Finding Mokele-mbembe, the Ultimate Trip

Posted by: John Kirk on February 5th, 2006

Loren Coleman, recently wrote of the Milt Marcy expedition which headed off to Cameroon and northern Congo in search of the phenomenon known as Mokele-mbembe. Some say Mokele is a sauropod dinosaur while others speculate it is a huge monitor lizard.

Marcy’s expedition included two men I have worked with in the past. They are Robert Mullin and Pierre Sima. Both these men of integrity are as useful a pair of buddies as you could ever wish to have when you journey into the jungle in search of perhaps the world’s most exotic cryptid. I should know I have been there and done that with these two men.

We were all part of a team that also included Bill Gibbons and Scott Norman. Just a handful of years ago, we left North America and headed out to the wilds of Cameroon to a location where, just months before, two security guards had been scared to death by the sight of a Mokele-mbembe advancing toward them on a river in southern Cameroon. They were guarding a winched barge that takes travelers across this remote river to the smattering of pygmy villages to the west when the strange and large beast showed up.

The creature was so alien and large that the guards had no hesitation in abandoning their posts and fleeing in sheer terror. One of them ran a long distance and crossed the Ngoko river to the south, seeking safety and refuge in the Congo. He has never returned.

Our group was a joint venture between the BCSCC and Cryptosafari, a cryptozoological and humanitarian organization which Scott Norman presides over today. We met up in Paris, drew up our tactics and caught an Air France flight to Cameroon. We linked up with a film crew from the BBC in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, and after several days of waiting for the crew’s equipment to arrive, ultimately headed out to the area where the guards had seen the creature.

I am in the process of writing a book on Mokele-mbembe in which I will go into the details of our expedition more closely. Suffice it to say, after a harrowing journey along the corrugated washboard roads of Cameroon, we eventually made it to Mokele-mbembe country.

It was Robert Mullin’s ability to interact with people and win their confidence that helped us make an almost immediate breakthrough in our search for evidence of a living Mokele-mbembe. He befriended a local boy who told us of a sighting of the Mokele his father and uncle had experienced some years before. Just as he finished relating this to us, both his father and uncle fortuitously showed up and were very willing to talk about their experience.

In 1984 they were piloting a small boat by night when their spotlight struck a massive object in the river. They could see it was an animal, but not any animal they had encountered before. The creature consisted of a small head on a long neck which was joined to a very large and bulbous body. There was also evidence that the creature had a long tail which was visible to some extent on the surface of the water.

The creature was partially out of the water on the riverbank. It was feeding from the boughs of trees some ten to 15 feet above ground. The two men backed off out of spotlight range and waited for the creature to finish eating. Some time later they advanced upon it again and it was still. The creature paid not an iota of attention to the two men and their boat and continued eating. Again the men pulled back and waited. The third time they approached the creature it had already silently slipped away and was not seen again by the boatmen.

They told us that at one point the creature had moved in the water and the water has cascaded over its flanks like a waterfall. We showed them a variety of pictures of dinosaurs we had brought with us and they were quite impressed by the brachiosaur until they noticed the back of the brachiosaur slopes backwards and downwards from the shoulders to the pelvic girdle rather than being rounded and humplike as was that of the creature they had seen. When they were shown a picture of a Diplodocus they immediately identified this animal as Mokele they also described a feature of Diplodocus that only a witness who had seen one would know about unless they were really up to date with the then most recent paleontological discoveries about Dips.

That feature will be revealed in my book so you will have to read about it there.

We met many witnesses to Mokele-mbembe and others who described encounters by family and friends with this elusive creature. Now we hear that Rob, Pierre, Milt and Peter Beach were able to make contact with witnesses who had seen Mokele-mbembe just two days before their arrival in the area and then Bill Gibbons received news that Pastor Paul Ohlin who had taken over from the late Pastor Gene Thomas had witnessed a Mokele for himself just three weeks prior in the Congo.

I had no doubt after our expedition that Mokele-mbembe is a real animal and that it continues to inhabit remote rivers that make up the Congo river basin. I sat in wonderment amongst the Bantu, Baka pygmies and multilingual and educated Cameroonians who had seen this animal and then related first hand to me what they had seen. I have no doubt they had seen what they reported as they never ever attempted to please us in anyway and weren’t there to tell us what we wanted to hear.

I have arrived at the inescapable conclusion that at least two Mokele-mbembe are alive and are continuing to bring wonderment to the inhabitants of remote rivers in Cameroon and Congo.

John Kirk About John Kirk
One of the founders of the BCSCC, John Kirk has enjoyed a varied and exciting career path. Both a print and broadcast journalist, John Kirk has in recent years been at the forefront of much of the BCSCC’s expeditions, investigations and publishing. John has been particularly interested in the phenomenon of unknown aquatic cryptids around the world and is the author of In the Domain of the Lake Monsters (Key Porter Books, 1998). In addition to his interest in freshwater cryptids, John has been keenly interested in investigating the possible existence of sasquatch and other bipedal hominids of the world, and in particular, the Yeren of China. John is also chairman of the Crypto Safari organization, which specializes in sending teams of investigators to remote parts of the world to search for animals as yet unidentified by science. John travelled with a Crypto Safari team to Cameroon and northern Republic of Congo to interview witnesses among the Baka pygmies and Bantu bushmen who have sighted a large unknown animal that bears more than a superficial resemblance to a dinosaur. Since 1996, John Kirk has been editor and publisher of the BCSCC Quarterly which is the flagship publication of the BCSCC. In demand at conferences, seminars, lectures and on television and radio programs, John has spoken all over North America and has appeared in programs on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, TLC, Discovery, CBC, CTV and the BBC. In his personal life John spends much time studying the histories of Scottish Clans and is himself the president of the Clan Kirk Society. John is also an avid soccer enthusiast and player.

6 Responses to “Finding Mokele-mbembe, the Ultimate Trip”

  1. Loren Coleman responds:

    Since the 19th century, artists’ renderings—based on paleontologists’ conceptions—have shown the nostrils of Diplodocus drawn on the top of their heads. This position was thought to be accurate for semi-aquatic dinosaurs such as Diplodocus, but recent findings maintain that the nostrils are in fact right above the mouth. This the discovery of research of Ohio University’s paleontologist Lawrence Witmer. John, I would assume that the eyewitness you mention confirmed this location for the nostrils?

  2. John Kirk responds:

    All depictions of the Diplodocus we showed the witnesses had the nostrils above the mouth. This was never contradicted by any of our informants.

  3. rryanreid responds:

    is there any more update on this trip?

  4. gazilla responds:

    There is much noise over the years from scientific factions who are in no possible doubt that it would be impossible for a sauropod, or dinosaur for that matter, to be alive and kicking in the Congo, and all of the publicised environmental issues recently have only seemed to reinforce this point.

    Yet I find it hard to consider, in fact as much as any of the aforementioned find it hard to consider, that the biological, geomorpholigical and environmental conditions today(and in the time that there has been an interest in the Congolese dinosaur tradition)point conclusively to the absolute that there is no mileage.

    Think about it – an area of jungle and swampland that is still relatively unchartered and uncompromised, that has evolved in a manner that has allowed its natural fauna and flora to adapt and move at the same pace – then why not?

    Science has always maintained that within any undertaking to definition and discovery, there has to be elements of chance, romance and good old fashioned commitment and spirit. Where would the scientific community, and indeed mankind today, be without that.

    I think that it would make the most perfect sense for a sauropod that is so strongly rumoured to still survive to be in the Congo – where better. Even if it comes to light one day that it conclusively did not exist, this would only be after exhaustive attempts, and ones that satisfied every deemed credible criteria.

    That being so, the original idea would have proven a worthwhile undertaking all along, as science must take the yoke of proving, as it tries all too often in cryptozoological matters to only want the sunshine of easy scepticism.

    Mokele Mbembe has always seemed to me to be a more than credible cryptid, and so the efforts made in trying to realise this should only confirm to the scientific community that there is a more than legitimate rationale.

    All power to ya John – can’t wait for the book.

    Gary O’Donnell

  5. wallychumblatt responds:

    Of all the expeditions, both ‘mainstream’ scientific and by cryptid explorers, couldn’t some of these folks club together and fit an thermal imaging camera / gimbal to a plane and do a survey?

  6. Freelancer responds:

    I think if Mokele-mbembe is proven, without a doubt, to exist, it will be a major break through in the study of all cryptids. Because if a dinosaur exists in this day & age, why not a bipedal ape or a large lake creature? Or any of the other cryptids for that matter.

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