Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for the 'Criptozoology' Category

Pterodactyl video in Austria?

“OK, I know what you are going to say its fake, and that’s fine. Me and my wife both saw it and we don’t belive in the boogeyman or sasquatch but this bird like creature was just there circling around us for a moment. It was so beautiful, and for a moment it was almost like Jurassic Park.
Just outside Gradnitz, Austria. July 19 [2011].”

We believe you, personnere, but as UMAfan and several Youtube commenters also pointed out:


It’s a bat.

This is somewhat funny, and it reminded me of a spat of sightings of Velociraptors in Chile, back in 2004. Eleven witnesses described seeing large “bird-like” creatures with dog heads, around 7-feet high, large paws and muscles and small upper extremities.

The two encounters happened at night, and local Veterinarians pointed out the described characteristics matched those of ostriches, of which a couple hundred roam around freely the region.


Jurassic Park had a profound impact in our culture, and one is not to underestimate the chances that people would be more prone to remember dinosaurs than bats or ostriches.

Popularity: 3% [?]


The Louisiana Swamp Monster


Originally aired as coming from Berwick, the quite fascinating image of “something” has already come to light as actually coming from a property in the Antioch Community, Louisiana.

It was originally posted on Dec 2 by “Hillbilly Willi” over at Archery Talk, with the whole background story:

“Very freaky trail cam picture…. dont know what to think..? Don’t know what to think about this one fellers…. Went and checked my camera today and this is what it had on it…. The ground directly in front of my tree was completely tore up, the trail cam had been torn off the tree, straps were popped and everything. Camera was laying face down about 10 ft. from the tree it was attached too. Bark was knocked off the tree where the camera had been, like something had knocked it off while trying to twist camera off the tree. This was the only picture I got of "it" as I had it set on a 2 minute timer. The first picture is of "it", and the second is a picture from a lil while ago of the same spot, just for reference. Checking this right at dusk with a 3/4 mile walk out ahead of you will scare a feller….. When I saw it, my blood ran cold. Still gives me shivers…. What do you guys think??”

The image is a damn fine job, but the story is just terrible. And Hillbilly Willi made the mistake of posting along with it that second picture “just for reference”:


The mistake is on the date: the reference image is supposed to have been taken over a week before the freaky one, and yet, as forum members noted, the leaves in the small tree at left look exactly the same. This is actually evidence that the time lapse between the two images is very small – hours, perhaps even minutes or seconds – and the dates have been altered afterwards to go along with the story.

This is clear when we see three other reference images the same author shared afterwards, dated November 26 and 27, and those do have the leaves in different positions. Apparently on November 30, they returned to the exact same position they were nine days earlier.

Or these dates are simply bogus.


messing with the date on any camera is not per se evidence of hoaxing, but the third image shared by the author is also revealing because it shows him in the scene:


Which allows us to have some idea of scale, and what was the size of that creature if it was indeed real. And if it was indeed real, it wasn’t very big, as it looks almost half the size of “Hillbilly Willi”, with extremely thin arms.


Here too, there is a simple explanation that can be found on somewhat careless digital tampering. The creature is small not only because the author didn’t care very much in having it at the correct scale, but also because he must have used an image of a real deer to create his monster.

The texture, the size, length and width of the creature’s arms and body match those of a real deer, and it was by altering this real image that he got this level of creepiness. The arms were probably legs, and even the glowing eyes were copied and altered from real glowing deer eyes.

I made the comparison below, in the exact same scale, to highlight how the creature’s arms and overall texture matches those of a deer body and legs. In fact, the creature may have been created from another image of that exact same deer, as the leaves in both images suggest the time lapse between the two images — which are indeed two different images as the background is slightly different – is short.


That is, the terrible swamp monster may be simply an altered image of a deer.

But unless the author steps forward with details of the hoax, all we will have will be a story full of holes and a very dubious digital image.

Meanwhile, speculations are going around claiming this is part of a viral campaign either for the “Super 8” movie or “Resistance 3” videogame. The deer cam company, “Wildgame Innovations”, seems to be the profiting a lot from the case too, but none of these have been confirmed as the source for this.

From my part, I think this is just a prank from a hunter who also happens to be a talented graphic artist. He created his account on Archery Talk over a year ago, and posted his image more than a week before someone sent them to the TV station. He also doesn’t seem to capitalize on it for any movie or videogame.

Some have also been associating the image to this infamous 2007 clip:

Much as the “fallen angel” in this video looks like the Louisiana creature, this video was indeed part of a viral campaign, but for Diesel, having certainly nothing to do with this recent picture, except perhaps as an inspiration.

Night vision pictures are somewhat scary, something the Blair Witch project explored more than a decade ago. Even a common child may look somewhat creepy.


An altered image of a deer, then, will not take much to look like a scary monster. Kudos to Hillbilly Willi nevertheless, the image is actually quite fascinating.

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[via Wired Web, Cryptomundo, ArcheryTalk]

Popularity: 11% [?]


New Montauk Monster? This time it’s an otter


“Locals in a small Canadian town have been stumped by the appearance of a bizarre creature, which was dragged from a lake. … The creature was discovered by two nurses in the town of Kitchenuhmaykoosib in Ontario, Canada, while out on a walk with their dog.”
Telegraph: New Montauk Monster sighting? Bizarre creature washes up in small Ontario town

The news in the local website for the town, gives the quite important information that “the creature’s tail is like a rat’s tail and it is a foot long.”

It’s quite interesting just how much such unpleasant photos can be milked as a mystery, all the while the news reports end up mentioning – and trying to discard – the most likely explanation.


A dead otter.


Let’s repeat: a dead decomposing otter.

Even the Montauk Monster turned out as a raccoon, and the recent “Cerro Azul” Monster from panama was simply a sloth.

In all these cases, the creatures decomposing in water result in swelling, discoloration and the loss of fur, giving these hairy animals a somewhat different look.

In this Canadian case the look is not even that different, however.

UPDATE 05.22.2010: Was it actually a mink? Through friend Biologist Maria Guimarães, we managed to hear the thoughts of doctor James L. Patton, Curator and Professor Emeritus, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California.

“[The] mystery critter looks more like a mink than an otter to me (longer fingers, without any evidence of webbing).  It clearly was dead in the water for a prolonged period, hence the defurred face and head, and somewhat swollen appearance”, wrote Patton.

“If anyone had bothered to look at the teeth, the identification would have been easy, but…”, he remarked, emphasizing that this likely ID was made only through the photos published on the Internet, without the necessary evidence for a more definite conclusion.

So, it looks like an otter, and was probably a mink. Either way, no monster, both creatures are quite cute, that we can all agree on. [with many thanks to Maria Guimarães and James Patton!]

UPDATE 05.29.2010: Giorgio Castiglioni sends more comments:

“The most visible teeth in the upper jaw looks like a canine and also its position is too backward to be an incisor. So we can discard rodents like the muskrat that someone (e.g. cryptozoologist Loren Coleman) suggested as a possible solution (rodents don’t have canine teeth).
Looking at teeth and shape of boy and paws, it seems clear it’s a mustelid. So your first hypothesis as an otter was a good guess, but also my opinion is that it’s an American mink (Neovison vison).”

Castiglioni also remarks how:

“(Hoping I won’t annoy you) the otter whose photo you used in your blog is an European otter (Lutra lutra) that is found in Europe and Asia, not in Canada. The otter of Canada belongs to another species and genus, Lontra canadensis.”

No annoyance at all! To correct the error, here is not an otter, either European or from Canada, but an American Mink:


[Thank you, Giorgio!]

Popularity: 4% [?]


A 65 feet crocodile?


Over at the Charles Fort Institute website, Mike Dash has an excellent piece about Baron Von Forstner and the U28 sea serpent.

Popularity: 3% [?]

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YeaGS! Yet another Giant Snake


Workers at Fushun, Liaoning, China, allegedly found a 17 meter snake while working with a shovel car this past August 4, 2009. They noticed blood in the sand, apparently the shovel had hit the creature, which died shortly afterwards. Some accounts tell it weighed 300kg, others a measly 103 kg, which is probably closer to reality.

As in so many photos of this kind, there is some forced perspective. Note how the leaves are close and also look unearthly big. We must have a reference, and the shovel seems to be half of the length of the bent snake, that is, the shovel is around a fourth of the creature’s original length.

Assuming a 1,5m length for the shovel, the snake would be around 6 meters in size, around a third of the claimed one.

Of course, it’s possible that that shovel was almost 5 meters in length. Those are small, but Chinese shovel cars, they must have superpowers. In any event, this is a curious photo, and a 20 feet snake is already something impressive.

Popularity: 4% [?]