The Mokele Mbembe Mercenary
Sometimes when you're looking for clues to the great mysteries in life you have to ruffle a few feathers.
Would Charles Fort
ever have complied his "Book of the Damned" if he hadn't been snooping thru old newspapers
and dusty libraries? Would Roger Patterson ever have shot that
if he hadn't been mucking about in the woods? Would Glen Campbell (No, not the rhinestone cowboy)
ever have started the "Area 51 Research Center"
if he hadn't been willing to go live in the Godforsaken Nevada desert?
But in this case I may have bitten off more than I could chew. An e-mail from a reader named
"The Bobster" informed me about a guy in Gainesville that may have seen something in the African
jungle. The only connection Bobster had with the guy was that he went to the same firing range
that Bob did every week (Guns? Oh great, I love guns.) Bobster said he had over heard the guy
telling the owner he had seen a "monster" while in Africa doing a little "dirty work." Bobster
further warned me to watch my paranormal loving butt cause this guy was built like Ben Grimm from
The Fantastic Four. (ok, is everyone tired of the named "Bobster" yet?)
Most people would say thank you but no thank you and stay away from large men with guns who see
monsters. But where's the fun in that? So Jason and I hopped into the Freakmobile and headed
upstate for an with the trusted hidden camera under my shirt. (Hey what's a little hidden camera
work between friends?) What happened? Peruse the QuickTime below to find out.
So what did we learn from this? (Besides the fact that you should never ask probing questions to
a guy who has a gun and an arm thicker than your neck) It sounds to me like "John" had a run in
with the Mokele Mbembe (pronounced: mo-kel-le me-bem-be) The facts he gave do seem to fit the
profile of this infamous cryptozoological beastie.
The Mokele Mbembe was first mentioned in the memoirs of a French priest who visited the Lake Tele
part of Africa in 1776 in what is now the country of Congo. He wrote a detailed account of the
local flora and fauna and made a special mention of strange footprints he saw that measured more
three feet in circumference. Other Europeans and Americans who visited the area in the late 1800's
and early 1900's also reported that the natives believed a mysterious animal lived in the lake.
In the 1910's the German government sent Capt. Freiherr von Stein zu Lausnitz to survey the area.
(The land was a Germany colony at that time) In his official report he recounted that he had
heard many stories about the beast and natives had even shown him a path made by the animal to
get from the lake to a favorite food source.
Throughout the 20's and 30's several dinosaur-hunting expeditions were sent into the area to find
the monster, all with no luck. Herpetologist James H Powell Jr. made several modern expeditions
to the region in the 70's and 80's. Although he did not spot the beast he did collect information
about the animal from the natives. He also carried with him pictures of a sauropod dinosaur called
a diplodocus and was surprised when every native he encountered pointed to it as the monster that
lived in their lake!
Spotting the Mokele Mbembe is an iffy proposition at best and getting documentation of it on film
has eluded every attempt so far. In 1981 an American engineer spent 2 weeks around Lake Tele and
reported seeing the animal several different times. On each occasion high humidity caused his
camera to fail and no photographs were taken. A Congolese biologist named Marcellin Agnagna
reported seeing the monster in 1983 from a distance of perhaps 1,000 feet. Although carrying a
camera, he failed to capture the encounter on film because of the "emotion and alarm of the
So what does this lake monster look like? Most accounts say that the animal is 15 to 30 feet
in length, with a long neck and a large body that is supported by 4 thick legs. Its body is
similar to a hippo and tapers to a long snaky tail. It's purported to be brown or black in
color with smooth skin. Some reports say that it has a crest along the back of its neck and
a single tusk for a tooth.
Although skeptics claim that no dinosaur could have survived to modern times several interesting
facts about the area seem to support the existence of the creature. The area of the Congo in
which the Mokele Mbembe has been spotted is basically unchanged since the end of the Cretaceous
period. If there were a region of the earth where dinosaur could have survived, this would be
the place. The huge lake itself would be perfect for these semi-aquatic creatures since it
averages a depth of no more than 10 feet. And perhaps the most interesting fact is that the
area is devoid of hippopotamuses. The locals claim this is no accident and that they are scared
away by the Mokele Mbembe.
Unexplained by Jerome Clark; 1999 Visible Press
African Cryptids website