Saturday, May 17, 2008

Strange, Deadly Creatures In Kansas Ponds

In 1923, residents in the region around Winfield, Kansas began reporting a new and frightening species of aquatic life.

Investigating the matter, Dr. O. H. Reynolds captured two creatures that he described as having the combined traits of a reptile, fish, and bird. Reynolds said the body, which stood on four legs, was like that of a lizard with a catfish coloration and an alligator-like head filled with rows of sharp teeth. The long tail, however, had fins like a fish and across its back were "membranous, finlike members" resembling feathers.

The animals swam rapidly and would dive into the water in a corkscrew fashion.

Although seemingly a monstrous chimera, the creatures were only as long as a man's finger. But their bite was said to contain a deadly poison. Cattle in the Wellington and Medicine Lodge areas were rumored to have died after such bites. Necropsies, it is claimed, also revealed that the stomachs of some cattle contained specimens of these mysterious creatures.

I can't even begin to imagine what these creatures were. Evolutionary hiccup? The misidentification of known animals, coupled with hysteria? A complete fabrication by unscrupulous journalism?

I know this area of Kansas well and have never heard of such a thing. I have family in the area to this day. I can't recall having ever heard such a tale. If you have any insights, I would love to hear your opinions.


Cullan Hudson said...

Okay, I admit it. The picture is a little over the top. But you know, so is the story. It's like a bad sci-fi movie from the 50's: IT CAME FROM THE CATTLE POND!!!!

OPD-1 said...

I recently found an early newspaper article (ca. 1910) where a Kansas newspaper editor indicated there had been more phony stories sent out of Kansas than true from other locations! These self-proclaimed "Kansas Liars" were giving "real newspapermen" a bad name! This might a sample.