Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

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Friday, January 29, 2010


Today I return to yet another sea serpent washed ashore in the United States. These are beginning to occur in my research with some frequency, now, even though I have only been researching for a few weeks. Perhaps the beached remains of unidentified sea-serpent-like remains are not as rare as once thought. It even seems that they are caught now and then. Suppose it becomes possible one day to survey and translate the world`s newspapers; how many captured sea serpents might turn up? Quite a few, I expect.

The story is from a Kentucky newspaper, `The Paducah Sun` of July 12th 1899 and runs as follows:

'A sea monster has been captured at Patchogue, L. I. (? Long Island,possibly?) The telegram which brings the information says that its weight is nearly half a ton. It is ten feet long, eight feet wide and three feet thick. It has a head and neck as large as a common barrel and feet and legs like the claws of a dragon. The strange creature, which is still alive and very ugly in disposition, snapping at everything that approaches, and hissing like a steam engine, was caught in a fisherman`s net four miles from shore.' (1)

Sounds a bit like a crocodile; but hissing?

Now the Iymandau:

'STRANGE IYMANDAU GRACES CONEY ISLAND. Caught in Africa`s Wild, Joseph`s Coat Is Mild To His Colouring. So rare that several dictionaries do not mention it, an iymandau, so called by the press agent, appeared for the first time in a cage at Bostock`s in…Coney Island…This particular iymandau was recently captured in Central Africa…The iymandau has a head like a rat and is strikingly coloured. It has a bright yellow stripe that runs from the back of the head, becoming narrower until it comes to a point at the root of the tail. A black “jacket” runs from the ears down around the body and back to the hind legs. Its tail is about two feet long and its body, from tip of nose to root of tail, is about the same length' (2)

The article concludes by describing how it strangles its victims to death. Lovely!!

I did a Google search for Iymandau and looked it up in On The Track of Unknown Animals by Heuvelmans but could find no reference to the Iymandau there either.

1. The Paducah Sun. July 12th 1899
2. The Washington Times July 21st 1908


Dale Drinnon said...

Those are some mighty interesting dimensions in the first case: ten feet long by eight feet wide is no croc whatever it is. It is nearly circular.

I suspect the Iymandu is a sort of a mongoose thing, unless that name is a badly scrambled version of coatimundi

shiva said...

A big leatherback turtle, perhaps?

(The first thing that came to mind on reading the description was ocean sunfish, but i very much doubt its fins could be interpreted as "legs like a dragon". Although the turtle isn't much better (the only image i could find of a leatherback's back legs was this: http://www.arkive.org/leatherback-turtle/dermochelys-coriacea/image-G29802.html ), at least it's a reptile and *has* legs...)

Dale Drinnon said...

I am suspecting the "Captured Sea Monster" was one of those possible "Father-of-All-the-Turtles/Outsized Leatherbacks with the front flippers badly described (the report seems to describe the hind limbs only in that case)or else possibly somebody meant girth instead of diameter. That would mean something over 2 1/2 feet in diameter, near enough to the stated three feet feet if both are only rough measurements. In either case something at least was badly misrepresented during the transmission of the report.

stormwalkernz said...

Actually the first thing that came to mind when I read this account was a Snapping Turtle. The description and behaviour of this animal seems characteristic. I would also say it would not be beyond the bounds of possibility for one of these creatures to reach dimensions mentioned. Possibly it may have been washed out to sea, or could be a Marine species as yet unknown to science.

Just the thought