The story of the Montauk Monster went viral in 2008. It was in the summer of this year when the photos of a creature that looked like it had come out of a science lab resurfaced. Everyone was wondering what was this monster and where did it come from?
A few of the experts said that it was a mutilated raccoon. However, when the government officials mysteriously took away the carcass, various conspiracy theories took root.
To this day, no one is entirely certain of what is the Montauk Monster. The strange images continue to faze us, with more sightings appearing around the world. Even if most of them were proved to be hoaxes, the original Monster of Montauk certainly wasn't one of them.
Where Did The Montauk Monster Appear?
This was a carcass that was found and photographed by three women on July 13, 2008. The corpse was found in front of the Surfside restaurant on a beach in Montauk, New York.
The madness of the Montauk Monster started shortly after, on July 23, 2008. First, there was a short article in the newspaper The Independent about this strange creature. But, the news spread like wildfire throughout the nation. The "Montauk Monster" became a trending topic before the term had even been mentioned.
People were practically jumping to conclusions as this strange carcass was encountered in a posh New York business district of Staten Island, with a secretive lab just a few miles away. When a monster beaches on the sand near any secretive lab, it is an excellent plot for any mystery novel.
In the original article, it was Jenna Hewitt of Montauk that first photographed the Montauk monster. One morning, she was out with three of her friends when they ran into a sight that shocked them. This terrifying creature was surfaced on the beach right before them, and they had no idea how to react.
This happened on the Ditch Plains beach, two miles east of the Montauk district. The spot is a popular surfing area at Rheinstein Estate Park. This mysterious carcass was undoubtedly mammal, but it did not look like any known animal species.
The image of the creature provoked much debate. It was thought that the photographs were a hoax. However, this was soon proven not to be the case.
Another debate started when the pictures were proven authentic: what kind of animal it might have been? Where did it come from? Some were guessing it was a dead raccoon, dog, or pig. Others were sure experiments were conducted on the nearby Plum Island, an island with lots of conspiracy theories surrounding it.
Mysterious Case Of Montauk Monster
Once the photographs of this morbid creature started making the rounds, the government had no other choice but to chime in. Shortly after the photos became viral, dime-store owners and street hustlers were selling Montauk Monster souvenirs in the Hamptons.
Plastic toys, bags, shirts, and baseball caps with the images of the supposed monster were sold like hotcakes. There was even a tour for 20 dollars where you could be taken to the site the creature had been photographed on.
Over time, scientists agreed that the corpse was likely a raccoon due to the fingers and body shape. However, the skull appeared to be beaked, which still presented a mystery. While there were debates about the monster's origin and what exactly it was, various other fake monsters started surfacing. Most of them were proved to be hoaxes.
The strangest thing related to the Montauk Monster was the fact that this carcass was taken away. It did not simply disappear, and it did not decay naturally. It was taken away by government officials.
In 2004, there was a local outbreak in the Plum Island of the foot-and-mouth disease that strained the officials in this area. After noticing that their secret site was getting limelight media attention again, they decided to investigate.
Shortly after, the body was nowhere to be found. Some claimed on live T.V. that men in black hazmat suits came and took the body away.
The True Story Of The Montauk Monster
Over the years, many researchers tried to unveil the mystery of the Montauk Monster. When this decaying animal washed up on Montauk shore in Long Island in July, the rumors started. Over time this monster was dubbed as the dog with a beak. But his wasn't enough.
Several experts took a stab at figuring out the animal's true origin. The bloated carcass wasn't in perfect shape, so this was difficult to do. As the corpse was missing some teeth, had long legs, and had decayed before it could be gathered for study, this process took years.
After a closer look at the photos, the animal appeared to be a raccoon. Larry Penny, the direction of Natural Resources of East Hampton, said the following:
"We thought it could be a raccoon that was skinned and has its upper jaw missing."
However, paleontologist Darren Naish later wrote a pretty convincing argument that the monster is a Raccoon Procyon lotor.
The carcass of the Montauk monster had extraordinary, elongated, almost human-like fingers with short claws. He said that it was the digits of the hands that gave this away for him. According to him, raccoons are well known for having particularly dextrous fingers. The lack of the interdigital webbing usually present in carnivorans is what makes them unique.
He also says that raccoons are actually surprisingly leggy. In addition, there is the fact that raccoons are often seen in that area and scurrying around residential neighborhoods.
It is quite possible that this raccoon got swept away by the sea. The same happened to a few unfortunate people who died around the same time from the strong rip currents in the area. The corpse of the monster is no longer there, and it won't be possible to say this for sure. However, this is the most plausible theory.
Another Montauk Monster Found On Staten Island?
In 2019, Evan Didyk of Montauk was walking on the beach with his girlfriend. They were headed west toward where the sand started to turn into rocks. Their walk was cut short abruptly when they noticed a faint animal-rotten smell. As the two had been searching for driftwood to take home, they approached the beach. However, what they saw there was the rotten carcass of an animal they didn't recognize.
"I continued on walking and the smell worsened. It became very foul and pungent. As I'm looking down, I see this hideous, bloated, dead creature. At first it blended into the surrounding rocks. I performed a double-take and saw it lying there."
He later said that he was stunned, shocked, and taken off-guard. Who wouldn't be when faced with such an oddity? He managed to snap a few pictures and decided to end his walk there. After this, his images made the rounds of the internet.
Was this new sighting the same as the one that took the internet by storm more than ten years ago? No one could say for sure.