Monsters, Mutants and Other Mysteries

Mysterious animals seem to be popping up all over the place. And not just in remote jungles or seldom-traveled tropical waters. They are allegedly appearing in such unlikely places as Harford County, Maryland and San Antonio, Texas. Rural villages of Chile also continue to be harassed by strange creatures, some of which fit the description and modus operandi of the dreaded Chupacabras.

Scientists are routinely discovering new species of animals. An exploration of a large ice-covered pool in the Yukon Territory of the Canada Basin is finding several new species in what is believed to be the world’s oldest seawater. In May, 2004, a new species of orange-colored, mouse-like mammal was discovered in the mountains of the Philippines. A bird that researchers believe is new to science was recently found on the Indonesian island of Wangi Wangi. In August, 2004, a new kind of animal was found in Australia that an expert with the National Parks and Wildlife Service said resembled a rock wallaby, but wasn’t.

It’s quite another thing, however, when an unknown creature wanders into your backyard. But we must be cautious about jumping to the conclusion that an unidentified animal is truly unidentifiable. Such is the case with the so-called Glyndon Mystery Monster that made news in July, 2004. A strange-looking dog-like creature was spotted by several residents around Glyndon, Maryland. Jay Wroe even managed to photograph the animal in his backyard. Animal experts were unable to identify it, some saying it looked like a cross between a dog and a hyena. So they set a trap for the creature in Wroe’s yard – and actually caught the poor animal, which turned out to be a red fox with a bad case of mange.

Likewise, reports of dinosaur-like creatures reported by people driving near Arica, Chile turned out to be misidentified ostriches.

So if a fox can be labeled a monster and an ostrich can be seen as a dinosaur, we must be open-mindedly skeptical when we read about some of the other interesting sightings taking place around the globe. Maybe they are bizarre new creatures, maybe not:

• The Asheboro panther. In January, 2004 in Asheboro, North Carolina, Denise Williams was dressing her kids to go outside and play in the snow when she glanced out her window and saw a large, black, cat-like creature. She managed to videotape what she described as a panther-like animal, and representatives of the North Carolina zoo estimated that the tracks in the snow they found were made by a feline weighing 35 to 40 pounds. The videotape was too fuzzy to provide definitive identification. It was rumored that the animal might have been responsible for the death of a pet dog in the area. There were no reports of an escaped panther from any zoo, and the mystery animal was never captured.

• The Lancashire blobster. There is a rich history in the annals of Forteana of mysterious “things” washing up on shores around the world. They are often unidentifiable because they are in various stages of decomposition or have provided lunch for other sea creatures. One such unidentified “blobster” was stumbled upon by a cameraman on the Lancashire, U.K. coast while he was walking his dog in late July, 2004. The rotting carcass, which featured a long beak, puzzled park rangers, zoologists, marine and other wildlife experts. Finally, as if to get the mystery over with, the manager of an aquarium declared he was 99 percent certain it was a squid. Other “experts” weren’t so sure and offered such other possibilities as a walrus pup, a dolphin, a penguin, seal or even a platypus.

• The hairless dogoyote. Rancher Devin Macanally shot and killed an unknown animal that he says was attacking his livestock on his ranch in Elmendorf, Texas in July, 2004. Despite good photos and the actual body of the animal, it has yet to be identified. Because it was killing smaller farm animals, some wondered if this was the legendary Chupacabras. The hairless, blue-gray, 20-pound creature, which somewhat resembles a dog, may have been responsible for the disappearance of more than 40 of the rancher’s chickens. The bones of the unknown animal have been sent for DNA testing, but meanwhile, experts at the San Antonio Zoo could not identify it. The mammal curator at the zoo theorized it was “a mix between a dog and a coyote,” and admitted that its lower jaw was “not normal for any mammal.”

• The PNG Dinosaur. A formal hunt was organized by police in Papua New Guinea when several locals reported seeing a large dinosaur-like creature lumbering about in March, 2004. The villagers described the creature as being about three metres (nine feet) tall, gray in color, with a head like a dog’s and a crocodile-like tail. The hunt did not find the mysterious animal (or any ostriches).

• Dog-eating Chupacabras. In January, 2004, a 40-year-old man was scared out of his wits by a monster he encountered while driving on the road around 5 a.m. at Santa Filomena, Chile. Juan Berríos described it to reporter Scott Corrales as “a bipedal animal standing 1.50 meters tall, with hind legs like those of a kangaroo, small, curved hands ending in talons, a sharp mane like that of a porcupine running along its back, a tail with a rattle, a muzzle like that of a fierce wolf, several rows of teeth and voracious red eyes.” Most terrifying, this monster was carrying the bleeding body of what may have been a dog in its mouth.

• Chupacabras’ cousin. In August, Corrales reported on the discovery of an unidentified animal inside a doghouse belonging to Manuel Otazo in Valparaiso, Chile. According to Corrales, “Manuel Otazo explained that the animal had a small head and red fur, with large fangs, claws and hands resembling wings, different from any rodent or known domestic animal.” Otazo believed it could have been a relative of the Chupacabras.

Other Recent Animal Anomalies and Oddities:

• Fertile mules. Ask any veterinarian or zoologist and they will tell you that it is impossible for a mule to give birth. By definition, a mule (a cross between a female horse and a male donkey) is an animal bread to be sterile. Yet on June 7, 2004, in the Bhutan village of Dorikha, a golden yellow mule gave birth to a black foal. This “impossibility” is not an isolated case. In October, 2002, a mule gave birth in rural Morocco.

• Giant hog. They dubbed it “Hogzilla” – a gigantic feral hog that stretched 12 feet long and weighed in at a whopping 1,000 pounds. Chris Griffin killed the monstrous pig on his plantation in Alapaha, Georgia in July, 2004.

• Seagull attack. A retired man in Falkirk, Scotland became the victim of a flock of seagulls that seemed to really have it out for him. “James McNeish said the gulls would swoop and peck at him when he walked out of the door,” reported the Daily Record on July 13, 2004. “He also said they would stare at him through his windows.” The strange incident became more and more like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds when the gulls began to go after children as they played in a nearby park.

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