Monthly Archives: September 2013

#27 – Megalodon

SHARKS. Sharks are fucking boss and anyone who’s seen Jaws knows it. They’re the death machines of the sea, tearing into everything and anything, refusing to stop moving because not moving around killing the shit out of things causes a shark to instantly drop dead with a terminal case of being a pussy. If they were people they’d have mullets and wear leather and would punch the femur straight out of a cop’s leg just because they felt like it and goddamn it, they’re motherfucking sharks and sharks can do whatever they want and they’ll kill you if you say otherwise. I read that in a book and it’s a fact and if you don’t agree with facts then you’re Sarah Palin and an idiot.

800px-Carcharodon_carcharias

Coincidentally, this is also what Dick Cheney’s sperm looks like under a microscope.

Thanks to a combination of its sheer size, the movie Jaws and over a hundred recorded unprovoked attacks on humans, the Great White is undoubtedly the most recognisable and feared fish currently living in the world’s oceans. Personally, given the fact that humans kill on average anything from 25 to 100 million sharks every year, I consider us to be the significantly bigger dicks. Seriously significantly. Just for the sake of this comparison, humans are Terry Crews and sharks are Mary Berry. Do you get what I’m saying? I imagine Terry Crews has a cock like an overweight daschund in a Christmas stocking, and Mary Berry is a sweet old lady who bakes cakes and has a vagina. That’s how much sharks are getting screwed in this comparison. No surfer deserves to get eaten, but Toothy McMurderson pictured above could chow through forty babies a day and still add very little weight to the sharky end of the karmic scale. If you don’t believe me, just look at the pictorial evidence I’ve just fabricated to enhance my tortured metaphor.

Mary Berry, pictured here choking on defeat and daschund hair.

On the left is Terry Crews. On the right is Mary Berry, pictured here choking on defeat and daschund hair.

To balance things out, what the sharks really need is a secret weapon – a shark so unbelievably badass that it could eat a whole beach full of fat, sunburnt assholes for every poor shark lifted out of the sea and finned for soup. Such a shark definitely existed at one point, and some eager cryptozoologists are convinced it could still exist today. A close relative of the Great White, Megalodon Carcharias is the largest shark to have ever lived, having reached a conservative estimate of around 15 metres in length and a speculated maximum of 20:

We're going to need a bigger FUCKING ISLAND TO FUCKING LIVE ON AND NEVER LEAVE, EVER.

We’re going to need a bigger ISLAND TO FUCKING LIVE ON AND NEVER LEAVE, EVER.

The grey and red sharks pictured above are the larger and smaller size estimates for Megalodon. The purple one is a whale shark (note the word ‘whale’ in there, for connoisseurs of words used to describe fucking big things) and the harmless little green fella is the modern Great White. The little waving guy is, presumably, a midmorning snack.

Like just about every other cryptid, the ‘evidence’ for the ongoing existence of massive unknown sharks doesn’t amount to much more than anecdotal witness testimony. Just about every sane scientist going is convinced that Megalodon is a murderous nightmare confined to our planet’s ancient history, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other large sharks out there still waiting to be discovered, sometimes entirely by accident. The filter-feeding megamouth shark was a completely unknown quantity until it was first snagged in a net in 1976, and to this day there have only been 55 confirmed specimens or sightings of it.

Very few people realise that after Rainbow, Zippy ended up skinned for his fur and preserved in formaldehyde.

Very few people realise that after Rainbow, Zippy ended up skinned for his fur and preserved in formaldehyde.

Perhaps the most famous ‘mystery shark’ sighting occurred in 1918 in the waters off Broughton Island, Australia. Ichthyologist David Stead interviewed a group of fishermen following their reported encounter with a massive shark that tore through their crayfishing setup, making off with “pots, mooring lines and all”. Even accounting for some seriously overexcited exaggeration, the shark was vast – one fisherman claimed it was longer than the wharf on which the men stood as they told their story, which was a significantly more than titchy 115 feet long. Furthermore, the beast was a uniform ghostly white, and had ‘boiled’ the water it thrashed through. Stead believed the men to be earnest in their descriptions, and his confidence in them was bolstered by the fact that they refused to return to the sea for days afterwards.

It’s very likely there are still a fair few large marine animals still waiting to be discovered, but for whatever reason, Megalodon is the monster most fervently hoped for by cryptozoologists and shark nutters. It’s featured in countless books and at least one mind-shittingly awful movie, Megashark Vs Giant Octopus, in which it leaps thousands of feet out of the sea in order to bite a fucking passenger jet out of the sky:

Image blurred to protect the identities of the special ed children who wrote the script for this movie.

Image blurred to protect the identities of the special ed children who wrote the script for this movie.

As an often-repeated example of evidence for Megalodon‘s continued existence, there’s controversy over some of the fossil evidence for the shark. Being fish with skeletons made of cartilage, pretty much the only part of a shark’s anatomy sturdy enough to survive the fossilisation process are the teeth. Generally believed to have died out in the Pleistocene around 1.5 million years ago, sceptics have argued that mineral deposits on some Megalodon teeth aren’t consistent with that timeframe, and seem to put them at a much more bed-wettingly recent 10,000 years old. So if you’re the kind of idiot stupid enough to take his scientific cues from terrible movies on the Syfy channel, I suggest you don’t board a Boeing 747 anytime soon.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

#26 – The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp

Every fucker and his dog (particularly his dog actually, given the creature’s apparent tendency to kill them all the time) has heard of Bigfoot in one form or another. Giant man-monsters from the woods are our own bestial natures given physical form – they’re a projection of the human psyche at its most primal, which is why Bigfoot has taken his giant fuzzy hand, captured the public imagination by the balls and refused to let go. We love the idea of some massive evolutionary offshoot primate rampaging around the dark and unfamiliar woods that surround us. But what if the seven-foot monster that lurks in the wild isn’t related to us at all, but has instead evolved from a totally different family tree? That would certainly seem to be the case for the monster from South Carolina’s Scape Ore Swamp, as it sure as sugared shit isn’t a typical Bigfoot:

You want to get some Sudocrem on that.

You want to get some Sudocrem on that.

I mean, just look at that magnificent bastard. The Lizard Man is almost certainly complete and utter bollocks, but that’s part of the joy of cryptozoology – pretty much every animal I’ve looked at is almost entirely hypothetical, and since I’m a comic and not a scientist, I don’t have to make sensible decisions about which ones are the best career choices to write about. I don’t make a living as a zoologist lecturing on the behavioural adaptations of migratory birds – I make one artlessly belming rude jokes into the confused faces of tipsy people. As such, I can talk about this sexy manguana as much as I like, and noone gets to call me a wank-frothed nutjob and revoke my tenure at the university. In your face, academia.

The Lizard Man is said to have first reared his scaly head on June 29th, 1988. 17-year old Christopher Davis had just finished replacing a blown tyre on his car not far outside the village of Bishopville in Lee County. As he was putting the jack back in the boot, he heard a series of thumping noises behind him. As it was 2am and Chris was a kid very much alone in the unwiped arsehole of absolute nowhere, he was brave to turn around in the first place – when he did, he saw something massive sprinting towards him on two legs in a nearby field. It was very much time to make like a banana and shit your pants in terror:

“It was about 25 yards away and I saw red eyes glowing. I ran into the car and as I locked it, the thing grabbed the door handle. I could see him from the neck down – the three big fingers, long black nails and green rough skin. It was strong and angry. I looked in my mirror and saw a blur of green running. I could see his toes and then he jumped on the roof of my car. I thought I heard a grunt and then I could see his fingers through the front windshield, where they curled around on the roof. I sped up and swerved to shake the creature off.”

Probably not the best picture if we're aiming for the "believable intellectual" look.

Probably not the best picture if we’re aiming for the “believable intellectual” look.

Chris managed to pull a Marlon King and bounce the Lizard Man off the roof of his car without injury, but his vehicle wasn’t so lucky. The roof bore a series of long scratches and the wing mirror the monster had first grabbed at was severely twisted. The teenager was apparently shaken up enough to be taken seriously, and pretty soon he wasn’t the only one reporting strange encounters around the Bishopville area. Over the summer of 1988 damage to several cars parked in the vicinity was reported, often with bite marks and long gouges in the bodywork. Two other men claimed to have been chased away from the shore of the swamp by the same seven-foot lizard, and in July a series of large three-toed prints were found in the surrounding marshland. They were considered unclassifiable as any known animal but were never sent to the FBI for analysis and were generally considered to be the work of hoaxers.

Backwater America is probably terrifying enough – we’ve all seen Deliverance – but what’s more surprising than moonshine stills and the occasional unwarranted banjo-accompanied hillbilly bumming is that the Scape Ore Lizard Man isn’t even unique. The more famous Honey Island Swamp Monster, often described as more traditionally Bigfoot-like, is sometimes said to leave the same distinct three-toed tracks as its scaly contemporary. On top of that, Thetis Lake in British Columbia also has its own komando dragon (BOOM! Lizard pun #2):

Which is apparently also a Doctor Who villain from the seventies.

Which is apparently also a Doctor Who villain from the seventies.

The initial hysteria over the Scape Ore monster lasted over the summer of 1988 but eventually fizzled out. In August Kenneth Orr, an airman stationed at the nearby Shaw Air Force base, claimed to have shot at and wounded the creature. Worrying that some boozed-up idiot had done a Dick Cheney and shot an innocent hunter in the face, the police soon figured out that he had no right to be carrying a gun in the first place and called him up on it. In spectacular backpedalling fashion he rather hastily panicked like a moron and admitted he’d made the whole thing up. These days the Scape Ore monster is used as a merchandising gimmick in the Lee County area and is confined to the still-occasional report of something big and weird chewing on cars.

CHAMANLEON. That’s it, I’m out, you’re welcome.

Tagged , , , ,
Advertisements