Sunday, 14 August 2016

Return of the Mega Sharks!!

Who doesn't love a giant shark story? There are fair few, as I long ago wrote about in "Mega Sharks!!!!".

It's been a while since I wrote that post and I thought I'd take a look at what's been going on in the important realm of "really ginormous sharks". Plenty it seems!

First up comes a stunning video of an incredibly large great white. Deep Blue was filmed in 2013 off Mexico's Guadalupe Island. She is very healthy looking and likely in her 50s. In my original post I lamented we may never see large great whites like this again but I'm pleased to be proven wrong.

Next up is a story from earlier this year in which Australian patrol helicopters spotted (then escorted out to sea) a 7 metre long great white just 100 metres off the shore. Again another very positive sign to see an older, larger shark still surviving despite our best efforts.

One of the largest tiger sharks ever recorded (at around 5.5m long) was killed last year off Australia's east coast. Despite it's unfortunate fate it is yet another very good sign to find we're still finding unexpectedly large specimens.

The Greenland shark can reach massive lengths, up to 6.5 metres, but new evidence has come to light that they could live for nearly 400 years

Last month marked the 100th anniversary of the infamous Jersey Shore shark attacks. For an epic and authoritative work based on the attacks I cannot recommend 12 Days of Terror enough. There's more on the unveiling of a new memorial to the victims here

But before we get too positive... yet another very sound argument against the continued existence of megalodon has come out. Come on guys, let us dream a little! ;)

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Pokemon Go Sheds Light On The Loveland Frogmen Mystery

Pokemon Go is a craze that has spread around the world and, I'm sure you Dear Constant Readers will be well aware, my house with amazing speed. Catching monsters out in the wild has never been easier, getting us couch potatoes out the door in search of elusive creatures. And supposedly it has already led to encounters with some of our planet's own "legendaries".

A couple have this month claimed to have encountered and photographed (see link) the Loveland Frogmen (or at least a giant frog) whilst out playing Pokemon Go! Whilst crouched like a frog when they first saw it, it rose to its hind legs before disappearing into the night. The pictures look like a 1970s Doctor Who monster done on an even smaller budget. Sceptical? I may well be. But not as much as I am after what has subsequently happened.

I've written about the Loveland Frogmen before. In that post I quoted an interview with one of the key, claimed, sources for the myth, Mark Matthews, who made it clear he thought it was just a lizard. The latest "encounter" has allowed his version of events to come to the fore again and he made it even plainer that the creature he not only saw but also killed(!) was just a large iguana. His attempts to explain this to those who've set out to investigate the Frogmen have often been outright ignored over the years but, at last, he's getting some much needed exposure.

I love monsters. I really love frogs. And who doesn't love a good mystery? But I think it is safe to say that the Loveland Frogmen are more myth than reality. They make the Pokemon now inhabiting our mobiles seem real by comparison! Happy hunting, monster lovers!

Further Reading



Saturday, 9 April 2016

Hunting Monsters: Cryptozoology and the Reality Behind the Myths

My love of the paranormal and weird runs way back into my early life. As a child I lapped up books on ghost stories, UFO abductions and the Loch Ness monster. When my atheism and scepticism began to slowly take me away from such childish things I went kicking and screaming (as evidenced by this blog, my attempt to hold on to the stories even as belief slipped away). Once you've allowed yourself to believe the world is a "magical" place, why would you want to wake up to reality? 

A year or so ago I read Abominable Science: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids, a brilliant step-by-step take down of every major tenet of cryptozoological lore. I was by then well past belief in any woo but it acted as a refreshing breeze of sanity and science to help clear away the last delusional cobwebs. A great read which I very much recommend for really seeing how little evidence there is for pretty much any cryptid you can think of.

Now Darren Naish has written a similar book. Again it demolishes case after case. He does so with an ease that highlights just how much wishful thinking one has to put in to believing in bigfoot or Loch Ness monster just to make them seem possible.

However the book won't surprise any sceptic with a decent knowledge of cryptid lore. It feels somewhat unnecessary coming a couple of years after Abominable Science.

That's not to say it isn't a well-written, well-researched and easy to read take-down of cryptozoology. It sets out a clear, rational case to be sceptical of claims made about "undiscovered" animals. And that serves a valuable purpose in fighting woomeisters and creationists alike.