The Cryptozoologist



Posted on September 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM



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.








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