On the eve of April Fools Day, a string of reported grizzly bear sightings roaming Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk in the UK have been exposed as a hoax. Several people reported seeing the bear but it has since been discovered that it was all part of an elaborate scam to raise publicity for a local attraction. Some other mysterious beasts and animals have now become legendary the world over, despite their existence not actually having been proven conclusively:
The Loch Ness Monster – Scotland, United Kingdom, Western Europe
Nessie, as the Loch Ness Monster is affectionately known, was first spotted by the Spicer family in 1933 who claimed to have nearly driven into it on the road. They were truly horrified by the experience and described a 35 foot black, prehistoric creature, which must of come as something of a shock whilst on a family outing! The next year Dr. Robert Kenneth Wilson took a very convincing photo of Nessie, which showed a dinosaur-like head. The first ever recorded sighting was apparently by St. Columba, who brought Christianity to Scotland in the year 563 and it is claimed converted Nessie from eating humans. Experts have long since debated whether The Loch Ness Monster does exist and whether there is enough food in the loch and indeed if it is warm enough for a warm blooded creature of that size to survive, although estimates have put the Loch as deep as 812 feet. Many are convinced of Nessie’s existence and liken the sightings to others that are similar across the world such as the Tarasque of Halong Bay in Vietnam, Isshii of Lake Ikeda in Japan, Bessie of Lake Erie in the USA and Champ of Lake Champlain in Vermont.
Bigfoot – West Coast, USA, North America
Residents of Canada and the USA have reported seeing a huge ape-like creature for over two centuries. It has been called Bigfoot since 1958 following the discovery of massive footprints in Northern California. It has also been called Sasquatch, Momo and the Ohio Grassman. The animal has been sighted in every state of America and in parts of Canada and has been described as being up to ten feet tall, covered in dark hair with huge feet. Bigfoot hit the spotlight bigtime in 1967 when Bob Gimlin and Roger Patterson took the now famous film at Bluff Creek in California, which shows a female Bigfoot walking into the forest after pausing to stare into straight at the camera. Scary stuff indeed, but is it a hoax or does Bigfoot actually exist?
The Giant Anaconda – Brazil, South America
In Brazil in 1907, an explorer called Major Percy Fawcett heard stories from local people of fifty-foot anacondas seen in the local area. He shot a 62-foot anaconda that swam in the Rio Negro near to his boat and in 1933 a ninety-foot anaconda was killed by the Rio Oiapoc, the event has been supported by the Brazil-Columbia Boundary Commission. There is also a photo from 1948, which shows a one hundred-foot snake monster that was seen in the Rio Oiapoc area. Scientists continue to work in the area and there have been suggestions that that there could be creatures up to 150 feet long, which would certainly liven up your Brazilian forest trek!
The Yeti or Abominable Snowman – Tibet, Eastern Asia
The word ‘Yeti’, which means ‘rock bear’, comes from the indigenous people of the Himalayas although the creature has been spotted all over the world. The Yeti is reported to be eight feet tall with long limbs and covered in long hair and is also called the Jungle Yeti and the Yeti of the Amazon. Is it a hoax, is it a monkey or is it a bear? Hair specimens and dung were found in the 1950s and Sir Edmund Hillary was convinced he saw Yeti footprints whilst climbing Everest in 1953. So is the creature that is said to be the spitting image of Chewbacca out there, or is the Abominable Snowman also a prank?
The Nandi Bear – Kenya, Eastern Africa
The Duba, or Nandi Bear is reported to be a massive hyena that has the face of a bear and preys on Kenya, seeking out humans on dark nights. The red coated creature is named after the Nandi tribe in western Kenya who have been telling stories of the creature for hundreds of years. Europeans from the time of the Roman conquests recorded bear sightings in Africa although The Nandi Bear is said to be similar to the Atlas Bear, which lived in Africa over four million years ago. Is its said that the reports are too reliable to be a trick so watch out for the bear on your next Kenyan Safari!
Megalodon Shark – Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Oceania
A shark that was twice the size of the largest ever recorded great white lived in the oceans around Australia during the Miocene and Pliocene eras. This was estimated to be around 16 million years ago although there were also sightings of a thirty-foot shark in the Gulf of Mexico by fishermen. Too much rum maybe, although it will get you thinking next time you watch the Jaws films!
Con Rit – Halong, Vietnam, South East-Asia
Deep in the water of Halong Bay in Vietnam is rumoured to be a fifty foot long beast that is said to have a brown armoured body and is known locally as Con Rit, the Vietnamese water dragon. Con Rit is an age old legend and the last sightings were in the 1870 when locals discovered the headless carcass but threw back into the water as the decomposing stench was so overpowering. Scientists believe that similar creatures still live in the ocean and are keen to known more about the giant cave-dwelling crustaceans.
By Julie Bowman