A new neighbour has moved in. A man long thought dead has returned. Livestock are missing. There are noises in the night. People are afraid to go into out after dark and sightings of a giant hound, or maybe a big cat are on the increase once again.
Suddenly it seems to Ben that what he took to be the tall tales of his grandfather may be more than just stories. It seems that something is stirring in the forests and the mountains around Bryn Boncath. It seems that ancient history is repeating and this time round Ben has an important part to play.
Unbelievable is a dark masterpiece that weaves strands of Welsh legend, modern murder mystery and horror with a dash of crytozoology that wonders: What if seeing isn’t always believing, but believing will allow you to see?
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The National Wildlife Conservation Park is to be built on the outskirts of Bristol on a 136 acre site and is scheduled to open in 2012. It will feature a total of 12 exhibit areas, some of them inside or under cover, one reportd exhibit is "the Central American Swamp where visitors will walk through lush vegetation and around pools to catch a glimpse of the manatee, a spectacular aquatic mammal never before seen in a UK zoo." Other areas include Congo Tropical Forest, Sumatra Rainforest, and Indian Ocean Coral Reef and it hoped to have bonobos, okapis, Sumatran tigers, giraffes, zebra, orang-utans, Livingstone's fruit bats, gibbons, bears, wolves, cheetahs, black rhino and black tip reef sharks amongst other exotic animals. "In the Sumatra Rainforest exhibit (open in 2012) visitors will be able to step across a chasm caused by a seismic shift, listen to a troop of gibbons calling to each other as they swing through the trees, get close to Sumatran tigers via a transparent tiger tunnel and visit the exhibit's ranger station, built in the style of a Sumatran stilted longhouse, to find out about the Park's conservation project in Sumatra via video links." Another of these areas is British Ancient Woodland which will recreate a lost habitat of ancient Britain boasting once-native species such as brown bears, lynxes and wolves. "This exhibit is set within the Park's existing ancient woodland - home to native trees such as oak, birch, ash and beech as well as flowering plants such as bluebells, snowdrops, orchids, wild garlic, foxgloves and ferns. Visitors will be able to walk along a screened boardwalk in the woods to see these woodland animals at close quarters. At a later phase lynx and wolverine will be added to the exhibit."That sounds of interest.
[Note - looking more closely at the website although news reports in March 2008 mentioned a Manatee exhibit there is nothing on the site. Have the manatee been cancelled?]
Besides this I am increasingly inclined to think the Pembroke beast can hardly be a Manatee as I indicated before and is more likely to be a seal. Besides the fact it is too far to swim and too cold for Manatees in British waters there is another point as the reported creature is amphibious it can hardly be a manatee they spend their lives in the water.
Monday, August 18, 2008
In 2003, my wife Patricia and I participated in a BBC TV documentary after something large and mysterious appeared in the sea near Pembroke Dock in Wales. We interviewed several reliable eyewitnesses, and then went looking for the beast with skipper Alun Lewis aboard his Cleddau King – an ideal boat for the job, equipped with the latest electronic gear. But whatever had been seen in the dock had fled before we got there.A search was undertaken using a fishing vessel equipped with high tech radar and sonar capability but no trace of the monster was found.
Fanthorpe raises an intriguing point given the naval activity in the area it could be some kind of bizarre secret sub.
Full details in his book Unsolved Mysteries of the Sea By Lionel Fanthorpe, Patricia Fanthorpe (2004) 47-51. Apparently Richard Freeman the CFZ's zoologist and monster hunter extraordinary also went to look for the beast as well. I am waiting to get more details from him. This makes the case all the more interesting!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
It is about 500m from Connaught Way to Hobbs Point.
If you scroll the map to the SW you will also see the aprox location of 1782 "merman" sighting.
View Larger Map
I have talked to Debbie James the reporter who broke the story and she said the story has aroused a lot of interest and they are doing a follow up and the woman who saw the manatee, Carol Morgan, is convinced of her identification. This sounds definitely worth investigating.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Building on our earlier post Manatee maids in Wales looks like there is a history of strange sightings going on the area. In Mrs. Morgan's Tour to Milford Haven in the Year 1791, there is a detailed account of a "merman" observed by Henry Reynolds in 1782 in this area. This sighting was outside Milford Haven on the southern promontory which creates it somewhere near Linney Head, only 7 miles away from the 2008 Manatee sighting in Pembroke Dock . The original report read as follows and makes fascinating reading:
A Tour to Milford Haven, in the Year 1791
By Mary Morgan (London, 1795) pages 302-6
Mrs Morgan To Mrs. G .
Haverfordwest, Sept. 22. 1791
IF you delight in the marvellous, I shall now present you with a tale that is truly so; and yet, from the simple and circumstantial manner in which it was told by the person who believed he saw what is here related, one would almost be tempted to think there was something more than imagination in it. However, I will make no comments upon the matter, but give it you, exactly as I copied it from a paper lent me by a young lady, who was educated under the celebrated Mrs, Moore,[Hannah Moore] and who has acquired a taste for productions of the pen, and likewife for whatever may be deemed curious. Mr. M[organ] enquired of the gentleman who took down the relation from the man's own mouth, a physician of the first respectability, what credit might be given to it. He said, the man was of that integrity of character, and of such simplicity also, that it seemed difficult to believe he should be either able or willing to fabricate this wonderful tale. Farther the doctor was silent, and so am I.
Henry Reynolds, of Pennyhold [Pen-y-hold], in the parish of Castlemartin, in the county of Pembroke, a simple farmer, and esteemed by all who knew him to be a truth-telling man, declares the following most extraordinary story to be an abfolute fact, and is willing, in order to satisfy such as will not take his bare word for it, to swear to the truth of the same. He says, he went one morning to the cliffs, that bound his own lands, and form a bay near Linny-stack. From the eastern end of the same, he saw, as he thought, a person bathing very near the western end, but appearing from almost the middle up, above water. He, knowing the water to be deep in that place, was much surprized at it, and went along the cliffs, quite to the western end, to see what it was. As he got towards it, it appeared to him like a person sitting in a tub. At last he got within ten or twelve yards of it, and found it then to be a creature much resembling a youth of sixteen or eighteen years of age, with a very white skin, sitting in an erect posture, having, from somewhat about the middle, its body quite above the water; and directly under the water there was a large brown substance, on which it seemed to float. The wind being perfectly calm, and the water quite clear, he could see distinctly, when the creature moved, that this- substance was part of it. From the bottom there went down a tail much resembling that of a large conger eel. Its tail in deep water was straight downwards, but in shallow water it would turn it on one side. The tail was continually moving in a circular manner. The form of its body and arms was entirely human, but its arms and hands seemed rather short and thick in proportion to its body. The form of the head, and all the features of the face, were human also ; but the nose rose high between its eyes, was pretty long, and seemed to terminate very sharp. Its head was white like its body, without hair ; but from its forehead there arose a brownish substance of three or four fingers breadth, which turned up over its head, and went down over its back, and reached quite into the water. This substance did not at all resemble hair, but was thin, flat, and compact, not much unlike a ribbon. It did not adhere to the back part of its head, or neck, or back ; for the creature lifted it up from its neck, and washed under it. It washed frequently under its arms, and about its body.
It swam about the bay, and particularly round a little rock, which Reynolds was within ten or twelve yards of. He said about an hour looking at it. It was so near him that he could perceive its motion through the water was very rapid; and that, when it turned, it put one hand into the water, and moved itself round very quickly. It never dipped under the water all the time he was looking at it. It looked attentively at him, and the cliffs and seemed to take great notice of the birds flying over its head. Its looks were wild and fierce ; but it made no noise, nor did it grin, or any way distort its face. When he left it, it was above an hundred yards from him; and when he returned with some others to look at it, it was gone. This account was taken down by Doctor George P - - - at Prickers-ton, from the man's own mouth, in presence of many people, about the latter end of December 1782.
Chambers Book of Days 1869 repeats this account in its entry for November 24th while discussing Mermaids in the UK and suggests:
We hear nothing further of this merman or merboy; but on looking at the roundabout evidence of the story, we find it to he thus A paper containing the account was lent to Mrs. Morgan; the paper had been written by a young lady, pupil of Mrs. Moore, from an oral account given to her by that lady; Mrs. Moore had heard it from Dr. George Phillips; and he had heard it from Henry Reynolds himself from all of which statements we may infer that there were abundant means for converting some peculiar kind of fish into a merman without imputing intentional dishonesty to any one.The account is far more reliable than suggested here as Mr Morgan checked back with the Doctor. The account written by Mrs Morgan is an exact copy of what Renyolds said. It looks like Renyolds saw something odd and whatever it was or one of its relatives came back over 200 years later.
The description sounds much like a manatee to some degree with its light grey colour and snub nose. But what about the weird sounding stuff going down its back from near its nose?? At first I thought perhaps this is a description of a bearded seal, an Arctic species which can have white fur. More likely to be this than a Manatee perhaps considering the climate, as Manatees a very sensitive to cold, and that such seals are regularly seen in the UK today. As it seems he sighted the beast in December that rules out a Manatee save for the mysterious Steller's Sea Cow
which was found in the far north Berring sea thousands of miles away from the UK. It was already probably extinct at this point thanks to sailors.
British Marine Life Study Society - "Bearded Seals are a non-migratory Arctic species that feed on molluscs including clams. There has now been at least a dozen records from the Shetland Isles and one record of this seal off Ireland and one off Hartlepool in north-east England"
Bearded Seal seen in Scotland
In fact the society report one this year:
3 March - May 2008 onwards
A Bearded Seal, Erignathus barbatus, was spotted at Loch na Keal on the Isle of Mull, a large island in the Inner Hebrides, western Scotland. The healthy seal had hauled itself up on to some dry rocks when it was first seen. Subsequently, it has been unpredictable in its movements. The Bearded Seal was first seen by David Woodhouse (Mull Wildlife Expeditions) on 3 March 2008.
But there is another possibility. The hooded seal another Arctic species in which males have a bizarre inflatable 'hood' on their heads, close to the nose. Reynolds says of the thing on the seal's head "but from its forehead there arose a brownish substance of three or four fingers breadth, which turned up over its head, and went down over its back, and reached quite into the water. This substance did not at all resemble hair, but was thin, flat, and compact, not much unlike a ribbon."
Could this be a description of a hooded seal?? It certainly sounds very odd indeed. Unlss it was bits of seaweed.
Once again the British Marine Life Study Society reveals an interesting fact:
29 July 2001
A Hooded Seal, Cystophora cristata, was washed on a Little Haven beach, Pembrokeshire, south west Wales and found a home at the Seal Hospital at Milford Haven. The seal was healthy apart from a small cut on one flipper. The Hooded Seal is an Arctic species and even discoveries off the coast of Scotland, including the Orkney and Shetland Isles are rare. It moults around Greenland and the Denmark Strait (between Iceland and Greenland).
Report by Tony Pearce (via UK Wildlife)"
Seeing they have been in seen in Pembrokeshire before could the 2008 report by Carol Morgan be of a hooded seal rather than a Manatee? It seems more likely.
Interesting to note that a Walrus is not impossible in the southern British Isles as well. British Marine Life Study Society again:
April 1999 - A Walrus, Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus was seen hauled out on rocks in County Mayo, Ireland for six hours. Lying within 100 metres of the busy coastal road and spotted as a "rock that moved", the resting walrus finally disappeared at dusk. There have been several walrus sightings at sea off County Donegal in recent winters, and a couple of walruses were reported to have been seen by surfers in Killala Bay in December. A dead walrus was found in County Kerry in January 1995.Talking of old mermaid sightings if we look at the logbook of Henry Hudson on 15 June, 1608 near the Novaya Zemlya islands we can make a interesting comparison to the Welsh reports.
The Walrus is an Arctic species and is rarely seen even off Scotland and the Shetland Isles.
The Novaya Zemlya islands are off the north coast of Russia in the Arctic ocean, too cold for a sea cow. So could this sighting be a Walrus or Bearded seal then? Note its colour as well.
This morning one of our companie looking over boord saw a mermaid, and called up some of the companie to see her, one come up, and by that time shee was close to the ship’s side, looking earnestly upon the men: a little after, a Sea came and overturned her: From Navill upwards, her back and breasts were like a woman’s her body as big as one of us; her skin very white; and long haire hanging downe they saw her tayle, which was like the tayle of a porposse and speckled like a Macrel.
One noted mermaid was seen a number of times in Newark Bay in Deerness, Orkney in the 1890s. One account said:
So it seems to me these older accounts are of arctic mammals not Manatees considering where they are seen too cold for Manatee. The fact they are considerably larger than common seals and a different colour and appearance would lead to a different identification. That is unless there is a secret species of Northern Manatee similar to the Stella Sea Cow which could endure cold or something even weirder. Or they are real mermaids!
It is about six to seven feet in length, has a little black head, with neck, a snow-white body and two arms, and in swimming it just appears like a human being. At times it will appear to be siding on a sunken rock, and will wave and work its hands.
It is interesting to note that there is also the legend of the ‘Ceffyl Dwr’ or water horse in Pembroke as in the rest of Wales similar to the Scottish Kelpie. I have hunted for this beast myself in the Gower in places it was once seen without success. This special horse would appear to unwary travellers who would be tempted to mount it, only to be carried into the sea and drowned. Could this legend be based on distant accounts of Manatees or unusual arctic seals which do look a bit horsey? Legends of Waterhorses are also found inland in rivers and lakes. Fossil records of Manatees have been found in Europe anyway.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Glasgow Daily Record, UK 13th aug
TWO alligators rescued in Scotland have fallen for each other - after one of them ditched his "English" partner.
Crocs named Jimmy Choo and Alice have become inseparable at a sanctuary in Spain.
And their keepers hope the pair, recovered from Edinburgh and Galashiels, Selkirkshire, may even produce some offspring.
Jimmy had been close to a caiman rescued in London before Alice arrived at Crocodile Park in Torremolinos.
Doreen Graham, of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said: "The two Scots are great pals and, with luck, they might mate."
Jimmy was sent to Crocodile Park after Anthony Quinn, 37, tried to sell him to undercover animal detectives in an Edinburgh car park.
Quinn admitted keeping it in a Leith flat without a licence. He was fined s200 and banned from keeping animals for five years.
Alice was seized by inspectors in Galashiels last month.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Manatee spotted off coast of WalesThe original report was on the Western Telegraph (Wed Aug 6th, page13) but is reproduced here.
WalesOnline, United Kingdom -
10 Aug 2008
Marine experts last night said it could be a first for the UK – and comes after a 7ft Blue Marlin was washed up on a Pembrokeshire beach this week.
Marine experts say the possible sighting of a manatee in Pembrokeshire waters is further evidence of climate change. The creature was spotted by Carol Morgan who has a bird’s eye view of Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock, from her home at 5 Connaught Way.
She was preparing her lunchbox early one morning when she saw an unusual shape in the water. At first she thought it was a very large plastic container covered in green algae. But when it moved she reached for a telescope to get a closer look.
“I caught sight of its face and it looked like a pot-bellied pig,” said Carol, who works at Pembroke Leisure Centre.
“It then pulled itself onto the slipway and seemed to be foraging for something. After a short while it sauntered into the water and that was the last I saw of it.”
She only became aware of the actual size of the creature when she saw a couple walking a dog on the slipway a few moments later.
“It was several times larger than that dog, more like the size of a small cow,” said Carol.
Manatees, or sea cows as they are also known, are largely restricted to tropical waters with the nearest populations to the UK found off west Africa and the Caribbean. Pembrokeshire-based marine biologist, Francis Bunker, says it is possible that the manatee was carried here on the Gulf Stream currents. “We do after all get tropical sea beans and the occasional coconut washed up as well as sea turtles from the Caribbean, so why not a manatee? If it is a manatee I think it could be a first for UK waters.”
To his knowledge there are none in captivity in the UK which could have escaped.
Bathers need have no worries about venturing in the sea, as manatees are strictly herbivorous, feeding mainly on seagrasses.
Interesting it was seen off Hobbs Point given the name's connection with goblin like creatures as Loren Coleman points out Hobgoblin at Hobbs Point at Cryptomundo.
Manatee's grow up to 15 feet long and weigh 3500 pounds and are found in West Africa as well as the Southern United States, South America and across Southern Asia. There is a long-standing cryptozoological theory that Manatee are believed to have inspired some of the stories of Mermaids. In 1493, when Columbus's ships were taking on fresh water at the island known as Hispaniola, he recorded in his journal that his men "saw three sirenas (mermaids) who rose very high from the sea, but they were not as beautiful as they are painted." It is generally agreed that the creatures that Columbus and many other similar reports saw were manatees. There are a lot of Welsh legends concerning mermaids all round the Welsh coast which in Welsh are called Morgens or Plant Rhys Ddwfn. If the Welsh legends were inspired by any creature it would be a seal one would think. Some Welsh mermaid stories mention magic sealskin caps which give mermaids their powers and there is some similarity to the Gaelic tradition of the Selkie. A number of the Welsh stories concern fishermen marrying mermaids they catch at sea who later abandon their husbands, after he insults or beats them to return to the sea, their husbands being cursed by them. Or fishermen being tricked into the water and drowning the usual sort of tale.
So one presumes this beast in Pembroke Dock is either a Manatee a long way from home or perhaps more likely a misidentified seal - but there is another local candidate.
THE MILFORD MONSTER
In 2003 a sea serpent was seen once in Pembroke Dock close by the location of the Manatee sighting within the famous natural harbour which is also called Milford Haven, which is huge 10 miles by 2 miles. I wondered if the two sightings were connected but the description of the creature sounds very different. The Milford monster was described as massive and serpentine. But I believe it has been suggested that misidentification of Manatees may be involved in some some sea-serpent sightings as well as in Mermaid sightings. Here is an extract from the 2003 report.
The lunchtime customers at the small waterfront pub had never seen anything like it. They were enjoying a quiet drink when suddenly they saw a mysterious serpent-like creature in the water outside
It was dark and snake-like and roughly the length of four to five cars.
If it was Nessie she was a long way from home, as the mysterious creature of the deep was spotted in the Milford Haven waterway, just yards away from the busy Irish ferry terminal.
Now the sighting has become the talk of Pembroke Dock and the pub's landlord is offering a £150 reward to anyone who can catch the monster alive. David Crewe of the historic Ship-wright pub, said, "There was definitely something out there.
"It could be anything. I just want to find out what it is."
The mysterious creature was spotted first by barmaid Lesley John in the deep channel of the waterway, close to where Irish ferry boats turn around before heading for Pembroke Dock ferry terminal.
"I was pulling a pint for one of the lads and I was watching the ferry, you know how it leaves a white trail as it goes?"
"Then I saw what looked like a big black fin. I carried on pulling the pint and it was still there. I said to the lads `What the hell is that?' "
The customers went outside to investigate and also saw something strange.
"From a distance it appeared to have a snake-like head," said Peter Thomas. "And you could see a commotion in the water, a lot of splashing, about 10 metres away.
"It was a rather odd thing. I do a lot of boating on the waterway and I have never seen anything like that. It was something really strange. But you can only say what you saw."
Milford Haven was also a key area in the massive number of UFO reports in the Welsh Triangle incidents of the 70s. One theory claimed there was a secret alien underwater base off the Pembrokeshire coast. So it could be an Alien Manatee :) Meanwhile another few unusual fishy guests came along recently in the area.
It has been a strange year for welsh weirdness with the Swansea croc, the UFO wave and the Ghost slug being covered widely too.
Weighing in at around 450 pounds and over seven feet long, the magnificent Blue Marlin was found in the surf on Saundersfoot's Glen Beach on Wednesday by commercial fisherman Gavin Davies.
"I saw something in the water the previous evening, but it wasn't until I was walking the dog at 5.30am that I realised it was a marlin," said Gavin. "It was an amazing specimen." He and fellow fishermen Neil Lewis, Mel Matthews, Neil Thomas and Ruru Norbury pulled the marlin onto the beach with a Land Rover, before lifting it on the vehicle and contacting South Wales Sea Fisheries officer Mark Hamblin to verify their fishy find.
"I was gobsmacked," admitted Mark. "I would have loved to have caught that with a rod and line!"
The marlin, usually found offshore in deep blue tropical or temperate waters, is known to migrate towards the Atlantic, but apparently never as far afield as the UK.
"We are wondering if it could have been attacked by dolphins out at sea, and just drifted in," said Gavin, who fishes for Neil Thomas on board the Evan George.
"We're currently seeing dolphins by the hundred when we are out in Carmarthen Bay, and they are known to be extremely aggressive to other fish."
Less rare but still intersting is another fish found in Wals this summer:
"3rd July 2008 A Broad-billed Swordfish, Xiphias gladius, was discovered washed up dead on Barry Island beach, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales. It was carefully examined by Dr Peter Howlett, (Curator of Lower Vertebrates, National Museum, Wales) who confirmed the identification and found it to be a young specimen 2.24 metres long and between 60 and 80 kg in weight. It had been dead only a few days, but it had been scavenged by other creatures and it was not possible to determine the cause of its death. "
Friday, August 8, 2008
I did meet someone with more curious info on Pluck Lake that their father who was a fisherman had fished in Pluck Lake and seen some unusually large eels there. Pluck lake gets wilder by the minute. I don't think this can explain the sighting though. The man who saw it was just too close.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Well the Crocodile may have disappeared but Swansea has a new monster.
Talk of aliens in South Wales just will not go away - and now Wayne Grove believes he has photographic evidence of their existence.Obviously a fake. This is all fall out from the spate of UFO sightings in Wales in June.
Mr Grove claims he took this picture while working for a small gardening firm around Mumbles, West Cross and Mayals.
He said: "At approximately 10.19am on Thursday, July 3, I was working in Overland Road in Mumbles where the gardens back onto the woods.
"I heard a rustling sound coming from the trees. When I looked I was expecting to see a dog! But to my horror I saw what I can only describe as something from another planet!
"From what I could see it was naked, with a large head and black eyes. My heart was pounding so hard the adrenalin was pumping. I took a photo of what i saw and zoomed in.
"I really don't know what I saw but I am frightened! Please try and get someone to investigate it."
This news report has more.
But it looks like the wav of sightings has inspired much coverage.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
What is that thing in Hickory Lake?Chad Arment has passed along updates on a 2 to 3 ft long crocodilian being sighted and photographed in Hickory Lake, North Carolina. Seen for a week now (since Mother’s Day, May 11, 2008), it remains uncaught.
Another link at CrytoMundo was to a story about a new species of ancient croc found as a fossil which was in the news in late March:
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The appearance of alligators and crocodiles in areas far from their native habitat is known in Forteana as the crazy croc syndrome or the crazy crocs. It is a problem which goes back many years see here:
2005 has been a bumper year for crazy croc incidents, with reports from areas as diverse as South Seattle, Wash., Rehoboth, Mass. and Charleston, West Virginia... (Editor's Comment: We've had isolated crazy croc sightings in the USA before. Fortean researcher Loren Coleman has documented hundreds of them dating back to the early 1930s. But, to my knowledge, this is the first sustained crazy croc flap we've ever had, with sightings every week.)Source
Another incident in 2005 was in Cyprus - "Wildlife workers in Cyprus are trying to verify reports that crocodiles may be on the loose at a popular tourist nature spot after they became too dangerous for their owner to handle."
"The reptiles are believed to have been smuggled in to the eastern Mediterranean island, where crocodiles do not breed and the closest nature cousin is the innocuous chameleon."
This is the fourth report in three weeks about out-of-place crocodiles or alligators turning up in areas far from their natural habitat.
Another interesting sighting was an Alligator in Maine in September 2000 a pretty unseasonable time one would have thought:
OUT-OF-PLACE ALLIGATOR SNAPS AT A MAN IN KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE
One of the weirdest Fortean phenomena is the "Crazy Croc syndrome," the sudden and unexplained appearance of alligators in places far from their natural habitat.
Just such an incident occurred last week in Kennebunkport, Maine (population 1,200), a seaside resort town on Route 9 located about 26 miles (40 kilometers) south of Portland.
(Editor's Note: The Bush family mansion, summer home of former President George Herbert Walker Bush, and his son, Gov. George W. Bush, the current Republican Party candidate for USA president, is located on Walker's Point in Kennebunkport.)
(Editor's Comment: Cue spooky organ music...) "An alligator that nipped at a man's trousers was likely someone's pet that was set free, police said."
"William Sartry shot the 31-inch-reptile dead. He said the alligator approached him while he was walking around a pond in his back yard."
"'You're going to think I'm nuts,' Sarty told a police dispatcher when he reported the incident." (See USA Today for September 20, 2000, "Maine," page 6A.) from
As always Charles Fort was the first to notice Crazy Croc Syndrome in his book LO!:
Fort thinks telportation (a word he invented) might be involved. It is interesting that so many Crocs should have been seen in the 1860s in one area.
Maybe, in September, 1929, somebody lost an alligator. According to some of our data upon the insecurities of human mentality, there isn't anything that can't be lost by somebody. A look at Losts and Founds -- but especially Losts -- confirms this notion. New York American, Sept. 19, 1929 -- an alligator, 31 inches long, killed in the Hackensack Meadows, N.J., by Carl Weise, 14 Peerless Place, North Bergen, N.J. But my attention is attracted by another "mysterious appearance" of an alligator, about the same time. New York Sun, Sept. 23, 1929 -- an alligator, 28 inches long, found by Ralph Miles, in a small creek, near Wolcott, N.Y.
In the Gentleman's Magazine, Aug., 1866, somebody tells of a young crocodile, which, about ten years before, had been killed on a farm, at Over-Norton, Oxfordshire, England.
In the November issue of this magazine, C. Parr, a well-known writer upon antiquarian subjects, says that, thirty years before, near Chipping Norton, another young crocodile had been killed.(6) According to Mr. Parr, still another young crocodile had been seen, at Over-Norton. In the Field, Aug. 23, 1862, is an account of a fourth young crocodile that had been seen, near Over-Norton.(7)
It looks as if, for about thirty years, there had been a translatory current, especially selective of young crocodiles, between somewhere, say in Egypt, and an appearing-point near Over-Norton. If, by design and functioning, in the distribution of life in an organism, or in one organic existence, we mean anything so misdirected as a teleportation of young crocodiles to a point in a land where they would be out of adaptation, we evidently mean not so very intelligent design and functioning. Possibly, or most likely. It seems to me that an existence that is capable of sending young butchers to medical schools, and young boilermakers to studios, would be capable of sending young crocodiles to Over-Norton, Oxfordshire, England.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The idea that otters frequently swim in lines has not been popular with cryptozoologists as this post shows.
There has been otters sighted at the lake:
"just a few mounths ago there was a report of a otter in there so it was probelt the same one there" callum semmens 14, Neath
There has been a ongoing resurgence in otter numbers over the last ten years in the Swansea area as across the UK. Anglers on the Tawe are blaming otters for fish losses. See the Otter Survey of Wales 2002 which reports
In the 1977/8 and 1984/5 surveys, all the sites in this
hydrometric area were negative but a major increase
was evident in 1991 with 44% of sites positive. A
further 17 positive sites in 2002 now brings the
proportion of positive sites to 78% (81% if only the
sites common to all surveys are compared).
The greatest increases were associated with the
upper reaches of the Tawe and tributaries such as the
Twrch and Lower Clydach, where all the previously
negative sites became positive. Smaller rivers flowing
into the Loughor estuary also showed increases. Also
significant is the presence of otters on the Lliedi
reservoirs, near Llanelli, in an area with considerable
Otters are mainly found upstream then but the closeness of Pluck lake to the river means that reports of otters here are not impossible. Perhaps most intriguing is the mystery plague of deaths blamed on otters or mink in Swansea a few years ago which caused panic amongst pond owners.
News - South West Wales - 'Mink' warning after fish deaths
6 Jan 2004
Since the late summer, an unknown animal has been preying on ponds in back gardens across the Killay and Derwen Fawr areas, killing dozens of fish.
Members of a gardening club believe a mink or possibly an otter is responsible and are urging people to protect their ponds.
Following an attack that left around a dozen of their neighbour's Koi carp decapitated, Alma and Ray Jenkins have covered the pond at their home on Dylan Road in Killay with mesh.
There was blood and fish remains everywhere but just the heads were takenAlma Jenkins
The couple say they know of at least eight incidents in the area in the past six months, but believe there could be many more that have gone unreported.
There are other reports:
RW SwanseaThe problem for saying the Pluck Lake sighting was an otter is the distance. Steve Jenkins was only 3-4m from the creature. Thus it cannot be an otter I think.
At 4.00am on 20th May I saw an adult otter on the Oystermouth Road directly opposite tescos and swansea i was driving at the time and got within 20 feet of it and saw it for at least 30 seconds i was struck at how big it was and obviously that it was so close to the city centre. I didnt think that there was a wild population in swansea and actually reported it to the police.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
The insect certain is the plague of fables.
This story's monster has a serpent caul,
Blind in the coil scrams round the blazing outline,
Measures his own length on the garden wall
And breaks his shell in the last shocked beginning;
A crocodile before the chrysalis,
Before the fall from love the flying heartbone,
Winged like a sabbath ass this children's piece
Uncredited blows Jericho on Eden.
As noted before Pluck Lake is noted as a refuge for dragonflies which this poem is perhaps addressing. With such allusive verse who can say.
In the poem I, In My Intricate Image the last three stanzas state:
And in the pincers of the boiling circle,
The sea and instrument, nicked in the locks of time,
My great blood's iron single
In the pouring town,
I, in a wind on fire, from green Adam's cradle,
No man more magical, clawed out the crocodile.
Man was the scales, the death birds on enamel,
Tail, Nile, and snout, a saddler of the rushes,
Time in the hourless houses
Shaking the sea-hatched skull,
And, as for oils and ointments on the flying grail,
All-hollowed man wept for his white apparel.
Man was Cadaver's masker, the harnessing mantle,
Windily master of man was the rotten fathom,
My ghost in his metal neptune
Forged in man's mineral.
This was the god of beginning in the intricate seawhirl,
And my images roared and rose on heaven's hill.
What adds to the mysterious coincidences here is that the main other non-native element in Pluck Lake is terrapins. Earlier in the poem he uses the line:
They suffer the undead water where the turtle nibbles,
Come unto sea-stuck towers, at the fibre scaling,
The flight of the carnal skull
The poem describes a combination of mechanical and natural imagery very appropriate to the area which is reclaimed from Swansea's industrial history. Also interesting to note that the poem describes a mighty hill like Kilvey Hill:
They climb the country pinnacle,
Twelve winds encounter by the white host at pasture,
Corner the mounted meadows in the hill corral;
They see the squirrel stumble,
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The Giant Anaconda, The Didi, The Water Tiger
Find out more here.
It is interesting that the CFZ team not only saw Cayman being roasted on a fire in the expedition but also heard rumours of a new species as Jon Downes reports:
Ernest told them of another potential cryptid – and this, to the best of our knowledge – has never been reported before in the annuls of cryptozoology. He is very familiar with Cuvier’s dwarf cayman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus) – the smallest known species of the Alligatoridae, reaching a maximum size of a mere 1.5 metres. However, on two occasions, he has seen a tiny cayman, much smaller than the dwarf cayman, brown in colour, with a red stripe down its back. It bellowed loudly, and most peculiarly, he reported it has having two tails.
The expedition’s driver said that he had seen these creatures as well, and Ernest took them to a cave system near a river where he claims that these creatures live.
The team explored these caves, and although they found nothing in there, Richard – who is, after all, a crocodilian expert, and was, at one time, Head of Reptiles at Twycross Zoo in the West Midlands of England - says that, in his opinion, these caves are eminently suitable for a small crocodilian to aestivate in during the harsh months of the dry summer. For those of you not in the known, aestivation is basically the polar opposite of hibernation; going into a semi-dormant or dormant state to escape extremes of hot weather.
We suggested that the seemingly insoluble problem of the creature being reported with two tails could perhaps be indicative of it not being a cayman at all, but being some kind of huge salamander. When the tails of salamanders and newts have been injured, they sometimes grow back double. But then again, so do those of some lizards, so for the moment this must remain an enigma. However, it is an enigma which we hope will not stay that way for long. Richard and the team are going back to see Ernest this evening for dinner and we hope that they will be able to get some more information from him.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
American alligators hibernate during the winter in burrows (or "dens") that they construct, but may occasionally emerge during brief spells of warmer weather.Another discussion at from the Everglades National Park factsheet:
Alligators do not feed during the cooler months. Studies in captivity have shown that alligators generally begin to lose their appetite below 27°C (80°F), and stop feeding altogether below 23°C (73°F). They can easily last the winter on their energy reserves.
Adult alligators can survive freezing conditions if they are in water. They submerge their body but keep their nostrils projecting above the water surface, so that when the surface freezes they can still breathe (called the "icing response"). Essentially their upper body becomes trapped in the ice. However, occasionally alligators may be trapped completely below ice, and have been known to survive for over 8 hours without taking a breath, because the freezing water slows their metabolic rate down to very low levels. Yet another example of their amazing ability to survive. Crocodilian Species - American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
"Alligators are cold-blooded, which means that their body temperatures fluctuate in response to the temperature of their surroundings. An advantage of being cold-blooded is that little energy needs to be spent in maintaining a high body temperature, and therefore less food is needed. A healthy alligator can go many months without food. Alligators can survive in water temperatures as cold as 36°F (2°C) and as warm as 98°F (38°C), however they function best within a relatively narrow range of temperatures." Formerly www.nps.gov/ever/eco/gator.htmAs for Caimans little info seems to be available.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Here are the photos from last nights expedition. The plan was discussed here Old Red Eyes - Croc Hunting at Night. As dusk fell and darkness grew across the land we prepared to see if the croc, which is a mostly nocturnal animal would emerge. At the start looking round the lake in the gloaming I noted there were loads of footprints from monster hunters so I think the area round the lake has been very well covered since the publicity had started. I also talked to a friendly guy who had brought his two kids to look for the croc.
I wandered around in reed beds in the dark and checked likely places nearby for croc using a torch to check for eye shine. The street lamps illuminated the lake well so if he was there it would be easy to spot him.
Not seen in Swansea yet!
There was no sign of the croc but it increasingly felt like Blair Witch or Man/Swamp Thing country as we blundered around in the dark through muddy areas and reeds. Not exactly the Florida keys but at least it wasn't raining and there was also a lack of midges buzzing us. In ancient welsh lore such areas are good ones to see ellylldan or canwll corfe "corpse candles" [Elf-fire, willow the wisps or Jack O'Lanterns are some of the English names] widely associated with the supernatural and ill omens but now generally seen as swamp gas. They also were seen in graveyards and other places too so it is a little more complex than that.
Discoveries included a pipe which I guess may be part of the old workings as there were quarries, mines and industry in this area. It was about 100m from the water and was an ideal hiding place but we decided crawling down there after a croc was a bad idea!
Then we found the rustling bramble bush which clearly had an animal in. Fancy plunging a hand in to see what it is? I think not. Didn't seem to be a croc shaped way in so we left it alone.
Also some idiots had chucked another trolley in the water and tore down the life belts. Very clever.
We also almost got run down by a 4 by 4 which zoomed past us. I think someone may have been shining headights onto water looking for the croc. Good tactic often used by crocodile hunters. But the croc I suspect is not in the water. If it is still alive it may have gone into hibernation till the weather improves. The problem is with a pine forest 5m or so from the waters edge on the north side, the reedbeds and vegetation to the east and Kilvey hill on the south with tons of bushes and trees there are tons of places for an animal to hide.
I don't think we are finding anything soon to be honest. But who knows.
Pluck Lake is 1km away directly from a far larger body of water Fendrod Lake which lies to the North-east and has more fish and bird life . Although the direct root takes you through a built up area a more roundabout way goes through the nature reserve then only 300 odd m from the lake. But it looks like you would have to go through a railway line. Or there maybe underground tunnels between Fendrod and Pluck Lake so I have been told! More about these in a future posts.
Perhaps a more likely destination is that you can after crossing the road travel through woodland to reach the Tawe. This is only 650m from the lake. So the croc maybe long gone!
That is if it fancies moving long distances which I doubt.
Big Article on Croc in Swansea Evening Post yesterday on page 3.
No snap decision, there's a croc!
'Steve, aged 49, said: "I was out on Sunday morning walking the dog out at the lake and was walking around the lake when I saw something moving in the water.
"It was like a millpond, as still as anything.
"I thought it was a log.
"But there were ripples coming from around it. I thought it could be a fish. As I was just four metres out, I thought I must be seeing things.
"I shouted to the dog, and it (the reptile) turned away and dived back down and into the water. It was either a crocodile or an alligator.
"It was about a metre long."
"I am 100 per cent positive."
Steve, of Oakwood, Pontrhydyfen, Port Talbot, said: "I went straight home and told my partner and she said 'you better report it to the police because youngsters go swimming there in the summer'." Steve is convinced it was an alligator he saw, adding that he had seen them before in Florida. "I think somebody must have had it as a pet," he added.
"I was watching a television programme a few years ago, and it said people buy these monkeys and crocs and once they get a bit too big for the bath they let them go.
"That's the only way I can think how it got there."
Swansea resident Gwilym Games, a member of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, said crocodile reports were quite common.
He said: "There have been quite a few reports of crocodiles in different lakes in the UK."
More at the article Read this article
Swansea Tourism once again express their hope that this will rival Loch Ness :)
Interesting to note the RSPCA has noted some nasty abuse of animals in South Wales recently:
RSPCA CALLS FOR END TO ATTACKSEvening Post 09:00 - 03 May 2008
The Rspca is calling for an end to airgun abuse of animals in South Wales, following a spate of attacks. Two cats, a bird and a horse were shot with airgun pellets during March and April. The bird and one of the cats had to be put to sleep as a result of their injuries.RSPCA chief inspector Elaine Spence said: "Mindless airgun attacks on pets and wildlife are a serious problem. These incidents only provide a snapshot of the issue, and many more animals are suffering needless pain and death. Sadly, not all incidents are reported to us or witnessed."
The charity is appealing for the public to report any incidents to the police, and asks parents not to buy their child a gun unless they are going to supervise them at all times.
Earlier this evening we went croc hunting. Why at night? Well thats one of the best time to look according to experts. Most crocs are nocturnal hunters and as Crocs eyes strongly reflect light, even from a distance, anyone searching for crocs finds that using lights to scan the water for their eye-shine is the best way to spot them at night allowing you to see their glowing red eyes. This eye-shine comes from a special crystal layer at the back of their eye called the "tapetum lucidum" which reflects light. Crocodiles have excellent night vision as a result of this layer.
Did we find the croc? No but we do have some interesting photos. To be honest the search was a long shot I think from what I have discovered it is either dead or has hidden itself very well and won't be moving until the temperature gets into the 20s. More results from the search to come.
By the way I have noted famed cryptozoologist and CFZ member Nick Redfern has noted us on his blog thanks to Siani. See here: A Welsh Crocodile
Friday, May 2, 2008
If the Caiman has died in the water it will float belly up. It may be in undergrowth somewhere.
From BBC News: Another interview with Steve.
Stephen Jenkins, from Pontrhydyfen, said: "I was walking my dog and me being a
fisherman and being nosy near water - I was having a look and I could see
something moving in the water.
"I thought at first it was a fish or
something or a log - but there was no wind or anything.
"But I could see the
ripples coming off this. I had a closer look and it was about four metres from
Mr Jenkins said: "I could see the legs and the nose and the tail and
"It just swam down into the deep end, it's eyes were just on top
of the water as it was moving the eyes were coming towards me."
Thursday, May 1, 2008
See this earlier post:
Important - Croc identified? Part I
A wet Day in Swansea at Pluck lake looking east
Looking towards the west end where croc was seen.
The dog whose walk caused Croc panic.
Steve throws a stone to show where croc was first sighted.
Steve points out where Croc moved towards white van roof.
A photo taken from bank showing the white van roof which croc swam over. This was not taken from where Steve was standing which was about 4m away but was taken closer directly beside it and it shows how the van lid would outline something swimming over it on a calm day as on Sunday.
Experts say iguanas would not survive a British winter outdoors
A gardener has told of his shock at coming face to face with an iguana as he trimmed his hedge.
The 18in (46cm) reptile is now being cared for by an expert after Bryan Harris called the RSPCA to his home in Mumbles, Swansea.
Attempts are being made to trace the lizard's owner and to find out how it came to be on the loose.
Iguanas can grow more than 5ft long (1.5m) and RSPCA inspector Neil Manley said they do not make very good pets.
He said: "The man said he was cutting the hedge when he suddenly saw this great big lizard sat on it. [Read more at site]
Besides the Iguana an escaped Milk Snake made headlines in 2006.
19 April 2006- An escaped snake caused mayhem at a grocery store in Swansea when it became trapped within a metal door.
The non-venomous snake was striking out at customers at the Costcutter in the city's Townhill area over the weekend.
A local snake expert and his wife had to be called to extricate the 3.5ft milk snake.
Geraint "the Snakeman" Hopkins and his wife Yolande had to remove the letterbox to recover the snake, which later died from injury and illness. [Read more at site]
Vaireties of Milk Snake are found all over America and are popular pets.
Pythons stolen from garden shed
09 Feb 2006
Police are hunting thieves who have taken 22 young python snakes from a reptile breeder's garden shed. The snakes, described as "gentle" and no threat to people, were grabbed from a house in Birchgrove, Swansea. The royal or ball pythons, measuring 18in to 2ft (45-60cm) in length, were kept in 14 boxes with lockable lids. [Read more at site]
There are in Swansea like all over the UK a large number of reptile fanciers. You can judge some of the extent of this hobby from these adverts:
Of course the vast majority of exotic pet owners are responsible people, who care for their animals and this respectable side is typified by Exotic Pets Magazine, but there are some rogue people out there keeping animals illegally in bad conditions. The RSPCA is calling for tighter controls on the sale and ownership of dangerous wild animals as you can see here: Exotic animals
There have been a number of Big Cat sightings in the Swansea area especially round Margam. One of the latest is here:
I Came Face to Face With a Big Cat in Swansea Valley South Wales Evening Post: 29th June 2007
just a few mounths ago there was a report of a otter in there so it was probelt the same one there
callum semmens 14, Neath
i am a little 15 year old boy i go fishing down the pluck i have never seen the crock and i am always down there so if it is there leave it alone please ffffffiiiisssshhh
liam robins, swansea
I think it could well have been a mink or an otter, both are around 1m long and have a swimming profile that could be mistaken for a crocodile from a distance
It could be the pluck ness monster, in past summers you would be lucky to reel in a small tench from the pluck, normally it's just sprats like roach , rud and perch however I have seen some big things come out of the Pluck over ther years, namely cars and trollies however this monster would be a welcome catch on the worm...
Scooter, Winch Wen Swansea
I have worked with reptiles in two zoos (Twycross and Tropiquaria) and have a soecial intrest in crocodillians. I have also nvestigated several cases of 'caimans' being seen in the midlands and i Cornwall. Nothing was ever found. A crocodillian could live in the UK during a warm summer but wopuld swiftly die come winter. It is possable people are mistaking a large sturgeon. Having said that several species of crocodillian have been caught in the uk over the years including Nile crocodile and specticaled caiman
Richard Freeman, Devon
I worked at a large Reptile House for several years, and both calls and rescues involving crocodilians were fairly common. Unfortunately, when people get hold of these animals (usually illegally) as pets, they often get released into the wild when they become too much to look after, to avoid alerting the authorities. The best way to check would be to visit the lake at night, and with a torch held at eye level, scan the lake margins - if you see any pink or white eyeshine (like catseyes) then it is likely to be true!
Dr James Reed, Yeovil
Approximately 2 years whilst walking my dog along the cycle path by the new bridge, opposite Ford's Plasmarl, I Saw a man staring in disbelief in the water, and as I looked myself I saw a tail disappearing into the water. This looked very much like a crocodile tail, which I commented, did you see that, and the man said people would not believe us if we told them, and walked off. So this has not been the first time, as also my wife and myself on another occasion with the dog saw what looked like a log in the water, but it slowly went down, out of sight, and we felt quite spooked. We believe quite strongly there is a crocodile there, and this should be taken far more seriously by the authorities than it is at present. We also do not want our e mail address printed as we would leave ourselves wide open to prank calls jamming up our e mails, but print the letter by all means.
Concerned dog walker, Swansea
Swansea Evening Post April 28th 2008
Steve Jenkins ... croc spotterI did not say it could be 10 foot long!!! I said it could reach 7 feet and this one was 3 foot long.
FEROCIOUS crocodile is thought to be at large in a murky lake — in WALES.
Startled Steve Jenkins, 38, is convinced he spotted the 3ft-long beast as he walked his dog alongside the water.
He told cops he saw the croc lurking in the shallows of the rubbish-strewn lake by a Morrisons store in Swansea — but couldn’t get a snap.
Wens 30 April 2008 12.00
You can download the file here:
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
At around 7 pm I talked to Steve Jenkins at the Lake. What he told me further convinced me we are dealing with a member of the Crocodile family. I now know exactly where he stood and from where he saw the animal at that distance of roughly 3-4 m he could not have been mistaken especially as he is a fisherman and he noted the animals legs. The water was calm and the day was clear and fairly sunny.
From his description and what he thinks after showing him Croc photos it seems likely what he saw was a Spectacled Caiman . He described what seemed to be the characteristic bony ridge between its eyes. As that is a popular species for pets that makes sense. The main other possibility is perhaps an American alligator. I think he saw something like this:
You can see where he was roughly from the map above. The blue man was his first location and the green man is Steve's finally location as is the fish is the croc. The war level today is much higher than on the satellite photo.
I also talked to Jon Downes, the Director, at the CFZ. He feels that the chances of a Croc surviving for any length of time are bleak in April. CFZ has been on a number of UK croc hunts in the last few years. He also filled me in on further on the illegal trade in crocs and other exotics. Alligators are easy to buy in Florida and were easy to smuggle back in hand luggage. It is tougher since 9/11 but perhaps in South America where Caimans come from security is not so tight. There is certainly an underground trade in place inside the UK. Furthermore he told me about 3 crocodile bodies that have been found in British waterways and ponds in recent times.
The Sun, and Swansea Evening Post are doing more on this story today.
More updates to come keep watching this blog. Please come forward if you seen anything.