The Cryptozoologist




[A special "Thanks!" to Crypto's friend "Natasha" for alerting me to the recent progress made by CFZ in the search for the Orang-Pendek.]

Orang Pendek
(Indonesian for "short man") is the most common name given to a cryptid, or cryptozoological animal, that reportedly inhabits remote, mountainous forests on the island of Sumatra.

The animal has allegedly been seen and documented for well over one hundred years by forest tribes, local villagers, Dutch colonists, and Western scientists and travelers.

Suku Anak Dalam


The Suku Anak Dalam ("Children of the Inner-forest")—also known as Orang Kubu, Orang Batin Simbilan, or Orang Rimba—are groups of nomadic people who have traditionally lived throughout the lowland forests of Jambi and South Sumatra. According to their legends, Orang Pendek has been a part of their world and a co-inhabitant of the forest for centuries. Benedict Allen, author of Hunting the Gugu, writes that these groups frequently leave offerings of tobacco to keep the Orang Pendek happy.
In Bukit Duabelas, the Orang Rimba speak of a creature, known as Hantu Pendek (short ghost), whose description closely matches that of Orang Pendek. However, Hantu Pendek is thought of as a ghost or demon rather than an animal. According to the Orang Rimba, the Hantu Pendek travel in groups of five or six, subsisting off wild yams and hunting animals with small axes. Accounts of the creature claim it ambushes unfortunate Orang Rimba hunters traveling alone in the forest. Along the Makekal River on the western edge of Bukit Duabelas, people recount a legend of how their ancestors outsmarted these cunning yet dim-witted creatures during a hunting trip. The legend is often used to boast of the intellect and reason of people who live along the Makekal.


Local Villagers
Local Indonesian villagers provide the largest source of lore and information on Orang Pendek. Hundreds of locals claim to have either seen the animal personally or can relate stories of others who have. While the conjectured physical description listed above is consistently reported by this group, other, less credible characteristics such as inverted feet or magical- or ghost-like behavior are also reported.
In 1818, William Marsden, who was the Secretary at the Residence in Benkoelen, Sumatra, made an English translation of Marco Polo. In this edition, he commented on the following passage:
In this kingdom [Lambri, now Jambi Province] are found men with tails, a span in length, like those of the dog, but not covered with hair. The greater number of them are formed in this manner, but they dwell in the mountains, and do not inhabit towns.


Marsden believed that this passage had as its basis a belief among Sumatran natives that two other groups of natives dwelt on the island. These two tribes—the orang kubu and orang gugu—shun contact with others. Marsden noted that the Orang Kubu were numerous in the region between Palembang and Jambi, on the southeastern coast. In fact, the basis—a native tribe called Koeboe by the Dutch—were discovered in that area.




But the Orang Gugu are more problematic. Were they merely orangutans? Jacob Bontius remarks that there is a tradition "that these animals can speak but refuse to do so for fear of being put to work." Similarly-described savages/cryptids from this area of the world are referred to elsewhere as Orang Pendek, Uhang Pandak (local Kerinci dialect), Sedapa, Batutut, Ebu Gogo, Umang, Orang Gugu, Orang Letjo, Atoe Pandak, Atoe Rimbo, Ijaoe, Sedabo, and Goegoeh.
Traditions hold that the Orang Pendek (only used as a name in southern Sumatra) is a relatively short apelike animal which has a language of sorts, although the Sumatrans cannot understand it. Its skin has a brownish tinge and is usually covered in a short black or brown hair. Many traditions mention a mane of long, black hair. The Orang Pendek has no tail, or no visible one, and its arms are not quite as long as an ape's. It walks on the ground more often than climbing in trees, and, although extremely strong, is mainly vegetarian.
Dutch Colonists
The first mention of the Orang Pendek in a non-folkloric context appears in 1917, in an article by Dr. Edward Jacobson. He said that in 1916, while he was camped near the base of Boekit Kaba mountain, some scouts told him they had seen an Orang Pendek. When the animal saw the scouts, it ran away on its hindlegs. Jacobson also reported that he had seen some footprints at Mt. Kerintji. They were rather like those of a human, albeit shorter and broader.
In 1918, the Sumatran Governor, L.C. Westenenk, wrote about the Orang Pendek. Although he, too, was at first inclined to dismiss them as pure folklore, he recorded an event which took place in 1910.
A boy from Padang employed as an overseer by Mr. van H— had to stake the boundaries of a piece of land for which a long lease had been applied. One day he took several coolies into the virgin forest on the Barissan Mountains near Loeboek Salasik. Suddenly he saw, some 15m away, a large creature, low on its feet, which ran like a man ... it was very hairy and was not an orang-utan; but its face was not like an ordinary man's...
Westenenk also recorded another encounter, this one from 1917. A Mr. Oostingh, who owned a coffee plantation at Dataran, was in the forests at the base of Boekit Kaba when he saw a figure sitting on the ground about 30 feet away. The figure looked as if it were trying to light a fire.


I saw that he had short hair, cut short, I thought; and I suddenly realized that his neck was oddly leathery and extremely filthy. "That chap's got a very dirty and wrinkled neck!" I said to myself. His body was as large as a medium-sized native's and he had thick square shoulders, not sloping at all... He clearly noticed my presence. He did not so much as turn his head, but stood up on his feet: he seemed quite as tall as I, about 5' 9" (about 1.75m). Then I saw that it was not a man,,,it was not an orang-utan...and I started back, for I was not armed. I had seen one of these large apes a short time before. It was more like a monstrously large siamang, but a siamang has long hair, and there was no doubt that it had short hair. The colour was not brown, but looked like black earth, a sort of dusty black, more grey than black. The creature took several paces, without the least haste, and then, with his ludicrously long arm, grasped a sapling, which threatened to break under his weight, and quietly sprang into a tree, swinging in great leaps alternately to right and to left...


Westenenk hypothesized that what Oostingh had seen was an enormous gibbon. In fact, he advanced his theory that the Orang Pendek was an extremely old and large gibbon, shunned from his group for some reason. Bernard Heuvelmans placed stock in Westenenk's theory, cautiously wondering whether it might not be an undiscovered species of gibbon.


Dr. Jacobson, whom we quoted earlier, wrote another article in 1918. In this article, he reported the account of a Mr. Coomans, a railwayman at Padang. Mr. Coomans found some supposed footprints of the Orang Pendek near Benkoelen. Soon after, similar footprints were found near Soungei Klomboek.
Dr. Jacobson also recorded several instances from about 1915. In these instances, the apemen were seen in rhinoceros pits near Mount Kerintji. The Orang Pendek were often seen perched on the stomachs of the trapped beasts, eating the flesh. If true, these reports seem to be the only ones ascribing a carnivorous nature to the ape.
Another Dutchman, this time a surveyor, R. Maier of Benkoelen, had a large collection of footprints. The footprints in Maier's collection had come from Roepit, Boekit Kaba, and Marga Ambatjung. The tracks were made in the late 1910s and early 1920.
Another Dutch settler, a Mr. van Herwaarden, began his research into this creature in 1916, but the accounts he gathered were so fantastic that he refused to believe they were descriptions of anything but a mythical animal; his Malay informants told him that the creature had one eye, feet turned backwards and climbed like a gecko lizard.
But in 1918, van Herwaarden began to change his mind. In that year, he found a series of footprints near Moesi Oeloe. Later, he talked to a man called Breikers who had found similar tracks. Van Herwaarden eventually met three Koeboe natives who said they had seen an Orang Pendek; it was about 4.5 feet tall, they said, with a hairy body, long hair on its head, and long canine teeth.
Some years later, van Herwaarden heard that two corpses were found in the forests near Pangkalan Belai. The bodies were of a female and a child. The Malay who found the two tried to bring the bodies back to civilization, but he was soon forced to abandon the bodies. Shortly thereafter, he died.
About the same time, several Malays encountered a live apeman near Sebalik. The apeman, though, dove under the water and escaped.

Van Herwaarden also wrote of an experience he himself had while surveying land near the island of Pulau Rimau in October, 1923. The creature in question was seen sitting on the branch of a tree:
I discovered a dark and hairy creature on a branch...The sedapa was also hairy on the front of its body; the colour there was a little lighter than on the back. The very dark hair on its head fell to just below the shoulder blades or even almost to the waist. It was fairly thick and very shaggy. Had it been standing, its arms would have reached to a little above its knees; they were therefore long, but its legs seemed to me rather short. I did not see its feet, but I did see some toes which were shaped in a very normal manner...There was nothing repulsive or ugly about its face, nor was it at all apelike.The lower part of its face seemed to end in more of a point than a man's; this brown face was almost hairless, whilst its forehead seemed to be high rather than low. Its eyebrows were the same colour as its hair and were very bushy. The eyes were frankly moving; they were of the darkest colour, very lively, and like human eyes. The nose was broad with fairly large nostrils... Its lips were quite ordinary, but the width of its mouth was strikingly wide when open... The colour of the teeth was yellowish white. Its chin was somewhat receding... Its hands were slightly hairy on the back... This specimen was of the female sex... When I raised my gun... I heard a plaintive 'hu-hu,' which was at once answered by similar echoes in the forest nearby.
A Mr. van Kan, administrator of the Aer Teman plantation, found several footprints, casts of which are in the museum at Buitenzorg in Java. Several orang pendek were supposedly seen near the estate. But Dr. Dammerman, an employee of the Buitenzorg Museum, had little trouble identifying the tracks as those of a sun-bear (Ursus malayanus).

In 1927, a tiger trap in southern Sumatra was found triggered. However, the animal that had triggered the trap had escaped. A few hairs and blood traces were found on the trap; Dr. Dammerman says that "it was impossible to obtain any positive results with regards to the hair" and that "the blood pointed faintly to human origin."
In 1932, it was thought that the mystery of the Sumatran apeman would finally be solved. In that year, a body supposedly of a young orang pendek surfaced near the Rokan Kiri River. However, Dr. Dammerman concluded that the body was in fact that of a normal lutong (a type of langur) which had been shaved.

The final account Heuvelmans cites is an enticing article which appeared the year previous to publication of the first edition of On the Track of Unknown Animals, in March of 1954. The article said that a live apeman, or rather an apewoman, had been captured in Sumatra. The creature was "very hairy and with very long nails." However, a revolution soon broke out in Sumatra and the exact status of this account—whether it was a hoax or a genuine report—is unknown.
Western Researchers
The Malayan wildman went uninvestigated, for the most part, until British author Deborah Martyr's trip to Sumatra in 1989. Martyr, the most widely-known Western researcher to later attempt to document Orang Pendek, was informed by her guide that the creature could occasionally be seen at the crater lake near Mt. Tujuh.


I was travelling in Sumatra as a journalist in 1989. I was climbing Mount Kerinci and heard of a legendary animal that I thought would add a bit of colour to my travel piece. Then I started meeting people who claimed to have seen something. At that stage I didn’t believe or not believe; I was trained as a journalist, which is a respectable profession, so I took a look into it. 
Along with British photographer Jeremy Holden, Martyr then began an investigation into the wildmen. Funded by Fauna and Flora International, their goal was to systematically document eye-witness accounts of the Orang-Pendek and to obtain photographic proof of its existence via camera-trapping methods. She found that a large number described the wildman as possessing a large stomach, a feature never before mentioned. Also, the residents informed her that while the mane of the Orang Pendek was usually dark, it was yellow or tan in some individuals. The Tujuh natives seemed certain that it was not an orangutan, sun bear, or siamang.
Martyr also travelled to the region south of Mt. Kerinci, another area where sightings were prominent. She did not see any Orang Pendek, but she did find tracks. She said the tracks resembled those of a seven-year old child, but were broader and had a prominent big toe. Martyr took plaster casts of the footprints to Sungeipenuh, where naturalists concurred they were of no known animal. In all, since beginning in the early 1990's, Martyr spent 15 years engaged in her project.
In yet another encounter, which took place in early 2001, the witness, a forestry ranger by the name of Aripin, was working in the Sungeipenuh region near Mt. Kerinci. When Martyr investigated, she found an absence of footprints and bent branches, which to her suggested that the Orang Pendek was brachiating (tree-traveling) at a fairly low altitude. Aripin concurred that the animal was definitely not any sort of macaque or other monkey or ape; the Orang Pendek's mane was dark brown.
Although Debbie and Jeremy did not succeed in proving Orang-Pendek's existence (Martyr has since moved on to head TNKS's Tiger Protection and Conservation Unit), they collected several footprint casts that appear to be from Orang Pendek and claim to have personally seen the animal on several occasions while working in the forest.
In an April 2003 interview with Debbie, Richard Freedman asked her to relate the first time she ever saw the Orang-Pendek:
I saw it in the middle of September; I had been out here four months. At that time I was 90 per cent certain that there was something here, that it wasn’t just traditional stories. I thought it would be an orang-utan and that it would move like an orang-utan, not bipedally like a man. I had my own preconception of what the animal would look like if I did see it, and I had been throwing away reports of the animal on the basis of colour that didn’t fit what I thought the animal would look like. When I saw it, I saw an animal that didn’t look like anything in any of the books I had read, films I had seen, or zoos I had visited. It did indeed walk rather like a person – and that was a shock....I saw it again about three weeks later. Again, it was on Mount Tuju and, again, I had a camera in my hand but I froze, because I didn’t know what I was seeing. It had frozen on the trail because it had heard us coming. All I could see was that something across the valley had changed. I looked through a pair of binoculars. Something didn’t look quite right in the landscape. By the time I trained on the area the animal had gone. Those were the only times I could have got a photo of it. I have seen it since, but fleetingly. Once you have seen an animal you can recognise it. If you have seen a rhino you can recognise a bit of a rhino. 
From 2001 to 2003, scientists analyzed hairs and casts of a footprint found by three British men—Adam Davies, Andrew Sanderson and Keith Townley—while traveling in Kerinci. Dr. David Chivers, a primate biologist from the University of Cambridge, compared the cast with those from other known primates and local animals and stated:
...the cast of the footprint taken was definitely an ape with a unique blend of features from gibbon, orangutan, chimpanzee, and human. From further examination the print did not match any known primate species and I can conclude that this points towards there being a large unknown primate in the forests of Sumatra.

Dr. Hans Brunner, a hair analysis expert from Australia famous for his involvement in the Lindy Chamberlain case in 1980, compared the hairs to those of other primates and local animals and suggested that they originated from a previously undocumented species of primate. Dr. Todd Disotell, a biological anthropologist from New York University, performed DNA analysis on the hairs and found nothing but human DNA in the sample. He cautioned, however, that contamination by people who handled the hairs could have introduced this DNA or that the original DNA could have decomposed.
Beginning in 2005, National Geographic funded a camera-trapping project in TNKS led by Dr. Peter Tse of Dartmouth College that attempted to provide photographic documentation of Orang Pendek. The project ended in 2009 without success.

While Orang Pendek or similar animals have historically been reported throughout Sumatra and Southeast Asia, recent sightings have occurred largely within the Kerinci regency of central Sumatra and especially within the borders of Taman Nasional Kerinci Seblat (Kerinci Seblat National Park) (TNKS). The park, 2° south of the equator, is located within the Bukit Barisan mountain range and features some of the most remote primary rainforest in the world. Habitat types within TNKS include lowland dipterocarp rainforest, montane forests, and volcanic alpine formations on Mt. Kerinci, the second highest peak in Indonesia. Because of its inaccessibility, the park has been largely spared from the rampant logging occurring throughout Sumatra and provides one of the last homes for the endangered Sumatran Tiger.
In spite of the aforementioned sightings, Orang Pendek has yet to be fully documented and no authoritative account of its behavior exists. However, witnesses report some or physical characteristics consistently, so a likely picture of the animal can be conjectured.


Debbie Martyr—who interviewed hundreds of witnesses, and alleges to have seen the animal personally on several occasions—gives the following description: 
A relatively small, immensely strong, non-human primate. But it was very gracile, that was the odd thing. So if you looked at the animal you might say that it resembled a siamang or an agile gibbon on steroids! It doesn’t look like an orang-utan....usually no more than 33 to 35 inches (85 or 90cm) in height—although occasionally as large as 47 inches (1m 20cm). The body is covered in a coat of dark grey or black flecked with grey hair. But it is the sheer physical power of the orang pendek that most impresses the Kerinci villagers. They speak in awe, of its broad shoulders, huge chest and upper abdomen and powerful arms. The animal is so strong, the villagers would whisper that it can uproot small trees and even break rattan vines. The legs, in comparison, are short and slim, the feet neat and small, usually turned out at an angle of up to 45 degrees. The head slopes back to a distinct crest—similar to the gorilla—and there appears to be a bony ridge above the eyes. But the mouth is small and neat, the eyes are set wide apart and the nose is distinctly humanoid. When frightened, the animal exposes its teeth—revealing oddly broad incisors and prominent, long canine teeth.
Sightings by locals often take place in farmland on the edge of the forest, where Orang Pendek is allegedly seen walking through fields and raiding crops (especially corn, potatoes, and fruit). Locals with experience in the forests claim that Orang Pendek seeks out ginger roots, a plant known locally as "pahur" or "lolo", young shoots, insects in rotting logs, and river crabs.
Three possible explanations of Orang Pendek's identity are prominent: that all sightings can be explained as the mistaken identification of local animals; that witnesses of Orang Pendek are describing a previously undocumented species of primate; and that a species of early hominid still lives in the Sumatran jungle.
Mistaken Identity
Many locals say Orang Pendek's feet look like those of a seven-year-old child, evidenced by foot prints they have found while walking through the forest. In addition, gibbons populate the forests in this area and are known to occasionally descend to the ground and walk for a few seconds at a time on two legs. Witnesses could possibly be seeing orangutans; however: 1) this species has long been thought to have died out in all but the northern regions of Sumatra and 2) witnesses almost never describe the animal as having orange fur.
Undocumented Primate
Orang Pendek's reported physical characteristics differentiate it from any other species of animal known to inhabit the area. All witnesses describe it as an ape- or human-like animal. Its bipedality, fur coloring, and southerly location on the island make orangutans an unlikely explanation, and its bipedality, size, and other physical characteristics make gibbons, the only apes known to inhabit the area, unlikely as well. Many therefore propose that Orang Pendek could represent a new genus of primate or a new species or subspecies of orangutan or gibbon.
Surviving Hominid
As far back as Mr. Van Heerwarden's account of Orang Pendek, evolutionists have speculated that the animal may in fact be a "missing link" (a hominid representing an earlier stage in human evolution). In October 2004, evolutionary scientists published claims of the discovery of skeletal remains of a new species of "human" (Homo floresiensis) in caves on Flores (another island in the Indonesian archipelago) supposedly dating from 18,000 years ago. The species was described as being roughly one meter tall. The recency of Homo floresiensis' continued existence, and the similarities between its physical description and the accounts of Orang Pendek, have led to renewed speculation among evolutionists in this respect.


Excerpted from:

Return to the Lake of Seven Peaks
A band of intrepid explorers travel to Sumatra in search of the elusive Orang-Pendek—and, what's more, actually see one!
Text: Richard Freeman / Images: CFZ
August 2010





After the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) team’s 2008 adventures in the Caucasus Mountains in search of the Almasty, it was time to plan our next cryptozoological expedition.  

Team leader Adam Davis—as far as I know the only man in Britain with more cryptid hunts under his belt than me, and second to none as a field researcher—was in favor of a return to Sumatra to continue the search for the Orang-Pendek, the upright walking ape whose name means ‘short man’ in Indonesian. I’d searched for this elusive creature twice before (see 'In Search of Orang-Pendek' and 'The Orang-Pendek'), and Adam no less than four times, so between us we knew the territory as well as any Westerner could hope to. Joining team leader Adam and me were Dr. Chris Clark and Dave Archer, both of whom had proved themselves time and again on previous expeditions....


....Upon returning to camp, we heard the other team's news: while walking through the jungle, Adam had heard a large animal moving through the forest. In the distance, siamang gibbons were kicking up a fuss. Sahar and Dave crept forward and were greeted by an astounding sight.

Squatting in a tree around 30m from them was an Orang-Pendek! They could not see the face clearly as it was pressed against the tree trunk, although Dave had felt that it was peering sideways at them. The creature had dark brown, almost black, fur, broad shoulders and long powerful arms, but its hands and feet were not in view. The consistency of its fur reminded Dave of that of a mountain gorilla—the Sumatran jungle is certainly of a very similar type to those inhabited by mountain gorillas in Africa—as did the shape of its head, although this lacked the long mane of hair described by some witnesses. Dave saw a line of darker hair running down the creature's spine.



As Dave moved to get a vantage point for a photograph, Sahar saw the creature climb down from the tree and walk away on two legs. Afterwards, Adam said that Sahar had wept for 10 minutes because he did not have a camera with which to take a picture; he has been on the trail of the Orang-Pendek since 1997.  

Next to the tree was some rattan vine the animal had been chewing. Adam carefully placed this in a specimen tube full of ethanol in the hope that some of the cells from the creature's mouth would have adhered to the plant, much like a DNA swab....

....Upon our return to Britain, I sent half of the samples we’d obtained off to Dr. Lars Thomas at Copenhagen University, while Adam sent the rest to Dr. Scott Disotell of New York University. Scott, unfortunately, was unable to extract any DNA from his sample, but the Copenhagen team had more success. After the first round of tests, they believe they may have uncovered something significant. I’m not prepared to say any more until the second round of tests—using some new techniques still in the developmental stage—has been completed. With a bit of luck, it's possible that we'll be able to announce the results in October, at this year's UnConvention in London.

Dally has emailed with news of further Orang-Pendek sightings in Kerinci. On 8 October, some bird watchers from Siulak Mukai Village saw an Orang-Pendek near Gunung Tapanggang. They watched it for 10 minutes from a distance of only 10m, describing its black skin, long arms and human-like gait. On 18 October, a man called Pak Udin saw an Orang-Pendek in Tandai Forest. The creature was looking for food, possibly insect larvae, in a dead tree. It had black and silver hair, long arms and short legs. He watched it for three minutes before it ran away.
In order to prove the creature's existence, a longer period in the field is required, perhaps a two or three month expedition, with pre-baiting of one of the semi-cultivated areas with fruit for a number of weeks beforehand. If the creature associated the area with food it might return on a regular basis, and waiting in a hide (blind) in a baited area might prove more fruitful that trekking through the deep jungles.
I remain totally convinced of the existence of the Orang-Pendek, and believe that it is an upright walking ape, probably a descendent of the Miocene ape Sivapithecus and related by way of the early Pleistocene Lufengopithecus to both the modern orangutans and to Gigantopithecus, the huge ape of mainland Asia that may turn out to be the larger type of ‘yeti’. I would like to propose the scientific name Pongo martryi in honor of Debbie Martyr, who has done more research into the Orang-Pendek than anyone else.




Excerpted from:

Evidence for New Ape Species?
by Matt Bille
Sunday, August 22, 2010 

Matt's Sci/Tech Blog
Matt Bille, author
The Center for Fortean Zoology (CFZ, with the "Fortean" being a reference to an indefatigable 20th-century collector of oddities) is a British-based cryptozoology society which goes about everything with typical British tongue-in-cheek humor. One of the CFZ's pet (ha-ha) interests is the unclassified ape, the orang-pendek, reported from Sumatra and thereabouts. The CFZ's Adam Davies has led several field expeditions in pursuit of evidence, and now reports results.
Readers of this blog may recall I posted on the announcement hairs had been recovered in 2009 from an orang-pendek sighting. As with hairs found in 2001, they have been analyzed by interested scientists and reported out as having DNA similar—but not identical—to orang-utan DNA.
One of those scientists, Lars Thomas, says, "The significance is quite enormous no matter what the result is basically, because if it turns out to be orang-utan this proves that there is orang-utan in a part of Sumatra several hundred kilometres from the nearest population of orang-utan. If it turns out to be a primate that looks like an orang-utan but isn’t, it’s an even greater discovery because that proves that there is another great ape living in Indonesia."
The orang-pendek is very respectable as mystery animals go. Internationally known tiger conservationist Debbie Martyr has reported seeing the reddish, habitually upright primate several times, and the renowned Dr. John MacKinnon once came upon tracks of a small, unidentified primate walking bipedally. Anthropologist Dale Drinnon, in a comment to the CFZ side, suggested that a small type of orang-utan with a normally upright posture could solve several unexplained animal reports, not just on Sumatra but in surrounding land masses. Martyr and others suggest it's a new type of gibbon, although the DNA results cast doubt on that (assuming the hairs are indeed from our quarry).
I wrote to the CFZ's Adam Davies after he sent me this announcement and asked the obvious question. If analysis indicates a new species here, when are we going to see the results in a peer-reviewed journal like Nature? Surely the topic is important enough for a journal to accept it if the science is well done, and the peer review process (though not perfect) will mean scientists with no connection to CFZ will be validating the DNA results.
Adam replied, "As ever, you ask good questions,I don't know the answer yet,but I will ask. I have met Henry Gee from Nature magazine before, and we got on very well. Lars is still carrying on the testing, and hopes to get better info. I promise you that I will let you know, when I know." (He added that information on the expeditions he has led, and future ones, is also available at another site,
So there you have it. Promising, but not yet definitive. Adam has promised to keep me in the loop and I shall do the same for you.
Matt Billie

[...and I, dear reader, will keep YOU informed! ~ Crypto]




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Posted on January 9, 2013 at 1:20 AM Comments comments (4)



Researched, Compiled, and Edited

By The Cryptozoologist (Randolph Merrill)

First Posted on August 21, 2007

According to scientific orthodoxy the African sabre-toothed tigers, such as Megantereon and Afrosmilus died out 500,000 years ago. However, in certain African countries such as the Central African Republic and Chad, sabre-toothed tigers have been seen by the locals in modern times.

There are reports of two different species, one that mainly inhabits the mountains (called Hadjel, Gassingram, or Vossoko), and a Water-inhabiting one (called Mourou N'gou, Mamaimé, or Dilali).


The Ennedi tiger is purportedly a living Sabertooth cat inhabiting the Ennedi Plateau, located in the east of Chad in Sub-Saharan Africa. The animal is known by the French speakers of the Zagaoua peoples of the escarpments of the Ennedi mountains as "tigre de montagne." They describe it as being larger than a lion but lacking a tail. It possesses red banded fur with white stripes and it has long hairs on its feet. It also has teeth that protrude from its mouth. It inhabits the mountains and caves of Ennedi, and it is so strong it can carry away large antelopes.




In the mountainous Tibesti region of Chad the sabertooth is known as "nisi" or "noso." It is said to attack hens and slit the throats of goats without eating them. There are completely black specimens. In 1975, Christian Le Noel was leading an eland hunt from Derby near the river Ouandja, 15 miles from Tirongoulou on the Chad-Sudan border, when he heard a howling from a cave like nothing he had heard before. His tracker refused to go any further, saying that it was the sabertooth.


The Water type is of unknown relation to the first, although it is also larger than a lion (8-12 feet), very fierce, and has protruding teeth. The animal's color pattern is reddish brown with white markings (comparable to mountain cats), to leopard-like with stripes, to uniform brown. In reports, its teeth are always described as "walrus-like" and the tail is always long. Its habitat extends into the Central African Republic. There are also tales of water lions in folklore from the Congo, Angola, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Sudan. A cave drawing that illustrates a walrus-like creature with a long tail exists in South Africa.


The people of Temki, Hadjeray in southwest Chad call the sabre-toothed tiger the "hadjel." Wounds have been found on hippos corresponding to those which might be inflicted by the teeth of a sabre-toothed tiger. Christian Le Noel witnessed a hippo which had died of strange wounds which could only have been given by a cat armed with exceptionally well developed upper canine teeth.


In 2003, Richard Freeman of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, U.K., went to Sumatra to look for orang-pendek, the mystyery ape-man. While in Indonesia he learned about the cigau, a cat-like animal with a head like a lion and a body like a horse that runs fast and inhabits the jungle. According to the British palaeontologist Darren Naish the cigau may be related to a group of fossil cats called Homotheres, related to the more familiar sabre cats but with smaller canines. A relict population of Homotheres may survive in Sumatra. See Fortean Times 182 (April 2004) pp. 32-39.


There are precedents for discovering new animals in the Twentieth Century. In fact at least 55 new species of mammal have been discovered in the last 99 years. In 1992 the Vu Quang ox was discovered on the Vietnam-Laos border. In 1986 up to five specimens of the hairy Sumatran rhinoceros were found on Sarawak. It had been thought this species had died out there by the end of World War Two. In 1998 a new species of coelacanth was discovered in waters off Indonesia. This hunt for a sabertooth in Chad is NOT a hunt for a "monster"; it is a serious scientific attempt to find out the truth about the saber-toothed tigers' status in Chad. Just as this century opened with the discovery of the okapi in 1901, perhaps the next century will open with the discovery of a sabre-toothed tiger.

A related footnote: the last lions in the Sahara also survived here, until they became extinct by the mid-20th century (the last lion was seen in 1940)






"We founded this organization (the French Association for Research cryptozoological) after the death of Bernard Heuvelmans. The founding members, of which I am one, are Christophe de Poitiers Beaulieu our current president, Michel Ballot, lawyer Monaco, Valencia Jean Roche, Philippe Janet Bloch St., near Nice, and Dominique Nodau....I was a student of, and correspondent with, Bernard Heuvelmans for Central Africa. My job as a professional hunting guide for big game made me spend most of my time in sub-Saharan Africa." Christian Le Noel, Editor of Hominologie and Cryptozoology, the quarterly journal of the AFRC.


(Translated from the French)

In the Central African Republic, where I worked as a professional hunting guide for twelve years, the native Youlou people still speak of a saber-toothed beast they call Koq-Nindji in their vernacular or "Mountain Tiger" in French .

Among legendary animals, the "Mountain Tiger" has a special place, because its story is common to different tribes and races, which have never come in contact with each other, such as the Toubou nomads, the Ennedi, the Tibesti and the Youlous of Central Africa.

[Cryptozoologist's note: In this respect, the "Mountain Tiger" is very much like the Sasquatch, which also shares a history with every native American tribe in North America, the majority of which have never interacted with one another.]



This legendary creature occupies a typically mountainous north-south geographical area which extends from almost the Tropic of Capricorn (Tibesti) to just south of the equator through the regions of Bahr-el-Ghazal and Mount Kenya. The area follows a ridge formed by the Saharan highlands of Erdébé, the Mourdi depression, Darfur, the mountains of the Bahr-el-Ghazal, and finally through the mountains of Uganda to Mount Kenya, therefore forming a continuity of habitat covering thousands of kilometers.


The most accurate description of this animal is given by the "Youlous" tribe of northeastern Central African Republic (CAR), some of whose old hunters claim to have seen it in their youth. This ethnic Sudano-Guinean strain is very old; it occurs in the region of Ouanda Djale where I spent several years of my job as a hunting guide for society SAFOV.

The Youlous are convinced that there are still "Mountain Tigers" in their region. They describe it as a beast a little bigger than a lion with a red coat, and clear blotches or stripes. Its tail is short, and the hair on the legs is long and thick, which prevents it from leaving identification marks on the ground. However, the main feature of this animal, which differentiates it from the lion, is that it has canines that protrude from the mouth!

This description is very similar to those of Machairodus or Smilodon, whose fossils, including their skulls, have been discovered there, proving that these animals had once lived in the area, and were contemporaries of ancient man.


The Youlous are excellent trackers, accustomed to hunting big cats. They have great vision and an extraordinary sense of observation for everything about the wildlife of the bush. They would not confuse two types of cats, even if they have similar characteristics. Their description of the "Mountain Tiger" is that of a saber-toothed cat. The Youlous who described this beast are all virtually illiterate people, and therefore never had the opportunity to view any paleontology or zoology books. They also point out that this wild beast, unlike the lion, can be black, which excludes any confusion with the local lions and leopards of which there have never been any observed cases of melanism in region.

I conducted an experiment with my Youlous trackers, presenting them with drawings in color, reproducing the different species of wild cats living today on four continents: tiger, ocelot, cheetah, snow leopard, leopard, puma, etc.., Among these, I had placed a representation of a saber-toothed tiger in prehistoric times. Without any hesitation, the Youlous identified Smilodon as "their" "Mountain Tiger".


To convince me, they took me to a cave forming a rock shelter where according to them there had been a "Mountain Tiger" thirty years ago (we were in 1970). My first tracker, Djémé, assured me that he had seen it when he was with his father during a hunting party in the hills of Melle. He and his father had managed to kill a large antelope 300 kg (661 lb), and at the time of skinning a "Mountain Tiger" came out of the bush, seized the trophy and carried it off without apparent effort, while both hunters stood stunned and terrified. The hunters could only return empty-handed to the village.

It seems that there is also an aquatic form of this beast which exists in the major rivers of the country, under the name "water lion" or "water panther" in Sango-ti-Ndzé Ngou. I collected evidence on this species in the Bamingui-Bangoran region of northern CAR. The wife of one of my trackers in that region told me that in the '50s a "water lion" was caught in a fish net (they can reach a diameter of over one meter) on the river between the villages of Bangoran Kaga Bandoro and Mbrès. The villagers killed it, and the skull was recovered by the village chief. Since I was well known in this village, I asked the chief about the killing, but he refused to give me any information, claiming that the woman was deceived, and this despite the large sum I proposed to him to see the skull. Unfortunately, this is normal, as the natives of these remote areas all have the desire to keep secret certain information because, they say, "these are our last secrets; whites know everything and took everything from us: if we were to reveal our latest secrets, we will not have anything."


In the Bamingui Prefecture in the northern Central African Republic, along the Bamingui River, we have a visual and written testimony of a European that dates back to colonization, in 1910, It seems a column led by a French officer and a subordinate officer, and escorted by Senegalese tirailleurs (literally "skirmishers"; a corps of colonial infantry in the French Army), went back to Chad to punish the rebel Rabba Chadien who had just slaughtered the administrator to Bretonet Niellim north of Fort Archambault.

To cross the Bamingui, it was necessary to do it on pirogues (large canoes) being able to contain about ten people, is at the minimum 700 kg. Under the eyes of the officer that oversaw the crossing, a "water lion" attacked one of the pirogues in the process of crossing, and seized itself of a tirailleur that it took below the water. The officer did a complete report on the incident that remains to this day in the military archives.

The "water lions" are believed to live in rock caves located in the banks of rivers in this region. Their eyes shine in the night like glowing embers, and their growls are like the sound of wind just before a storm or tornado. How do these beasts get enough nourishment? Africans say they are primarily nocturnal. and some evidence suggests that they may be able to survive in isolated areas and wetlands.

A friend, Marcel Halley, a hunter of Gabon in the 1920s, witnessed a strange fact: hunting in a vast marsh, his attention was attracted by groans from the reeds, he came and found a female Hippo slaughtered by an unknown beast. It had gaping wounds that had not been made by another hippo, because only the males of this species fight among themselves, and their wounds are characteristically identifiable. The animal also had several big, long and deep wounds, which could not have been done by the tusks of a hippo. The beast also had a huge hole under its neck and another on the shoulder.

Personally, I have witnessed the same adventure. In 1970 in front of Fort Lamy (now Shar) The Service of Forestry, Fisheries and Hunting asked me to shoot a hippopotamus that had became aggressive.

He attacked the boats that transported people between Chad and the Cameroon bank of Fort Foureau (Kousseri). I felled the animal and realized it was covered with sores that were located in the same places as those on the female hippo which were observed by Marcel Halley; wounds of the same size, the same shape, so probably made by the same type of predator. These wounds were deep gashes as if they had been performed with a sharp object such as a saber. Another wound in the neck and shoulder was the shape of a hole into which I could stick my forearm. There was no sign of infection, indicating that the wounds were recent. I also took photos of this animal, but I did not pay attention to sex, since according to the size of the animal, it should be either a female or an immature beast.

Is it possible that it was a "water lion" saber-tooth that killed these two animals, apart from each other by thousands of miles?

What to believe? Are the "water lions" merely a reminiscence of ancient times in the collective memory of the Youlous? The specialists claim that the memory transmits oral memories only for a period of four hundred years maximum! Is it possible then that the Youlous really cohabitated with the last representatives of this residual species. If so, that would upset the generally accepted theories, according to which such beasts as the saber-tooth disappeared in Africa about 500,000 years ago.

Unfortunately until this day none of these famously spectacular canines have been found by the Youlous, or they are hidden and are never shown to the foreigners, or again, they were employed to make powerful talismans and they sleep again in leather holsters, out of sight to the uninitiated. I think we can put our finger on a pair of these canines: among a lot of small elephant tusks from Kenya, we discovered two small tusks of a different texture of ivory, and so far zoologists have not been able to determine to which species of animal they belonged.

The presence not so long ago of such an animal is not impossible, because in the mountains where the Youlous live, there are special plants that are found nowhere else in the world. They are much older than the saber-toothed cats, and it is the cycas and especially the Encephalartos, which would help to prove that the climate in this area has always been almost identical, with extreme variations elsewhere not unduly influencing the environment. This continuity has doubtless allowed the flora and therefore quite possibly the fauna as well, to maintain themselves in the original state until the present.

Anyway, the legend is still alive in the memory of the Youlous RCA (République Centrafricaine | Central African Republic) and also among the Toubou and Zagawa Borkou of Northern Chad. Maybe the clues to the "Mountain Tiger's" existence, past or present, will be found as claws, teeth, and skin pieces transformed into amulets, whose holders no longer know their origin or scientific value.



1. Le Noël, Christian. Le Tigre Des Montagnes: Des Felins A Dents En Sabre Au Coeur De L'Afrique? Institut Virtuel of de Cryptozoologie.

2. Shuker, Karl P. N. (1989). Mystery Cats of the World. Robert Hale. ISBN 0-7090-3706-6.








Posted on December 19, 2012 at 11:00 PM Comments comments (0)



IQUALUIT, December 19 (UPI) -- This small, frozen outpost on the south coast of Baffin Island at the head of Frobisher Bay, has recently been the scene of some of the most vicious animal attacks in recent memory by an unknown predator—some call it an Arctic cryptid—that leaves very few clues as to its identity, but according to those who have sighted it, is extremely fast and may even be able to fly. So far, efforts to hunt down the beast have proven futile, with tracks seemingly vanishing into thin air, a characteristic that has prompted rumors of shaman curses and "skin walkers" among the local aboriginal people, the Inuits.

Michael Vincent, a local law enforcement official, said: "I was taking some measurements of wolf prints in the forest one day recently, and I turned to find the vile creature staring at me with what I perceived as malevolent intent not more than three meters away. I didn't think I was scared until I felt all the hairs on my arms and neck standing on end. I drew my weapon and backed slowly away from it, and it obviously knew what the gun was, because it did not press its advantage, but stood its ground. Once I reached my snowmobile and started back down the way I had come, I caught glimpses of it through the trees trailing me, seemingly keeping pace with my machine with no apparent difficulty. As I neared town, teams of spooked sled dogs in their dog yards set up a ruckus like I'd never heard, and which finally seemed to discourage the creature from following me any further."

Another resident, Mr. Alain Villard, said: "You can't mistake it. Even if you have never seen it before, there is no doubt when it confronts you. Its power over us is real today, and I will never forget my encounters with it."

Some have speculated the creature could be the Urayuli or “Hairy Man”, a famous Cryptid primarily reported from Southwest Alaska. It has several other names, such as Arulataq, Bushman, Big Man, Tent Monster, Nant’ina, and Woodsman. The Urayuli, as described, stands about 6 to 10 feet tall and is covered with shaggy, coarse hair or fur of approximately 2 to 4 inches long. It has glowing eyes and is said to look somewhat like the extinct primates. Its arms are elongated enough that the creature can reach its ankles.

This quick and agile Alaskan Cryptid is oftentimes seen traveling at night and is a fast swimmer. It is often blamed for stealing fish and dogs, as well as destroying the tents of nearby campers. Many people from Southwest Alaska have their own stories of encounters with the creature.

So far, authorities will neither confirm or deny what the beast is; they will only say that it is intelligent, fast. powerful and vicious, and residents are being warned to remain indoors for at least the next week or so unless absolutely necessary. Superstitious local Inuit peoples claim that keeping a large fire roaring in one's fireplace is one method of denying access to the beast. Another is to build one's house or cabin with an extremely high pitched roof or to launch weather balloons above one's residence, which are anchored to the ground with strong wire, much like the so-called "barrage" balloons launched over various locations in WWII to prevent low-flying planes from strafing.

To date this year there have been 12 fatalities attributed to the beast, mostly trappers or sled drivers caught off-guard in isolated areas. However, a few were women at home alone in houses near the outskirts of town while their husbands were away. Some of the victims were found with clumps of white hair or red fabric clutched in their fists. Several of the attacks have taken place in broad daylight, but most have occurred after dark, especially after midnight.





Posted on December 19, 2012 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (0)



Researched, Compiled, Edited and Illustrated

By "The Cryptozoologist" (Randolph [Randy] Merrill)

First posted on September 2, 2007

In 1945 Waldemar Julsrud, a German immigrant and knowledgeable archeologist, discovered clay figurines buried at the foot of El Toro Mountain on the outskirts of Acambaro, Guanajuato, Mexico. Eventually over 33,000 ceramic figurines were found near El Toro as well as Chivo Mountain on the other side of town. Similar artifacts found in the area are identified with the Pre-classical Chupicuaro Culture (800 BC to 200 AD).

The authenticity of the Julsrud find was challenged because the huge collection included dinosaurs. Many archeologists believe dinosaurs have been extinct for the past 65 million years and man's knowledge of them has been limited to the past 200 years. If this is true, man could not possibly have seen and modeled them 2,500 years ago.



During the years 1945 to 1946, Carlos Perea was Director of Archeology, Acambaro zone, for the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. In a recorded interview he described the Julsrud excavations as unauthorized, as were many similar discoveries made by local farmers, but he had no doubt that the finds were authentic. He acknowledged that he examined the figurines, including dinosaurs, from many different sites. He was present when official excavations were conducted by the National Museum and the American Museum of Natural History. They found many figurines, including dinosaurs, which he described in detail.

In 1954 the Mexican government sent four well known archeologists to investigate. A different but nearby site was selected and a meticulous excavation was begun. Six feet down they found numerous examples of similar figurines and concluded that Julsrud find was authentic. However, three weeks later their report declared the collection to be a fraud because of the fantastic representation of man and dinosaur together.

In 1955 Charles Hapgood, respected Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Hampshire, conducted an elaborate investigation including extensive radiometric dating. He was accompanied by Earl Stanley Gardner, former District Attorney of the city of Los Angeles, California and the creator of the literary character Perry Mason. They refuted the claim that Julsrud manufactured the figurines, by excavating under the house of the Chief of Police, which was built 25 years before Julsrud arrived in Mexico. Forty-three more examples of the same type were found. Three radiocarbon tests were performed by Isotopes Incorporated of New Jersey resulting in dates of 1640 BC, 4530 BC and 1110 BC. Eighteen samples were subjected to thermoluminescent testing by the University of Pennsylvania, all of which gave dates of approximately 2500 BC. These results were subsequently withdrawn when it was learned that some of the samples were from figurines of dinosaurs.

In 1990 an investigation was conducted by Neal Steedy, an independent archeologist who's livelihood depends on contract work from the Mexican government. He arbitrarily selected an excavation site considerably removed from the Julsrud site. Chards were found but no figurines. He commissioned radiocarbon tests for samples from the Julsrud Collection which produced a range of dates from 4000 to 1500 years ago. Then he decided to ignore the results because he claimed the figurines were too soft to last more than 20 years in the ground. He also ignored the fact that many of the acknowledged Chupicuaro pieces are of the same consistency and they survived just fine. Of course, some pieces in the Julsrud collection are beautifully fired. Steedy's effort does more to support the Julsrud collection than to refute it. He effectively demonstrates the determination of the establishment to defend evolutionary dogma in the face of the devastating implications of this truly significant find.

(Note: In the forward to the book, Earth's Shifting Crust, Albert Einstein said Hapgood's concept could be of "great importance to everything that is related to the earth's surface.")


The drawing below is from Bob Bakker's book, Dinosaur Heresies (1986). He begins by telling the story of his realization, "There's something wrong with our dinosaurs." He says, "I had grown up with the "dinosaurian orthodoxy" about dinosaur ways—how they were swamp-bound monsters of sluggish dispositions, plodding with somnolent strides through the sodden terrain..." His contrasting view has drastically altered the way dinosaurs are now depicted.


The same modern ideas are reflected in clay figurines from the Pre-classical Chupicuaro Culture (800 B.C. to 200 A.D.) found near Acambaro, Guanajuato, Mexico.




Ankylosaurs exhibited a great deal of variety as do our modern dogs, however, the general type is readily recognizable in this Acambaro figurine.


The most obvious explanation for hundreds of life-like depictions of dinosaurs is that they have not been gone that long. These people who lived 2500 years ago saw them.


When the bones of Iguanodon were discovered in the early 1800's, scientists had a very poor idea of their appearance in life.


By the late 1800's the conception had improved considerably.


Now we know much more. For example, ossified tendons in the tail indicate that the tail did not droop but stood out straight.


The clay figurine (below) is from the Pre-classical Chupicuaro Culture (800 B.C. to 200 A.D.) found near Acambaro, Guanajuato, Mexico. It seems obvious these people knew how Iguanodons appeared in life.


(View the Video Slide Show below to see more of this unique collection)


According to leading evolutionists, evolutionary theory would be obliterated!

Richard Dawkins, Oxford


"...alleged human bones in the Carboniferous coal deposits. If authenticated as human, these bones would blow the theory of evolution out of the water." (Free Inquiry, V.21, No.4, 10/11/2001)


"...there are certain things about the fossil record that any evolutionist should expect to be true. We should be very surprised, for example, to find fossil humans appearing in the record before mammals are supposed to have evolved! If a single, well verified mammal skull were to turn up in 500 million year old rocks, our whole modern theory of evolution would be utterly destroyed. Incidentally, this is a sufficient answer to the canard, put about by creationists and their journalistic fellow travelers, that the whole theory of evolution is an 'unfalsifiable' tautology. Ironically, it is also the reason why creationists are so keen on the fake human footprints, which were carved during the depression to fool tourists, in the dinosaur beds of Texas," (The Blind Watchmaker, 1986, p.225)


Steven M. Stanley, Johns Hopkins University


"There is an infinite variety of ways in which, since 1859, the general concept of evolution might have been demolished. Consider the fossil record—a little known resource in Darwin's day. The unequivocal discovery of a fossil population of horses in Precambrian rocks would disprove evolution. More generally, any topsy-turvy sequence of fossils would force us to rethink our theory, yet not a single one has come to light. As Darwin recognized, a single geographic inconsistency would have nearly the same power of destruction." (The New Evolutionary Timetable, 1981, p.171)


NOVA TV Special, God, Darwin And The Dinosaurs

"...dinosaur footprints, side by side with humans. Finding them would counter evidence that humans evolved long after the dinosaurs became extinct and back up...[the] claim that all species, including man, were created at one time."


Ernst Mayr, Harvard


"Creationists have stated that humans and dinosaurs were contemporaries in time...Were this momentous statement true the names of its discoverers would thunder down the corridors of time as individuals who made one of the most outstanding discoveries of the twentieth century." (Gish-Mayr Debate, Evansville, Indiana.)


Niles Eldridge, American Museum of Natural History


"We have been looking at the fossil record as a general test of the notion that life has evolved: to falsify that general idea, we would have to show that forms of life we considered more advanced appear earlier than the simpler forms." (Monkey Business, p.46, 1982)


Louis Jacobs, Southern Methodist University, Former President of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology


"Co-occurrence of men and dinosaurs. Such an association would dispel (the concept of) an Earth with vast antiquity. The entire history of creation, including the day of rest, could be accommodated in the seven biblical days of the Genesis myth. Evolution would be vanquished." (In Quest of the African Dinosaur, p.261)


So there it is! Compelling (if not irrefutable) evidence that man and dinosaurs DID coexist in the not-so-distant past!









Posted on September 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM Comments comments (0)



Researched, Compiled, Edited and Illustrated by R. Merrill

First posted on February 23, 2009


Nowadays Margate beach is a popular tourist attraction known as a great venue for diving and whale watching, but in 1922 its desolate shores became the equivalent to box seats for one of the most amazing sea battles ever recorded.



On November 1, 1922, something incredible was observered by land owner Hugh Ballance—and at least a handful of additional witnesses—while standing on the shores South Africa's Margate beach, in the area known as KwaZulu-Natal.

What these individuals reported seeing that sunny afternoon was a spectacle which, to the modern eye, would seem to have been culled straight out of a Godzilla movie—although it would be another three and a half decades before that particular atomic fire-breather and its friends would wage their mighty cinematic battles on the silver screen—yet just off the shores of Margate, in the churning depths of the Indian ocean, those onlookers swore they bore witness to what has been described as an epic battle between three gigantic beasts.

Two of the animals were easily recognized by the spectators as whales (probably orca), but the third member of this fracas was deemed utterly unclassifiable. A creature who's equal has been seen by only a handful of men worldwide. A beast who's very existence seemed to defy all of the rules of biology and Darwinian logic.

The witnesses stared transfixed at the sight before them as this battle of the titans raged for over three hours, resulting in the deaths of all involved. But as fascinating as the accounts of the battle are, the mystery doesn't truly begin until later that same evening, when an unfathomably bizarre, 47-foot long corpse washed up on shore.

The creature had no apparent head, yet it bore a 5-foot long trunk, which seemed to just appear from its torso. As if that weren't strange enough, the animal was said to have a 10-foot long, lobster or prawn-like tail, all of which was covered with what appeared to be a coat of 8-inch-long, snow-white hair.


Amazingly, even after the eyewitnesses confirmed that the beached carcass was that of the creature which they had seen fighting in the sea, no official scientific expedition was launched to investigate the corpse. In fact, no real mention of the occurance filtered out of the KwaZulu-Natal region until the London Daily Mail ran a story on December 27, 1924—over two years after the event!

Even years later, witnesses remembered the clash with incredible detail. They claimed that the creature—which came to be known as "Trunko", due to its incredible elephantine appendage—fought a valiant battle against the lethal whales. Many witnesses even swore that they saw Trunko rise over twenty feet from the frothing ocean and use its lobster-like tail as an offensive weapon against its assailents.


A vocal minority of crypto-afficianados have posed the theory that Trunko may have been a living, breathing example of an aquatic-elephant. They claim that these creatures may have evolved back into marine animals, much in the same fashion as evolutionists claim modern cetaceans supposedly did millions of years ago. This theory postulates that after a multitude of generations this ancient precursor of the mastadon would have lost its legs in favor of more useful flippers, and that over the centuries its body would have become more streamlined. This is yet another trait which would parallel this hypothetical animal with the genuine remains of Trunk, which is sometimes refered to as the Natal carcass.


On an even more bizarre note, there are some fringe researchers who have speculated that Trunko may even be extra terrestrial in orgin. This speculation is not entirely unlike the claims made by Ivan T. Sanderson regarding the "Tasmanian Globster".

Unfortunately this account ends (as is too often the case) with a footnote which claims that after 10 days of rotting right beneath the noses of the South African scientific community, the carcass was washed back out to sea—and forever out of the hands of zoologists, marine biologists and historians—never to be seen again.

Cryptozoologists have noted that the obvious similarities between Trunko and the "Queensland Carcass", "Hoade's Monster" and the "Glacier Island Carcass" are simply too striking to be ignored. Some investigators have also speculated that these creatures may well be associated with the ancient Indian legends regarding the revered elephant-fish known as the "Makara".


The Makara (Hindu Mythology)

Some cryptozoologists suspect the legend of the Makara may be based in fact, and associate it with the Trunko sighting on South Africa's Indian coast.

According to Hindu mythology, Makara, a mythical creature, is the vahana of Ganga and Varuna. It is also the insignia of Kamadeva, a god (of Hindus) representing love and lust, and Kama’s flag (dhwaja) is known as Karkadhvaja, that is, a flag having makara depicted on the flag. Traditionally, a makara is considered to be an aquatic creature, and some traditional accounts identify it with crocodile, whereas some other accounts identify it with a dolphin. Still others portray it as a fish body with an elephant's head. The tradition identifies the makara with water, the source of all existence and fertility. In astrology, it is the sign of Capricorn, one of the twelve symbols of the Zodiac.

In Indian art, the makara finds expression in the form of motifs, and has been so portrayed in different styles, including the following: a) on the entry points (torans) of several Buddhist monuments, including the stupa of Sanchi, a world heritage site; and b) on royal thrones.





Australia—much like its South Pacific cousins New Zealand and Tasmania—has been the unheralded recipient of more than its fair share curious carcasses. Renowned for its mysterious "Globster" corpses, Australia has also been the temporary home of more than one set of strange, hybrid-like remains, which have washed up on its desolate, rocky shores. One of these numerous oddities seems to be inextricably intertwined with the case of South Africa's notorious 1922 Natal carcass, known to most researchers as "Trunko".


On March 19, 1883, the New Zealand Times reported that primarily skeletal remains of an unknown monster had been discovered on the coast of Queensland, Australia. The carcass was measured to be roughly 40-feet in length and was notable for numerous physical traits, not the least of which was a pair of gigantic hip bones.

This account further stated that the mysterious remains had been removed to Rockhampton, Queensland for further study. The article described what must have been the creature's most distinguishing characteristic, as such:

"There are the remains of what must have been an enormous snout, 8-feet long, in which the respiratory passages are yet traceable."


Modern fortean researchers have noted that the remains could not have been those of a beached whale, because the hip bones of modern cetaceans are only considered by evolutionists to be "vestigial" structures. Even in a 50-foot long sperm whale, these bones are nothing more than detached 12-inch structures.



This fact stands in stark contrast with the comparatively colossal hip bones discovered within the Queensland carcass. This notable fact, combined with the appearance of a trunk-like appendage, have encouraged some researchers to theorize that there may be active colonies of Trunko-type creatures, or "Gambian Sea-Elephants", roaming in the vast seas of the southern hemisphere.

Another interesting note is the fact that this discovery occurred only months before the "Hoade's Monster" catapulted a creature of uncannily similar description into the limelight.


Often sighted off the coast of Gambia, these aquatic "elephants" have been seen by numerous eyewitnesses throughout the East African seaboard. Ostensibly related to the Indian "Makara", there have been numerous researchers who have suggested that this unique species of marine proboscideans is more likely than not responsible for the dramatic events surrounding the infamous 1922, "Trunko" encounter.


It has also been suggested that these creatures may be responsible for carcasses washing up on shores across the globe, two notable examples of this phenomenon being the now famous "Queensland Carcass" and the New York Times-acknowledged "Glacier Island Carcass". Still other researchers have indicated potential connections between these creatures and the "Congolese Water Elephants".




The Congolese jungles have produced yet another quasi-aquatic cryptid (which no doubt was, at one time or another, referred to as Mokele M'bembe). Thought to be a relic species of the thought-to-be-extinct, shovel tusked elephant known as the Platybeledont, this animal has been reported throughout the region which was formerly known as the French Congo.


Much like the Indian "Makara", the east African "Sea-elephant", and the cadres of "Trunko"-like carcasses which have washed up on beaches all over the world, evolutionists theorize that these intriguing pachyderms probably formed their own Darwinian offshoot millions of years ago and—much like the land locked Cetaceans of the era—may have evolved into aquatic mammals. [Of course, there is always the alternative possibility—maintained by legitimate Creation scientists—that these and all similar creatures have existed as they are since the world began.]






On November 26, 1930, the world was stunned by a report that found its way into the New York Times with a headline which read: "Ice Bares Strange Animal." Below the headline a sub-heading continued: "Alaskans Suggest Prehistoric Origin."

According to the accounts—which were printed not only in the prestigious New York Times, but also the New York Sun—the carcass of a huge, fur bearing, reptilian-featured animal had been discovered on Alaska's barren Glacier Island. The creature was described as being as being 42-feet in length, with a 6-foot head, a 20-foot body, and a 16-foot tail.

It was also reported that the carcass was in excellent condition. This was credited to its preservation in this arctic environment. For those who first encountered the cadaver, the consensus was almost unanimous; lying before them, embedded in a block of ice, lay a monster from another age. As quoted from the November 26, New York Times article:

"The theory has been advanced, that the carcass is that of a prehistoric animal or reptile that has been preserved in the upper reaches of the Columbia glacier."


Most Alaskans—as well as many other individuals worldwide—were understandably skeptical regarding these reports. Their skepticism soon dissipated though, when the supervisor of the Chugach National Forest—one W. J. McDonald—assembled a six man team to mount an expedition for the purpose of finding and identifying the carcass.




Upon their arrival at Glacier Island, McDonald was as shocked as anyone to find a corpse, which he described as a being shaped unlike any other creature known to have existed anywhere in the region, said McDonald:

"The (creature) had a long tail and tapering head, much like a dinosaur."


Measurements taken by the McDonald expedition were much more thorough than those previously reported. According to McDonald the head—which he described as being, much like that of an elephant—was just over 59-inches long. The snout, from the center of the forehead to the tip, was 39-inches in length, and the width of the trunk-like appendage was 11-inches at midsection, with a 29-inch circumference.

The widest part of the beast's carcass was 38-inches and the bizarre animal's length was 24 feet, with a 14-foot tail that started at the rib section. McDonald estimated the corpse's weight to be approximately 1,000 pounds and described its flesh as being horse-like.

The description of the creature's "trunk", fur-covered flesh and elephant-like skull, have led many scholars to believe that the animal which McDonald?s team so thoroughly examined was probably the badly decomposed carcass of a Wooly Mammoth.


There are other accounts, however, which emphatically state that the cadaver found on Glacier Island had no discernable head, just a trunk-like appendage jutting out where the head should have been. This account, along with the reports of the beast's hair-covered torso, seem amazingly similar to the descriptions of the so-called Natal carcass, more commonly referred to as "Trunko", as well as the mysterious cases of "Hoade's Monster" and the "Queensland Carcass".

These observations, along with the creature's purportedly "dinosaur-like" tail would seem to rule out the theory espoused by so many modern scholars that the animal was nothing more than a preserved mastodon. It was McDonald's belief that the creature was not indigenous to Glacier Island, but that the animal had become encased in the Columbia glacier and carried off to sea, at which point it was deposited on the Alaskan Island.

Whatever this creature was, it washed back out to sea soon after its discovery, and all scientific interest—much to the shame of zoologists worldwide—vanished along with the carcass.


This fascinating beast is one for the record books. In September of 1883, a native to Adelaide, Australia known only as Mr. Hoade reported that he had found the carcass of a strange animal lying on the banks of Brungle Creek.

Unlike most of the cases chronicled here, this animal was neither serpentine, nor an amorphous, Globster-like blob—In fact, the appearance of this beast was so bizarre that Charles Fort, in his book "Lo!," which was published in 1931, claimed that the creature must have been extra-terrestrial in origin:

"Remains of a strange animal, teleported to this earth from Mars or the moon—very likely or not so likely—(were) found on a bank of a stream in Australia."


Hoade described what he had discovered on Brungle Creek for an article which was printed in the Adelaide Observer, on September 15, 1883. According to Hoade, the animal was approximately 30-feet long, with no apparent head, an elephantine trunk and a curved appendage which resembled the tail of a lobster. There have also been reports of this creature being covered with a coat of dark fur, but these have not been confirmed.


As outlandish as this combination of traits may seem, those who have delved into cryptozoological archives know that Hoade's Monster is just one of many creatures which share these unique attributes.


The Ataka animal has provided us with one of the most fascinating images in the annals of cryptozoology. The now famous photograph showing a tremendous beached animal with two gigantic tusks—set against a backdrop of curious spectators—has intrigued both scientists and fortean researchers alike for over half a century.

The story of this mysterious carcass begins in January of 1950, following a horrific seventy-two hour gale, which ravaged the banks of the Gulf of Suez. On the day after the storm, Egyptian authorities discovered a gargantuan carcass decomposing on the beach. Almost immediately a team of scientists were dispatched to reveal the creature's identity.

Described as being "whale-like" in size, probably the most intriguing aspect of this beast—from a zoological standpoint—were its two, huge, walrus-like tusks, which protruded from either side of its large mouth. The animal also seemed to have a blow hole atop its head, similar in structure to that of more traditional cetaceans.


This has led some researchers to speculate that the animal may have been an unknown species of marine mammal. Some accounts even include eyewitness reports of a large, whale-like creature swimming in the gulf just ten days before the remains washed ashore.

Although experts of the era could not positively identify this animal, it is common practice among modern skeptics to dismiss the creature as nothing more than a deteriorating whale corpse with its lower jaw bones splayed, creating the illusion of tusks. However, those who are willing to take the time and look at the additional evidence are forced to reevaluate that assumption.

It seems both foolish and arrogant to assume that amateur (or professional) marine biologists can ascertain from a single, grainy, black and white photo what top Egyptian scientists were not able to conclude while studying samples of the carcass in question; namely that the Ataka specimen is nothing more than a slightly decayed example of a common whale with its baleen exposed.

When researching this case one must take into consideration the other identifying factors detailed in the photograph, such as the animal's apparent lack of eyes and the row of cilia like appendages circling its maw.

These and other unseen attributes are what likely led those initial scientists away from the more socially acceptable verdict that this creature was just an ordinary whale and forced them to the conclusion that—at least by current zoological standards—the animal in question was simply unidentifiable.

[Cryptozoologist's Note: The "apparent lack of eyes" could result from a) inexperienced observers looking for eyes forward on the carcass, when they would actually be located much farther back and on the side of a baleen whale; b) the real possibility that the eyes and surrounding area had already rotted away. In spite of the aforementioned criticism, the "tusks" do bear a conspicuous resemblance to the lower jaw bones of a baleen whale, while the "row of cilia-like appendages circling its maw" may have been the actual baleen (see accompanying photos.)]



In the decades following the controversial discovery of the Ataka Carcass, numerous other remains have been discovered bearing uncannily similar traits. Finds such as Mexico's "Tecoluta Sea Monster", the "Suwarrow Island Devilfish", and the recent discovery known as the "Mentigi Monster" have all fueled the flames of this ongoing debate.


One of the most publicized cases of an unidentified carcass, comes from March 1969, when an unidentified, 35-ton oddity, was washed up on the sunny shores of Tecoluta, Mexico. Almost instantly the carcass fell into the center ring of an international media circus, and it wasn't long before the academics had their crack at the beast.

Described as being a colossal, serpentine creature—which was covered with huge, jointed, armor-like plates—far and away this animal's most amazing attribute was the 1-ton, 10-foot long, bone tusk, which protruded from the its skull.

Almost immediately rumors began to circulate in the press regarding the prehistoric origins of the entity. Even the scientists on hand—who had initially speculated that the remains may have been those of an unknown species of gigantic narwhal—upon inspection of the corpse were forced to admit publicly that they could not match it with any sea creature known to man.



On April 20, 1969, a seven-man commission of scientists came to the same, tired, skeptical conclusion—one which is always lauded by the scientific establishment—that any carcass that large must be that of a whale.

Curiously ignoring the beast's gigantic horn, these scholars attributed the remains to those of a rorqual whale, also known as the finback whale. Reportedly the seven scientists who populated this commission were not given the same opportunities to examine the carcass as were presented to the initial—and admittedly perplexed—marine scientists, but that fact in no way hindered the public acceptance of their close-minded conclusion.



Over the years fortean investigators have pointed out the striking similarities between the Tecoluta Sea Monster and the "Egyptian Ataka Carcass", as well as the "Mentigi Monster" and the "Suwarrow Island Devilfish".

After making their verdict, the scientists involved insisted that the carcass be immediately interred, as it was rapidly decaying and they felt that science had no further use for it. The Mayor of Tecoluta however, enjoying the vast amount of tourist dollars brought in by this beached attraction, ignored the scientists' suggestion and kept the odiferous beast on the shore until it was, presumably, washed back out to sea.


A more modern account of mysterious remains hails from the mist shrouded shores of Sumatra. This case seemingly fell through the cracks until Indonesian marine enthusiast, Ada Emeralda, brought the story to at least minor global attention in the summer of 2000. Although there aren't many details included in her report, it still serves as an interesting—and recent—addition to this ever growing list.

According to Emeralda, a local news report stated that on May 20, 2000, the carcass of a large, unidentified animal was found on Mentigi beach, which was located approximately 75-miles south of Tanjung Pandan, on Belitung Island of south Sumatra. Described as being over 18-feet in length, the animal's weight was reported as being nearly 3-tons.


Perhaps the carcass's most intriguing features were a pair of tusks, which were said to measure almost 6-feet each. The size of this animal, as well as the tusks, have lead to the inevitable comparisons between the "Mentigi Monster" and its more famous Egyptian cousin the "Ataka Carcass", as well as Mexico's infamous "Tecoluta Sea Monster", and the less renowned native Samoan creature known as the "Suwarrow Island Devilfish."

According to Emeralda's report, the stench emitted by the creature's remains was so intense that natives claimed they could not escape it, even when they retreated to a distance of over 500 yards. Her report further claimed that the animal had been seen frolicking less than a mile off the Sumatran shoreline just ten days before its demise. This lends further credence to the assumption that this carcass is more than just that of a decomposing whale.


Sometime during the 19th century, the English trading steamer known as the Emu, while on her way to Sydney, Australia made a brief stop at the south Pacific atoll known as Suwarrow Island. Once ashore the crew of the Emu were bombarded by the natives' accounts of a huge "devilfish," which had recently been washed ashore on their island.

Intrigued by these claims, members of the Emu's crew, led by her captain, decided to investigate. One Mr. A. H. Bell, who was a member of this expedition, chronicled the crew's search and eventual "discovery" of the so-called devilfish carcass, noting its horrific stench. Upon their triumphant return to the Emu, Bell is quoted as stating:

"We secured as much of it as we could, and we have now on board the first sea-serpent ever brought to Australia or anywhere else."


The carcass, which they found on that isolated atoll, was described as being approximately 60-feet long, brownish in color and covered with hair. The captain estimated that the creature probably weighed approximately 70-tons, and he described the animal's head as like that of a horse.

The creature's skull alone was measured to be over 3-feet in length and was reported as having two tusks at the extremity of its lower jaw. This is a trait that is shared with the famous Egyptian "Ataka Carcass", as well as the lesser known "Mentigi Monster".

The natives further elaborated that when the beast had first washed ashore it still had its seal-like flippers. The captain ordered that the skull be removed and returned to the ship's hold.

After triumphantly returning to Australia with their unique cargo intact, the captain of the Emu presented the find to the Australian Museum. Much debate ensued over the identity of these remains, but it was finally decided—no doubt in the interest of protecting vested reputations—that the skull in question, more likely than not, belonged to a species of beaked whale.









Posted on August 11, 2012 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)



Ever since I was a boy I have been interested in classic short stories and novels about mysterious animals and new species. As a matter of fact, it was just those kind of stories that helped ignite my interest in the study of cryptozoology.

Some time ago, Crystal, one of my MySpace friends, left the following comment on one of my blogs: "Reminds me of a story,The Monster of Lake La Metrie, I read when I was a kid, under the covers, by flashlight and scaring myself to pieces!" It was her comment that inspired me to begin including some of those very stories in my crypto blogs, thereby giving those of you who have never had the opportunity to read them yourselves, a chance to experience the suspense and dread that we did when we were younger.

Note: Some of these early stories may include racial stereotypes and denigrations, which may not be appropriate for younger readers. In those instances, I will try to give you fair notice in advance. For others, I have made an effort to remove any material that might be considered offensive or objectionable.

Here then, for your pleasure and entertainment, may I present...


Valley of the Spiders


H. G. Wells

Towards midday the three pursuers came abruptly round a bend in the torrent bed upon the sight of a very broad and spacious valley. The difficult and winding trench of pebbles along which they had tracked the fugitives for so long expanded to a broad slope, and with a common impulse the three men left the trail, and rode to a low eminence set with olive-dun trees, and there halted, the two others, as became them, a little behind the man with the silver-studded bridle.

For a space they scanned the great expanse below them with eager eyes. It spread remoter and remoter, with only a few clusters of sere thorn bushes here and there, and the dim suggestions of some now waterless ravine to break its desolation of yellow grass. Its purple distances melted at last into the bluish slopes of the further hills—hills it might be of a greener kind—and above them invisibly supported, and seeming indeed to hang in the blue, were the snow-clad summits of mountains—that grew larger and bolder to the north-westward as the sides of the valley drew together. And westward the valley opened until a distant darkness under the sky told where the forests began. But the three men looked neither east nor west, but only steadfastly across the valley.

The gaunt man with the scarred lip was the first to speak. "Nowhere," he said, with a sigh of disappointment in his voice. "But after all, they had a full day's start."

"They don't know we are after them," said the little man on the white horse.

"She would know," said the leader bitterly, as if speaking to himself.

"Even then they can't go fast. They've got no beast but the mule, and all today the girl's foot has been bleeding—"

The man with the silver bridle flashed a quick intensity of rage on him. "Do you think I haven't seen that?" he snarled.

"It helps, anyhow," whispered the little man to himself.

The gaunt man with the scarred lip stared impassively.

"They can't be over the valley, " he said. "If we ride hard—"

He glanced at the white horse and paused.

"Curse all white horses!" said the man with the silver bridle and turned to scan the beast his curse included.

The little man looked down between the melancholy ears of his steed.

"I did my best," he said.

The two others stared again across the valley for a space. The gaunt man passed the back of his hand across the scarred lip.

"Come up!" said the man who owned the silver bridle, suddenly. The little man started and jerked his rein, and the horse hooves of the three made a multitudinous faint pattering upon the withered grass as they turned back towards the trail....

They rode cautiously down the long slope before them, and so came through a waste of prickly twisted bushes and strange dry shapes of horny branches that grew amongst the rocks, into the level below. And there the trail grew faint, for the soil was scanty, and the only herbage was this scorched dead straw that lay upon the ground. Still, by hard scanning, by leaning beside the horse's neck and pausing ever and again, even these white men could contrive to follow after their prey.

There were trodden places, bent and broken blades of the coarse grass, and ever and again the sufficient intimation of a footmark. And once the leader saw a brown smear of blood where the half-caste girl may have trod. And at that under his breath he cursed her for a fool.

The gaunt man checked his leader's tracking, and the little man on the white horse rode behind, a man lost in a dream. They rode one after another, the man with the silver bridle led the way, and they spoke never a word. After a time it came to the little man on the white horse that the world was very still. He started out of his dream. Besides the minute noises of their horses and equipment, the whole great valley kept the brooding quiet of a painted scene.

Before him went his master and his fellow, each intently leaning forward to the left, each impassively moving with the paces of his horse; their shadows went before them—still, noiseless, tapering attendants; and nearer a crouched cool shape was his own. He looked about him. What was it had gone? Then he remembered the reverberation from the banks of the gorge and the perpetual accompaniment of shifting, jostling pebbles. And, moreover—? There was no breeze. That was it! What a vast, still place it was, a monotonous afternoon slumber. And the sky open and blank, except for a somber veil of haze that had gathered in the upper valley.

He straightened his back, fretted with his bridle, puckered his lips to whistle, and simply sighed. He turned in his saddle for a time, and stared at the throat of the mountain gorge out of which they had come. Blank! Blank slopes on either side, with never a sign of a decent beast or tree—much less a man. What a land it was! What a wilderness! He dropped again into his former pose.

It filled him with a momentary pleasure to see a wry stick of purple black flash out into the form of a snake, and vanish amidst the brown. After all, the infernal valley was alive. And then, to rejoice him still more, came a breath across his face, a whisper that came and went, the faintest inclination of a stiff black-antlered bush upon a crest, the first intimations of a possible breeze. Idly he wetted his finger, and held it up.

He pulled up sharply to avoid a collision with the gaunt man, who had stopped at fault upon the trail. Just at that guilty moment he caught his master's eye looking towards him.

For a time he forced an interest in the tracking. Then, as they rode on again, he studied his master's shadow and hat and shoulder appearing and disappearing behind the gaunt man's nearer contours. They had ridden four days out of the very limits of the world into this desolate place, short of water, with nothing but a strip of dried meat under their saddles, over rocks and mountains, where surely none but these fugitives had ever been before—for that!

And all this was for a girl, a mere willful child! And the man had whole cityfuls of people to do his basest bidding—girls, women! Why in the name of passionate folly this one in particular? asked the little man, and scowled at the world, and licked his parched lips with a blackened tongue. It was the way of the master, and that was all he knew. Just because she sought to evade him....

His eye caught a whole row of high-plumed canes bending in unison, and then the tails of silk that hung before his neck flapped and fell.

The breeze was growing stronger. Somehow it took the stiff stillness out of things—and that was well.

"Hullo!" said the gaunt man. All three stopped abruptly.

"What?" asked the master. "What?"

"Over there," said the gaunt man, pointing up the valley.


"Something coming towards us."

And as he spoke a yellow animal crested a rise and came bearing down upon them. It was a big wild dog, coming before the wind, tongue out, at a steady pace, and running with such an intensity of purpose that he did not seem to see the horsemen he approached. He ran with his nose up, following, it was plain, neither scent nor quarry. As he drew nearer the little man felt for his sword. "He's mad," said the gaunt rider.

"Shout!" said the little man and shouted.

The dog came on. Then when the little man's blade was already out, swerved aside and went panting by them and past. The eyes of the little man followed its flight. "There was no foam," he said. For a space the man with the silver-studded bridle stared up the valley. "Oh, come on!" he cried at last. "What does it matter?" and jerked his horse to movement again.

The little man left the insoluble mystery of a dog that fled from nothing but the wind, and lapsed into profound musings on human character. "Come on!" he whispered to himself. "Why should it be even to one man to say 'Come on!' with that stupendous violence of effect. Always, all his life, the man with the silver bridle has been saying that. If I said it—!" thought the little man. But people marvelled when the master was disobeyed even in the wildest things. This half-caste girl seemed to him, seemed to everyone, mad—blasphemous to most. The little man, by way of comparison, reflected on the gaunt rider with the scarred lip, as stalwart as his master, as brave and, indeed, perhaps braver, and yet for him there was obedience, nothing but to give obedience duly and stoutly....

Certain sensations of the hands and knees called the little man back to more immediate things. He became aware of something. He rode up beside his gaunt fellow. "Do you notice the horses? " he said in an undertone.

The gaunt face looked interrogation.

"They don't like this wind," said the little man, and dropped behind as the man with the silver bridle turned upon him.

"It's all right," said the gaunt-faced man.

They rode on again for a space in silence. The foremost two rode downcast upon the trail, the hindmost man watched the haze that crept down the vastness of the valley, nearer and nearer, and noted how the wind grew in strength moment by moment. Far away on the left he saw a line of dark bulks—wild hog perhaps, galloping down the valley, but of that he said nothing, nor did he remark again upon the uneasiness of the horses.

And then he saw first one and then a second great white ball, a great shining white ball like a gigantic head of thistledown, that drove before the wind athwart the path. These balls soared high in the air, and dropped and rose again and caught for a moment, and hurried on and passed, but at the sight of them the restlessness of the horses increased.

Then presently he saw that more of these drifting globes—and then soon very many more—were hurrying towards him down the valley.

They became aware of a squealing. Athwart the path a huge boar rushed, turning his head but for one instant to glance at them, and then hurtling on down the valley again. And at that, all three stopped and sat in their saddles, staring into the thickening haze that was coming upon them.

"If it were not for this thistledown—" began the leader.

But now a big globe came drifting past within a score of yards of them. It was really not an even sphere at all, but a vast, soft, ragged, filmy thing, a sheet gathered by the corners, an aerial jellyfish, as it were, but rolling over and over as it advanced, and trailing long, cobwebby threads and streamers that floated in its wake.

"It isn't thistledown," said the little man.

"I don't like the stuff," said the gaunt man.

And they looked at one another.

"Curse it!" cried the leader. "The air's full of it up there. If it keeps on at this pace long, it will stop us altogether."

An instinctive feeling, such as lines out a herd of deer at the approach of some ambiguous thing, prompted them to turn their horses to the wind, ride forwards for a few paces, and stare at that advancing multitude of floating masses. They came on before the wind with a sort of smooth swiftness, rising and falling noiselessly, sinking to earth, rebounding high, soaring—all with a perfect unanimity, with a still, deliberate assurance.

Right and left of the horsemen the pioneers of this strange army passed. At one that rolled along the ground, breaking shapelessly and trailing out reluctantly into long grappling ribbons and bands, all three horses began to shy and dance. The master was seized with a sudden, unreasonable impatience. He cursed the drifting globes roundly. "Get on!" he cried; "get on! What do these things matter? How can they matter? Back to the trail!" He fell swearing at his horse and sawed the bit across its mouth.

He shouted aloud with rage. "I will follow that trail, I tell you," he cried. "Where is the trail!"

He gripped the bridle of his prancing horse and searched amidst the grass. A long and clinging thread fell across his face, a gray streamer dropped about his bridle arm, some big, active thing with many legs ran down the hack of his head. He looked up to discover one of those gray masses anchored as it were above him by these things and flapping out ends as a sail flaps when a boat comes about—but noiselessly.

He had an impression of many eyes, of a dense crew of squat bodies, of long, many-jointed limbs hauling at their mooring ropes to bring the thing down upon him. For a space he stared up, reining in his prancing horse with the instinct born of years of horsemanship. Then the flat of a sword smote his back, and a blade flashed overhead and cut the drifting balloon of spider web free, and the whole mass lifted softly and drove clear and away.

"Spiders!" cried the voice of the gaunt man. "The things are full of big spiders! Look, my lord!"

The man with the silver bridle still followed the mass that drove away.

"Look, my lord!"

The master found himself staring down at a red smashed thing on the ground that, in spite of partial obliteration, could still wriggle unavailing legs. Then when the gaunt man pointed to another mass that bore down upon them, he drew his sword hastily. Up the valley now it was like a fog bank torn to rags. He tried to grasp the situation.

"Ride for it!" the little man was shouting. "Ride for it down the valley."

What happened then was like the confusion of a battle. The man with the silver bridle saw the little man go past him slashing furiously at imaginary cobwebs, saw him cannon into the horse of the gaunt man and hurl it and its rider to earth. His own horse went a dozen paces before he could rein it in. Then he looked up to avoid imaginary dangers, and then back again to see a horse rolling on the ground, the gaunt man standing and slashing over it at a rent and fluttering mass of gray that streamed and wrapped about them both. And thick and fast as thistledown on waste land on a windy day in July, the cobweb masses were coming on.

The little man had dismounted, but he dared not release his horse. He was endeavoring to lug the struggling brute back with the strength of one arm, while with the other he slashed aimlessly. The tentacles of a second gray mass had entangled themselves with the struggle, and this second gray mass came to its moorings, and slowly sank.

The master set his teeth, gripped his bridle, lowered his head and spurred his horse forward. The horse on the ground rolled over, there was blood and moving shapes upon the flanks, and the gaunt man suddenly leaving it, ran forward towards his master, perhaps ten paces. His legs were swathed and encumbered with gray; he made ineffectual movements with his sword. Gray streamers waved from him; there was a thin veil of gray across his face. With his left hand he beat at something on his body, and suddenly he stumbled and fell. He struggled to rise, and fell again, and suddenly, horribly, began to howl, "Oh—ohoo, ohooh!"


The master could see the great spiders upon him, and others upon the ground. As he strove to force his horse nearer to this gesticulating screaming gray object that struggled up and down, there came a clatter of hooves, and the little man, in act of mounting, swordless, balanced on his belly athwart the white horse, and clutching its mane, whirled past. And again a clinging thread of gray gossamer swept across the master's face. All about him and over him, it seemed this drifting, noiseless cobweb circled and drew nearer him....

To the day of his death he never knew just how the event of that moment happened. Did he, indeed, turn his horse, or did it really of its own accord stampede after its fellow? Suffice it that in another second he was galloping full tilt down the valley with his sword whirling furiously overhead. And all about him on the quickening breeze, the spiders' airships, their air bundles and air sheets, seemed to him to hurry in a conscious pursuit.

Clatter, clatter, thud, thud—the man with the silver bridle rode, heedless of his direction, with his fearful face looking up now right, now left, and his sword arm ready to slash. And a few hundred yards ahead of him, with a tail of torn cobweb trailing behind him, rode the little man on the white horse, still but imperfectly in the saddle. The reeds bent before them, the wind blew fresh and strong, over his shoulder the master could see the webs hurrying to overtake....

He was so intent to escape the spiders' webs that only as his horse gathered together for a leap did he realize the ravine ahead. And then realized it only to misunderstand and interfere. He was leaning forward on his horse's neck and sat up and back all too late.

But if in his excitement he had failed to leap, at any rate he had not forgotten how to fall. He was horseman again in mid-air. He came off clear with a mere bruise upon his shoulder, and his horse rolled, kicking spasmodic legs, and lay still. But the master's sword drove its point into the hard soil, and snapped clean across, as though Chance refused him any longer as her Knight, and the splintered end missed his face by an inch or so.

He was on his feet in a moment, breathlessly scanning the onrushing spider webs. For a moment he was minded to run, and then thought of the ravine, and turned back. He ran aside once to dodge one drifting terror, and then he was swiftly clambering down the precipitous sides, hid out of the touch of the gale.

There under the lee of the dry torrent's steeper banks he might crouch, and watch these strange, gray masses pass and pass in safety till the wind fell, and it became possible to escape. And there for a long time he crouched, watching the strange, gray, ragged masses trail their streamers across his narrowed sky.

Once a stray spider fell into the ravine close beside him—a full foot it measured from leg to leg, and its body was half a man's hand—and after he had watched its monstrous alacrity of search and escape for a little while, and tempted it to bite his broken sword, he lifted up his iron heeled boot and smashed it into a pulp. He swore as he did so, and for a time sought up and down for another.


Then presently, when he was surer these spider swarms could not drop into the ravine, he found a place where he could sit down, and sat and fell into deep thought and began after his manner to gnaw his knuckles and bite his nails. And from this he was moved by the coming of the man with the white horse.

He heard him long before he saw him, as a clattering of hooves, stumbling footsteps, and a reassuring voice. Then the little man appeared, a rueful figure, still with a tail of white cobweb trailing behind him. They approached each other without speaking, without salutation. The little man was fatigued and shamed to the pitch of hopeless bitterness, and came to a stop at last, face to face with his seated master. The latter winced a little under his dependent's eye. "Well?" he said at last, with no pretense of authority.

"You left him!"

"My horse bolted."

"I know. So did mine."

He laughed at his master mirthlessly.

"I say my horse bolted," said the man who once had a silver-studded bridle.

"Cowards both," said the little man.

The other gnawed his knuckle through some meditative moments, with his eyes on his inferior.

"Don't call me a coward," he said at length.

"You are a coward like myself."

"A coward possibly. There is a limit beyond which every man must fear. That I have learnt at last. But not like yourself. That is where the difference comes in."

"I never could have dreamt you would have left him. He saved your life two minutes before.... Why are you our lord?"

The master gnawed his knuckles again, and his countenance was dark.

"No man calls me a coward," he said. "No.... A broken sword is better than none.... One spavined white horse cannot be expected to carry two men a four days' journey. I hate white horses, but this time it cannot be helped. You begin to understand me?... I perceive that you are minded, on the strength of what you have seen and fancy, to taint my reputation. It is men of your sort who unmake kings. Besides which—I never liked you."

"My lord!" said the little man.

"No," said the master. "No!"

He stood up sharply as the little man moved. For a minute perhaps they faced one another. Overhead the spiders' balls went driving.

There was a quick movement among the pebbles; a running of feet a cry of despair, a gasp and a blow....

Towards nightfall the wind fell. The sun set in a calm serenity and the man who had once possessed the silver bridle came at last very cautiously and by an easy slope out of the ravine again; but now he led the white horse that once belonged to the little man. He would have gone back to his horse to get his silver-mounted bridle again but he feared night and a quickening breeze might still find him in the valley, and besides he disliked greatly to think he might discover his horse all swathed in cobwebs and perhaps unpleasantly eaten.

And as he thought of those cobwebs and of all the dangers he had been through and the manner in which he had been preserved that day, his hand sought a little reliquary that hung about his neck and he clasped it for a moment with heartfelt gratitude. As he did so his eyes went across the valley.

"I was hot with passion," he said, "and now she has met her reward. They also no doubt—"

And behold! Far away out of the wooded slopes across the valley, but in the clearness of the sunset distinct and unmistakable, he saw a little spire of smoke.

At that his expression of serene resignation changed to an amazed anger. Smoke? He turned the head of the white horse about and hesitated. And as he did so a little rustle of air went through the grass about him. Far away upon some reeds swayed a tattered sheet of gray. He looked at the cobwebs; he looked at the smoke.

"Perhaps after all it is not them," he said at last. But he knew better.

After he had stared at the smoke for some time, he mounted the white horse.

As he rode he picked his way amidst stranded masses of web. For some reason there were many dead spiders on the ground, and those that lived feasted guiltily on their fellow. At the sound of his horse's hooves they fled.

Their time had passed. From the ground without either a wind to carry them or a winding sheet ready these things, for all their poison, could do him no evil.

He flicked with his belt at those he fancied came too near. Once where a number ran together over a bare place, he was minded to dismount and trample them with his boots, but this impulse he overcame. Ever and again he turned in his saddle, and looked back at the smoke.

"Spiders," he muttered over and over again. "Spiders! Well, well.... The next time I must spin a web."





Posted on August 9, 2012 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)



First posted on March 4, 2010

Researched, Compiled, Edited, and Illustrated

By R. Merrill


December 29, 2009—Many Chinese tourist attractions secretly operate as fronts for illegal tiger farming, butchering captive tigers for their parts, National Geographic magazine reports in the January 2010 story "Asia's Wildlife Trade."


On the eve of 2010—the Year of the Tiger in Chinese astrology—the big cats remained highly coveted. A dead adult male can sell for U.S. $10,000 or more on the black market. Tiger bones and penises are often used in traditional medicines, and some restaurants serve tiger meat, including, a recent DNA test suggests, the restaurant at Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Park, according to a National Geographic magazine article.

At the Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Park in Guillin, China, some of the park's 1,300 tigers and 400 bears perform in daily shows.

The park was lobbying to ease regulations on China's then 16-year-old ban in trading tiger parts—which would be to their benefit. Xiongsen owns a nearby distillery that produces tiger-bone wine, called the chicken soup of Chinese medicine.


But conservationists fear that any form of legal tiger trade would further endanger the fewer than 4,000 tigers that still roam free, the magazine reported. For instance, just as legalizing ivory sales has not helped to slow illegal poaching of elephants, legalizing tiger products may only increase demand for tiger parts—both wild and farmed, conservationists say.

A collection of medicines claiming to contain wild animal parts was acquired in Malaysia by the wildlife trade monitoring organization TRAFFIC. Mostly of Chinese origin, the products are made mainly of tigers but also of antelope, pangolins, and other species.


Exotic animal parts are also symbols of status and prosperity. Until 2005, Tibetan ceremonial robes, or chubas, were trimmed with snow leopard or otter fur, for example. And in China the rise of the middle class means that shark-fin soup, seen as a delicacy, is now being consumed by the masses, conservationists say.


Wildlife trafficking has thrived thanks to a loophole in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which allows the trade of captive animals, experts say. Many smugglers have established fake breeding facilities, where poached wild animals and plants are captive bred.

More than 13 million live animals from protected species were legally exported from Southeast Asia between 2000 and 2007, most of them going to the United States. However, legal trade dwarfs the profitable illicit market that operates in its shadow.



Posted on August 9, 2012 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)


First posted August 22, 2009

Tigers are from India and Siberia. But these two were raised in America and brought to Africa as part of an experiment. Ostriches can reach speeds of 40 mph and experts thought that only cheetahs would be able to catch them. As this video proves, tigers can too!


Posted on August 1, 2012 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Originally Posted 2007


By R. Merrill

The accompanying photos were taken by my son, Ron, around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, November 21 at Pickle Springs Natural Area in St. Genevieve County, Missouri. Ron went to Pickle Springs specifically to look for evidence of Missouri Bigfoot and to provide photographic proof that this natural area is capable of supporting such creatures. (For an earlier report on the possible existence of Bigfoot at Pickle Springs, see my previous posting "Missouri Mystery Cat and Possible Bigfoot".) Most of the following photos were taken along the "Trail Through Time".


The Slot - Deep natural rock passage. The perspective here is misleading. The overhang on the right is high enough for a tall man to stand erect beneath it.


Twisted Sapling - This 4" diameter sapling was twisted and broken with no readily apparent evidence as to the cause (i.e., tornado, larger tree falling against it, etc.).


Spirit Canyon - Down in the canyon itself.


Entrance to Spirit Canyon - Given its name by the Native Americans.


View from the Bluff - The landscape lends itself well to providing the seclusion required by a reclusive animal.


Natural Caves - Naturally-occurring caves such as these provide ready-made shelter. Notice the uncanny resemblance of this outcropping to a skull or the head of an ape. No wonder the native Americans believed this area was haunted!


Natural Spring - A continuous source of fresh water is a must for any animal.


Photo credits Ronald Merrill © 2007


Posted on July 25, 2012 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)


First Posted on December 9, 2007; Updated July 2012


Researched, Compiled, Edited and Illustrated

By R. Merrill


Excerpts from:

Within the imagination, we conjure wonder and mystery as well as expectations of hope, terror, affection and fear. For many people, the wolf is a chimerical creature that stalks the imagination—a shape-shifter that lurks through one mind in the guise of a demon or as a saint in the mind of another.

"There's never been a documented case of a healthy, wild wolf killing a human in North America." If we received two bits for every time we've heard this overstated statement, we could buy all those North American wolves filet mignon. Nevertheless, we feel compelled to say it too, at least twice during the course of a Wild Sentry program.

Unfortunately, the "no healthy, wild wolf" sound byte is often misstated with the word "killing" replaced by "attacking". This is not true. Wild wolves have attacked humans in North America. That's why we always add, "This doesn't mean that wolves have absolutely never killed a human or that they never will. After all, humans never cut a deal with wolves to leave us alone." So how much danger do wolves pose to people? Should we steer clear of dark forests inhabited by wolves? Are the reasons given for aggressive wolves more an apologia than an explanation? Is it reasonable to think that wolves will eventually kill a human?

Before reviewing recent wolf attacks in North America, it should be noted that, outside of North America, wolves have killed humans. Tales about massive wolf packs devastating caravans of Russian troikas (as in Willa Cather's My Antonia) are undoubtedly fiction. During their brief reign of terror in France from 1764 to 1767, the infamous Beasts of Gervaudan (sic) killed at least sixty-four people—but it's been well established that these animals were hybrids not wolves. Most of the deaths blamed on wolves in southern and central Europe and in central Asia are attributable to hybrids or rabid wolves.

(Cryptozoologist's Note: It is the height of modern-day arrogance to dismiss the stories of wolf attacks on caravans of Russian troikas as "undoubtedly fiction". Additionally, my own research does not support the assertion that "it's been well established that [the Beast(s) of Gévaudan] were hybrids, not wolves". I believe it has been established beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Beast of Gévaudan was actually a pet hyena raised by the very man who later shot it and took credit for killing the "monster.")

However, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, from March to October 1996 and March to April 1997, a wolf or wolves killed or injured as many as seventy-four Indian children, almost all of them under the age of ten. The deaths occurred among children playing or relieving themselves on the outskirts of small villages. There were also reports of a wolf entering huts, though it sounds as if no children were harmed.

Recent Attacks in North America

Clarence Lindley was reportedly attacked by a 125-pound timber wolf. The incident occurred in early November, 1992 on the Figure 4 Ranch in Dunn County, North Dakota. Lindley was hunting horseback when the wolf attacked Lindley's horse causing it to jump and fall. Lindley was able to grab his saddle gun, a lever action Winchester 94, as the horse fell. The horse recovered its balance and Lindley found himself face to face with a snarling wolf. "My heart was pounding," said Lindley, "I could see those big teeth. He was less than five feet away... He meant business; he wasn't going to back off." Lindley fired his rifle at point blank range and killed the wolf with a shot to the neck. Lindley left the wolf since he couldn't get his horse close to it. On return to his hunting camp, his hunter friends failed to believe the account. They returned to the scene and skinned the wolf. The pelt was a flawless black and gray pelt measuring seven and a half feet from its feet to its snout. Its bottom teeth measured one and a half inches; top teeth—one and a quarter inches. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDGF) confiscated the hide and head of the wolf and took it to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for determination of its species. Tests revealed that the wolf was non-rabid. The wolf was thought to have come from Canada. (Reports on file and available upon request.)

In Ontario, Canada where thousands of people visit Algonquin Provincial Park—and many of them come to see or hear wolves—five people have been bitten in the past twelve years. During August 1996, a wolf dragged 12-year-old Zachariah Delventhal from his sleeping bag. This particular wolf, prior to attacking Zachariah, had entered campsites and taken things such as a backpack, tennis shoe and other human items. As we've been in contact with the Delventhal family, we can let Zachariah describe what happened. He wrote the following in November 1996:

"The scariest night of my life… was the last night of a terrific 10-day camping trip at Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. We were exhausted and wanted to get out the next morning quickly so we decided to sleep under the stars. I remember dreaming that me, my mom, and my dad were walking through the woods. Then I felt pressure on my head and the woods started flying past. I awoke and still felt the pressure, but there was a new feeling of pain. I screamed, immediately the pressure released and the pain lessened. I opened my eyes—nothing but dark forest. I had been dragged six feet and I knew it was an animal mouth that did it. I yelled, 'Something bit me!' My mother came and held my sleeping bag to my face. Then my dad got up and started yelling. I got scared as he disappeared into the underbrush but he came back. I asked, 'What was it?' Then came two terrifying words, 'A wolf.' I immediately started to pull away from where I was dragged, I freaked. It was so scary and confusing at the same time. I didn't want to get eaten by such a strong animal. As for confusing, think about this—I had been told wolves don't attack people and here I was practically killed by one. My list of wounds is extensive. I had over 80 stitches to close the many cuts, my nose was broken in five places, I am missing a piece of my ear, my gums, and my tearduct and cheekbone were punctured. After all this, don't be scared to go in the woods, don't think of wolves as killers. The chances of getting attacked are so slim; I can't get a hold of the fact that I was attacked. My parents were wrong when they said wolves don't attack people, but wolves almost never do."


Two years later, on September 25, 1998, another Algonquin wolf circled a little girl and, despite blasts of pepper spray, didn't leave until the child entered a trailer. Two days after that, a nineteen-month-old boy sat playing in the middle of camp, with his parents twenty feet away. The father thought he saw a dog emerge from the brush. He turned away for a moment and when he looked back, he saw his son in the jaws of a wolf. The wolf held the boy for a moment and then tossed him three feet. A local newspaper quoted the parents, "It wasn't hit and run. He hit him [the infant] and then it was wait and see. He [the wolf] circled the picnic table a number of times before he was scared off enough to leave." The infant received two stitches for minor injuries.

On April 26, 2000, a six and nine year old boy cut down small trees as they played at being loggers on the outskirts of a logging camp near Yakutat in southeastern Alaska. Upon seeing a wolf, the children fled. The wolf took down six-year-old John Stenglein and bit him on the back, legs and buttocks. A neighbor's golden retriever rushed to the rescue, but the wolf drove the dog back and then set upon John again. The boy's cries brought adults who drove the wolf away. John received seven stitches and five surgical closure staples.

During the evening of July 1, 2000, on the shores of Vargas Island, British Columbia, a wolf entered the campsite of a kayaking group. They chased the wolf away. Members of the group also spotted another wolf that apparently hung back from the bolder wolf. At 2 a.m., 23-year-old Scott Langevin awoke with a small dark wolf tugging on his sleeping bag. "I yelled to try to spook it off, and I kicked at it," Scott said. "It backed up a bit, but then it just lunged on top of me, and it started biting away through my sleeping bag."

He rolled in an effort to situate the fire between him and the wolf, but the animal jumped on his back and bit him about the head. The noise woke his friends and they drove the wolf away. The wounds to Scott's head required 50 stitches.

In all of the previous incidents, the offending wolves were killed. Autopsies indicated healthy animals. Why did These Attacks Happen?

In a wolf journal, the headline to an article about the Uttar Pradesh deaths read "Child Lifting in India". Child Lifting doesn't sound very serious—it diverted my thoughts from what actually happened and evoked visions of gleefully tossing a child up and down or a weight training program that utilized children instead of barbells. The headline struck me as ethnocentric or, at the very least, as an attempt to explain away or gloss over wolf behavior that doesn't fit in with a Never Cry Wolf vision of the animal.

We do wolves a disservice if we strive to mold them into saints of the wild. However, reasons exist that may help us understand why the wolf (or wolves) killed children in India. The following is a list of factors wildlife biologists think contributed to circumstances that resulted in the deaths of the children:

1. Human density of 1,500 per square mile and livestock (goats, sheep and pigs) density of 950 per square mile;

2. Scarce prey for wolves;

3. Three-times more unescorted children than livestock;

4. Outdoor toilets on outskirts of village;

5. A government compensation program that pays 5,000 rupees ($125—an amount that exceeds India's average annual per capita income) for children killed by animals;

6. Victims all from very poor families;

7. And, probably the most important factor, as evidenced by their entering huts, wolves that are habituated to humans.


Habituation and food conditioning play major roles with the wolf attacks in Algonquin Provincial Park. The wolf that attacked Zachariah had frequented campsites and taken human items, it had clearly lost a fear of humans. Some wolf biologists felt that the wolf might have been interested only in the sleeping bag. This could have been the case to begin with—however, such an explanation falters at the point the wolf took Zachariah's head in its mouth. As wolf biologists Pat Tucker and Diane Boyd pointed out, "Wolves olfactory senses are beyond our imagining. Only a scent-impaired wolf would fail to differentiate between a sleeping bag from a human." Initially, the wolf may have been attracted by the sleeping bag and, grabbing for it, mistakenly got a hold of Zachariah and, instead of running away, decided to see what happened next. This seems to be a case of habituation giving rise to experimentation.

There have been other reasons provided to explain the aggressiveness displayed by Algonquin wolves.

1) The release of captive wolves and hybrids in the park and;

2) The offspring of released hybrids and wild wolves.


In both cases, the animals would be less timid of humans. However, in light of autopsies that revealed no evidence of hybridization or a life in captivity, such explanations end up sounding more like a means of covering for wild wolves.

Like humans, wolves possess character traits that shape them into shy, bold, dominant, submissive, extroverted or introverted individuals. The word bold, when attributed to a wolf, sounds synonymous with aggressive, but that's not necessarily the case. Think of a bold wolf as an open-minded wolf. A bold wolf could be a subdominant animal forced to strike out on its own or a wolf with a genetic make-up that made it less timid or more curious.

The main point here is that such a wolf would be inclined to experiment and, if rewarded with food procured from scavenging or direct feeding, it would grow habituated to humans and associate us with food. Once a wolf became food-habituated it could continue experimenting, pushing limits in search of new rewards. Such an animal could prove a threat to humans.

Some people believe that aggressive wolves result because humans no longer pose the threat we used to—their reasoning goes something like this, "If we killed wolves, they'd learn to be scared of us." Such reasoning, while not entirely errant, isn't necessarily correct either... Aggressive wolves may have begun as bold wolves but not all bold wolves are aggressive (bold and aggressive are not synonymous). Besides, poisoning, trapping, and the indiscriminate killing of wolves doesn't exactly target the problem. True, there wouldn't be any more aggressive wolves because there wouldn't BE anymore wolves, and therefore the problem would cease to exist, but it'd be kind of like cutting off your head to clear up acne.

Habituation and experimentation also seem to account for the Alaskan and Vargas Island wolf attacks. The Alaskan wolf had hung around camps for up to two years, been fed, and was clearly habituated to people as it had shown fearless behavior in the past. John Carnes, a University of Idaho biologist (with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources), who had collared the wolf, felt that the dog could have been viewed as a competitor. But it's crucial to remember that the wolf commenced an attack on the boy, and after driving the dog back, it returned to the boy. Carnes pointed out an interesting fact, "The wolf bared its teeth and growled at the boys before attacking. This is more important than people realize. Wolves typically do not show aggressive behavior towards prey, usually only toward other wolves or dogs." He concluded "that this was a habituated wolf that was showing dominance/territorial behavior… the key factor is that the wolf was habituated to people."


As for the wolf that attacked kayaker, Scott Langevin—following the attack, numerous people reported that the wolves were being fed. Dan Dwyer, the Senior Conservation Officer for BC Environment said that there's been an escalating problem with campers feeding wolves. Wolves on Vargas Island, which is a popular kayak destination, were regularly visiting campsites and investigating fire pits. Again, a food-conditioned, habituated animal… behavior that may have started with experimentation and led to pushing the limits too far.



Here are some of the reasons cited by biologists why wolves don't kill us:

1) We stand on two legs, the animals wolves prey on don't. (This reason doesn't stand on its own two legs in light of the humans killed in India.) Additionally, the wolves that used to inhabit Japan preyed heavily on monkeys (another primate that spends time on two legs).

2) Bears can stand on two legs and wolves generally avoid bears. Well maybe, generally… but, wolves have been observed harassing grizzly bears feeding on carcasses, some wolves have learned to prey on bear cubs and in another instance, young wolves paraded in-line behind a grizzly.

3) Our favorite theory is that humans simply don't taste good (probably due to all those additives).


The real question in regards to wolves killing people in North America isn't 'why' but 'when'—eventually it's bound to happen (and since this printing, already has!) The number of humans continues to expand and wildlife habitat continues to shrink. Add to that, people who, believing wolves will sense their love and reciprocate, head into the woods hoping to lure their "spirit animal" closer with a sandwich. And then there are slobs who leave food and garbage where bold wolves will be rewarded for overcoming their inhibition of humans.


Educating our communities about the beauty and importance of wolves is not enough. We must take responsibility for the pressure we are putting on them AND accept that when a creature's environment is altered, behavior will change. We are concerned that all the hype on "wonderful and wild wolves" lulls us into the belief that we are safe with them. It is our hope that wolves will flourish in the wilds of the world. But with the anti-wolf sentiment that already exists, other attacks will surely convince people that wolves need to be done away with."

This essay is not meant to reinforce age-old fears of the wolf. The threat from wolves is inconsequential compared to other dangers we unflinchingly face every day. But wolves need to be treated like wild animals because, after all, that's what they are. If something is wild, you don't feed it, try to get close, or expect it to return your warm fuzzy feelings. If you truly respect wildness, you honor it by leaving it alone. When in the company of wolves, accord them the care, caution, and respect that you would extend to a bear or mountain lion or any other wild animal:


1) Don't feed them;

2) Clean campsites and fire rings of foodscraps;

3) Avoid intruding on den or rendezvous sites;

4) Deposit trash in animal-proof containers (at home and when camping);

5) If a wolf wanders into your campsite, scare it away (you'll only be doing it a favor).

6) Get a grip on your imagination.

For many people, the wolf is a construct of their imagination. Those who fear the wolf have conjured up a beast of death and desolation, a villain that should be killed before it kills us. This perception hasn't served wolves well. But the naïve perception of the wolf as a noble shepherd who eats only sick, weak mice doesn't serve wolves well either. When something is elevated upon a pedestal, there is only one way it can go from there—down. The portrayal of wolves as noble, beneficent animals places an unfair expectation on them, an expectation they can only fail to live up to. Many a saint has become a martyr at the hands of those who once adored him. When a North American wild wolf kills a human, as inevitably will happen, those who vilify wolves will feel all the more justified demanding their extermination, while those who sanctified wolves will stand bewildered, stunned, and gasping, "That wasn't suppose to happen. I thought that no healthy wild wolf has ever…"

With that said, bear in mind that the threat of wolves to humans is so nominal, it shouldn't even be a bleep on your radar screen. But your relative safety in the presence of wolves doesn't mean they like us. Wolves don't care if they're your "totem animal". They don't care, much less know, about their bad-guy portrayal in Little Red Riding Hood. The perception of wolves as rapacious villains or a golden race reveals more about the beholder than it does about the creature of flesh and blood. Wolves are intelligent, social, adaptive, wild animals with character traits that vary from individual to individual. Have our lives grown so complacent, sterile and safe that we're compelled to conjure demons and saints instead of baring our senses to what stands before us. True mystery and wonder is revealed to those who open their eyes, it is comprised of earth's elements not the vaporous, phantasmagoric whirling of imagination.



7/30/07 by Jim Beers, retired FWS biologist. HERE for KBC Wolf Page.

On November 8, 2005 Kenton Carnegie a 22 year-old college student from Ontario was working at a mine in northern Saskatchewan when he went for a walk. Hours later his body was found at the edge of a lake in snow covered with wolf tracks. He had been chased and knocked down several times before he was killed and worse.

Note the date November 2005. I am writing this in late July 2007. The Canadian and Saskatchewan governments have yet to issue a finding about the cause of death and the swirl of hidden agendas, academic disingenuousness, and bureaucratic gamesmanship rivals (if such is possible) anything seen in the context of environmental and animal rights falderal in the United States. Trying to analyze the situation is especially difficult for me since I am not a Canadian and, even were this going on in the United States, any attempt to examine it would be subject to vilification and hyperbole.

My reluctance to stick my nose in here evaporated last night as I watched several of the Discovery Channel propaganda features presented under the rubric "Shark Week". First there was the "documentary" on the shark attacks on the crew of the USS Indianapolis. The hubris involved in calling it the "worst shark attack in history", when thousands of ships have disappeared throughout history and undoubtedly untold numbers of sailors and fishermen that went into the water were killed by sharks never to be seen again, was astounding. The "experts" that commented were, without exception, people with a basic opinion that sharks are, for a variety of reasons, to be protected and studied at all times. The bottom line from the University of Florida "expert" was that very few of the sailors were killed by sharks and we are all just victims of having watched "Jaws". The similarities to the propagandizing of wolf behavior were overwhelming.

Then there were the photos of sharks coming out of the water with seals in their jaws. Never a word about the explosion of this shark food (seals) for 35 years and its certain increase in shark health and numbers as a result. This was interspersed with all sorts of technological descriptions of shark bites. Always those interviewed, including some victims that lived, expressed admiration for sharks and opposition to any "retribution" or killing of sharks. No one advocates "retribution" or killing all sharks but does that mean there can be NO DISCUSSION of managing the numbers and distribution of sharks considering factors like human activities and fishery resources?


The real issues are unmentioned in all the smoke and mirrors being passed off as a comprehensive look at sharks. For instance, should beaches or waters where deadly sharks congregate periodically be opened to swimmers or surfers? Should sharks be discouraged (that means everything from finding some means of scattering them to killing a certain number of them) from using areas where humans are in the water routinely? What impact are sharks having on reduced or healthy fish stocks? Should we be managing shark species' numbers and distributions in ways that protect human safety and allow fisheries to recover and increase? What is the primary role of government (both in the US and under UN policies) vis a vis human safety, fishery management, local economies, and species preservation and sharks? What is the impact of exploding Pinniped (seals, et al) and expanding Cetacean (whales et al) populations (i.e. shark food) on shark numbers and distribution? How should shark numbers be managed? Who advocates shark management and why are they never heard from? There are more such questions but you get the point. Be it shark attacks or wolf attacks or bear attacks, the publicity is the same: man is the culprit and no matter how many or what the impact of these animals on men and their communities, management of men and not the offending animals is "the answer".

As I watched this propaganda I could not get the savage killing of Kenton Carnegie by wolves and the ongoing cover-up out of my mind. The differences in manipulating information and government duplicity in the US and Canada, like the shark pseudo-biology and wolf misinformation about how benign these harmful and deadly creatures are, as the old German saying goes, "machts nichts". This means the differences are "of no consequence" or "not important". So let's look at the Kenton Carnegie affair and learn what we all can.


November 8, 2005, Kenton Carnegie, a 3rd year Engineering student from the University of Waterloo, goes for a walk when he gets off work at a mine in N. Saskatchewan. His remains are found several hours later in the snow on the edge of a frozen lake. There are wolf tracks all around. According to those who found him:

"He walked from the camp. About a kilometre away, on the edge of a frozen lake, a wolf appeared, following Carnegie's footsteps through the snow, said Rosalie Tsannie, the province's coroner for the north, who was called to the scene and arranged for Carnegie's body to be removed.


Carnegie died close to the trees, less than a mile from the camp.


Carnegie must have become aware of it—the snow pattern showed he quickened his pace.

There were other wolves on the way. One or two more moved in from the side, as the first wolf tracked him from behind, Tsannie said. "I believe he saw this wolf behind him.

"That's when he thought he would have been in trouble and started running. And just shortly after that, about seven feet from there or less, the first scuffle happened, and there's about five [sites of scuffles] that led to the point where the men had discovered his body."


The searchers who went looking for Carnegie read the signs in the snow. They found footprints and then wolf tracks that told a story about Carnegie's final struggle.


They say he fought hard, that he was knocked down and the animals drew blood but he kept getting up. Finally, the animals took him down and he could no longer get to his feet. It was getting dark when searchers found his remains, about a kilometre from the camp. The wolves were still there, close to the body, so the men retreated and called the RCMP."

Since that date (20 months after the killing):

-The government hired a wolf "conservationist" and "protectionist" to handle the investigation. Like the shark "experts" he will never have met a critter that should be killed or a population that needed to be controlled. Such "experts" are really only "expert" at blaming people for what they are actually responsible for by excusing and obfuscating animal facts, the danger from animals, and animal behavior.

- The government "investigator" has blamed a black bear. (Note that the attack took place in snow in November in N. Saskatchewan where most bears begin hibernating in September. He maintains that a bear killed Kenton and then wolves arrived and covered up the bear tracks. I'll bet his dog ate his homework when he was a kid too.)

Jim Beers

30 July 2007

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Centreville, Virginia with his wife of many decades.


Hunter Becomes The Hunted In Idaho Wolf Attack

Author: Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter , [email protected]

Published On: Oct 12 2011 05:58:35 AM PDT Updated On: Oct 12 2011 06:58:57 AM PDT

PIERCE, Idaho - A North Idaho grandmother considers herself lucky to be alive after she was able to shoot and kill a wolf as it tried to attack her on a recent hunting trip.

The wolf snuck up on Rene Anderson late last month near Headquarters, Idaho about 125 miles southeast of Spokane.

Anderson has a wolf tag but was actually trying to bag an elk that day back in September. She was using a cow call to try and lure in whatever bulls were in the area but was actually ringing the dinner bell for something else.

"Well I had just made it to the top of the ridge and I was checking the wind to make sure I wasn't going to give myself away," she said.

Anderson is an experienced hunter who's not afraid of being in the woods alone, but while she was hunting for elk she realized a 100-pound wolf was hunting her.

"It was coming down pretty fast towards me; it was kind of nerve racking. I laid my bow on the ground and I thought this thing seriously wants to eat me," she said.


Anderson knew just how much danger she was in because just six days before, wolves had killed three of her best friend's hunting dogs.

"The first dog I found was Ruby," hunter Shane Richards said. "They didn't try to kill her by getting her by the throat like they say predators do. They just went in and started tearing her guts out, eating her alive."


After dropping her bow she unholstered her .44 Magnum and opened fire.

"So it popped up over there, like ten feet from where I was and I shot it and I hit it in the head," Anderson said.


Wolf sightings have now become common place in north central Idaho and people living in these rural logging towns are getting more and more worried about the safety of their pets and families.

"And you see a lot of women now, because of this, packing their pistols while taking their kids for walks. You can't leave your kids at bus stops, you've got to watch them every minute," Anderson said.


The wolf Anderson shot that day is one of 30 killed by hunters in Idaho so far this year.

While environmentalists worry a wolf population that's still recovering in some areas can't withstand that kind of hit, if you were to ask the residents in Clearwater County, they'd tell you 30 dead wolves is still not enough.





March 13, 2010 | By Kim Murphy

Villagers in Chignik Lake on the Alaska Peninsula take precautions after the first known fatal wolf attack in U.S. in modern times.


Reporting from Seattle — Hunters were combing the snowy brush around Chignik Lake, Alaska, on Friday in an attempt to hunt down up to four wolves that killed a 32-year-old special education teacher in the first known fatal wolf attack in the U.S. in modern times.

But the wolves were elusive, and villagers were hoping that state game officials would send in a helicopter to help track the animals, Village Council President Johnny Lind said.

"They've been looking and scouting around, and the wolves are definitely still around, but they're smart, and they take off before you can get close to them," Lind said.


Candice Berner, a special education teacher who traveled among several rural schools on the Alaska Peninsula, 475 miles southwest of Anchorage, was attacked while jogging and listening to her iPod Monday evening on the deserted, 3-mile-long road that leads out from the village to its small airstrip.


A native of Slippery Rock, Pa., she had been working in Alaska only since August. Her body was found by snowmobilers a short time after the attack. It had been dragged off the road and partially eaten, and was surrounded by wolf prints.

"Our investigation points to wolves being the most likely culprit. It is the only predatory animal that is active in the area that we're aware of, and we also believe the wolves have been increasingly threatening to people in the area," said Megan Peters, spokeswoman for the Alaska State Troopers. "They've been getting too close, circling, making people fearful for their safety."


Christi Aleck, another resident of the village, said that while there are always wolves in the area, three to four have been lingering unusually close over the past week or so and have been sighted again since the attack.

"They come in at nighttime, not very far from the village, and they're just kind of watching," she said. "They're waiting for somebody else to go out again, I guess."

She said villagers are driving their children to school and keeping them indoors during recess.

"People are scared. Oh yeah, they're scared," she said. "Nobody's walking around anywhere. I mean, wolves have always hung around in the wintertime, but they've never attacked anyone."


The only known previous fatal wolf attack in North America over the last 100 years occurred in 2005, when a young geology student was attacked and partially eaten by a pack of wolves in northern Saskatchewan.

In at least two other cases, there were attacks—in Alaska and again in Saskatchewan—that were halted by rescuers before they became fatal.

"What the research shows is that in the last 10 or 20 years, as wolves have kind of re-colonized areas where they were extirpated around the turn of the 20th century, and as people have also developed more habits of going out into national parks and wilderness areas, we've had more aggressive encounters," said Mark McNay, a retired Alaskan wildlife biologist who has studied wolf attacks.

Wildlife attacks in Alaska are relatively common. "Certainly we have bear maulings, we have people bitten by wolves, we have people that are stomped by moose," Peters said. "Having an incident where a human and animal cross paths and it doesn't end well, that's normal. But we don't have any other case on hand that we're aware of where someone was actually killed by a wolf."

Peters said state troopers had ruled out the possibility that Berner had died from any other cause and was later dragged away by wolves.


Two wolves were killed Monday night, one week after a special education teacher was attacked and killed by wolves while she was jogging.

The wolves match the description of the animals seen near the site where 32-year-old Candice Berner's body was found in the town of Chignik Lake, according to an email from Jennifer Yuhas, spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. An autopsy confirmed Berner was killed by wolves. The medical examiner reported there were animal bite marks on Berner's throat. Berner's partially eaten body was found after search teams on snowmobiles followed a trail of blood.

Fish and Game employees shot the wolves in an aerial response effort. One wolf was a lighter color than the other, and one wolf appeared to be in better shape than the other. The wolves were killed in the Chignik drainage.

No fresh wolf tracks have been reported near town, and ground efforts by local hunters were unsuccessful on Monday because of the rough terrain and the weather. Fish and Game employees will continue hunting, Yuhas said.


Follow the link below for a list of known fatal wolf attacks worldwide by century in reverse chronological order. Attacks which occurred in the 21st century are listed by decade.
















Posted on July 25, 2012 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)


First Posted on December 9, 2007; Updated July 2012


Researched, Compiled, Edited and Illustrated

By R. Merrill

"I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world." - Margaret Mead


According to Animal Planet's program Most Extreme: Monster Myths, "There has never been a documented case of a healthy wild wolf killing a human in North America."

I am so sick and tired of this kind of fallacy being foisted on a gullible public by well-meaning but misguided (or deliberately deceitful) nature lovers, either out of ignorance or for hidden agendas. Such erroneous beliefs are exactly what brought about the death of Timothy Treadwell, the so-called "Grizzly Man."




So in the interest of "adding to the sum of accurate information in the world" regarding the real history of wolves and man in North America, I am posting the following admittedly abridged articles.

As far as my personal opinion on the issue of wolves is concerned, I think the following quotes summarize my feelings best:

"This essay is not meant to reinforce age-old fears of the wolf. The threat from wolves is inconsequential compared to other dangers we unflinchingly face every day. But wolves need to be treated like wild animals because, after all, that's what they are. If something is wild, you don't feed it, try to get close, or expect it to return your warm fuzzy feelings. If you truly respect wildness, you honor it by leaving it alone. When in the company of wolves, accord them the care, caution, and respect that you would extend to a bear or mountain lion or any other wild animal"


"For many people, the wolf is a construct of their imagination. Those who fear the wolf have conjured up a beast of death and desolation, a villain that should be killed before it kills us. This perception hasn't served wolves well. But the naïve perception of the wolf as a noble shepherd who eats only sick, weak mice doesn't serve wolves well either. When something is elevated upon a pedestal, there is only one way it can go from there—down. The portrayal of wolves as noble, beneficent animals places an unfair expectation on them, an expectation they can only fail to live up to. Many a saint has become a martyr at the hands of those who once adored him. When a North American wild wolf kills a human, as inevitably will happen, those who vilify wolves will feel all the more justified demanding their extermination, while those who sanctified wolves will stand bewildered, stunned, and gasping, 'That wasn't suppose to happen. I thought that no healthy wild wolf has ever…'"



By T. R. Mader, Research Division

It has been widely discussed whether a healthy wild wolf has ever attacked a human on this continent. In fact, many say such attacks have never occurred in North America.

History states otherwise. Although attacks on humans are uncommon, they have occurred on this continent, both in the early years of settlement and more recently. Here is one report:

"NEW ROCKFORD, DAK, March 7 - The news has just reached here that a father and son, living several miles northeast of this city, were destroyed by wolves yesterday. The two unfortunate men started to a haystack some ten rods from the house to shovel a path around the stack when they were surrounded by wolves and literally eaten alive. The horror-stricken mother was standing at the window with a babe in her arms, a spectator to the terrible death of her husband and son, but was unable to aid them. After they had devoured every flesh from the bones of the men, the denizens of the forest attacked the house, but retired to the hills in a short time. Investigation found nothing but the bones of the husband and son. The family name was Olson. Wolves are more numerous and dangerous now than ever before known in North Dakota." (Saint Paul Daily Globe, March 8, 1888)


Here an account is reported which included an eyewitness and the family name. Some have reasoned the wolves were rabid. That is unlikely as these animals were functioning as a pack. A rabid wolf is a loner. Our research has never found a single historical account of packs of rabid wolves on this continent. Individual animals are the norm. Further, accounts of rabid (hydrophobic) animals were common in that day and were reported as such.

The winters of 1886-1888 were very harsh. Many western ranchers went broke during these years. The harsh winter could have been a factor in the attack.


Noted naturalists documented wolf attacks on humans. John James Audubon, of whom the Audubon Society is named, reported an attack involving two black men. He records that the men were traveling through a part of Kentucky near the Ohio border in winter. Due to the wild animals in the area the men carried axes on their shoulders as a precaution. While traveling through a heavily forested area, they were attacked by a pack of wolves. Using their axes, they attempted to fight off the wolves. Both men were knocked to the ground and severely wounded. One man was killed. The other dropped his axe and escaped up a tree. There he spent the night. The next morning the man climbed down from the tree. The bones of his friend lay scattered on the snow. Three wolves lay dead. He gathered up the axes and returned home with the news of the event. This incident occurred about 1830. (Audubon, J.J., and Bachman, J.; The Quadrupeds of North America, 3 volumes. New York, 1851 - 1854)

George Bird Grinnell investigated several reported wolf attacks on humans. He dismissed many reports for lack of evidence. Grinnell did verify one attack.

This occurrence was in northwestern Colorado. An eighteen-year-old girl went out at dusk to bring in some milk cows. She saw a gray wolf on a hill as she went out for the cows. She shouted at the wolf to scare it away and it did not move. She then threw a stone at it to frighten it away. The animal snarled at her shouting and attacked her when she threw the stone at it. The wolf grabbed the girl by the shoulder, threw her to the ground and bit her severely on the arms and legs. She screamed and her brother, who was nearby and armed with a gun, responded to the scene of the attack and killed the wolf. The wolf was a healthy young animal, barely full grown. Grinnell met this girl and examined her. She carried several scars from the attack. This attack occurred in summer about 1881. (Grinnell, G.B.; Trail and Campfire - Wolves and Wolf Nature, New York, 1897)

In 1942, Michael Dusiak, section foreman for the Canadian Pacific Railway, was attacked by a wolf while patrolling a section of track on a speeder (small 4-wheeled open railroad car). Dusiak relates, "It happened so fast and as it was still very dark, I thought an engine had hit me first. After getting up from out of the snow very quickly, I saw the wolf which was about fifty feet away from me and it was coming towards me, I grabbed the two axes (tools on the speeder), one in each hand and hit the wolf as he jumped at me right in the belly and in doing so lost one axe. Then the wolf started to circle me and got so close to me at times that I hit him with the head of the axe and it was only the wielding of the axe that kept him from me. All this time he was growling and gnashing his teeth. Then he would stop circling me and jump at me and I would hit him with the head of the axe. This happened five times and he kept edging me closer to the woods which was about 70 feet away. We fought this way for about fifteen minutes and I fought to stay out in the open close to the track. I hit him quite often as he came at me very fast and quick and I was trying to hit him a solid blow in the head for I knew if once he got me down it would be my finish. Then in the course of the fight he got me over onto the north side of the track and we fought there for about another ten minutes. Then a west bound train came along travelling about thirty miles an hour and stopped about half a train length west of us and backed up to where we were fighting. The engineer, fireman and brakeman came off the engine armed with picks and other tools, and killed the wolf."


It should be noted that this wolf was skinned and inspected by an Investigator Crichton, a Conservation Officer. His assessment was that the animal was a young healthy wolf in good condition although it appeared lean. ("A Record of Timber Wolf Attacking a Man," Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 28, No. 3, August 1947)

Common Man Institute, in cooperation with Abundant Wildlife Society of North America, has done extensive research on wolves and their history for several years. We have gathered evidence on wolf attacks which occurred in North America.

A forester employed by the Province of British Colombia was checking some timber for possible harvest in the 1980s. He was met by a small pack of three wolves. The forester yelled at the wolves to frighten them away. Instead, the wolves came towards him in a threatening manner and he was forced to retreat and climb a nearby tree for safety. The wolves remained at the base of the tree. The forester had a portable radio, but was unable to contact his base, due to distance, until evening. When the call for help came in, two Conservation Officers with the Ministry of Environment were flown to the area by floatplane to rescue the treed forester.

When the Conservation Officers arrived, the forester was still in the tree and one wolf, the apparent leader of the pack, was still at the base of the tree. The officers, armed with shotguns, shot at the wolf and missed. The wolf ran for cover and then started circling and howling near the two officers. After a couple missed shots, the wolf was finally shot and killed.

The wolf tested negative for rabies. It appeared healthy in every respect, but was very lean. The Conservation Officers felt the attack was caused by hunger. (Taped Interviews and a photo of the wolf on file at Abundant Wildlife Society of North America.)

This is but one example from British Colombia. Wolves overran Vancouver Island in the 1980s. Attacks became so common that articles were published in Canadian magazines documenting such attacks. (Copies available upon request.)


Wolf Attacks on humans have occurred in national parks, too. In August 1987, a sixteen-year-old girl was bitten by a wild wolf in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. The girl was camping in the park with a youth group and shined a flashlight at the wolf. The wolf reacted to the light by biting the girl on the arm. That bite was not hard and due to the thick sweater and sweatshirt the girl was wearing, she sustained two scratch marks on her arm. The wolf was shot by Natural Resources personnel and tested negative for rabies. (Interview with Ron Tozer, Park Naturalist for Algonquin Provincial Park, 7/25/88.)


Well-known wolf biologist Dr. David Mech took issue with this attack stating it couldn't really be considered an authentic attack since the girl wasn't injured more severely. It was exactly nine years later when such an attack would take place.

Algonquin Provincial Park is one of several areas where people are encouraged to "howl" at the wolves in hopes of a response from the wild wolves in the area. In August, 1996, the Delventhal family of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were spending a nine-day family vacation in Algonquin and joined a group of Scouts in "howling" at the wolves. They were answered by the howl of a solitary wolf.

That night the Delventhals decided to sleep out under the stars. Young Zachariah was dreaming when he suddenly felt excruciating pain in his face. A lone wolf had bit him in the face and was dragging him from his sleeping bag. Zach screamed and Tracy, Zach's Mother, raced to his side and picked him up, saturating her thermal shirt with blood from Zach's wounds.

The wolf stood menacingly less than a yard away. Tracy yelled at her husband, Thom, who leapt from his sleeping bag and charged the wolf. The wolf retreated and then charged at Tracy and Zach. The charges were repeated. Finally the wolf left. Thom turned a flashlight on 11-year-old Zach and gasped "Oh, my God!" "The boy's face had been ripped open. His nose was crushed. Parts of his mouth and right cheek were torn and dangling. Blood gushed from puncture wounds below his eyes, and the lower part of his right ear was missing." Zach was taken to a hospital in Toronto where a plastic surgeon performed four hours of reconstructive surgery. Zach received more than 80 stitches in his face.

Canadian officials baited the Delventhals' campsite and captured and destroyed a 60-lb wild male wolf. No further attacks have occurred since. (Cook, Kathy; "Night of the Wolf" Reader's Digest, July 1997, pp. 114-119.)

Humans have been attacked by wolves in Alaska. The late David Tobuk carried scars on his face from a wolf attack on him as a small child. The incident occurred around the turn of the century in interior Alaska. David was playing in his village near a river. An old wolf came into the village and bit David in the face and started to carry him off. Other Eskimos saw the wolf dragging the child off and started yelling and screaming. The wolf dropped the child and was shot by an old Eskimo trapper who had a gun. (Interview with Frank Tobuk, brother, Bettles, Alaska, December 1988.)


Paul Tritt, an Athabascan Indian, was attacked by a lone wolf while working a trap line. Paul was setting a snare, looked up and saw a wolf lunging at him. He threw his arm up in front of his face and it was bitten severely by the wolf. A struggle ensued. Tritt was able to get to his sled, grab a gun and kill the wolf. Nathaniel Frank, a companion, helped Tritt wash the wound with warm water. Frank took Tritt, via dog sled, to Fort Yukon to see a doctor. The arm healed, but Tritt never regained full use of it. Several years later, the arm developed problems and had to be amputated. (Interview 1988)

Two wolf attacks on humans occurred in 2000.

Icy Bay, Alaska - Six-year-old John Stenglein and a nine-year-old friend were playing outside his family's trailer at a logging camp when a wild wolf came out of the woods towards the boys. The boys ran and the wolf attacked young Stenglein from the back, biting him on the back and buttocks. Adults, hearing the boy's screams, came and chased the wolf away. The wolf returned a few moments later and was shot. According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) officials, the wolf was a healthy wild wolf that apparently attacked without provocation. The boy was flown to Yakutat and recieved stitches there for his wounds. Later, however, the bites became infected and the boy had to be hospitalized. (Reports and Interviews on file and available upon request.)

Vargas Island, British Colombia - University student, Scott Langevin, 23, was on a kayak trip with friends. They camped out on a beach and, about 1 AM, Langevin awoke with something pulling on his sleeping bag. He looked out and came face to face with a wild wolf. Langevin yelled at the wolf and it attacked, biting him on the hand. Langevin attempted to force the wolf toward a nearby campfire, but as he turned, the wolf jumped on his back and started biting him on the back of his head. Friends, hearing his yells, came to his aid and scared the wolf away. Fifty (50) stitches were required to close the wound on Langevin's head. British Colombia Ministry of Enviroment officials speculate the reason for the attack was due to the wolves occasionally being fed by humans although there was no evidence that Langevin or any of his party fed these animals. (Reports and Interviews on file and available upon request.)

Biologists tell us that the wolves of Asia and North America are one and the same species. Wolf attacks are common in many parts of Asia.

The government of India reported more than 100 deaths attributable to wolves in one year during the eighties. (Associated Press, 1985) This author recalls a news report in 1990 in which Iran reported deaths from attacks by wolves.

Rashid Jamsheed, a U.S. trained biologist, was the game director for Iran. He wrote a book entitled "Big Game Animals of Iran (Persia)." In it he made several references to wolf attacks on humans. Jamsheed says that for a millennia people have reported wolves attacking and killing humans. In winter, when starving wolves grow bold, they have been known to enter towns and kill people in daylight on the streets. Apparently, in Iran, there are many cases of wolves running off with small children. There is also a story of a mounted and armed policeman (gendarme) being followed by 3 wolves. In time he had to get off his horse to attend to nature's call, leaving his rifle in the scabbard. A later reconstruction at the scene of the gnawed bones and wolf tracks indicated that the horse had bolted and left the man defenseless, whereupon he was killed and eaten.

A Russian Linguist, Will Graves, provided our organization with reports of wolves killing Russian people in many areas of that country. Reports indicate some of the wolves were diseased while others appeared healthy. (Reports on file and available upon request.)

Reports have also come from rural China. The official Zinhua News Agency reported that a peasant woman, Wu Jing, snatched her two daughters from the jaws of a wolf and wrestled with the animal until rescuers arrived. Wu slashed at the wolf with a sickle and it dropped one daughter, but grabbed her sister. It was then Wu wrestled with the animal until herdsmen came and drove the beast away. This incident occurred near Shenyang City, about 380 miles northeast of Beijing. (Chronicle Features, 1992)

The question arises: "Why so many attacks in Asia and so few in North America?"

Two factors must be considered:

The Philosophy of Conservation - Our forefathers always believed that they had the right and obligation to protect their livelihoods. Considerable distance was necessary between man and wolf for the wolf to survive.

Firearms - Inexpensive, efficient weapons gave man the upper hand in the protection of his livelihood and for the taking of wolves.

Milton P. Skinner in his book, The Yellowstone Nature Book (published 1924) wrote, "Most of the stories we hear of the ferocity of these animals... come from Europe. There, they are dangerous because they do not fear man, since they are seldom hunted except by the lords of the manor. In America, the wolves are the same kind, but they have found to their bitter cost that practically every man and boy carries a rifle..."

Skinner was correct. The areas of Asia where wolf attacks occur on humans are the same areas where the people have no firearms or other effective means of predator control.

But ... "Biologists claim there are no documented cases of healthy wild wolves attacking humans."

What they really mean is there are no "documented" cases by their criteria which excludes historical accounts. Here's an example.

Rabid wolves were a frightening experience in the early years due to their size and the seriousness of being bit, especially before a vaccine was developed. The bitten subject usually died a slow, miserable death. There are numerous accounts of rabid wolves and their activities. Early Army forts have medical records of rabid wolves coming into the posts and biting several people before being killed. Most of the people bitten died slow, horrible deaths. Additionally, early historical writings relate personal accounts. This author recalls one historical account telling of a man being tied to a tree and left to die because of his violent behavior with rabies after being bitten by a wolf. Such deaths left profound impressions on eyewitnesses of those events.

Dr. David Mech, USFWS wolf biologist, states there are no "documented" cases of rabid wolves below the fifty seventh latitude north (near Whitehorse, Yukon Territory). When asked what "documented" meant, he stated, "The head of the wolf must be removed, sent to a lab for testing and found to be rabid."

Those requirements for documentation negate all historical records!


As with rabid wolves, the biologist can say, "There are no 'documented' cases of wild healthy wolves attacking humans." In order to be "documented" these unreasonable criteria must be met:

1. The wolf has to be killed, examined and found to be healthy.

2. It must be proven that the wolf was never kept in captivity in its entire life.

3. There must be eyewitnesses to the attack.

4. The person must die from their wounds (bites are generally not considered attacks according to the biologists).


That is a "documented" attack.

Such criteria make it very difficult to document any historical account of a wolf attack on a human!

Biologists assume when a wolf attacks a human, that there must be something wrong with the wolf. It's either been in captivity or it's sick or whatever. They don't examine the evidence in an unbiased manner or use historical tests.

Historically, there are four reasons for wolf attacks on humans:

1. Disease such as rabies.

2. Extreme hunger.

3. Familiarity/Disposition - This is an either/or situation. Familiarity is the zoo setting, captive wolves, etc. Disposition is a particularly aggressive wolf which may not fear man as most wolves do.

4. In the heat of the chase and kill - This is where a hiker, trapper or whoever disturbs a fresh chase and kill by wolves. The person walks into the scene only to be attacked by the wolves.


It is our belief that a predator's fear of man is both instinctive and learned behavior. For example, wolves raised as pets or in zoos are well documented to attack and kill humans.

Alyshia Berzyck, of Minnesota, was attacked and killed by a wolf on a chain on June 3, 1989. The wolf tore up her kidney, liver and bit a hole through her aorta. One month later, on July 1, 1989, Peter Lemke, 5, lost 12 inches of his intestine and colon and suffered bites to his stomach, neck, legs, arms and back in another wolf attack in Kenyon, Minnesota. (Reports on file and available upon request.)

Zoos carry abundant records of wolf attacks on people, particularly children. The child climbs the enclosure fence to pet the "dog" and is attacked.

Zoos and domestic settings are unnatural in that they place man and wolf in close proximity and they become accustomed to each other. Consequently attacks occur.

Today predator control is very restricted in scope, and as a result, attacks on humans by predators are becoming more common. In recent years, healthy coyotes in Yellowstone Park have attacked humans. Similar attacks have occurred in the National Parks of Canada.

On January 14, 1991, a healthy mountain lion attacked and killed an eighteen-year-old high school senior, Scott Lancaster, in Idaho Springs, Colorado. The boy was jogging on a jogging path within the city limits of the town when the lion attacked and killed him. (Report on file at Abundant Wildlife Society of North America)

Permission granted to disseminate and/or reprint if credit is given to the source.


Comox Valley, British Colombia – 1986 - While driving a tractor, Jakob Knopp was followed by three wolves to his barn. They didn't leave, but kept snarling and showing their teeth. Knopp ran to his barn, retreived a rifle and had to shoot two of the three wolves before the third left the area.

George Williams, a retired sailor heard a commotion in his chicken coup one night. Thinking it was raccoons he took his single shot 22 rifle and headed for the coup. He rounded his fishing boat and trailer when a wolf leaped at him. He instinctively reacted with a snap shot with the rifle and dropped the wolf. A second wolf came at him before he could reload and George swung the rifle and struck the wolf across the head, stunning it. George retreated to the house until morning and found the wolf he had shot, the other was gone.

Clarence Lewis was picking berries on a logging road about a mile from Knopp's farm when he faced four wolves. Lewis yelled at them, two left and the other two advanced towards him. He took a branch and took a couple of threatening steps at them. They went into the brush but stayed close to him. Lewis faced the wolves and walked backward for two miles until he reached his car.

Don Hamilton, Conservation Officer at Nanaimo went to investigate a livestock killing by wolves. Wolves had killed a number of sheep in a pasture and Don went out to examine the kills. He came upon the scene and saw a large gray wolf feeding on one of the sheep. The wolf looked at him, growled and started running towards him at full speed. The wolf was over 100 yards away and never broke stride as it approached Don. At approximately 15 feet, Don shot the wolf to stop its attack. Don, who has many years experience with wolves, stated that he was convinced that the wolf was going to attack him because of its growling, snarling and aggressive behavior.




In 1947, a man was hunting cougar on Vancouver Island and was attacked by a pack of seven wolves. The man backed against a tree and shot the leader of the pack. The pack instantly tore the animal to shreds while the hunter made his escape.


Gilman, Wisconsin is located in northwestern Wisconsin near the intersection on Wisconsin State Highways 64 and 73. It is a village with 436 population and is bordered on the east by the Miller Dan flowage, Perkinstown Winter Sports Area, and the Chequemagon National Forest and on the north by the Pershing Wildlife Area and the Big Rock Game Farm and Hunting Preserve. Gilman has a web page: which explains all of these things in detail.


Future plans for PAW include acquiring a state of art slide projector for its talks. In competitive presentations with USFWS and DNR bureaucrats these people have this equipment supplied by the taxpayers. Also as the PAW movement grows there will be booths at the major sports shows at Milwaukee, Mlps, Chicago, etc to get the PAW word out.

The last wolf of the Gilman area—before they again came back in 1980 because of wolf restoration of the so-called endangered wolf—was killed in 1950 by Cecil Wry 5 miles east of Gilman. This wolf was a problem to many people of the area and was named "The Thing". It was a problem wolf much like Rusty, the Custer Wolf, Three Toes, the Phantom and others told about in The Last of the Loners by Stanley Young. It had a huge track and wolf hounds would turn back when they got near it. It would run the roads and attack people's cattle and dogs. This led people to think that maybe it was a wild German Shepherd. The people were worried about their children who waited for the school bus in the darkness. Among "The Thing's" exploits was going into a shed through a window and carrying back out a dead calf and feeding on it. He crushed the skull and fed on the brain. It all ended when "The Thing" attacked Cecil Wry's dog and was killed with buckshot. "The Thing" turned out to be a 98 pound male timber wolf. His mount is now at one of the homes in the area and his picture appears above and below.


Some of the older residents of Gilman recall the wolves of the 1930s. There was so much howling that kids were afraid to go to sleep at night. Losses of livestock were very common. A Bill Polley of Gilman had the misfortune of getting caught in a bear trap. He was not able to get free and the wolves killed and ate him.



Of course it is very unlikely that any of the present Wisconsin wolves will reach this size. The Federal Wolf Management Plan of 1992 documents that the majority of wolves tested in the Wis, Mich and Minn area are found to be coyote-wolf hybrids. It is no wonder that most of them do not get to 80 pounds. These wolves are not real wolves and do not deserve being called an endangered species. It is no wonder that these "wolves" are being mistaken for coyotes.


Recovery Plan for the Eastern Timber Wolf, Revised 1992. Prepared by the USFWS, Region 3, Twin Cities, MN






WOLF ATTACKS ON HUMANS (Domestic Incidents)

In the 1970s, John Harris, a Californian, toured the nation with "tame" wolves to promote public sympathy for preserving wolves. In July, 1975, "Rocky," one of Harris' wolves, attacked a one-year-old girl by biting her in the face. The girl was brought close to the wolf for a picture, an action encouraged by Harris.

In Maryland, a man kept a wolf in his basement and this animal turned and savagely bit and clawed his two-year-old son.

In New York City, a wolf bit a woman as it approached her.

At a zoo in Idaho, a little girl walked up to a cage housing a wolf and reached through the bars to pet the wolf. The wolf bit the arm. The arm had to be amputated.

Mr. Edward Rucciuti, former curator of publications for the New York Zoological Society and author of Killer Animals, personally witnessed a 12-year-old boy savagely attacked in the Bronx Zoo. This boy climbed a high fence in order to pet the wolves. The wolves (a male and 2 females) immediately attacked the boy, ripping at the boy's clothing and flesh. The boy instinctively curled up in a ball, protecting his head, chest and abdomen. He then crawled into the moat in front of the exhibit with the wolves chewing his back and legs. Once the boy made it to the water, the wolves ceased their attack. The boy crawled out of the moat and collapsed. Mr. Rucciuti was amazed that the boy was still alive due to the severity of the bites.

San Diego Zoo (1971) A 15-year-old boy climbed the fence and tried to take a shortcut across the exhibit. He didn't know there were wolves in the exhibit and tried to run when he saw them. The wolves grabbed him by the leg attempting to drag him off. The boy grabbed a tree and hung on. Two bystanders jumped in the enclosure and attacked the wolves with tree branches. The wolves did not attack the two men, but continued to maul the boy. Dragging the boy and swinging their clubs, the men pulled the boy out of the enclosure. The wolves in the enclosure were all young animals and it was thought that if the animals were mature, the boy would have died before being rescued.

A few months after the attack on the boy (6), a man scaled the fence and swung his arms in the exhibit to get the attention of the wolves and got it by being bitten severely on both arms.

1973 - Another boy tried to cross the same compound and was attacked, a security guard shot and killed one of the wolves, and the other fled as the boy was pulled to safety.

1975 - Small zoo in Worcester, Massachusetts, a two-year-old lad was savagely bitten on the leg when he slipped through an enclosure opening. The boy's mother and 2 men could not pull the boy free. The wolves did not stop ripping the boy's leg apart until a railroad tie was thrown in the midst of the wolves.

1978 -- A wolf bit a child in Story, Wyoming. The wolf was penned at a local veterinary clinic for observation. During that time, the wolf escaped its pen and killed a young calf. Wyoming law prohibits the keeping of wild animals as pets, so the animal was shipped to Ohio, where it had come from. The owner of the wolf went to Ohio and brought the wolf back to Wheatland, Wyoming. It was reported the wolf attacked and killed a child in that area shortly thereafter.

September, 1981 - A two-year-old boy was mauled to death by an 80-lb, 3 year-old female wolf in Ft. Wayne, Michigan. The boy wandered within the chain length of the wolf.

August 2, 1986 (Fergus Falls, Minnesota) - A 17-month-old boy reached and grabbed the fencing which kept his father's pet wolves enclosed. One wolf immediately grabbed the boy's hand and bit it off. The mother was at the scene and received lacerations freeing the child from the wolf.

July 1988 (Minnesota Zoo) - A teenage volunteer reached through the wire fence to pet a wolf and was bitten. The wolf was put to sleep and tested for rabies—negative.

May 15, 1989 - 2-year-old Timothy Bajinski was bitten by a wolf hybrid in his mother's Staten Island, New York backyard. Mrs. Bajinski was charged with keeping a wild animal.

May 1989 - Lucas Wilken was bitten by two wolf hybrids in Adams County, CO (Denver Area).

June 3, 1989 - Three year old Alyshia Berczyk was attacked and killed by a wolf in Forest Lake, Minnesota. The wolf had bitten her severely and had injured her kidneys, liver and bit through her aorta. Alyshia was playing in a backyard when she got too close to the chained wolf that grabbed her dress and pulled her down, attacking her.

July 1, 1989 (Kenyon, Minnesota) - Peter Lemke, age 5, attempted to pet a chained wolf and was attacked. He lost 12 inches of his intestine and colon, suffered a tear in his stomach, and bite wounds on his arms, legs, buttocks and neck. While being life-flighted to the hospital, Pete arrested 3 times but was saved by medical personnel. The Lemkes incurred over $200,000 in hospital bills. Pete had a colostomy bag, but doctors were hopeful they could re-attach his colon and get it to function normally in later surgeries.

September 3, 1989 - A wolf and a dog entered a corral belonging to Leona Geppfart of Caldwell, ID and attacked a 6-month-old 400-pound Hereford calf. Geppfart attempted to scare the animals away, but they turned on her and she retreated to her house. A short time later, a law enforcement officer arrived, and as he approached the corral, the wolf lunged at him. The officer stopped the animal with his shotgun.

NOTE: This list of wolf attacks is by no means exhaustive. They are simply listed to show that attacks have occurred both in the wild and other settings.

About the Author: T. R. Mader is Research Director of Abundant Wildlife Society of North America, an independent research organization. Mader has researched wolf history for more than 15 years and has traveled over 30,000 miles conducting research and interviews on environmental issues.

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