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Monday, July 16, 2007

The White River Monster

Most aquatic “monsters” are associated with lakes and similar large bodies of water, though at least a few are associated with rivers. The White River Monster of Newport, Arkansas, is one of these.

Sightings have occurred intermittently since the early 1900s, with at least one photograph (though blurry, you can clearly make out the bony spine from reports) of the creature having been taken in the 1970s. According to nearly all reports, the creature is at least 12’ long and 3-4’ wide, though others report it as being “the length of three or four pickup trucks.” One account claims that a boat, bearing two grown men, was lifted out of the water on the back of an unseen beast of immense size.

Many of the accounts claim a roar accompanies the creature’s appearance, something between a cow’s moo and a horse’s neigh. It is said to have some sort of bone-like protrusion from its forehead. While a lot of the reports are similar, almost all reports indicate that, when the creature rises, the water becomes foamy and bubbly, often resulting in a large waterspout that can leap 30’ or more into the air.

Biologist and cryptozoologist, Roy P. Mackal, suggests “The animal in question clearly was a large male elephant seal...” He thinks the animal made its way into the river through the Mississippi. Of course, that is possible, but highly unlikely. Many of the sightings were made by fishermen and even a Deputy Sheriff. While elephant seals are not native to the area, they were most certainly known to most people by the 1970s, and the photograph, while blurry, clearly does not indicate a seal of any kind.

It does not appear that any (or many) sightings have occurred since the 1970s.

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