Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 17th, 2007
‘Mystery Moose’ on the loose
This big fella’s made headlines for 100 years – a walking enigma or one tall tale?
Antlers 10 feet across. A hide so thick it stops bullets.
White. Surly. Elusive.
The sight of him is so frightening, he once scared a bicyclist up a tree.
So intriguing, the stars of Sci-Fi Channel’s “Ghost Hunters” gave Maine’s “Mystery Moose” a four-page spread in their spin-off magazine.
It’s a 2,500-pound enigma that’s maybe roamed the woods here for 100-plus years.
A little extra attention might just drum up more sightings, and some answers, said Loren Coleman, a noted cryptozoologist from Portland, who wrote the piece for TAPS Paramagazine’s January issue. (For the uninitiated, TAPS stands for The Atlantic Paranormal Society.)
Newspapers in Texas, Minnesota and Pennsylvania have carried stories about hunters’ run-ins with Maine’s mystery or “Specter Moose.” He’s white or dirty gray, twice normal size and typically just a bit too far from any gun’s reach or so swift he disappears in a blink. (The director at the online Museum of Hoaxes called it “a moose version of Moby Dick.”)
After a sighting in 1900, the Minnesota Freeborn County Standard declared the mega-moose a “wonder of sportsmen in northern Maine since 1891.”
The Pennsylvania Charleroi Mail reported on a “gigantic beast … ten to fifteen feet high, dirty white in color, brandishing immense antlers” in 1938.
Coleman thinks hunters are maybe seeing albino game, but there might also be something else going on. As recently as last summer, he got a call from a reporter on Maine’s coast saying that he was hearing from people who’d spotted really giant, brown moose.
“I remain very open-minded,” Coleman said. He’s 98 percent sure it’s not a new species.
Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife hadn’t heard about the big mystery. “We’re talking about an animal that wouldn’t be able to hide very well in the Maine woods,” said spokesman Mark Latti.
Maine banned moose hunting in the 1930s – the population was dwindling – and restarted the season in 1980. “In those 26 years (of revived hunting), no one’s come close to taking an animal that large,” he said.
(Four or five years ago, a hunter here did take down a white moose and planned a full-body taxidermy on it, Latti said. They’re pretty rare.)
Average bull moose weight, alive, is about up to 1,200 pounds. A big rack is 5 feet across.
For now, there’s no body of proof that the mystery moose did, or does, exist, but the story certainly has legs.
R.W. Bluestroke, TAPS’ publisher, said reporting on the paranormal and cryptids is “like everything else, like politics. You hear it, you read it, you believe it – or not – that it’s true.”
Maine’s one of the busier states when it comes to sightings and activity for those sorts of things, he said.
To wit: Coleman, who keeps a daily blog at Cryptomundo.com, has written TAPS Paramagazine’s February cover story on “New England & the Maritimes Monsters of the Sea” with a top 10 list on “Lake Monsters of New England.” Three are in Maine.
The magazine, just over a year old, is subscription-only until March, when it hits newsstands.Kathryn Skelton, reporter, Lewiston Sun-Journal, February 17, 2007.
Footnote from Loren Coleman: Anyone that has hiked much in Maine and other locations that support the Pleistocene megafauna called “moose” in North America and “elk” in Eurasia, know that these huge animals hide themselves extremely well in the woods and underbrush.
People driving along the rural and major highway routes in Maine are constantly surprised that a moose has been feeding on fresh growth or licking salt next to their road, until it jumps out in front of their car.