This intrigued me a bit!
The “Montauk Monster” was an unidentified creature that allegedly washed ashore dead on a beach near the Montauk, New York, business district in July 2008. The identity of the creature, and the veracity of stories surrounding it, have been the subject of unresolved controversy and speculation.
The story began with a July 23, 2008 article in a local newspaper, The Independent. Jared Dicks, 22, of California, and three friends said they found the creature on July 12 at the Ditch Plains beach, two miles east of the district. The beach is a popular surfing spot at Rheinstein Estate Park owned by the town of East Hampton. Jenna Hewitt was quoted:
We were looking for a place to sit when we saw some people looking at something… We didn’t know what it was… We joked that maybe it was something from Plum Island.
Her color photograph ran in black and white under the headline “The Hound of Bonacville” (a take-off on the name Bonackers, which refers to the natives of East Hampton, and The Hound of the Baskervilles which is a book in the Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). The light-hearted article speculated that the creature might be a turtle or some mutant experiment from the Plum Island Animal Disease Center before noting that Larry Penny, the East Hampton Natural Resources Director, had concluded it was a raccoon with its upper jaw missing. The article concluded that “someone took it away… to be buried… we hope.” A local newspaper quoted an unidentified woman, who claimed that the animal was only the size of a cat, and had decomposed to a skeleton by the time of the press coverage. She would not identify its location for inspection. Hewitt’s father denies claims that his daughter is keeping the body’s location a secret.
Hewitt and her friends were interviewed on Plum-TV, a local cable television show. Alanna Navitski, an employee of Evolutionary Media Group in Los Angeles, California, passed a photo of the creature to Anna Holmes at Jezebel, claiming that a friend’s sister saw the monster in Montauk. Holmes then passed it along to fellow Gawker Media website Gawker.com which gave it wide attention on July 29 under the headline “Dead Monster Washes Ashore in Montauk”.
Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman at Cryptomundo first coined the name the “Montauk Monster” on July 29, 2008. The moniker was disseminated globally on the Internet in the following days. Photographs were widely circulated via email and weblogs, and the national media picked up on it raising speculation about the creature. The potential urban legend stature of the Montauk Monster was noted by Snopes.
In May 2009, the National Post reported that the owner of montauk-monster.com claimed to have found another incarnation.
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