Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blog On A "Log": An Analysis of The Mansi Photograph By Scott Mardis

Illustration of a Lake Champlain mystery animal, by Thomas Finley.

A few weeks ago, Scott Mardis sent me an article on a photograph which he and several other researchers think may show a long-necked unknown aquatic animal caught in the act of surfacing. The image which I am referring to is none other than the well-known and oft-scrutinized Mansi photograph taken at Lake Champlain in 1977. The picture was obtained when Sandra Mansi and her family took a stop by Lake Champlain during a trip. Her children were playing in the water when, suddenly, an animal with a long neck and head atop a rather large body surfaced about fifty yards away from them. For several years after this event, Sandra Mansi kept the photograph hidden from others due to fear of ridicule or harassment. Regardless of the animal-like features described by Sandra Mansi, there has been some recent suggestion that the object may simply be driftwood which burst to the surface and startled her. I once agreed with this line of thinking, but Scott's article and my research into worldwide longneck reports have made me start to think otherwise. While I am still open-minded towards the driftwood hypothesis, the details of what Mansi reported the object was doing (i.e. moving its head around and submerging in a vertical manner) and similarities with other promising reports and photographs make me think that the animal hypothesis is quite plausible as well. Although the probable length of the object (as mentioned in Scott's article) may seem small for an animal which is behind reports of "lake monsters", it is worth noting that some plesiosaurs such as Umoonsasurus only grew to around eight feet long and the "animal" in the photograph may very well be a juvenile. It is also worth noting that some known species of animals, such as turtles and crocodiles, can exhibit a wood-like appearance. But enough of my introductory rambling; please enjoy this excellent guest post by Scott Mardis.
Blog On A "Log" (?) by Scott Mardis

Friday, April 4, 2014

Some Alternate Possibilities Regarding Loch Ness Mystery Animal Identities

"Dr. Mackal's Creature", a painting by Thomas Finley of Dr. Roy Mackal's hypothetical Loch Ness giant amphibian.
Fellow cryptozoological researcher Scott Mardis has recently been posting several Loch Ness mystery animal-related paste-ups onto Facebook. On account of the Lenten season, I have not been active on the social media website but he has been so kind as to forward the material to me. I have decided to reproduce some of these composite images here in order to give attention to some of the hypotheses regarding Loch Ness mystery animals which have not already been written about here. Of course there will be those that feel that my exploring the possibility of unknown animals in Loch Ness is foolish, but I suggest that they read the excellent documents at the NJAN website and some of the other serious literature on the subject. Please note that, due to time constraint, this article will not be written in its usual format but rather as a series of images with a few explanatory sentences.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Mysterious "White Mice" of Loch Ness: Larval Longnecks?

"Breaking the surface", an illustration based on Roy Mackal's hypothetical Loch Ness giant invertebrate, by Thomas Finley.
Investigator Dick Raynor recently provided Scott Mardis with photographs taken by the Academy of Applied Science in 1972 which he has sought after for twenty years. These images, which were taken at Loch Ness around the time that the controversial "flipper photographs" were obtained, appear to show some form of small invertebrate. The organisms were nicknamed "white mice" or "bumblebees", yet remain to be identified. The material sent to me by Scott Mardis and reproduced below is an excerpt from the book Monster Wrecks of Loch Ness and Lake Champlain, some additional images of Tullimonstrum reconstructions, and the Loch Ness "white mice" photographs. The book excerpt contains most of the current knowledge regarding these enigmatic invertebrates.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Alleged Plesiosaur Specimens of Ill Repute

Fellow researcher Scott Mardis recently sent me the preceding image via Facebook with the caption of "from the cradle to the grave." The image is a composite of various "carcasses" which have, at one point in the past, been alleged to belong to relict plesiosaurs. The jarred "embryo" at left was allegedly  found on the shores of Lake Storsjön on June, 18 1984 and is currently being held in the Museum of Jämtland Suggestions have been made that it belonged to a mutated bull fetus or an embryonic shark, although claims of analyses finding it to be an unknown species do exist (these claims do not presently have any documentation behind them and thus may be baseless). Either way, it does bear some apparent resemblances to reported long-necked "lake monsters" and "sea serpents". These similar features include its rhomboid-shaped flippers (similar to the 1972 Rines "flipper" photographs), the horn-like appendages on its head, its jagged dorsal crest, and its overall morphological similarity to juvenile plesiosaurs.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

An Interview With Chuck Pogan: Researcher & An Analyst of Alleged Lake Champlain "Monster" Footage

Father of Turtles (Cryptid Chronicles) by YasminFoster
A fantastic illustration by Yasmin J. Foster, depicting one of the several reported sightings of very large turtles at sea.
As I mentioned in a recent article, I try to retain an open minded approach to the different hypotheses in cryptozoological research. I recently heard about a fellow researcher who has a rather novel hypothesis regarding the allegedly unknown animals reported as "lake monsters" and "sea serpents". The man's name is Chuck Pogan, and he is of the opinion that these animals are an unknown species of turtle. The turtle hypothesis is quite a tantalizing one, as there are several parallels with what the behavior and morphology of longnecks would possibly be (as inferred from reports, although it is important to note that too much speculation as to the nature of unknown animals is very prone to fallibility). The reptilian physiology of many turtle species allows them to retain great stealth through holding their breath for great periods of time, with some having the ability to burrow under the mud and hibernate while underwater. Some species can breath through their skin or cloaca while remaining fully submerged. Thus, the idea of a chelonian longneck would not necessarily be dampened by the common argument against an aquatic animal remaining unknown of its having to regularly surface to breath. However, this hypothesis is not simply based off of reports and the well known photographs which are available for scrutiny. Chuck Pogan has apparently had the ability to view and analyze the Bodette footage, a video which purportedly shows unknown animals in Lake Champlain. This video is popularly referred to as the "ABC Champ Video", and has been of great interest to cryptozoological researchers as myself. The film was taken in August of 2005 by Vermont anglers Richard Affolter and Peter Bodette, who claimed that they were able to move as close as twenty to thirty yards from the animal which had moved in a "serpentine manner". However, only a few seconds of the footage has been publicly shown by ABC News, and there is much more intriguing data in the full footage according to Chuck. I hope you enjoy this interview/discussion between Mr. Pogan and I. My input is bolded and Chuck's is preceded by italicized and underlined text. Please note that these are Chuck's own opinions and thoughts, and thus I am not necessarily in agreement with everything which he has stated. Therefore, if you have a strong disagreement with anything which Chuck has stated here, don't kill the messenger. But remember, if you're going to dispute something, be prepared to refute it.
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