in Herrington Lake.” Louisville Courier-Journal, August 7, 1972.
  4. Ward, “Monster Reported Swimming in Herrington Lake.”
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Liz Maples. “Tales Still Surface of Creature in Herrington.” Central Kentucky News. September 12, 2005. Accessed November 14, 2015. http://articles.centralkynews.com/2005-09-12/news/24894105_1_monster-dogs-lawrence-thompson.


Not All Time Travelers are Equal!

Most everyone had a good laugh when they saw the headline, “Wyoming man claims to be time traveler, warns of alien invasion” all over the news last week—myself included. Rightfully so. The following is an excerpt from an article on CNN:

Officers in Casper, Wyoming pulled Bryant Johnson over for suspected drunken driving.

He told them he time-traveled from the year 2048 to warn of an impending invasion by aliens.

Johnson also demanded the officers let him speak with the town’s president.

Police said he had slurred speech, blood-shot eyes and a blood-alcohol level of 0.136 percent

But Johnson had an explanation: He said in order to transport him through time, aliens had to fill his body with booze and have him stand on a giant pad.

For as ridiculous as the story is, it is even more creative! I cannot help but wonder, though, why is this man being mocked and ridiculed nationwide for his claims, when claims that are far less believable are making a number of folks very wealthy? Folks such as Corey Goode.

Good has essentially burst onto the “UFO scene” recently and (sadly) has been featured on Ancient Aliens. He is highly promoted by Jimmy Church, David Wilcock, and a host of others. Goode has been a speaker at a number of conferences, including MUFON’s symposium.


Here are a few of Goode’s claims from his own website:

…Corey Goode was recruited through one of the MILAB programs at the young age of six. (MILAB is a term coined for the military abduction of a person that indoctrinates and trains them for any number of military black ops programs.) Goode trained and served in the MILABprogram from 1976-1986/87. Toward the end of his time at MILAB he was assigned to fill an IE support role for a rotating Earth Delegate Seat (shared by secret earth government groups) in a “human-type” ET SuperFederation Council.

During his 20 year service he had a variety of experiences and assignments including the Intruder Intercept Interrogation Program, Assignment to the ASSR (Auxiliary Specialized Space Research), the SRV, (Interstellar Class Vessel) and much more. This all occurred in a “20 and Back” agreement from 1986/87-2007 with recall work continuing up to the present day.

According to Goode’s story, he is essentially a “Time Traveling Space Marine,” or TTSP.  You can watch a Gaia video in which:

Corey Goode divulges details of each step taken in the age regression process he endured as his time with the twenty and back program came to a close. What we learn, is the prevalence of time travel technology within the secret space programs and why it is such a tightly held secret.

So, getting back to my original question: Why is our friend from Wyoming—who had a bit too much to drink (for the good of mankind)—widely ridiculed, while Corey Goode has found his money-making niche as an “experiencer” within the field of ufology?

It just doesn’t seem fair to the time-traveler from the Cowboy State…


Listen to the Locals!

Illustration of the new species. Velizar Simeonovski/The Field Museum

People living in the  Solomon Islands have long spoken of a large rat that lives in tress called the vika. It wasn’t till now, however, that scientists recognized the species.  Scientists, using game cameras, recently spotted a vika on Vangunu Island.

The large rodent weighs over 2 pounds and measures 18 inches from nose to tail.

Two things come to mind:

What else is out there that has gone undiscovered?

Local people are better suited to tell us what lives in an area than highly-educated outsiders. Consider the cause of a Maori legend being confirmed:


For further reading:



Lake Monster Smashes Boat—Men Thrown Overboard

The Evening Herald, a newspaper from Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, reported an encounter in which a lake monster attacked a boat with four men inside in their June 22, 1893 issue. The incident occurred in Bass Lake outside of Knox, Indiana.

George Scoville, the attorney who represented President Garfield’s assassin, went fishing with Sheriff Vanderweele, attorney Beeman, and auditor Knosman on a day when something that defies explanation occurred.

Beeman had tied a large lure on his line and hooked into something massive. After a lengthy fight, the “fish” began to tire out and Knosman helped him pull it toward the boat. Before the pair could land the fish, it sprang back into action; it darted off and smashed its mighty tail into the boat. With that, Beeman and Knosman were thrown into the water. Scoville and Vanderweele managed to swim to shore after the boat had sank in 12 feet of water. Knosman and Beeman were rescued by nearby boaters.

The foursome described the monster as being 40 feet long and 3 feet thick; it has a large, pointed head; the creature was greenish-black in color and had no discernable fins.

Two years prior to the event, a rowboat was capsized after something swimming fast crashed into it. The summer before, the steamship City of Kokomo was pulled by something that became tangled in its anchor lines. Stories go further back—in 1881, something huge tore a large hole in a farmer’s seining net. He did not get a glimpse of the monster.

Dog-eating Lake Monsters

Going through some newspaper clippings the other day, I found one that I clipped some time back titled “Lake Monster of Soviet Eats Dogs.” It was from the Eureka Humboldt Standard and appeared in the October 1, 1963, issue.

The article described the “Labynkyr Devil,” a lake monster said to inhabit Lake Labynkyr in Siberia. The article stated that there had been a rash of sightings and that on one a occasion, a hunter’s dog was swallowed by the creature.

A water monster swallowing dogs—though uncommon—is not entirely without precedent. In my book Water Monsters South of the Border, I wrote about a slug-like snake that inhabits the Chaco Swamps in Paraguay called the Manguruyú. Said to reach 18 feet in length and over 1,000 pounds, some believe the creature is an enormous catfish. The manguruyú is known to pull people under the water where they quickly drown. There are accounts of grown men being swallowed whole by these giants. Indigenous people in Paraguay tell of bathers being attacked, and dogs have been observed being pulled into the water.


In today’s post I would like to examine the story of David and Goliath, found in the Old Testament, and compare it to stories from Mesoamerica.  

David and Goliath, one of the first Bible stories taught to young children in Sunday school, is a timeless tale that has permeated our culture. It is spoken of metaphorically—how many motivational speeches have referred to the hero David rising to the challenge and confronting the evil giant?  

Let’s take a look at the David and Goliath story as recounted in the Old Testament in 1 Samuel 17: 

4 And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 

5 And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. 

6 And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. 

7 And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him. 

8 And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me…(KJV) 

The size of Goliath cannot be overstated. His spear was likened to a weaver’s beam, used in looms of the day, and would have been about 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) in diameter. For comparison, a soda can measures 2.6 inches in diameter. The spearhead weighed 15 pounds (6.8 kg)! Goliath wore a coat of mail armor which weighed 125 pounds (57 kg). At the time of this writing, the United States Army’s Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV)—the standard issue body armor worn by ground combat units—weighs about 33 pounds (15kg). Obviously it took a man of incredible physical stature to wield such an enormous spear, wear armor weighing the equivalent of an average 15-year-old American male, and to have a normal-sized man carry a shield in front of him.  

Goliath’s height is described using cubits and a span. A cubit is a unit of measurement, used by ancient people, in which the forearm length from the tip of the middle finger to the bottom of the elbow equals a cubit. A span is the distance measured from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger. Cubits vary among cultures; an Egyptian Royal cubit was about 20.6 inches long, whereas a Roman cubit was 17.5 inches. The Babylonian Royal cubit is thought to have been 19.8 inches. It is hard to know exactly the cubit measurements for biblical verses. Some say there were two Hebrew cubits, the long and the short. The long cubit was 20.4 inches; the short cubit was 17.5. To muddy the waters, I have read in several places that length of the cubit in the Bible is 25.025 inches in length. To add further confusion, it is generally accepted among biblical scholars that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament. Moses, of course, was raised in the Egyptian Royal court; did he use an Egyptian Royal cubit for his measurements?  

So how tall was Goliath? If we use an Egyptian Royal Cubit, Goliath would have been 11 feet tall—he would have been a foot taller that a regulation basketball rim! If we were to accept the 25.025 inch cubit, Goliath would have stood at an incredible 13 feet. From this point forward, I will use the “common cubit” which is 18 inches (45.72 cm). According to this unit of measure, Goliath would have stood at close to 10 feet (3 meters) in height.   

When looking at the story of David and the enormous Philistine, the question always arises: Is this an allegorical account or is a literal interpretation in order? Perhaps a bit of both? One aspect of the tale that sticks out to me is the specific weights and measures recorded regarding Goliath and his armaments. We find this in Deuteronomy 3:11 as well when Og, the king of Bashan is described:  

For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man. (KJV) 

Here we have a bed described that was constructed from iron. The king’s bed was 13.5 feet long and 6 feet wide, or 4.1 x 1.8 meters. This is an enormous bed! I sleep on a queen-sized mattress; the measurements are 6’8” x 5’. I am 5’10’ tall, so I have nearly a foot extra on the length of my mattress. If we apply roughly the same criteria to Og’s bed, then he would have stood at an approximate height of 12 feet. 

Continuing on with the David and Goliath story: 

16 And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days… 

…23 And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them. 

24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. (KJV) 

Clearly the Israelites feared Goliath and were greatly intimidated by his stature. David, though, a small shepherd boy, strengthened by his faith in God, is not afraid. He volunteers to fight the giant: 

32 And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. (KJV) 

Something else to note in the David and Goliath story, is that Goliath lived among the Philistines. He did not live in a castle in the clouds or in a cave on the outskirts of a village—he lived among average-sized people. This coincides with other legends especially those from the Americas. In North America, there is a tradition of an elite class—shamans, chiefs, and warriors—who were giants. Large skeletal remains, buried in an elaborate manner, have been found in Mound Builder sites throughout the United States. 

Finishing the tale of David and Goliath, an epic battle takes place. The mother of all underdog stories unfolds: 

44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field… 

49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. (KJV) 

50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. 

Goliath was not the only giant who lived among the Philistines. 2 Samuel 21 says the following: 

15 Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint. 

16 And Ishbibenob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David. 

17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel. 

18 And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant. 

19 And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. 

20 And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant. 

21 And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimeah the brother of David slew him. 

22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants. (KJV) 

The Bible is full of tales of giants; we might owe these stories a closer look. Perhaps there are elements of truth in the accounts. Now I would like to look at another account of a Goliath-like character—this time, from Mesoamerica. 

An Aztec Goliath 

In 1519, Hernán Cortés landed on the Yucatan Peninsula with about 500 soldiers. His arrival was eerily similar to a prophesy set to be fulfilled that year of the return of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, promised to return after being banished long ago. Cortés, though, was no deity; Cortés was a man, driven by a lust for gold and power, who would bring the once mighty Aztec empire to its knees. 

The conquistadors laid Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire, to siege in 1521. This was the decisive event that facilitated the fall of the Aztecs. For the purposes of this book, there was a hero—a giant—who fought against the Spanish. 

Like the Philistines, the Aztecs also had giants who lived among them. One of these giants, named Tzilacatzin, was a member of an elite class of warriors, known as the Otomi.  

Tzilacatzin showed no fear of the Spanish; in fact, the giant struck fear into their hearts. According to the account of Bernardino de Sahagún, a Franciscan friar who came to the New World to convert the indigenous people to Christianity studied the beliefs of the Aztecs: 

Then Tzilacatzin, a very brave warrior, came forth with three great, huge stones, one in his hand, two carried upon his shield. They were white wall stones. He cast them and thereupon pursued the Spaniards, scattering them and dispersing them into the water. They were soaked. 

Hernán Cortés, in his letters to Charles V, said this about Tzilacatzin: 

The Aztecs had one formidable warrior of giant stature, called Tzilacatzin, who was wonderfully skillful with his sling, every stone he sent bringing down its man. He was made aim of all the Spanish archers and musketeers, his great stature making him easily distinguishable, but they could never hit him. On one of these days eighteen Spaniards were captured alive and sacrificed, their bodies afterwords cut up and distributed to be eaten.  

Unlike the account of Goliath, who was killed by the lowly shepherd David, there is little said about the death of Tzilacatzin. It is assumed that he was killed as Tenochtitlan fell.  

The story of Tzilacatzin is not an isolated incident; tales of giants permeate the legends of Mesoamerica. A group of giants known as the Quinametzin lived on the earth during a previous age. These giants, who stood at over 10 feet in height, were responsible for building the city of Teotihuacan and the pyramid at Cholula and founded various other cities.  

The end of the reign of giants is something we have heard before in other myths. The gods sent a series of catastrophes to punish the giants because they refused to worship them. This is similar to the giants who ran amok in the days of Noah before the Great Flood. In an Andean myth, the creator fashioned people from large stones. These were who giants who greatly displeased their god. They were wiped out with a flood.  

The world over, the similarities in the myths are too much to ignore. It cannot be simple coincidence. So the question becomes, what is the truth behind the stories?

The Labynkyr Devil 

The following piece is something I wrote in January 2017. I thought that today I would share it again.

Siberia’s Yakutia region is home to a lake monster whose stories date back to the late 1800s when documented sightings began to be recorded. However, legends of the monster go back much further. The creature is known as “Labynkyrsky Chert” or the Labynkyr Devil—named after Lake Labynkyr where the monster dwells. 

Nicknamed “Siberia’s Loch Ness Monster,” the Labynkyr Devil has made its rounds in the news lately after new sightings have been reported.  

A Man’s Quest for Answers 

At the time of this writing, Andrey Solovyev has spent over 100 days—alone—on Lake Labynkyr. Enduring temperatures that dip below –50 °F, Solovyev has made a home in a small wooden shack. His closest neighbor nearly 100 miles away.   

What would drive a man to live in isolation in one of the harshest environments on Earth? One motivation is to test his survival skills. In the world in which Solvyev came from, he works in the tourism industry; he also teaches survival skills. What better way to determine where your survival skills rank than to spend a winter alone on Lake Labynkyr? 

The biggest reason Solovyev stationed himself on Lake Labynkyr is to try and obtain evidence for the existence of the devil that lives in the lake. He has always been intrigued by the stories of the creature and wanted to come to the lake and find out first-hand if the monster exists. 

Recently, he may have had his own encounter. He claims to have momentarily caught a glimpse of a large dark creature as it broke the water. There is no way for him to know what he saw, but he believes it may have been the monster. His belief is strengthened by another incident that occurred in September—his fishing nets were torn apart by something. His nets were torn to shreds and he found holes meters in diameter; an impossibility for any known animal in the lake. 

A History of Sightings 

Tales of a monster in Lake Labynkyr have been passed down for generations among the locals. A description of the beast has been obtained from eyewitness reports: it has dark gray coloring; it is 30 feet long and 4 feet wide; the monster has a massive jaw full of razor-sharp teeth—the jaw is about a third the size of its body; the beast has a bony protrusion on its head, almost like a horn; the animal is also said to be very aggressive and has been heard emitting a “primeval cry.” 

There is a chilling story of a dog who disappeared at the hands of the Labynkyr Devil. The dog swam out into the lake to retrieve a duck that its owner had shot and was suddenly attacked by a monster. The hunter saw a pair of huge jaws suddenly appear out of the water and his dog simply disappeared into them.  

There is another report that indicates something might be preying on the seagull population in the lake. There is an island in the middle of the lake where many destroyed seagull nests were found. The nests were crushed with birds inside. Many of the birds were apparently eaten, while others lay dead.  

Many monster sighting accounts come from fisherman on the lake who occasionally see a massive, dark gray creature briefly come to the surface. There are several instances in which the boats of anglers are lifted or rocked by large waves that are created when the monster comes to the surface. In one instance, a boat sank after it was capsized by a sudden large wave—believed to have been caused by the Labynkyr Devil. 

Recently, a group of geologists were fishing in the lake when they noticed the head of a massive creature in the water. There were several onlookers on shore who saw the creature as well; they began shooting guns to scare the beast away. 

The creature(s) in Lake Labynkyr have been detected on sonar many times both by amateurs and scientists conducting research at the lake. Dr. Lyudmila Emiliyanova of Moscow State University in one such researcher. “The object was very dense, of homogenous structure, surely not a fish, nor a shoal of fish, and it was above the bottom.” She went on to say that she could not offer an explanation for the identity of the object. 

During a separate expedition in 2008, large objects were detected on a fish-finder. One such object was over 21 feet long. An expedition member, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It was pretty clear that it was not a fish and not a tree. There cannot be fish that big, and a log would have registered in a different way. How can it swim under water?” 

In 2013, a diving team claimed to have captured evidence of mysterious, large jaws and a skeleton using an underwater scanner. 

There is a tale of a local who found a large jaw that when stood up, it formed an arch large enough for a horse to pass underneath.  

Dr. Emiliyanova, who has been to the region twelve times, believes in the validity of the monster reports from Lake Labynkyr. “Personally, I do believe that when the information about something strange circulates among local people for so many years, it just can’t be groundless, it means something is there.” She is also impressed with the character and honesty of the local people and claims, “they do not lie.” 

Some Closing Thoughts 

Something that stands out in the lore surrounding the Labynkyr Devil are rumors that Lake Labynkyr is connected to another lake, Lake Vorota, which is about 12 miles away. The water level in Lake Vorota is nearly identical to that in Lake Labynkyr—Lake Vorota has also had many reports of a similar creature in its waters. Dr. Emilyanova said, “some scientists believe that this lake is connected with other lakes on the same plateau, at least with Vorota, via some underground tunnel system.” 

Lake monsters and rumors of underwater tunnels that connect various lakes go hand in hand. Lake Tahoe, home to “Tessie,” is rumored to have a connection to other lakes in the region—most notably, Pyramid Lake where monster sightings have occurred. Lake Pohenegamook, in Quebec, is home to a monster known as Ponik. Lake Pohenegamook is rumored to have a subterranean connection with nearby Lake Temiscouata where monster sightings occasionally take place. The Obojoki, in Iowa, is rumored to travel between the “Iowa Great Lakes” using a system of underwater tunnels. Some believe that the tunnel network may extend as far as the Gulf of Mexico! 

If a monster exists in Lake Labynkyr (and Lake Vorota), what could it be? 

Speculation abounds as to the identity of the Labynkyr Devil. One controversial theory suggests that the monster is a killer whale—part of a “landlocked” remnant population that adapted to fresh water after the plateau on which Lake Labynkyr sits was cut off from the Sea of Okhotsk. 

There are other theories as well. Perhaps a surviving remnant of ichthyosaurs somehow survived into the present day. Maybe a small group of plesiosaurs defied the odds and are alive today in the cold Siberian waters. 

At any rate, whatever the truth may be, there are those who are dedicated to finding it. This is a refreshing departure from the normal mockery of the lake monster phenomenon.  

Further Reading: 

The Siberian Times has a number of online articles that can be accessed by the following link: http://siberiantimes.com/search/?text=lake%20Labynkyr&tag=1 


New Species

New species are being discovered all the time. I really began thinking of this the other day after reading about a “purple, pig-nosed” frog that was discovered in a remote mountainous region of India.

According to some estimates, a new species is discovered in the Amazon every other day.

Of course, most new species are small and many are plants, but on occasion, something large is discovered. Recently, a giant sunfish named the Hoodwinker Sunfish was discovered. The new species has been found around New Zealand, the south-east coast of Australia, off South Africa and Southern Chile. The fish is enormous and can weigh more than two tons and reach nearly 10 feet in length.

The following is a press release from Murdoch University in Australia dated July 20, 2017:

Marianne Nyegaard from the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences uncovered the new species while researching the population genetics of ocean sunfish in the Indo-pacific region.

The previously undescribed species has been named the Hoodwinker Sunfish (Mola tecta).

Iconic ocean sunfishes are the heaviest and most distinctive of all bony fishes, with some species weighing in excess of two tonnes and growing to three metres in length. The newly discovered species is thought to approach a similar size.

The challenging journey to confirm the discovery was a four-year labour of love for Ms Nyegaard, who began her investigations after noticing genetic differences in sunfish samples from the Australian and New Zealand longline fishery.

“A Japanese research group first found genetic evidence of an unknown sunfish species in Australian waters 10 years ago, but the fish kept eluding the scientific community because we didn’t know what it looked like,” Ms Nyegaard said.

“Finding these fish and storing specimens for studies is a logistical nightmare due to their elusive nature and enormous size, so sunfish research is difficult at the best of times. Early on, when I was asked if I would be bringing my own crane to receive a specimen, I knew I was in for a challenging – but awesome – adventure.”

Over a three-year period she collected data from 27 specimens of the new species, at times travelling thousands of miles or relying on the kindness of strangers to take samples of sunfish found stranded on remote beaches.

“The new species managed to evade discovery for nearly three centuries by ‘hiding’ in a messy history of sunfish taxonomy, partially because they are so difficult to preserve and study, even for natural history museums,” Ms Nyegaard said.

“That is why we named it Mola tecta (the Hoodwinker Sunfish), derived from the Latin tectus, meaning disguised or hidden.”

“This new species is the first addition to the Mola genus in 130 years. The process we had to go through to confirm its new species status included consulting publications from as far back as the 1500s, some of which also included descriptions of mermen and fantastical sea monsters.

“We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time. Overall we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the Hoodwinker.”

Similar to its two sister species, Mola mola and Mola ramsayi, the new species has the characteristic truncated appearance of half a fish, but the differences between the three species become clear with growth.

Mola tecta remains sleek and slender even in larger sizes, differing from the other species by not developing a protruding snout, or huge lumps and bumps.

Ms Nyegaard suspects that, as with other sunfish species, feeding takes place during deep dives. The digestive tract contents of three specimens she sampled consisted mostly of salps, a gelatinous sea creature loosely resembling a jellyfish.

Mola tecta appears to prefer cold water, and has so far been found around New Zealand, along the south-east coast of Australia, off South Africa and southern Chile.

Ms Nyegaard’s paper on the new sunfish species has been published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society and can be read here.

The research involves collaboration between Murdoch University, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the University of Otago, Hiroshima University and the University of Tokyo.

I have to wonder: If a fish weighing two tons can elude scientists until now, what else could be lurking in our oceans and deep lakes?