This is the Second part on the "Plesiosaur at Laguna Negra". In our previous post we mentined the background (Mr. Sheffield's letter to Clemente Onelli) and the media stir that it caused. While the expedition was being prepared, Onelli told the press that he had heard about the "creature" several times in the past, and he gave details:
II. Onelli’s “evidence” and previous sightings
Onelli’s remark about having heard about the creature “for the last thirty years” was repeated by him in an article published in the New York Times: “from 1890 to the present time there had been twelve places in Patagonia, between latitudes 38 and 52, at which mysterious creatures had been reported”.
These twelve sighting are the following:
1. The fox-snake “Nguruvilú”
In 1875 at Lake Aluminé (39°14’ S, 70°55’ W), Mapuche chief Nahuelpi told “Dr. Nietsche”, according to Onelli, about the existence of a monster that the Indians feared. It was the Nguruvilú (see my previous post on it Here).
2. The Aluminé beast
The second sighting was at Aluminé River; Onelli said that he had circumstantial evidence of the presence of a huge beast in the neighborhood, but he gave no additional information. This river flows from Lake Aluminé into the Limay River that drains the Nahuel Huapi.
3. White Lake creature
A third sighting was reported at White Lake (Lago Blanco) (45°53’ S, 71°13’ W). It is a 14,4 km (9 mi) long and shallow body of water that flows west till it runs dry close to the Andean foothills. Apparently, in 1897, a Chilean farmer living there reported hearing the sounds of something heavy being dragged along the pebble beach near the lake; at night he sometimes saw a long-necked form in the water. Here Onelli is implying a creature with a plesiosaur-like neck.
4. Tamango River
Also known as Chacabuco River (47°04’ S, 72°10’ W) is just 10 km (6 mi.) north of Lake Pueyrredón -known as Cochrane in Chile- from which it is separated by a steep range of hills; it flows into the South Pacific Ocean. Here, in 1898, a topographer of the Argentine Border Commission, Juan Waag, “saw the fresh footprints of a huge animal”.
5. Unnamed lake in Santa Cruz
Onelli revealed a fifth sighting which was very similar to Sheffield’s. It concerned “a similar beast seen in 1913 by an Englishman in a lake in the territory of Santa Cruz […] the creature was said to have a long neck and bulky body" (once again the plesiosaur-like neck).
6. Lake Vintter
Known then as Lake General Paz (43°56’ S, 71°31’ W); the sighting involved a local inhabitant, but no details were given beyond the year (1900). We have already mentioned that Illing had visited the region in 1898 searching lucklessly for the mylodon.
7. Chubut, unidentified location
This one involved Florencio de Basaldúa when he was the interim governor of Chubut Territory (1900); he organized an expedition that was purportedly attacked by an animal similar to a mylodon.
8. Lake Pueyrredón
Shared with Chile, where it is known as Cochrane (47°18’ S, 71°55’ W). The lake covers a total area of 173 km2 (67 sq. mi.) and is 154 m (505 ft.) above sea level; it drains into the Pacific. It is very close to both the famous unicorn paintings at Cueva del Indio and Chilean National Preserve, “Los Tamangos”, home to many Huemul. Without giving any details, Onelli said that in 1910 while swimming in this lake, a local, Alfredo Sepúlveda, saw an animal that he described as a “saurius”.
9. Strange puma
A repetition of an account printed in Prichard’s book (1900/1):
the administrator of the Braun and Blanchard store at Santa Cruz [town] gave him the description of a fur that the Indians had taken there, that even though it was not the fur of a puma, it was nearly as large as [a puma fur]”.
10. Patagonia unspecified location
Onelli himself (1896); while camping in Patagonia, he was told by natives that they heard frequent noises resembling a cart rumbling over boulders. When he and his team investigated they “saw an enormous black shadow swimming away […] the creature craned its long neck several times and then disappeared” (plesiosaur neck again).
He added that “prospectors about twenty years ago found the sekeleton of an enormous creature by the Chilean frontier”.
11. Deseado River
In 1901 Mr. Ludovic von Plaaten Hallermund, a Dane expert working for the Argentine Border Commission reported that a mule had fallen down a cliff by the Deseado River. When on the following day his men climbed down to salvage the cargo, they found the animal on the edge of the water, half eaten and in its vicinity, strange tracks “like those of a puma, yet not those of a puma”.
12. Senguer River “Iemisch”
Which we have already mentioned in a previous post Here.
Onelli’s repeated remarks regarding svelte necks and swan-like postures, implying that the beast was a plesiosaur, may have been part of his deceptive plan to mislead those who may try to capture the animal before he had the chance to do so. Bear in mind that he believed the creature was related to the Eberhard Cave mylodon.
In my book, I analyze each of these sightings with more depth looking into some interesting hypothesis regarding the creatures that could have provoked them. I also mention other incidents at those lakes (between 1922 and 2009).
We will continue in our next post (Part 3) Here.
See our previous post (Part 1) Here.
Photographs of those involved in the expedition Here.
 The New York Times, (1922). Andean 'Plesiosaurus' May Be an Armadillo Or Modern Megatherium, Onelli Thinks. New York, US 16.03.1922. pp. 18.
 Publicación electrónica Secretaría de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva. Año 4: N° 1. Online.
 Arment, C., (2004). BioFortean History: The Patagonian “Plesiosaur” Expedition of 1922. North American BioFortean Review v. 5, N° 2, Issue N° 15, 10-2004.
 The New York Times, (1922). New York. US 08.03.1922.
 New York Times, (1922). Expedition tu hunt live plesiosaurus. 09.03.1922
 Hesketh, P. Op. Cit. pp. 335-338
Copyright 2009 by Austin Whittall ©