The Quaintness of Qatar Creatures

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 29th, 2009

“A quaint notion of an even quainter nation.” – as uttered by a Nazi in Sherlock Holmes and The Voice of Terror (1942).

The April 23rd publication of the photograph of an alleged creature from Qatar kicked up a lot of sand from the present, and perhaps from the past.

All was not as it appeared:

The Qatar photo was of a modified “Stretchy Horror Monster,” shown above variously, as pointed out here on April 24th.

Furthermore, this is not the first bit of strange photography, reeking of fakery, that has issued from Qatar.

I was reminded of an earlier photograph from Qatar, by Matt Moniz, while discussing this topic at the weekend conference at Mount Washington.

Matt Moniz, Science Advisor, Spooky Southcoast radio show. Photo credit: Barry Chin, Boston Globe.

The earlier image:

Moniz sent the above older Qatar photo he has on file, and paraphrased for me what he remembers of the tale from 15 years ago:

In the mid-1970s, two men were spelunking in the Mideastern country of Qatar, near one of it’s shoreline townships.

The two men entered the cave system, and proceeded a few hundred yards into it before it forked off. The men made a choice to spilt up and meet back at that spot after a short time just to be safe.

While exploring the branch of cave that one had chosen, a scream was heard coming from the other branch where his friend had chosen to venture. The man raced up the cave back to the split and then down the other pathway his friend had descended.

Upon reaching his friend laying on the cave floor, he found him covered in blood, with large gashes and torn pieces of flesh ripped from his body. After the surviving man regained his composure, he raced to the local police and informed them that his friend had been attacked. The police followed the man to to cave and found the body.

The police arrested the surviving man under the suspicion of murder, and recovered the body and personal effects of the dead man from the cave. Among the effects was a 35mm camera, and the police developed the roll. The last frame of the roll contained the image that is pictured [above].

Two strange pictures from Qatar? How bizarre.

Moniz also adds these disclaimers:

You will have people incorrectly say it is a statue in the “Hell Fire caves.” But the owner of the caves has written a statement saying this is a falsehood.

There is a group that also wrongly claimed that a woman on a “religious pilgrimage” took a picture of a light in a holy cave and this “demon” showed up when developed.

There are several other stories [attempting to explain its origins], as well.

Now I do not say that this 1970s spelunking story is true or that the picture is real, only that the above tale is the oldest that is associated with it. Your readers can make up their own minds, and my feeling is that we well never really know what the actual truth is about it.

No doubt, it will continue to live on in folklore. – Matt Moniz, Science Advisor, Spooky Southcoast.

Have you ever seen this earlier photograph? Do you know its true source?

Tick, tick, tick.

10, 9, 8

7, 6, 5,


4, 3, 2,

Thank you.

It’s late.

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.

20 Responses to “The Quaintness of Qatar Creatures”

  1. Colpittsdragon responds:

    The only thing I have to say is this… I think it’s really funny that when you follow the link to the “Stretchy Horror Monster” and mouse over one of the images it says that it’s a “stocking filler”.

    “Merry Christmas, kids! Here’s a Stretchy Horror Monster.” Yeah, not my idea of a great Christmas present.

  2. Brothermidnight responds:

    Well the older photo is definitely taken in the Cheddar caves Crystal Quest attraction. I’m not sure that I have ever heard anybody say that it was taken in the hellfire cave and as far as I know all the statues in the hellfire cave are of a more classic style.

  3. Tillingfire responds:

    I have actually heard that the figure in the cave picture was a replica of Golem in a Tolkien display. Not sure if anyone else has heard that but I would say that it is probably the closest thing to the truth with this whole Qatar stuff.

  4. odingirl responds:

    Yep, I’ve seen it attributed to the Cheddar Caves tourist attraction also. I can remember when this photo was circulating around as evidence of either a chupacabras or an alien. It’s an all-purpose critter.

  5. cryptidsrus responds:

    What happened to the suspect in the Qatar death?

    I assume he was released because of the photograph.

    Whatever it is—cool story.

  6. cliff responds:

    As far as the cave figure being a replica of Gollum, from what I understood from the article and story by Matt Muniz, that photo is at least 15 years old, and that pre-dates the LoTR movies, so it couldn’t have anything to do with Gollum.

    It is a very interesting photo, and looks very authentic too. If it was indeed just part of a hoax then the original “cave demon” hoaxers went through alot more trouble and did a much better job than the recent Quatar creature hoaxers.

    cryptidsrus – I would like to know the same thing. If it wasn’t a hoax and the original story had some truth, then certainly the authorities would have to have let the “suspect” go after seeing that photo. You would also expect to see some follow-up to the story too if that was indeed the case. But it’s an interesting story regardless.

  7. larrykat responds:

    Minor point, but the Lord of the Rings movies were produced over 50 years after the trilogy was written, of course… so it could be someone’s idea of Gollum. I know had a pretty complete picture in my mind of Gollum when I first read the books 35 years ago.

  8. DefHed responds:

    Not this old chestnut again! It is indeed an attraction located in the caves at Cheddar Gorge, UK. More info here, and here; seems the old fella’s had a lick of paint recently.

  9. maeko responds:

    Can’t see it very well…too small. If it is a hoax, it is better than the latest. What’s up with Qatar and cave monsters?

  10. Rivition responds:

    I live in Wiltshire only a few miles from Cheddar gorge and the Cheddar caves in Somerset, and I can tell you that this picture is in fact part of one of the caves attractions focusing on a battle between good and evil. Sort of Lord of the Rings style, but I don’t think the creature is based on Gollum.

  11. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    You know, I actually have seen that other photo. Only the story associated with it that I heard was that it was a chupacabras and snapped somewhere in Central America. It’s been several years back though.
    This isn’t the site where I originally saw it, but a quick search for chupacabras did turn up this site using the photo.

  12. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    This one is the same creature, but mirrored the other direction, and is from a Photoshop site.

  13. Brothermidnight responds:

    this is a pic of somebody standing in the cave with the statue here

  14. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Ugh! they did an awful job re-painting that once-cool statue 🙁

    Re. the Qatar cave story, maybe it was all a very elaborate assassination plot after all! and the killer used a roll of film with a pic of the statue to make his story more credible 😛

  15. Andrew Minnesota responds:

    Cool story but it seems that the Cryptomundians cracked the case! Back to the Mystery Machine!

  16. Ceroill responds:


  17. Fhqwhgads responds:

    And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!

  18. anthonyp responds:

    in regards to the older photo:

    The above photo (claimed to be a creature in a rock crevice) is a photo of a carving in Cheddar Showcaves & Gorge in Somerset, England. The REAL story behind it is that a man (“John,” 33, Bournemouth UK) went to Saudi Arabia on a business trip. He met a man who said he had seen a flash of light in a dark cave and snapped a picture, and this is the picture that came out. John obtained a copy of the picture (the locals said it was a djinn, or evil spirit) and brought it back to England in search of a buyer. It turns out that the “djinn” is part of Cheddar Showcaves, a tourist attraction which contains an attraction called “Crystal Quest.” Crystal Quest is a dark cave full of Tolkeinesque carvings, intermittently lit by strobe. Cheddar Gorge officials confirmed this and noted that many people had taken pictures of strange things in the cave, after seeing a flash of light and pointing their camera at it. You can still see this statue there. This picture was debunked in Fortean Times “Strange Days #1,” 1996, pp.27-28, from which the above information is taken.

  19. KristyBeast responds:

    Um…Tolkien began writing the Lord of the Rings trilogy in the trenches of one of the World Wars. (I can’t remember which one, though.) So just because the movies aren’t that old doesn’t mean someone couldn’t have created something to embody what they pictured Gollum to look like from the stories!

    That being said, I don’t think that’s what it is.
    It’s the kind of thing you wish were real. But doubt it is.

  20. Fhqwhgads responds:

    Guys, especially when there are no more than a dozen or two comments already posted, please see above.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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