As a kid I was extremely fascinated by Dinosaurs and read voraciously on the topic. Every book on the topic I could find I would read. At one point I even thought I would grow up to be a Paleontologist when I was older so that I could spend everyday with these wonderfully fascinating beasts. As with many of my childhood ambitions, my dream of being a paleontologist was abandoned when I found out how terribly boring their day-to-day lives were, and as I discovered the wild and crazy world of Fortean phenomena.
Imagine my surprise when I found that these two seemingly disparate passions found an interesting intersection in the form of modern sightings of living dinosaurs! The current scientific theories suggest that the demise of the dinosaurs began some 65 million years ago, give a take a few years for stragglers to completely die out. This allowed our ancestors, the mammals, to gain a foothold on the planet and for humans to eventually arrive on the scene (thanks to the intervention of the Annunaki of course wink, wink).
Since when has science ever had the final answer on anything? After all, prior to 1938 it was generally believed that the Coelacanth, a close relative to the lungfish, had been extent since the Cretaceous period. This turned out to not quite be the case as fisherman began collecting very-much alive specimens of the species. Who’s to say that some other dinosaurs also didn’t survive the decimation of their fellows and continued flourishing to this very day (aside from conventional wisdom, but who needs that?)
With this in mind I offer to you dear reader the following tales and accounts of interactions with giant terrible lizards who certainly should not be roaming around any longer. As always draw your own conclusions as to the validity of the reports. For myself, I will take these people by their word until sufficient evidence comes in to the contrary.
Perhaps the most (in)famous of all living dinosaurs is Mokele-Mbembe which translates as "one who stops the flow of rivers" in the language of the people of the Congo river basin. Mokele is a favorite dinosaur of my wife and many others for that matter. Sightings of the creature have been reported in Western sources for a few hundred years. Mokele makes his home in the Congo River basin of Africa traditionally in Lake Tele. Local tradition holds that Mokele is an herbivore which seems to prefer shallow waters. The creature most clearly resembles a Sauropod.
One of the earlier “modern” accounts comes from just over 100 years ago. Commissioned by the German government, which had a colony in the area of the Congo, Capt. Freiherr von Stein zu Lausnitz came in the area to do a survey of the land. His writings report the following.
The animal is said to be of a brownish-gray color with a smooth skin, its size is approximately that of an elephant; at least that of a hippopotamus. It is said to have a long and very flexible neck and only one tooth but a very long one; some say it is a horn. A few spoke about a long, muscular tail like that of an alligator. Canoes coming near it are said to be doomed; the animal is said to attack the vessels at once and to kill the crews but without eating the bodies. The creature is said to live in the caves that have been washed out by the river in the clay of its shores at sharp bends. It is said to climb the shores even at daytime in search of food; its diet is said to be entirely vegetable. This feature disagrees with a possible explanation as a myth. The preferred plant was shown to me, it is a kind of liana with large white blossoms, with a milky sap and applelike fruits. At the Ssombo River I was shown a path said to have been made by this animal in order to get at its food. The path was fresh and there were plants of the described type nearby. But since there were too many tracks of elephants, hippos, and other large mammals it was impossible to make out a particular spoor with any amount of certainty
The above was reported by Jerome Clark in his Unexplained! 2nd edition, which as I’ve pointed out previously on this blog has a newly printed 3rd edition.
Expedition after expedition has been mounted to find this creature over time, all clearly unsuccessful. The thing that allows this creature to remain a possibility is the fact that this area is home to the second largest rainforest in the world. This is all to say that it’s not terribly unlikely that a small population of sauropods could have survived to this day.
Relatively large-winged reptiles which took the skies some time in the late Jurassic Period. Some of them had wingspans upwards of 16 ft or more, with one of the largest being Hatzegopteryx thambema(having 33-36 ft). Like other dinosaurs, the Pterosaurs died out near the end of the Cretaceous period, or did they?
Writing for paranormal.about.com, Stephen Wagner relates the following accounts of people that claimed to have seen the Pterosaur very much alive.
January, 1976, Harlingen, Texas - Jackie Davis (14) and Tracey Lawson (11) reported seeing a "bird" on the ground that stood five feet tall, was dark in color with a bald head and a face like a gorilla's with a sharp, six-inch-long beak. A subsequent investigation by their parents uncovered tracks that had three toes and were eight inches across.
February, 1976, San Antonio, Texas - Three elementary school teachers saw what they described as a pterodactyl swooping low over their cars as they drove. They said its wingspan was between 15 and 20 feet. One of the teachers commented that it glided through the air on huge, bony wings - like a bat's.
September, 1982, Los Fresnos, Texas - An ambulance driver named James Thompson was stopped while driving on Highway 100 by his sighting of a "large birdlike object" flying low over the area. He described it as black or grayish with a rough texture, but no feathers. It had a five- to six-foot wingspan, a hump on the back of its head, and almost no neck at all. After consulting some books to identify the creature, he decided it most looked like a pterosaur.
These stories are anecdotal to the extreme of course, but as always I’m not sure what more we have to go on besides the stories. The accounts are interesting to say the least, but who knows how much validity there is to them.
Loch Ness ‘Monster’
Plesiosaurs first arrived on the scene, the scene being Earth’s oceans of course, some 205 million years ago during the the Triassic period. They officially lived until about 66 million years ago going extinct about the same time as all of their reptile brethren did. Except that one of them didn’t get the extinction memo and has shown up a number of times over the years in a lake in Scotland. The earliest “sighting” allegedly happened to a Saint Columba in the 6th century, who used his god powers to keep the beast at bay. The modern version of Nessie begins in 1933 with the following account by a George Spicer and his wife who claim to have seen a creature which they described as “having a large body (about 1.2 metres (3 ft 11 in) high and 7.6 metres (25 ft) long), and long, narrow neck, slightly thicker than an elephant's trunk and as long as the 10–12-foot (3–4 m) width of the road; the neck had undulations in it. They saw no limbs, possibly because of a dip in the road obscuring the animal's lower portion” (Wikipedia).
1934 brought us the so called “Surgeon’s Photograph” (shown above) which was purportedly captured by Robert Kenneth Wilson and was later to be published in the Daily Mail on April 21, 1934. The good doctor claimed to have taken the picture after sighting the creature in the Loch, although the photo is generally believed to be a hoax.
As with Mokele, many expeditions have been mounted to capture on film Nessie and all have proven fruitless. The reason for this may be that Nessie isn’t as corporeal as one may assume. A blogger over at the aptly named LOCH NESS MONSTER blogspot page discusses the author, Ted Holiday’s more interesting explanation for the Loch Ness Monster posited in his 1979 work The Goblin Universe.
The blogger writes:
This theory essentially borrowed from the obscure work of a Professor Harold Burr in positing that Nessie was a three dimensional form which could be formed and held by something Burr called Life Fields which were electrical in nature and had some organic organising properties.
Burr proposed this as a biological principle but Holiday took it further in suggesting that a mind could control the process and cause unexpected forms to materialise. Indeed, he proposed a universal mind akin to God as the controller of these phenomemon though the discussion also included the human mind and the collective subconciousness of the entire human race.
I don’t have much more to say on the topic of Nessie, the creature is so iconic at this point I’m not too sure what I could add that hasn’t already been said. Although I do wish to point the reader towards something Greg Taylor wrote up about a Nick Redfern article for the Dark Lore Vol 2 anthology entitled “"What Lies Beneath"
We come now to our final stop on today’s tour of “living dinosaurs” and what better place to wrap it up than with the ‘king’ himself? At some point during the Cretaceous period our friend the Tyrannosaurus Rex arrived on the scene instilling in all creatures living at the time mixed feelings. On the one hand, T. Rex was one of the largest land carnivores ever known to have lived. On the other, their arms were almost comically tiny. I digress. T. Rex were known to have roamed of much of what is now North America and, as with most of our other friends we’ve spoken about today, to have gone extinct around 65 million years ago. Or perhaps not? Blogger Peter James Theiss, relates the following accounts on his Dinoplaza blog about sightings of a creature in Australia called the Burrunjor. This creature, by all accounts, sounds strikingly like our friend the T. Rex. Here are some of the accounts Theiss shares:
In 1922, north of Cloncurry, stock men saw a "big lizard monster" that was bipedal and moved its tail from side to side when walking.
In 1950, in the Burketown region, two reptile tracks were sighted by ranchers.
Back in 1950, cattlemen lost stock to some mysterious beast that left the mutilated, half-eaten remains of cows and bulls in its wake over a wide area, stretching between the border country and Burketown. At first the cattlemen suspected crocodiles, but, Charles Waterman, a cattleman, described a "fearsome", mottled 20 foot tall beast carrying a cow in its jaws that bounded out of sight as he hid behind a bush.
Searchers on horseback found huge reptilian tracks of some bipedal-walking beast. They followed these three-toed tracks with their cattle dogs through some rough jungle terrain until they entered swampland beyond which was more dense scrub.
However, it was at this point that the cattle dogs became uneasy and ran off. The horses were also uneasy and obviously did not want to cross the swamp. While most of the cattlemen decided their animals knew best, two men set off on foot with their carbines.
The story goes that they soon came across further tracks in an open area beyond the swamp. While his mate searched about, the other man briefly spotted the dark form of an enormous creature, perhaps 30 ft. in height, further off in dense timber. The men left the scene in haste.
Be sure to head over to Theiss’ blog in order to read more of the accounts that he shares. What is going on here? Is there some kind of Dinosaur living in Australia? We all know that the country has all sorts of bizarre and kooky animals, maybe living dinosaurs are just another part of the fauna of the land?
One of the biggest criticisms of the continued existence of our friends the Pterosaurs, Mokele-Mbembe, T-Rex or Burrunjor, and the Loch Ness Monster are the locations where they are sighted don’t necessarily have a lot of good hiding places for them. Mokele could, at least in theory, hide in the rain forest, Pterosaurs? Not so much. After all, most of them are sighted in the Midwest of the United States. There aren't too many places for a giant flying creature to hide. Honestly the same can be said of the Loch Ness Monster. Yes, Loch Ness is actually quite large and deep. The problem is that there doesn't seem to be a big enough population of creatures living in the Loch to sustain a Plesiosaur or family of them. Of course this is working under the assumption that these are actual physical creatures and not phantoms from another time. Which, seeing as this is the world of the Fortean, who can say they aren't?
For all we know these creatures could be slipping temporarily from their own time and invading ours. And really, is this any crazier than their existing currently living dinosaurs? That’s all for now dear readers, be sure to check back in on Monday for more from the strange world of the Fortean!