Electric Deathworm

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 18th, 2013

Can a giant worm create enough electricity to kill a person?

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

16 Responses to “Electric Deathworm”

  1. Tony Wilkins via Facebook responds:

    Yes, eels do

  2. Tony Wilkins via Facebook responds:

    Why not worms

  3. springheeledjack responds:

    All I have to say is that electric eels and electric catfish have the ability to stun a human being–maybe even kill them so it’s certainly possible one of earth’s critters is capable of such a feat.

  4. springheeledjack responds:

    The video left a little to be desired…

  5. PhotoExpert responds:

    springheeledjack–Yes, I know electric eels can definitely kill people. I was watching some TV show, I think it was River Monsters, where a South American Cowboy died. I might be wrong about what show I was watching but definitely a confirmed human kill by electric eels or eel. There were several eels congregating in that pond as it was the dry season.

    So just to back you up on your post, yes, most definitely a possibility as you stated as well as a probability. And you know when you dig in the garden, you just don’t find one worm. There are many! So a group of worms generating electricity, if they are of a lage size, such as some African earthworms. Who knows? But the probability is there as you so astutely stated!

  6. Insanity responds:

    I believe the reason electric fishes, eels and rays are able to shock other animals is that the current they produce is conducted by the water to generate the field around them. Freshwater species generate a higher voltage then saltwater as freshwater has a lower conductivity. The electric organ has different anatomy depending on whether it is a saltwater or freshwater species, in regards the cells being in parallel or series.

    The electric eel, a freshwater species, generates a current up to about 600 volts with about 1 amp or 500 watts of flow. It is the amps that can kill a person, not the volts. It principally hunts and stuns via close proximity not at significant distances.

    The conductivity of air is about 15 magnitudes lower than sea water. To generate the same field as in sea water, thus could suggest that in the air the current would likely need to be 15 magnitudes higher.

    I believe it takes about 300,000 volts to arc 10cm in air, or 3 million volts for a meter, which would vary with humidity.

    I doubt any terrestrial animal could generate such a field, but it does not rule out shocking by physical contact.

    Perhaps someone who has more knowledge of electric fields could clarify.

  7. corrick responds:

    Insanity has it right. Only if these were giant AQUATIC worms and the last time I checked there wasn’t much lake or ocean front property in Mongolia. For any small sized terrestrial animal you’d need to be touching it.

  8. springheeledjack responds:

    Thanks PhotoExpert and Insanity! That’s what I thought too. I had 600 volts in my head and I did know it’s the amperage that is the deadly part.

    When I hear these really odd accounts I always start thinking in terms of chimeras. People always relate things to what they know. Like say the Minotaur for example. The myth always talks about a large man with a bull’s head. But I always wonder, were they really talking about that, or that image best approximated what they saw? Maybe they saw a critter that was larger than man sized…and maybe they ascribed the bull attributes because the critter was beast like, but the bull was the most beastly thing they could think of to use to describe it. Large man beast that morphed along the way? Who knows.

    Another reason I think this way is in talking with children. Ask them to describe something they have no reference point for (now I’m not insinuating adults are childlike…well maybe not:). They describe things exactly the same way–maybe more simplistically, but it’s the same principle. They see a giraffe for the first time and you can see how they describe it by what they focus on–in this case, probably the long neck or long legs–neck like a stick or legs like straws:) Same principle. Adults do it too, but they’ve got more reference points for description, so it gets a lot more complicated.

    In terms of our death worm, people are seeing something that is “worm” like–which means to me long, and probably with no limbs. And it attacks by shocking people. Or spitting poison. There are snakes that spit poison so that’s not too far of a stretch. As for the electric shock–who knows. Insanity pointed out that delivering a shock across air as opposed to water requires a lot more power. Unless maybe it’s as was suggested: coming into contact. However, it could also be a metaphorical shock if a realistic current isn’t likely. Seeing this critter could cause victims to pause long enough for the worm to get in close and spit the poison.

    Most creatures seem to posses one major ability to down prey and food. Electric catfish use electricity to capture food, snakes often have poison, but I don’t know of too many critters that have multiple attacking abilities, so it makes me think the death worm may be somewhat exaggerated from accounts.

    Or there is a possibility that this critter possesses some ability for generating electricity that we’re not familiar with yet. Or perhaps there were other external factors going on that led witnesses to believe the victim was electrocuted. Or it could just be myth and legend. As the video suggested, a lot of accounts are second and third hand which could mean we’re dealing with a myth or legend handed down that’s gotten stretched.

    This goes back to the other thread on debunkers where I talked about there being so many variables to sift through. It doesn’t mean the death worm isn’t worth investigating–because it’s crazy, because it’s not likely or even because it’s just too far fetched. It’s worth investigating precisely because of those qualities. It’s something odd and worth investigating to get to the truth of it–not to prove that it’s a creature that electrocutes its victims and then barfs poison on them, but to find out what people really encountered.

  9. corrick responds:

    Good, thoughtful post from springheeledjack

    “It’s something odd and worth investigating to get to the truth of it–not to prove that it’s a creature that electrocutes its victims and then barfs poison on them, but to find out what people really encountered.”

    Searching for the truth about what people have claimed to have seen. Shouldn’t that always be priority #1? That’s what motivates me. What did these people really see?

    For example, a number of years ago with Ron Shaffner’s help I thoroughly researched the “Loveland Frog.” Long story, short. I can confidently write that what the two police officers almost certainly saw was a vagrant great grey owl. Or just maybe a great horned owl, take your pick.

    Anyway, good post springheeledjack, it truly is about what did they really see, no matter where the chips fall.

    Btw, the inspiration for the Minotaur is attributed to Aurochs by most historians.

  10. springheeledjack responds:

    Corrick–thanks on the Loveland frog. I’ve read that account and always wondered about it. Never did any digging because it was just interesting and not enough to delve, but appreciate that you did. Would be curious to hear the story.

    And thanks on the aurochs. I know just enough Greek mythology to be dangerous.

    I do believe that somewhere inside us we do like to believe in “monsters” for a host of reasons. And sometimes, a giant frog is just an owl in poor lighting when we’d rather have the former. Yet even when that becomes the case, it doesn’t mean there aren’t mysteries and cryptids out there–one clearing up of a mystery doesn’t necessarily slay the dragon–or the hunt for the dragon, whatever it may end up to be:)

  11. Insanity responds:

    Voltage is the electric potential, and the distance a current can arc is proportional to the volts. Ampere is the electric flow.

    Voltages of several hundred thousands are not uncommon with tesla coils, which are designed for high-voltage and low-current. i.e. 9,500 volts with 30 mA flow. You can have these strike your hand without much damage, though it may sting or tingle. Depending on the path the electric current takes through the body, a flow as low as 70 to 700 mA can cause heart fibrillation in humans.

    An electric eel is certainly capable of killing a person, with a flow of around 1 ampere, and there have been reports of doing so up to about 2 meters, and the ‘knock a horse off its feet’ reports at 6 meters or so.

    While it is not impossible for a terrestrial creature to be able to produce a low electric current sufficient to kill a person, arcing it any distance through the air is the improbable part.

    The electric organs of an electric eel take up about 4/5 its body to produce the 600 volts. To produce a significantly higher voltage would require larger organs, and likely a larger organism to support these organs.

    We could even speculate on the size of the organs, the electric eel requires about 5,000 to 6,000 electroplaques to produce its 600 volts. To produce a current with the 3 million volts needed to arc a meter through the air would require about 5,000 times as many electroplaques.

  12. corrick responds:

    There wouldn’t be sites like this or shows on TV if people didn’t want to believe in “monsters.” It’s the what did they really see that is the mystery. And worth investigating. In depth. Devoid of all paranormal bs.

  13. corrick responds:

    Insanity, let the applause begin. Absolutely great research. Gee, you wonder why no one else has done it? Oh forgot. Ratings, money, books to sell, etc.

    So now even if there is such a creature as the Mongolian Deathworm we know one thing for sure. It couldn’t possibly kill unless you touch it. Unless it was about 15 feet long and weighed over a ton.

    Again, thanks for great research.

  14. Insanity responds:

    “Absolutely great research. Gee, you wonder why no one else has done it?”

    It is less exciting or interesting and takes time. Though it is my opinion in today’s world there is no excuse for not doing any sort of quick research, with access to reliable sources on the internet. It is not as if anyone really needs to visit a library, search the reference catalog and find the book.

  15. corrick responds:

    Agreed. There is no excuse for at minimum a cursory internet research look. But you are 100% wrong about visiting a library, searching the reference catalogs and reading the original source accounts of various sightings.. It’s amazing how many new “facts” get added by later writers over the years and become accepted as true.

  16. Insanity responds:

    I meant in the sense that 15 to 20 years ago, if you wanted to look find references on a subject, and you did not have the reference books yourself, you’d often have to visit a library.

    20 years ago I would likely have needed to visit a library to find this info on the electric eel, but today no more than 20 minutes of internet search and some math, I am able to find probably more than what I could have then.

    I agree that using a library is still important, I still go and get hard copies or PDFs of articles published from 50 years ago to ones current.

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