8/03/08 – VIDEO ADDED BELOW THE PHOTOS!
This is weird… It’s something residents have been calling the Montauk Monster. It washed up on the beach. I think it’s a decomposed and water logged dog, but what the hell do I know.
The surf was rough, flipping the thing, over and over, and over again.
Jenna Hewitt, of Montauk, and three friends crept up to examine one side. And Hewitt snapped the camera shot heard ’round the world.
But here’s the rub.
Her group was the second on the scene that afternoon.
The first was a quartet of sun-worshipers from western Suffolk and New York City.
“It looked like nothing I’d ever seen before,” said Ryan O’Shea, of Brooklyn. “It looked like it died angry.”
They were so puzzled by what they saw, they left and came right back, with more friends.
The second time around, Christina Pampalone, of East Northport, borrowed O’Shea’s camera. She aimed and kept on firing.
The result is lots of — ew — gross photos of a carcass that looks more domestic than exotic, a bloated dog, not the Hound from Hell.
It shows ears. A big swatch of fur. And its proportions appear to be less distorted — making the head appear to be a suitable complement to the body.
“I was telling people, all day (Wednesday), that I had better photos,” Pampalone said.
“Everybody I showed her pictures to said it looks like a dead dog,” O’Shea said.
“But looking at the claws, and at the teeth in the front, it looked like it could be something else, something vicious.”
It was relatively small, roughly 21/2 to 3 feet long, he said.
“I kept thinking, ‘Boy, I hope its mother isn’t around,'” O’Shea said.
This might be a good time to pause for a chew of monster mash. I was skeptical — and yes, photographers and graphic artists, I did get your e-mails disputing my shadow theory — until O’Shea and Pampalone made me a believer.
Not in monsters, mind you.
But in the fact that the ocean, from time to time, coughs up some nasty stuff.
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So is it a dog? (Many readers suggested, and worried, that it might be their lost pet. Others were adamant that whatever it was, it should get a decent burial.)
Or, as some of our more imaginative readers suggested Thursday, a skinned ram?
Possum? Otter? (Based on the new photos, I think I’m liking the otter. For now.)
I sent Pampalone’s digital photos — unlike Hewitt, she had no problem with sending Newsday the originals — to the good folks at Plum Island, but had heard nothing back about the new photos by deadline.
Perhaps that’s because officials were busy answering inquiries from CNN and other media chasing the Montauk Monster. (For the record, officials said they have nothing to do with it and couldn’t identify it, based on Hewitt’s photo.)
Hewitt told Newsday she was talking to CNN, too.
She also told our man Wargas — who had started his workday high on the hope of seeing, and no doubt, smelling, the beast’s remains — that the carcass had been moved from the backyard of her friend to another location.
Joann Dileardo saw it at the end of Roe Avenue in Patchogue, a few weeks ago. “I didn’t know what that thing was,” she said. “It looked like a pig.”
Another reader, Pat, e-mailed that the ladies in his office saw it on an East Quogue beach — back in April.
Elizabeth Barbeiri said her family saw it about a mile east of Gurney’s Inn in Montauk, July 14. And Ryan Kelso, via iPhone, said he spotted it — alive! — in the Montauk dunes. “It looked about the size of an average fox, gray in color, eyes like a mole, hairless and was breathing quite heavily,” he wrote, “needless to say we were freaked out by this discovery and fled the area quickly.”
Lavey Fater saw a surfer bring one to shore, near Ditch Plains.
“It was hairless and gross,” Fater reported. “… The surfer said he had no idea what it was, but that he threw it in the dunes because he didn’t want to be surfing next to it.”
Keith found something last week in Greenport; Chris found one a month ago at Jones Beach east of Field 6. (“The one I saw had a longer snout or beak or whatever you want to call it.”) Sean said he buried one, 3 feet deep, in South Jamesport.
Somehow, I’m thinking, the Montauk Monster won’t stay buried, long.
Update: I know this is just going to be a dead dog. Here’s a dog that should I see it in the dark, maybe digging in my garbage cans I would think it’s a chupacabra…