Top 10 Strange and Bizarre Dead Bodies
A recent study conducted by scientists at Dalhousie University in Canada and the University of Hawaii examined the question: Are people within reach of finding all species on Earth? The paper concluded that less than 15% of the estimated 8.7 million species on Earth have been discovered, leaving 85% of the planet’s species unknown to humans. For example, we’ve only cataloged 7% of the predicted number of fungi and identified less than 10% of the ocean’s creatures. For this reason, biologists around the world take note when strange carcasses are discovered. History is full of reports on unidentified sea creatures, land mammals, and human corpses. This article will examine ten strange dead bodies.
10. Persian Princess
On October 19, 2000, authorities in Balochistan, Pakistan received a tip about a man named Ali Aqbar and a videotape that showed an ancient mummy. The mummy was said to have been placed on the black antiquities market for $20 million. After interrogation, Aqbar led police to the house of Wali Mohammed Reeki in Kharan near the border of Afghanistan. Reeki told the officers that he had received the mummy from an Iranian man named Sharif Shah Bakhi who found it after an earthquake near Quetta. In a press conference on October 26, 2000, archaeologists from Islamabad’s Quaid-e-Azam University announced that the mummy appeared to be the body of a princess dated circa 600 BC.
The mummy was found in a gilded wooden coffin. It had cuneiform carvings on the breast plate and a stone sarcophagus (funeral receptacle). The body was placed atop a mixture of wax and honey. It had an elegant golden crown, with an inscription that claimed the woman was named Rhodugune, a daughter of King Xerxes I of Persia and a member of the Achaemenid dynasty. The Persian princess was immediately hailed as a major archaeological discovery. No other Persian mummy has ever been found and the process of mummification is thought to be unique to ancient Egyptians. After the discovery, the governments of Iran and Pakistan fought over the ownership of the mummy.
The story of the Persian Princess inspired many archeologists to investigate the case. It was soon discovered that the inscriptions on the mummy’s breastplate had some grammatical errors. A series of x-rays revealed that several operations common to Egyptian mummifications had been omitted. Pakistani professor Ahmad Dani studied the item and realized the corpse was not as old as the coffin. Ibrahim concluded that the Persian Princess was in fact the mummified body of a modern woman about 21–25 years of age, who had died around 1996, possibly killed with a blunt instrument to the neck. On August 5, 2005, it was announced that the body will be given proper burial rights. However, as of 2011, it remains unburied due to bureaucratic delays.
9. Chilean Blob
In July of 2003, a giant 13-tonne mass of rotting grey tissue was discovered on Pinuno Beach in Los Muermos, Chile. The carcass was 41 feet (12.5 m) long and 19 feet (5.8 m) wide. The discovery made international headlines and biologists were initially unable to identify it. Many articles were written speculating that the gelatinous sea creature was a species of giant octopus that was previously unknown to science. Other people were convinced that the blob was the remains of a basking shark or sperm whale. After the discovery, the body was preserved by scientists in Chile, who unfortunately used a formaldehyde solution that destroyed the lab’s ability to maintain certain DNA sequences.
In June 2004, it was reported that fragments of DNA found in the blob matched that of a sperm whale. Adult sperm whales can reach the size of 20.5 meters (67 ft) long and weigh up to 57,000 kilograms (63 short tons). Similar cases of giant globsters have been documented in history. Often times the remains are interpreted as that of a giant sea creature. Some examples include a carcass discovered in Tasmania (1960), The Gambia (1983), Nantucket, Mass. (1996), Newfoundland (2001), and two in Bermuda (1995 and 1997). The pictures of the Chilean Blob are similar in nature to the St. Augustine Monster, which was a large unidentified carcass that washed ashore near St. Augustine, Florida, in 1896.
On October 25, 1924, people on a beach in KwaZulu-Natal, Margate, South Africa, witnessed a sea battle between a giant, white colored sea creature and two whales. One of the witnesses, Hugh Balance, said that the animal looked like a “giant polar bear.” The monster used its lobster-like tail to strike the whales in an attempt to escape. It jumped out of the water as high as 20 feet (6.1m) and was viewed for over three hours. Later that night, the bloodless carcass of a sea creature washed ashore. The body was measured at 47 feet (14.3m) long, 10 feet (3m) wide and 5 feet (1.5m) high. It had an unusual lobster-like tail that was 10 feet (3m) long and the entire body appeared to be covered in white fur, which was 8 inches long.
The creature didn’t have a distinct head. In its place, there was an appendage similar to an elephant’s trunk that was 5 feet (1.5m) long and 14 inches in diameter. The presence of the trunk is what spawned the nickname of Trunko. Scientists never examined the carcass and it was left on the beach for 10 days, until the tide pulled it back out to sea. The information regarding the event was published in the December 27, 1924, edition of London’s Daily Mail, under an article titled Fish like a Polar Bear. In September of 2010, a German cryptozoologist named Markus Hemmler discovered a collection of lost photographs of Trunko. The discovery provided evidence that a large white colored carcass did wash ashore in the 1920s.
Many people have tried to identify the carcass. Originally, the most common explanation was that Trunko was a large whale, basking shark, or whale shark that got a white texture due to water exposure and decay. It was also suggested that Trunko was a new species of whale, or an unknown pinniped, or sirenian. One of the more skeptical explanations was that the carcass is an albino southern elephant seal. In 2010, after the photographs of Trunko were examined, it was determined that the carcass is probably a globster, or a massive, tough skin-sac of blubber containing collagen that is sometimes left behind when a whale dies and its skull and skeleton have separated from the skin.
7. Kitchenuhmaykoosib Monster
On May 8, 2010, two women were taking a walk in the vicinity of Big Trout Lake, in northwestern Ontario, Canada. The women became alarmed after their dog retrieved the corpse of a small mammal, about 1 foot (0.3 m) in length. The women decided to photograph the bizarre looking creature and quickly left the area. After analyzing the pictures, it was determined that the carcass holds some bizarre facial features, which have been compared to a warthog. It has long fanged-teeth and a rat-like tail. The body shape of the carcass is similar to an otter. Several days after the initial encounter, the two women returned to the area to retrieve the body, but it was gone. In the aftermath of the report, several news agencies picked up the story and published articles on the unidentified body.
People have made comparisons between the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Monster and the legendary mammalian cryptid Omajinaakoos (the ugly one). According to the folklore of certain Native American tribes in central Canada, the Omajinaakoos is a rarely scene creature that lives in the creeks and marshy areas of Canada. The traditions say that it is an omen of misfortune to witness the carcass of an Omajinaakoos. Investigations into the photographs have subsequently determined that the body was a decomposed American mink. The conclusion has been challenged by some, due to the fact that no fur can be seen around the face of the creature, which should be evident on a decomposed mink species.
6. Taman Shud Case
On December 1, 1948, an unidentified human body was discovered on Somerton beach in Adelaide, Australia. After an autopsy was performed on the corpse, it was determined that the man was of British heritage and aged 40-45. He was in top physical condition and was 180 centimeters (5 ft 11in) tall. The body was dressed in “quality clothing,” including a white shirt, a tie, brown trousers, socks, shoes, and a fashionable European grey and brown double-breasted coat. All labels on the clothing were removed and the man was clean-shaven. The corpse had an unlit cigarette behind the ear and a half-smoked cigarette on the right collar of the jacket.
The coroner was unable to determine the man’s identity or cause of death. His organs displayed intense congestion and his spleen was strikingly large. During the investigation, a tiny piece of rolled-up paper with the words “Tamam Shud” printed on it was discovered sewn within the dead man’s trousers. The paper was neatly trimmed. The phrase Tamam Shud was identified as meaning “ended” or “finished.” It is found on the last page of a collection of poems called The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The theme of the poems is that one should live their life to the fullest and have no regrets when it is over. With pressure to solve the case, the Australian police decided to have the mysterious corpse embalmed on December 10, 1948. It was the first time in history that such a situation had occurred.
The discovery of the note was made public and a man came forward to reveal that he had found a rare first edition copy of Edward FitzGerald’s translation of The Rubaiyat in his unlocked car in Glenelg on the night of November 30, 1948. The book was missing the words “Tamam Shud” on the last page. Also found in the book was a telephone number belonging to a former nurse. The woman was tracked down and denied all knowledge of the man’s identity. In a TV program on the case, the woman’s name was given as Jestyn (which is an alias used for the show). The name was apparently obtained from the front of the book. Researchers investigating the case have attempted to track down the woman named Jestyn and found that she died in 2007. Evidence recovered in 2009 linked the images of the Somerton Man to the family of Jestyn.
In May of 2007, a reindeer breeder and hunter named Yuri Khudi discovered the carcass of a frozen woolly mammoth calf in Russia’s Arctic Yamal Peninsula. The carcass was named Lyuba and weighed 50 kg (110 lb). The woolly mammoth is 85 centimeters (2.8 feet) high and measures 130 centimeters (4.3 feet) from trunk to tail. It was determined that the calf died approximately 42,000 years ago at the age of one month. She is by far the best preserved mammoth carcass in the world. The body’s eyes, trunk, fur, skin, and organs were all found intact.
Scientists were able to identify milk from the mammoth’s mother in her stomach, and fecal matter in Lyuba’s intestine, including evidence that, like some modern young elephants, the creature ate adult herd members feces. It was determined that Lyuba died in a healthy state. The animal’s organs and skin are in perfect condition. It is believed that she died after getting bogged down in deep mud and suffocating. The clay-like substance “pickled” the mammoth’s remains and preserved the carcass in a nearly pristine state.
Scientists around the world were stunned by the discovery of the body. By examining Lyuba’s teeth, researchers hope to gain insight into what caused Ice Age mammals, including the mammoths, to become extinct at the end of the Pleistocene era around 10,000 years ago. A team of Japanese researchers are currently experimenting with the process of obtaining an intact woolly mammoth DNA sample from Lyuba in hopes of possibly cloning her. The discovery of the carcass has spawned a wave of modern research into the mystery of what caused the last glacial period and the extinction of the woolly mammoth species.
4. Montauk Monster
The Montauk Monster is an unidentified carcass that washed ashore near the business district of Montauk, New York in July 2008. A woman named Jenna Hewitt, 26, of Montauk, and three friends said they found the creature near the Ditch Plains beach, which is owned by the town of East Hampton. Hewitt’s story was published by a local newspaper. The paper speculated that the creature might be a sea turtle or some mutant experiment from the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. The article quoted Larry Penny, who is the East Hampton Natural Resources Director. Penny concluded that the carcass was a raccoon with its upper jaw missing.
After the Montauk Monster was photographed by Jenna Hewitt, the carcass disappeared. The picture of the creature quickly spread across the Internet and a large collection of media outlets picked up the story. One newspaper quoted an unidentified woman who said the animal was the size of a house cat. Initially, people speculated that it was a sea turtle. However, this is unlikely as a turtle’s body cannot be removed from the shell without damaging skin tissue. Some have suggested the carcass is a water rat, while others have claimed it is a decomposed dog or coyote that has lost all its hair due to water exposure. Palaeozoologist Darren Naish studied the photograph and identified the carcass as a raccoon. On March 14, 2011, National Geographic aired a program that examined the Montauk Monster. The show concluded that the creature was a raccoon.
3. Zuiyo Maru Carcass
On April 25, 1977, a Japanese trawler named Zuiy? Maru was sailing east of Christchurch, New Zealand, when a strange, unknown creature became tangled in the vessels trawl at a depth of 300 meters (984 feet). The crew pulled the massive creature to the surface and discovered a foul-smelling, decomposed carcass that reportedly weighed 1,800 kg (3,960 pounds) and was about 10 m (32 feet) long. The creature had a 5 foot (1.5 meter) long neck, four large, reddish fins and a 7 foot (2.1 m) long tail. According to the original reports, it lacked a dorsal fin and had no internal organs.
After the discovery, the crew of the Zuiy? Maru became convinced that the carcass was an unidentified sea creature. Despite the potential significance of the find, the captain, Akira Tanaka, decided to dump the carcass back into the ocean. Before the body was lost, a collection of photographs were taken. The crew removed samples of the creature’s skin for analysis. After the pictures were developed, several newspapers in Japan published articles on the event. Japanese citizens became intrigued by the carcass and a “plesiosaur-craze” swept across the country. Professor Tokio Shimaka from Yokohama University was convinced that the remains were an extinct plesiosaur.
On July 25, 1977, the Taiyo Fish Company issued a preliminary report on the creature’s tissue samples. It indicated that the sample was “similar in nature to the fin ray group of living animals,” which includes the basking shark. The basking shark is the second largest fish in the sea. They can grow to a length of more than 30 feet (9.1m) and specimens have been discovered over 40 feet (12.1m). After death, the carcass of a basking shark loses its lower head, dorsal fin, and caudal fins first, making them resemble a plesiosaur. Despite the evidence, some have studied the photographs and found oddities, including a symmetrical pair of upper fins on the creature.
2. San Pedro Mountains Mummy
In October 1932, two prospectors named Cecil Mayne and Frank Carr discovered a bizarre room while blasting for gold in the San Pedro Mountains, about 60 miles southwest of Casper, Wyoming. The enclosure was approximately 4 ft. (1.22 m) tall, 4 ft. (1.22 m) wide and 15 ft. (4.57 m) deep. After entering the room, the miners were surprised to see the mummy of a tiny man. The carcass was found sitting in an upright position with its arms and legs crossed. It sat perpendicular to the floor on a small ledge and weighed approximately 12 ounces. The mummy was around 7 inches (0.17 m) tall sitting and 14 inches (0.35 m) tall standing. Its skin was brown and wrinkled, the cranium was flattened and the eyes of the carcass were heavy-lidded and bulged. The mummy displayed a flat nose, a wide mouth, and thin lips.
The body was so well preserved that even the fingernails were visible. The head was covered in a dark, gelatinous substance and the mummy appeared to have been preserved in a liquid. Upon its discovery, the carcass was given the name Pedro the Mummy. Scientists came from all over the country to take a look at the remains. In 1950, x-rays were performed on the mummy and it was reported that a fully formed “manlike” skeleton was inside. Some of the bones were broken, including the spine, collarbone and skull. These injuries and congealed blood at the top of the head insinuated a violent death.
The carcass was examined by a man named Dr. Henry Shapiro, who was a biological anthropologist from the American Museum of Natural History. After studying the x-rays, Dr. Shapiro came to believe that the mummy was the body of a 65-year-old man at the time of death. The mummy contained particularly large canines in comparison with the rest of the body and was reported as almost vampire-like. In the 1950s, these findings were substantiated by Harvard University. However, 30 years later, Dr. George Gill, a forensic anthropologist proposed another theory. He feels the body is an infant of an unknown tribe of Indians. Years after the mummy was discovered, a second, similar body was found in roughly the same area. This time it was a female mummy, who was only 4 inches (.10 m) high.
Nearly every Native American culture tells of a race of little people. Oral traditions from the Arapaho, Sioux, Cheyenne, and Crow, examine a race of “little people” who stand from just 20 inches (.50 m) to three feet (.91 m) tall. In some tribes they are known as “tiny people eaters.” The Nimerigar are a legendary race of little people found in the folklore of the Shoshone people. According to Native American lore, the Nimerigar lived in the San Pedro Mountains in south central Wyoming and fought constantly with the average sized humans using poisoned arrows. It is said that when one of the Nimerigar became sick or old, they were killed by their own people with a blow to the head.
Most of these claims were considered folklore until the discovery of Pedro the mummy. The carcass of Pedro ended up in Meeteetse, Wyoming, at a local drug store where it was shown as an attraction for several years. On July 7, 1979, an article was published in the Casper Star-Tribune that stated the mummy was passed to a man named Leonard Wadler, who was a New York businessman. The carcass has not been seen since. Until Pedro the mummy is found, it will be impossible to determine if it is real. There is currently a $10,000 reward for the recovery of the remains.
1. Panama Creature
The Panama Creature refers to a carcass that was photographed near the town of Cerro Azul, Panama, in September 2009. According to a collection of articles published about the event, the rubbery beast was spotted by a group of teenagers crawling out of a cave. The kids said the creature was hairless and had a leathery body with sharp teeth. It had “revolting features,” a snub-nose, and long arms. The teenagers claimed the animal approached them, so they beat it to death with some sticks. Some accounts of the event say the kids tossed the body into a pool of water and left the area. They later returned to the site and photographed the carcass.
The teenagers sent the pictures of the carcass to a Panamanian television station and the story was picked up by networks around the world. Many different stations speculated about the identity of the creature, with some suggesting it was a hairless sloth, an alien, or an animal new to science. Some Panamanian zoologists have said that the carcass appeared to be a fetus of some kind. Four days after the event was reported, a biopsy was performed by the National Environmental Authority of Panama. It concluded that the corpse was in fact that of a male Brown-throated Sloth. The odd appearance of the animal was caused by underwater decomposition. Once identified, the corpse was buried.
The simple fact that the creature was positively identified as a living carcass is remarkable. Different accounts of the story have told nothing of the teenagers throwing the body in water. Some people have become confused over the fact that the children should have recognized a Brown-throated Sloth. The animals are not threatening and on the ground the maximum speed of the three-toed sloth is 2 m or 6.5 feet per minute. In order for a sloth to become hairless, it would have to be completely submerged for a long period of time. In the original photographs, no water is visible around the animal. Writers for the Huffington Post have said that the head is clearly animal, but the torso is “strange,” and the limbs are reminiscent of thin human arms.