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