The Montauk Monster
In another article on this site. we talked about the sketchy comings and goings of Plum Island, right off the coast of Long Island. A place that immersed in all manner of highly icky conspiracy theories. Plum Island is a treasure trove of governmental coverups. An Island that was once used as a storage facility for ammo during the Spanish-American War and is now part of an ultra-secret division of DHS Directorate for Science and Technology. Throughout the years, Plum Island has seen mad scientists, Nazis, and the occasional supervillain trounced around its corridors. It is a place with snipers and a couple of spooky facilities that were employed for the development of actual doomsday weapons. This article, the one you are about to read, is a sort of sequela or spin-off… this is an add on to that piece. You really can discuss the nature of the mystery that is the Montauk Monster, and all the bat guano insanity, without touching base on the other bat guano insanity that takes place in Plum Island. So, there, I said it. If you want to come into the piece knowing all the parts then you have homework to do. With that being said, here’s a link. Trust me you’ll like it. I’ll wait, take your time, go, and read that piece.
Caught up? Great! Let’s talk smack about whatever that is down there.
“It’s a raccoon…”
Yeah, and I’m Batman. That’s what the government went and told everyone.. that that up there, that nasty whatever, is just s simple run of the mill raccoon. I’ve seen a raccoon, I’ve battled with raccoons out in my driveway, the sly bastards with their crafty hands making off with my trash. If a raccoon-like that, ever came up to me, I’d hand the furry monster my house keys, the deed to my car, and my Amazon Prime password. Yeah, right, a raccoon.
The Montauk Monster.
The Montauk Monsters tale, as you can see from the full-color great quality pic’ from up there, is a new critter in the annals of cryptid society. That nasty critter washed ashore a decade or so ago and since then Long Island has milked the mystery. The animal carcass found on a beach near the district of Montauk, New York in July 2008; no grainy photo or overexposure, but true color pixelated glory. The creature was quickly dubbed the Montauk Monster and the veracity of tales surrounding it, not to mention the identity of the beast, is shrouded in controversy, speculation, and mendacity.
The madness of the Montauk Monster began on July 23, 2008, with a small article in the newspaper The Independent that spread like wildfire throughout the nation; it became a trending topic before the term had even been coined. It really didn’t need any gasoline to light into a blazing forest fire. The tale had enough, spark, juice, and energy, that friction from the wind would have made it inflammable. A posh New York business district, a secretive lab just a few miles away, a monster beached on the sand… It might as well have been written by James Wann.
The Independent wrote that Jenna Hewitt, 26, of Montauk was out with three of her friends one morning when they ran into a sight that arrested them… Spread eagle on the banks a horrid little creature.
The discovery was made on July 12th at the Ditch Plains beach, two miles east of the Montauk district. The spot, where the monster appeared, is a popular surfing area at Rheinstein Estate Park.
“We were looking for a place to sit when we saw some people looking at something … We didn’t know what it was … We joked that maybe it was something from Plum Island.”
Jenna’s cellphone color photograph of the monster was printed in black and white right under the headline “The Hound of Bonacville.”
The story, and its pun on Bonackers – natives of East Hampton and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles – was a relatively light-hearted puff-piece. It was a fell good piece meant to fill out space and maybe, just maybe, poke a little fun on the Long Island natives. It wasn’t supposed to become a national case… and end up involving the US government. No one, not even the writer, imagined the pandora’s box they had just unleashed with that piece.
The article hypothesizes that the creature might have been a turtle, or a mutant from Plum Island, or simply a decomposed dog. It was more about the circumstances that the ID of the creature.
Once the beast started making the rounds, and national headlines, the government had no other choice but to chime in. By now the whole spectacle had become Kafkaesque. In the Hamptons, dime-store owners and street hustlers were selling “Montauk Monster” souvenirs like hotcakes. Plastic toys. Tote bags. T-Shirts. Baseball caps. There was even a tour, were for 20 dollars, a regular joe would take you to the site the monster had been photographed on.
Why just the site and not the body?
Because the carcass had disappeared… not because of an errant wave but because someone had taken it away.
The local government, already reeling from the blowback of the 2004 Plum Island foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, and noticing that their secret site was getting limelight media attention decided to investigate.
Larry Penny, the East Hampton Natural Resource Director, put out a conclusion that the body was just a raccoon with its upper jaw missing. The man making that assertion based on the photograph alone.
The carcass was nowhere to be found. Some claimed on live T.V. that men in black hazmat suits came and took the body away. A local newspaper quoted an anonymous resident who said that the animal was only the size of a cat, and that it had been eaten away by bacteria, turning to a skeleton, by the time the press got hold of the news.
Hewitt, meanwhile, in spite of the tourist traps and tours to the beast’s photo-studio, couldn’t identify the locations for inspections. Without a body, it was like finding a needle in a beach, not a haystack.
“A guy just took it and put it in the woods in his backyard.”
Mounting suspicion surfaced. Was Hewitt keeping the body’s location a secret? Had Hewitt taken the corpse? Was Hewitt part of the – there’s always one – government cover-up?
The girl’s father had to come to her defense, beating back the media vultures and conspiracy whackos with a stick. It was pandemonium. Hewitt was assailed by the crazies and she herself became intricately involved with the story.
Meanwhile, the local government was churning the line and making it fit the narrative. Hammering in the square peg into the round hole and praying no-one called them out on their bull. ANd they were running out of new ideas and sticking with the golden oldie… the RACOON RAPPORT. It’s a large raccoon. It’s a large raccoon with a skin disease. It’s a large raccoon with a skin disease and its feet were gnawed on by sharks… you get the gist.
The national spotlight fell on the Montauk Monster when Plum-TV came into the narrative. Plum-TV, a local public-access television show interviewed the 3 girls. The photo passed from an intern to Alanna Navitski, an employee of Evolutionary Media Group in Los Angeles, California. From those hands it traveled to the palms of Anna Holmes at Jezebel… and, well, the wheels of the bus go round and round.
The Monster went viral. The photograph circulating like rumors of a celebrity’s infidelity through the web sphere. Everyone in the media had a weblog, site, or email with the Hewitt photograph front and center.
The government response? Once more only know with a bullhorn from the White Hosue lawn: It’s a large raccoon with a skin disease and its feet gnawed on by sharks with a surprisingly delightful media presence… the raccoon has charisma!
Since then, the Montauk Monster has gained urban legend stature and has been discussed on dozens of podcasts, TV shows, and books. Among these monster heavy features: Snopes, Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, and Ancient Aliens.