New Montauk Monster Pic and Cryptid Marketing

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 1st, 2008




New photographs, above, have been published of the “Montauk Monster,” which allegedly washed up on a beach in Montauk. These photos are by Christina Pampalone.

The Montauk Monster has created an Internet sensation. It is today’s #1 Yahoo search. It’s been on Cryptomundo, Boing Boing, and The Anomalist for days. It reminds me of the “Maine Mutant.” Sometimes these kinds of things have a life of their own, so to speak, especially if there is a compelling image.

Now we are seeing everyone under the sun piggyback (pun-intended) on the Montauk Monster. That’s okay. We’ve been here before.

It is a cryptid, an unknown animal, until it is identified, of course, and that makes for a great story for the mainstream media, when they have a photo or even a few.

Joye Brown of Newsday reports today that the story is indeed real.


Brown tells of how the famed photo (seen directly above) has a known photographer: “Jenna Hewitt, of Montauk, and three friends crept up to examine one side. And Hewitt snapped the camera shot heard ’round the world.”

Christina Pampalone, of East Northport, however, had actually taken the first photos (one is shown at the top of this posting).

“I was telling people, all day (Wednesday), that I had better photos,” Pampalone said.

“Everybody I showed her pictures to said it looks like a dead dog,” her friend Ryan O’Shea, of Brooklyn, said.

“But looking at the claws, and at the teeth in the front, it looked like it could be something else, something vicious.”

It was relatively small, roughly 21/2 to 3 feet long, he said.

Brown notes that the rumor that the thing is in someone’s backyard is false, apparently, as it has been moved.

Interestingly, Brown has collected some other interesting info from his readers:

Joann Dileardo saw it at the end of Roe Avenue in Patchogue, a few weeks ago. “I didn’t know what that thing was,” she said. “It looked like a pig.”

Another reader, Pat, e-mailed that the ladies in his office saw it on an East Quogue beach — back in April.

Elizabeth Barbeiri said her family saw it about a mile east of Gurney’s Inn in Montauk, July 14. And Ryan Kelso, via iPhone, said he spotted it — alive! — in the Montauk dunes. “It looked about the size of an average fox, gray in color, eyes like a mole, hairless and was breathing quite heavily,” he wrote, “needless to say we were freaked out by this discovery and fled the area quickly.”

Lavey Fater saw a surfer bring one to shore, near Ditch Plains.

“It was hairless and gross,” Fater reported. “… The surfer said he had no idea what it was, but that he threw it in the dunes because he didn’t want to be surfing next to it.”

Keith found something last week in Greenport; Chris found one a month ago at Jones Beach east of Field 6. (“The one I saw had a longer snout or beak or whatever you want to call it.”) Sean said he buried one, 3 feet deep, in South Jamesport.

Of course, you notice Cryptomundo carried news of this as soon as we heard about it three days ago, and, no doubt, contributed to spreading the news. Then we became positively involved through commenting on the Venom search for the “monster.”

Cryptid Marketing

The response has been generally good-humored and filled with crypto-intrigue regarding the fact Dr. Pepper/Snapple’s Venom Energy Drink would offer a bounty for the live capture of the Montauk Monster.

Prizes, bounties, and cryptomarketing are nothing new to the popular cultural side of cryptozoology.

As recently as the Bushnell Trailcam and the Wizards of the Coast Duel Masters Card prizes, there have been bounties.

In only a small percentage of the comments recorded at Cryptomundo (two that I could quickly find) did I note a lack of historical referencing, regarding cryptids being used in ads.

People wrote in, saying:

“Is this the beginning of a new advertising trend? Will companies begin to monetize cryptid sightings?”

“And for Venom to so quickly jump in with their ad campaign, utilizing loren of all people, and playing this up so, smacks of hype, Madison Avenue, and frankly muddies the waters where genuine cryptozoological interests can be raised.”

While there have been many older examples, one can look back to 1997, to discover Rene Dahinden was immortalized in a popular television ad for Kokanee beer.

Dahinden’s pursuit of Sasquatch had made him so famous that the brewers of Kokanee beer asked him to play himself in the commercial. Even then he didn’t get to see the Sasquatch. Facing the camera, with the unpretentious mobile home he lived in as background, an off-camera narrator asks if Dahinden ever used B.C.-made Kokanee beer to lure a Sasquatch.

“Do you think I’m crazy or something?” asks Dahinden, unaware that behind him a Sasquatch is sneaking into his trailer to make off with a case of beer.


The Kokanee Sasquatch has become so famous itself today that you can find a nine-foot statue out in front of the Columbia Brewery’s Kokanee Beer Gear Store at 1220 Erickson St. Creston, British Columbia. (Anyone able to pick up some Sasquatch souvenirs there for the International Cryptozoology Museum, if you stop by? Thanks.)

Other recent examples of cryptids and commercial campaigns have included

Adrian Shine and the Loch Ness Monster selling Toyotas, and

beef jerky being sold in the series of “Messin’ With Sasquatch” commercials.

Cryptids and ads have been friendly companions for quite a few years now. There is no reason the Montauk Monster shouldn’t get the same honor.

Save The Museum!!

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.

71 Responses to “New Montauk Monster Pic and Cryptid Marketing”

  1. planettom responds:

    Xee, very good analysis. I believe you and think this very well could be a raccoon carcass.

  2. mystery_man responds:

    JP- Those skull overlays are really quite convincing. I suggest everyone here take a look before going too much with the dog hypothesis. I’ve also been looking into the skull structure of raccoons and the resemblance is too great to be ignored. Raccoons also have remarkably human like hands and fingers which would fit in more with the “fingers” we see in these photos.

    So two very important things to consider. First, the amazing similarity with raccoon skulls and what we see here as well as the odd, hand like feet. Second, the fact that (as I mentioned before) that there was apparently more than one of these bodies found. More than one pitbull or rottweiler or pug that just happened to all be found dead at around the same time? Like I said, these are not cheap or extremely common dogs. Or were these raccoon carcasses? Raccoons are quite common, even a nuisance, in some areas. Which seems more likely to you? Raccoon seems a more likely candidate especially when one takes into consideration the multiple bodies found and morphological similarities with what we see in the photos.

    Considering the evidence and apparent facts, I have to say I’m starting to fall more firmly into the raccoon camp.

  3. mysterywolf responds:

    The link that jjs1138 gave looks pretty conclusive that it is a racoon.

    However, I wanna know how got a much higher resolution version of the original monster pic! You can barely see the details of the front feet in the original picture seen here (which would have been a dead giveaway from Day 1), yet you can see the creature’s feet in detail as light as day in the link. Even a great deal of photoshop image resizing wont give you that quality.

    Have I missed a link given somewhere to this hi-res version or did track the photographer down even before the 2nd set of pix came up??

  4. Rapscallion responds:

    Not worth digging any deeper folks, original pics say it all, note the “fingers” on the feet, thats a raccoon, sure as the sun rises. And before anyone else mentions dog, you show me a dog with feet like that, and im running down me street naked, covered in peanut butter, carrying a spatula and lunchbox and telling everyone i meet elvis lives in aforementioned lunchbox and subsists on navel jelly and bananas.

  5. charlie23 responds:

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s wearing a dog collar which appears to be partially embedded and is clearly visible with minor image enhancement in all the photos. Monster, Raccoon, Chupacabra or viral marketing scheme: at least somebody kept it as a pet at one point. Or maybe it’s just a dog.
    Enlargements showing the collar and buckle are linked here, here, and here.

  6. YourPTR! responds:

    Definitely doesn’t look like a raccoon to me! First impressions of these new pics, I thought perhap a pig, but studying them more I definitely feel it bears a strong resembalance to a dog!

  7. Lightning Orb responds:

    If people have seen these things alive, perhaps they are not drowned pets as some have suggested, but hosts to some bizarre flesh-eating parasite? Then again, not saying that the reports of live monsters are fake, but do we have any phisical evidence for this? Have they captured a live one? If not, it still doesn’t meen those reports are false; but perhaps a better way to think about it is this: if there were such living creatures, how many would likely be reported? If there weren’t, how many jokers would likely make up stories about live ones? Whatever that thing was, I seriously doubt it was actually any sort of monster; sickly lookin’ little mug, isn’t it

  8. xenobia responds:

    Told you it was a raccoon. 😉

  9. jedimaster5000 responds:

    I hope it’s a new species of animal, and not some damn dog….it can of reminds me of one of those future predatoes form primeval

  10. springheeledjack responds:

    The point of this whole exercise is that we have many people stating that they know for a fact that it is a dog….or a raccoon…not everyone is right, and the point is, that from photographs, it is hard to get any real solid data…

    Especially if something has been dead. Decomposition can make creatures look like other creatures…from that first photo, I was sure it did have a bird’s beak and with teeth, but upon seeing it from another pose, you get more details and information.

    I’m not admonishing anyone or poking fun at any perspectives here, but I am pointing out that what you see on a photo is only one small sliver of what is really there. That’s why photographs are so “iffy” and why a lot of debunkers tirade on photos as evidence. And especially so (hey maybe I have a new favorite word…) when you take “photoshopping” into consideration.

    You simply do not get enough solid details from a single photo…or even a handful of photos to make a 100% accurate identification on a cryptid.

    However (whoops, there I go reverting back to my real favorite word again…spoke too soon), I do think there is merit in taking photos…it’s just that in this day and age, a photograph will never be the last word on the validation of a cryptid.

    The other problem is that your average JOe or Joe-line who stumbles across something weird like this is not thinking in crypto terms like we are and their first inclination is not to grab up a decomposing, disgusting looking corpse and squirrel it away for analysis…at most we get a single picture if we’re lucky, and maybe a few if we’re even luckier. Nobody’s fault, it’s just the way things are…and then we at Crypto and other sites are tethered with the job of trying to figure out just what the heck Joe-line and her buddies did get a picture of.

  11. foxy responds:

    ok i CAN say wiht all certainty, after working with all breeds of dog for more years than i care to say let alone remember, that that is NOT any recognized or mixed breed of dog.
    the skull shape is completly wrong to be a canine of any type. even a pitbull or bully breed has a pronounced skull stop.

    a pitbull unless a puppy would be much longer in total lenght than 2 1/2 to 3 ft long…and no other fetures eeven closely resemble a dogs corpse…(or a living one for that matter)
    NOT a dog.

    10 yrs of wilidife rehab also tell me
    the “hands” and jaw line match perfectly with racoon…
    size is perfect, 2 1/2-3ft long, the front feet are “hand” like, nothing even closely resembling a dogs paw
    the lower canines and remainding jaw line would be right on track for a coon…

    as for the collar, the pictures are way too cloudy to even remotly say that it is for certain a collar…not to mention some people do illegally (or legally in some states) keep pet racoons…
    and if theres chance it is form the neer by reacersh facilty most of their “larger” animals would have some kind of id, usually a collar or ear tag.

  12. dartboy74 responds:

    Its a dog and given the color of the remaining fur, the shape of the ears, and the fact that pugs are known to lose their top teeth in old age. Its a PUG.

  13. rhodin responds:

    That is only the Kadaver of a lion.

    The dentures were destroyed and the proportions of the body fit a robbery cat.

  14. rhodin responds:

    The set of teeth doesn’t match with a racoon…

    It only is big cat, a lion… you even can see a rest of coat

  15. grayfox responds:

    I agree with “Xee”, i’m sure its a raccoon. As a taxidermist I’ve seen many a raccoon carcass and the bottom teeth seem to match up perfectly. So do the feet, for that matter. Also, notice how the fur has dark underfur and lighter guard hairs. That is typical of a coon.

  16. mmccooey responds:

    Wow! Maybe it’s a dead dog (or a raccoon as some have speculated), but definately an interesting looking creature.

  17. crypto42 responds:

    It does look a lot like a raccoon, but the article said that the ‘monster’ was between 2 1/2 to 3 feet long. I don’t know if that was including the tail, but if it wasn’t, then the creature is too large for a raccoon.

  18. Trapster responds:

    Howdy Folks,

    That’s what a couple days in salt water does to a raccoon. Think pickles in brine. Flesh bloats, fish and birds eat the tender parts first. I’ve cleaned up hundreds, if not thousands of dead raccoons, opossums, dogs, cats, whatever.

    I wish it were some new undiscovered mutant aqua-pig, but it’s just a dead raccoon.

  19. Bugaboo responds:

    Like some of the others say, it’s a raccoon.

    First of all, it cannot be a pit bull because 1, the back half of the body is too stocky, 2, the legs are too short, and 3, pit bull skulls are not that long. Also, pit bulls, or any other type of dog, for that matter, do not have fingers. They hve PAWS. And of course, raccoons alsohave paws, but their paws look almost like fingers. It’s not a pug, either. Once again, I go with the ‘pug noses are not THAT long.”
    It’s a raccoon, pure and simple. And just because it is 2 feet long doesn’t rule out raccoon. If you lied where I live, we have raccoons the size of a medium sized dogs.

  20. khei responds:

    Personally I think it’s simply a common, domestic Maine Coon Cat. An older cat as the lower teeth seem to have lost enough bone to be hanging forward and, of course, the upper teeth are missing.

    If you look closely you can tell that is, not, “Naughty bits” first you can tell that the animal was just as furry there as anywhere else there’s fur and secondly there’s no opening. It’s simply either a bone (Possibly broken and displaced withing the body) or an organ causing a lump under the skin.

    so, yeah my personal opinion is that it’s simply an older Maine Coon Cat. It possibly fell off a dock/boat/cliff and drown or possibly died of poisoning (Antifreeze, insect poison, etc) on a beach and got pulled out to sea with high tide and washed back in some time later.

  21. Taxi45 responds:

    It’s a bloated dead dog.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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