By now you may have seen this blurb circulating on social media:
“In 1971 farmer Ted Litton caught this weird animal alive in his artificial pond in Lilac, TX, and got his pic in the paper. 8 hours later his farm was besieged by Army soldiers wearing decontamination suits. They drained the pond, leaving an odd, spheroid cavity in the bottom. Litton says the Army dismissed his beast as a freak of nature yet they confiscated it, promising him 5 grand (which never materialized).”
I’ll admit, I was intrigued. Look at the accompanying photo:
Thanks go to Martin J. Clemens for sorting out this mystery. His article, Crypto-weirdness Isn’t What It Seems, describes how this story came about, and what it really shows.
Martin first points out that in the photo “Ted Litton” is wearing sunglasses attached to a neoprene lanyard – something that wasn’t available in 1971. He also mentions that others, presumably photo experts, have pointed out “telltale distortions” and “marks in the image which point to the use of Photoshop in its origin.”
Providing further condemnation, Martin reports, “The man in the photo is in fact an animatronic engineer with the UK-based, award-winning special effects design company Crawley Creatures. The creature is, in fact, completely fake. It’s an animatronic model designed for and used by producers for the show Chased by Dinosaurs: Sea Monsters. The show, originally titled Sea Monsters, was a BBC television trilogy (2003) hosted by zoologist Nigel Marven and has since been released in the US on DVD under the title mentioned above.”
So it’s safe to say, the photo is a hoax, the story is a hoax. However, that creature …
What is That Creature?
Martin did some more digging and discovered it’s actually an extinct deep sea scorpion called Megalograptus. The next two photos are artists’ renderings of the creature.
Megalograptus, also known as a Sea Scorpion, lived between 470-440 million years ago in the ancient oceans. Scientists believe they grew between 4-5 feet long (1.2 – 1.5 m) and ate fish, trilobites, and other small sized prey.
Its tail did not have a stinger, but scientists think Megalograptus would use it in a defensive posture, curled up and menacing. Fossils of this creature are well known in the scientific community.
So it started out as a good story, but the truth of it all, the former existence of this incredible creature, is truly amazing!
If you’d like to see Martin’s article for yourself, click this link:
Til the next time!