Breaking News: Mokele-mbembe Sighted

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 30th, 2006

Exclusive to Cryptomundo

There’s some exciting news from the Milt Marcy Expedition, now in Africa, in pursuit of the Mokele-mbembe.

Word via Bill Gibbons is that Milt Marcy just emailed from Cameroon. The expedition travelled far up the Dja River and spoke to witnesses that had observed a Mokele-mbembe only two days before. Paul Ohlin, who replaced Pastor Gene Thomas in 1992 in the northern Congo, saw a Mokele-mbembe only three weeks ago!


Mokele-mbembe art courtesy of Bill Rebsamen. Click on image for a larger view.

The brief dispatch ended with a promise, by the end of this week, of more extensive details on the expedition’s early findings.

Stay tuned.

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.

27 Responses to “Breaking News: Mokele-mbembe Sighted”

  1. Batgirl responds:

    I knew it! I knew the legend would not die! Long live the beast!

    Okay…I need a cappucino.


  2. jjames1 responds:

    In today’s world of cheap photographic technology (whether “traditional” film or digital), why don’t these researchers/explorers hand out cameras to every single person they can within the villages where these sightings take place? For $1500, you can get 500 disposable Kodaks online.

    The news of the alleged sightings is interesting, but would be much better received if there were actual photos of what had been seen. Has there ever been a decent-looking (however one chooses to define that…) picture of a Mokele-mbembe? If so, could someone direct me to where I might find it online?

  3. Aravat responds:

    For years I’ve heard about this critter and that’s about all. I’m hoping for a little more than reported sightings. It won’t be an easy task, not in that jungle. I wish the hunters well.

  4. EdwardHowland responds:

    Sigh… as always “you should have been here 2 days ago, there was just one here.”
    Right along with “I got some great pictues but dang! I had my finger over the lens… I forgot to take off the lens cap… to put film in the camera.” I would really like there to be a living dinosaur if only for the reason that I believe the world needs a real monster now and then just to keep us from getting too smug. But until we can get better evidence than “someone saw one 2 days ago”…. well, we shall see.

  5. muskrat responds:

    As an aside, what exactly does mokele-mbembe mean and in what language. Both Cameroon and Congo(Brazzaville) use French as the official language and as the Lingua Franca (literally) so it has to be a localized language (some sort of Bantu)which not everyone will speak in the broader area.
    I mention this because I can’t help but wonder if there is some confusion caused when someone says “have you seen a M-M” and they reply “of course” thinking it means something else, or possibly having it literally mean something else (like for instance Marmot in French is Groundhog but Marmot in English is Marmot)

  6. misfitsoda responds:

    I always kinda enjoyed the Mokele-mbembe story. My understanding is that the theory is that it’s supposed to be a brontosaurus. There was no such thing as a brontosaurus. The closest thing to it was the camarasaurus which had a much smaller neck than the one in the painting. So I suppose it could be the painter saying, oh he must mean a brontosauraus neck and painting it that way, but if it’s to be taken at face value there was never such an animal.

  7. jjames1 responds:

    Does anyone else think my disposable camera idea is feasible? It seems like it wouldn’t require much time to teach the local people how to use such a basic camera, and if these creatures are seen as often as it appears by these villagers, getting photographic evidence should not be all THAT difficult.

  8. muskrat responds:

    I think the camera thing wouldn’t work because as soon as someone’s sister gets married or their daughter has a birthday party they’ll use it up

  9. wjgibbons responds:

    Hello All,

    Let me answer your questions.

    1. Batgirl, if we get that film footage of “MM” I’ll buy us both a cappucino!

    2.Hello jjames1. Most of the tribespeople that live in these very remote areas (MM territory) do not use even the simplest of modern technology. The Baka pygmies for example do not read, write, have transistor radios or use flashlights. generally speaking, their lifestyle has not changed since the Bronze Age. They wear cast off western clothes, cook in metal pots and even have old shotguns held together with duct tape, but try and teach them how to use a simple point-and-shoot disposable camera or tell the time, well it’s a challenge to say the least.

    We have equipped Pierre Sima, an elephant tracker and plantation owner, with a Sony night-shot camcorder with a 560X digital zoom lense, tons of long-life batteries and film, a zoom lense 35mm camera, a tape recorder (for interviews), a pair of 20X50 binoculars, an extensive flip chart animal recoginition binder and a full compliment of good quality camping equipment. Unfortunately, lack of funding has hampered our efforts in sending him into the target area for extended periods of time, leaving only brief sojourns of two weeks at a time to gather information. Nevertheless, this has paid off with a wealth of new data and very recent eye-witness testimonials that has helped us immensely in our search. See my notes at the end of these brief replies. I am hoping that our finances will improve this year to send him into the target area for up to a month at a time.

    3. Aravat, we are much more hopeful now with the latest findings. See notes below.

    4. Edwardhowland: I refer you to my first reply. The locals don’t walk around like tourists with cameras dangling around their necks. However, most encounters occur when people are either hunting monkeys near the riverbank or a swamp pool, fishing (with nets) in the deeper river pools, traveling on the river, washing clothing or bathing in the river. In other words, they are going about their daily business without a second thought for an animal that they don’t even care about – yet still encounter from time to time. If anything, Mokele-mbembe is an inconvenience to them, like a prowling leopard that snatches village dogs at night or a crocodile sunning itself on a nearby sandbank, disrupting the villages fishing activities.

    5. Muskrat: The dozens of native tribal groups that inhabit the river, swamp and lake system of Equatorial Africa refer to Mokele-mbembe by different names. We have managed to establish the general range of the animal to within the interconnecting river system of Congo-Brazzaville (French) Congo-Kinshasa (Belgian) Gabon, Cameroon and possibly the Central Africa Republic. However, more research is needed in the latter country.

    In the Lingala language of both French & Belgian Congos, Mokele-mbembe means “One who stops the flow of rivers.” It does NOT mean “rainbow”, as reported elsewhere.

    The Baka tongue of Cameroon calls the animal, “Lakila-bembe” which has a similiar rendering to the Lingala name.

    The northern Bamileke tribe of Cameroon (they live near the Cross River) call the animal: “Jago-nini”, meaning “giant diver.”

    In Gabon, the Fang refer to the animal as “N’yamala”. Loosely translated this means “Great one”

    Other names which have no Western translation that I know of are:

    Central African Republic: “Mourou Ngou”

    Uganda: (Lake Victoria) “Lukwata”

    Zambia: (Barotseland Swamps) “Isiququmadevu.”

    All of these animals are described as possessing a bulbous body ranging in size from a hippo to an elephant, with a long thin neck, small snake-like head and a long flexible tail. In the case of the “Mourou Ngou” this may be a different semi-aquatic animal that looks very similar to Mokele-mbembe, but is observed far less frequently due to its apparent ability to remain submerged for prolonged periods of time. Like the Mokele-mbembe, it fights and kills hippos, or at least chases them away.

    Some individuals tend to use the term “Mokele-mbembe” generically to describe any strange animal. However, I cannot emphasise the importance of speaking with FIRST-HAND eye-witnesses.

    NOTE: During our expeditions extending from the northern Congo into Southern Cameroon, and with correspondence with missionaries working in Gabon and Congo-Kinshasa, it would appear that the general range of these animals has remained stable. This may change as the appalling deforestation of much of the forest of Equatorial Africa continues, particularly in southern Cameroon.

    In dealing with reliable, first-hand eye-witnesses from various tribal, ethnic cultural and religious backgrounds, a high degree of accuracy regarding the general description of Mokele-mbembes is obtained. Remember, these are witnesses that have virtually no contact with one another. If this animal was a mere myth or in some way a case of mistaken identity, we would have established this over 20 years ago.

    I should also mention that the eyewitnesses include at least six westerners such a missionaries, native pastors, military personnel and one riverboat captain.

    The Milt Marcy expedition that has just returned from the target area has gathered fresh eyewitness accounts, including one from an American missionary who has been working in the Congo since 1989. He has seen all kinds of wildlife during his ministry among the bush-dwelling Aka pygmies including gorillas, chimpanzees, legions of monkeys, large pythons, crocodiles, hippos and elephants. His encounter with a Mokele-mbembe just two weeks ago is significant and he is absolutely certain about what he saw.

    We have went to great lengths to solicit the best possible assistance in estabishing the possible migration route of Mokele-mbembes. This includes high resolution satellite images of (unspecified) locations to determine river depth, rocky or sandy bottom, swamp pools, small channels of water merging with the swamps (where the female MM’s use as “nests” to rear their young), and high river banks where hibernating caves may be located.

    Pierre Sima’s investigative trips into various target areas has confirmed that the animals have been migrating upriver for several years, then repeat the same pattern of movement downsteam via three interconnecting rivers. The fact that Milt Marcy and his team visited a location where at least one large individual Mokele-mbembe was observed by three independent witnesses over the space of 48 hours confirms our belief that migration into more remote and tranquil locations is currently happening, particularly as this is a specific location that we had plotted based on eyewitness reports collected by Pierre Sima since 2000, coupled with the evidence uncovered in 2001, 2003 and 2004 comprising of footprints, fruits and leaves consumed to a height of 15 feet along certain stretches of the riverbank, caves previously used by the animals as lairs and the most recent encounters in areas that have an abundance of the animals alleged food supply.

    A full account of Milt Marcy’s finding will be posted on this forum when I have permission to do so.

    Bill Gibbons

  10. MïK responds:

    All well and good, Bill. But, isn’t any of those civilized western in possession of a camera-phone? It seems that if I was in the vicinity of a world-shaking news story, I’d be carrying video. And, yes, I have a camera with me up here in the Pacific Northwest.

  11. jjames1 responds:

    Thanks for your comments, Bill. While it may be a “challenge” to teach the local villagers how to use a point and click camera, doesn’t it seem like it would be worth it? Again, there appear to be several recent sightings. If this creature is so common (relatively speaking), doesn’t it make sense to give the people most likely to see it the equipment necessary for “proving” its existence?

    As someone else mentioned, why aren’t the missionaries or other westerners in the area equipped with some sort of camera equipment? If missionaries do extensive work in the region, they should all be supplied with camera equipment.

    You mention a plantation owner that you’ve equipped with some high-tech equipment, but then say you don’t have the money to send him into the area for extended periods of time. Again, wouldn’t it perhaps be a better use of resources if money was spent to give equipment to individuals (whether locals or “westerners”) already IN the target area?

  12. CryptoInformant responds:

    Oooops! An Indricothere could not be Mokele Mbembe, because it had(has) a short tail! Brontosaurus is an early name for Apatosaurus, which does exist, but is still mistakenly called Brontosaurus.

  13. jjames1 responds:

    Any update on when we can expect more specific information? Thanks!

  14. fgrupt responds:

    I’ve been lurking for a long time but had to register to post this:

    It sounds to me like too many people have some rather ‘romantic’ — I don’t want to skewer anyone so I’ll use a very bland term — notions of Africa and Africans. Reading all the above, it seems like some believe, or want to believe, that Central Africa is nothing but bush inhabited by ‘primitives’ and that these brave cryptozoologists are marching into the uncharted wilderness like Livingston. Come off it!

    It reminds me of watching some tourists in Kenya asking some Rendiles (who, for a period in late adolesence wear bright robes and lots of beads, you’ve seen photos) to take off their watches while they snapped pictures, because, you know, watches on ‘natives’ isn’t ‘authentic.’

    I’ve travelled pretty extensively in CAR, Congo Kinshasa, and lived on Lake Victoria in Uganda for a while. Africans — even those in the remotest of villages — are no less bright than you or me. Sure, many may not be familiar with mod cons, but just because they don’t use them doesn’t mean that they couldn’t. Giving greater credence to Western witnesses probably says more about your relative ease in communicating with them, and lack of ease communicating with Africans — and lots of other stuff that I’ll just imply — than it does about the true reliability of the witnesses.

    Now as to the claim that peoples spread around the larger Congo basin and beyond all know about MM under various guises even though they have ‘no contact’ with one another, haven’t you heard of memes? The very evidence you cite on the small variations in the names of the creature in different languages (all of them, by the way, are Bantu languages reasonably closely related to Lingala. I had no problem muddling through in Lingala on the basis of knowing not very much Swahili, rather like a Spaniard can talk to an Italian) suggests that MM could just be a shared notion, like angels or Santa Claus in the West, transmitted among people who share broad linguistic and cultural similarities.

    Personally, I think the disposable cam idea is a good one, if you combine it with a sizable bounty for anyone who produces a good pic. Hand the cams out, tell people that you’ll give them $1,000 for a good, clear shot, and every underemployed teenager will be camping out by the river until the next rainy season. Sounds like great fun to me.

  15. jjames1 responds:

    Thank you, fgrupt. I still believe my camera idea is a solid one, as well. Combine your idea with mine, and you’ve only spent a maximum of $2500 in return for 500 “mokele-mbembe hunters.” I like it! 🙂

  16. Db0832 responds:

    To all, I noticed above you mentioned that the MM are believed to be moving throughout the vast interconnected river systems of central Africa. I’m going to be in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2 months on a journalist assignment and I will likely be meeting pigmies in the Mbandanka area. Have any MM sightings, stories emanated from there? I would like to ask the pigmies about it as I have personally followed the stories with great interest and would like to take the opportunity as long as I’m there provided it’s worth while. Can anyone offer advice?

  17. Spook responds:

    You guys tickle me. I personally have been following this story for past 30 years as well as other weird beasties worldwide. Bill is one of the best MM researchers on this phenom. I think his post was highly informative and accurate. You see this story has attracted “other” less vocal western “people” who have inquiring minds too.

    Using high-tech resources (Bill mentioned) available to them they have VERIFIED the existence of this thing. Some like in 1997 have had “boots on the ground” 1st hand close encounters! What I hear is that it is not at all like the dinos described and is more like an elasmosaur. No one knows what the old dinos really looked like, ate, or how old their non-organic fossils actually are. How does one Radioisotope date stone?

    Cameras to the natives??? Uhhh… I don’t think so. Why not just trash their culture even more and violate their religious beliefs about this critter’ and other things. IMHO some view it as a “special” almost god-demon-like creature in where some of their more modern AK-47 toting brethren will shoot you if you point anything at one.

    And what about taking someone’s (or the creature’s) soul by simply taking a picture. Kinda’ think ya’ didn’t think too PC on this one here. I just hope Sima doesn’t get caught by the Congolese soldiers pointing that fancy equipment at the beasties. Or for that matter AT THEM!

    I can see the natives using those cameras as shims for tables, throw toys for kids, or full of mud and dirt the next time you come back to pick them up. “Camera? Oh you mean that thing you gave us? We lost that weeks ago… monkeys got it!” I can see some poor hapless native accidently taking a soldiers picture with his new Kodak while he’s “doing his thing”…

    These critter’s are mostly underwater in caves. How a aptasaurus or diplodicus can breathe underwater or hold its breath that long I don’t know. And I believe the missionary sightings. They carry bibles not cameras! And they respect their traditions.

    Also a word to the wise, to the reporter going to DRC. Well I think that’s not where yer’ gonna’ find them. You might try these GPS coordinates N 1° 21′ 5.42″ x E 17° 9′ 53.71” [Lac Tele] and work around there and look for a swampy place south of that by 2km that a Brazzaville Dr. calls “Lake Makele” which I think is not a real lake at all or even a real place. I think its native code for something else. One guy mentioned the “Boha” tribe as a group that has regular sightings but is highly superstitious about the such things. I heard that the local shamans are very touchy about this and you should use the utmost respect for their traditions and not pursue things they tell you not to (i.e. like flying over the lake).

    IMO money is not a concept that motivated them either so forget bribes and payoffs. That only works on the city-dwellers, mercenaries, and soldiers and they’ll probably cheat you anyway. So just be PC and stay smart & safe! I personally would like to see Goodyear or that new Hindenburg company blimp do long-term aerial surveillance just outside small-arm, RPG, and stinger range.


    PS BTW Bill… what the heck is Lac Tele anyway? It’s about 10′ deep and is a perfect circle with cracks around it out in the middle of a jungle of trees. Is it an old volcano or a meteor crater? And why does NOTHING fly over it? No clouds, no noticable birds, no planes, etc. What’s up with that?

  18. Spook responds:

    Not sure if these are real or not but they look convincing to me:

    Lac Tele

    Elephant??? vs. Hippo

  19. Spook responds:

    Uhhh… before a camera cellphone will work you have to have a cellphone tower somewhere near you. Well sorry Charlie… not in this area… The best you can do is SW radio or Iridium units. And Iridium hasn’t invented camera satphones yet. Well at least for the private-sector that is.

    I think some of you don’t understand that 80-90% of this area is TOTALLY unexplored by modern man. The Pygmies have explored it but they don’t have wi-fi laptops or even the mesh-technology that India has introduced to its indigent indigenous population to bring them into at least the 20th century. And with all of the military shenanigans going on this may be the world’s best kept secret. Maybe if we could get Putin to give them soldiers old Kiev 4/4a or LSM Soviet cameras rather than old Kalashnikov rifles then…

    If any curiousity-seekers want to “pick the brains” of American MM eyewitnesses back in 1997 look for a relative, buddy, or fellow employee who was in the Marines (onboard the NASSAU), or some other American G.O., during the eastern Zaire evac. of 2,500 people back in ’97. There were over 500 boots on the ground, plenty of helos, pirogues, all kinda’ assets disturbing the herbivore MM’s from eatin’ their favorite nutty fruit from their favorite, unknown to the west, species of trees (i.e. native “molombo”???).

    If you want to see a goofy yet covert interview of one of the Nassau jarheads you will need Apple Quicktime and a good sense of humor. He had no idea these goofy kids were recording him. Click here.

    Here’s another equally unknown and suspect pix of something very strange with an elephant. Beware could be a fake like the other one above. You be the judge.


  20. Robert D. responds:

    I would love to hear of a true sighting of Mokele Mbembe, or even better a true photo. But today I heard from Paul Ohlin directly, and he said he has NOT sighted Mokele Mbembe as reported here.

    I hope in the future there is a true sighting, but this is not what Paul has said to me.

  21. Robert D. responds:

    To add to the above: Missionary Ohlin stated that the animal reported in his area is similar to a rhino with a single tusk. (Not the sauropod of other areas).
    -He is carrying a camera in case he does sight the animal. He seems most genuine and honest, and does not embellish. If someone got to break this story with a photo, I pray it would be this fine man, who lives with his family in this harsh area to share God’s love.

  22. Bob K. responds:

    As to Robert D.s post: this would be another animal that is reported as living in the same area, a different creature altogether. If we’re sticking by the Dino hypothesis for these animals, this one apparently resembles a monoclonius. Its similar to a triceretops but has only a single horn, as described by witnesses, while sharing, with the triceratops, the large frill, though I dont recall as to whether this cryptid has been described as having such a frill.

  23. Carol Maltby responds:

    Spook, if you are going to claim that clouds avoid going over Lac Tele , perhaps you should not submit a link to a photo that shows clouds over Lac Tele.

  24. Bob Michaels responds:

    The Bronx Zoo would like to have a Mokele-mbembe, a pair so that they can breed the Dino and start a Jurassic Park exhibit.

  25. tom k responds:

    I’d just like to say that the brachiosaur is included in the african fossil record, and some paleontologists think that it may have had a nasal implement on its head, could this have anything to do with the MM’s frill/horn?

  26. tom k responds:

    Some informants say MM has a frill/horn, some say it dosn’t, maybe only the male MM’s have one, and use them for atracting mates, like a peacock does with its tail?

  27. snake responds:

    I believe the Mokele-mbembe of Congo isn’t a Brontosaurus/ Apatosaurus. Mokele-mbembes are very large African pythons. Think about it. Large Python snakes look like the elongated necks of Brontosaurus. Pythons are aquatic. So say eye witness reports of Mokele-mbembes. Python heads from afar look like Brontosaurus heads too. The open mouths of Pythons full of fangs look like mock-up dinosaurs’ open mouths, also full of fangs, we see in natural history museums. Both are reptiles and share reptilian looks and features.

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