February 7, 2012

Iceland River Monster? Or Robotic Hoax?

A video of a “lake monster” has appeared on Icelandic media.

The object in the water is shown swimming against the prevailing current in the river.

The footage was captured by Hjörtur Kjerúlf on February 2, 2012, of this unknown found swimming in the glacial river Jökulsá í Fljótsdal, east Iceland. Speculation has centered on whether this may be the “notorious snake-like monster Lagarfljótsormurinn, which is said to reside in the lake Lagarfljót,” according to the Iceland Review.

Frankly, this video shows something that looks like a constructed snake-like object, with rigid sections, being propelled through the water.

From the movement on the water’s surface, it would have to be something other than a mammal, like a giant worm, a reptile or a fish. The head appears to have been made to look like it belongs to a giant anaconda. The sections do not gracefully flow, but are sectionally moving from side-to-side. Mammals move up and down.

The traditional sightings of this lake’s “monster” (going back to 1345) are not “snake-like” as the media is noting. Instead, they describe Lagarfljótsormurinn as having a hump, a long neck, and whiskers, more like a long-necked Waterhorse than a giant snake.

It seems someone attempting this fakery, perhaps by using a robot with tarps, fish nets, or trash bags (a favorite for watery hoaxers), has decided to take the phrase “Sea Serpent” and/or “Worm” too literally. The 21st Century-employed phrase “Iceland Worm Monster” comes from a misunderstanding and mistranslation of Lagarfljótsormurinn simply as Lagarfljót worm, instead of the more correct Lagarfljót Würm or Wurm, harking back to an overlapping folklore for and with Dragons, definitely cryptids with much more bulk than wispy earthbound “worms.”

I’ve been out of it, due to some medical difficulties, so I may have missed others coming up with similar theories, as apparently Dale Drinnon did. Also, over at Boing Boing, David Perscovitz posted about this here.

Lee Speigel wrote about this video on Huffington Post, and included highlights of his extended interview with me about the tape.

“What concerns me the most is the robotic look of this creature,” said Loren Coleman, director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

Coleman has researched and written about the Icelandic creature in his book “Field Guide to Lake Monsters and Sea Serpents,” co-authored with Patrick Huyghe.

The most recent sighting of an unusual creature in Iceland, according to Coleman, took place in 1998, when a classroom of students and their teacher claimed to see one close to shore. But it wasn’t a snake or worm.

Read more here.

Thanks to many folks who have alerted us to this story, in the following order, Scott Cline, John Oathout, Matthew L. Hilt, and Hendrik Frerichs.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
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.

Filed under Breaking News, CryptoZoo News, Hoaxes, Lake Monsters