Over half a century ago, the United States was in a seemingly endless war with Vietnam. Over two million young men were drafted and sent to the lush green jungles of Southeast Asia. Those deployed quickly learned about the horrors of modern combat. Millions of innocent civilians lost their lives and 58,220 Americans died in battle. Military personnel who survived the gruesome conflict returned with physical and emotional scars. All shared harrowing firsthand stories about fighting ruthless militias. However, one soldier’s astonishing experience stands out from typical veteran accounts. What he encountered during a routine mission would haunt him for the rest of his life.
Soldiers on Patrol
1970 a U.S. Army corporal was stationed thirty miles from the demilitarized zone in Southern Vietnam. ‘John’ and his team were tasked with constructing bivouac sites throughout the region. One evening he was patrolling the area in search of enemy troops. After steadily marching through dense brush the group noticed scattered movement nearby. Each man instinctively braced for armed revolutionists. While hunkering down, sporadic blurs of swift motion could be seen in the dark valley ahead. Within 15 minutes, the activity ceased so they continued trekking. Moonlight illuminated the rugged terrain as John sauntered forward. In front of him were rocks and boulders unnaturally stacked next to a peculiar structure.
Most cryptozoology enthusiasts are familiar with Mothman— the humanoid beast said to be a herald of impending doom. But did you know that Russia is home to a nearly identical creature?
On April 26th, 1986 a horrific nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl Power Plant. Reactor Number 4 became catastrophically unstable after employees performed a simulative power outage safety test. A disastrous series of events unfolded which caused an uncontrollable chain reaction. Colossal amounts of energy were released causing the activator core to explode. For nine days, fire consumed the devastated structure and spewed out astronomical levels of radioactive contaminants. Humanity felt the dire implications of a fission calamity. Dozens of first responders agonizingly perished from radiation exposure, cancer rates skyrocketed and babies were born with appalling birth defects. Pripyat, a once-thriving city, had become an uninhabitable toxic wasteland and would remain so for the next twenty-thousand years.
Some believe residents had been pre-warned of the dreadful fallout. In the weeks preceding Chernobyl’s cataclysmic incident, a series of anomalous episodes took place. Locals who lived in close proximity to the eventual ‘exclusion zone’ repeatedly encountered a mysterious creature. Witnesses described its appearance as resembling a giant mutilated headless man with piercing red eyes. Petrified onlookers dubbed the curious aerial fiend The Blackbird of Chernobyl. Those who happened upon the sinister entity suffered from haunting nightmares and menacing phone calls. Citizens began to live in constant crippling fear that they may be the next victim to behold this nefarious figure. An abysmal winged monster was terrorizing the formerly quaint town.
In the world of ufology, fewer topics are more bone-chilling than cattle mutilations.Hundreds of bovines have been discovered dead under bizarre and unusual circumstances throughout the decades. Spontaneous surgeries are performed with meticulous skill. Organs are selectively extracted with laser-like precision. All blood is completely drained from the body. Bones are shattered as if something dropped the casualty from extreme heights. A perfectly formed circle surrounds the remains and abnormally high levels of radiation are present. Unfortunately, it appears other mammals are not immune to this sickening fate. Much like our cow counterparts, humans have caught the eye of whatever sinister force is responsible for such horrifying carnage. Numerous accounts have been studied and repeatedly show a sinister agenda at work.
The Guarapiranga Case
In 1988 one of the phenomena’s most appalling cases occurred in southern Brazil. At the Guarapiranga Reservoir, an utterly grotesque scene unfolded after a man’s ravaged body surfaced. Although deceased for several days, vultures and insects completely avoided the corpse. There was not any post-mortem odor which is usually present upon decay. In fact, the cadaver did not show any signs of decomposition whatsoever. Several perfectly symmetrical holes had been carved from the flesh. His eyes, ears, lips and tongue were taken out with astonishing expertise. Each smooth cut appeared cauterized and investigators did not observe any rough or jagged edges.
Artwork has been created by human beings for thousands of years. Long before written language, drawings were used to chronicle history. One particularly intriguing aspect of ufology is a repeated presence of bizarre crafts and strange creatures throughout numerous depictions. Ancient civilizations with no contact or communication amongst themselves often illustrated eerily similar subjects: UFOs and extraterrestrials. Did our ancestors witness physical phenomena which they deemed worthy of documenting for future generations? That conclusion is for the observer to decide.
Within central Africa is a territory known as Congo Basin, a sprawling tapestry of dense jungles, flowing streams, flooded bogs and vast savannas. Over ten-thousand varieties of tropical plants cover the land, thirty percent of which are unique to this area. Inhabiting these five hundred million acres are a plethora of endangered wildlife including gorillas, elephants and chimpanzees. A total of four-hundred varieties of mammals call the region home. According to many indigenous people there is another elusive species that roams the deep Congo, a creature known as Mokele-mbembe.
In the Lingala language this name translates to “one who stops the flow of rivers”. Based on eye-witness accounts, the semi-aquatic monster is described as closely resembling a sauropod. It possesses a long snake-like neck which is supported by a round grayish-colored body. They can reach heights of over thirty feet and frequently pluck leaves from tall trees. Some allege there is a spike atop the ancient being’s head. Natives both revere and fear this enigmatic and territorial beast. Some claim Mokele-mbembe is supernatural in nature and should be avoided at all costs.
Westerners first began catching wind of the unaccounted herbivore over two hundred years ago, a time when dinosaurs remained undiscovered. Explorers who traveled to the distant landmass heard legends from nearby citizens regarding an unidentified forest-dwelling animal. One early account occurred in 1776 when French missionaries discovered huge footprints in a rural location. These tracks were similar to the size of an elephant’s, about three feet in circumference, with long claw-marks present. Each church member was perplexed as to what could have created such bizarre impressions. An escorting priest then shared he previously encountered the source firsthand. According to the man of god, he observed a prehistoric-looking brute feasting on vegetation.
During the early nineteen hundreds a German Captain, Ludwig Freiherr von Stein, was visiting the remote district. Trusted Congolese leaders warned von Stein of an enormous reptile that lived nearby. Independent sources all recounted an identical character adding further validity to such grandiose declarations. Despite extensively searching the surrounding wilderness the respected commander was unable to find hard evidence of Mokele-mbembe. Von Stein interviewed many tribesmen and chronicled his findings. In 1959 science writer Willy Ley published this section of von Stein’s report:
“The animal is said to be of a brownish-gray color with a smooth skin, its size is approximately that of an elephant; at least that of a hippopotamus. It is said to have a long and very flexible neck and only one tooth but a very long one; some say it is a horn. A fewspoke about a long, muscular tail like that of an alligator. Canoes coming near it are said to be doomed; the animal is said to attack the vessels at once and to kill the crews but without eating the bodies.The creature is said to live in the caves that have been washed out by the river in the clay of its shores at sharp bends. It is said to climb the shores even at daytime in search of food; its diet is said to be entirely vegetable. This feature disagrees with a possible explanation as a myth. The preferred plant was shown to me, it is a kind of liana with large white blossoms, with a milky sap and applelike fruits. At the Ssombo River I was shown a path said to have been made by this animal in order to get at its food. The path was fresh and there were plants of the described type nearby. But since there were too many tracks of elephants, hippos, and other large mammals it was impossible to make out a particular spoor with any amount of certainty.”
By 1932 news of the alleged saurian was spreading throughout Europe and the Americas. One British naturalist toured Likouala in hopes of catching a glimpse of the obscure giant. While traveling by canoe he began hearing intense and frightening sounds. These bellowing roars were completely different from any organism he had previously encountered. Although a lengthy investigation was conducted the thunderous source was never identified and the researcher returned home empty-handed.
That same year Ivan T. Anderson, famed zoologist and biologist, embarked on a journey to the mysterious land. As he and his endemic friends leisurely paddled down a river they began hearing haunting noises, comparable to loud rumbles produced by an earthquake. Suddenly the water beneath burst into an eruption of bubbles and a gargantuan shape emerged. Anderson said its head alone was the size of a hippopotamus and resembled something that should have gone extinct thousands of centuries ago. His aboriginal companions were familiar with this primitive entity. They informed their traumatized companion that the mythical breed goes by the name Mokele-mbembe.
Less than two decades after this bizarre incident an equally intriguing sighting took place. One warm summer day a group of English soldiers went swimming at Lake Barombi in Northern Cameroon. As the men were cooling off in the picturesque oasis an enormous figure surfaced nearby. Terrified, the troop frantically swam towards land. Once safely on shore they watched in horror as a pair of massive reptiles emerged from the murky abyss. Each possessed scaly skin and long necks with the larger specimen bearing a horn. Observers were utterly perplexed as to what these strange amphibious habitants might be.
Another fascinating case involves a reverend named Eugene Thomas. Since the 1950s he had journeyed to Congo Basin repeatedly on various mission excursions. Over time the clergy built a sincere relationship with local residents. Twenty years into his frequent trips one group of pygmies recounted a disturbing tale. Apparently, not long ago, abominable reptilian beasts began to intrude on their territory. Fishing, a vital source of sustenance, became increasingly difficult with creatures’ constant interference. In order to protect themselves they made the decision to erect a spiked fence around their waterside settlement.
Soon after, a rogue vertebrate broke through the defensive barrier. Alarmed tribal members began to throw spears and fatal wounds were inflicted. Dozens of victorious warriors harvested its colossal carcass succeeding the slaying. That night a feast ensued and many men, women and children consumed its meat. Those who ate the flesh quickly perished of a terribly agonizing sickness. Remaining pygmies who had not ingested the tainted fare were horror-stricken and utterly terrified. Following this tragedy, frightened survivors drew the conclusions that Mokele-mbembe was a paranormal spirit. Interestingly, during the early 1980s, remains of a sharpened fence were found surrounding the village.
Japanese trailblazers trekked to the exotic continent in 1988. Their goal was to capture footage of the fabled Congo inhabitant. Jose Bourges, a renown environmental official, led the expedition. While filming areal footage over Lake Tele, a videographer noticed something anomalous beneath the plane. He examined the strong wake and attempted to focus on whatever was creating this disturbance. Unfortunately, in his eager and excitable state, the cameraman did not initially remove the lens cap. Ultimately only fifteen-seconds of footage was captured. Viewers of the brief clip are torn: some believe it’s merely an elephant, others feel something entirely different was recorded.
Writer Rory Nugent visited Africa to study the world’s largest swamp. In December of 1985 he spotted a peculiar form moving across the lagoon. Closer inspection revealed it was in fact the legendary critter. Nugent moved his boat to get a better view and watched in fascination while taking several photographs. Before he could get closer look accompanying Congolese guides demanded him to stop at gunpoint. Back at camp they instructed him to destroy all the film which had been shot. Due to superstitious beliefs, locals felt that keeping the pictures would anger Mokele-mbembe and put them in great danger.
Doctor Roy Mackal, biochemist and evolutionist, dedicated his life to the pursuit of cryptozoology. Mackal was determined to prove the existence of supposed African dinosaurs. Interviews were conducted with tribes throughout multiple nations. These groups had no communication with each other nor the outside world. However, each person shared identical descriptions of the creature ranging from physical appearance to behavioral traits. During another excursion he presented flashcard illustrations to dozens of residents. Some were familiar, such as hippos, others like American black bears were completely foreign. They recognized domestic inhabitants but could not identify overseas varieties. Shockingly, when shown a rendering depicting a brontosaurus, they positively identified the sketch as Mokele-mbembe.
Science teacher Peter Beach was determined to uncover tangible proof of the shy vegetarian. Whilst exploring a muddy shoreline in 2006 he stumbled upon abnormally large footprints with prominent claws present. Surrounding canopies with abundant foliage had been completely stripped at heights in excess of eighteen feet. Giraffes, the only reasonable culprit, do not occupy this part of the country. Perplexed, Beach took snapshots to document his peculiar findings. Plaster castings were made from the unique impressions. Further analysis of the tracks has brought forward more questions than answers.
By 2009 researchers once again undertook the quest for Mokele-mbembe. Credible informants relay that during dry seasons the cryptid hides in natural caves. Air passages are dug along the riverside and eventually dry out becoming similar to concrete. Such structures ensure they have ample air supply to last through lengthy hibernative states. Investigative parties located several of these formations along the muddy embankment. Implementation of a fish finder provided further fascinating discoveries. Numerous serpentine figures moved below the dismal depths. Experts were extremely baffled by the specimens’ astonishing size. Unfortunately, severe thunderstorms forced the team to abruptly abort their mission before definitive data could be obtained.
Much of the Congo remains unseen by human eyes. Earth’s final frontier is filled with dangerous predators, deadly insects, armed militias and extreme weather. Such factors cause much hindrance on further exploration of this rugged terrain. It was not until 1998 that the four-thousand pound Javan rhino was recognized. Only five years ago, in 2013, a quarter-ton pygmy tapir was positively identified. It’s entirely plausible that an unknown species is avoiding detection within the depths of Africa. However, until hard evidence surfaces we can only theorize and evaluate spectators’ testimonies. For now Mokele-mbembe will remain one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
Do you think it’s possible that dinosaurs still exist? Share your thoughts in the comment section!