Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 1st, 2008
New photographs, above, have been published of the “Montauk Monster,” which allegedly washed up on a beach in Montauk. These photos are by Christina Pampalone.
The Montauk Monster has created an Internet sensation. It is today’s #1 Yahoo search. It’s been on Cryptomundo, Boing Boing, and The Anomalist for days. It reminds me of the “Maine Mutant.” Sometimes these kinds of things have a life of their own, so to speak, especially if there is a compelling image.
Now we are seeing everyone under the sun piggyback (pun-intended) on the Montauk Monster. That’s okay. We’ve been here before.
It is a cryptid, an unknown animal, until it is identified, of course, and that makes for a great story for the mainstream media, when they have a photo or even a few.
Joye Brown of Newsday reports today that the story is indeed real.
Brown tells of how the famed photo (seen directly above) has a known photographer: “Jenna Hewitt, of Montauk, and three friends crept up to examine one side. And Hewitt snapped the camera shot heard ’round the world.”
Christina Pampalone, of East Northport, however, had actually taken the first photos (one is shown at the top of this posting).
“I was telling people, all day (Wednesday), that I had better photos,” Pampalone said.
“Everybody I showed her pictures to said it looks like a dead dog,” her friend Ryan O’Shea, of Brooklyn, said.
“But looking at the claws, and at the teeth in the front, it looked like it could be something else, something vicious.”
It was relatively small, roughly 21/2 to 3 feet long, he said.
Brown notes that the rumor that the thing is in someone’s backyard is false, apparently, as it has been moved.
Interestingly, Brown has collected some other interesting info from his readers:
Joann Dileardo saw it at the end of Roe Avenue in Patchogue, a few weeks ago. “I didn’t know what that thing was,” she said. “It looked like a pig.”
Another reader, Pat, e-mailed that the ladies in his office saw it on an East Quogue beach — back in April.
Elizabeth Barbeiri said her family saw it about a mile east of Gurney’s Inn in Montauk, July 14. And Ryan Kelso, via iPhone, said he spotted it — alive! — in the Montauk dunes. “It looked about the size of an average fox, gray in color, eyes like a mole, hairless and was breathing quite heavily,” he wrote, “needless to say we were freaked out by this discovery and fled the area quickly.”
Lavey Fater saw a surfer bring one to shore, near Ditch Plains.
“It was hairless and gross,” Fater reported. “… The surfer said he had no idea what it was, but that he threw it in the dunes because he didn’t want to be surfing next to it.”
Keith found something last week in Greenport; Chris found one a month ago at Jones Beach east of Field 6. (“The one I saw had a longer snout or beak or whatever you want to call it.”) Sean said he buried one, 3 feet deep, in South Jamesport.
Of course, you notice Cryptomundo carried news of this as soon as we heard about it three days ago, and, no doubt, contributed to spreading the news. Then we became positively involved through commenting on the Venom search for the “monster.”
The response has been generally good-humored and filled with crypto-intrigue regarding the fact Dr. Pepper/Snapple’s Venom Energy Drink would offer a bounty for the live capture of the Montauk Monster.
Prizes, bounties, and cryptomarketing are nothing new to the popular cultural side of cryptozoology.
As recently as the Bushnell Trailcam and the Wizards of the Coast Duel Masters Card prizes, there have been bounties.
In only a small percentage of the comments recorded at Cryptomundo (two that I could quickly find) did I note a lack of historical referencing, regarding cryptids being used in ads.
People wrote in, saying:
“Is this the beginning of a new advertising trend? Will companies begin to monetize cryptid sightings?”
“And for Venom to so quickly jump in with their ad campaign, utilizing loren of all people, and playing this up so, smacks of hype, Madison Avenue, and frankly muddies the waters where genuine cryptozoological interests can be raised.”
While there have been many older examples, one can look back to 1997, to discover Rene Dahinden was immortalized in a popular television ad for Kokanee beer.
Dahinden’s pursuit of Sasquatch had made him so famous that the brewers of Kokanee beer asked him to play himself in the commercial. Even then he didn’t get to see the Sasquatch. Facing the camera, with the unpretentious mobile home he lived in as background, an off-camera narrator asks if Dahinden ever used B.C.-made Kokanee beer to lure a Sasquatch.
“Do you think I’m crazy or something?” asks Dahinden, unaware that behind him a Sasquatch is sneaking into his trailer to make off with a case of beer.
The Kokanee Sasquatch has become so famous itself today that you can find a nine-foot statue out in front of the Columbia Brewery’s Kokanee Beer Gear Store at 1220 Erickson St. Creston, British Columbia. (Anyone able to pick up some Sasquatch souvenirs there for the International Cryptozoology Museum, if you stop by? Thanks.)
Other recent examples of cryptids and commercial campaigns have included
Adrian Shine and the Loch Ness Monster selling Toyotas, and
beef jerky being sold in the series of “Messin’ With Sasquatch” commercials.
Cryptids and ads have been friendly companions for quite a few years now. There is no reason the Montauk Monster shouldn’t get the same honor.
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