I mentioned the coelocanth in the blog a couple of weeks ago for a good reason – it’s the best example going of a creature that apparently disappeared from the fossil record reappearing millions of years later. Its existence lends a little plausibility to the theory that any number of cryptids could in fact be relict populations of long-thought vanished beasties – the Loch Ness monster could turn out to be a plesiosaur, for example:
If there truly are any massive cryptids still out there waiting to be discovered, it makes sense that they’d be aquatic for the simple reason that we don’t know as much about the fauna of our seas as we do about that of our land masses. DO A JOKE YOU BORING SHIT, I hear you cry. Ok, how about this – what’s sixty feet long, stinks, and loves hot wet places in Vietnam (apart from your dad’s cock on a midlife crisis sex tour?)
Meet the Con Rit, a fairly unique species of sea serpent that’s been reported in the oceans off South East Asia. Described as anywhere up to sixty feet long and three feet wide, this horrifying monster is divided into armoured segments two feet across, each with a pair of lateral fins or filaments sprouting from either side. The name is Vietnamese for ‘millipede’, presumably because the more size-accurate title of ‘maxipede’ has already been posthumously awarded to Jimmy Savile.
Records of the Con Rit go as far back as the second century, when Greek military writer Aelian described the creature and reported them as prone to beaching themselves. For a more modern account we have to look to Dr A. Krempf, who was director of the Oceanographic and Fisheries Service of Indo-China in the 1920s. He interviewed Tran Van Con, who was apparently an actual human being and not a prank in which you get tricked into getting fellated by a drag queen in the back of a transit.
Van Con described encountering the beached corpse of a Con Rit in 1883 – he gave the measurements I described above, as well as noting that the body was dark brown above and yellow on the underside. Striking a stick against the globster’s carapace he noted that it rang like metal (in much the same way as the shell of a horseshoe crab does). Unfortunately, the headless body stank so badly that it was towed back out to sea before it could be properly studied.
On top of Van Con’s account the Con Rit also features heavily as the dragon in ancient Vietnamese legends, leading to some speculation that a real live monster of the sea could be the inspiration behind the archetypal Oriental dragon.
There are several other theories, including one from Bernard Heuvelmans, the founding father of cryptozoology. He saw the Con Rit as a possible surviving zeuglodon:
This assumption was based on the evidence of the time, which seemed to imply that armoured carapaces were common among archaic whales. Modern experts disagree, so the identity of the Con Rit remains a mystery; if it’s a crustacean it’d easily be the biggest one ever identified, and if it’s a fish, it’s sure as all balls a truly bizarre one.