Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 10th, 2008
As you read these words, I’m on a mini-expedition in a rugged old boat in the St. Johns River in Florida, interviewing locals and actively looking for Pinky, the “living dinosaur” of these parts.
Ivan T. Sanderson, Mark A. Hall, Karl Shuker, George Eberhart, Patrick Huyghe, Michael Newton, to name a few, and of course, I have mentioned in various books and articles the unique river monsters seen up and down the St. Johns River in Florida, now known by the collective name most popularized in the area since the 1970s as “Pinky.”
The nickname came about when on May 10, 1975, Charles and Dorothy Abram were fishing with three friends when they saw the head and neck of a large pink animal about 20 feet away. It turned its head to look at them and then submerged after about 8 seconds.
Eyewitness Dorothy Abram said it looked like “a dinosaur with its skin pulled back so all the bones were showing…pink, sort of the color of boiled shrimp.”
Their description was concise and yet remarkable. They said it had a pink color, bones showed that through the skin, a human-sized head, small horns with knobby tips, flappy skin on the sides of the head, a three-feet-long neck, and slanted, dark eyes.
In an upcoming issue of TAPS Paramagazine, I devote an article to “Pinky.”
The long, winding, northbound course of the St. Johns River starts in the appropriately named Lake Hell ‘n’ Blazes area (which Michael Newton points out is in Skunk Ape country).
Cryptozoologist Mark A. Hall thinks that the modern Pinky could be a surviving Thescelosaurus neglectus (pictured above and throughout), a 12-foot-long ornithopod dinosaur that lived in the Late Cretaceous 65 million years ago.
Most reports of Pinky are dated to the 1950s. What if there are some earlier records, which may speak to a longer history of Florida river monsters? What if some are linked to the Pinky stories that popped up from the Jacksonville area in the disco era?
Could Pinky have been more widespread a hundred years ago? Could the neck of this creature be mistaken for a giant snake, sometimes? Or the other way around?
The Caloosahatchee River is a river on the southwest Gulf Coast of Florida in the United States, that drains the rural area on the northern edge of the Everglades. If the St. Johns River is seen as the main way north for these cryptids, the Caloosahatchee River can be viewed as the major route east.
Did the Native peoples of Florida tell the newer residents of Florida about Pinky and other related sightings of river monsters as long ago as 1888?
A Lee County Monster.
A correspondent contributes to the Fort Myers Press a story of an immense serpent lately seen crossing the Caloosahatchee river near Chokoloskee, and the Press calls upon The Herald to match the story. As we have no big snakes in this locality, The Herald gives it up and begs to repeat what it said to Col. Tom Appleyard, that it is not an authority on snakes; and as no one in the office drinks liquor, none of us have had the pleasure of seeing snakes.
But here is the narrative of the Lee county serpent as it appeared in last week’s Press:
Col. Demere and Ervin Lowe came down from Needhelp last Sunday [presumably October 4, 1908], and report having seen an immense snake swim the river about two miles from here.
They say it appeared to be a great log on the water when they first saw it, but they learned it was a snake when they got to where it was, as the tail was just leaving the water on the south side of the river, and its head stood up four or five feet high, twenty yards from the river, and looked as large as a nail keg.
Of course the reptile must have been between fifty and sixty feet long, and its body looked about the size of a flour barrel. Now this looks fishy, but there is no one in this section that would doubt the veracity of either of these gentlemen.
We have since learned that the Indians have told of such a snake twenty years ago, having been seen by them in a certain swamp, and they always kept away from that swamp. This will give a good color to the snake story.
The serpent was heading to the south-east, and will possibly take up in the first thick swamp that suits his convenience.Punta Gorda [Florida] Herald, October 15, 1908
As I look among the alligators and manatees, I am keeping my eyes peeled for a “living dinosaur.” I’ve written more in the TAPS column about the theory that all these Pinky sightings are nothing more than manatees. Or a giant salamander.
Remember, a hundred years ago was before the time of so many exotic giant snake escapees being a breeding population in Florida.
Something tells me that on this exact date of Scott Norman’s funeral, he’d understand that with a loan and a prayer, I had to keep this dinosaur trek of mine in front of me, as the quest on this day.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.