8. The Loveland Lizard
This remarkable creature has earned its place in the annals of the unknown primarily because of the credibility of the involved witnesses: two police officers on two separate occasions.
The scene is the early hours of March 3, 1972. A police officer is cruising on Riverside Ave., which runs for a few blocks along the Little Miami River in Loveland, Ohio. On the side of the road he sees what he at first thinks is a dog lying there. He slows his vehicle on the icy road to avoid hitting the animal should it get up and run in front of him. He nears the animal and stops his patrol car, at which point the creature quickly stands on two legs to a crouching position. Illuminating the creature with his headlights, the officer can now clearly see that it is not a dog at all, but something he cannot explain:
- three to four feet tall
- 50 to 75 pounds
- leathery skin
- possibly wet, matted hair on its body that made it look textured possibly a short tail
- a head and face like a frog or lizard
Whatever this creature was, it looked at the officer briefly, then leapt over the road's guard rail toward the river.
The officer reported the odd sighting to the police dispatcher, then later returned to the scene of the incident with another officer. All they found was evidence that something had scraped the hillside as it made its way down to the river.
The creature may have been completely forgotten had not a second police officer seen it again two weeks later. The second officer also at first thought the thing lying in the middle of the road was a dog or roadkill. When he got out of his car to haul it to the side of the road, it got up, climbed over the guard rail this time, all the while keeping its eyes on the officer, and disappeared toward the river. His description of the creature pointed out the same frog-like characteristics. A subsequent investigation uncovered only one other possible sighting around the same time; a farmer claimed to have seen some kind of large, lizard-like creature. It thereafter became known as the Loveland Lizard or Loveland Frog.
What was it? Good question. If is was a frog or similar amphibian, it's the largest one ever recorded - and the only one known to get up and walk away on its hind legs.
9. Living Dinosaurs
We were all awestruck by the incredibly realistic digital effects of the Jurassic Park movies, and tantalized by the possibility that cloning of long-extinct dinosaurs might one day be possible.
But what if dinosaurs are still alive? What if some dinosaurs have somehow survived extinction to coexist with us today? Some people believe they actually might have. Living dinosaurs!
For over 200 years, rare but fascinating reports have filtered out of the dense isolated rain forests of Africa and South America that native tribes - some of which live very much as they have for thousands of years - were familiar with large creatures that can only be described as resembling sauropods, like the apatosaurus.
The tribes had names for them, such as jago-nini ("giant diver"), dingonek, ol-umaina, and chipekwe. In 1913, Captain Freiheer von Stein zu Lausnitz, a German explorer, was told by Pygmies of a fearsome creature they called mok'ele-mbembe ("stopper of rivers"). This is the description of mok'ele-mbembe provided by the natives:
- smooth brownish gray skin
- approximately the size of an elephant; at least that of a hippopotamus; possibly about 30 feet long
- a long, flexible neck
- a vegetarian diet, but would kill humans if they came too close
During an expedition to search for mok'ele-mbembe in 1980, cryptozoologist Roy Mackel and herpetologist James Powell allegedly showed pictures of local animals to the natives, all of which they correctly identified. When they showed them an illustration of a large sauropod, they identified it as mok'ele-mbembe.
Aside from the testimony of these tribespeople (which some skeptics have written off as making fools of the white man), the evidence for living dinosaurs is scant. Supposedly, a few explorers have found extraordinarily large footprints (as large as a Frisbee), and in 1992, a Japanese expedition is said to have about 15 seconds of film footage taken from an airplane that shows some large shape moving in water, leaving a V-shaped wake. Unfortunately, it could not be identified.
Recent expeditions in search of mok'ele-mbembe have taken place. They explored the Likoula region of the Congo for four weeks with the official mission objective of a "scientific investigation and analysis of reports of a living dinosaur." Unfortunately, again, they returned empty-handed. New expeditions will undoubtedly continue to search for living dinosaurs. The prospect of actually documenting a find is just too tempting.
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