NANFA-- White River Monster

Hoover, Jan J WES (
Tue, 14 Dec 1999 09:43:19 -0600

This is a pet interest of mine.

>>>The White River Monster has been said by one cryptozoological researcher
to be a large male elephant seal which was a loner that strayed out of its
normal range and and that was
therefore unidentifiable by the observers which were unfamiliar with the
animal. So a more mundane explanation is very likely according to this

That was Roy P. Mackal. Jungle explorer and writer Ivan Sanderson allegedly
identified it as a giant water bird. Singer/songwriter Jimmy Driftwood
believed it to be a marine migratory creature. In all liklihood, it was a
large paddlefish. Both series of sightings (1937 and 1971) occurred in a
single, deep reach of the White River, during summer. The animal was large,
gray, scaleless and in apparent distress. In 1971, the animal was viewed at
close range and observed to have a scalloped dorsum, a bone or horn
protruding from its forehead, and peeling skin.

I believe that a large paddlefish was stranded in a pool during both events,
and was repeatedly surfacing due to stress, injury, or hypoxia. The
scalloped dorsum may have been a simultaneous observation of the rostrum
tip, dorsal fin, and upper caudal lobe at the water's surface. Paddlefish
are highly aerobic and prone to sunburn. If the pool was hypoxic, and the
fish was staying close to the surface, it might also have gotten sunburned.

Not as romantic as a plesiosaur, but pretty exciting (and semi-prehistoric)
none the less.

White River Monster Trivia: In 1973, the Arkansas State Senate, recognized
the value of an ugly, primitive river-dwelling organism, and established
boundaries for a White River Monster Refuge. In a 20 km stretch of
river,downstream from Jacksonport, it is illegal to cause any harm to the
state's second-most famous cryptozoological phenomenon.

There is a thoroughly-researched and well-written description of both
sightings at the Arkansas Traveler website. Sorry, I do not have address

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