Montauk Monster Hoax Claim A Hoax

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 8th, 2008

In the wake of this summer’s biggest crypto-blockbuster, doesn’t it make sense that someone might try to turn it into a gold mine of publicity for their project?

John Green and I were once talking about the Sasquatch mystery, and he said, there will always be people to rush in and say that they hoaxed this story or that one to get the attention and stake a claim to history.

The Montauk Monster is a mundane little body that’s become a weekend wonder. The rush is on now, with this wee Montauk marvel, to be the first to say “they told you so” that this thing was a hoax or that they actually are part of the hoax. It has been incredible to watch.

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First widely seen image of the Montauk Monster.

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One of the second series of photos to surface.

Two sides of the same carcass?

The Gotham News, the Gawker, Montauk Monster (which is engaged in trying to sell the domain for thousands of dollars) and other blogs seem to be falling all over each other to be the first to say that the Montauk Monster (the term, btw, first coined by me) is “a hoax.”

It almost feels as if it is the other end of the decomposing process of this carcass.

Anyway, in the realm of full disclosure, even though my Occam’s Razor take on this one is raccoon, I’ll try to sort out some of these elaborate hoax claims here.

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The new claims supposedly first came to light that Rachel Goldberg, who said she was allegedly the woman who discovered the famed beastie (a doubtful fact), is allegedly the sister of small time movie producer Darren Goldberg (above), who is now conveniently reported to be making a movie about carnivals and monsters.

The blog Gotham News said the beast was most likely a prop used in Goldberg’s film Splinterheads. One person using the name “Tonya,” explained the stunt will be revealed when the flick comes out next year. “Tonya” says the original pictures of the Montauk Monster were a stage prop from the Splinterheads movie set.

I wonder. I am very skeptical of these after-the-fact “hoax” claims.

Now, today, Gawker has given forth with an even more elaborate hoax claim. There may have supposedly been two movie props, he speculates!! (Of course, flies don’t usually gather around props.)

To be fair, Gawker is also being reasonable too, saying: “There are enough untied loose ends in the hoax storyline to leave open the possibility that the hoax is itself a hoax, meaning the story has now entered a confusing phase where one must carefully sift the professed deceptions from the real deceptions and hard facts from intentional distortions.” Contoured, but well meaning.

As Gawker correctly points out, Rachel Goldberg is one of the three women interviewed on the Plum TV segment. That was long after the two sets of photographs surfaced and the Montauk Monster media circus was steaming along.

Of course, for viral marketing reasons, just as with the Venom Energy Drink bounty, people are going to step in and piggyback on a popular media phenomenon.

Gawker then writes, in what I see as the key to undermining these hoax claims, a bit about the timing:

The original supplier of the photo, Nevitski, told New York [magazine] that Goldberg and the other women on Plum TV were “full of sh*t” because Nevitski’s friend, still anonymous, took the original picture. If the monster was a hoax, Goldberg would have seen the interview as a golden opportunity to inflate the hoax further by lying about taking that specific picture. And recall that Nevitski did not explain how the group obtained an alternate picture of the monster.

Blogger Nicky Papers also thought the women were lying, and wrote on Montauk-Monster.com about their nervous ticks, like giggling and breaking eye contact. He also noticed that Goldberg talked first and her friends followed her lead.

The blogger was then contacted by a source who claimed Rachel Goldberg was related to Darren Goldberg. The source said Goldberg was making Splinterheads and that the monster will appear in the movie. This was the first time the movie was tied to the monster.

Gawker also notes: “The moviemakers never come out and say on their website or blog that they actually made the monster. They only imply it. Perhaps they are having a bit of fun. There is no proof that Darren and Rachel Goldberg are related, only a statement on Darren Goldberg’s blog, which could be a joke.”

Bottomline, while there perhaps there is no true cryptid here, no “monster,” per se, and nothing more than a dead raccoon that has become infamous as the Montauk Monster (glory after death in Gotham’s Media Colosseum, it appears), the hoax claims must be judged merely as a hoax themselves.

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Click image for larger version.

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.


12 Responses to “Montauk Monster Hoax Claim A Hoax”

  1. mystery_man responds:

    That’s amazing. They made a prop that looks exactly like a dead raccoon. Is this a raccoon zombie flick they are making? 🙂 This hoax claim smells fishy to me and I agree that at the moment it smacks of someone trying to ride the media wave. I’d be less skeptical if they could just show us the alleged prop so that we could compare. It can’t be that difficult, right?

    It’s too bad that many are likely going to swallow the hoax claim without any further questions. maybe it is a hoax, but I’d be more willing to lend the claim some credence if the body looked truly mysterious or more obviously faked or abnormal, but what we have here is I am pretty sure a dead raccoon or at least it looks just like one. The guy seems to be playing the mystery angle when many intelligent, critical people have figured out that there is no reason to think this is anything other than the carcass of an ordinary animal.

  2. shumway10973 responds:

    I’m still debating on that alternate view. I do find it a little strange that someone who (as far as we know) isn’t apart of any scientific group would even think of moving a carcass. Most people may take a picture, but that’s about it. There would be no way they would move it for a better shot. I understand the possibility that after being in the sun, weather and sand the first shot makes it look old and tough/leathery, but the second looks like it was just pulled from the fridge/freezer. Coloring is completely different, there’s little to no sand on most of the body and the front paws are conveniently buried in the sand. Not to mention I think the face is completely different. The original looks like a gryphon’s. The other, well, goblinish or evil pig faced monster (sorry I had a name up to the point of beginning that sentence).

  3. Loren Coleman responds:

    “I do find it a little strange that someone who (as far as we know) isn’t apart of any scientific group would even think of moving a carcass. ”

    Are you kidding? Besides the fact the tides could have moved it, people move dead bodies around all the time.

    One of the major motives for moving a body would be to take photos from a different angle, or if taking the entire body, for later re-sale on eBay.

    What do you think happened to the carcass from the Maine Mutant case? A couple thought they could make $150,000 to $15,000 auctioning off body parts on craigslist and/or eBay.

    What’s science got to do with it? Nothing.

  4. Lightning Orb responds:

    It would be ironic if they pulled out one of those replicas recently made in Canada and claimed that was the original prop…

  5. mystery_man responds:

    LightningOrb- Interesting idea, but I doubt it. The replica is good, but it doesn’t look exactly like the real deal. I don’t think that would fool anyone.

  6. cryptidsrus responds:

    I tend to think it is an ordinary animal, too, though for the life of me I can’t still see this a racoon. I guess I see things different from most folks here. I do think this has become a phenomenon. I saw a picture recently of the MM giving Obama the “fist-bump.”

  7. kittenz responds:

    I can see that it could be a raccoon. My first impression was “dog” but the canine teeth and jaw do look a lot like a raccoon’s, and after all, raccoons and dogs are fairly closely related within the Carnivora. Raccoon seem plausible to me.

  8. coelacanth1938 responds:

    One of these days, some biotech firm is going to make some producer a movie monster and then it’s really going to get ugly.

  9. hudgeliberal responds:

    Of course everyone will come and try to get their 15 minutes of fame. I still cant see racoon either but decomposition can do some mighty mean things to a body. I first thought maybe a pit bull but once they mentioned how small the thing was…I guess it could be a racoon. Just a weird shaped head,then again,to my knowledge I dont think I have ever seen a racoon skull. Oh well,the crypto world turns..LOL

  10. KarmakazeNZ responds:

    Just a word on the colouration of the animal. One thing I noticed the first time I saw the first picture was the reddish bruising of its skin.

    This is the first time I’ve seen the other picture and it has confirmed what I first thought – the first image was taken after the animal was moved. The reddish colouration is called “post mortem lividity” and is a result of blood pooling in the lowest parts of the body. It is an indicator used by crime scene investigators to determine if and when a body may have been moved.

    The first picture was taken after the body was rolled over, and the body was rolled over quite a while after death.

    The second picture appears to be its original position, based on the pattern of lividity seen in the first.

    I point this out because this argues against the animal being a fake. A special effects person probably wouldn’t put lividity in because they would not expect anyone to be seeing the underside, or to pay attention to such details.

    So my vote is REAL dead animal, hoax explanation for what it is or how it came to be publicised.

    Anyone on the spot would have been easily able to tell that it was simply a decomposing animal carcass and would have been able to guess, just as easily as us, if not easier, what KIND of animal. So, not a hoax in so far as being a prop, but a hoax in terms of it being some “unidentified” animal.

  11. KarmakazeNZ responds:

    Sorry about adding a second comment but I am unable to edit the first, and I just noticed that I was wrong about the second picture.

    That is NOT it’s original position either. The left hind leg also has lividity, and the lividity on the back extends too far around to the left of the animal.

    I believe it was lying pretty much on its back, on a slope, nose high. with the right hind leg either sticking stright up, or lying across the body, and the left hind leg lying on the ground.

    So real animal carcass, but NOT its original position, location or condition. It didn’t wash up on the beach, it was placed there, in the position of the second photo (no sand on top) then rolled over for the first photo (sand on top).

    If you look at the closeup of the head, you can see the right ear squashed against the skull, but the left ear is standing out, there is lividity of the right of the “face” and you can see the flesh around the nose has been cleanly excised not eaten or rotted away. The upper canines have been removed, and the socket of one is visible. Finally, either in an attempt to disguise it, or during the cleaning or altering process, the fur has come away over most of the body.

    So, not just a misidentified carcass, but an intentionally altered and moved carcass.

  12. dcloud responds:

    I don’t know how you people figure this resembles a raccoon. It looks more like a dead dog.




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