Mysterious Staten Island creature reminds witness of Montauk monster

July 16, 2019
Crocodile

“That’s not a knife. THAT’S a knife.”

That memorable line is from the movie “Crocodile Dundee” in a scene on the streets of New York City when a mugger pulls a switchblade on the Australian crocodile hunter and Dundee (played by Paul Hogan) pulls out a massive bush knife. Cryptozoologists and those who chase Bigfoot and other legendary and allegedly large and dangerous cryptids must feel the same way when they read stories like the recent one out of (coincidentally) Staten Island, New York, where a man finds a mysterious creature in a park and compares it to the Montauk Monster – another New York legend that, while obviously fiercely ugly, was most likely the decaying remains of a dead raccoon. Well, take a look at the pictures of the not-yet-named Staten Island creature and get ready to hold up a picture of your favorite cryptid and shout …

“That’s not a monster. THAT’S a monster.”

Feel better? Some of the photos were taken over the weekend of June 2nd by John Graziano, who was walking his dog with his girlfriend at Wolfe ‘s Pond Park in Prince’s Bay, a Staten Island neighborhood, when one of them (probably the one with the best nose) found the carcass on the shore of the pond. One of the pictures taken by Graziano shows the dark-skinned thing next to his dog, which seems to be about the same size. Interestingly, rather than uploading the picture to a social media platform, Graziano instead contacted The Staten Island Advance, the borough’s daily newspaper and online news source, which sent out a photographer who took more pictures and posted them with the story on the Silive.com website.

No other media sites seem to have picked up on it, although a New York Times blogger who is probably looking for a new job posted a link. That lack of coverage on a slow news weekend is not a good sign, even when Graziano compares his creature to a more famous one.

“It kind of looks like the thing that washed up on Long Island a few years back.”

“That thing” was the Montauk Monster. In July 2008, Jenna Hewitt and three friends found a mysterious creature (see the photo here and feel free to yell again) at the Ditch Plains beach in Rheinstein Estate Park near Montauk on Long Island.

That photo was picked up by local news and blogs, followed by the national news. Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman is credited with giving it the name “Montauk Monster” and it helped the story that the “monster” was found near the government animal testing facility known as the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. Coleman agreed with most others that the creature was a dead raccoon.

The Staten Island Advance didn’t say if it consulted with Coleman on this one (too bad – he’s good at coming up with clever names) but it did call in Staten Island Academy science teacher Clay Wollney, who said this one is also a dead raccoon, although he did it in a science teacherly way:

“From the picture I saw yesterday, with part of mouth exposed, it also has the right dentition.”

“Dentition” – there’s a word for “teeth” you can use to impress your dentist. If you do and he or she asks you where you learned it, and you tell them about the Staten Island monster, be prepared for them to pull out some strange X-rays and yell:

“That’s not a monster. THAT’S a monster.”

By PAUL SEABURN