Wessie most certainly dead: The top monster-related stories of 2016

The Portland Herald revisits the Wessie story now that we are deep into the Maine winter. They fail to mention that it could have been a hoax. The evidence – eyewitness testimony and a snakeskin of dubious origin – is highly questionable.

“We have had no further sightings,” said Westbrook Police Chief Janine Roberts.

Interested residents still ask Roberts about the snake, but the chief would not voice any theories about its whereabouts or origins.

The lack of any additional sightings doesn’t surprise snake experts. They predicted as much.

“The snake probably didn’t make it past October,” said Derek Yorks, a biologist at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. That’s because a snake as large as the one reported by witnesses would not be native to Maine, Yorks said.

The article was also publicity for Loren Coleman’s museum of cryptozoology in Portland. Coleman is well aware that this could have been a hoax and suspects that some will try to keep Wessie alive in the collection consciousness.

“I think there are probably going to be hoaxers or pranksters who will be interested in starting stories up again,” Coleman said. “The new hoaxes color the old stories.”

Coleman lists Wessie as the #6 top crypto story of the 2016. But his list includes things that are not exactly news – like attendance at conferences and museum events. According to our coverage, here are the top cryptozoology-themed stories of 2016:

  1. Big snakes abound. Wessie was a craze but a big dead snake was also found in Ohio recently showing that they really are out there. Biological information from Florida shows that invasive large constrictors are a genuine hazard to wildlife there and also possibly to children and pets.snakeskinhandout_full.jpg
  2. A photo showing seals was publicized as being from Loch Ness and may be the mythical Nessie. This story was popularized, of course, by British tabloids.img_7585
  3. Chena River monster was exactly the same phenomena as the Iceland worm a few years back. No one noticed the similarity but at least it did not get the traction that the Lagarfljótsormurinn did.screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-5-04-51-pm
  4. Early in the year, a new cryptozoology conference was held and a new society formed, the International Cryptozoology Society (ICS).
  5. thylacine video was released by a thylacine advocacy group in Australia. It was inconclusive and probably a fox.
  6. A rare black bobcat was caught in Canada.img_0108
  7. Mothman made a brief and unconvincing reappearance soon after the 50th anniversary of the first report.mothman-photo
  8. Pedals the bipedal bear lived for several years and looked remarkably Bigfoot-like. He was shot this year, sparking outrage from locals.
    Pedals was frequently captured in photos around homes.

    Pedals was frequently captured in photos around homes.